The Declaration of Commitment
The Declaration of Conscience
Board of Directors, The Presbyterian Lay Committee
Originally published on October 4, 1969 by the Presbyterian Churchmen United (PCU), the Declaration was a clarion call issued to the ministers and people of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (PCUS)--a call for recommitment to the Word of God and to the Reformed Faith, signed by over 500 ministers and published in over 30 major newspapers.  

To the membership of the Presbyterian Church, US, in light of the questions and concerns being expressed in the Church as to the nature of our faith and order, we, the undersigned ministers declare our conviction:
--- That the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ turns men from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. By coming to faith in Him alone is there genuine reconciliation between man and God and man and man.
--- That the Holy Scriptures are the infallible Word of God, and that these Scriptures commit the Church to a mission whose primary end is the salvation and nurture of souls.
--- That Christian faith must bear fruit if it is to remain virile. These fruits vary from believer to believer. But common to them all are evidences of love, concern and neighborliness, toward all races of men without partiality and without prejudice, especially to the poor, the oppressed and the disadvantaged. The man of faith views all men as neighbors and himself as debtor, for Christ's sake.
--- That, for the implementation of the above principles, in obedience to our ordination vows, we must strive to preserve a confessional Church, thoroughly Reformed and Presbyterian. Thus, our support of or opposition to any proposed union will be determined by these considerations.
--- That, being fully committed by our ordination vows to the system of doctrine set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, we must oppose all efforts to change in substance or otherwise debase our historic doctrinal commitment.
--- That we are in the same context by vow committed to historic Presbyterian polity with its representative system and its parity among teaching and ruling elders. Thus, we are forced to oppose any efforts to take our Church into the mas- sive organization envisioned by COCU.
--- That, should the basic theology or polity of the Church be altered or diluted, we shall be prepared to take such actions as may be necessary to fulfill the obligation imposed by our ordination vows, to maintain our Presbyterian faith.



In recent years, the Presbyterian Lay Committee has become increasingly concerned over the erosion of our denomination's faith and life. We have prayerfully considered what God is saying to us in the midst of this crisis.
With sorrow, we have concluded that spiritual schism exists within the Presbyterian Church (USA) because of a deep and irreconcilable disunion among its members over the person and work of Jesus Christ, the authority of God's Word written, and God's call to a holy life. We are two faiths within one denomination.
We grieve with our faithful brothers and sisters in the Episcopal Church (USA), whose General Convention rejected the clear teachings of Scripture and 2,000 years of Christian tradition by its recent actions. We believe the same dynamics that precipitated this crisis in the Anglican Communion exist within the PCUSA. As a result, our denomination hovers on the brink of a comparable catastrophe. The Covenant Network already has announced that it will seek the repeal of the definitive interpretation of our ordination standards at the 2004 General Assembly and that it will support a full-scale assault on those standards at the 2006 General Assembly.
The Presbyterian Lay Committee believes that it is unconscionable to remain passive while some groups train their followers to subvert the Constitution and denominational officials undermine it by their refusal to require compliance. We believe that any compromise with proponents of a false gospel -- no matter how laudable the desire for peace and unity that may engender such initiatives -- will further erode our denomination's integrity and delay the day of decision that will ultimately come.
We believe that God has called us individually to be faithful stewards of all that he had entrusted to us, and has called us as officers of our congregations to ensure that offerings are consistently used to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and carry out his Great Commission.
We no longer believe that either the General Assembly per-capita budget or the unrestricted mission budget of the PCUSA is worthy of support. We encourage all individuals and sessions to exercise their stewardship responsibility and right to determine how money entrusted to them is spent. We likewise encourage prayerful study as to whether their General Assembly per-capita contribution should be redirected and/or their mission gifts restricted to ministries at home and abroad that are demonstrably faithful to the gospel.
At particular moments in history, God's people have been challenged to choose between the idols of their culture and faith in the living God. We believe this is such a time. We reluctantly conclude that because of our spiritual division, without systematic change the PCUSA will collapse.
Therefore, we affirm and encourage the efforts of those who remained committed to reform and renewal of the PCUSA and those who are seriously studying new forms of our connectional life. We urge all who share continued committments to Holy Scripture as the infallible rule of faith and practice to work together for the glory of God and the strengthening of his witness in the world.
Adopted this 18th day of October 2003 by the Board of Directors of the Presbyterian Lay Committee, meeting in Philadelphia, Pa.