THE STANDARDS OF WORSHIP, GOVERNMENT
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF THE PHILIPPINES
THE FORM OF GOVERNMENT AND RULES OF DISCIPLINE have their historic roots in the Protestant Reformation, which sought to reform the structure and life of the Church as well the doctrine of the Church according to the Word of God. In particular, they have their source in the work of John Calvin in Geneva.
John Calvin belonged to the second generation of Reformers. He built upon the work of his early colleague in Geneva, William Farel, and upon the contributions to polity of Ecolampadius in Basel and Martin Bucer in Strasbourg. Calvin’s contribution to church polity is to be found in the fourth book of the INSTITUTE and in the practical development of the structure of church life in Geneva under his leadership. In 1953 Calvin and Farel presented the City Council with ARTICLES CONCERNING THE ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH AND WORSHIP IN GENEVA. in 1541 Calvin prepared a more elaborate polity entitled ECCLESIASTICAL ORDINANCES OF THE CHURCH OF GENEVA. Much of Calvin’s ministry in Geneva was consumed in the defense of these Ordinances, and even the draft of 1561 fell short of Calvin’s goal of a church fully independent of the state. This work became one of the most influential books in our Presbyterian history. However the full development of Presbyterian polity in Geneva was subject to a twofold limitation. one was the City Council, which, having obtained freedom from the bishop, wanted to keep the reformed church under its power. Furthermore, Geneva was a city; and a polity which served its needs was not adequate for a nation. The development of Presbyterianism on a national scale as a series of graded courts was first achieved in France.
Calvin’s ministry was marked by an emphasis on discipline, not only in the general sense of church polity but also in the sense of the regulation of conduct and life. Some Reformed confessions make discipline along with the preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments a mark of the Church’s existence. The Church must practice discipline to maintain the honor of God, to prevent the corruption of the good by evil, and to bring those who err to repentance Christian character and obedience to the will of God.
Presbyterianism began to make its appearance in Scotland as early as 1558. In 1560 John Knox and his colleagues presented Parliament with the FIRST BOOK OF DISCIPLINE. The Presbyterianism of this book was far from complete, but the influence of Calvin is apparent. Other influence were the politics of such churches as the Reformed Church of France, John a’Lasco’s Congregation of Foreigners in London, Pullain’s French Church in Strasbourg and the church of England under Edward VI.
The FIRST BOOK OF DISCIPLE was replaced by the SECOND BOOK OF DISCIPLINE IN 1592. Andrew Melville, who had studied for six years in France and who taught and studied for five years in Geneva, was the most influential person in its development. This polity provides for a series of graded courts. At this time Scotland was organized according to sessions, presbyteries, synods, and the General Assembly, demonstrating that Presbyterianism is effective a polity for a nation as for a city. THE SECOND BOOK OF DISCIPLINE is more strictly Presbyterian than the first book, and as such a very important source of the polity of our church.
While the battle for Presbyterianism was developing in Scotland, strong advocates of Presbyterianism also appeared in England. Among these were Walter Travers and Thomas Cartwright, who were responsible for statement of Presbyterian polity known as THE SACRED DISCIPLINE OF THE CHURCH, DESCRIBED IN THE WORD OF GOD. A very important document in the ancestry of American Presbyterianism is the FORM OF PRESBYTERIAL CHURCH GOVERNMENT, which was prepared by the Westminster Assembly in 1644. The Westminster Assembly was composed of Episcopalians and Congregationalist as well as Presbyterians, and it met at a time when the question of national polity for England was at issue. The result is that the Presbyterianism of the document is somewhat modified and the various stresses of the time are apparent.
Early Presbyterianism is America was guided by the Westminster FORM OF PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH GOVERNMENT, WHICH HAD BEEN ADOPTED by the church of Scotland. In 1786 the Synod took action to provide a constitution which would be adopted to the American situation. In 1788 the FORM OF GOVERNMENT AND DISCIPLINE was approved. The Synod rejected attempts to impose Scottish polity on the American church and also efforts to write a new polity and discipline. The polity which was adopted contains much which is taken from Britain and the Westminster Assembly, but it was also adapted to the demands of American church life. THE FORM OF GOVERNMENT is a living document and was revised to meet the needs of the American church, especially in 1821.
When the Presbyterian churches in America have been developed into several denominations, they adopted the polity and discipline which had been in use in the FORM OF GOVERNMENT written in 1821, but they revised it a little bit according to their own need. When the Presbyterian spread into Asia and the other continent by the American and Britain Presbyterian churches, the same Form of Government and Rules o discipline was introduced in the harmony of needs in the mission field. Likewise, Korean Presbyterian Church adopted her constitution in 1917 which was taken from Westminster Assembly and American Presbyterian Church.
THE DIRECTORY FOR THE WORSHIP AND WORK OF THE CHURCH has its source in the teaching of scripture as it is interpreted in the Confession of Faith and the every demands for the ordering of the Church’s life. Its historical roots reach back to the ancient Church, but the more immediate origin of the Directory is to be found in the reformation of worship and practice that was an essential part of the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century and the Puritan revolution of the seventeenth century.
It is important to note that the Directory is the product of many influences. There is no one narrowly defined pattern of Presbyterian or Reformed worship. The present practice of the Church is the product of many traditions in the Reformed family. Among the more important are the tradition of Zwingli, Farel, and John a’Lasco, with its emphasis upon preaching; the tradition of Strasbourg and Geneva, with its emphasis on the sacraments as affixed to the Word; the tradition of the Puritans of the Westminster Assembly, with emphasis upon simplicity and Biblical authority; and the tradition of the American frontier, with its demand for worship relevant to a missionary situation. It is important to note that the Directory is not a service book. This is a tradition which dates back to the Westminster Assembly. The members of this Assembly were in reaction against the abuses of the service book, which they believed made “an idle and unedifying ministry, which contented itself with set forms made to their hands by others.”
When the Korean missionary began their church planting ministry in this archipelago since 1977, they simply applied the Standards of Church Government and Directory of Worship of Korean Presbyterian Church. The compiler uses the Westminster Standard as textbook in his Seminary teaching and church ministry. But he felt that the Presbyterian Church of the Philippines needed a written form of Standards for her own. This need caused him to produce this compilation. He believes that there should be certain revision according to the need of the Presbyterian Church of the Philippines, in its own context, before the formal adoption of it as her own constitution.
This compilation is based on the Westminster Standard, the Constitution of Korean Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (northern), Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (Southern), Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Reformed Presbyterian Church and the Book of Church Government of Christian Reformed Church in America and Canada. The Form of Government is mainly followed by Korean church’s, the Book of Discipline was taken from Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Directory of Worship and Work is followed by Presbyterian Church in America (Southern).
I pray that this compilation can be useful, and may God bless those who are faithful to these principles in the ministry.
GERARDO H. KIM, Compiler
THE SERVICE OF GOD
God, who chose us to be his people, calls us to serve him through worship and work. Therefore, the Church must examine its common life, and Christians their private lives, to the end that all may live as servants of God obeying his commands.
THE SERVICE OF WORSHIP
Christian worship depends upon and is a response to the presence of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to what God has done for us and for our salvation, which we acknowledge by acts of adoration, confession, thanksgiving, petition, and obedience.
The church worships as believers, sharing a common life of faith, hope, love and commitment, assemble in common public worship. Christian worship God privately as individuals and as families. We worship always as members of the Body of Christ.
THE SERVICE OF WORK
The work of the Church is response to God’s grace and is done in obedience to the will of God as this will is made known in Scripture. It is expressed in proclamation of and witness to the Word of God, and in deeds of love and mercy. Through this service Christians seek the fulfillment of the divine purposes in society and history.
1. Since the Holy Scriptures are the only infallible rule of faith and practice, the principles of public worship must be derived from the bible, and from no other source.
2. A service of public worship is not merely a gathering of God’s children with each other but before all else a meeting of the triune God with his chosen people. God is present in public worship not only by virtue of the divine omnipresence but, much more intimately, as the faithful covenant Savior. The Lord Jesus Christ said: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
3. The end of public worship is to the glory of God. His people should engage in all its several parts with an eye single to his glory. Public worship has its aim the building of Christ’s church by perfecting of saints and the addition to its membership of such as are being saved — all to the glory of God. Through public worship on the Lord’s day Christians should learn to serve God all the days of the week in their every activity, remembering, whether they eat or drink or what ever they do, to do all to the glory of god.
4. Public worship is rightly said to be divine because God is its beginning and its end. It is of him and through him and unto him.
5. Public worship is Christian when the worshippers recognize that Christ is the Mediator by whom alone they can come unto God, when they honor Christ as the head of the church, who rules over public worship, and when their faith in Christ and their love for him.
6. Public worship must be performed in spirit and in truth. Externalism and hypocrisy stand condemned. The forms of public worship have value only when they serve to express the inner reverence of the worshipper and his sincere devotion to the true and living God. And only those whose hearts have been renewed by the Holy Spirit are capable of such reverence and devotion.
7. The Lord Jesus Christ has prescribed no fixed forms for public worship but, in the interest of life and power in worship, has given his church a large measure of liberty in this matter. It may not be forgotten, however, that there is true liberty only where the rules of God’s Words are observed and the spirit of the lord is, that all things must be done decently and in order, and that God’s people should serve him with reverence and in the beauty of holiness. From its beginning to its end a service of public worship should be characterized by that simplicity which is an evidence of sincerity and by that beauty and dignity which are a man manifestation of holiness.
8. Public worship differs from private worship in that in public worship God is served by his saints united as his covenant people, the body of Christ. For this reason the covenant children should be present so far as possible as well as adults. For the same reason no favoritism may be shown to any who attend. Now may any member of the church presume to exalt himself above others as though he were more spiritual, but each shall esteem others better than himself.
9. It behooves God’s people not only to come into his presence with a deep sense of awe at the thought of his perfect holiness and their own exceeding sinfulness, but also to enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise for the great salvation which he has no graciously wrought for them through his only begotten Son and applied to them by the Holy Spirit.
PART I: THE WORSHIP OF GOD
A. The Worship of God Through Word and Sacrament
The Lord’s Day, a Holy Day
1. From the days of the Apostles, Christians have observed the first day of the week as the Christian Sabbath because on it our Lord Jesus Christ was raised from the dead.
2. God has appointed one day in seven to be kept holy to the Lord, and to be used for his glory. The people are to abstain from all unnecessary labor, and from recreation which violates or interferes with the character of the day. In the observance of the day Christians are to be guided by the Word of God as illumined by the Holy Spirit and as interpreted by the Standards of this church.
3. All Christians are to prepare for the approach of this day. They should so arrange their affairs and so use their, influence that no one will be kept unnecessarily from the public worship of God and the proper use of the Lord’s Day. Each church should provide for the worship and spiritual welfare of those whose affairs prevent their participation in the regular services of the Lord’s Day.
4. It is the privilege and obligation of all the people of God on the Lord’s Day to participate in the public worship of God.
5. No one shall be excluded from participation in public worship in the Lord’s house on the grounds of race, color, or class.
The Ordering of Public Worship
1. God has ordained that he be publicly worshipped by his people through music and singing, prayer, the reading of Holy Scripture, the preaching of the Word of God, the making of offerings, and the administering of the Sacraments of Baptism and of the Lord’s Supper.
2. The Church does not prescribed the sequence of these acts of worship. The Pastor, in consultation with the Church Session, has the responsibility for sequence and proportion of the various parts of public worship. The Pastor and Session shall be mindful of Scriptural guidance for worship, of the heritage of the Presbyterian Church, of the needs and particular circumstances of the congregation, and of the provisions of this Directory for Worship.
3. It is appropriate that the worship of the Church provide occasion for recalling the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, his death, resurrection, ascension and coming again, and the sending of the Holy Spirit. It is also fitting that such days be celebrated as recall the heritage of the Church, proclaim its mission, and forward its work.
The Assembling of the Congregation and Their Behavior During Common Worship
1. The worship of God requires preparation by prayer, meditation, study of the Bible and Physical rest, so that body and mind may alert to the privileges and responsibilities of the Lord’s Day. Church members are specially enjoined to pray for the Minister and to ask God’s blessing on the congregation.
2. In response to the call of God, the people are to assemble at the appointed time, that all being present at the beginning they may unite with one heart in all the parts of public worship. No one should leave until after the benediction.
3. The people are to enter the Lord’s house, be seated in reverent manner, and engage in silent prayer for a blessing upon themselves, the Minister, and all present, as well as upon those are kept from the place of worship.
4. All who attend public worship are to participate with reverence and godly fear, forbearing to engage in any conduct unbecoming to the place and occasion. Children should sit with their families so that they may worship together.
The Public Reading and Hearing of the Holy Scripture
1. The reading and hearing of the holy Scripture in the congregation is a part of the public worship of God. The reading should be done by the Pastor or some person properly invited.
2. The Pastor shall have discretion in the choice of Scripture and in the length of the passage read. He should exercise care to the end that over a period of time the people shall hear the full message of Scripture.
The Singing of Psalms and Hymns And the Music of Public Worship
1. Christians are to praise God by singing psalms and hymns, publicly in the church.
2. Psalms and hymns are prayers and praises, of the congregation. The congregation should be informed as to the content of the songs of worship so that they may be sung with understanding. Church music should be subservient to the purpose of worship and subject to the rule that in worship we offer God our best gifts.
3. The Session’s responsibility for the choir, the persons leading music, and the necessary provisions and arrangements which the full participation of the congregation in this worship requires. choirs and musical instruments are aids to, not substitute for, the participation of the congregation.
1. The leadership of public prayer in the worship of the congregation is ordinarily the duty of a Minister. He may upon occasion invite other persons to lead in prayer.
2. Ministers are not to be confined to fixed forms of prayer for public worship. Yet it is the duty of the Minister, previous to entering upon his office, to prepare and qualify himself for this part of his work, as well as for preaching. He should by a life of communion with God, by a thorough acquaintance with the Holy Scripture, by the study of the best writers on prayer, and by meditation endeavor to acquire the gift of prayer. Moreover, when he is to offer prayer in public worship, he should compose his spirit and so offer his thoughts that he may perform this duty with dignity and propriety, and with profit to the worshippers, lest he degrade this important service.
3. The posture of the people in public prayer should always be reverent.
4. Public prayer should embrace the following elements: adoration, thanksgiving, confession, supplication, and intercession.
