Decisions on Theology

In a changing church and world, do we need to update our theological language to reflect a 21st-century context? This question lies at the heart of a few key decisions related to theology made by General Council commissioners on Day 7, Friday, July 27:

  • No action will be taken on a proposal to eliminate the 1925 Articles of Faith from the “essential agreement with the doctrine of the church” requirement for candidates in ministry. The Theology and Inter-Church Inter-Faith Committee will be directed to engage in a study of the meaning of “essential agreement” in light of changing theological perspectives.
  • No action will be taken on a proposal that the church change the questions asked of candidates for ordered ministry, recognition, and admission as these are worded in the Basis of Union 11.3. Instead, the Theology and Inter-Church Inter-Faith Committee will be directed to engage in a study on modernizing the theological language we use for the agreements required in the ordination, commissioning, admission, and recognition of ministry and to report back to the 44th General Council.
  • No action will be taken on a proposal to challenge the United Church to engage the issue of rethinking and updating the social gospel theology that has played a significant role in the denomination’s history.

While no immediate action results from these proposals, it seems the Theology and Inter-Church Inter-Faith Committee will be hard at work contemplating whether to update our theological language to reflect changing times. John Young, Executive Minister for Theological Leadership, comments: “These matters are important ones in the life of the church, both for the individuals offering themselves for ministerial leadership in the life of the church and for the denomination itself.”