The new statement of faith will have as central question whether the statement is in agreement with or simply in essential agreement with the doctrinal articles of the basis of union.

The expression "in essential agreement" has previously been wrongly used in reference to official statements of the church

- "the Statement of Faith (1940), the "New Creed (1968, revised 1994), the Lordship of Jesus (1978) and the Authority and Interpretation of Scripture (1992), as approved statements of the United Church, are all in essential agreement with the Doctrine section of the Basis of Union" [Executive of General Council Reply]
- "the original Proposed Statement ...stands in essential agreement with the Holy Scriptures and with historic expressions of the faith contained, for instance, in the classical ecumenical and Reformed confessions, and the Basis of Union of the United Church of Canada" [Record of Proceedings 2000, p. 315]

as the Manual uses the expression "in essential agreement" only with ministry personnel, and nowhere permits its courts to deviate from matters of doctrine, worship, discipline or government as found in the basis of union without remit.

Critical questions to be considered

- is the new statement of faith simply a contemporary expression of the doctrinal articles of the basis of union, or might it detract from or include thought not expressed in the doctrinal articles?
- might the new statement of faith be used in decision making without reference to the doctrinal articles of the basis of union as with other statements of the church?

The principle of unreasonableness would question a court responsible for legislation making official statement "in essential agreement" for that which it could not legislate, given "all resolutions passed by the General Council shall have the force and effect of by-laws...".