5. The Minister shall determine the emphasis which is to be given to these various elements of prayer within the order for public worship. He shall strive to express in prayer the particular needs of that congregation whose worship he leads.
6. In Adoration the people are to adore the glory and perfection of God as they are made known in his work of creation and providence, in the clear and full revelation he has made in Jesus Christ, and in the work of the Holy Spirit.
In Thanksgiving the people are to offer gratitude and praise to God for all his mercies, general and particular spiritual and temporal; above all, for Christ Jesus, Savior and Lord, and for the life eternal which is in him.
In Confession the people are humbly to acknowledge unto God their sinfulness in nature and in act, and their sins both of omission and of commission, with a deep sense of the evil of all sin committed against God, our neighbor, and our selves. They shall ask for forgiveness through Jesus Christ. The confession should be concluded by the Minister’s affirming the assurance of pardon through Jesus Christ as promised in Holy Scripture.
In Supplication the people are to ask earnestly through Jesus Christ for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, for peace with God accompanied by all fruits of that peace, for abundant supplies of the grace necessary to enable them to be obedient unto God, for support and comfort under trials, and for needed temporal blessings.
In Intercession the people are to offer petition on behalf of others: for the visible kingdom of Christ, his Church Universal; for the interest and welfare of human society; and for all to whom God has given civil authority.
7. The prayer which Christ taught his disciples should be used in the public prayers of the congregation.
The Preaching of the Word
1. The preaching of the Word is an ordinance of God for the salvation of men. The Minister should diligently apply himself to preaching, and prove himself a workman who needs not to be ashamed, rightly interpreting the Word of truth.
2. The purpose of preaching is to set forth the teaching of the Scriptures and their proper application to the needs of the people. For this reason the sermon must be a responsible proclamation of the Biblical message spoken to contemporary life.
3. Preaching requires study, meditation and prayer. Ministers should prepare their sermons with care, and not indulge themselves in loose, extemporary harangues, nor serve God with that which costs them nothing. They should keep to the simplicity of the Gospel and express themselves in language that can be understood by all. They should also by their lives adorn the Gospel which they preach and be examples to believers in word and deed.
4. The Public worship is not complete without the preaching of the Word, but the sermon should not obscure the significance of the other elements of worship.
5. No person shall be permitted to preach in any church except by invitation from both Pastor and Session, unless sent by the Presbytery. If there is no Pastor, the Session’s invitation is sufficient.
The Worship of God by Offerings
1. The holy Scriptures teach that God is the owner of all persons, and all things, and that we are but stewards of both life and possessions; that God’s ownership and our stewardship should be acknowledge; that his acknowledgement should take the form, in part, of giving a worthy proportion of our income to the Church of Jesus Christ, thus worshipping the Lord with our possessions; and that he remainder should be used in a manner becoming to Christians.
2. A time should be appointed in the order of public worship for receiving, with appropriate prayer, the offerings of the people.
The Sacrament of Baptism
1. The Sacrament of Baptism may be administered only by an ordained Minister of the Word.
2. It is the obligation and privilege of parents to present their children for baptism; thereby claiming God’s covenant promises to believers and their children. The baptism of infants is not to be unnecessarily delayed.
3. Baptism of infants take place only within the fellowship of the Christian Church. For this reason the child to be baptized must be presented by one or both believing parents, or, in the absence of such parent, by some believing person responsible for the child, who signifies his desire that the child be baptized and whom assumes responsibility for the child’s Christian nurture and rearing in the fellowship of the Christian Church. Likewise, baptism ought to be administered only in the presence of the congregation which pledges itself as the child’s sponsor to the end that the child may confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. If, in the judgment of the Minister, it should be represented by at least one member of the Session in addition to the Minister.
4. Baptism of infants should be preceded by appropriate words of instruction as to the institution and meaning of the Sacrament. It is fitting that congregation and parent should confess the faith in which the child is baptized, using a proper symbol, such as the Apostles’ or Nicene Creed. The congregation in an appropriate manner should signify assumption of responsibility for the Christian nurture of the child. The parents should likewise acknowledge their obligation. The charge to parents and congregation should be specific, placing emphasis upon instruction in the Bible and Doctrine of the Church, the Christian life of the family, and the fellowship and mission of the Church.
5. The Minister shall propose to the parents the following or like questions:
- Do you acknowledge your child’s need of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, and the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit?
- Do you claim God’s covenant promises in (his) behalf, and do you look in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ for his (her) salvation, as you do for your own?
- Do you now unreservedly dedicate your child to God, and promise in humble reliance upon divine grace, that you will endeavor to set before (him), a
Godly example, that you will pray with and for (him), that you will teach (him) the doctrines of our holy religion, and that you will strive, by all means of God’s appointment to bring (him) up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?
The Minister shall then propose to the congregation the following or like question:
“Do you, in the name of the church, undertake responsibility for the Christian nurture of this child?”
The Minister shall pray for a blessing to attend this ordinance after which, calling the child by his full name, he shall say:
“Child of Covenant, I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and the Son, and in the Holy Spirit.”
As he pronounces these words, he shall baptize the child with water, by pouring or sprinkling it on the head of the child, with our adding any other ceremony.
6. The Minister shall declare that the child who has been baptized is a member of the household of faith and that the parents and the congregation are to provide spiritual nurture for him in faith that God will bring him to confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
7. The service is to be concluded with an appropriate prayer for the child and for all the children and families of the congregation.
8. Prior to the baptism of an adult, the person to be baptized, having previously made profession of faith before the session, shall be required to confess his faith publicly before the congregation, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter X of this Directory.
Profession of Faith and Admission to the Lord’s Table
1. Children born within the Church are under the care of a particular church. They are to be taught to love God, and to obey and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. When they come to years of discretion they should be earnestly reminded by parents and Church Session that they are members of the Church by birthright, and that it is their duty and privilege personally to profess before men their faith in Christ and to seek admission to the Lord’s Table and enrollment as communing members in a particular church.
2. The time when young persons come to years of discretion is not precisely fixed. It is left to the prudence of the Session to judge, after careful examination, the faith in and commitment to Christ on the part of those who apply for admission to the Lord’s Table. Instruction should be given in the faith of the Church especially as contained in the Largest and Shorter Catechisms. Knowledge and understanding of the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostle’s Creed, the Ten Commandments and the Sacraments are desirable.
3. When unbaptized persons apply for admission to the Lord’s Table and full membership in a church, they shall give to the Session satisfaction with respect to their faith and commitment, make a profession of their faith and purpose of obedience, and thereupon be baptized. This profession and baptism shall be done in the presence of the congregation unless there are extraordinary reasons to the contrary. The Session shall admit them to the Lord’s Table and enroll them as communing members of the particular church.
4. When persons baptized in infancy apply for admission to the Lord’s Table and full membership in a church, they shall give to the Session satisfaction with respect to their faith and commitment, and make a profession of their faith and purpose of obedience. This profession and baptism shall be done in the presence of the congregation unless there are extraordinary reasons to the contrary. The Session shall admit to the Lord’s Table and enroll them as communing members of the particular church.
5. The time having come during public worship for the making of a public profession of faith and obedience, and those who have been approved by the Session having taken their places in the presence of the congregation, the Minister shall proceed after the following or like form:
(a) He shall state that of the number of those who were baptized in infancy as members of the church by birthright and heirs of the covenant promises, the Session has examined and approved as to (their) faith in Christ, and knowledge to discern the Lord’s body A, B, and C, who come now to assume for themselves the full privileges and responsibilities of their inheritance in the household of faith.
(b) If there are present any candidates for baptism, the Minister shall state that: the Session has examined and approved as to (their) acceptance of Christ as Savior and Lord D, E and F, who are cordially welcomed into the goodly fellowship of believers and present themselves for baptism.
(c) The Minister shall then address those making a profession, using the following or like form: (All of you) being present profession of your faith, are to assent to the following declarations and promises, by which you enter into a solemn covenant with Christ and his Church:
- Do you acknowledge yourselves to be sinners in the sight of God, justly deserving his displeasure, and without hope save in his sovereign mercy?
- Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of sinners, and do you receive and depend upon him alone for salvation as he is offered in the Gospel?
- Do you now resolve and promise, in humble reliance upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, that you will endeavor to live as becomes the followers of Christ?
- Do you promise to serve Christ in his Church by supporting and participating in its worship and work to the best of your ability?
- Do you submit yourselves to the government and discipline of the Church, and promise to further its purity and peace?
- After these questions have been answered in the affirmative, baptism may be administered if there are present any candidates for this ordinance. Prayer may then be offered, after which the Minister may declare:
“In as much as you made profession of your faith obedience, have received Christian baptism, and have by the Church Session been admitted to the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, I declare you entitled to all the privileges of this congregation and of the full fellowship of the Church Universal.”
- A brief charges as to the importance of the solemn obligation assumed may be given to the new communicants and to the congregation. The whole may be concluded with a benediction.
6. In the absence of a Minister, one of the Elders appointed by the Session may preside in the making of profession of faith, but baptism may be performed only by an ordained Minister.
7. When a Church member is received into the fellowship of particular Church by a certificate of dismission, by other satisfactory testimonials, or upon reaffirmation of his original covenant obligations, the reception by the Session shall be announced to the congregation at public worship, and the person commended to them for their Christian confidence and affection.
The Sacrament of Lord’s Supper
1. The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper may be administered only by an ordained Minister of the Word.
2. The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is to be celebrated frequently, but at least quarterly. The stated times are to be determined by the Session for each congregation.
3. The Session may authorize that the Sacrament be administered in connection with the visitation of the sick of that congregation provided that it is requested by the sick person. On such an occasion at least one member of the Session, representing the congregation, shall be present in addition to the Minister; and a brief exposition of the Word applicable to the circumstances shall be given by the Minister so that the Sacrament may be received with understanding.
4. Higher Church courts may appoint times for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper either during their sessions or in connection with some gathering of believers which is under their control.
5. If the people do not gather at the table, the elements are to be taken to them in their pews by Elders (whether or not in active service in the Session). In a church which lacks sufficient Elders for this purpose, Deacons (or in necessity other Church members) may be invited by the Minister and Session to serve in distributing the elements.
6. Public notice should be given to the congregation at least one week before the celebration of this Sacrament. Either then, or on some other day prior to the administration, the people should be instructed in its nature, and urged to make due preparation for tit, that all may come in a suitable manner to this holy feast.
7. When the time for the administration of the Sacrament has come, the Minister shall show:
- by reading the words of institution either from the Gospels or from I Corinthians 11, that our Lord Jesus has command this Sacrament to be observed in his church, thereby showing the Lord’s death till he come;
- that it is for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of himself in his death, for the sealing of all the benefits of his death and resurrection to all true believers, for their spiritual nourishment and growth in him, and for their further engagement in and to all duties which they owe unto him.
- that it is a bond and pledge of their communion with him and with each other, as members of his body.
- “Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the same night in which he was betrayed, having taken bread, and blessed and broken it, gave it to his disciples; as I, ministering in his name, give this bread unto you; saying (here the bread is to be distributed). Take it; this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
- After having given the bread, he shall take cup, and say:
- “After the same manner our Savior also took the cup, and having given thanks, as hath been done in his name, he gave it to the disciples, (while the Minister is repeating these words let him give the cup), This cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for many, for the remission of sins; drink all ye of it.”
- a. Do you trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior and commit yourself to his lordship over your whole life?
- b. Do you sincerely believe yourself called by God, to serve Jesus Christ in the church vocation of (here insert the description of the particular vocation)?
- c. Do you now submit yourself to the guidance of the Session in your further training for service, and promise to devote yourself fully to this preparation?
He shall invite to partake of the Sacrament all those are communicants in good standing in some Christian church, who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and repent of their sins, and who would covenant afresh to live as followers of Christ. He shall also warn the unprepared, the self-sufficient, the unrepentant, not to approach the holy table. It is proper also to give a special invitation to non-communicants to remain during the service that they may be instructed.
8. The elements of bread and wine should be placed on a table and properly covered. The Elders should be together at a convenient place. The congregation should be orderly and reverently assembled. The Minister should then set the elements apart, by prayer and thanksgiving which shall include remembrance of the death and resurrection of Christ, and shall ask that the Holy Spirit sanctify the Sacrament unto the people’s benefit. The bread and wine being thus set apart by prayer and thanksgiving, the Minister is to take the bread, and break in the view of the people, saying:
9. Since believers are to act personally in all their covenanting with the Lord, it is proper that a part of the time occupied in the distribution of the elements should be spent by all in communion with God, confession, thanksgiving, intercession, and in renewing the believer’s personal covenant with his blood.
10. After all have partaken, the Minister should offer a prayer of thanksgiving. The congregation should sing psalm or hymn, and be dismissed with some gospel benediction
11. A special offering for the poor, or other sacred purposes, is appropriate in connection with the occasion of the Lord’s Supper, and may be made at such time as shall be ordered by the Session.
B. Other Occasions of Worship
2. The exercises appropriate for such gatherings are: the singing of praises; the offering of prayers, especially specific intercessions by the church for person known to have special need; the reading of and instruction in Holy Scripture; the consideration of aspects of the Church’s witness to the Gospel, such as missions evangelization and stewardship; and expressions of the fellowship of believers in Christ their Lord, such as common meals.
Days of fasting and Thanksgiving
1. It is proper and Scriptural that the Church observe days of fasting and of thanksgiving under the urgent circumstances of God’s providence.
2. Fasting and thanksgiving may be observed by individual Christians; by the congregations under the care of Presbytery, or of a Synod; or by the congregation of this Church.
3. It should be left to the judgment and discretion of every Christian and family to determine when it is proper to observe a private fast or thanksgiving; and to the Sessions to determine for particular congregation; and to the Presbyteries or Synods to determine for larger districts. When it is deemed expedient that a fast or thanksgiving should be general, the call for it should be issued by the General Assembly. If at any time the civil power should appoint a fast or thanksgiving, it is the duty of the Minister and people of our communion to pay all due respect to it.
4. Public notice should be given a sufficient time before every public day of fasting or thanksgiving, that persons may so order their affairs as to allow them to attend properly to duties of the day.
5. There should be public worship upon all days; and the prayers, psalms or hymns, the selections of Scripture, and sermons should all be in a special manner adapted to the occasion.
