Publications and periodicals

  • Is Christ Divided?

    From Office of the General Assembly

    The Task Force on Theological Pluralism was established in 1985 by the Advisory Council on Discipleship and Worship and the Council on Theology and Culture with members appointed by those two councils and the Advisory Council on Church and Society.


    The task force grew out of concerns raised within the Committee on Pluralism and Conflict of the Advisory Council on Discipleship and Worship, where regular consultations with special organizations (Chapter IX) consistently raised issues relating to theological diversity within the church. Among these issues were conflicting perspectives on the value of diverse theological positions, the limits of theological diversity within ...

  • A Theological Understanding of the Relationship Between Christians and Jews

    From Office of the General Assembly

    Christians and Jews live side by side in our pluralistic American society.  We engage one another not only in personal and social ways but also at deeper levels where ultimate values are expressed and where a theological understanding of our relationship is required.  The confessional documents of the Reformed tradition are largely silent on this matter.  Hence this paper has been prepared by the church as a pastoral and teaching document to provide a basis for continuing discussion within the Presbyterian community in the Unted States and to offer guidance for the occasions in which Presbyterians and Jews converse, cooperate ...

  • The Covenant of Life and the Caring Community

    From Office of the General Assembly

    We are deeply aware of the concern and pain in the church as expressed in the many overtures from presbyteries which deal with the question of abortion.  We are disturbed by abortion which seems to be elected only as a convenience or to ease embarrassment.  We affirm that abortion should not be used as a method of birth control.

  • Historic Principles, Conscience and Church Government

    From Office of the General Assembly

    The rights of the individual conscience with regard to matters of faith and worship and to decisions made within the church are related to the right of voluntary association. The membership of an individual in the church is purely voluntary.

  • Presbyterian Understanding and Use of Holy Scripture

    From Office of the General Assembly

    That Holy Scripture is the "rule of faith and life" is a basic principle of the Reformation. This confessional affirmation, in some formulation, is structural element of all the Reformed confessions.  It is stated and developed in the introductory chapter of the Westminster Confession of Faith.  Therefore, we might be inclined to assume that it represents a focal point of unity, a sign of commonality, among Presbyterians who are heirs of this Reformed tradition.

  • Peacemaking: The Believers' Calling

    From Office of the General Assembly

    The Advisory Council on Church and Society was commissioned by the 187th General Assembly (1975) to reassess the concept of peacemaking and the direction of our country's foreign policy in the light of our biblical and confessional faith and a markedly changed situation in the world today.

    This request of the General Assembly was a product of its times:
    -born in part from the United States' defeat in Southeast Asia and the loss of prestige and power in the changing world situation;
    -born in part from the unwillingness of the emerging nations to accept the continued domination of the ...

  • The Church and Homosexuality

    From Office of the General Assembly

    In its prospectus for study prepared by the Advisory Council on Church and Society and accepted by the task force at its first meeting, the group's purpose was described this way:

    1. Identify and evaluate various theological and biblical perspectives on homosexuality, giving attention to specific biblical texts and themes. Give attention to confessional stands and specific attention to the positions taken by the 182nd General Assembly (1970).

    2. Survey general studies and research, and assess theories and assumptions about homosexuality in light of biblical and theological perspectives and current understandings about homosexuality in the social and behavioral sciences ...

  • The Nature and Value of Human Life

    From Office of the General Assembly

    Although the wording of the General Assembly's mandate places the matter of the nature of human life prior to that of its value, the temper of our times compels us to begin with the latter. The very list of specific issues cited by the General Assembly represents a widely shared conviction that the value of human life is being questioned, even attacked, from many quarters. We will see that the General Assembly exhibited signal wisdom in yoking the two issues of nature and value together, but it is the matter of the value of human life that needs exposition ...

  • Problem Pregnancies: Toward a Responsible Decision

    From Office of the General Assembly

    The 186th General Assembly of The United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, meeting in Louisville, Kentucky in June 1974, directed the Council on Women and the Church, in consultation with the Advisory Council on Church and Society, to explore the theological implications of abortion.

    This study follows and seeks to address expressions of continuing concern about the abortion issue noted also by the 182nd General Assembly (1970) and the 184th General Assembly (1972) in their consideration of the role and function of the State and the law regarding abortion.

  • Sexuality and the Human Community

    From Office of the General Assembly

    In 1966, the Council on Church and Society of The United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, formed a committee to study the Christian concept of sexuality in the human community and to provide the church with a report of its endeavors. Sexuality as we understand the term refers to our entire experience as persons who are created male and female and not exclusively to coital behavior. The report that follows is a brief resume of the reflections and conclusions of that committee after more than a year of meetings, discussions, and papers.

    The assignment given was this ...

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