Monday, September 26, 2011

Right With God

We will be welcoming Bishops Larry Robertson and Terry Buckle (retired) later this month for Bishop Buckle’s episcopal visitation and also to meet the new bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Yukon (Church of Canada), Bishop Robertson.

They will participate in a Revival on October 21-22 at All Saints and then will lead the Confirmation Service on Sunday, October 23 at the 10.45 service.

The Revival Theme will be: Right With God. J.I. Packer has called the teaching of Justification by Faith (Right With God) the central teaching of the church. He said it is like Atlas. “It bears a whole world on its shoulders, the entire evangelical knowledge of God the Savior.” When Atlas “loses his footing, everything that rested on his shoulders collapses too.”

Justification by works – that is the belief that we can in some way contribute to our being Right With God, is, according to Packer, “the natural religion of mankind, and has been since the Fall.” Further, to believe that we can contribute in even some small way to our salvation is to be an enemy of the gospel of grace.

We will meet on Thursday and Friday evenings (October 20 and 21) at 5.30 for dinner, then from 7-8.30 for a teaching, testimony and hymn singing. It should be a great time – and I hope many of will come and bring a friend.

Last year I attended a Revival held at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Point Hope, AK. It was a great time, and so we are modeling our 2 gatherings after that time of teaching, testimony and hymn singing.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Unity, Diversity and Liberality

I Am Tired of All the Options

Jeffrey Bingham, the chair of the theology department at Dallas Theological Seminary, has a phrase he uses when people advocate something that is not a part of the historic Christian faith: “It’s something, but it’s not Christian.” More and more lately I have been asking this question: When do we, in our zeal to remove possible stumbling blocks to the Gospel, offer a form of Christianity that is no longer Christian?

The last few months, in keeping up with my weekly reading of “what is happening now” in theology, I have begun to experience theological nausea. My spirit is sick and it is about to hurl. I don’t know what that looks like, but it does not feel right. There are simply too many “opt outs” being offered – we are beginning to look more like a cafeteria than a church.

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty . . . right? Let me try to briefly state the issue that I have, today, at 5:24pm CST. I am getting the feeling that Christian apologists and theologians, in order to make our faith more palatable to the outside world, are attempting to move all difficulties of our faith into the “non-essential” category in order to create “opt outs.” This is where just about everything outside of the person and work of Christ becomes negotiable. When does the form of Christianity we offer become something different than the historic Christian faith?

Some examples are in order here (please forgive the snarky spirit of the following):

1. Problem with the doctrine of eternal punishment? No problem. We have these two less common options: universalism or annihilationism. You can believe that all people will eventually be saved or that all the damned will cease to exist.

2. Problem with the truthfulness of Scripture? No issue at all. There is no need to believe that the Scripture is true in everything it says, only the “big parts” like Christ’s resurrection.

3. Problem with a donkey talking and other crazy things? Let me point you to an important word: “metaphor.” Yep, just about any portion of Scripture can be turned into a metaphor, myth, parable, symbol, or any number of things. Point being, you don’t have to accept it.

4. Problem with creation account in Genesis? No need to get down. We have lots of options here, including our latest, theistic evolution. The point is that whatever modern science proposes, you can accept. (See number 3 for the means of acceptance.)

5. Problem with God’s allowing for evil? Easy. We have an option that says God, in order to preserve freedom and true love, cannot know about (much less intervene) in the free-will evil choices that people make. Therefore, he is off the hook. Its called “open theism.” Have fun.

6. Problem with the doctrine of election? I understand. This is a particularly nasty one. However, no need to fear. You don’t have to believe this. There is a modified form of divine election which says God’s choice is based on your choice. There . . . the sting is gone.

7. Problem with the exclusivity of Christ? Again, we have the answer. Nowadays, we have this idea called “inclusivism.” With this fancy option, we say that people can be covered by the blood of Christ without actually accepting the Gospel. Awesome.


8. Speaking of the “blood” of Christ, some of you might have a problem with the idea that the Father sacrificed his son (and that he was actually happy about it). You know all that archaic stuff about sacrifices and the shedding of blood? You don’t have to accept that either. There are some who believe that Christ was an example rather than the subject of “divine child abuse.” God’s forgiveness is based on his love, not blood.