6. On days of fasting, the Minister should point out the authority and providence calling for the observance; and he should spend more than the usual time in solemn prayer, particular confession of sin, especially of the sins of the day and place; and the whole day should be spent in prayer and meditation.
7. On days of thanksgiving, the Minister should give information respecting the authority and providence which all for the observance; and he should spend more than usual time in giving thanks, agreeably to the occasion, and in singing psalms or hymns of praise. On these days, the people should rejoice with holy gladness of heart; but their joy should be tempered with reverence, that they indulge in no excess or unbecoming levity.
Individual and Family Worship
1. It is the duty of each person and every family to worship God in private.
2. Individual worship is plainly enjoined by our Lord. In this duty everyone, apart, should spend some time in prayer, reading the Scripture, holy meditation, and serious self examination. The many advantages of these duties are best known to those who faithfully engage in them.
3. Family worship, which should be observe daily by every family, consists in prayer, reading the Scriptures, and singing praises; or in some other form of outspoken recognition of God.
1. Since marriage is a divine institution, established by God in creation, the Church solemnizes marriages in holy worship, with prayer and blessings bearing witness to its nature, and also requires vows concerning their obligation to God from those who engage in it.
2. As they are enjoined to marry in the Lord, Christians should have their marriage solemnized by a lawful Minister of the Word, ordinarily in the building set apart to the worship of God and in the presence of God’s people.
3. The intent to marry should be announced sufficiently in advance of the solemnization of the marriage. Before the marriage it is the duty of the Minister to see (1) that the parties obey the proper laws established by the civil commonwealth to regulate marriages; (2) that the parties are of such years of discretion as to be capable of making their own choice; and, if they be under age, that the consent of parents or guardians be previously obtained and certified to the Minister; (3) that the parties’ understanding and of commitment to Christian marriage is such as to give promise of God’s blessing upon their union; (4) that special instruction is given to prepare them for entering into their new relation in the Lord.
4. The Minister should instruct those planning marriage in this Church’s understanding of marriages set forth the chapter XXVI of the Confession of Faith and in this chapter of the Directory for Worship. He may counsel with them on all important aspects of marriage, especially those where problems may arise. He should assist them to lay firm foundation for the establishment of a Christian home, and should encourage them to develop the Christian graces of understanding, patience, generosity, repentance, and forgiveness as the basis of harmony within their union.
5. The Minister should take as a vital pastoral responsibility the task of preventing, so far as he can by wise and prayerful counsel, the hasty or ill-considered separation of any couple committed to his care. Divorce can rightly be sanctioned by the Church only where a continuation of the legal union would endanger the physical, moral or spiritual well-being of one or both of the partners or that of their children.
6. In all cases where remarriages after divorce is sought, the Minister’s decision should turn not so much on what the applicant has done as on what the person by God’s grace has now become, what with God’s help, he (or She) honestly intends and hopes to do in the future.
The Session of a church may appoint a committee to advise on such cases at the request of the Minister; and the Presbytery may appoint a similar committee to which Minister or Session may refer such cases.
7. If the Minister is not in conscience convinced of the complete propriety of the marriage under the laws of the civil commonwealth and of the Holy Scripture as interpreted in the Standards of this Church, he shall not perform the ceremony.
8. The order for marriage service shall include a statement of the nature of Christian marriage as set forth in Scripture, prayers for the parties and for their new state, the undertaking of the covenant between them, a declaration that the parties have been joined in marriage, and the Minister’s pronouncing the benediction of God upon their union.
Any further elements of the order shall be at the discretion of the Minister, who shall have entire responsibility for the direction of the service. Such music as accompanies the service should be to the glory of God who sanctifies marriage, to which end the use of hymns by the congregation is appropriate.
9. The Minister shall comply with all requirements of the civil government for the proper performance and registration of the marriage. He shall also see that the church maintain an adequate record of marriages within the congregation by having notice of all such marriages included in the minutes of the church Session. He shall also keep a personal register of all marriages he performs, including the time, the names of the parties, and the civil authority issuing license to marry.
The Funeral and Burial of the Dead
1. The funeral should be a service of worship in which God’s people witness to their faith in the communion of saints, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting; and in which also assurance of God’s love and salvation in Christ is ministered especially to the bereaved.
This service should ordinarily be held in the building set apart to the worship of God, and conducted by a Minister of the Word.
2. The exercises proper to the funeral are: the singing of appropriate psalms or hymns; the reading of appropriate passages from Holy Scripture; the exposition and application of such Scripture in a sermon if the Minister judges it proper; the offering of prayers which shall include: thanksgiving for Jesus Christ and the hope of the Gospel; intercessions for the bereaved; and supplication for faith and grace on behalf of all present.
THE WORK OF THE CHURCH
The Work Of Evangelizing
1. Evangelization is the primary and urgent task of the Church. All mankind is to be called to believe in Christ as Savior, to repent and to obey Christ as Lord of all. Christ’s claim as Savior and Lord is to be laid on every individual and on the whole of society.
2. The Pastor and the church Session have the responsibility for leading the Church in performing this task. This service is faithfully rendered only as the Church keeps this task as the goal of all its work, and as its members are led to witness to Christ in their personal contacts and in their family, business and social relationships.
The Work of Christian Nurture
1. Christian nurture is the work of instructing and guiding believers and their children in Christian faith and life.
2. The Bible is the basic textbook of the Church. Together with the Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, it shall provide the primary teaching material for the educational program. Further teaching materials in accord with these primary materials may be authorized by the General Assembly, and should be used by parents and churches.
3. Christian nurture begins and continues in the Christian home. Here parents and children live in a continuing fellowship within which, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, the Gospel may be so presented that all those involved will respond in faith and commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
4. Parents have first responsibility for Christian nurture and should take part in the formal educational program of their church.
5. The formal educational program of a particular church is under the control of the session and under the supervision of the Pastor. All materials and activities shall be approved by the Session, and should be in harmony with the educational program approved by the General Assembly. The Session shall see that adequate buildings and other physical equipment are provided. The Session shall confirm the choice and appointment of all persons who are to serve in the educational program. The Session may employ properly qualified persons to direct the educational program. Such persons shall work under the supervision of the Pastor.
6. The Pastor, because he is the Teaching Elder, is a member of such committee and council as the Session may appoint to carry out the educational program. Person employed by the Session to direct the educational program may be advisory members of appropriate committee and councils.
7. Church members who give evidence of spiritual maturity, who accept the basic beliefs of our Church, and who are willing to receive training in the necessary teaching skills are to be recruited as leaders and teachers.
The Work of a Member in the Church
1. Whereas those with a special sense of call are led of God into special fields of service, it is incumbent upon every member of the Church by virtue of his vows of Church membership to attend services of worship regularly; to give generously to the support of the church; to participate as fully as possible in church activities; to take part in the formal educational program of the Church; to observe family prayer, daily Bible reading and grace at meals in his home; and in every way to reflect in his life his relationship to Christ as Savior and Lord.
2. Those to whom God has given particular abilities, such a teaching, visiting or administering, should respond to needs as they arise, and should be encouraged by the Pastor and Session to do so.
Stewardship of Possessions
1. Stewardship of possessions, as the believer’s response to God for the blessing he has bestowed on his people, finds its motive in God’s gift of his Son to us, and its measure in Christ’s offering of his life for our redemption. It is a voluntary expression arising out of a grateful heart and a grace derived through the Holy Spirit.
Recognizing God’s sovereignty over and claim upon his life, the Christian steward first offers himself and his abilities to God. He then presents his possessions as an offering for God to use both in the Church and in the world.
2. It is the responsibility of the Pastor and other Church officers to present God’s ownership as it is revealed in Holy Scripture. All believers should be encouraged to return a definite portion of their income to God. It is a particular duty of the Deacons to develop the grace of liberality in the members of the church.
3. The order of worship should provide an opportunity for those present to express their devotion to God through gifts for the work of his Church.
This offering shall ordinarily provide for the regular financial commitments of the congregation. However, from time to time, special causes of the church and special needs of people provide occasions whereby believers may gain recognize God’s ownership of themselves and their possessions.
The Daily Work of a Christian
1. God calls all Church members to glorify and serve him their daily work.
2. The choice of a life work is a decision of faith. This decision is based upon a sense of divine call, upon an appraisal of abilities and interests, upon the appropriateness of the work to serve God’s purposes, and upon acceptance of God’s apparent providence.
The doing of one’s daily work is for the Church member obedience to God and an expression of faith in the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Ministry to the Sick, the Bereaved And Others in Special Need
1. As Christ visited the sick and the bereaved, fed the hungry and ministered to the poor, so he has commanded his people to share their gift of the Spirit, their time, their possessions, and their lives with people in every state of need.
2. The responsibility of Pastors, Elders, Deacons and members extends far beyond the limits of any particular congregation. It is their duty in the name of Christ to extend the church’s ministry to hospitals, homes for the aged and infirm, children’s homes, correctional schools, prisons and welfare institutions, and wherever, in the providence of God, his children in adversity may be found.
3. Deacons by the very nature of their office, are charged with responsibility for continuing works of mercy. To them particularly the church look for leadership in its ministry of compassion as it seeks to provide comfort, hope and healing to the lonely, the troubled, the sick and the poor.
4. Believers should minister to the physical and spiritual needs of any may be sick, should ask in faith the blessing of God upon the means used for their relief and healing, remembering that the Holy Spirit works healing where and when he wills.
5. It is the duty of the sick and their families to notify the church of their condition. It is a special duty of the Pastor and Elders to visit the sick and minister specially to their spiritual welfare, mindful that the Holy Spirit uses the crises of human life to manifest the grace of God.
6. When a death occurs, the family should inform the Pastor and he should notify members of the Session and the congregation so that the needs of the bereaved, both spiritual and material, may be ministered to by the people of God. The church’s ministry should include prayer by the Elders with and fort he family, and the presence of church officers and members at the funeral.
The Christian’s Life in the World
1. Christ has established his Church in the world that he might have a people to serve him, and that they should be instruments of his reconciling ministry in the world.
2. The Christian is sent by his Lord into this world, as the Father sent the Son into this world. He is to live in this world as his Lord lived in the world; love it because God loves it; serve it because his Lord came to serve it and to redeem it.
3. The primary witness of the Church to her King and Head is made as Christians, obedient to their Lord’s commands. love and serve their neighbors for Christ’s sake.
The Church witnesses by word and action to the lordship of Christ over human society and to love, justice and righteousness of God over against the evils of the world; praying “…Thy kingdom come. Thy will be dome in earth, as it is in heaven.”
Church Vocations Not Requiring Ordination
1. In addition to those ordained to office, God calls other church members, both men and women, to perform special professional services in the Church. Among these are Directors of Christian Education, Directors of Music, and other persons serving under agencies of the church not as Minister but as professionally trained persons such as physicians, engineers, educators, business administrator, and the like.
2. Any person seeking such service in a Church vocation should be received under the care of the Session of the particular church to which he belongs, that there may be a clear witness to God’s calling in church vocations, and that he may have the Church’s guidance in his preparation for service.
3. The member feeling called to such a Church vocation should make that fact known to his Session and request to be received under its care. Ordinarily a period of at least six months should elapse between the request and the action of the Session receiving the person under its care. During this time the Session should assure itself regarding his sincerity of purpose in undertaking a Church vocation, and regarding his promise of usefulness in the particular vocation.
4. Every person received under a Session’s care in preparation for a Church vocation should answer affirmatively the following or like questions:
5. Any person seeking a Church vocation in the world mission of the Church shall apply to the Board of World Missions of this Church for reception under its care as a candidate for mission service. He shall present a recommendation from the Session under whose care he has been and shall fulfill whatever qualifications are required by the Board of World Missions. Upon his reception as a candidate for world mission service, the Sessions’ responsibility for guiding his preparation shall end.
6. When the preparation of a person seeking Church vocation is completed, he should be solemnly commissioned to the specific task by the church, acting through the appropriate court or agency. In the case of Director of Christian Education, the commissioning agent is the court of the church under whose authority the director shall work. In the case of a candidate for world mission service, the commissioning agent of the Church is the Board of World Missions.
Before commissioning any person in a Church vocation, the commissioning agent of the church shall examine the person carefully to be assured of the person’s sense of call to the vocation and of his competence for such work. Such commissioning shall be done only by the church court or agency offering the person immediate employment in the church vocation.
7. The form of commissioning service may be that suggested in the Book of common Worship or some like form prepared by the commissioning agency. Every such form shall require the person to affirm: faith in Jesus Christ, belief in the Scripture as the Word of God, sincere adoption of the Confession of faith of this Church, awareness that his purpose in service is the glory of God. The person shall also promise faithfulness in the performance of his duties and submission to the proper control of the court or agency which may employ him.
THE DIRECTORY OF GOVERNMENT
The Presbyterian Church of the Philippines, in setting forth the form of government which it maintains as being founded upon and agreeable to the Word of God, reiterates, by way of introduction, several great principles which have governed the formation of the plan:
1. That “God alone is Lord of the conscience, and has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to his Word, or besides it, in matters of faith or worship.” Therefore we consider the rights of private judgement, in all matters that respect religion, as universal and unalienable. We do not even wish to see any religious constitution aided by the civil power, further than may be necessary for protection and security, and, at the same time, be equal and common to all others.
2. That, in perfect consistency with the above principle of common right, every Christian church, or union or association of particular churches, is entitled to declare the terms of admission into its communion, and the qualifications of its ministers and members, as well as the whole system of its internal government which Christ has appointed: that in the exercise of this right, it may notwithstanding, err, in making the terms of communion either too lax or too narrow; yet, even in this case, it does not infringe upon the liberty or the rights of others but only makes an improper use of its own.
3. That our blessed Savior, for the edification of the visible church, which is his body, has appointed officers, not only to preach the gospel and administer the sacraments, but also to exercise discipline, for the preservation both of truth and duty; and that it is incumbent upon these officers, and upon the whole church, in whose name they act, to censure or cast out the erroneous and scandalous, observing, in all cases, the rules contained in the Word of God.
4. That the truth is in order to goodness; and a great touchstone of truth, its tendency to promote holiness; according to our Savior’s rule, “by their fruits you shall know them.” And that no opinion can be either more pernicious or more absurd than that which brings truth and falsehood upon a level, and represents it as of no consequence what a man’s opinions are. On the contrary, we are persuaded that there is an inseparable connection between faith and practice, truth and duty. Otherwise it would be no consequence either to discover truth or to embrace it.
