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3. Presbyterian Proposals of Union.—Fruitless efforts have several times been made officially to reunite the Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A.—commonly known as the Presbyterian Church North—and the Presbyterian Church in the United States—commonly known as the Presbyterian Church South—as also to reunite the Northern and Southern Methodist bodies, divided on civil union or slavery. Both Presbyterian bodies have proposed union with the United Presbyterian Church of North America, and a plan of consolidation between the United Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church South has actually been agreed upon. The Presbyterian Church North has also at times officially joined with the two Reformed Church bodies in the 959United States in seeking an agreement which would lead to their coalescence, but without practical result.

At an early time, 1887, the General Assembly of the Church North declared 'its cordial sympathy with the growing desire among Evangelical Christian Churches for practical unity and co-operation in the practical work of spreading the Gospel throughout all the earth.' In 1903, it made the far-reaching deliverance that 'whereas the Presbyterian Church holds Christian fellowship with all who confess and obey Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord and acknowledge the duty of all Churches that recognize Him as the only Head of the Church Universal to work in harmony and love for the extension of His kingdom and the good of the world, and whereas this Assembly earnestly desires to commend and promote this Christian co-operation and also practically to advance the cause of Church union by federation and, where possible, by consolidation, be it resolved that a committee be appointed to consider the whole subject of co-operation, confederation and consolidation with other Churches.' In 1918, expressing the 'profound conviction that the time had come for organic union of the evangelical Churches of America,' it overtured 'the National bodies of the Evangelical Communions of America to meet with its representatives for the purpose of formulating a Plan of Union.'22672267The Plan of Union proposed as the name of the united body 'The United Churches of Christ in America' See Min. of the Gen. Assembly, 1919, pp. 97–123; 1920, pp. 118–122; Min. of the Nat. Council of Cong. Churches, 1920, pp. 48–54 The Assembly's earnestness in the cause was shown by the elevation of its committee on Church Comity and Union, 1923, to the Department of Church Co-operation and Union. In 1929 it received with applause a communication from the Methodist Episcopal Church North looking toward union; and conferences are being held between its commissions and commissions from the Presbyterian Church South and the Methodist Episcopal Churches North and South with the Protestant Episcopal commission instructed by the General Convention of 1929 to hold a common conference on co-operation in matters affecting Christian morals.

The most important movement within the Presbyterian or Reformed family of Churches of the United States was begun 1929, when five of them, namely, the Presbyterian Churches North and South, the United Presbyterian Church, the Reformed Church in the U. S.—German Reformed960—and the Reformed Church in America—Dutch Reformed— agreed to discuss a plan for their organic union. Through their committees these bodies have been holding meetings and have agreed upon articles which will be presented to the various representative assemblies and synods in 1931. In 1930, the Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church took the initiative in voting for the consolidation. The bodies, if they unite, will accept the Westminster Confession and Catechisms, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Canons of Dort, and the Belgic Confession, all of which are accepted by one or more of the bodies concerned and set forth the Calvinistic type of theology, so called. The following declarations are also proposed as the fundamentals of Church polity:

1. That the Lord Jesus Christ is the supreme and sole Head of the Church.

2. That the Word of God is the ultimate source and authority in Church government.

3. That the Church's nature, relation and function are spiritual, and spiritual only.

4. That witnessing for Christ is the continuous business of the Church.

5. That the evangelization and Christianization of the world is the aim of the Church.

6. We accept and practice the Presbyterian system as the method or form of Church organization and government, believing it to be in harmony with the Scriptures.


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