9. Problem with homosexuality being a sin? Don’t let that hold you back. Many of our most astute theologians have been able to rework this issue so that there is an option on the table which proposes that homosexuality was not universally condemned in the Scripture. Though the ranks of those who advocate this may be few, it is enough to create a loophole to get out of this one. There are even many “gay churches” that you can attend.


10. Problem with male headship in the church and family? This is one of the easier ones. We have tons of representatives in the church (even denominations) which disagree here. You are free to reject any idea of male headship based upon “cultural context.”

Okay. I am done with the examples…

Here is the problem I have. While I hold to pretty traditional beliefs in these areas, many (not all) of these listed I agree with. In other words, I do believe there are some legitimate alternatives, most notably on the issue of election. While I am a Calvinist, being very committed to unconditional divine election, I understand there are alternative options here that are viable. In short, I don’t believe that a rejection of unconditional election amounts to a rejection of Christianity.

However, when does our removal of intellectual and emotional stumbling blocks create an aberration of Christianity that is Christian only in name? When does our theology get manipulated enough to where it is no longer Christian theology? When do we offer so many choices on the Christian smörgåsbord that the cafeteria’s name needs to change? When does our theology cross the line to where it is “something, but not Christian”?

While writing this, I was talking to a friend who said that she knows a person whom she is trying to evangelize, but that this person has some “issues” with the Christian faith. She wants to bring the friend to the Credo House to discuss them with me. I said in jest, “No problem. Whatever issue the person has, we have multiple alternatives! I can get out of anything.” In other words, whatever their problem is, so long as it is not about the resurrection of Christ, “we know a guy” that can take care of it, if you know what I mean.

I am suspicious of any mindset that is compelled to produce all of these “opt-outs” in order to make Christianity more palatable. Who said that was our job? When did palatability become a test for veracity? Sometimes we believe things that are not palatable, don’t we? Is our desire to be intellectually and culturally viable causing our witness to misrepresent “the faith once for all handed over to the saints”? When do we lose the “fellowship of the saints” due to our minimalization of the Christian faith? Just because something is hard to believe, does this give us the right to scavenger hunt for other options? When have we pulled up so many anchors that we are adrift in a different sea? When is it “something, but not Christian”?

I am tired of all the options. Can we just preach our convictions in the church and not the cafeteria?

Saturday, June 04, 2011

The gospel and obedience to the word of God

Last Sunday, we looked at this verse: {16} yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. (Gal 2.16).

The basis of our standing before God is not by anything we do but by faith in Jesus Christ. For Christ’s death for our sins has removed the enmity between God and ourselves, and his righteousness, imputed (declared) to us, means that we are God’s children, and heirs of eternal life. Paul goes on to say that the way we enter and maintain this relationship with God is by faith – that is faith in the person of Jesus Christ.

This is the gospel. However, as important as these central truths are, there is more to say. We need, for instance to understand that with faith goes repentance. And further, genuine faith leads to obedience - obedience to God which means obedience to his word.

Obedience to the Lord, while not the ground of our justification, is the proper response to the love of God in Christ. In many matters, the word of God is very clear; in others, it is not. Where the word of God is silent, so must we be. But, where it is clear, we must be clear.

The Bible is very clear that sexual relations, gifts from God, are intended for a man and a woman in marriage. The Episcopal Church has upheld this for most of its history – until the last 10 years or so. For a number of reasons, our denomination, contrary to biblical teaching, has now altered this teaching.

We now learn that Bishop Lattime will ordain a non-celibate homosexual woman to the diaconate this Saturday. We have let him know that we believe this to be contrary to God’s revealed will further splintering an already divided denomination. We urge him to follow the word of God and encourage all people, and especially ordained men and women, to live godly lives, and to repent of their sinful behavior - as we all must do.

We read this in Titus 1.9: He (the presbyter/bishop) must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Solas

Keeping the solas together

Lionel Windsor

By Lionel Windsor

One of the aims of the Sola Panel is to go back to basics, to remind ourselves of the importance of the ‘solas’ (i.e. scripture alone, faith alone, Christ alone, grace alone, glory to God alone). This post will look at one way in which these solas all fit together.

