Ten years ago Eugene Carson Blake, then stated clerk of the United Presbyterian Church, delivered an address in the cathedral church of Bishop James Pike in San Francisco. Out of that speech has developed COCU, the Consultation on Church Union. It has for its immediate goal the formation of the Church of Christ Uniting, which will include the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church in the U. S., the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church, and the United Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A.
At the ninth plenary session of COCU in St. Louis last March, a Plan of Union was presented to the delegates. This document constitutes the substructure on which the new church will be built, and in it the provisions of the union are spelled out with precision. It is an impressive product into which much labor and care have been poured; indeed, numerous changes in the text have improved it. It is worthy of the most careful analysis, not only by the denominations currently participating in the merger but by all denominations and all Christians, because it is the announced purpose of the champions of COCU to try to bring into this union, sooner or later, all the churches of Christendom. They envision at last the one holy catholic visible church on earth.
We could profitably examine many of the secondary facets of the Plan of Union. But for most people, the two matters of overriding importance are: (1) What will the theological basis of the union consist in? (2) What will the polity, the church government, be? Answers to these two questions will determine the ...1
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