5. That while, under the conviction of the above principle, we think it necessary to make effectual provisions 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 toward each other.
6. That, though the character, qualifications and authority of church officers are laid down in the Holy Scriptures, as well as the proper method of their investiture and institution, yet the election of the persons to the exercise of this authority, in any particular society, is in that society.
7. That all church power, whether exercised by the body in general, or in the way of representation by delegated authority, is only ministerial and declarative, that is to say, that the Holy Scriptures are the only rule of faith and manners; that no church judicatory ought to pretend to make laws to bind the conscience in virtue of its own authority; and that all its decisions should be founded the revealed will of God. Now though it will easily be admitted that all synods and councils may err, through the frailty inseparable from humanity, yet there is much greater danger from the usurped claim of making laws, than from the right of judging upon the laws already made and common to all who profess the gospel; although this right, as necessity requires in the present state, be lodged with fallible men.
8. Lastly, that if the preceding scriptural and rational principles be steadfastly adhered to, the vigor and strictness of its discipline will contribute to the glory and happiness of any church. Since ecclesiastical discipline must be purely moral or spiritual in its object, and not attended with any civil effects, it can derive no force whatever but from its own justice, the approbation of an impartial public, and that countenance and blessing of the great Head of the church universal.
1. JESUS CHRIST, who is now exalted far above all principality and power, has erected in this world a kingdom, which is His church.
2. The universal church consists of all those persons, in every nation, together with their children, who make profession of the holy religion of Christ and of submission to his laws.
3. As this immense multitude cannot meet together in one place to hold communion or to worship God, it is reasonable, and warranted by Scripture example, that they should be divided into many particular churches.
4. A particular church consists of a number of professing Christians, with their offspring, voluntarily associated together for divine worship and Godly living agreeably to the Holy Scriptures, and submitting to a certain form of government.
Of the Officers of the Church
1. Our blessed Lord, at first, collected his church out of different nations, and formed it into one body, by the mission of men endued with miraculous gifts which have long since ceased.
2. The ordinary and perpetual officers in the church are ministers, elders and deacons.
1. This office is the first in the Church, both for dignity and usefulness. The person who fills it is given in Scripture different names expressive of his various duties. As he has the oversight of the flock of Christ, he is termed Pastor. As he serves Christ in the church, he is termed Minister. As it is his duty to be serious and prudent and an example to the flock, and to govern well in the house and kingdom of Christ, he is termed Presbyter or Elder. As he is sent to declare the will of God to sinners and to beseech them to be reconciles to God through Christ, he is termed Ambassador. As he bears the glad tidings of salvation to the ignorant and perishing, he is termed Evangelist. As he stands to proclaim the Gospel, he is termed Preacher. As he expounds the Word, and by sound doctrine both exhorts and convinces the gainsay, he is termed Teacher. As he dispenses the manifold grace of God and the ordinances instituted by Christ, he is termed Steward of the mysteries of God. These names do not indicate grades of office, but all described one and the same officer.
2. He that fills this office should be sound in the faith, apt to teach, and should posses a competency of human learning. He should exhibit sobriety and holiness of life becoming the Gospel. He should be a man of wisdom and discretion. He should rule his own house well. He should have good report of them that are outside the Church.
3. As the Lord has given different gifts to the Ministers of the word, and has committed to them various work to execute, the church is authorized to call and appoint them to labor as Pastor, Teachers, and Evangelist, and in such other works as may be needful to the church, according to the gifts in which they excel.
4. When a Minister is called by a congregation to labor as its Pastor, it belongs to his office to pray for with his flock, as the mouth of the people unto God; to feed the flock, by reading, expounding, and preaching the Word; to direct the congregation in the worship of God; to administer the Sacrament; to invoke the blessing of God upon the people; to catechize the children and youth and to oversee the educational program of the church; to visit regularly the people, devoting special attention to the poor, the sick, the afflicted, and the dying; and; with the other Elders, to exercise the joint power of government.
5. When a Minister is called by a church court or agency of a court to labor as a Teacher in a theological seminary, college, university or school, it appertains to his office to take a pastoral oversight of those committed to his charge, and to be diligent on sowing the seed of the Word and gathering the fruit thereof, as one who cares for souls.
6. When a Minister is called by a Presbytery to labor as an Evangelist, the Presbytery shall commission him to preach the Word and administer the Sacraments in other cities or parts of the church which have no regular ministration of the word. The Presbytery may by a separate act from that by which it commissioned him, entrust to the Evangelist for a period of twelve months the power to organize churches, and, until there is a Session in the church so organized, to instruct, examine, ordain, and install Elders and Deacons therein, and to receive or dismiss members.
7. When Minister is called by a Church court or agency of a court to labor in an administrative capacity, or in the guidance of students attending a college or university, or in the Christian education program of the Church, or in military or institutional chaplaincy, or in any other field of service to the church, it shall be incumbent on him to make full proof of his ministry by disseminating the Gospel for the edification of the Church.
1. As there were Elders of the people for the government of the Old Testament Church, so under the New Testament Christ has furnished others beside the Minister of the Word with gifts and commission to govern when called thereunto. These officers are the Elders.
2. Elders, the immediate representative of the people, are chosen by them, together with the Ministers, of Teaching Elders, they exercise government and discipline, and take the oversight of the spiritual interest both of the particular church and of the church generally when appointed to represent their churches in the higher courts. In all the courts of the church these Elders possess the same authority and the same eligibility to office as the Minister of the Word.
3. Those who fill this office should be blameless in life and sound in the faith, men of wisdom and discretion. By the holiness of their walk and conversation they should be example of Christian faith.
4. It belongs to their office, both individually and jointly, to watch diligently over the congregation committed to their charge, that no corruption of doctrine or of morals enter therein. Evils which they cannot correct by private admonition they should bring to the notice of the Session. They should visit the people at their homes, especially the sick; they should instruct the ignorant, comfort the mourner, nourish and guard the children of the Church. They should pray with and for the people. They should be careful and diligent in seeking the fruit of the preached Word. They should inform the Minister of cases of sickness, affliction and awakening, and of all others which may need his special attention. They should cultivate their aptness to teach the Word, and should supply places destitute of the regular ministry of the Word with the worship of God. All those duties which private Christians are bound to discharge by the law of love are especially incumbent upon the elders by reason of their vocation to office, and are to be discharged by them as official duties.
1. The office of Deacon as set forth in Scripture is one of sympathy and service after the example of Christ. It expresses the love and fellowship of saints who bear one another’s burdens.
2. To the office of deacon, which is spiritual in nature, should be chosen men of spiritual character, honest repute, exemplary lives, brotherly love warm sympathies, and sound judgement.
3. It is the duty of the Deacons, first of all, to minister to those who are in need, to the sick, to the friendless, and to any who may be is distress. It is their duty to develop the grace of liberty in the members of the church; to plan, in collaboration with the Session, the objects toward which the offerings of the congregation shall regularly de directed; to plan effective methods for gathering these offerings; to receive other offerings as directed by the Session; and to see that all offerings are distributed among the objects toward which they have been contributed. It is their duty also to have the care of the property of the congregation, both real and personal, and to keep in proper repair the church edifice and other buildings belonging to the congregation. In matter of special importance affecting the property of the church they can take final action only with the consent of the congregation. The regular budget and other important financial matters require the approval of the Session.
1. The ordinances established by Christ, the Head, in a particular Church, which is regularly constituted with its proper officers, are prayer, singing praises, reading, expounding and preaching the Word of God, administering baptism and the Lord’s Supper, public solemn fasting and thanksgiving, catechizing, making collections for the poor and other pious purposes, exercising discipline, and blessing the people.
Of Church Government, and the Several Kinds of Judicatories
1. It is absolutely necessary that the government of the Church be exercised under some certain and definite form. And we hold it to be expedient, and agreeable to Scripture and practice of the primitive Christians, that the Church be governed by congregational, presbyterial, and synodical assemblies. In full consistency with this belief, we embrace, in the spirit of charity, those Christians who differ from us, in opinion, or in practice, on these subjects.
2. Moreover, without violating our own loyalties, we should it to be needful for us and for all other churches earnestly to seek ways whereby these differences regarding church government, and all other differences, may be overcome in Christ. These ways may lead to organic union among denominational activities in which the churches are represented, not officially but only through their individual members.
3. These assemblies ought not to possess any civil jurisdiction, nor to inflict any civil penalties. Their power is wholly moral or spiritual, and that only ministerial and declarative. They possess the right of requiring obedience to the laws of Christ; and of excluding the disobedient and disorderly from the privileges of the church. To give efficiency, however, to this necessary and Scriptural authority, they possess the powers requisite for obtaining evidence and inflicting censure. They can call before them any offender against the order and government of the Church; they can require members of their own society to appear and give testimony in the cause; but the highest punishment to which their authority extends is to exclude the contumacious and impenitent from the congregation of believers.
4. In these assemblies only members thereof who are personally present are entitled to vote.
1. The church Session of the minister or ministers and elders of a particular congregation.
2. Of this judicatory, half of the total number of elders and the minister shall be necessary to constitute a quorum.
3. The minister of the congregation shall always be the moderator of the Session, except when, for prudential reasons, it may appear advisable that some other minister should be invited to preside; in which case the minister may, with the concurrence of the Session, invite such other minister as they may see meet, belonging to the same Presbytery, to preside in that case. The same expedient may be adopted in case of the sickness or absence of the minister.
4. It is expedient, at every meeting of the Session, more especially when constituted for judicial business, that there be a presiding minister. When therefore, a church is without a minister, the moderator of the Session shall be either the minister appointed for that purpose by the Presbytery or one invited b y the Session to preside on a particular occasion. But where it is impracticable, without great inconvenience to produce the attendance of such a moderator, the Session may proceed informally without it, any action taken at such an informal meeting being subject to ratification at a duly constituted meeting.
5. The church Session is charged with maintaining the spiritual government of the church. For this purpose it has power:
a. To inquire into knowledge and Christian conduct of the church members under its care.
b. To admonish, to rebuke, to suspend or exclude from the Lord’s Supper those found delinquent, according to the Rules of discipline.
c. To instruct parents who are communicants to present their children for Baptism.
d. To receive members into the communion of the church upon profession of faith in Jesus Christ, upon presentation of satisfactory certificate of dismission, or in the absence of such certificate, upon reaffirmation of faith in Jesus Christ.
e. To grant certificates of dismission to other churches, which, when given to parents shall always include the names of their children, specifying whether they have been baptized.
f. To instruct, examine, ordain, and install Elders and Deacons on their election by the church.
g. To require these officers to advice to devote themselves to their responsibility.
h. To supervise the work of the Board of Deacons and examine the records of their proceedings.
i. To develop and supervise the church school and the educational program of the church.
j. To exercise, in accordance with the Directory for Worship, authority over the time place of the preaching of the Word and of the administration of the Lord’s Supper, over all other religious services, over the music in the services, and over the uses to which the church building and associated properties may be put.
k. To assemble the people for worship when there is no Minister.
l. To order collections for Christian purposes
m. To devise suitable measures for advancing the spiritual interests of the church and of the congregation.
n. . To observe the carry out the lawful injunctions of the higher courts.
o. To select from among the Elders representatives to the Presbytery and General assembly, who shall, on their return, make report of their participation.
p. To propose to the Presbytery such measures as may be common advantage to the whole church.
All organization within the particular church shall be subject to the review and control of the Session. Each organization shall, if requested, render stated reports to the Session.
6. Every Session shall keep an accurate record of its proceeding which shall be submitted at least once every year to Presbytery for its review and control.
7. Every Session shall also keep record of baptisms, of non-communing members, of those admitted to the Lord’s Table, of those received from other churches, of those dismissed to other churches, of those placed upon the inactive roll, and of the death and marriages of church members.
1. The church consisting, as it does, of many separate congregations, these need mutual counsel and assistance, in order to preserve soundness of doctrines and regularity of discipline, and to enter into common measures for promoting knowledge and religion, and for preventing infidelity, error and immorality. Hence, arise the importance and usefulness of presbyterial and synodical assemblies.
2. A Presbytery consist of all the ministers, in number not less than four, and one elder from each congregation, within a certain district; but the special interest of a particular race, or the desire on the part of ministers and churches to use another language than English in their worship may demand the erection of presbyteries within the bounds of existing presbyteries.
3. Every congregation which has a stated minister has a right to be represented by one elder; and every collegiate church by two or more elders, in proportion to the number of its ministers.
4. Every vacant congregation is regularly organized shall be entitled to be represented by an elder in Presbytery.
5. Every elder not known to the Presbytery shall produce a certificate of regular appointment from the church he represents.
6. Any two ministers, and at least one elder belonging to the Presbytery, being met at the time and place appointed, shall be quorum competent to proceed to business.
7. The Presbytery has power:
a. To receive and decide references, appeals and complaints brought before it according to constitutional procedures.
b. To assume the original jurisdiction in cases in which a Church Session cannot exercise its authority.
c. To review the records of Sessions, redress whatever they may have done contrary to order, and take effectual care that they observe the Constitution of the church
d. To see that the lawful injunctions of higher courts are obeyed.
e. To visit churches for the purpose of inquiring into and redressing the evils that may have arisen in them. When necessary for the welfare of the church the Presbytery may dissolve the active relationship between an Elder or Deacon and the church, provided there has been a hearing which affords procedural safeguards as incases of process.
f. To unite or divide churches, at the request of the members thereof.
g. To organize new churches.
h. To received and dismiss churches.
i. To dissolve churches.
j. To control the location of new churches and of churches desiring to move to new locations.
k. To take special oversight of churches without Ministers.
l. To receive under its care Candidates for the Ministry.
m. To ordain, received, dismiss, install, remove, and judge Ministers.
n. To establish the pastoral relationships; and to dissolve it at the request of one or both of the parties, or when it finds that the interests of religion imperatively demand it, following a hearing which provides procedural safeguards as in cases of process.
o. To set apart Ministers to labor as Teachers, Evangelist, and in other works proper to the Ministry of the Gospel.
p. To require Ministers to devote them diligently to their sacred calling and to censure the delinquent.
q. To devise measures for the enlargement of the Church within its bounds.
r. To condemn erroneous opinions which injure the purity of peace of the Church.
s. To order whatever pertains to the spiritual welfare of the churches under its care.
t. To institute and superintend the agencies necessary for its work.
u. To select commissioners to the General Assembly.
v. To propose to the Assembly such measures as may be common advantage to the whole Church.