I'm currently reading through Timothy Ward's very helpful book Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God (Inter-Varsity Press, Nottingham, 2009). It's a good and highly accessible exposition of the Reformed doctrine of Scripture, which avoids many of the petty caricatures that are sometimes thrown about, and deals well with a number of modern objections. I highly recommend it as a book to put near the top of your reading list this year.

Early on in the book, Ward seeks to ground our doctrine of Scripture in the even more fundamental doctrine of the ‘word of God’ (or the ‘speech of God’). Ward points out that God's speech is, and always has been, exceedingly powerful. This is seen especially when it comes to God's justification of the ungodly. In this very significant case, God's speech doesn't just inform us about God's salvation; it actually brings salvation to us:

God establishes, by his own declaration, a fundamental change in our standing before him, before he brings about, by the sending of the Holy Spirit, a real change to our sinful state… he spoke, making us by that declaration to be justified in our relationship with him… Thus a fundamental aspect of God's redemptive work occurs when he chooses to speak, and in so doing unilaterally brings us to share here and now in the right standing with him that Jesus Christ has. (pp. 27-28)

This is a pretty good exposition of some of the important connections between God's word/speech and our salvation. But it's important to remember that God's ‘speech-act’ of justification is only one part of the story of salvation.1

We must always remember that when the Bible talks about God justifying us, it never talks about this justification as a mere declaration that occurs all by itself. It's not the case that God simply says to us out of the blue, “I deem you to be justified”, and that act of speech alone brings about our salvation. Of course, God's speech is mightily powerful. But when it comes to our salvation, God's justifying speech-act is connected to other highly significant powerful actions of God.

The first aspect of God's saving work that we must always remember when we think about justification is the atonement. God's justification of sinners is based squarely on the death of Jesus Christ for our sins—that one supreme act of love and grace whereby Jesus paid for our sins and satisfied the wrath of God. Paul, who of all the biblical authors spells out the idea of justification most fully, never talks about justification in a vacuum. Paul brings the concepts of justification and atonement together. He tells us that we “are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:24). The purpose of Jesus' atoning work (Rom 3:25) is to enable God to be ‘just’ and to be the “justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom 3:26). Without the atonement, God could not remain true to his own just standards as creator and judge, and therefore could not justify us. You see the same thing in Galatians—Paul's strong defence in Galatians is that God's justification of sinners doesn't stand alone, but it is based on the fact that Jesus “gave himself for our sins” (Gal 1:4). Justification and the atonement go together; justification without atonement would be nothing and would mean nothing.

The second thing that must not be forgotten when it comes to justification is that those who are justified are united to Christ through faith. This isn't to say that our own faith is itself some wonderful meritorious action that secures a reward from God. What it means is that when God justifies us he's not issuing some arbitrary declaration that makes no sense of the reality of our own personal sin. It's not the case that God one day decides to say to us, “You are righteous”, when patently we are, in fact, miserable sinners. No, God's declaration of us as ‘righteous’ is based on the fact that he, by his Holy Spirit acting through his word which brings about faith, has actually united us to his righteous Son. This means that our own sins are truly cancelled by Jesus' death, and that we truly share in the righteousness that by rights only belongs to Christ. For example, Paul speaks about being “found in him [i.e. Christ], not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (Phil 3:9).

In other words, the Reformation ‘solas’ all go together. God, through the supreme authority of Scripture alone, addresses us, speaks the gospel to us, declares that we are justified, and so brings salvation to us sinners. But this can only be true because Christ alone has performed that once-for-all atoning sacrifice for sins. By faith alone, the sacrifice of Christ is applied to our own reality. All of this is an act of God's grace alone—to the glory of God alone. You can only go so far talking about one or the other of the solas in isolation. They really are a package deal.

1 I'm not disagreeing with Timothy Ward here, just clarifying a possible misunderstanding. I'm pretty sure that he would agree with what I have to say here, since in the passage I've quoted, he cites Romans 5:8 (about Jesus' death), and goes on to discuss the “effectual calling” whereby God's word creates saving faith.

Moore Stuff from Mark Thompson

I have long wanted to write a serious piece on the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. Recently I was given the opportunity to do so through an invitation to contribute to a volume essays, The Bible and the Academy: Critical Scholarship and the Evangelical Understanding of Scripture in the 21st Century, edited by James Hoffmeier and Dennis Magary and to be published by Crossway in 2011. I do not intend to reproduce the article here but instead simply to outline its argument.

