Sunday, June 29, 2008

Confessing Anglicans Respond

For the past week (June 21-29, 2008) over 1,000 Anglican leaders converged in Jerusalem to discuss the future of the Anglican Church (A.K.A. The Church of England and the American Episcopal Church). The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) met to dicuss the state of the existing international church, in particular the unbiblical behavior and expressed beliefs of many Anglican churches (particularly in the U.S.A. and Canada).

A summation of their meeting is a 4 page document that deserves reading (courtesy of the BBC):

I love their willingness to stand on the Scriptures, their clear teaching on what Biblical marriage is, and also on the "false gospels" that are being preached in the name of Christianity. I also appreciate their humility in confessing the sins of people who embrace heterosexual marriage, but fail to honor it as we should.

Here are a few of the statements in their Jerusalem Declaration that I believe every Christian should also be willing to confess:

"We joyfully embrace his command to proclaim the reality of his kingdom which he first announced in this land. The gospel of the kingdom is the good news of salvation, liberation and transformation for all. In light of the above, we agree to chart a way forward together that promotes and protects the biblical gospel and mission to the world . . . "

1. We rejoice in the gospel of God through which we have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because God first loved us, we love him and as believers bring forth fruits of love, ongoing repentance, lively hope and thanksgiving to God in all things.

2. We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God written and to contain all things necessary for salvation. The Bible is to be translated, read, preached, taught and obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church’s historic and consensual reading.

3. We uphold the four Ecumenical Councils and the three historic Creeds as expressing the rule of faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

5. We gladly proclaim and submit to the unique and universal Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humanity’s only Saviour from sin, judgement and hell, who lived the life we could not live and died the death that we deserve. By his atoning death and glorious resurrection, he secured the redemption of all who come to him in repentance and faith.

8. We acknowledge God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family. We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married.

9. We gladly accept the Great Commission of the risen Lord to make disciples of all nations, to seek those who do not know Christ and to baptise, teach and bring new believers to maturity.

10. We are mindful of our responsibility to be good stewards of God’s creation, to uphold and advocate justice in society, and to seek relief and empowerment of the poor and needy.

12. We celebrate the God-given diversity among us which enriches our global fellowship, and we
acknowledge freedom in secondary matters. We pledge to work together to seek the mind of Christ on issues that divide us.

13. We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.

14. We rejoice at the prospect of Jesus’ coming again in glory, and while we await this final event of history, we praise him for the way he builds up his church through his Spirit by miraculously changing lives.

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