8. The Presbytery shall keep a full and accurate record of its proceedings, and shall send it up to the Synod annually for review. It shall report to the General Assembly every year the condition and progress of religion within its bound during the year; and all the important changes which may have taken place, such as the ordinations, the receiving or dismissing of members, the removal of members by death, the union and the division of churches, and the formation of new ones.
9. The Presbytery shall hold stated meetings at least twice a year. When any emergency shall require a meeting earlier than the time to which the Presbytery stands adjourned, the Moderator shall, at the request, or with the concurrence, of two Ministers and of two Elders representing at least two churches, call a special meeting. Should the Moderator be for any reason unable to act, the Clerk shall, under the same requirements, issue the call. If both Moderator and Clerk are unable to act, any three Ministers and two Elders representing at least two churches shall have power to call a meeting. Notice of the special meeting shall be sent not less than ten days in advance to each Minister and to the Session of every church without a Minister. In the notice the purpose of the meeting shall be stated, and no business other than that named in the notice is to be transacted. The Presbytery shall also convene when directed so to do by the Synod, for the transaction of designated business only.
1. The General Assembly is the highest judicatory of the Presbyterian Church of the Philippines. It shall represent, in one body, all the particular churches of this denomination; and shall bear the title of THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF THE PHILIPPINES.
2. The General Assembly shall consist of one minister and one elder for every 200 baptized members from every Presbytery.
3. Any twenty or more of these commissioners, being met on the day and at the place appointed, shall be quorum for the transaction of business.
4. The General Assembly shall receive and issue all appeals, complaints and references that affect the doctrine or constitution of the church and are regularly brought before it from the lower judicatories, provided that in administrative or judicial cases the General Assembly shall have power to act by commission, subject to the provisions of the Book of Discipline. The General Assembly shall review the records of every Presbytery and approve or censure them; it shall give its advice and instruction in all cases submitted to it, in conformity with the constitution of the church; and it shall constitute the bond of union, peace, correspondence and mutual confidence among all our churches.
5. The General Assembly shall have power:
a. To decide all references, appeals and complaints regularly brought before it from the lower courts.
b. To bear testimony against error in doctrine and immorality in practice, injuriously affecting the Church.
c. To decide finally in all controversies brought before it respecting doctrine, order and discipline
d. To give its advice and instruction, in conformity with the Constitution, in all cases submitted to it.
e. To review the records of the Synods.
f. To take care that the lower courts observe the Constitution.
g. To redress whatever the lower courts may have done contrary to order.
h. To organize measures for advancing the prosperity and enlargement of the Church.
i. To establish new Presbyteries.
j. To institute and superintend the agencies necessary in the general work of the church.
k. To appoint Ministers to such labors as fall under its jurisdiction.
l. To suppress divisive contentions and disputations, according to the rules provided therefor.
m. To receive under its jurisdiction, with the consent of three fourths of the Presbyteries, other ecclesiastical bodies whose organization is conformed to the doctrine and order of this church.
n. To authorize Presbyteries to exercise similar power in receiving bodies suited to become constituents of those courts, and lying within their geographical bounds respectively.
o. To superintend the affairs of the whole Church.
p. To corresponds with other churches.
q. To unite with other ecclesiastical bodies whose organization is conformed to the doctrines and order of this Church, such union to be effected by a mode of procedure defined elsewhere in the Form of Government.
r. To recommend measures for the promotion of charity, truth. and holiness through all the churches under its care.
6. The General Assembly shall meet at least once a year. On the day appointed for that purpose the Moderator of the last assembly, if present, shall open the meeting with sermon, or, in the case of his absence, the Vice-Moderator shall open the meeting with a sermon and preside. No commissioner shall have a right to deliberate or vote in the assembly until his name shall have been enrolled, and his commission examined and filed among the papers of the assembly.
7. Each session of the assembly shall be and closed with prayer. And the whole business of the assembly being finished, and the vote taken for dissolving the present assembly, the moderator shall say from the chair “By virtue of the authority delegated to me by the church, let this General Assembly be dissolved, and I do hereby dissolve it, and require another assembly, chosen in the same manner. to meet at ______ on the _____ day of _____” , after which he shall pray and return thanks, and pronounce on those present the apostolic benediction.
1. In order to facilitate the performance of the duties of their office, the deacons of each particular church shall, with the minister, be constituted a Board of Deacons.
2. The minister shall be the moderator of the board, but a member appointed by the minister may serve when he is not present. The other officers shall be chosen from the membership of the board.
3. The board shall make a quarterly report of its activities, including its disbursements, to the Session.
1. Every congregation shall elect persons to the office of elder, and to the office of deacon, or either of them, in the most approved and in use in that congregation. In all cases the persons elected must be members in full communion in the church in which they are to exercise their office.
2. When any person shall have been elected to either of these offices, and shall have declared his willingness to accept thereof, he shall be set apart in the following manner:
3. After sermon, the minister shall state in a concise manner the warrant and nature of the office of elder or deacon, together with the character proper to be sustained, and the duties to be fulfilled by the officer elect; having done this, he shall propose to the candidate, in the presence of the congregation, the following questions:
a. Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice?
b. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and Catechisms of this church, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures?
c. Do you approve of the government and discipline of The Presbyterian Church of the Philippines?
d. Do you accept the office of elder (or deacon as the case may be) in this congregation, and promise faithfully to perform all the duties thereof?
e. Do you promise to study the purity, peace and unity of the church?
The elder, or deacon, elect having answered these questions in the affirmative, the minister shall address to the members of the church the following question:
Do you, the member of this church, acknowledge and received this brother as an elder (or deacon), and do you promise to yield him all that honor, encouragement and obedience in the Lord to which his office, according to the Word of God, and the constitution of this church entitles him?
The members of the church having answered this question in the affirmative, by holding up their right hands, the minister shall proceed to set apart the candidate by prayer to the office of elder (or deacon, as the case may be), and shall give him and to the congregation an exhortation suited to the occasion.
4. Where there is an existing Session, it is proper that the member of that body, at the close of the service, and in the face of the congregation, take the newly ordained elder by the hand, saying in words to this purpose, “We give you the right hand of fellowship, to take part of this office with us.”
5. The offices of elder deacon are both perpetual, and cannot be laid aside at pleasure. No person can be divested of either office but by deposition. Yet an elder or deacon may become, by age or infirmity, incapable of performing the duties of his office; or he may, though chargeable with neither heresy nor immorality, become unacceptable, in his official character, to a majority of the congregation to which belongs. In either of these cases, he may as often happen with respect to a minister, cease to be acting elder or deacon.
6. Whenever an elder or deacon, from either of these causes or from any other not inferring crime, shall be incapable of serving the church to edification, the Session shall take order on the subject, and state fact, together with the reason of it, on their records, provided always, that nothing of this kind shall be done without the concurrence of the individual in question, unless by the advice of Presbytery.
7. The elders and deacons shall serve for a term of three years, after which they shall be presented to the congregation for re-election. They shall serve for not more than two consecutive terms. An elder or deacon who has served for two consecutive terms or one who failed to get congregational vote shall not be eligible until a full term break has lapsed. The Session or board of deacons shall be made to consist of three classes, one of which only shall be elected every year.
Of Ministerial Candidates And Their Licensure
A. OF CANDIDATE FOR THE GOSPEL MINISTRY
1. The holy Scriptures require that some trial be previously had of them who are to be ordained to the ministry of the gospel, that his sacred office may not be degraded by being committed to weak or unworthy men; and that the churches may have an opportunity to forma better judgement respecting the talents of those by whom they are to be instructed and governed. For this purpose presbyteries may receive and enroll as candidates for licensure and ordination such persons as in their judgement give decided promise of usefulness in the sacred office, after having received the training and trial of their talents hereinafter prescribed.
2. A candidate for the ministry is a member of the Church in full communion who, believing himself to be called to preach the gospel, is enrolled as such by a Presbytery and under its direction pursues a course of study and practical training to prepare himself for the ministry.
3. Every candidate for the ministry shall put himself under the care of a Presbytery, which be the Presbytery that has jurisdiction of the church of which he is a member.
4. Every applicant seeking to be taken under the care of a Presbytery as a candidate for the ministry shall be a communicant member of a particular church within the bounds of said Presbytery and for a prior period of at least six months. Said applicant shall be filed with the clerk of the Presbytery through the Session of the particular church and with its approval, and shall be in his hands at least three months prior to consideration, during which time a close and particular examination shall be made of the character and conduct of the candidate, of his physical, mental, and educational qualifications and of the motives which have influenced him to desire the sacred office, by the appropriate committee of the Presbytery. The report of this committee to the Presbytery shall contain evidence of a careful consideration of the candidate’s qualifications in these and other respects which have a bearing upon his qualifications for the ministry. This report shall also contain specifically the recommendation of the committee as to whether the applicant should or should not be received under the care of the Presbytery. Exceptions to any one or more of these requirements may be made only by a three fourths vote of the members of Presbytery present and the reasons for each exception shall be spread in full upon the minutes of the Presbytery for transmission to and review by the synod.
5. After the committee has made its report concerning the reception of an applicant he shall appear before the Presbytery in person, and shall be examined by the Presbytery on experimental religion and on his motives for seeking the ministry.
If the testimonials and the examination prove satisfactory, the Presbytery shall receive him under its care as a candidate after the following manner:
The moderator shall propose to him the following questions, namely:
a. Do you, as far as you know your own heart, believe yourself to be called to the office of the Christian ministry?
b. Do you promise in reliance upon the grace of God to maintain a Christian character and conduct, and to be diligent and faithful in making full preparation for the holy ministry?
c. Do you promise to submit yourself to the proper supervision of the Presbytery in matters that concern your preparation for the Holy ministry?
d. Do you desire now to be received by this Presbytery as a candidate for the holy ministry in the Presbyterian Church in the Philippines?
If these question be answered in the affirmative, the moderator or someone appointed by him shall give the candidate is then to be recorded on the Presbytery’s role of candidates for licensure and ordination to the gospel ministry.
6. The candidate continues to be communicant member of the particular church and subject to the jurisdiction or its Session. But as respecting his preparatory training for the ministry, he is under the oversight of the Presbytery. It shall be the duty of the Presbytery to show a kindly and sympathetic interest in him, and to give him counsel and guidance in regard to his studies his practical training, and the institution of learning he should attend. In no case may candidate omit from his course of study any of the subjects prescribed in the Book of Government as test for licensure and ordination without obtaining the consent of the Presbytery; and where such consent is given, the Presbytery shall record the fact and the reasons therefor.
7. For the development of his Christian character, for the service he can render, and for his effective training, the candidate, when entering on his theological studies, should be authorized and encouraged by the Presbytery to conduct public worship, to expound the Scriptures to the people, and to engage in other forms of Christian work. These forms of service should be rendered under the direction of Presbytery, and also with the sanction and under the guidance of the candidate’s instructors during the time of his being under their instruction. A candidate should not undertake to serve statedly a church which is without a pastoral unless he has the approval of the Presbytery having jurisdiction of the church. Under no circumstances whatever is he authorized to administer the sacraments or perform a marriage ceremony.
8. The Presbytery shall require every candidate for the ministry under its care to make a report to it at least once a year; and it shall secure from his instructors an annual report upon his department, diligence and progress in study.
9. The Presbytery may, upon application of the candidate, give him a certificate of dismission to another Presbytery, valid when he has transferred his communicant membership to a particular church within the bounds of said Presbytery, and a candidate may, at his request, be allowed to withdraw from the care of the Presbytery. The Presbytery may also, for sufficient reasons, remove the name of a candidate from its roll of candidates; but in such case it shall report its action and the reason therefor to the candidate, to the Session of his church. and to the institution of learning in which he is pursuing his studies.
B. OF THE LICENSURE OF CANDIDATES FOR THE GOSPEL MINISTRY
1. A candidate for the ministry is licensed by the Presbytery to preach the gospel in order that, after he has made sufficient trial of his gifts and the Presbytery has received assurance of his approval by the Church, He may be ordained to the sacred office of the ministry. Until he is so ordained he continues to be a communicant member of a particular church. Before receiving license to preach, the candidate shall have been under Presbytery’s care for at least one year. Exception to this requirement may be made only by three fourths vote of the members of Presbytery present and the reason for such exception shall be spread in full upon the minutes of the Presbytery for transmission to review by the synod.
2. The trials of a candidates applying for licensure shall be had by the Presbytery under whose care he has placed himself. But if he desires to labor within the bounds of another Presbytery, his own Presbytery may dismiss him to that Presbytery for licensure.
3. The candidate shall be examined by the Presbytery, or by a committee appointed for that purpose, in the English Bible, Theology, ecclesiastical history and in the original languages of the Scriptures. If the examination of the candidates is referred to a committee, an examination primarily in theology but also in all matters relevant to our standards shall also be held before the Presbytery; and if one-fourth of the presbyters are dissatisfied with the examination in theology, the candidate shall be required to undergo an examination in the subject again at a future meeting of the Presbytery. If one fourth of the presbyters are still dissatisfied, they may demand that a written record of the examination be filed with the Presbytery.
4. And in order to make trial of his talents to explain and vindicate, and practically to enforce, the doctrine of the Gospel, the Presbytery shall further require that the candidate prepare (1) sermon, which the Presbytery may ask to be delivered in its presence, (2) an essay on a theological theme, and (3) an exegesis of the original Hebrew or Greek text of a passage of Scripture.
5. That the most effectual measures may be taken to guard against the admission of unqualified men into the sacred office, no exception shall be made to any of the educational or other requirements outlined above unless the Presbytery, after referring the whole matter to the general assembly for advice, shall judge, by a three-fourths vote of the members present, that the such exception is warranted by the exceptional qualifications of the candidate in question.
6. If the Presbytery be satisfied with the trials of a candidate for licensure, it shall then proceed to license him in the following manner. The moderator shall propose to him the following questions;
a. Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice?
b. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and Catechism of this church as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures?
c. Do you promise to study the purity, peace and unity of the church?
d. Do you promise to submit yourself, in the Lord, to the government of this Presbytery, or of any other Presbytery in the bounds of which you may be called?
