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Act 12, 1846 (Class 1) – Act anent Questions and Formula. 1st June 1846 (As amended by Act 2, 1874 – Act anent Signing of the Formula and Act 1, 2023 – Questions and Formula)

WHEREAS it has become necessary, in consequence of the late change in the outward condition of the Church, to amend the Questions and Formula to be used at the licensing of Probationers, and the ordination of Deacons, Elders, and Ministers respectively, the General Assembly, with consent of a majority of Presbyteries, enact and ordain, that the following shall be the questions so to be used : And, considering that the Formula, to this Act subjoined, embodies the substance of the answers to the said questions, the Assembly appoint the same to be subscribed by all Probationers of the Church before receiving licence to preach the gospel, and by all office-bearers at the time of their admission : And the General Assembly, in passing this act, think it right to declare, that, while the Church firmly maintains the same scriptural principles as to the duties of nations and their rulers in reference to true religion and the Church of Christ, for which she has hitherto contended, she disclaims intolerant or persecuting principles, and does not regard her Confession of Faith, or any portion thereof, when fairly interpreted, as favouring intolerance or persecution, or consider that her office-bearers, by subscribing it, profess any principles inconsistent with liberty of conscience and the right of private judgment.

Part 1: Questions to be put to Elders and Deacons before Ordination
1. Do you believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, and are the only rule of faith and practice? 

2. Do you sincerely own and declare the whole doctrine of the Westminster Confession of Faith, as accepted by General Assemblies of this Church, 1 to be the truth of God contained in the Old and New Testaments; and do you affirm the Confession to be the confession of your faith to which you will constantly adhere? 

3. Do you own and acknowledge the Presbyterian form of Church Government 2 to be the only Government of this Church; and do you promise not to, directly or indirectly, subvert or prejudice it, but submit to it and to concur with it? 

4. Do you believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, as King and Head of the Church, has appointed a government in the Church in the hands of Church-officers, distinct from, and not subordinate in its own sphere to, civil government, and that civil government has no jurisdiction over the regulation of the affairs of Christ’s Church? 

5. Do you approve the general principles embodied in the historic Disruption documents of 1842 and 1843 3 as declaring the views authorised by the Word of God and the Standards of this Church, with respect to the spirituality and freedom of the Church of Christ, and her subjection to Him as her only Head, and to His word as her only standard? 

6. Do you promise to observe uniformity of worship and the administration of all public ordinances within this Church as presently performed and allowed? 

7. Do you accept the office of Elder [Deacon] of this congregation and promise, through grace, to faithfully, diligently and cheerfully perform all the duties of an Elder [a Deacon]?

1 As understood by the Act of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1647 anent Approbation of Confession of Faith and in Act 12, 1846. 

2 Presbyterian government is government by Kirk-Sessions, Presbyteries, Provincial Synods (where operating), and General Assemblies.

3 For the avoidance of doubt the historical documents referred to in this question are the Claim, Declaration, and Protest, adopted by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1842, and in the Protest of Ministers and Elders, Commissioners from Presbyteries to the General Assembly, read in presence of the Royal Commissioner on 18th May 1843 

Part 2
Questions to be put to Probationers before they are Licensed to preach the Gospel
1. Do you believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, and are the only rule of faith and practice?

2. Do you sincerely own and declare the whole doctrine of the Westminster Confession of Faith, as accepted by General Assemblies of this Church 4, to be the truth of God contained in the Old and New Testaments; and do you affirm the Confession to be the confession of your faith to which you will constantly adhere?

3. Do you sincerely own the purity of worship as presently authorised and practiced in this Church, and also its Presbyterian form of Government and discipline; and are you persuaded that the said doctrine, worship, government and discipline are founded upon and agreeable to the Word of God?

4. Do you believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, as King and Head of the Church, has appointed a government in the Church in the hands of Church Officers, distinct from, and not subordinate in its own sphere to, civil government, and that civil government has no jurisdiction over the regulation of the affairs of Christ’s Church?

5. Do you approve the general principles embodied in the historic Disruption documents of 1842 and 1843 5 as declaring the views authorised by the Word of God and the Standards of this Church, with respect to the spirituality and freedom of the Church of Christ, and her subjection to Him as her only Head, and to His word as her only standard?

6. Do you promise, through the grace of God, that you will firmly and constantly adhere to the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government of this Church and wholeheartedly assert, maintain, support and defend it?

7. Do you promise to conform to the worship of this Church and to submit to the discipline and government of this Church, and not to, directly or indirectly, subvert or prejudice it?

8. Do you promise that you will follow no divisive courses from the doctrine, worship, discipline, and
government of this Church?

9. Do you renounce all doctrines, tenets, or opinions contrary to, or inconsistent with, the doctrine worship, discipline, and government of this Church?

10. Do you promise that you will submit yourself willingly and humbly to the lawful authorities of this Church?

4 As understood by the Act of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1647 anent Approbation of Confession of Faith and in Act 12, 1846.

