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Back to Table of Contents, A Declaration of Universal Rights

GUIDELINES FOR DIALOGUE ON THIS DECLARATION

The publishing of this first edition is to invite and facilitate further discussion on this declara­tion. Your participation in this project is invited,

As we dialogue, we must keep in mind that the truer this declaration is to God's word and the more conformed a nation is to it, the more that nation can expect to be blessed by God (Deut. 4:5-8). But, it is also admitted that the churches, and certainly the world, are not ready to follow all of God's will. Nor are we necessarily capable of declaring it entirely accurately. Therefore, the pur­pose of dialogue on the declaration at this time, is to go as far as God permits in bringing His right­eousness to the world through such a statement. Later generations will be left with the task of taking it further as God wills.

Several additional comments should prove helpful in bringing God's blessings upon this docu­ment. First, we must seek to use the principle that God is to be glorified and His laws and word ex­alted, not the ideas of any man, culture, race or nation. Secondly, the rights which we seek to define should be primarily viewed as resulting from our duties toward our fellow men (Phil. 2:3, 4; Prov. 31:8, 9). Thirdly, the "rightness" of these "rights" comes not from our declaring them, but from God's authoring them. Our declaration of them simply serves the needs of others while serving also the Lord our God.

Counsel and advice will be considered from all, especially those who claim the Bible as their final authority, irrespective of their adherence to the doctrinal position of the committee. However, the doctrinal position of the committee is the test for those participating in decision-making on the con-

tents of future revisions. Where questions of interpretation of Scripture are a factor in decision- making relative to the declaration, only interpretations which proceed from an inerrant view of Scripture will be considered. Beyond this and the historic creeds of the Church (Apostolic, Nicene and Athanasian) the doctrinal position of the committee is yet to be finalized.

This first edition of the declaration is not to be a test of participation in the dialogue process or participation at the decision-making level.

The goal of presenting a final declaration to the world will be based on consensus. Only those sections which obtain sufficient consensus from the Christian churches of the world will be included in the earliest editions of a final declaration. Those sections which do not obtain sufficient consensus will be tabled for a period of time for further prayer and study and only added to the final declara­tion when a consensus is obtained. Guidelines for such consensus are yet to be established. (As the Church has grown considerably in size and diversity since the ancient creeds were declared, the committee recognizes the enormity of the task before it and trusts in God and the participation of His people for the fulfillment of its goals.)

 

 
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