Almighty God in his providence has permitted that different portions of his Church should be governed in various ways, and has blessed bodies differently governed as his fruitful branches. Rejoicing in this fact and in no wise casting reflections upon bodies differently governed we believe that government by presbyters is founded upon and agreeable to the Word of God and the practice of the primitive Christians, and is highly expedient.
We believe that government by two kinds of presbyters, ministers and ruling elders, who are to be joined in the oversight of the Church, is founded upon and agreeable to the Word of God, and is highly expedient.
Believing that Synods and Councils as set forth in our Confession of Faith are founded upon and agreeable to the Word of God, and believing further that, when Scripturally conducted, such courts are an aid to the faith and life of the flock of Christ, we authorize the spiritual government of this Church by sessions, presbyteries and synods, which are to be composed only of presbyters.
These courts shall not possess any civil jurisdiction, nor may they inflict any civil penalties. Their power is wholly moral and spiritual, and that only ministerial and declarative of the Word of God. They possess the right of requiring obedience to the commands of Christ and of excluding offenders against him from the privileges of the Church, but only in such manner and to such extent as is specifically authorized by the Constitution of this Church.
The ordinary and perpetual officers in this Church are Ministers, Ruling Elders, and Deacons.