5. FORM OF GOVERNMENT
Christianity, ever since the split between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism in 1517, has seen numerous subsequent denominations, each with her own creeds, liturgies, rules of discipline, forms of government, etc., to teach her own doctrines. There are five forms of government, as listed below:
1. Papal Government: Primarily adopted by the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church, this is the form of government where the Pope governs all local churches.
2. Episcopalian Government: Adopted by the Methodist Church and by the Episcopalian Church, this is the form of government where bishops govern local churches.
3. Independent Government: In this form of government, each local congregation rules and administers on her own, free from the jurisdiction and rule of any ecclesiastical body.
4. Congregational Government: Similar to Independent government, this form of government is characterized by an association made up of the representatives of each local congregation, to discuss matters of mutual concern for their own benefit, but with no authority of order or jurisdiction over local churches. Each local congregation is free to determine her own rules, discipline, liturgy, and interpretations of doctrinal matters.
5. Presbyterian Government: This is the form of government where members of each local congregation elect elders to form a session having tile authority to rule over the congregation. Therefore, this is the most democratic form of government since tile members have the hegemony.
The session is made up of ruling elders and teaching elders, including pastors, who govern the local congregation. The session has, as its superior ruling bodies, tile presbytery and tile General Assembly. This form of church government existed in the times of Moses (Ex. 30:16; 18:25,26; Num. 11:16) and of the apostles (Acts 14:23; 18:4; Tit. 1:5; 1 Pet. 5:1; Jas. 5:14), as is fully attested in the Bible. Furthermore, from the standpoint of church history, the most prominent churches of historical significance in the past adopted this form of government. Presbyterian church government is based upon the Westminster Standards, which, at the direction of the Parliament of England, were first drafted by 120 ordained ministers and 30 ruling elders at Westminster Abbey in 1643 and were approved by presbytery meetings in England, and then were officially adopted by the General Assembly as the Constitution of the Church.
The Constitution of the World Korean Presbyterian Church, which was ratified in 1978 when the General Assembly was first organized, is based on the Constitution of the Korean Presbyterian Church (Hapdong) of our motherland, which, in turn, is based upon the Westminster Standards. Minor modifications were made to suit ecclesiastical life worldwide.
CHAPTER 1 Preliminary Principles
There are eight preliminary principles within the Presbyterian form of government, a proper understanding of which are essential to understanding the nature of the church.
Article 1 Liberty of Conscience
God alone is the Lord of the conscience, and has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which may be contrary to the Scriptures in terms of faith and worship. Therefore, the rights of private judgment in all matters pertaining to religion are universal and inalienable.
Article 2 Liberty of the Church
1. In accordance with the principle stated above, every Christian church, as an example of individual freedom, 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.
2. No church should depend on a civil power, but rather should expect that the civil power will protect all religious organizations and that it will treat each religion fairly.
Article 3 Church Officers and Their Responsibilities
The Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the church, for the edification of his Body, the church, has appointed various officers, not only to preach the gospel and administer the sacraments, but also to exercise discipline for the preservation of truth and duty. It is therefore incumbent upon these officers and upon the whole church, in whose name they act, to censure or cast out the erroneous and the scandalous, observing in all cases the rules contained in the Scriptures.
Article 4 Truth and Practice
Truth is founded on holiness. A test of truth is its power to promote holiness, as our Lord said, “By their fruits you shall know them.”(Matt. 7:20) No word can be more pernicious or more absurd than that which brings truth and falsehood upon the same level. There is an inseparable connection between faith and practice, truth and duty. Otherwise, it would be futile either to discover truth or to embrace it.
Article 5 The Qualifications of Officers
In accordance with the principles stated above, it is necessary to make effective provision for the church to elect officers sound in the faith. There are truths and forms with respect to which men of good character and principles may differ, in which cases it is the duty for both private Christians and the church to exercise mutual forbearance towards each other.
Article 6 The Right to Elect Officers
Inasmuch as the character, qualifications, and authority of church officers are laid down in the Scriptures, the proper method of officer investiture, and the power to elect officers in any particular body of church court, rest with that body of church court.
Article 7 Church Power
Whether exercised by the body in general or by representation, all church power is only ministerial and declarative, according to the commandments of God. Since the Holy Scriptures are the only rule of faith and practice, no church judicatory may make laws and rules to bind the conscience, but must follow and submit to his revealed will.
Article 8 Discipline
If the church steadfastly adheres to the preceding principles, discipline will contribute to the glory and well-being of the church, for the discipline exercised by the church is moral and spiritual in nature. Ecclesiastical discipline does not derive from the power of civil authorities, but from the power, authority, and grace of Christ, the Head of the church universal, for the sake of justice in church polity.
CHAPTER 2 Particular Churches
Article 1 The Organization of a Particular Church
God has elected his people from all nations, that they may be endowed with eternal grace and with his infinite wisdom to constitute the church of the living God, the Body of Jesus, and the temple of the Holy Spirit. The church, consisting of the saints of all nations of the past, the present, and the future, is called the holy catholic church.
Article 2 Classifications of the Church
The church may be classified as the church visible and the church invisible. The church invisible is known to God alone, whereas the church visible is spread all over the world, consisting of all Christians who honor God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Article 3 Church Assemblies
Inasmuch as it is impossible for all the saints to assemble at a single, fixed location for fellowship and worship, it is proper that local churches be established in various locations for public worship services, which is completely in accord with scriptural teaching (Gal. 1:22; Rev. 1:4,20).
Article 4 The Local Church
A congregation is called a local church, where people who openly profess faith in Jesus Christ, along with their children, assemble at an appointed place and an appointed time to worship God with one accord, leading godly lives in unity as set forth in the Scripture and obeying the Constitution of the Church for the furtherance of his kingdom (Acts 2:47).
CHAPTER 3 Church Officers
Article 1 The Founding Officer
Our Lord Jesus, having exercised his power and authority in his miracles (Matt. 10:8), chose his people from each nation (Ps. 2:8; Rev. 7:9) to form one body (1 Cor. 10:17).
Article 2 Perpetual Officers
Elders, or bishops (Acts 20: 17,28; 1 Tim. 3:1-7), and deacons constitute the perpetual officers of the church. Elders are classified as:
1. Pastors, who administer the word of God and rule over the congregation, and
2. Ruling elders, whose function is to rule over the congregation.
Article 3 Temporary Officers
In certain circumstances, a local church may temporarily have unordained officers as listed below:
1. Evangelist (Jundosa): Upon the recommendation of the session, a ministerial candidate, male or female, may be examined by the presbytery for qualification for such a position. Upon approval of the presbytery, he or she may render salaried assistance to the minister.