5 For the avoidance of doubt the historical documents referred to in this question are the Claim, Declaration, and Protest,
adopted by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1842, and in the Protest of Ministers and Elders, Commissioners from Presbyteries to the General Assembly, read in presence of the Royal Commissioner on 18th May 1843.

Part 3
Questions to be put to Probationers before Ordination
Questions to be put to a Minister already ordained at his admission to a Pastoral Charge

1. Do you believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, and are the only rule of faith and practice?

2. Do you sincerely own and declare the whole doctrine of the Westminster Confession of Faith as accepted by General Assemblies of this Church 6, to be the truth of God, contained in the Old and New Testaments; and do you affirm the Confession to be the confession of your faith to which you will constantly adhere?

3. Do you promise to firmly and faithfully hold fast to the doctrine of the Westminster Confession of Faith, and to declare, teach and defend the same?

4. Do you renounce all doctrines, tenets or opinions 7 contrary to, or inconsistent with, the Westminster
Confession of Faith?

5. Do you promise to observe uniformity of worship and the administration of all public ordinances within this Church as presently performed and allowed?

6. Are you persuaded that the Presbyterian Government 8 and Discipline of this Church are founded on and agreeable to the Word of God; and do you promise to submit to them and concur with them, and not to, directly or indirectly, subvert or prejudice it, but wholeheartedly to maintain, support and defend them as God enables you?

7. Do you believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, as King and Head of the Church, has appointed a government in the Church in the hands of Church-officers, distinct from, and not subordinate in its own sphere to, civil government, and that civil government has no jurisdiction over the regulation of the affairs of Christ’s Church?

8. Do you approve the general principles embodied in the historic Disruption documents of 1842 and 1843 9 as declaring the views authorised by the Word of God and the Standards of this Church, with respect to the spirituality and freedom of the Church of Christ, and her subjection to Him as her only Head, and to His word as her only standard?

9. Do you promise to submit yourself willingly and humbly to the lawful authorities of this Church, whether Presbyteries or General Assemblies; and to maintain its unity and peace against error and schism, regardless of whatever trouble or persecution may arise, and that you will follow no divisive courses from its doctrine, worship, discipline, and government?

10. Are not the call of God, zeal for his glory, love for the Lord Jesus Christ, and a desire for the salvation of all people, your primary motivations to serve God in the holy ministry rather than worldly interests?

11. Have you used any inappropriate methods, either by yourself or others, to procure this call?

12. Do you commit yourself, in the strength of Christ, to godly and exemplary conduct in personal, family and public life?

13. Do you wholeheartedly accept this call to be pastor of this congregation, and promise, through grace, to faithfully, diligently and cheerfully perform all the duties of a Minister of the gospel among this people, as well as in the wider community, seeking in all things the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom?

6 As understood by the Act of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1647 anent Approbation of Confession of Faith and in Act 12, 1846.

7 For the avoidance of doubt the disowning all doctrines, tenets and opinion contrary to the Confession including all Roman
Catholic, Arian, Socinian, Arminian and Erastian positions

8 Presbyterian government is government by Kirk-Sessions, Presbyteries, Provincial Synods (where operating), and General
Assemblies.

9 For the avoidance of doubt the historical documents referred to in this question are the Claim, Declaration, and Protest, adopted by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1842, and in the Protest of Ministers and Elders, Commissioners from Presbyteries to the General Assembly, read in presence of the Royal Commissioner on 18th May 1843.

Formula
To be subscribed by Probationers before receiving Licensing, and by all Office-bearers at the time of Admission to Office
I, , do hereby declare, that I do sincerely own and believe the whole doctrine of the Westminster Confession of Faith, as accepted by General Assemblies of this Church, to be the truth of God and I do own the same as the confession of my faith; as likewise I do own the purity of worship as presently authorised and practiced in this Church, and also its presbyterian government and discipline; which doctrine, worship, and church government, I am persuaded are founded upon and agreeable to the word of God.
I also approve of the general principles respecting the jurisdiction of the Church, and its subjection to Christ as its only Head, contained in the historic Disruption documents of 1842 and 1843.10 And I promise that, through the grace of God, I shall firmly and constantly adhere to the same, and wholeheartedly assert, maintain, support and defend it, and the presbyterian government of this Church, together with the liberty and exclusive jurisdiction of it; and that I shall conform to the worship, and submit to the discipline, government, and exclusive jurisdiction, and not endeavour to subvert or prejudice them. And I promise that I shall follow no divisive course from the doctrine, worship, discipline, government, and exclusive jurisdiction of this Church, renouncing all doctrines, tenets, and opinions whatsoever, contrary to, or inconsistent with, the doctrine, worship, discipline, government, or jurisdiction of this Church.

10 For the avoidance of doubt the historical documents referred to in this question are the Claim, Declaration, and Protest,
adopted by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1842, and in the Protest of Ministers and Elders,
Commissioners from Presbyteries to the General Assembly, read in presence of the Royal Commissioner on 18th May 1843