Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 128:509 (Jan 71) p. 68
“Church Of Christ Uniting: Renewal Or Disaster?” Edward B. Fiske, Christian Herald, August, 1970.
“Cocu: A Critique,” Harold Lindsell, Christianity Today, October 9 and 23, 1970.
“C.O.C.U.’S Withdrawal Clause,” Donald J. McNair, Mandate, October 1, 1970.
The Consultation for Church Union—the original COCU—is the implementation of Eugene Carson Blake’s proposal for the merger of four major American denominations in a sermon preached December 4, 1960, in the pulpit of Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco. Now the acronym has new meaning—the Church of Christ Uniting—the tentative name of the new denomination being proposed in a plan of union prepared by the Consultation and presented to the members of the nine denominations now involved in the study.
As the last word of the new denomination suggests, the proposal is an open-ended plan for union which will continue to attract new members until it realizes the ecumenical dream of embracing all Christians in one organization. It will be the Church of Christ Uniting until—fait accompli—it becomes the Church of Christ United. And yet “the same yesterday, and today, and forever” it remains COCU.
Although Fiske suggests the possible extreme alternatives in his title “Renewal or Disaster?” his article is essentially an objective discussion of the plan and its prospects. Lindsell openly identifies his two-part discussion as “a critique” from the evangelical perspective. McNair zeroes in on one specific part of the plan for union—its withdrawal clause—and illuminates the problems in its execution.
Lindsell directs his criticism in two broad areas—the theology of COCU and its polity or ecclesiology. On the surface the new church will adopt the traditional Christian theology. It endorses the Apostles’ Creed
BSac 128:509 (Jan 71) p. 69
and the Nicene Creed, plus all the confessions of the uniting denominations. But none of them will be binding, for COCU “will not use any of these confessions as the exclusive requirement for all, nor permit them to become a basis for divisions in the new community.” Even Fiske acknowledges that “in short, no one who isn’t already a heretic will have to change any beliefs to join the new church.”
Lindsell also points out that “the new church will be committed to the supposition that all men will be saved.” It adopts the increasingly popular ecumenical doctrine that the new creation being formed in Christ embraces all men. In effect the theology of COCU is an empty profession, for anyone will be able to believe what he wants and no doc...
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