The revised proposed statement of Bearing Faithful Witness responds to questions raised with both clarity and ambiguity.
The preamble now clearly interprets bearing faithful witness to include:
"the United Church of Canada is called continually in its congregations to be faithful to Jesus Christ in worship, prayer, word and action in the midst of our neighbours and in the world",
"we believe that the God whom we know in Jesus Christ is the One who called Sarah and Abraham, gave the Torah to Moses, and put passion for justice into the hearts of the prophets",
"...the eternal Word becomes flesh in the person of Jesus",
"we also believe that the Holy Spirit calls us to bear faithful witness to all people concerning God's reconciling mission in Jesus Christ";
and "mission" is not included in the rejects as previously.
The revised proposed statement has ambiguity with respect to the above statements:
The term "supersessionism" is defined:
"Christian teaching that the church has replaced or superseded Israel in God's plan of salvation..." in the study document
"the belief that the Church has replaced Israel in the love and purpose of God" in the revised proposed statement
which are quite different statements. The third clause of "b) rejects:" might more simply read "the belief that the Church has replaced Israel in the love and purpose of God" without the ambiguity of what supersessionism means.
The dictionary definition of proselyte is "person converted from one opinion, creed, or party, to another... hence proselytism". By rejecting all forms of proselytism we would be saying the church is wrong in seeking to change the opinion of those who believe in racism or other positions. If what is really intended is the World Council of Churches' rejection of coercive evangelism, the fourth clause of "b) rejects:" might more simply read "coercive evangelism, in particular the targeting of Jews for conversion to Christianity" without footnote to qualify a different from the dictionary meaning of a theologically interpreted word "proselytism".
The study document included "it is recognized that conversion from Judaism to Christianity is not needful for salvation" [appendix c] and a radical reinterpretation of the christian faith, both of which are not required for the statement. The second clause of "d) encourages members, Congregations, Presbyteries, Conferences, and the General Council:" might more simply read "to continue to study issues within the Jewish-Christian relationship" without reference to the study document.
The church's affirmation of the priesthood of all believers makes it imperative to use language that is readily understood and accepted without reference to unfamiliar sources, where the use of simple language adequately expresses the declared intent of the statement. Ambiguity is neither useful nor required.
With these changes the revised proposed statement is bearing faithful witness, though the Anti-Racism Task Group Report remains a more complete statement re questions of antisemitism and racism.