(a) The authority of an evangelist: An evangelist may not be present at session meetings. He may, however, act as moderator of the officers’ meeting in an unorganized church with the consent of the moderator of the session.
(b) The qualifications of an evangelist: An evangelist is a seminary graduate or a seminarian who has sustained a qualifying examination administered by the presbytery, with a few exceptions depending on the circumstances. No written examination may be given to those who have been given a similar examination by another presbytery and to those who have graduated from the denominationally controlled seminary.
(a) The qualifications of a kwonsa: A kwonsa is a woman, 45 years of age or older, who has been a communicant member in good standing for a reasonable period of time, serving the church in faith, and who has been elected by a two-thirds vote in a congregational meeting.
(b) The duties of a kwonsa: A kwonsa’s duties, under the supervision of the session, include visiting church members, especially those who are infirm and afflicted.
3. Acting deacon and deaconess: The church may appoint faithful men and women, without ordination, to serve as acting deacons and deaconesses for a term of one year.
Article 4 Extraordinary Officer
A ministerial candidate is known as an extraordinary officer. A ministerial candidate is one who seeks to be a pastor, and may be examined by the presbytery for his qualifications before or while attending a seminary. Functionally, he is under the supervision of the session, whereas formally he is supervised by the presbytery.
CHAPTER 4 Pastor (Teaching Elder)
Article 1 Definition
Ordained and installed by the presbytery, a pastor (also called a teaching elder) may proclaim the gospel of Christ, administer the holy sacraments, and rule over the church, and is therefore an officer of utmost importance and usefulness in the church (Rom. 11:13). The pastor is known by many titles in the Holy Scripture; each describes his duty as a minister of the word.
1. He is called a shepherd as he oversees the flock (Jer. 3:15; 1 Pet. 5:2-4).
2. He is called a servant of Christ as he serves the Lord in the church, or a messenger of
Christ, and sometimes a deacon (Phil. 1: 1; 1 Cor. 4: 1; 2 Cor. 3:6).
3. He is called a presbyter as he, in his wisdom, sets an example to all men and faithfully administers God’s house and his kingdom (1 Pet. 5:1-3).
4. He is called a messenger as he is sent by God (Rev. 2:1).
5. He is called an ambassador of Christ, or of the gospel, as he proclaims the holy will of God to sinners, by which he exhorts them to be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20; Eph. 6:20).
6. He is called a teacher as he exhorts in honest instruction and rebukes the rebellious to repentance (Tit. 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11).
7. He is called an evangelist as he brings the good news of salvation to those perishing in sin (2 Tim. 4:5).
8. He is called a steward as he dispenses God’s immeasurable grace and executes his statutes (Luke 12:42; 1 Cor. 4:1-2).
These titles exhibit the pastor’s responsibilities, not his rank.
Article 2 The Qualifications of a Pastor
A candidate for pastoral ministry should be a seminary graduate, should be learned, blameless in life, sound in the faith, and apt to teach, should exhibit sobriety and holiness as shown in the gospel, should rule his own house well, should have a good report of those that are outside the church, and should be no younger than age 27 (1
Article 3 The Duties of a Pastor (Teaching Elder)
Since God has given different gifts to pastors, and has committed to them various works to execute, the church is authorized to call and appoint them to labor as pastors and teachers, and in such other works as may be needed, according to the gifts in which they excel (Eph. 4:11).
1. When a pastor is called to labor as a pastor in a local congregation, it belongs to his office to pray for the flock, to feed the flock by reading, expounding, and preaching the word, to direct the congregation in singing praise to God, to administer the holy sacraments, to pronounce the benediction representing God, to catechize the children and youth, to visit church members, devoting special attention to the poor, the sick, and the afflicted, and to exercise the power of ruling over the church in close cooperation with the ruling elders.
2. When a pastor is appointed to be a teacher in a seminary, school, or university approved by the General Assembly, it belongs to his office to take pastoral oversight of those committed to his charge and to be diligent in sowing the seed of the word, gathering the fruit thereof as one watching over souls.
3. When a pastor labors as a home or foreign missionary, he may administer the holy sacraments, and is given power to plant and organize churches.
Article 4 The Titles of a Pastor
A pastor may be given a specific title according to his type of labor and circumstances.
1. Entrusted Pastor: A pastor, having receiving a call from a local congregation, may be entrusted by the presbytery with the full power to rule over the local congregation. Unless circumstances compel him to leave, he may have lifelong ministry therein.
2. Pastor in Charge: This is a pastor who has received a call from an unorganized church and ministers to a local congregation. Once the congregation becomes an organized church and reports to the presbytery, the pastor in charge may be approved by the presbytery to become an entrusted pastor.
3. Associate Pastor: A temporary pastor, with a term of one year, may assist the entrusted pastor with the consent of the presbytery. Approval of the presbytery is required annually.
4. Pastor Emeritus: A pastor who retires after 20 or more years of active ministry, counted from the year of his ordination, may be designated pastor emeritus with a fixed salary, if the congregation so votes and if the presbytery agrees to this honor.
5. Pastor Meritorious: A pastor retiring because of old age after 25 or more years of active ministry, with remarkable merit during the course of his ministry, may be given the title of pastor meritorious to honor him if the presbytery so decides by a two-thirds vote.
It must be noted that while a pastor emeritus or a pastor meritorious may continue to be an official member of the presbytery and of the General Assembly, neither of them shall have any duty nor authority to rule over the local congregation.
6. Pastor at Large: This is a pastor who does not have a pastorate. He may participate in discussion in presbytery meetings, but has no vote.
7. Chaplain: This is a pastor ordained by the presbytery who preaches and administers the holy sacraments in assigned military chapels.
8. Education Pastor: This is either:
a. A pastor who has received a call from, and labors in, an educational institution recognized by and connected with the General Assembly or the presbytery, or
b. A temporary pastor laboring in Christian education at a local congregation.
9. Pastor of Evangelism: This is a pastor who is sent to preach the gospel and evangelize Koreans.
10. Missionary: This is a pastor who is sent to preach the gospel, either at home or overseas.
11. Pastor of Music: This is a minister with a bachelor’s degree in music or higher who labors in church music at a local congregation.
CHAPTER 5 Ruling Elder
Article 1 Origin
As there were elders who oversaw the church in the Old Testament period, ruling elders are established in the New Testament period as well to rule over the church in collaboration with a pastor.
