Several members of the Covenant Network Board and staff participated in the gathering in Minneapolis, August 25-26, of the Fellowship of Presbyterians.
The tone established at the outset was one of warmth, kindness, and respect, and the articulated values included an appreciation for PC(USA) denominational staff, avoidance of stone-throwing, and a commitment not to speak or act out of anger. For this we are thankful.
We are grieved, however, at the premise underlying the gathering – that in order for some Presbyterians to engage in faithful ministry, they must “differentiate” themselves from the rest of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
To a Corinthian church rife with factions, the Apostle Paul insisted that no part of the Body of Christ can claim that it has no need of another part, as if the right hand could dissociate itself from the rest of the Body and remain faithful to its Head.
We do not believe that when Paul urged the Philippian church to be of “like mind,” he intended that they huddle exclusively with those who share one opinion, but instead that they all strive together to share the mind of Christ. We are convinced that no one group or individual has a corner on God’s Truth, and that we are more likely to discern the mind of Christ when we are engaging intentionally and consistently with Christians whose assumptions, experiences, and commitments challenge, sharpen, and strengthen ours.
We urge the brothers and sisters of the “Fellowship” who are looking for “a place to stand” to join the rest of the PC(USA) in seeking to stand humbly under the Lordship of Jesus Christ (G-2.0104b). When our differing interpretations of Scripture lead us to divergent understandings of what faithfulness to Christ entails, may we bear with one another in love, firm in the conviction that nothing in all creation can separate any of us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
David A. Van Dyke
Mary Lynn Tobin
Co-Moderators, Covenant Network of Presbyterians