The Committee of Fifteen Records
Scope and Contents
This collection contains minutes, reports, correspondence, and drafts of the Confession of 1967, as well as feedback solicited on The Confession of 1967.
- 1965 - 1966
Biographical / Historical
The impetus for the Confession of 1967 began in 1956, when the Presbytery of Amarillo called for the revision to the Westminster Shorter Catechism. They wanted to rewrite the Catechism in contemporary language. In response to this request, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. decided that rather than rewriting the Catechism they would draft a contemporary statement of faith. In 1958, the General Assembly formed the Special Committee on a Brief Contemporary Statement of Faith and tasked them with drafting this new confessional. The Committee’s work resulted in The Book of Confessions, which included seven historical documents and a new statement of faith, which is now called The Confession of 1967.
Presented to the General Assembly in 1965, The Book of Confessions was a highly anticipated text. In 1958, the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and the United Presbyterian church of North America merged; forming the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Leaders from both dominations were interested in how the revisions to the confession would reflect the newly united church.
While the Book of Confession was approved by the General Assembly in 1965, The Confession of 1967 proved to be a controversial document because of the way it discussed scripture. Therefore, in 1965, the General Assembly formed The Committee of Fifteen to review and amend The Confession of 1967. Chaired by Rev. W. Sherman Skinner (PTS 1963), The Committee of Fifteen solicited feedback and amendments to The Confession and drafted a revised version.
In 1967, at the 178th General Assembly, a revised version of The Confession of 1967 was adopted. It serves as a contemporary statement of faith of the United Presbyterian Church in the USA.
Committee members included Rev. W. Sherman Skinner, Rev. James W. Angell, Mr. Irving W. Cobb, Jr., Professor Harry Davis, Rev. Louis H. Evans, Jr., Mr. Robert Grasberger, Rev. Joseph Haroutunian, Rev. Edler G. Hawkins, Rev. Robert J. Lamont, Rev. William F. Keesecker, Mr. Theodore Lindner, Ph.D., Rev. Lewis S. Mudge, Mr. William H. Schechter, Mrs. Robert Wise, and Rev. William J. Wiseman, S.T.D.
1.88 Linear Feet (4 Full Hollinger boxes (15.25" x 5" x 10.25") 1 Half Hollinger boxes (15.25" x 2.5" x 10.25"))
Language of Materials
Appointed in 1965, the Committee of Fifteen was tasked by the 177th General Assembly to review and study The Confession of 1967. The Committee solicited feedback on this new statement of faith and considered how to revise and amend this important theological text. The collection contains materials related to the Committee’s work as well as much of the generated feedback.
When accessioned, the collection was not organized and there was no apparent original order to the records. After review, the collection was arranged into two series: Committee Records and Commentaries Received. The Committee Records series contains records produced by committee members and includes reports, meeting minutes, correspondance, and drafts of The Confession of 1967. The Commentaries Received series includes feedback solicited by the Committee on The Confession of 1967. The feedback came from individuals, churches and presbyteries from across the United States and beyond. The commentaries are organized geographically by state.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection accessioned by Douglas F. Denne on March 4, 1996. Donor unknown, but perhaps donated by Dr. Edward Dowey.
- The Committee of Fifteen Records
- Elizabeth Jenkins
- June 13, 2018
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note