7. The candidate having answered these questions in the affirmative, and the moderator having offered up a prayer suitable to the occasion, he shall address himself to the candidate to the following purpose: “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by that authority which he has given to the Church for its edification, we do license you to preach the gospel, wherever God in his providence may call you: and for this purpose, may the blessing of God rest upon you and the Spirit of Christ fill your heart. Amen”; and record shall be made of the licensure in the following or like form:
At the day of the Presbytery of having good through a regular course of literature, of his good moral character, and of his being in the communion of the church, proceeded to take usual parts of trial for his licensure; and he having given satisfaction as to his accomplishments in literature, as to his experience mental acquaintance with religion, and as to his proficiency in divinity and other studies, the Presbytery did, and hereby does, express its approbation of all these parts of trial; and having adopted the Confession of Faith of this church, and satisfactorily answered the questions appointed to be put to candidates to be licensed, by the Presbytery did, and hereby does, license him, the said , to preach the gospel of Christ as a probation for the holy ministry within the bounds of this Presbytery, or wherever else he shall be orderly called.
8. When any candidate for licensure shall have occasion, while his trials are going on, to remove from the bounds of his own Presbytery into those of another, it shall be considered as regular for the latter Presbytery, on his producing proper testimonials from the former to take up his trials at the point at which they were left, and conduct them to a conclusion, in the same manner as if they had been commenced by themselves.
9. In like manner, when any candidate, after licensure, shall by the permission of his Presbytery, remove without its limits, an extract of the record of his licensure, accompanied with a presbyterial recommendation, signed by the clerk, shall be his testimonials to the Presbytery under whose care he shall come.
10. When a licentiate shall have been preaching for considerable time and his service do not appear to be edifying to the churches, the Presbytery may, if think proper, recall his license.
Of the Election of Pastors And Of Ordination to the Ministry
1. When any of the people of any congregation appear to elect a minister, the Session shall take measures to convene them for this purpose; and it shall always be a duty of the Session to convene them, when a majority of the person entitled to vote in the case shall by petition request that a meeting may be called.
2. When such a meeting is intended, the Sessions shall solicit the presence and council of some neighboring minister to assist them in conducting the election contemplated, unless highly inconvenient on account of distance; in which case they may proceed without assistance.
3. On a Lord’s day, immediately after the public worship, it shall be intimated from the pulpit that all the members of that congregation are requested to meet on ensuing, at the church, or usual place for holding public worship, then and there, it be agreeable to them, to proceed to the election of a minister for that congregation.
4. On the day appointed, the minister invited to preside, if he be present, shall it be deemed expedient, preach a sermon; and after sermon he shall announce to the people that he will immediately proceed to take the votes of the electors of that congregation for a minister, if such be their desire; and when this desire shall be expressed by a majority of voices, he shall then proceed to take votes accordingly. In this election no person shall be entitled to vote who is not a member in good and regular standing of the particular church.
5. When the votes are taken, if it appear that a large minority of the people are averse from the candidate who has majority of votes and cannot be induced to concur in the call, the presiding minister shall endeavor to dissuade the congregation from the prosecuting it further. But if the people be nearly, or entirely unanimous, or if the majority shall insist upon their right to call a minister, the presiding minister, in that case, shall proceed to draw a call in due form and to have it subscribed by the electors or their duly authorized representatives; all which proceedings shall be laid before the Presbytery, together with the call.
6. The call shall be in the following or like form:
The congregation of __________________ being, on sufficient grounds, well satisfied of the ministerial qualifications of you,______________ , and having good hopes that your ministration in the gospel will be profitable to our spiritual interests, doe earnestly call and desire you to undertake the pastoral office in said congregation; promising you in discharge of your duty all proper support, encouragement and obedience in the Lord. And that you may be free from worldly care and avocations, we promise and oblige ourselves to pay you the sum of in regular monthly payment during the time of your being and continuing the regular minister of this church, together with free children’s education, medical insurance, free use of house, car and vacation each year.
The call shall be subscribed to by the members of the church, and shall be certified by the moderator of the meeting.
7. If any congregation shall choose to subscribe their call by their elders and deacons, or by a select committee, they shall be at liberty to do so. But it shall, in such case, be fully certified to the Presbytery, by the minister or other person preside, that the persons signing have been appointed for that purpose by a public vote of the congregation, and that the call has been, in all other respect, prepared as above directed.
8. When a call shall be presented to a minister or candidate, it shall always be viewed as a sufficient petition from the people for his installation. The acceptance of a call by a minister or candidates shall always be considered as a request, on his part, to be installed at the same time. And when a candidate shall be ordained in consequence of a call from any congregation, the Presbytery shall at the same time, if practicable, install him minister of that congregation.
9. The call, thus prepared, shall be presented to the Presbytery under whose care the person called shall be, so that if the Presbytery think it expedient to present the call to him it may be accordingly presented; and no minister or candidate shall receive a call but through the hands of the Presbytery.
10. If the call be to a licentiate of another Presbytery, in that case the commissioners deputed from the congregation to prosecute the call shall produce to that judicatory a certificate from their own Presbytery, regularly attested by the moderator and clerk, that the call has been laid before them and that it is in order. If that Presbytery present the call to its licentiate, and he be disposed to accept it, it shall then dismiss him from its jurisdiction, and require him to repair to that Presbytery into the bonds of which he is called and there to submit himself to the usual trials preparatory to ordination.
11. Trials for ordination, especially in a different Presbytery from that in which the candidate was licensed, shall consist of a careful examination as to his acquaintance with experimental religion; to his knowledge of theology, ecclesiastical history, government and discipline of the church the Greek and Hebrew languages, and such other branches of learning as to the Presbytery may appear requisite; and as to his knowledge of the constitution, the rules and principles of the government and discipline of the church; together with such written discourse, or discourses, founded on the Word of God, as to the Presbytery shall seem proper. The Presbytery being fully satisfied with his qualifications for the sacred office, shall appoint a day for his ordination, which ought to be, if covenant, in that church of which ought to be, if convenient, in that church of which he is to be the minister. It is also recommended that a fast day be observed in the congregation previous to the day of ordination.
12. The day appointed for ordination being come and the Presbytery convened, a minister, previously appointed to that duty, shall preach a sermon adapted to the occasion. A member of the Presbytery appointed to preside shall afterwards briefly recite from the pulpit, in the audience of the people, the proceedings of the Presbytery preparatory to this transaction; he shall point out the nature and importance of the ordinance, and endeavor to impress the audience with a proper sense of the solemnity of the transaction.
Then addressing himself to the candidate, he shall propose to him the following questions:
a. Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice?
b. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and Catechism of this church, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures?
c. Do you approve of the government and discipline of the Presbyterian Church of the Philippines?
d. Do you promise subjection to your brethren in the Lord?
e. Have you been induced, as far as you know your own heart, to seek the office of the holy ministry from love to God and sincere desire to promote his glory in the gospel of his son?
f. Do you promise to be zealous and faithful in maintaining the truths of the Gospel, and the purity and peace of the church, whatever persecution or opposition may arise unto you on that account?
g. Do you engage to be faithful and diligent in the exercise of all private and personal duties which become you as a Christian and a minister of the gospel, as well as in all relative duties and the public duties of your office, endeavoring to adorn the profession of the gospel by your conversation, and walking with exemplary piety before the flock over which God shall make you overseer?
h. Are you now willing to take the charge of this congregation, agreeably to your declaration when you accepted their call? And do you promise to discharge the duties of a minister to them as God shall give you strength?
13. The candidate having answered these questions in the affirmative, the presiding minister shall propose to the people the following questions:
a. Do you, the people of this congregation, continue to profess your readiness to receive, whom you have called to be your minister?
b. Do you promise to receive the word of truth from his mouth with meekness and love, and to submit to him in the due exercise of discipline?
c. Do you promise to encourage him in his arduous labor and to assist his endeavors for your instruction and spiritual edification?
d. And do you engage to continue to him, while he is your minister, that competent worldly maintenance which you have promised, and whatever else you may see needful for the honor of religion and his comfort among you.
14. The people having answered these questions in the affirmative by holding up their right hands, the candidate shall kneel down in the most convenient part of the church. Then the presiding minister shall, by prayer and with the laying on of hands of the Presbytery, according to the apostolic example, solemnly ordain him to the holy office of the gospel ministry. Prayer being ended, he shall rise from his knees; and the minister who presides shall first, and afterward all the members of the Presbytery in their order, take him by the right hand, saying, in words to this purpose, “We give you the right hand of fellowship, to take part of this ministry with us.” After which the minister presiding, or some other appointed for the purpose, shall give a solemn charge in the name of God to the newly ordained minister and to the people, to persevere in the charge of their duties, and shall then, by prayer, recommend them both to grace of God and his holy keeping. Finally, at the conclusion of the whole service, he shall dismiss the congregation with the usual blessing, and the Presbytery shall duly record the transaction.
15. As a candidate who has not received a call to be the minister of a particular congregation may be called to engage in the work of an evangelist or of a teacher of the Word of God, it is proper that he should be ordained to the gospel ministry, and in this case the last of the preceding questions shall be omitted and the following used as a substitute:
Are you willing to undertake the work of an evangelist (or teacher), and do you promise to discharge the duties which may be incumbent upon you in this character as God may give you strength?
When an ordained minister of another denomination seeks admission to the Presbyterian Church of the Philippines, the Presbytery to which he applies shall require him to give evidence of possessing the qualifications, in regard to piety, faith and learning, which are demanded of candidates for ordination as given above, provided, however, that in no case shall examination in theology on the floor of the Presbytery be waived; and it shall require him to answer affirmatively the questions appointed for the ordination of candidates in section 12 of this chapter.
Of Translation, or Removing a Minister From One Charge to Another
1. No minister shall be translated from one church to another, nor shall be receive any call for that purpose, but by the permission of the Presbytery.
2. Any church desiring to call a settled minister from his present charge shall, by commissioners properly authorized, represent to the Presbytery the ground on which they plead his removal. The Presbytery, having maturely considered their plea, may, according as it appears more or less reasonable, either recommend to them to desist from prosecuting the call or order it to be delivered to the minister to whom it is directed.
3. When the congregation calling any settled minister is within the limits of another Presbytery, that congregation shall obtain leave from the Presbytery to which is belongs to apply to the Presbytery of which he is a member; and that Presbytery, having cited him and his congregation as before directed, shall proceed to hear the cause and bring it to an issue. If it agrees to the translation, it shall release him from his present charge, and having given him proper testimonials, shall require him to repair to that Presbytery within the bounds of which the congregation calling him lies, that the proper steps may be taken for his regular settlement in that congregation; and the Presbytery to which the congregation belongs, received an authenticated certificate of his release, under the hand of clerk of that Presbytery, shall proceed to install him in the congregation as soon as convenient. Provided always, that no minister shall be translated without his own consent previously obtained.
4. When any minister is to be settled in a congregation, the installation, which consists in constituting a pastoral relation between him and the people of that particular church, may be performed either by the Presbytery or by a committee appointed for that purpose, as may appear most expedient; and the following order shall be observed therein:
5. A day shall be appointed for the installation at such time as may appear most convenient, and due notice thereof to the congregation.
6. When the Presbytery, or committee, shall be convened and constituted on the day appointed, a sermon shall be delivered by a minister previously appointed thereto; immediately after which, the minister who is to preside shall state to the congregation the design of the meeting and briefly recite the proceedings of the Presbytery relative thereto. And then, addressing himself to the minister to be installed, shall propose to him the following or similar questions:
(a) Are you willing to take charge of this congregation as its minister, agreeably to your declaration when you accepted its call?
(b) Do you conscientiously believe and declare, as far as you know your own heart, that in taking upon you this charge, you are influenced by a sincere desire to promote the glory of God and the good of his church?
(c) Do you solemnly promise that, by the assistance of the grace of God, you will endeavor faithfully to discharge all the duties of a minister to this congregation, and will be careful to maintain a department in all respects becoming a minister of the gospel of Christ, agreeably to your ordination engagements?
Having received satisfactory answer to all these questions, he shall propose to the people the same or like questions as those directed under the head of ordination; which having been also satisfactorily answered by the holding up of the right hand in testimony of assent, he shall solemnly pronounce and declare the said minister to be regularly constituted the minister of that congregation. A charge shall then be given to both parties, as directed in the case of ordination; and prayer shall be offered. At the conclusion of the whole service the congregation shall dismissed with the usual benediction.
7. It is highly becoming that, after the installation, the heads of families of that congregation who are then present, or at least the elders and deacons, should come forward to their minister and give him their right hand in token of cordial reception and affectionate regard.
Of Resigning a Pastoral Charge
1. When a minister shall desire leave to resign his pastoral charge, the Presbytery shall cite the congregation to appear, by its commissioners, at its next meeting to show cause why the Presbytery should not accept the resignation. If the congregation fail to appear, or if its reason for retaining its minister be deemed by the Presbytery insufficient, he shall have leave granted to resign his pastoral charge, of which due record shall be made, and that church shall be held to be vacant, till supplied again in an orderly manner with another minister; and if any congregation shall desire to be released from its pastor, a similar process, shall be observed.
1. While the evidence available may not be sufficient to determine whether the title “evangelist,” as used in the New Testament, has reference to persons who exercise an office or function that is intended to be permanent in the New Testament church or designates rather as office or function peculiar to the apostolic age like that of apostle and prophet, yet the term evangelist remains today a proper and useful one in the Christian Church. The word evangelist aptly describes one who in charge with the proclamation of the gospel. And the title evangelist may properly be continued as a covenant designation of the minister of the Word whose functions are not specifically those of the pastor or of the teacher. The divine command to declare the glad tidings of salvation to all men requires that the official ministry of the Word, committed to the visible church, embrace types of ministry that pastors and teachers cannot ordinarily perform because their specific duties restrict the sphere of their labors. Those who finally minister the Word in accordance with Christ’s institution but are neither pastors nor teachers may most suitably be called evangelists.
