From the theological test tube of the embattled United Church of Canada a vague new creed will be poured this week. The ninety-word statement (see text below) may cause a fresh wave of disappointment and dissent among members of Canada’s largest Protestant denomination.

The new document, billed by spokesmen as a contemporary expression that “says enough without attempting to say too much,” comes from the United Church’s Committee on Christian Faith. It will be formally examined for the first time at the twenty-third General Council, the denominational legislature.

The ten-day biennial session of the council begins August 27 in the Ontario port city of Kingston.

A new service book is being suggested also, to contain the newly drafted creed along with the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds and the statement of faith drawn up by the United Church of Christ in the United States about ten years ago.

A Canadian church official said the committee formulated the new creed upon request of a previous General Council. He expressed surprise that the wording had been made public, saying he thought it was to have been kept secret until the council convened. He said about thirty attempts were made at a creed before the present wording was adopted.

United Church leaders have been under severe criticism in recent years because of the denomination’s marked theological drift to the left. A church education curriculum and other literature coming out of the denominational publishing house stirred a major crisis, and an undetermined number of members left the denomination and withdrew financial support. Some congregations have left virtually as a whole.

The initial reaction of conservative theologians in the church indicates that the new creed will encourage ...

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