I am a member and non-ruling elder of Westminster Presbyterian Church (Minneapolis), which is a member of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) denomination. The latter’s Constitution consists of the following two parts.
Part I: The Book of Confessions
This Book contains the following confessions:
- The Nicene Creed (A.D. 381)
- The Apostles’ Creed (A.D. 180)
- The Scots Confession (1560)
- The Heidelberg Catechism [Germany] (1562)
- The Second Helvetic Confession [Switzerland/Germany] (1561)
- The Westminster Confession of Faith [Scotland/England] (1647, 1649)
- The Shorter Catechism [Scotland/England] (1649)
- The Larger Catechism [Scotland/England] (1649)
- The Theological Declaration of Barmen [Germany] (1934)
- The Confession of 1967 [U.S.A.]
- The Confession of Belhar [South Africa] (1980)
- A Brief Confession of Faith—Presbyterian Church [U.S.A.](1983)
Some of these confessions are very short while others are very long. The only one I recall reading or studying is The Confession of Belhar, which was created in South Africa as a result of its struggles over apartheid and which was discussed in my blog post, The Confession of Belhar Is Adopted by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), dwkcommentaries.com (July 21, 2016).
Part II: The Book of Order 2019-2023.
The Book of Order consists of the following:
- The Foundations of Presbyterian Polity (The Mission of the Church, The Church and Its Confessions and Principles of Order and Government)
- The Form of Government,
- Directory for Worship, and
- Rules of Discipline.
I do not recall reading or studying any parts of The Book of Order, except for three of the Principles of Order and Government that were or will be discussed in the following sermons by Rev. Dr. Timothy Hart-Andersen, our Senior Pastor, and that will be examined in subsequent posts to this blog:
- Presbyterian Principles: God alone is Lord of the Conscience (April 30, 2023);
- Presbyterian Principles: Truth is in order to goodness (May 7, 2023); and
- Presbyterian Principles: It is our duty to exercise mutual forbearance toward each other (May 14, 2023).