2. The evangelist in common with other ministers is ordained to preach the Word, to administer the sacraments, and to perform the other functions that belong to the sacred office of the minister. Among the distinctive functions which the evangelist may properly perform are
(a) the ministry of the gospel in home or foreign mission fields;
(b) the ministry of the gospel as stated supply or special preacher in churches to which he does not sustain a pastoral relation;
(c) the ministry of the gospel as chaplain in institutions or in the armed forces;
(d) the ministry of the gospel in an administrative capacity; and
(e) the ministry of the gospel through the press.
3. A minister who has been ordained as a pastor or teacher may become an evangelist if he cases to perform the function for which he was ordained and undertakes the work of an evangelist, and a minister ordained as an evangelist, and a minister ordained as an evangelist may become a pastor or teacher when called to perform either function. When a pastor or teacher becomes an evangelist, or when an evangelist becomes a pastor or teacher, the Presbytery of which he is a member shall take formal cognizance of such change of function.
Of Moderators, General Secretary and Clerks
1. It is equally in the judicatories of the church, as in other assemblies, that there should be a moderator, that the business may be conducted with order and dispatch.
2. The Moderator is to be considered as possessing, by delegation from the whole body, all authority necessary for the preservation of order, for convening and adjourning the judicatory. If the judicatory be equally divided on any question, he shall possess the casting vote. If he be not willing to decide, he shall put the question a second time; and if the judicatory be again equally divided, and he decline to give his vote, the question shall be lost. And in the case of the Moderator of the Presbytery, he shall likewise be empowered on any extraordinary emergency, to convene the judicatory by a circular letter before the ordinary time of meeting and he shall also serve until his successor is inducted into office.
3. The Moderator of the Presbytery shall be chosen for a term of one year or for some shorter term if the Presbytery may think best. The moderator of the general assembly shall be chosen to each meeting of their judicatory; and the moderator of the preceding assembly or, in case of his absence, another member appointed for the purpose, shall open the next meeting with a sermon, and shall hold the chair till a new moderator be chosen.
4. Every judicatory shall choose a Recording Clerk to record its transactions, to serve for a term of one year. It shall be the duty of the clerk, besides recording the transactions, to preserve the records carefully, and to grant extracts from them whenever properly required; and such extracts under the hand of the clerk shall be considered as authentic vouchers of the fact which they declare, in any ecclesiastical judicatory and to every part of the church. He may be chosen to serve for another term according to the pleasure of the judicatory.
5. The General Assembly shall choose a General Secretary who shall be the stated executive officer of the church. He shall be responsible in administering, coordinating and directing its operations and transactions according to the rules of the church. He shall serve for a term of two years. He may be chosen to serve for another term according to the pleasure of the General Assembly.
1. When vacancies become so numerous in any Presbytery that they cannot be supplied with the frequent administration of the Word and ordinances, it shall be proper for such Presbytery, or any vacant congregation within its bounds with the leave of the Presbytery, to apply to any other Presbytery, or to the general assembly, for such assistance as it can afford. And when any Presbytery shall send any of its ministers or probationers to distant vacancies, the missionary shall be ready to produce his credentials to the Presbytery or presbyteries through the bounds of which he may pass, and to obtain their approbation. And the general assembly may, of its own knowledge, in extraordinary circumstances, send missions to any part to plant churches, provided always that such missions be made with the consent of the parties appointed, and that the parties appointed will speedily place themselves and their work under the jurisdiction of any Presbytery within whose bounds they may be laboring, and that the judicatory sending them make the necessary provision for their support and reward in the performance of this service.
Of Vacant Congregations Assembling For Public Worship
1. Considering the great importance of weekly assembling the people for the public worship of God, in order thereby to improve their knowledge, to confirm their habits of worship and their desire of the public ordinances, to augment their reverence for the most high God, and to promote the charitable affections which unite men most firmly in society, it is recommended that every vacant congregation meet together on the Lord’s day, at one or more places, for the purpose of prayer, singing praises and reading the Holy Scriptures, together with the works of such approved divines as the Presbytery within whose bounds they are may recommend and they may be able to procure and that the elders be the persons who shall preside, and select the portions of Scripture and of the other books to be read, and to see that the whole be conducted in a becoming and orderly manner.
2. Presbyteries may supervise vacant churches within their bounds through a committee or committees appointed for this purpose, or through the moderators who have been appointed for the Sessions. Such supervision includes cooperation with the Session, or with any authorized committee of the particular church, in the supply of the pulpit and in the seeking and securing of a pastor.
1. The members of the church may associate together under proper forms of association, for benevolent, missionary or other religious purposes, provided, however, that, when such organizations purport to represent a particular church or a Presbytery, or The Presbyterian Church of the Philippines, they must obtain the approval, and be subject to the jurisdiction and oversight, of the Session of the particular church, or of the Presbytery, or of the general assembly, respectively.
1. Amendments or alterations of the Form of Government, Book of Discipline and Directory for the Public Worship of God may be made only in the following manner: the general assembly, after due discussion, may propose changes to the presbyteries before the next ensuing assembly and it shall be the duty of the next ensuing assembly to declare that such changes have been adopted and are in effect.
2. Amendments or alterations of the Confession of Faith and Catechisms, and of the forms of subscription required of ministers, licentiates, elders and deacons as these forms are found in the form of Government, shall not be regarded as having constitutional validity unless sent down to the presbyteries by a two-thirds of the presbyteries in writing, and finally adopted by a two-thirds vote of the general assembly next ensuing. Before any of the changes described in this section are proposed to the presbyteries, the general assembly shall appoint a committee to consider the proposal changes and to report to the next assembly.
3. None of the provisions of section 2 of this chapter nor of this third section shall be modified except by the process which is set forth in section 2.
THE DIRECTORY OF DISCIPLINE
The Nature and Purpose of Discipline
1. Ecclesiastical discipline is the exercise of that authority which the Lord Jesus Christ has committed to the visible church for the preservation of its purity and good order.
2. Judicial discipline is concerned with the prevention and correction of offenses, an offense being defined as anything in the doctrine or practice of a member of the church which is contrary to the Word of God. The purpose of judicial discipline is to vindicate the honor of Christ, to promote the purity of his church and to reclaim the offender.
3. Administrative discipline is concerned with the maintenance of good order in the government of the church in other that judicial cases. The purpose of its exercise is that all rights may be preserved and all obligations faithfully discharged.
4. All members of the church, both communicants and those who are members by virtue of baptism only, are under the care of the church, and subject to both administrative and judicial discipline. When those who have been baptized in infancy arrive at the years of discretion, they are bound to discharge all the obligations of church members.
1. Original jurisdiction over an individual belongs to the judicatory of which the individual is a member. Original jurisdiction over judicatories belongs to the next higher judicatory.
2. If a church member has been dismissed to another particular church, or a minister to another presbytery, he shall be considered subject to the jurisdiction of the judicatory which dismissed him until the time when he actually is received by the body to which he has been dismissed. Such retention of jurisdiction by the dismissing judicatory shall not be construed, however, as continuing the rights and privileges of membership in that particular church or presbytery. The receiving body shall acquire jurisdiction over him by virtue of its vote of reception, and at that time he shall become invested with all the rights and privileges of membership therein, which rights and privileges shall not be impaired by the filing of a complaint, unless and until such complaint shall be sustained by the highest judicatory to which complaint is made.
3. All certificates of dismission shall specify the particular body to which the person is dismissed, and shall be sent directly to that body by the dismissing judicatory. The receiving body shall notify the dismissing judicatory of the fact of reception when accomplished.
4. If a person charged with an offense requests that he be dismissed to another body within The Presbyterian Church of the Philippines, the judicatory of jurisdiction shall grant this request only for reason which it deems weighty. If the request is granted, it shall inform the judicatory to whose care the person is being committed of the charge which has been brought against him and also of any action which the dismissing judicatory may have taken with reference to the charge, and judicatory which receives him shall conclude the case.
5. If a church ceases to exist, the presbytery of jurisdiction shall secure its records, exercise care over its members and issue certificates of dismission to churches of their choice. If a presbytery ceases to exist, the general assembly shall assign each church and minister to some other presbytery. The higher judicatory in each instance shall either conclude any incomplete case of discipline begun in the lower judicatory, or refer the case to the judicatory to whose care the accused has been committed.
Steps in the Institution of Judicial Process
1. A charge of an offense may be brought by an injured party, by person not an injured party, or by a judicatory.
2. No charge shall be admitted by the judicatory if it is filled more than two years after the commission of the alleged offense unless it appear that unavoidable impediments have prevented an earlier filing of the charge. A charge shall be deemed to have been filed when it has been delivered to the clerk or the moderator of the judicatory.
3. Every charge of an offense must be in written form and must set forth the alleged offense together with the specification of the facts relied upon to sustain the charge. Each specification shall declare, as far as possible, the time, place and circumstances of the alleged offense, and shall be accompanied with the names of any witnesses and the titles of any documents to be produced.
4. Offenses are either public or private. Public offenses are those which are notorious. Private offenses are those which are known to an individual only, or, at most, to a very few individuals. Private offenses may or may not be personal, a personal private offense being one which involves injury to the persons bringing the charge.
5. No charge of a personal private offense shall be admitted unless the judicatory has assured itself that the person bringing the charge has faithfully followed the course set forth by our Lord in Matthew 18:15-17; nor shall a charge of a private offense which is not personal be admitted unless it appears that the plaintiff has first done his utmost privately to restore the alleged offender.
6. When a member of the church is about to present a charge, he shall be solemnly warned by the judicatory that he may be censured if the judicatory, after conducting the preliminary investigation defined in section 7 of this chapter, determines that judicial process with respect to such charge may not be instituted.
7. If a charge in the form prescribed by section 3 of this chapter is presented to the judicatory of jurisdiction by an injured party or by a person not an injured party, the judicatory, or a committee appointed for that purpose, shall forthwith conduct a preliminary investigation to determine whether judicial process should be instituted. The judicatory, or the committee, as the case may be, shall consider (a) the form of the charge; (b) the form and relevancy of specifications and (d) the apparent authenticity and relevancy of any documents adduced in support of the charge and specifications. The judicatory, or committee, as the case may be, shall determine whether, if formal charges and specifications were to be prepared by the judicatory on the basis of the charges, specifications and documents presented to it, the proof of such charges and specifications would show the commission of an offense. If, after the consideration of the foregoing factors, the judicatory decides that judicial process should be instituted, it shall initiate such process by directing that formal charges and specifications be prepared. When the form of such charges and specifications has been approved by the judicatory, it shall fix a time for the trial of the case and shall cite the accused to appear at that time. If the preliminary investigation is conducted by a committee appointed for that purpose, its findings shall be reviewed by the judicatory.
8. If a judicatory contemplates bringing a charge of an offense against a person subject to its jurisdiction, the judicatory shall conduct a preliminary investigation to determine whether judicial process should be instituted. If the judicatory, after the investigation of the specifications relied upon to sustain the charge, decides that the proof of the charge and specifications would show the commission of an offense, it shall initiate such process by the preparation and adoption of formal charges and specifications. It shall then fix a time for the trial of the case and shall cite the accused to appear at that time. If the preliminary investigation is conducted by a committee, its findings shall be reviewed by the judicatory.
The Trial of Judicial Cases
1. At the beginning of every trial the moderator shall announce that the body is about to sit in a judicial capacity and shall exhort the members to bear in mind their solemn duty faithfully to minister and declare the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice, and to subordinate all human judgments to that infallible rule. The announcement and the exhortation shall be repeated at the opening of each subsequent session of the trial judicatory.
2. The judicatories of the church shall ordinarily sit with open doors. In other cases, where the ends of discipline seem to require it, the trial judicatory at any stage of the trial may determine by a vote of three-fourths of the members present to sit with closed doors.
3. If unusual circumstances require it, a judicatory may forbid an accused person to approach the Lord’s table, or to perform the functions of his office until the case is concluded.
4. If the accused refuses or fails to appear at the time appointed for the trial of the case, he shall again be cited, with the warning that, if he does not appear or give a satisfactory reason for his absence, he may be disciplined for contumacy. If he fails to appear after the second citation, the trial judicatory shall issue a third citation warning him that if he does not appear, it will proceed with the trial in his absence. The time allowed for appearance on a citation shall be determined by the issuing judicatory with due consideration for the circumstances.
5. At the first meeting of the trial judicatory only the following actions shall be taken: (a) the charges and specification shall be read and formally presented to the accused together with the names of any witnesses and copies of any documents which may be presented against him; (b) the trial judicatory shall fix the time for the next session of the trial, which shall not be less than ten days later, and shall issue citations directing all persons to appear at that time whose presence it may deem necessary; and (c) the accused shall be granted citations in which he may insert the names of the witness whom he wishes the trial judicatory to summon. No meeting of the trial judicatory held prior to the time at which it proceeds with the aforementioned actions shall be considered the first meeting within the meaning of this chapter.
6. If it becomes necessary to summon witnesses who are subject to the jurisdiction of another judicatory of the church, such judicatory, at the request of the trial judicatory, shall issue citations directing such persons to appear and testify before the trial judicatory.
7. The trial judicatory shall have power to direct that the testimony of witnesses be taken by commission appointed by the trial judicatory when it concludes that unusual circumstances require such course. A representative of the trial judicatory and the accused, or his counsel, may examine and cross examine the witnesses, and interpose objections concerning (a) the admissibility of any oral testimony, (b) the respectability of the witnesses, and (c) the authenticity and relevancy of any documents identified by the witnesses. The commissioners must be communicant members of the Presbyterian Church of the Philippines. They shall record such testimony and objections as may be offered, and, without ruling upon the objections, shall transmit to the trial judicatory a complete transcript of the proceedings.
8. Ordinarily all citations shall be served personally, but in case this is not possible, citations shall sent by registered mail to the last known address of the person cited.
9. If a witness who is a member of the church fails to obey a lawful citation, he shall again be cited. If he fails to appear after the second citation, the trial judicatory shall issue a third citation with the warning that if he does not appear, or give satisfactory reason for his absence, he may be disciplined for contumacy. The time allowed for appearance on a citation shall be determined for the circumstances.
10. If a member of the church under the jurisdiction of another judicatory has been summoned as a witness, and such person refuses to appear, the trial judicatory shall communicate the facts to the judicatory having jurisdiction over the person concerned.
11. The accused shall be entitled to the assistance of counsel. No person shall be eligible to act as counsel who is not a member in good standing of the Presbyterian Church of the Philippines. No person who is counsel in a judicial case may sit in judgment on the same case at any stage thereof.