Article 2 Power
Though their primary responsibility does not lie in the proclamation of the word and doctrine, they share with ministers the same power in administering various matters that come before the church courts (1 Tim. 5:17; Rom. 12:7-8).
Article 3 Qualifications
He that fills the office of elder should be 30 years of age or older, sound in the faith and blameless in life for at least five years, and should possess a competency of human learning, meeting the qualifications set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7.
Article 4 Duties
It belongs to the office of elder:
1. To oversee the spiritual interests of the church.
Elders, as representatives of and elected by the membership of the church, should exercise, in close conjunction with ministers, government and discipline, and oversee the spiritual interests of the local or the whole church.
2. To see that no corruption of doctrine or of morals should enter into the church. Elders, individually or as a session, should exhort the flock committed to their charge, that they may not fall into doctrinal error or moral corruption. Elders should report to the session any church member who fails to repent of his or her sin.
3. To visit the people at their homes for comfort, guidance, and instruction.
They should especially comfort the mourning, instruct the ignorant, and nourish and guard the children of the church. Elders, by their office and function, assume heavier responsibilities than other laypeople.
4. To oversee the faith of members of the church and to pray for the people.
Elders should pray with and for the people and should be careful and diligent in seeking the results of the preached word among the flock.
5. To report to the ministers those requesting visitation.
They should report to the ministers those who are sick, those who are mourning, those who repent of their sins, and those who are in need of relief.
CHAPTER 6 Deacon
Article 1 Definition
The office of deacon, quite distinct from the offices of minister and elder, is set forth as perpetual in the church. One who fills the office of deacon should be a blameless man chosen by the membership of the local church, and should be ordained and installed by the minister.
Article 2 Qualifications
To the office of deacon shall be elected men of honest repute, good faith, wisdom, discretion, respect and honor becoming the gospel, and exemplary life. The service performed by deacons is the same as that of all believers, but ought to be carried out more responsibly by those ordained as deacons (1 Tim. 3:8-13).
Article 3 Duties
It is the duty of deacons to minister, in cooperation with ministers and elders, to those who are in need: to the sick, to those in prison, to widows and orphans, and to those in distress, all under the supervision and authority of the session. It is also the duty of deacons to collect and to distribute relief funds and to manage the church finances (Acts 6:1-3).
CHAPTER 7 Church Government and Courts
Article 1 The Necessity of Church Government
In governing a church there should be a distinct government and organization (1
Cor. 14:40). Proper understanding of the matter, biblical teachings, and the practice of the apostolic church determine how the church is to be governed. The governing authority of the church lies not in any individuals, but in the church courts, such as the session, the presbytery, and the General Assembly (Acts 15:6).
Article 2 The Nature and Jurisdiction of Church Courts
There are different classes of church courts, but, since each and every court is made up exclusively of ministers and elders and therefore has the nature of a presbytery, they, having been organized on the basis of equal qualification, possess equal power. The scope of each court is specified in the Book of Church Order.
1. In case of a controversy over doctrine or the government of the church, one has to appeal, according to scriptural teaching, to a higher court in order to attain the purity and peace of the church. Each court should determine the scope of its jurisdiction so as to lawfully handle cases. While each court has its own particular authority, it is subject to the supervision and jurisdiction of a higher court.
2. Each court is not a separate entity, but is united with the other courts; therefore, regardless of what offense is handled in what court, the decision that is made by a lawfully constituted court ultimately becomes the decision of the whole church.
Article 3 Meetings
Every year each session and each presbytery should meet more than once, and the General Assembly but once, with each meeting opening and closing in prayer.
Article 4 The Power of Courts
No church court has the power to discipline people for violations of state law (Luke 12:2-14; John 18:36). A church court is concerned with cases which are moral and spiritual and must exhort believers as Christians to obey Christ’s law (Acts 15:1,32). The disobedient and lawless ones are subject to the deprivation of the privileges of their membership in the church. A church court, in order to vindicate the authority of the Scripture, should collect evidence pertaining to the offenses. The court is authorized to summon offenders for investigation and also to have them produce evidence in their favor. The severest form of discipline is to excommunicate the unrepentant and the doctrinally corrupt from the church (Matt. 18:15-17; 1 Cor. 5:4-5).
CHAPTER 8 The Church Session
Article 1 The Organization of the Church Session
In order to form a church session, there shall be at least 20 communicant members of the church. The session will consist of the pastor and the ruling elders of the church (Acts 14:23; Tit. 1:5)
Article 2 The Quorum of the Church Session
If there are two elders on the session, one shall constitute a quorum. If there are three or more elders, the majority of the elders and a pastor shall constitute a quorum. If there is one elder, he may conduct all the business. But in the event that the elder opposes a disciplinary action pertaining to himself and with regard to other matters, the matter shall be referred to the presbytery for a decision.
Article 3 The Moderator of the Session
The pastor of the local church, by virtue of his office, is the moderator of the session. If an emergency should arise, the pastor of the church, with the concurrence of the session, may invite a minister of the same presbytery to which the church belongs to act as moderator, and the same applies when the pastor is absent because of illness or because he is away from home.
Article 4 The Interim Moderator of the Session
The office of moderator of the session is filled by the pastor in charge of a local church. When a church is without a pastor, the presbytery to which the church belongs shall appoint a minister until a pastor is installed, but in circumstances beyond control, the session may, even without the presence of a minister to act as moderator, take actions on church business, except for judicial cases and other matters of special importance.
Article 5 The Duties of the Church Session
1. Supervision of the faith and life of church members:
The session shall maintain the spiritual government of the church (Heb. 13:17), and supervise the knowledge and the conduct of church members.
2. Admission and dismissal of church members: The session shall examine people for communicant membership, urge communicant parents to present their children for baptism, examine baptized children to see if they are ready to receive communion, receive and issue letters of transfer for those who have moved (confirming their confirmation, adult baptism, or infant baptism), and even dismiss members.
3. Conduct of the worship service and administration of the sacraments:
When a church is without a pastor, the session shall, under the supervision of the presbytery, invite a minister to preach the word and to administer the sacraments.
4. Ordination and installation of elders and deacons: Subsequent to the election of elders and deacons by the congregation, and to their training period of at least six months, elders are then ordained, following their examination and approval by the presbytery, and deacons are ordained following their examination and approval by the session.
5. Collection of offerings: The session determines the dates and methods of collecting church offerings of various types.
