This is the vision we affirm:
The Church is one.
Christ prayed for his disciples and also for those "who will believe" in years to come, "that they may all be one." John 17:20, 21
Scripture teaches us that "... in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body ..." 1 Corinthians 12:13
"There is one body and one Spirit ... one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God ..." Ephesians 4:4a, 5a, 6a
Our confessional heritage teaches that "... there is only one Church ... We, therefore, call this Church catholic because it is universal, scattered through all parts of the world, and extended unto all parts of the world, and extended unto all times, and is not limited to any times or places." Second Helvetic Confession, 5:126
"Obedience to Jesus Christ alone identifies the one universal church ...."
The Confession of 1967, 9.03
The unity of the Church is God given.
"The unity of the Church is a gift of its Lord and finds expression in its faithfulness to the mission to which Christ calls it. The Church is a fellowship of believers which seeks the enlargement of the circle of faith to include all people and is never content to enjoy the benefits of Christian community for itself alone ...
"Visible oneness, by which a diversity of persons, gifts, and understanding is brought together, is an important sign of the unity of God’s people ...
"The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), affirm[ing] its historical continuity with the whole Church of Jesus Christ, is committed ...." Book of Order, G4.0203
The Church is worldwide.
"We are called to be part of a global and ecumenical community. Our world is wider and more diverse than that which our Reformed forbears knew. We live in a multilingual, multiracial, multicultural, and economically diverse world ...
"We are one part of the body of Christ: a community of mutual interdependence in which diversity contributes to wholeness." Life and Mission Statement, 197th General Assembly (1985)
"As one part of the body of Christ, we actively engage in mutual sharing with other parts in order to ‘bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2
"... [A]s there is one head of all the faithful, so all ought to unite in one body, so that there may be one Church spread throughout the whole earth, and not a number of churches." John Calvin, "Catechism of the Church in Geneva," in Calvin: Theological Treatises, ed. By J.K.S. Reid, Library of Christian Classics, (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1954), p. 103.
God’s love encompasses all.
"In sovereign love God created the world good and makes everyone equally in God’s image, male and female, of every race and people, to live as one community." A Brief Statement of Faith, 10.3
- that God wills all humanity to be one,
- that the Church is called to embody that unity in its own life
- that the Church’s unity is a sign and means of the unity of humankind." "The Nature of the Unity We Seek," 118th General Assembly, PCUS (1978)
"As our Christian affirmation meets the faith of others, we are not called to respond in judgment but in awareness of the limitless saving presence, power, and grace of God ...
"As Christians our faith demands that we seek to build loving relationships with persons of other faiths. Where possible we will work in solidarity with them in struggles for justice, freedom, peace, and human dignity." Turn to the Living God: A Call to Evangelism in Jesus Christ’s Way, 203rd General Assembly (1991)
"The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will seek new opportunities for conversation and understanding with non-Christian religious bodies in order that interests and concerns may be shared ...." Book of Order, G15.0104
We therefore are called to live out this vision with patience and love, in dependence upon the grace of God given through our Lord Jesus Christ.
On this web site
On the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) web site
- Committee on Ecumenical Relations: information on the permanent committee of the General Assembly that plans and coordinates the involvements of the PC(USA) in ecumenical work in consultation with the agencies and governing bodies of the church