New translation of the Heidelberg Catechism achieves required two-thirds majority of presbyteries

All but one of 19 constitutional amendments under consideration have been approved

May 23, 2013

Louisville

A new translation of the Heidelberg Catechism has been approved by a two-thirds majority of presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

To date, 122 presbyteries have voted in favor of the new translation, surpassing the required total of 116 presbyteries needed for passage. 11 presbyteries have thus far voted against the amendment, with 40 presbyteries yet to vote.

While amendments to the Book of Order need approval by 87 of the 173 presbyteries of the PC(USA) to become part of the church’s Constitution, confessional documents require a two-thirds majority vote, or 116 presbyteries, as well as approval by the next General Assembly.

If approved by the 221st General Assembly (2014) in Detroit, Michigan, June 14-21, the new translation of the Heidelberg Catechism will replace the current version in the denomination’s Book of Confessions, thereby becoming part of the church’s Constitution.

The General Assembly Special Committee on Correcting Translation Problems of the Heidelberg Catechism grew out of actions of the 218th General Assembly (2008) to approve proposed changes that revolve around correcting “translation problems in five responses of the Heidelberg Catechism as found in The Book of Confessions and to add the original Scripture texts of the German Heidelberg Catechism.”

“As chair of the special committee that brought the recommendation to the Assembly, I can say that both the new translation and the appended scriptural references will greatly benefit the PC(USA) and the church ecumenical,” said Neal Presa, Moderator of the 220th General Assembly (2012).

As the season of voting on constitutional amendments nears an end—with approximately 20 presbyteries still to vote—all but one of the 19 amendments under consideration have been approved by a majority of presbyteries.

The only amendment that has not garnered enough votes for approval by the cutoff date of July 7—one year after the adjournment of the 220th General Assembly (2012)—is 12-B, “Gifts and Qualifications—On Amending G-2.0104a.”

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