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Assembly narrowly approves continued support for new Messianic congregations

RICHMOND — The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has refused to stop funding new Messianic congregations, even though some Presbyterians described such congregations as deeply offensive to Jews and said they would hurt Presbyterian efforts to provide a Christian witness in a religiously pluralistic world.

But others argued that funding for Messianic congregations should continue as part of the Presbyterian commitment to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ around the globe.

Online commentary site resolution disapproved, but GAC asked to look at idea

With prolonged discussion of over two and one-half hours, the Assembly Committee on Theological Issues and Institutions wrestled with Commissioner’s Resolution 08-16 to commit the "church to develop an online commentary to the Bible that would be accessible for free to anyone seeking to learn more about the Bible in order to hear the word of God more clearly and to obey more faithfully."

Plan to promote and manage diversity approved

RICHMOND — The Assembly Committee on Mission Coordination and Budgets approved a sweeping plan to promote and manage diversity in the church on Tuesday — but with several changes that softened the impact of the initial report.

The 216th General Assembly will consider the plan, called "Creating a Climate for Change Within the Presbyterian Church USA," later this week.

Committee recommends overturning authoritative interpretations, but leaves ‘fidelity and chastity’ intact

RICHMOND, Va. — It would not remove the constitutional provision that church officers be faithful in heterosexual marriage or chaste in singleness — thus not officially opening ordination to sexually active homosexuals — but an Assembly committee late Tuesday afternoon approved a recommendation that the PC(USA) no longer use two 1970s authoritative statements to back up that law.

A Call for a Genuine Identity

The wonderfully evocative article by Leslie Scanlon ('Re-Forming Ministry’ project considers meaning of ‘one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church') fits nicely with the invitation on The Outlook's cover that we reflect, from the Reformed perspective, on the war in Iraq. It also lifts up one of the most effective projects in the Presbyterian Church: the Office of Theology and Worship, which, through the generosity of the Lilly Foundation, has been bringing pastor-theologians and academic theologians together for several years to think about how confession, Scripture and tradition inform, undergird, and challenge the practice of ministry.

Committee approves much-rewritten ‘families’ paper but rejects endorsement of marriage declaration

The National Issues committee on Monday approved "Transforming Families," a document — proposed at last year's 215th General Assembly but arduously rewritten over the last year — that sets church policy regarding the shifting nature of U.S. families. But it declined to endorse "A Christian Declaration of Marriage," an ecumenical statement that some commissioners said departs from Reformed teachings.

‘Tenets’ overture rejected by Assembly committee

An overture seeking to reorganize Book of Order sections G-2.0300, G-2.0400 and G-2.500 to clarify the essential tenets of the Reformed faith barely caused a ripple on the theological lake Monday before being rejected by an Assembly committee.

Most discussion on the overture from John Calvin Presbytery came during the open hearings of the Assembly Committee on Theological Issues and Institutions. Seven people spoke against the overture, none for it.

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