The overture was brought about by the publication of Glory to God, The Presbyterian Hymnal, 2013, which has a section of hymns under the heading: “God’s covenant with Israel.” It notes that the use of the phrase “God’s covenant with Israel,” is open to interpretation by the reader/singer, and the overture asked for a denotation if it referred to “Biblical Israel” or the “modern State of Israel.”
DETROIT, Mich. — Commissioners of the Presbyterian Church (USA’s) 221st General Assembly upheld a committee recommendation to disapprove an overture asking for a clear interpretation distinguishing between Biblical and modern Israel.
Commissioners voted 506-72 (88 percent) in favor of the recommendation from the Committee of Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations (Committee 7) during Thursday’s night plenary session at the Cobo Center.
Committee 7 disapproved the recommendation by a vote 53-8 earlier in the week but with a comment that read, “Though the committee voted to not to approve Item 07-01, we take very seriously the matter of language, specifically around the use of the term ‘Israel,’ and the tension around it. We hope the discussion and education about the use of language continues.”
An overture from Chicago Presbytery asked that the assembly distinguish between Biblical terms for Israel and those applied to the modern state of Israel in Christian liturgy.
Commissioner Jim Latta of Shenango Presbytery voiced opposition to the motion that the GA not approve the overture.
“By disapproving this motion, we leave unclear the relationship between Biblical Israel and modern Israel,” he said. “We ignore the opportunity to clarify.”