Let’s Focus on Unity and Mission, Not Division and Exclusion

By Edward H. Adair The continued efforts of those who seek to redefine our Confession of Faith to impose a narrow, exclusionary interpretation divert valuable time, resources, and energy away from the church's true mission. The church’s mission is to “worship God and study the word of God, to join together in a common witness to the gospel and to engage in the good works to which Christians are called . . ..” (Constitution 2.01) These ongoing attempts to legislate specific doctrinal positions on contentious issues detract from spreading the love and compassion of Christ, serving those in need, and working for justice and peace in the world. This misallocation of efforts hinders our ability to fulfill the Great Commission and embody God's inclusive and transformative love. Moreover, recent events, such as the vote on proposed amendments precluding a particular class of people from serving in leadership roles within the church, have led to division, ill will, and hateful speech. “[A]ll who are united to Christ by faith are also united to one another in love. In this communion, they are to share the grace of Christ with one another, to bear one another's burdens, and to reach out to all other persons.” (Confession of Faith 5.10.) We must prioritize our duty as a Church over divisive and distracting debates that undermine our unity and effectiveness in ministry. We are “to bear witness to God's saving activity in such a way that those who have not been saved, redeemed, and reconciled might believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and experience salvation." (Introduction to the 1984 Confession of Faith). As Cumberland Presbyterians, we are a global community of individuals united in our ongoing reflection and action to understand our collective role in society and history. This unity, guided by