6. Exercise of discipline: The session shall summon the offender(s) and the witness(es) among the church members for investigation; if necessary, those who are not members of the church may be summoned as witnesses. Where there is clear evidence of the offense, the session should rebuke, reprimand, suspend, keep from the communion table, dismiss from the church roll, or excommunicate the unrepentant, as appropriate, and lift discipline on the penitent (1 Thess. 5:12-13; 2
Thess.3:6, 14-15; 1 Cor. 11:27-30).
7. Promotion of the spiritual interests and supervision of the organizations within the church: The session shall work for the spiritual interests of the church, visit church members, instruct them in the Scripture, guide and supervise the Church school, the choir, Christian Endeavor and other organizations within the church.
8. Appointment of representatives to the presbytery, and provision of reports and communications: The session shall choose and appoint the representative elder to the presbytery and submit communications and reports on the status of church activities thereto.
Article 6 The Power of the Church Session
The session exercises, in accordance with the Directory of Worship, authority over the time and place and the order for worship. The session shall purchase, own, manage, and sell the real property of the church. However, if any dispute arises regarding ownership of the property, the presbytery shall have authority over the property until the dispute is resolved.
Article 7 The Session Meeting
The session shall hold stated meetings at least once a year. Moreover, the pastor has power to convene the session when he judges it requisite, and he shall always convene it when requested to do so by the majority of the elders or when directed to do so by the presbytery. In the pastor’s absence, the majority of the elders may convene a session meeting if such necessity arises.
Article 8 Minutes of the Session
Every session shall keep an accurate record of its proceedings, and the minutes thereof and the record of any trial shall be submitted once every year to the presbytery for their inspection.
Article 9 Rosters
Every session shall keep these rosters up to date:
1. The roster of communicant members (date).
2. The roster of infants baptized and those allowed to participate in communion.
3. The roster of the disciplined and the pardoned.
4. The roster of the deceased (date).
5. The roster of those received by transfer (date received).
6. The roster of marriages (date of marriage).
Entries should be made using legal names, and for women and children the name of the family head should also be recorded. The maiden names of married women shall be included.
CHAPTER 9 The Presbytery
Article 1 General Remarks
The church, as the Body of Christ, is divided into several local congregations (Acts 6:1-6; 9:31; 21:20). They should cooperate in an effort to maintain the doctrine and the purity of the church, to exercise proper discipline, to teach the knowledge of faith and right doctrine, and to keep members from apostasy and immorality. This calls for a higher court, such as the presbytery, to put these efforts into practice. The fact that there was a presbytery in the apostolic age and that the church consisted of many local congregations is quite evident from Acts 6:1; 9:31; 21:20; 2:41-47; 4:4, etc.
Each of these dispersed churches belonged to a presbytery (see Acts 15:2-4, 6-11,23-30; 21:17-18). Furthermore, evidence shows that besides the church at Ephesus, there were local congregations and presbyteries (Acts 19:20). (Cf. 1 Cor. 16:8,9,19; Acts 18:19,24-26; 20:17-18,25-31,36-37; Rev. 2:1-6.)
Article 2 Organization
The presbytery shall consist of the ministers (at least three), and of the ruling elders commissioned by the respective sessions of the congregations of the region.
Article 3 Qualifications
Membership of the presbytery consists of all the pastors, pastors emeritus, pastors meritorious, and the pastors at large commissioned by the presbytery or by the General Assembly. And they do have the right to vote and to be elected delegates. Other ministers have on right to vote or for election.
Article 4 Delegates
Elder delegates shall be eligible for membership after the stated clerk receives the recommendation and takes the roll.
Article 5 Quorum
At least two ministers belonging to the presbytery, together with at least two ruling elders, meeting at the time and place appointed, shall be a quorum competent to transact business.
Article 6 Duties
1. The presbytery shall have general oversight of sessions, local congregations, ministers, evangelists, candidates for ministry, and all the unorganized churches within its bounds.
2. The presbytery shall have power to receive for action all the references, requests, appeals, complaints, questions, and cases for trial, duly submitted by respective sessions. Matters pertaining to trials shall be transferred to it for action, subject to the provisions of the Book of Discipline (1 Cor. 6: 1; 1 Tim. 5:19). The presbytery shall receive appeals to refer cases to the higher court.
3. The presbytery has power to examine and receive candidates for ministry; to train and to transfer them, along with the proper discipline; to approve the local congregation’s election of additional ruling elders; to examine and allow the ordination and installation of elders-elect; to examine and license evangelists; to administer examinations of ministerial candidates; to effect their ordination, installation, dismissal, and transfer in and out (1 Tim. 4:14; Acts 13:2-3); to approve or disapprove minutes of sessions, and to approve or disapprove records of trials; and to answer and interpret reasonable questions concerning doctrine and discipline (Acts 15:10; Gal. 2:2-5).
4. The presbytery shall prevent words and deeds that injure the sanctity or peace of the church (Acts 15:22-24), and shall visit churches with the purpose of investigating and redressing failures and evils that may have arisen in them (Acts 20: 17,30; 6:2; 15:30).
5. The presbytery has power to found, divide, unite, and close local churches; to organize sessions; to invite pastors for local churches and for unorganized churches; to supervise evangelism; and to direct other matters pertaining to finance.
6. The presbytery shall communicate with the higher court regarding requests and references; receive all the communications from the higher court to put their injunctions into practice in order to administer church business in an orderly manner (1 Cor. 14:33,40); engage in evangelistic activities; commission delegates to the higher court; and contribute to the spiritual welfare of all churches.
7. The presbytery shall examine candidates for the ministry. The subjects shall be the Confession of Faith, the Book of Discipline, the Directory for Worship, and pastoral ministry. There shall also be an oral interview.
8. The presbytery, exercising its powers of oversight, shall set up a visitation committee to visit local churches, including unorganized churches.
They shall work together to support the overseeing work of the presbytery. The presbytery has the power to determine the number that should make up the visitation committee and to set the geographical boundaries for their work. Since the visitation committee is not a ruling body, it shall have no power to grant a request to call a pastor, nor has it the power to directly transmit a letter of call to a pastor, nor any power to install by its own will an interim pastor while the presbytery is in recess. However, the visitation committee shall have the power to render necessary assistance to sessions without a pastor that seek to invite guest preachers and to report to the presbytery regarding possible pastoral appointments for pastors within their jurisdiction and the salaries that they should be paid.
