From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[PCUSANEWS] The big deal about Jesus

Date 15 Jun 2002 13:20:36 -0400

Note #7212 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:

The big deal about Jesus
June 14, 2002	

The big deal about Jesus

Christ's role in salvation will be key issue at GA

by Alexa Smith
and Jerry Van Marter

COLUMBUS, OH -- Eleven overtures on the docket of the 214th General Assembly propose a deeper affirmation of the singular Lordship of Jesus Christ than last year's Assembly was able to produce. They'll go to the Committee on Confessions and Christology.

	As America and the world have become more religiously diverse, Presbyterian attentions have been focused on debates about the Lordship of Jesus Christ and whether he is the only way to salvation. Things got really contentious after a speaker at the 2000 Presbyterian Peacemaking Conference asked rhetorically, "What's the big deal about Jesus?" and went on to say that, despite Christians' belief in Jesus as "the way, the truth and the life," an omnipotent God may have ways of bringing salvation to non-Christians.
Although last year's GA approved a statement calling Jesus "uniquely Savior," some Presbyterians said it didn't go far enough in affirming Jesus as the only way to salvation. Most of this year's overtures have come in response to last year's ruckus.

	After last year's GA, the denomination's Office of Theology and Worship produced a paper titled Hope in the Lord Jesus Christ about Christ's role in salvation as understood in the ancient Christian and Reformed traditions.

	One of this year's overtures (02-2, from Redstone Presbytery) urges the GA to simply endorse that statement; four other presbyteries passed overtures concurring with that suggestion.

	Several other overtures on the GA docket want other, stronger language. For example, over 02-13, from the Presbytery of East Tennessee, supports a declaration that "only through Christ can any person come to God." Another overture, 02-56, from the Presbytery of San Diego, wants a statement that Christ is the "only Savior and Lord  not only for us, but for all humanity."

	The Assembly Committee on Confessions and Christology will conduct open hearings Monday, June 17, at 9:45 a.m. and will begin voting on Christology-related overtures at 2:00 p.m.
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