Confession of 1967

Historical Context:

Cold war:

Berlin Wall (erected 1961), Bay of Pigs (1961), Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)

Civil Rights:

Rosa Parks (1955), Brown vs. Brown (1954), Little Rock School integration (1957),
Civil Rights March in Selma (1963), Civil Rights Act (1964)


USA entered the war in1961. In 1967 there were 500,000 US troops in Vietnam. In 1967 alone 9,353 troops are killed in the war. Anti-war protests peaked in 1968.

Feminist Concerns:

The Sexual Revolution (the pill-1960), Feminine Mystique (1963), NOW (1966)

Other events:

JFK assassinated (1963), riots in LA (1965) and Detroit (1967), Free Speech Movement (1964),
apartheid in South Africa, 6-day war (1967), counter-cultural "revolution"

Theological context:

Liberal Christianity is a movement within Christianity that is characterized in part by the following features:

American fundamentalism included beliefs which became known as the "five fundamentals"

Neo-orthodoxy is primarily associated with the Swiss Protestant Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, Rudolf Bultmann and Reinhold Niebuhr. Its beliefs include:

Neo-orthodoxy is distinct from both liberal Protestantism and fundamentalism. This can be seen in Barth's understanding of the Bible. He rejected the fundamentalist claim that the Christian scriptures are infallible. He rejected the modernist liberal Christian claim of that time, that God could be known through human scholarship. He believed that the Bible was the key place where the Word of God can be revealed to human beings, and that an existential leap of faith is required by the individual to hear what God has to say.

Denominational context:

The United Presbyterian Church in the USA (UPCUSA) was formed in 1958 as a merger of the United Presbyterian Church in North America (UPCNA) and the Presbyterian Church of the USA (PCUSA). In the same year it proposed that the church draw up a "brief contemporary statement of faith." A committee worked on that statement for 7 years and sent it to the General Assembly in 1965. After changes and acceptance by the presbyteries it was approved in 1967.

The theme of the Confession of 1967 is reconciliation. It is built on the passage of Scripture: "In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself...";(2 Cor. 5:19, NRSV) and also Matthew 5:24 -"first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift" (at the altar.)

The Confession of 1967 addresses the church's role in the modern world. With the Confession of 1967, the church also adopted the Book of Confessions.