Hammering Out Item 1

By Jared Nelson | September 21, 2023

Image Credit: master1305 via Abode Stock

While all of the proposed amendments to the Book of Church Order (BCO) received about three-fourths (or more) support at the 50th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCAGA50), Item 1 (i.e., Overture 26), is most likely to receive a measure of debate and discussion in the presbyteries. The context of the debate leading up to PCAGA50, in Overtures Committee and on the Assembly floor, however, can help us to understand the proposal and why it takes the current narrow form that it does.

First, the language of the proposed amendment to BCO 7-3 regards titling of unordained people by the simple addition of a sentence (which is underlined):

BCO 7-3. No one who holds office in the Church ought to usurp authority therein, or receive official titles of spiritual preeminence, except such as are employed in the Scripture. Furthermore, unordained people shall not be referred to as, or given the titles of, the ordained offices of pastor/elder, or deacon.