More than 500 Southern Presbyterian ministers have signed a “Declaration of Commitment” vowing continuance of a denomination that is both Calvinistic in doctrine and representative in government.
The declaration was published as a three-quarter-page advertisement in more than thirty metropolitan newspapers from Baltimore to Fort Worth. A similar message was to appear in four church periodicals.
The statement appeared just after a committee of the Presbyterian Church in the U. S. (Southern) began merger negotiations with the United Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A. It is addressed to the denominational membership (nearly a million persons) and comes at a time of considerable anxiety among the rank and file.
Among other points of tension is the Southern Presbyterian General Assembly’s decision to commission a confession. A special drafting committee has announced it would not recommend adoption of the highly controversial United Presbyterian Confession of 1967.
Included in the advertisement was a coupon and an invitation to other Presbyterians to commit themselves to the statement. The signatures are being collected by the Rev. John E. Richards of the First Presbyterian Church of Macon, Georgia. He is a leader in the organization known as Presbyterian Churchmen United.
Adjoining is the declaration text:
To the membership of the Presbyterian Church, US, in light of the questions and concerns being expressed in the Church as to the nature of our faith and order, we, the undersigned ministers declare our conviction:
—That the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ turns men from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. By coming to faith in Him alone is there genuine reconciliation between man and God ...1
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