COVENANT OF DISSENT
As faithful Christians and loyal Presbyterians, our faith and conscience
compel us to state the following:
- Jesus welcomed all people who came to him in faith, refusing none by
reason of race or condition, even when these conditions were clearly proscribed
- Jesus commanded us to love one another, even as he has loved us. Scripture
and our confessions command us to love the Lord our God, love our neighbor
as ourselves, deal justly with all men and women in word and deed, and
defend the oppressed.
- The gospel is to be preached to all peoples, as Jesus commanded, and
the church is to be inclusive, as Peter and Paul preached. Our constitution
affirms this by requiring only baptism and a public profession of faith
in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord for membership in the church (G-5.0101).
- The church is exhorted to strive for justice (W-7.4001) which calls
for dealing honestly with each other and redressing wrongs against individuals
and groups in the church (W-7.4002).
- The church is enjoined to practice openness and inclusiveness in the
name of Jesus Christ (G-3.0401b, G-4.0403, G-5.0103), and no person shall
be denied membership because of any reason not related to profession of
- The right of the people to elect their own officers is inalienable
- Active members are entitled to all the rights and privileges of the
church, including the right to vote and hold office (G-5.0202). Officers
differ from members in function only (G-6.0102).
- There are truths and forms with respect to which faithful Christians
may differ (G-1.0305).
- The decisions of church bodies may be in error (G-1.0307).
- God alone is Lord of the conscience (G-1.0301).
- The recently passed amendment to G-6.0106, which adds section b (Amendment
B), is not indispensable in doctrine or Presbyterian government, nor is
it an essential tenet of our faith.
- The amendment relies primarily on our Confessions which, by their own
admission, are subordinate standards in the church and in which no one
statement is irreformable (C-9.03).
In obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ, guided by scriptures and the
legacy left to us by those who went before us-our Confessions and the Book
of Order-and after individual and collective study, consideration, and prayer,
we have determined that we cannot agree to abide by the recently passed
amendment to G-6.0106 ("Amendment B") without violating our informed
conscience, faith, and interpretation of our obligations.
We covenant together to elect, ordain, and install as officers those
members with suitable gifts who are called to ministry, who are persons
of strong faith, dedicated discipleship, and love of Jesus Christ, and whose
manner of life is a demonstration of the Christian gospel in the church
and the world, without additional requirements or restrictions.
Prepared by elders and pastors from National Capital region on March
25, 1997. Please return signed copy to Stonecatchers,
1313 New York Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C., 20005
The Covenant of Dissent is specifically designed to enable sessions,
presbyteries, and synods, as well as individuals, to proclaim their witness.
We urge you to organize support for this among the church bodies and organizations
of which you are a part. Please return the Covenant to the address above.
All names and titles on the Covenant of Dissent will be forwarded to officials
in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and no other use will be made of them.
- Phone 202-484-7700
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