12. At the second meeting of the trial judicatory the accused may interpose objections concerning (a) the regularity of the proceedings up to this point and (b) the form of the charges, the form and relevancy of the specifications, the respectability of the witnesses named in the specifications, and the authenticity and relevancy of any documents produced in support of the charges and specifications. The trial judicatory shall determine the validity of any such objections. If the accused at this point requests the trial judicatory to do so, it shall determine whether the proof of the charges and specifications would show the commission of an offense. It may dismiss the case forthwith, or permit such amendments of the charges and specifications as do not alter their essential nature. If the trial judicatory decides that the trial should proceed, the accused shall be called upon to plead “guilty” or “not guilty” and his plea shall be entered upon the record. If the accused pleads “guilty,” the trial judicatory shall retire to determine the censure. If the accused pleads “not guilty”, or refuses to plead, the trial shall proceed. The proceedings described in this section may extend over as many meetings as is necessary for their completion.
13. No person shall be deprived of the right of set forth, plead, or offer in evidence in any judicatory of the church the provisions of the Word of God or of the subordinate standards.
14. When all the evidence against the accused has been presented and he has had an opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses testifying against him, the accused shall have the right to move for a dismissal of the charges. If this motion is denied by the trial judicatory, the accused may then present the evidence in the case has been presented, the accused may take his final argument with respect to the evidence and the law of the church. The trial judicatory shall then retire, and, after deliberation, shall vote on each charge and specification separately. If the trial judicatory decides that the accused is guilty, it shall proceed to determine the censure.
15. The clerk shall keep an accurate roll of the members attending each session of the trial judicatory. Absence from any session of the second or of a subsequent meeting of the trial judicatory shall disqualify a member from the voting thereafter and from being counted in the computation of a quorum but shall not deprive him of any other right of the trial judicatory. Unless a quorum is present, a trial judicatory shall not continue in session, but it may recess or adjourn. A session shall terminate as soon as the trial judicatory recesses, but a meeting is terminated only by adjournment.
16. When the trial judicatory has concluded its deliberations, the moderator shall announce its finding on each charge and specification. If the accused has been found guilty, the trial judicatory, shall state what censure it proposes to pronounce upon the accused. The censure shall not be pronounced before the expiration of the time in which the accused may file notice of appeal. If notice of appeal is filed and an appeal is taken within the time prescribed by chapter VII of this Book of Discipline, the trial judicatory may not execute its judgment unless and until the judgment is affirmed by the judicatory to which final appeal is taken.
17. The accused may take exception to any and all rulings or findings made by the trial judicatory.
18. The trial judicatory shall preserve a complete and accurate record of the trial. In recording the course of the procedure, the following shall not be omitted: the charges and specifications; objections made and exceptions taken by the accused at any stage of the trial; the testimony of witnesses; and all rulings and findings of the trial judicatory, as well as the minutes of its private deliberations. This record, together with all relevant papers, shall be certified by the trial judicatory and transmitted to the higher judicatory in cases of appeal.
19. The accused shall be allowed one copy of the record at the expense of the judicatory. Additional copies may be obtained by him at cost.
Evidence in Judicial Cases
1. Evidence must be of a factual nature. It may be direct or circumstantial. Caution should be exercised in giving weight to evidence which is purely circumstantial.
2. Any person may be a witness in a judicial case, if the trial judicatory is satisfied that he has sufficient intelligence to understand, and can sincerely make, the following affirmation: “I solemnly affirm that I will speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth concerning the matters on which I am called to testify.” The moderator shall require each witness before he testifies to make this affirmation.
3. The accused may object to the competency and relevancy of any testimony or evidence produced in support of the charges and specifications. The trial judicatory shall decide on all such objections after allowing the accused to be heard in support thereof.
4. A specification presented in support of a charge may be established by the testimony of witnesses or by duly authenticated documentary evidence. The testimony of one witness shall not be sufficient to establish the truth of any specification.
5. If the accused so requests, no witness called to prove facts in support of any one specification shall testify in the presence of another witness who is to testify concerning that same specification.
6. The trial judicatory shall appoint one of its members to conduct on its behalf the examination of witnesses, but other members shall also have the right to take part in the examination. Witnesses produced in support of the charges and specifications shall testify in the presence of the accused unless the accused has failed to present himself after citation in accordance with the provisions of chapter IV, section 4. Witnesses named in the specifications shall first be examined by the trial judicatory. The accused may then cross examine. If the trial judicatory asks any further questions, the accused shall be given opportunity for re-cross-examination. Witnesses summoned at the request of the accused shall first be examined by the accused. If the trial judicatory cross-examines, the accused shall be given opportunity to conduct a re-direct examination. Leading questions shall be permitted only under cross-examination.
7. Regularly authenticated records of a judicatory shall be received in evidence in any other judicatory if their relevancy is first established.
8. All questions concerning the relevancy of competency of the evidence taken by a commission shall be determined by the trial judicatory after the accused has been given an opportunity to be heard.
9. If new evidence is produced by the accused after he has been found guilty, the trial judicatory shall examine such evidence. If it is satisfied that there was good reason for not producing it at the trial, it shall grant a new trial or, in case an appeal has been lodged, it shall certify these facts to the appellate judicatory and the record of the case shall then be returned to the trial judicatory for the purpose of a new trial.
10. New evidence discovered during the trial may be offered, but, is such evidence is produced against the accused, he shall be given a reasonable time to investigate it and to supplement his defense.
Cases Without Full Process
1. When a person comes before a judicatory as his own accuser, the judicatory may proceed to judgment without full process, determining, first, what offense, if any, has been committed, and, if it appears that an offense has been committed, what censure should be pronounced.
2. When a member of a particular church, whether or not he be charged with an offense, informs the session that he does not desire to remain in the fellowship of The Presbyterian Church of the Philippines, and efforts of the session to dissuade him from his course have failed, it shall take no other action than to erase his name from the roll and shall record the circumstances in its minutes. When a member unites with a church of another denomination without a certificate of dismission, or persist in attending such a church in preference to his own, the session shall erase his name from the roll and record the circumstances in its minutes. When a member removes from the bounds of the congregation and cannot be found, the session may after two years, erase his name from the roll, recording the circumstances in its minutes. When the session has information concerning the new residence of a member who has from the bounds of the congregation, the clerk shall communicate with the session of the particular church of The Presbyterian Church of the Philippines nearest to the member in order that he may not be lost to the church.
3. When a minister, whether or not he be charged with an offense, informs the presbytery that he desires to renounce the jurisdiction of The Philippines Presbyterian Church by abandoning his ministry and membership therein, or by declaring himself independent, or by joining another body without a regular dismission, the presbytery shall seek to dissuade him from his course, and, if these efforts fail, it shall erase his name from its roll and record the circumstances in its minutes. When a minister has been absent from the meetings of presbytery for two years and the presbytery after diligent search is unable to find him, his name shall be erased from the roll.
4. When a minister shall ask to be relieved of the office of the holy ministry, the presbytery shall require him to wait six months and in the meantime shall ascertain with all diligence whether the reasons for his proposed action are sufficient weight. If at the end of that time his desire is unchanged and the presbytery is satisfied as to the sufficiency of his reasons, the presbytery shall record the facts in its minutes and erase his name from the roll.
1. Censure and Restoration
1. In judicial discipline there are five degrees of censure namely, admonition, rebuke, suspension deposition and ex-communication. Censure shall be pronounced by the moderator on behalf of the trial judicatory in the name and by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, the church’s only Head and King.
2. If a person who has been adjudged guilty refuses or fails to present himself for censure at the time appointed, the trial judicatory shall cite him to appear after this citation, the censure shall be pronounced in his absence. Willful refusal to appear shall be deemed contumacious.
3. Admonition consists in tenderly and solemnly confronting the offender with his sin, warning him of his danger, and exhorting him to repentance and to greater fidelity to the Lord Jesus Christ.
4. Rebuke is a form of censure more severe than admonition. It consists in setting forth the serious character of the offense, and exhorting him to repentance and to more perfect fidelity to the Lord Jesus Christ.
5. Suspension is a form of censure by which one is deprived of the privileges of membership in the church, of office, or both. It may be for a definite or an indefinite time. Suspension of an officer from the privileges of membership shall always be accompanied by suspension from office, but the latter does not necessarily involve the former.
6. An officer or other member of the church, while under suspension shall be the object of deep solicitude and earnest dealing to the end that he may be restored. When the trial judicatory which pronounced the censure is satisfied of the penitence of the offender, or when the time of suspension has expired, the censure shall be removed and the offender shall be restored. This restoration shall be accompanied by a solemn admonition. Restoration to the privileges of membership may take place without restoration to those of office.
7. Deposition consists in depriving an officer of his office.
8. Deposition of a pastor or his suspension for an indefinite time involves the dissolution of the pastoral tie. The sentence of deposition or suspension shall be read before the congregation, and the pulpit shall be declared vacant. In case of suspension for a limited period the presbytery, after giving the session an opportunity to be heard, shall decide whether the pastoral relation shall be dissolved.
9. When a minister has been suspended or deposed, the judicatory shall immediately notify all the presbyteries of the church.
10. Excommunication is the most severe form of censure and is resorted to only in cases of offenses aggravated by persistent impenitence. It consists in a solemn declaration by an ecclesiastical judicatory that it no longer regards the offender as a member of the body of Christ.
11. The suspension, deposition, or excommunication of an officer or other member of the church shall be announced to the church in which the office holds office, or in which the member holds membership. Such announcement shall be accompanied by an urgent request for prayer for the offender to end that he may be restored.
12. When, after the passing of a year, a person suspended indefinitely has failed to manifest repentance, it shall be the duty of the judicatory to consider whether suspension should be continued or more severe censure should be imposed. It may proceed to deposition or excommunication or both without further trial.
13. The censures herein set forth shall always be accompanied by prayer to God that he may graciously use discipline for the restoration of the offender, the edification of the church, and his own glory.
14. An officer deposed because of notorious offense shall be restored only after the judicatory has assured itself that the restoration will not be attended by injury to the cause of the gospel.
15. A minister, ruling elder, or deacon who has been deposed cannot resume his former office without again being ordained.
16. Restoration shall always be accompanied by a prayer of thanksgiving to God for his redeeming grace.
1. An appeal is the removal of a judicial case to an appellate judicatory by the filing of a petition asking that the final judgment of a lower judicatory be reversed or modified. An appeal may be taken by the accused, or by a judicatory whose judgment has been reversed or modified by an appellate judicatory.
2. Decisions and rulings made by the trial judicatory during the course of the trial shall not be appealable but may be assigned as grounds of appeal from the final judgment of the judicatory.
3. Notice of an intention to appeal must be filed in writing, within ten days after the judgment has been announced, with the clerk or the moderator of the judicatory from which appeal it to be taken.
4. In order to perfect an appeal, the appellant must lodge the appeal and the specifications of error with the clerk of the appellate judicatory within thirty days after the filing of the notice of appeal. The appellant shall also serve a copy of the appeal upon the clerk of the judicatory from whose judgment the appeal is taken. The clerk of the appellate judicatory shall give the appellant and the judicatory from whose judgment the appeal is taken reasonable notice of the time and place fixed by the appellate judicatory for the hearing of the appeal.
5. The clerk of the judicatory from whose judgment the appeal is taken shall, upon the request of the appellate judicatory, lodge the entire record of the case with its clerk.
6. If the appellate judicatory does not sustain any of the specifications of error, the judgment of the lower judicatory shall be affirmed. If the appellate judicatory sustains any specification of error, it shall determine whether the error is of such importance as to require a reversal or modification of the judgment. An appellate judicatory which decides not to sustain the judgment of a lower judicatory may remit the case to the trial judicatory for a new trial, may modify the judgment, or may reverse the judgment.
7. When the judgment of a lower judicatory is before an appellate judicatory, no member of the judicatory from whose judgment the appeal is taken shall take any part in the decision of the case.
Dissents and Protests
1. Any member of a judicatory who is entitled to vote on a question and who votes against the action or judgment of the judicatory thereon may request that his dissenting vote be recorded in the minutes of the judicatory.
2. Any member of a judicatory may file a written protest stating his reasons for objecting to an action judgment of the judicatory. A protest must be filed with the moderator or clerk within ten days after the judicatory has taken the action or announced the judgment, provided, however, that a protest against an action or judgment of the general assembly must be filed prior to the dissolution thereof. A protest shall be read to the judicatory and shall always be recorded in the minutes unless it is phrased in indecent language.
3. The judicatory may, if it so desires, place in the minutes an answer to a protest.
1. A complaint is a written representation, other than an appeal or a protest charging a judicatory with delinquency or error. It may be brought by an officer or other member of the church against the session or the presbytery to which he is subject, by one session against another session, by a session against the presbytery which has jurisdiction over it, or by one presbytery against another presbytery.
2. A complaint shall be presented to the judicatory which is alleged to be delinquent or in error, and this judicatory shall be asked to make amends. The complaint shall be presented as soon as possible after the alleged delinquency or error, and always within three months, unless it is shown that it could not have been presented within that time.
3. If, after considering a complaint, the judicatory alleged to be delinquent or in error is not convinced that it has been delinquent or has erred, and refuses to make amends, the complainant to the next higher judicatory having jurisdiction, provided, however, that this action is taken at the earliest possible time. Before this action is taken, notice of intention must be given to the judicatory against which the complaint is directed.
4. When a complaint has been carried to a higher judicatory, the clerk of the judicatory which is charged with delinquency or error shall, upon the request of the higher judicatory, lodge with the clerk thereof the relevant papers, including a certified copy of any minutes or other documents evidencing the alleged delinquency or error. The clerk of the higher judicatory shall give the complainant and the judicatory against which the complaint is directed reasonable notice of the time and place fixed for the hearing of the complaint by the higher judicatory. Neither the complainant nor any member of the judicatory whose alleged delinquency or error is complained of shall take part in the decision of the matter.
5. If any complaint against a session has been carried to the presbytery which has jurisdiction over it, and the presbytery has rendered a decision, either the complainant or the session may complain of the decision to the general assembly.
6. If a judicatory is adjudged delinquent or in error by a higher judicatory, the higher judicatory shall determine what amends are to be made.