9. (a) The presbytery may entrust the work of appointing an interim pastor or an interim session moderator to the visitation committee or to a special committee, so that he may temporarily oversee the church without an installed pastor until the presbytery convenes. The visitation committee is established for the purpose of visiting and rendering care to the local churches on behalf of the presbytery, so it has the power, even when not invited, to be present at session meetings and officers’ meetings to observe, with power to speak, but without a vote. It is advisable for a session to consult with the visitation committee when it discusses the election of elders or the appointment of evangelists. The visitation committee shall report to the presbytery all the circumstances of the churches within its bounds and the matters brought to it, but it shall not infringe upon the power of sessions or individuals to submit a request directly to the presbytery, as that power is protected by the Book of Church Order.
(b) When an internal dispute arises in the local church that is within the jurisdiction of a presbytery, regarding membership in the presbytery and the ownership of church property, the right to manage the church property shall temporarily be placed within the hands of the presbytery until the dispute is resolved and the normal operation of the local church is restored.
10. The visitation committee shall occasionally visit and render care to pastors and churches to monitor their spiritual condition, financial affairs, evangelistic efforts, Church school work, and the activities of other organizations, and shall report to the presbytery whether the pastoral ministries are fruitful and beneficial to the members. The visitation committee shall submit to the presbytery any questions and requests presented by the ruling elders, sessions, officers’ board, and other representatives of the respective churches.
Article 7 The Record of the Presbytery and the Report Thereof
The presbytery shall maintain a full and accurate record of the licensure of evangelists, the ordination of ministers, their transfers in and out, and their deaths; and of the candidates to be ministers and evangelists; and of the founding, dividing, and uniting of churches within its region, and of all the proceedings pertaining to matters brought to the: local churches. The presbytery shall send these records annually to the higher court.
Article 8 Various Records the Presbytery Should Keep
The presbytery shall keep a record of (1) pastors in charge, (2) ministers at large, (3) pastors emeritus, (4) pastors meritorious, (5) evangelists, and (6) ministerial candidates.
Article 9 Presbytery Meetings
The presbytery shall meet at an appointed date and location. When there are special cases calling for meetings, the moderator shall, at the request of two ministers from different churches and of two ruling elders from different churches, call a special meeting. Should the moderator be for any reason unable to act, the vice-moderator or the stated clerk shall issue the call. When the moderator calls a special meeting, notice of that special meeting, stating the date and the business, shall be sent not less than ten days in advance to each member, and no business other than that named in the notice is to be transacted.
CHAPTER 10 The General Assembly
Article 1 Definition
The General Assembly is the highest court of all the congregations and courts of this church. It bears the title of the General Assembly of the World Korean Presbyterian Church.
Article 2 Organization
The General Assembly shall consist of ministers and ruling elders commissioned by the respective presbyteries; their names shall be sent to the stated clerk of the General Assembly no less than two months before the meeting is convened.
Article 3 Quorum
On the day appointed for the meeting, more than half of the presbyteries must be represented, and more than half of the ministers and ruling elders who are delegates must be present to constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
Article 4 Duties
The General Assembly shall superintend all the affairs of all the congregations and the courts and their interrelations, and shall receive for action from the lower courts references, requests, complaints, appeals, questions, and cases that are lawfully submitted to the Assembly. It shall review all presbytery records for approval or censure, and correspond with all churches so that they may have confidence in one another.
Article 5 Powers
1. The General Assembly shall have power to interpret the Book of Church Order (i.e., the Creed, the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Westminster Larger Catechism, the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the Form of Government, Constitutional Rules, the Rules of Discipline, and the Directory for the Worship of God); to decide all controversies involving doctrine and discipline; and to guard against errors in doctrine and immorality in practice.
2. The General Assembly shall have power to form, merge, divide, and terminate presbyteries; to determine geographical boundaries for jurisdiction; to examine ministerial candidates; to superintend all the churches of the General Assembly; and to correspond with representatives of other denominations according to the rules provided thereof.
3. The General Assembly shall suppress schismatic contentions and disputations, maintain orderly conduct for the whole church, and assist it by submitting an agenda for the promotion of charity, truth, and holiness.
4. The General Assembly shall have power to establish committees, to manage missionary endeavors at home and abroad, and to deal with other matters of importance brought before it. It also has the power to found seminaries and colleges/universities.
5. All property of the General Assembly shall be owned by the General Assembly.
Article 6 Meetings
The General Assembly shall meet annually on the date appointed. If for any reason the moderator is unable to be present, the vice-moderator or the moderator of the preceding assembly shall issue the call to order and shall remain in office until a new moderator is elected. No delegate shall have a right of membership in the General Assembly until he is enrolled and the roll is taken.
Article 7 The Opening and Closing of Meetings
The General Assembly shall open and close its meetings with prayer, and when the vote is taken for closing 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 closed, and I do hereby close it, and require another General Assembly, chosen in the same manner, to meet at _____ on the _____ day of A.D. _______ ,” after which he shall pray and return thanks, and the benediction shall be pronounced.
Article 8 Qualifications for the Delegates
1. Delegates to the General Assembly shall be the ministers and ruling elders appointed by the respective presbyteries.
2. No delegate appointed by a newly formed presbytery shall be qualified as such until a report of the formation of the presbytery is filed prior to the election of officers.
3. Only those who are delegates to their presbytery may serve as delegates to the
Article 9 Travel Expenses for the Delegates
Travel expenses for the delegates are borne by each congregation.
CHAPTER 11 The Election and Ordination of Ruling Elders and Deacons
Article 1 The Manner of Election
Ruling elders and deacons are elected by a two-thirds vote at the congregational meeting conducted according to the provisions for such a meeting.
Article 2 Consenting to Installation
No session shall install ruling elders until they, after duly elected, are examined by the presbytery, and they themselves consent to serve as elders.
Article 3 The Order of Installation
When the congregation has assembled on the day and at the place appointed by the session, a sermon shall be preached by the pastor, after which the presiding minister shall briefly state the warrant and nature of the office (of ruling elder or deacon). Having done this, he shall ask the candidate to stand, and shall ask him, in the presence of the church, the following questions:
1. Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the word of God, the only infallible and inerrant rule of faith and practice?
2. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Creed of this Church, and the Westminster Confession of Faith with its Larger and Shorter Catechisms, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures?
3. Do you approve of the Form of Government, the Constitutional Rules, the Rules of Discipline, and the Directory for Worship of this church?
4. Do you accept the office of ruling elder (or deacon, as the case may be) in this church, and promise, by the grace of God, to faithfully perform all the duties thereof?
5. Do you promise to strive for the peace, unity, and purity of the church? (Note: Questions 4 and 5 above are the “installation vow.”)
