Do we need a Consultation against Church Union?

The Consultation on Church Union, which will hold its sixth annual meeting during the first week of May, has in fact become the Consultation for Church Union. By its very nature, the consultation is preoccupied with the favorable aspects of uniting the ten denominations now participating in the negotiations. Its reports, two booklets, several pamphlets, and other communications deal mainly with the positive side of the issue.

This approach may have been necessary at first, but the time has come for presentation of the opposing view. The need for a dialogue—pro and con—on union is evident from a study of various statements issued by COCU. In the foreword to a booklet containing reports of the first four meetings, the Executive Committee says, “We feel that we cannot now turn back from the road to unity, but must press with all our power to have the millions of our fellow-churchmen know and share this same experience.” The inside cover says the COCU denominations “are seeking organic union.” Such statements reveal the strong conviction within COCU that organic union has already been accepted as the proper goal for all the churches involved.

A change in the mission and purpose of COCU occurred at its 1965 meeting, according to this same booklet: “At Lexington the Consultation passed from the phase of conversation to negotiation.” At the fifth meeting, in Dallas last year, the consultation approved an outline of a time schedule and procedure for the merger called “The Steps and Stages Toward a United Church.” The schedule is summarized as follows:

1. Establishment of the consultation in 1962.

2. Adoption of “Principles of Church Union” at the 1966 Dallas meeting.

3. Preparation of a ...

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