[Moderator's Note: the following - reproduced from the Presbyterian Layman (and the proposed strategy associated with it) - is the result of the efforts of a "Visioning Team" from the Presbyterian Coalition to envision a renewal of the PC(USA). We post it with a profound sadness. Its adoption by the PC(USA) at large would, indeed, be a requiem for the historic Presbyterian church and its dedication to a responsible progressive theology. We post it also, however, with an equally profound hope - a hope that it will call all of us to reflection and prayer - and to a renewal of our own Reformed understanding of what it means to follow Christ.]
|The Church of Jesus Christ does not exist for its own life and preservation,
but to participate faithfully in Godís mission to the world. We believe
that God is calling the Presbyterian Church (USA) to turn away from self-serving
forms of church life in order to be faithful to Jesus Christ in this present
This Declaration of Faith and the strategy that flows from it is an invitation to the entire church to rally around Godís mission and embrace Christís transformation by the power of the Spirit.
"Transformed In Christ:
"He is before all things
With the Church through the ages we declare:
Jesus Christ is the mission of God
to the world
and for the world.
He is Emmanuel and Savior,
One with the Father,
God incarnate as Maryís son,
Lord of all,
The truly human one.
His coming transforms everything.
His Lordship casts down every idolatrous claim to authority.
His appearing judges every other path to God.
His life shows what it means to be human.
The Holy Spirit joins us to Jesus Christ, uniting our life with his through the ministry of the Church.
|In the proclamation of the Word, the Spirit brings us to conversion, builds up and renews our life in Christ, calling us to repentance, strengthening our faith, gladdening our hearts, and transforming our lives more fully into the image of Christ.|
|We turn away from forms of church life that ignore the need for repentance, that deny the transforming power of the Gospel, or that fail to pray, hope, and strive for a life that is pleasing to God.|
|In Baptism the Spirit engrafts us into Christ, establishing the Churchís unity and binding us to one another in him.|
|We turn away from forms of church life that seek their unity in ideologies of pluralism or relativism.|
|In the Lordís Supper the Spirit nurtures and nourishes our participation in Christ and our communion with one another in him.|
|We turn away from forms of church life that import human divisions of race, gender, nationality, or economic class into the Eucharistic fellowship, as if in Christ there were still walls of separation dividing the human family.|
Engrafted into Christ Jesus we participate in Christís relationship with the Father.
|By our union with Christ we participate in his righteousness before God, even as he becomes the bearer of our sin.|
|We turn away from any claim to stand before God apart from Christís own righteous obedience, manifest in his life and sacrifice for our sake on the cross.|
|By our union with Christ we participate in his knowledge of our Father, given to us as faith through the testimony of the Old and New Testaments.|
|We turn away from any claim to knowledge of God that is contrary to the full testimony of Scripture as interpreted by the Holy Spirit working in and through the community of faith across time.|
|By our union with Christ we participate in his love of the Father, manifest in his obedience "even unto death on the cross."|
|We turn away from any supposed love of God that is manifest apart from a continual longing for and striving after that loving obedience which Christ offers to God on our behalf.|
Though obscured by our sin, our union with Christ causes his life to shine forth in our lives. This transformation of our lives into the image of Christ is a work of the Holy Spirit begun in this life as a sign and promise of its completion in the life to come.
|By our union with Christ our lives participate in his holiness, who fulfilled the law of God on our behalf.|
|We turn away from forms of church life that ignore Christís call to a life of holiness, or seek to pit Law and Gospel against one another as if both were not expressions of the one Word of God.|
|By our union with Christ we participate in his obedience. In these times of sexual confusion we affirm the consistent teaching of Scripture that calls us to chastity outside of marriage or faithfulness within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.|
|We turn away from forms of church life that fail to pray for and strive after a rightly-ordered sexuality as the gracious gift of a loving God, offered to us in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. We also turn away from forms of church life that fail to forgive and restore those who repent of sexual sins.|
|By our union with Christ the Church is one with believers in every time and place.|
|We turn away from forms of church life that identify the true Church only with particular styles of worship, polity, or institutional structure. We also turn away from forms of church life that ignore the heritage of those who have gone before us.|
|By our union with Christ the Church is called out into particular communities of worship and mission.|
|We turn away from forms of church life that see the work of the local congregation as sufficient unto itself, as if it were not a local representation of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church called together by the power of the Spirit in every age and time until our Lord returns.|
|By our union with Christ our lives participate in Godís mission to the world:|
|to uphold the value of every human life, |
to make disciples of all peoples,
to establish Christís justice and peace in all creation,
and to secure that visible oneness in Christ that is the promised
inheritance of every believer.
|We turn away from forms of church life that fail to bear witness in word and deed to Christís compassion, peace, and the Gospel of salvation.|
|By our union with Christ the Church participates in Christís resurrected life and awaits in hope the future that God has prepared for it. Even so come quickly, Lord Jesus!|
|In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.|