The Presbytery of the Ascension is petitioning the 41st General Assembly to amend the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) to include language about taking a “collection” as a part of the traditional worship service. If approved, the phrase “collections for the work of the church” would be added to WCF chapter 21:5.

According to the proposed overture, the WCF “makes no reference to collections as an ordinary element of worship or as an occasional element of worship.”

“[The proposed amendment] will bring our constitution in line with our practice,” explains teaching elder T. David Gordon, who drafted the proposed revision. “Most churches already believe that the Scriptures teach the duty of giving to the work of the church, so they already take up contributions. But since the Westminster standards were written at a time (17th-century England) when the churches were supported by the government’s taxes, Westminster simply overlooked the matter.”

The overture states that — in addition to the fact that most PCA churches already practice the tradition — passages such as I Corinthians 16:1-2 and Acts 2:42 indicate that collections were a regular part of Christian assemblies in the early church. As well, the Book of Church Order recommends that church members contribute at least a tithe of one’s income (though the overture intentionally avoids reference to the tithe in deference to the 1854 General Assembly’s rejection of it).

The overture is clear that this amendment is not specifying when the collection should take place, defining what exactly the “work of the church” is, or designating what language should be used to describe the collection (“offering,” “collection,” “tithe,” etc.). Finally, it does not indicate the