DECLARATION OF COMMITMENT
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
--- 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
--- 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
--- 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
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.