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Confessing theologians

—to release statement on renewal in mainline denominations

October 25, 2002

An unprecedented group of prominent theologians from virtually all major mainline Protestant denominations was set to release a statement for the biblical renewal of those denominations today (Oct. 25) at a conference of the Association for Church Renewal (ACR) in Indianapolis, Ind.

These prominent theologians have formed the “Confessing Theologians Commission,” which along with the ACR, is an outgrowth of numerous renewing movements that have sprung up in North American Protestantism in recent years. The theologians met in September in Dallas to produce the statement being released today.

A spokesperson said the aim of the theologians is to spotlight and strengthen the common purpose of the diverse renewal movements.

The document is to address three questions facing orthodox Christian believers within the mainline denominations:

  1. Why should we remain within the mainline churches?
  2. Why are confessing and renewing movements needed in the church today?
  3. Why are these movements important to our nation in its present crisis?

The Confessing Theologians Commission consists of William Abraham (Perkins School of Theology), Mark Achtemeier (Dubuque Theological Seminary), Diogenes Allen (Princeton Theological Seminary), Donald Bloesch (Dubuque Theological Seminary, emeritus), Richard Bowman (Disciples Heritage Fellowship), Scott Gibson (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary), Donna Hailson (Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary), James Heidinger (editor, Good News; ACR chairman), Roberta Hestenes (World Vision), Dale Irvin (New York Theological Seminary), James Kushiner (editor, Touchstone), Leicester Longden (Dubuque Theological Seminary), Bruce McCormack (Princeton Theological Seminary), Thomas Oden (Drew University School of Theology), Andrew Purves (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary), Ephraim Radner (Episcopal Diocese of Colorado), Russell Saltzman (editor, Lutheran Forum Letter), Victor Shepherd (Tyndale Seminary, Toronto), Walter Sundberg (Luther Seminary, St. Paul), Bishop James Stanton (Episcopal Diocese of Dallas), and Philip Turner (former dean, Berkeley Divinity School at Yale).

More than 500 individuals representing nine different mainline denominations were expected for the conference.