Those of us who have gathered in Indianapolis for the Confessing the Faith National Conference thank the Confessing Theologians Commission for their thoughtful and timely pastoral letter, "Be Steadfast." We receive it with a deep sense of gratitude and are encouraged by it.
We agree that our churches need faithful witnesses in order to be the church of Jesus Christ. We believe, with these theologians, that being faithful requires not only truthful confessions of faith, but also a long-term effort to reform our institutions. We rejoice, too, that across the renewal ministries in the mainline churches, God is helping in the recovery of sound doctrine and is enabling many to recover their intellectual nerve.
We thank the Confessing Theologians Commission for their words of encouragement in noting that God has blessed our churches through the work of renewal movements. This influence includes fresh vitality in worship, in preaching, new ventures in mission, the renewal of personal piety, and increase in enthusiastic discipleship, and a more profound embrace of God's concern for the poor.
We acknowledge that some in our communions have been put in situations in which remaining in their churches has not been an acceptable option. We are deeply saddened when this happens, but we understand. We long for the day when that will no longer be necessary, and we believe that day is coming. When abuse or slander comes, we should remain patient in our witness to truth, praying our grace-filled response will open other hearts to the truth. We do acknowledge that for most of us our churches have not yet put us in the position of having to deny the faith in order to be a part of our denomination. Most all of the renewing leadership, while aware of the woeful handling of apostolic truth in our denominations, are still committed to remaining in the structures in which we now stand in order to reform them.
So we applaud the pastoral letter from the Confessing Theologians. We do not believe this is a time to abandon our churches to theologies and ideologies that have given us more than thirty years of mainline decline. Rather, we commend ourselves and our churches to a renewed commitment to the classic Christian Faith made known in history and attested to by the prophets, the apostles and the martyrs.
We, therefore, receive this pastoral letter with thanksgiving. We commend it to our churches with our endorsement and support. We pledge ourselves to its implementation.