“I Own and Accept …”: The Presbyterian Ordination Vow

"I own and accept the Subordinate Standard of this Church [the Westminster Confession], with the explanations given in the Articles contained in the Declaratory Statement, as an exhibition of the sense in which I understand the Holy Scriptures, and as a confession of my faith.

I further own the purity of worship practised in this Church, and the Presbyterian Government thereof, to be founded on the Word of God and agreeable thereto; and I promise that through the grace of God I shall firmly and constantly adhere to the same, and to the utmost of my power shall, in my station, assert, maintain, and defend the doctrine, worship, and government of this Church."

                  — Formula for Ordination in the Presbyterian Church of Australia     (to be signed by Probationers when licensed and by Ministers and Elders when inducted) 


                                                TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page

Formula for Elders, Ministers and Probationers of the P.C.A.

Table of contents

Foreword — by G.A.A. Procurator F. Maxwell Bradshaw (M.A., LL.M.)

" I     O w n     a n d     A c c e p t . . . . "  —  by  Rev.  Prof.  Dr.  Francis  Nigel  Lee



1. The Infallible Bible — our only Supreme Standard

2. Confessions of faith in Holy Scripture

3. How the Patristic Church confessed her faith

4. Confessing Christ at the Protestant Reformation

5. Why Whimper or Whisper about Westminster?

6. A Summary of the Westminster Confession of Faith

7. Amendments to the Confession in the P.C.A. since 1901

8. Some Declaratory Statements and the Confession

9. The Confession not the Statement is our Standard

10. Australia’s Presbyterian Declaratory Statement

Epilogue — by Rev. Prof. Dr. B.B. Warfield ….

About the author



Anything produced by Professor Nigel Lee, the distinguished occupant of the Chair of Systematic Theology at the Theological Hall of the Presbyterian Church of Queensland, really requires neither Forward nor Introduction — it speaks for itself.

In the light of Dr. Lee’s known erudition I desire merely to draw attention to the great importance of what he says regarding the Declaratory Statement.    Dr. Lee refutes the common error of regarding the Declaratory Statement as being part of the Subordinate Standard of the Church.

For such an approach leads to the erroneous view that it is possible to amend the Statement. Secondly, the Declaratory Statement is to be regarded for purposes of construction — not as if it were a Subordinate Standard or part thereof, as such is understood in the Presbyterian Church, but as having the more limited function of declaratory legislation.

Its purpose is quite different from that of the Subordinate Standard.   Special attention should also be given to what Dr. Lee says regarding the liberty of opinion provision in the Declaratory Statement.

F. Maxwell Bradshaw

                         [Late Procurator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Australia] 



This pamphlet began embryonically with study papers I originally wrote as a Member of the Code Committee and of the G.A.A. Committee on Office in the P.C.A. (Presbyterian Church of Australia).

It next took further shape in some of the lectures to my theology students, especially in the Church History and Dogmatology courses.

It grew further, after I was invited to present some addresses on the Westminster Confession and the Declaratory Statement to the Presbytery of Darling Downs.

It later reached its final form — after I traced man’s confession of faith in the Triune God: from the Garden of Eden, until the Westminster Assembly.

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