From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Panel asks for statement on faith and science

Date 19 Jun 2002 12:54:30 -0400

Note #7272 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:


Panel asks for statement on faith and science

by Alexa Smith

COLUMBUS, OH - The Assembly Committee on Confessions and Christology voted against developing any new confessional documents for the Presbyterian Church (USA), but put two documents calling for more theological reflection in the hands of the denomination's Office of Theology and Worship (OTW).

The committee is recommending that overture 02-32 from the Presbytery of the James, which requests a PC(USA) statement on consonance between faith and science, be added to the ongoing work in OTW, which may develop statements and study guides on the relationships between science and theology.

The Rev. Joe Small, associate director for theology and worship on the staff of the General Assembly Council (GAC), said his program area is already at work on resources concerning the intersection of science and theology and the affirmation of God as creator of the universe.

The committee also four of six elements of overture 02-18, from the Presbytery of Hudson River, which encourage congregations and seminaries to reflect on and study the Confession of 1967.

The committee voted to send two other sections - calling for development of an inclusive-language version of the confession, as well as study and liturgical pieces - to the OTW, which is already developing a liturgical resource for congregational use that adapts all the PC(USA) confessions to use inclusive language.

The Rev. Bill Wiseman, of Tulsa, OK, a member of the committee that drafted the Confession of 1967, spoke during a committee hearing, affirming the commissioners' action. "I think it will be of beautiful assistance in worship," he said.

In other actions, the committee:

* Affirmed a new preface to the Book of Confessions that will explains that, while the church is committed to the use of inclusive language in worship, the confessions were written in a particular place and time, and thus the language is not altered in the PC(USA) constitution.

* Referred overture 02-14, from the Presbytery of Northeast Georgia, as information  to the Theological Task Force on the Peace, Unity and Purity of the Church (TTF). The overture seeks clarification on issues raised by the Confessing Church Movement about the Lordship of Christ, the authority of the Bible and ordination standards.

* Referred overture 02-38, from the Presbytery of South Alabama, to the TTF. The overture calls for a multi-year process of spiritual discernment to develop a new confession of faith.

The Advisory Committee on the Constitution told the committee that developing new confessional statements is a denomination-wide process specified in the Book of Order.
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