Seeking to be Faithful Together

Seeking to be Faithful Together: Guidelines for Presbyterians During Times of Disagreement

The guidelines at the links below were adopted by the 204th General Assembly (1992) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for use by sessions and congregations. The three files below all include the guidelines themselves with different amounts of additional information for use in different settings.

From the document:

As Presbyterians, we are called to work for the “peace, unity and purity of the Church” (Book of
Order) as we seek to be faithful to God’s work in the world. However, disagreements and conflicts are
inevitable in the life of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as we try to be faithful. They exist within
committees, congregations, presbyteries, synods, at General Assemblies and in the national life of the

Conflicts are inevitable in all of life and certainly in the church. The history of the church is filled with
conflicts and disagreements. Several of Paul’s letters address the conflicts which were common in the
early church. There have been and are going to be disagreements as Christian attempt to discern God’s
work in the world and as we interpret scripture.
Conflicts can be harmful and even destructive. They can cause individuals a great deal of pain and the
community of faith immeasurable damage. Congregations have been divided; denominations have
experienced schisms.

At the same time, conflicts can be an opportunity for new insights, learning, and individual and
corporate growth. Disagreements can illuminate a topic in helpful ways and can present solutions to
problems which previously had not been seen. The successful resolution of conflict can also bind
people together in a powerful way.

The Bible contains many stories of conflict and disagreement and much advice about how they can be
addressed. As those stories indicate, God is already present wherever there is brokenness, granting
wholeness and peace. God promises to be with us in times of disagreement and calls us to
reconciliation, trust, love and forgiveness.

We realize that our perspectives are limited, so to help us affirm each other, enhance our community,
stay open to the viewpoints of others and be sensitive to cultural diversity, we commit ourselves to the
Guidelines in a spirit of prayer, trust, and love, seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Adopted by the 204th General Assembly (1992) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)