Latest Presbyterian argument: Is salvation through Jesus only?

Posted: Friday, May 11, 2001

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- An evangelical caucus in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has issued an open letter to church officials saying they failed to set boundaries for acceptable doctrine.

Presbyterians for Renewal, the evangelical group, is upset that the officials did not object to a speech given by a Presbyterian minister who proposed belief in salvation apart from Jesus Christ.

The speech was delivered to the Presbyterian Peacemaking Conference last July by the Rev. Dirk Ficca, who directs the Chicago-based Parliament of the World's Religions.

Ficca asked, ''If God is at work in our lives whether we're Christian or not, what's the big deal about Jesus?''

Rather than insisting that salvation comes only through Jesus -- and therefore that Presbyterians should try to convert all people of other faiths -- Ficca suggested Presbyterians should seek some converts but realize that God is working ''in all people to bring about salvation.''

Leaders of the council that governs the church between its annual national assemblies then supported Ficca's ''right to his own views'' and the propriety of a church-related group inviting him to speak.

The board of Presbyterians for Renewal said it affirmed ''free and open inquiry'' at church-sponsored events, but it should be ''limited by the confessional standards in the church.''

The Ficca dispute, and tolerance for same-sex rituals, provoked the formation in March of a conservative ''confessing church'' movement, supported so far by 72 Presbyterian congregations.


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