After the ruling elder or deacon elected has answered affirmatively, the minister shall ask the members of the church to stand, and shall address them the following question:
“Do you, the members of this church, acknowledge and receive Mr. ________ as ruling elder (or deacon), and do you vow to yield him all the honor, encouragement, and obedience in the Lord to which his office, according to the Scriptures and the Constitution of this Church, entitles him?”
The members of the church having answered affirmatively by holding up their right hands, the minister shall proceed to set apart the candidate, with prayer and the laying on of the hands of the minister alone or of the session, to the office of ruling elder (or deacon), followed by the exchange of handshakes. The minister shall make a pronouncement and declaration, and shall give to the new officer and to the church an exhortation suited to the occasion.
Article 4 The Term of Office
Ordination to the offices of ruling elder or deacon is perpetual. Nonetheless, there may be a term limit of at least three years, at the end of which a majority vote of the congregation will determine whether the officer is to be reinstalled to serve on active duty.
Article 5 Voluntary Leave of Office and Resignation
When a ruling elder or deacon cannot perform his duties because of his infirmity or old age, and when he, though chargeable with neither heresy nor immorality, becomes unacceptable in his official capacity to a majority of the church, the session may, at his request, request that he temporarily leave the office or resign.
Article 6 Leave of Office and Resignation by Request
When an elder or a deacon, though chargeable with no offense, yet due to the circumstances aforementioned, cannot edify the church, the session, after conference with him, shall request that he temporarily leave the office or resign. The session shall make an entry to this effect in the session record. In the event that the person concerned opposes that action, he may appeal.
CHAPTER 12 Candidates for the Gospel Ministry
Article 1 Remarks on Training
So that the sacred office may not be degraded by being committed to unworthy men, and that the church may have an opportunity to form a judgment respecting the ability of candidates for the gospel ministry to lead and rule the church as teaching elders, the Scriptures require that some trial first be made of them (1 Tim. 3:6; 2 Tim. 2:2). The General Assembly shall be responsible for examining the seminary graduates in the subjects prescribed, and the presbytery for interviewing, ordaining, and installing them, if and when they are called to churches.
Article 2 Jurisdiction
1. Every applicant for candidacy for the gospel ministry shall make his request known to the presbytery to which he belongs, and shall be under care of that presbytery for his further training.
2. Those ministerial candidates who have graduated from the seminary associated with the General Assembly or from a seminary that the General Assembly recognizes, shall receive ministerial training, after passing the Gang Do Sa written examination mentioned above, under the presbytery to which he has belonged for no less than six months.
3. Those who have graduated from a seminary that the General Assembly does not recognize shall not be eligible for taking the Gang Do Sa examination until they have studied theology and the Constitution of the Church for at least a year at the seminary associated with the General Assembly.
Article 3 Subjects for Examination
Gang Do Sa written examinations for ministerial candidates are given in the following subjects: (1) systematic theology, (2) the Constitution of the Church, (3) church history, and (4) the history of American Reformed Presbyterianism. Also, the candidate shall write a treatise, an exegetical paper on a passage of Scripture, and a sermon. The chairman of the Examinations and Credentials Committee of the General Assembly shall, in order to have an opportunity to form a judgment of the candidate’s capabilities, announce the theme of the treatise and the texts for the sermon and the biblical exegesis five months prior to the date of examination.
CHAPTER 13 The Election and Installation of Pastor and Missionary
Article 1 The Qualifications for Ordination
A pastor shall be a seminary graduate who has passed all the Gang Do Sa examinations administered by the General Assembly and by the presbytery, and has received a call from a church.
Article 2 The Election of a Pastor
When a congregation desires to invite a pastor, the session shall call a congregational meeting, and the interim moderator, after preaching a sermon and declaring to the congregation that the purpose of the meeting is to vote to invite a pastor, shall immediately put the call to a vote.
Article 3 Preparation for a Call
After the vote on a pastor, if it appears that a large minority of the voters are averse to the candidate who has received a majority of votes, the moderator shall endeavor to dissuade the majority from pursuing it further. But if the vote for the pastor is overwhelming, the moderator shall proceed to draw up a call in due form, and to have it subscribed by them and by the moderator, certifying in writing all of the proceedings of the meeting, and the number of those who do not concur in the call shall be laid before the presbytery together with the call.
Article 4 The Form of a Call
The call to a pastor shall take the following form:
The members of ______ Church in _______(town), being well satisfied of your ministerial gifts and qualifications, and having good hope that your ministrations in the gospel will be profitable to our spiritual interests, do earnestly call you to undertake the pastoral office in the said congregation, promising you, in the discharge of your duty during the time of your pastorate with us, all proper support, encouragement, and obedience in the Lord, and do hereby promise and oblige ourselves to pay you a monthly salary in the amount of $ _________. In testimony whereof we have respectively subscribed our names this _____ day of _____ , A.D.____ . We ask that your permission be granted.
Signatures of the congregation members
Signed by the moderator
Article 5 The Acceptance of a Call
A pastor who receives a call from a church shall see that it is in need of his pastoral care, and when he accepts the call, it is to be taken as his consent to provide that pastoral care.
Article 6 The Presentation of a Call
The call shall be presented to the presbytery having jurisdiction over the pastor called. The presbytery, if it finds it in order and deems it acceptable, shall place it in the hands of the person to whom it was addressed. No minister shall receive a call directly from a church, but only by permission of his presbytery.
Article 7 Calling a Pastor from Another Presbytery
When a congregation desires to call a minister of another presbytery, it shall elect the members of the Calling Committee, who, in turn, submit the call to the presbytery to which the congregation belongs. The presbytery, in turn, if it deems it acceptable, shall place the call, along with the reference, in the hands of the presbytery to which the person belongs. The presbytery, if it deems it acceptable, puts the call in the hands of the person who has received the call. When the person is willing to accept the call, the presbytery shall send a letter of transfer to the other presbytery. The person who is transferring to a new presbytery shall submit a written pledge on which he has signed his ordination vows.
Article 8 Preparation for Ordination and Installation
The presbytery, upon confirming that the person who has received a call meets all the qualifications for holding sacred office, shall ordain him at the church or during a presbytery meeting, and shall install him in the church where he will pastor. In the meantime, the members of the church shall prepare for the occasion with prayer (Acts 13:2, 3).
