A paragraph from the soon-to-be released theology group includes this beautiful explanation:
“We are elect in Christ to become members of the community of the new covenant. This covenant, which God himself guarantees, unites us to God and to one another. Already in the creation, we discover that we are made to live in relationships to others, male and female, created together in God’s image. In Christ, we are adopted into the family of God and find our new identity as brothers and sisters of one another, since we now share one Father. Our faith requires our active participation in that covenant community.”
In the declining days of Christendom, it seemed easy to relate to one another as “fellow Presbyterians,” assuming shared beliefs, heritage, and mission derived from a common worldview. Such assumptions were sufficient to maintain a tacit sense of “unity.”
One by one, these assumptions have been proven wrong. The PC(USA), as it exists today, is at best a collection of diverse expressions of faith, witness, and mission held together by a bureaucratic structure. Increasingly we are invited to “celebrate our diversity” and not ask the embarrassing questions of like-mindedness with Christ or with one another.
At the heart of The Fellowship of Presbyterians is the desire to reclaim a covenanted biblical community. This begins with a clear expression of our core theological identity and, for those creating a new Reformed entity, carries through to a new polity structure that embodies those beliefs.
In this time of deepening divisions, “active participation in Christ’s covenant community” requires us to be clear on who we are, what we believe, and why, and invites us to realize that our unity is derived from common faith, not structural affiliation.
The “umbrella” of The Fellowship of Presbyterians is intended to reach across lines of structural affiliation, drawing into a covenanted relationship of mutual support and accountability those who, in various ways, are remaining as missionaries in the PC(USA), those who are seeking union relationships, and those who are forming a new Reformed entity. This is one of the goals of the Orlando conference.