Study Papers of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (1965 to 1982)
The 157th General Synod requested the stated clerk to "investigate the feasibility of compiling a digest of the acts and deliverances of General Synods since 1930 in the PCUSA-BPC-EPC line, and, as relevant, in the RPNAGS-RPCES line, and report to the 158th General Synod."
At the 158th General Synod, the stated clerk suggested several options, including the possibility of compiling "the important study papers, condensed if need be, together with important decisions and opinions in response to overtures and judicial actions ... photographically reproducing these from the minutes." Synod authorized the stated clerk to publish such reports, etc., as well as "to compile an index of synod actions . . . from 1950 onwards, as funds are available." The present volume represents fulfillment of these assignments.
The Index of Synodical Actions (1965-1980) was produced by the Rev. J. Curtis Lovelace under the supervision of Covenant Theological Seminary librarian, Dr. Joseph Hall. The full index, including the minutes of 1981 and 1982, is to be published in the 160th General Synod Minutes (1982).
The current volume reflects what many consider the RPCES's major contribution to the church of Jesus Christ in the twentieth century, i.e., careful biblical exegesis of Scriptures on contemporary issues, expressing pastoral concern for dealing with people and problems. It needs to be pointed out, that when quoting these study papers, caution should be exercised as to whether they were merely received or if they were adopted as the action of Synod. Even when adopted, these papers and decisions reflect the pious advice of that particular General Synod and have no constitutional force unless changes were adopted in the Form of Government or other Standards of the church.
As to format, the table of contents reflects the topics chosen in alphabetical order. Each article is introduced by a blocked heading which gives the original source. These include the page numbers for the original article, and since these are photographically reproduced, one may readily determine the original pagination for each article. The editor has taken the privilege of including a couple of items of significance, including the historic action of the 160th General Synod to join the Presbyterian Church in America on June 12, 1982. One year earlier, the Ninth General Assembly of the PCA adopted the report of the Ad Interim Committee to Discuss, which included the following paragraph:
"In receiving these denominations, the Presbyterian Church in America recognizes the history of the respective denominations as part of her total history and receives their historical documents as valuable and significant material which will be used in the perfecting of the Church."
May the sovereign Lord of the Church be pleased to use this present volume to bring glory to his name through the perfecting of this enlarged branch of his Church.
This preface would be seriously faulted if we failed to acknowledge the efforts of so many people whose time and efforts have made these contributions possible, namely the chairman and members of committees whose reports have been so helpful. More specifically, for over a decade, the editor has worked very closely with Joel Belz of the Presbyterian Journal, in preparing camera-ready copy, and with John Kinch of TriMark Publishing Company, both of whom deserve our gratitude.
|Paul R. Gilchrist
Stated Clerk of General Synod
Lookout Mountain, Tennessee