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Recommit to the Third Person of the Trinity

With the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) seeking a way forward in these times of theological and political conflict, some have suggested a "third way," and now The Presbyterian Outlook has urged a "third force." Presbyterians for Renewal believes what is really needed is a recommitment to the Third Person of the Trinity.


The Holy Spirit is God’s gift for unifying and empowering the church’s life in Jesus Christ, as he is revealed in Scripture. Our church does not need another organization, formal or informal, to solve its problems; it needs the fruits of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians. 5:22). With the great Apostle we confess that God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given us (Romans 5:5). The sign of our faithful reception of this gift will therefore be a recommitment by all of us to love one another and seek the common good of Christ’s body.

We believe such recommitment will involve:

  • A clear confession and witness to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, Savior
    of sinners, Lord of all, and Head of the Church;
  • A confident joy in Godís providence and care for the life of the church, and a hopeful participation in Christ’s own love for sinners;
  • A loving employment of power, position, prestige, money, networks, and resources as instruments of service rather than domination or control;
  • A strong commitment to patient witness and loving persuasion as the first and primary response of the church to those whose minds and hearts have not been fully formed in the truth of the Gospel;
  • A thankful participation in worship, offering body, mind, and spirit in acts of praise and obedience;
  • An humble respect for God’s provision of governance and leadership, one that faithfully pays revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due (Romans 13:7).

In recommitting its life and ministry to Christ in the power of the Spirit, Presbyterians for Renewal does not offer its networks and resources as a third way or a third force, but as instruments for promoting the peace, unity, and purity of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). We confess that we ourselves have at times been complicit in bringing about the disunity of the church, and we repent of all those deeds of omission and commission that have substituted politics devoid of the Spirit for Christlike witness and service to the whole community of faith.

We urge all Presbyterians to attend carefully to the church’s moral teachings, and to take seriously the repeated warnings in Scripture about spiritual corruption and licentiousness. We call upon those who dissent from church teaching to cease their encouragement of defiance.

At the same time we urge those called to administer church law to do so faithfully, in a spirit of gentleness that reaches out in love to seek and reclaim the errant. We urge any persons contemplating leaving or dividing the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), or imposing their will upon the denomination by wielding political power — to turn away from those courses of action.

Let us together embrace a genuine and loving submission to the Third Person of the Trinity, having this mind among ourselves which is ours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but humbled himself, taking the form of a servant (Phil. 2:5-7). If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). Brothers and sisters, let us love one another.

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Joe Rightmyer is executive director, Bill Bowers is president, and Keith Hill is issues ministry chair, all with Presbyterians for Renewal.

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