A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE KYODAN

(Official Translation under consideration April 4, 1968)

Protestant Christianity in our country originated from the work of foreign missionaries who came to Japan in 1859.  On February 2, 1872 (according to the old calendar), the first Protestant Church, the Nihon Kirisuto Kokai, was established in Yokohama.  This church belonged to none of the denominations found in foreign countries but was, as it were, a supra-denominational church.  Subsequently, however, denominations from Europe and America were transplanted to Japan, and their mission work expanded.  From a different angle at about the same time, proposals for union arouse frequently among the several denominations, partly stimulated from abroad by the ecumenical movement.  Finally, the opportunity arose, coincidentally occasioned by the promulgation of the Religious Organizations Law, for all the Protestant churches of the country to unite.  On October 17, 1940, at a mass meeting in Tokyo of Christian laypersons from all parts of Japan, a declaration of church unity was made.  On the basis of this declaration, over thirty Protestant denominations achieved unity at a Founding General Assembly held at the Fujimichio Church on June 24-25,1941.  Thus, the present United church was established, in accordance with the following general doctrinal statement:
“The Triune God, being Father, Son and Holy Spirit, revealed by the Lord Jesus Christ and attested in the Holy Scriptures, grants forgiveness of sins to those who believe in the atonement affected by the Son who, for the sins of the world and its salvation, became man, died, and rose from the dead.  These believers He accounts as righteous, He sanctifies them and grants them eternal life.
“The Church, as the body of Christ made up of those who are called by grace, observes worship, preaches the Gospel, administers the Sacraments, and wats in hope for the coming of the Lord.”
Later, in conjuncition with the annulment of the Religious Organizations Law, the proposal was made that the United Church’s organization be revised.  On October 16, 1946, the Constitution was re-enacted, making it publicly evident that this body was indeed a united church of its own volition.  Then on October 27, 1948, the Constitution was revised, and it was decided that the United Church would confess its faith in the words of the Apostles’ Creed.  At length, on October 26, 1954, the United Church adopted its own Confession of Faith.  Thus this United Church, which under a wondrous providence and in the unity of the Holy Spirit had from the time of its founding labored for the formation of a stable church, in this way publicly established its oneness with the holy catholic church.

Enacted