The First General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, meeting at the Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, Alabama, December 4-7, 1973, adopted the Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism and the Shorter Catechism as the doctrinal standards of the Church.
The Presbyterian Church in America received the same Confession and Catechisms as those that were adopted by the first American Presbyterian Assembly of 1789, with two minor exceptions, namely, the deletion of strictures against marrying one’s wife’s kindred (XXIV,4), and the reference to the Pope as the antichrist (XXV,6).
Other than these changes, and the American amendments of Chapter XXIII on the civil magistrate (adopted in 1789), this is the Confession and Catechisms as agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster which met from 1643-1647. The Caruthers edition of the Confession and Catechisms, which is based upon the original manuscript written by Cornelius Burgess is the Edition presented to and adopted by the First General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America.
The Scripture proof texts are essentially those of the Westminster Assembly, which have been approved by the Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, but which are not a part of the Constitution itself. At the direction of the General Assembly these texts are presented in full. The King James Version has been used, since this is the English text that was in use at the time of the Westminster Assembly, the language of which is at times reflected in the Confession and Catechisms.
The inclusion of the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostle’s Creed and the footnote regarding them with the Shorter Catechism goes back to the Westminster divines, though these are not a formal part of the Standards themselves.
In addition to the Confession, we have included with permission of the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church in the United States a historical sketch entitled “The Origin and Formation of the Westminster Confession of Faith.” This statement was first ordered printed by the 1906 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States. It has been revised only in the last two paragraphs as it refers to the Presbyterian Church in America.