PCA BCO 38-1, Can I get an interpretation?

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by Romans922, Oct 23, 2009.

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  1. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Cases Without Process
    38-1. When any person shall come forward and make his offense known to the court, a full statement of the facts shall be recorded and judgment rendered without process. In handling a confession of guilt, it is essential that the person intends to confess and permit the court to render judgment without process. Statements made by him in the presence of the court must not be taken as a basis of a judgment without process except by his consent. In the event a confession is intended, a full statement of the facts should be approved by the accused, and by the court, before the court proceeds to a judgment. The accused has the right of complaint against the judgment.
    Can someone help me with an interpretation, especially of the underlined/bolded?Also, what if he/she confesses something and yet is unrepentant of it during his/her confession of another sin (they have not turned from it)?
     
  2. Wayne

    Wayne Tempus faciendi, Domine.

    Ramsay's Exposition has this:

    F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, pp. 231-232 ), on XII-1:
    Chapter XII.--Of Cases Without Process.

    These are not acts of technical discipline, as there is no judicial prosecution; and yet there is one part of process whenever a judgment of censure is rendered. Process is a means of determining whether to use censure, and may be dispensed with when not needed for this end.

    Four cases are here enumerated : confession of guilt ; confession of an unregenerate heart ; confession of a lack of a call to office ; and renunciation of the communion of the Church.

    234.--I. When any person shall come forward and make his offence known to the court, a full statement of the facts shall be recorded and judgment rendered without process.

    It is essential that the person intends to confess and permit the court to render judgment without process. Statements made by him in the presence of the court must not be taken as the basis of judgment without process except by his consent ; for that would be to deprive him of his right. And the full statement of facts should be approved by him as correct before the court proceeds to render judgment. Against the judgment rendered the person condemned may complain. Of course, the words "any person" must be interpreted as meaning any person subject to judicial prosecution before the particular court.

    [emphasis added. excerpted from Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order : Chapter 38, Paragraph 1.]
     
  3. tcalbrecht

    tcalbrecht Puritan Board Junior

    In cases without process (no formal trial proceedings), you may not use a person’s statement to their disadvantage unless it was their intention to confess to that specific charge/sin. If, in the course of confessing A they happen to make a statement about B, you cannot use that statement about B as an admission of guilt unless it was their intention.
     
  4. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor

    My understanding is that this is intended as a protection against a summary judgment that might occur as a result of an unintended "confession".

    I.E. a person has a conversation with an elder & tells him that he enjoyed a very nice bottle of wine at dinner last night. At the next session meeting the elder asks for a "judgment without process" since brother Smith "confessed" to the sin of drunkeness.

    Since the person had no intention of "confessing"' & did not know (and thus did not consent) to the use that the elder intended to use his comment. Then he can not recieve a "judgment without process" on the basis of his comment/confession.
     
  5. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    That was the most helpful, most thoughtful, and most explanatory post in this whole thread. :)
     
  6. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    I'll yield, if someone more expert in PCA canon law comes along, but my understanding is that it is much like the civil law:

    You can knowingly waive a trial, confess, and have the court pass judgment, or you can opt for a trial, have the evidence put against you, and defend yourself. But a mere confession, without waiver, won't deprive you of your right to trial. This seems to be a plain reading of the provision.
     
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