Article 9 The Ordination Service
1. Vow: The presbytery being convened, and a sermon suitable for the occasion preached by the person appointed, the moderator shall, in solemnity, state the nature and importance of ordination. With the person concerned standing, the moderator shall put 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 and inerrant rule of faith and practice?
b. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Creed of this Church, and the Westminster Confession of Faith with its Larger and Shorter Catechisms, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures?
c. Do you approve of the Form of Government, the Constitutional Rules, the Rules of
Discipline, and the Directory for Worship of this church?
d. Do you promise to cooperate with, and be in subjection to, your brethren in the
e. Have you been induced, as far as you know in your own heart, to seek the office of the holy ministry from love to God and a sincere desire to promote his glory and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus, his only begotten Son?
f. Do you promise to be zealous and faithful in maintaining the truths of the gospel, and the purity, the peace, and the unity of the church, despite persecution or opposition that may arise against you on that account?
g. Do you promise to be faithful and diligent in the exercise of all private and personal duties that become you as a Christian and a minister of the gospel, as well as in all the duties of your office, endeavoring to glorify the gospel and walk with exemplary piety before those among whom God has appointed you to labor?
2. Laying on of Hands: The ordination vow having been made as prescribed above, and the candidate kneeling, the presiding moderator shall, with prayer and the laying on of hands by the presbytery according to the apostolic example, set him apart to the holy office of gospel ministry, and take him by the right hand, saying, “We give you the right hand of fellowship, to take part in this ministry with us” (Gal. 2:9; Acts 1:25). As prescribed above, the candidate shall sign the ordination vows and hand the signed paper over to the moderator.
3. Pronouncement: The presiding moderator shall say, “I now pronounce and declare that Mr. _____ is duly ordained and installed as pastor of ______ Church of the World Korean Presbyterian Church.”
4. Charge: The moderator or some other minister appointed for the purpose shall give a charge to the new pastor (2 Tim. 4:1-2), and the presbytery shall duly record its proceedings in the minutes.
Article 10 The Installation Service
The presbytery or committee being convened and constituted at the location and time appointed, the installation service shall be conducted as follows:
1. Installation Vow
The person to be installed shall respond affirmatively to the following questions:
a. Are you now willing to take charge of this congregation as its pastor, agreeable to your declaration in accepting its call?
b. Do you conscientiously believe and declare 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 promise that, by the assistance of the grace of God, you will faithfully endeavor to discharge all the duties of a pastor to this congregation, and will be careful to maintain a deportment in all respects becoming a minister of the gospel of Christ, agreeable to your ordination engagements?
d. After taking the installation vows, the candidate shall sign them.
2. Congregational Vow
The members of the congregation standing, the moderator shall ask the following questions, to which they shall answer affirmatively by holding up their right hands. a. Do you, the people of ____ Church, continue to profess your readiness to receive Reverend ________ , whom you have called to be your pastor?
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 labors, and to assist his endeavors for your instruction and spiritual edification?
d. Do you promise to continue to give, while he is your pastor, that worldly maintenance that you have promised, and whatever else you may see needful for the honor of religion and his comfort among you?
The moderator shall pronounce and declare, “In the name of Jesus Christ, the Head of his church, and by virtue of the authority of the presbytery, I now solemnly pronounce and declare that the Reverend _______ has been installed as the pastor of this congregation.”
Following the vow, the moderator or some other minister appointed for that purpose shall give a charge to the newly installed pastor and to the congregation, and conclude the service with a benediction.
Article 11 A Pastor from Another Denomination
When a minister of another denomination seeks admission to a presbytery of this Church, he, if a graduate of a seminary not recognized by the Church, must first study at the Reformed Presbyterian Seminary of the Church for at least one year and be examined regarding his belief in Reformed Theology before he can be admitted to the presbytery.
CHAPTER 14 The Transfer of Ministers
Article 1 Approval
No minister shall transfer to another congregation without the approval of the presbytery, nor shall he receive a call directly from a local church.
Article 2 Transfer within the Presbytery
When a church desires to call an installed pastor of a church within the presbytery, it shall, with the approval of the congregation, submit the request and the call to the stated clerk of the presbytery a month prior to the presbytery meeting. The clerk, in turn, shall immediately inform the minister being called and the church concerned, of the reasons for the call. The church making the call shall send a Calling Committee member to the presbytery .
1. The member of the Calling Committee shall state the reason for the call before the presbytery, and the presbytery, if it deems it not acceptable, shall withdraw the call. However, if the presbytery deems it acceptable, the same shall approve it and place it in the hands of the minister called.
2. The presbytery, upon hearing the case from the representatives of the respective churches, shall endeavor to maintain the peace and edification of the church, and shall decide whether to permit his transfer or to have him remain. Any case beyond its control may be referred to the higher court.
Article 3 Transfer into and out of Another Presbytery
When a church desires to call an installed pastor of a church of another presbytery, it shall make such a request known to the presbytery to which the church belongs, and which, in turn if it approves the call, shall send it to the other presbytery. If the other presbytery, after reviewing the case and consulting with the pastor called and with the church, approves, it shall permit him to transfer, dissolve his pastoral relationship with the church, and place a letter of transfer in the hands of the person called, who, in turn, shall deliver it to the presbytery into which he is transferring. The presbytery, upon receipt of his letter of transfer, shall install him at its convenience. No presbytery shall order a transfer against the pastor’s will.
CHAPTER 15 The Dissolution of Pastoral Relations
Article 1 Voluntary Dissolution
When any minister shall tender the resignation of his pastoral charge to his presbytery due to a difficulty, the presbytery shall cite the church to send representatives before it, to address the reason for his resignation. If the church’s representatives fail to appear, or if their explanations be deemed insufficient, his resignation shall be accepted, the proceedings shall be recorded in the minutes, and the church shall be a church without a pastor.
Article 2 Recommended Dissolution
When a church desires to be relieved of its pastor because he is not in favor, the presbytery shall act upon it after hearing the pastor and the representatives of the church.
Article 3 Voluntary Resignation
When a pastor deems that his ministry does not benefit the church that he is serving, he shall tender a letter of resignation to the presbytery. Then the presbytery shall confer with the pastor to act upon it.
Article 4 Recommended Resignation
The presbytery shall recommend the resignation of the pastor who either lacks qualifications for his holy office or is left at large for more than five years, though he is found to be in good health mentally and physically and is capable of laboring in the ministry .
Article 5 Leave of Absence
When an installed pastor takes a leave of absence from his church for more than a year because of infirmity or some other reason, he shall secure permission from the presbytery, and when he takes a leave of absence for over a year without the permission of the presbytery, his relationship with the church shall be automatically dissolved.
