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Conceptual Framework for MTW/National Church Relations (1984)

[12th General Assembly (1984), Appendix K, pages 345-346.]

The Presbyterian Church in America maintains ecclesiastical fellowship with Presbyterian and Reformed church bodies in North America through NAPARC (North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council). Through its Committee on Mission to the World, the PCA relates to both these and other churches outside North America in its efforts to carry out the task of world evangelism. This is done through specific written agreements. These agreements are designed to enable both parties to be better stewards of God's resources.

The following statements form a framework for mission/church relations to guide the PCA/MTW's relationship with churches outside its own country:
1. The Presbyterian Church in America is part of Christ's Church and as such possesses all the promises and mandates given to the whole Church. In obedience to the Scriptures the PCA is committed to spread the Gospel to the end that the Church will grow both qualitatively and quantitatively.
2. Where the Presbyterian/Reformed churches true to God's Word do not exist, the PCA recognizes its calling to plant new congregations and whenever possible pursues this objective in cooperation with other Presbyterian/Reformed church bodies.
3. MTW is the agency of the PCA appointed by the General Assembly to implement the biblical injunction to preach the Gospel beyond North America to the ends of the earth. Both mission and church stand under the authority of Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, and His Word; therefore, the biblical principles of interdependence and reciprocity are affirmed.
4. We recognize that all cultures and peoples stand under the authority of God's Word, both as to form and substance of the churches' theology. We will therefore seek to teach the whole counsel of God as we plant new churches. MTW strives to establish presbyterian form of government in the churches formed through its efforts. When planting new churches and presbyteries, the cultural identity of the merging church must be respected from its inception.
5. MTW views its missionary calling as permanent but its missionary presence in any given location transitional, giving way to local church leadership.
6. When assisting in local church/presbytery programs, MTW views its role as supportive rather than primary, the authority and responsibility resting with the church/presbytery from the beginning.
7. MTW recognizes that each church in its own context and depending on its age, level of maturity, etc. may perceive agendas differing from those of MTW. MTW recognizes the validity of these differences as long as both church and mission are committed to God's Word as final authority. These differing perceptions of priorities should not inhibit fellowship.
8. Relationships between mission and church are sustained by a common theological commitment rooted in obedience to the Scriptures as both seek to carry out the Great Commission.
9. The vehicle for the expression of this relationship is a written agreement regarding a mutually agreed upon project. Such agreements are to be made at the operational level, to cover responsibilities of both parties for specific action together, and are not to be considered blanket endorsements.

Approved on September 9, 1983 by the Committee on Mission to the World
Revised February 17, 1984, by Committee on Mission to the World

1984, 12-29, III, 10; p. 97
That the paper entitled "Conceptual Framework for MTW/National Church Relations" be approved.