.

The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Preface to the Book of Church Order

I. King and Head
of the Church
II. Preliminary Principles
III. The Constitution Defined

Section 2 : The Preliminary Principles
Paragraph 5 : Of Mutual Forbearance

5. That while, under the conviction of the above principle, we think it necessary to make effectual provision that all who are admitted as teachers be sound in the faith, we also believe that there are truths and forms with respect to which men of good characters and principles may differ. And in all these we think it the duty both of private Christians and societies to exercise mutual forbearance towards each other.

Background and Comparison :
PCA 1973, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, page 128
That while, under the conviction of the above principle, we think it necessary to make effectual provision that all who are admitted as teachers be sound in the faith, we also believe that there are truths and forms with respect to which men of good characters and principles may differ. And in all these we think it the duty both of private Christians and societies to exercise mutual forbearance towards each other.

Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, Proposed text, Preface, Preliminary Principles, paragraph 2
That while, under the conviction of the above principle, we think it necessary to make effectual provision that all who are admitted as teachers be sound in the faith, we also believe that there are truths and forms with respect to which men of good characters and principles may differ. And in all these we think it the duty both of private Christians and societies to exercise mutual forbearance towards each other.

PCUS 1879
PCUS 1869 draft
and
PCUS 1867 draft
[we have not located printed editions of the PCUS Constitution which include the Preliminary Principles. Reportedly the first edition, printed in 1861, did include the Principles, but we have been unable to locate subsequent editions with this material included.]



Commentary :
Hodge, J. Aspinwall, What Is Presbyterian Law? (Philadelphia, 1882, pp. 25-26) :
What is the fifth principle?
"There are truths and forms, with respect to which men of good characters and principles may differ." And in all these it is "the duty both of private Christians and societies, to exercise mutual forbearance toward each other."
How is this mutual forbearance to be manifested?
By recognition of the Christian and church character and relations of others (Mark 9:38-40 ; Rom. 14) ; by patiently teaching the way of the Lord more perfectly, and by maintaining and practicing the truth, but without offence and without judging others (Gal. 2:3-5, 11-14 ; Rom. 14:1-23 ; 1 Cor. 10:32 ; 2 Cor. 6:3 ; Matt. 7:1 ; James 4:11).
May persons be received into the communion of the Church who do not fully agree with the Standards of the Church?
All are to be received "who in the judgment of charity are the sincere disciples of Jesus Christ," making profession of their faith, love and obedience to him. They are received to be instructed in the doctrines of the Church.[1]
Must the officers be sound in faith?
"It is necessary to make effectual provision that all who are admitted as teachers be sound in the faith."[2]

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[1] Presbyterian Digest, p. 307 ; Rom. 14:1.
[2] Form of Government [PCUSA], chs. xiii., xiv. and xv. ; Presbyterian Digest, pp. 48, 307.



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Chapter Index [links to Par. 1 of each chapter]:
FoG..
1
2
3.
4
5.
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
I. King & Head of Church
.§1.
§4
§5
RoD
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
II. Preliminary Principles
§1
§2
§3
§4
§5
§6
§7
§8
DfW
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
[FoG = Form of Government ; RoD = Rules of Discipline ; DfW = Directory for Worship]