CHAPTER 16 Missionaries
Article 1 Missionaries
The General Assembly may send missionaries, home and foreign, to other ethnic groups and to fellow countrymen in order to plant churches. A candidate, though he has not received a call from a church, may be ordained as a missionary. No one may be ordained as a missionary against his will, but only those who desire it. The worldly maintenance and other expenses for the missionaries shall be borne by the sending courts and agencies.
CHAPTER 17 Moderator and Clerk
Article 1 Moderator
In the judicatories of the church a moderator shall serve as presiding officer, so that business may be conducted with order and dispatch; he shall serve a term according to the rules of the respective judicatories.
Article 2 The Powers of the Moderator
The moderator, within the limits of the power delegated by the whole body, shall have all authority necessary for the observance of the rules; for the preservation of order; for convening and adjourning the judicatory, and directing its operation according to the rules; for taking actions, after a full discussion, on matters before the judicatory, by the most expeditious means; and for keeping members from infringing upon the right of the floor (which is granted solely by the moderator), and from discussing matters irrelevant to the agenda, and from expressing any insulting, sarcastic, or derogatory comments. The moderator shall have the power to see to it that no members leave the meeting while it is in session and that there be a full explanation to the judicatory of the matter at hand before the voting takes place. In the event that the results of the voting are even, the moderator has the power to vote. If he declines to vote, then the matter is automatically disapproved. The moderator shall announce every decision made. In the event that the order of the meeting cannot be maintained due to extraordinary circumstances, he reserves the right to adjourn the meeting.
Article 3 Clerk
Every judicatory shall choose a clerk to preserve the minutes and the records of all its transactions. He shall serve such a term as the judicatory may determine.
Article 4 The Duties of the Clerk
It is the duty of the clerk to accurately record all the proceedings of the meeting, to carefully preserve all the records, and, with the consent of the judicatory, to produce extracts from them whenever properly required; and such extracts shall be considered as authentic vouchers of the facts that they declare.
CHAPTER 18 The Powers and Responsibilities of Various Agencies of the Church
Article 1 Formation
A local congregation or a group of congregations, in an endeavor to promote missionary enterprises and charities, and to grow in grace, may organize various agencies within the church.
Article 2 Management
Any agency organized within a local church shall be under the rule, jurisdiction, and supervision of the session thereof, and when such an agency expands its activities within a presbytery or beyond its presbytery, it shall come under the jurisdiction of that presbytery or the General Assembly, as appropriate. The session and other members of the church may serve as advisers to the various agencies.
Article 3 Power
By the Constitution of the Church, these agencies, when choosing names, making rules, electing officers, and handling financial matters, shall be under the jurisdiction and supervision of the court.
CHAPTER 19 Meetings
Article 1 Congregational Meetings
The membership shall consist of all the communicant members of the church.
2. Calling the Meeting
The congregational meeting shall be convened by the session when the session deems it necessary, or when a request is made by the officers’ board, by one-third of the communicant members, or by the higher court.
The moderator and the clerk of the session shall serve as moderator and clerk, respectively, in congregational meetings. When the session has no moderator, the session shall ma1ce a request for an interim moderator (among the ministers of the presbytery), and shall prepare the minutes separately, which will be preserved by the clerk.
The session shall give public notice to the congregation, stating the date, the place, and the agenda of the meeting, one week in advance. The quorum of the meeting shall consist of those in attendance at the appointed time. However, if the attendance is low, the moderator shall persuade the congregation to reconvene the meeting on another day.
The annual congregational meeting shall hear the proceedings of the session and the reports of the various agencies, adopt the financial reports, and vote on the matters lawfully presented at the meeting. All matters may be decided by majority vote except for the matter of calling a pastor, which requires a two-thirds majority vote and signatures of the majority of the communicant members of the church. Electing elders, deacons, and kwonsas also requires a two-thirds majority vote.
Article 2 Officers’ Meetings
The officers’ meeting consists of the members of the session and the deacons of the church. The pastor shall serve as moderator and shall help elect a secretary and a treasurer. Under certain circumstances, the session may delegate power to associate pastors, evangelists, kwonsas, and acting deacons to transact the business of the officers’ meeting.
2. The Officers’ Meeting of an Unorganized Church
In an unorganized church, the pastor, evangelists, and acting deacons shall carry out the business transactions of the officers’ meeting on a temporary basis.
3. Financial Business
(a) The officers’ board shall determine how the funds entrusted to the church shall be distributed.
(b) All matters concerning relief, expenses, and church finances shall be acted upon at the officers’ meetings, and the treasurer shall apportion the church funds as the officers’ meetings may decide.
(c) The officers’ board shall, at the congregational meeting, present its annual report, including income and expenditures, together with the proposed church finance plan for the ensuing year. The treasurer shall have his records ready for inspection.
A quorum consists of the majority of the members. However, a matter of urgency, if of little consequence, may be immediately acted upon without a quorum, and the decision shall later be reported at the regular meeting for approval.
Article 3 Joint Officers’ Boards
A regional joint officers’ board may be formed for the convenience of its members. The joint officers’ board shall consist of all the pastors, evangelists, and one or more delegates representing the officers’ boards within the region, and the officers shall be elected by majority vote.
The joint officers’ board has no ruling power, but it shall vote on such matters as joint finances, joint evangelistic activities, joint Sunday schools, and joint Christian education. It shall also receive reports on church and evangelistic activities in the region.
Chapter 20 Amending the Constitution
In amending the Form of Government, the Constitutional Rules, the Rules of Discipline, and the Directory for Worship, the General Assembly shall refer it to all the presbyteries for approval by a two-thirds majority vote of each presbytery. The clerk of each presbytery shall notify the clerk of the General Assembly of the action of the presbytery, and the moderator of the next General Assembly shall declare the results and put them into effect.
In amending the Creed, the Confession of Faith, and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, the General Assembly, after proposing the amendment, shall refer it to the presbyteries for approval by a two-thirds majority of the total votes, and shall adopt the amendment at the next General Assembly. The clerk of each presbytery shall notify, in writing, the clerk of the General Assembly of the action taken by the presbytery.
The General Assembly, before proposing an amendment to the Creed, the Confession of Faith, or the Larger or Shorter Catechism to the presbyteries, shall appoint a special committee of eleven or more members (ministers and ruling elders) for a year of study on the matter. They shall make a report to the next General Assembly, and no more than three members from anyone presbytery shall be on the committee.
When an amendment to the Constitution is proposed to the General Assembly by at least one-third of the presbyteries, the General Assembly, in turn, shall propose the amendment to all the presbyteries and it shall be acted upon as prescribed in Articles 1 and 2 above.