My goal was not to present a comprehensive exposition of the doctrine (which would have required about three times the space) but to explore the strictly theological dimensions of the doctrine. While critically biblical inerrancy is a doctrine about the Christian Bible (and not first and foremost about the biblical authors), it has profound connections with the doctrine of God and his involvement in the world he has made.

Here is the outline:

1. Introduction
An acknowledgement of current difficulties with the doctrine and the need for a theological account.

2. A doctrine both theologically robust and exegetically defensible
A response to the charge that the doctrine is itself unbiblical, a brief exploration of how the doctrine raises acutely the question of theological method, and an examination of some classic definitions (Warfield, The Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy, and Paul Feinberg) alongside Michael Horton's brief but decidedly theological definition.

3. The five theological pillars of the doctrine of biblical inerrancy
These are: (a) God's personal veracity; (b) God's concursive involvement in the created order; (c) God's willingness to accommodate himself for our sake; (d) God's creation and use of human speech and writing; and (e) God's gift of Scripture.

4. A perspective on the difficulties
A concluding comment that reflects on the way critiques of the doctrine routinely deal in caricature, the need to take difficulties with the text seriously without imposing a predetermined solution and recognising that we may not expect all answers to be known in the present, and a plea for maintaining perspective — inerrancy is not the only or perhaps even the most important characteristic of Scripture.

Here is an extract from the conclusion:
As we acknowledged at the beginning, there is much more that could be said. However, it is evident that the theological anchorage of the doctrine of biblical inerrancy is both broad and deep. Our understanding of Scripture cannot be isolated from the person and character of the God who gave it to us, just as it may not bypass the genuine freedom and conscious involvement of the human authors of each particular text. What it means for this collection of texts to be the written word of God and what it means for it to be 'genuinely human' must be determined first and foremost with reference to God's self-revelation in Jesus Christ. Yet what is involved is much more than a theological syllogism or a hasty and unqualified appeal to the hypostatic union of divine and human natures in Christ. Larger theological themes are integrated with Scripture's self-attestation and with a sensitivity to the textures of what we have in fact been given in Scripture.

Biblical inerrancy has more often been engaged by critics in caricature than with serious attention to the best and most serious expositions of the doctrine. Contemporary assessments of the phenomena of Scripture have too often been given priority over the express biblical affirmations or the broader theological framework sketched above. On the one hand, a preoccupation with incidental details has not often been disciplined by sustained attention to the purposes for which Scripture has been given, while on the other, too little attention has been given to the way in which the central message of Scripture is inextricably bound to matters of history and observations about the world in which we live ...

I hope that the full article, when it is published, will answer any questions which might arise from this bare outline and quote from its conclusion. Suffice to say that my research and the process of writing the article strengthened rather than diminished my commitment to this important doctrine, though I remain opposed to using it as a Shibboleth.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Reformation of Anglican Communion

If the Anglican Communion is to be reformed again it needs to be hear and heed these crucial truths:
  1. It is impossible to take Jesus seriously without taking the teaching of Scripture seriously. Faith in Christ entails acknowledging Christ's Lordship. Submitting to Christ as Lord means being willing to conform our thinking and our behaviour to the words he has given us. Since he endorsed the Hebrew Old Testament (Lk 24:44) and appointed those whose mission produced the New Testament (Mtt 28:18–20; Acts 1:8), we cannot avoid the reality that faith in Christ manifests itself in obedience to the teaching of Scripture (Mtt. 7:24; Jms 1:22).
  2. The Spirit of God never leads people in ways contrary to the teaching of Scripture, which he has been instrumental in producing. Jesus' promise of the Spirit to his disciples was not that the Spirit will lead the churches on from Scripture into truth which somehow supersedes it, but that he will ensure that Jesus' words are heard until the end of the age (Jn 16:13–14). To pit the Spirit against the Scriptures is to fail to understand either.
  3. The most urgent and important need of every human being is to be reconciled to God. We are all naturally God's enemies (Rms 5:10) with the result that we stand under the wrath of the God who loves us (Rms 1:18; Eph. 2:1–3). Our natural disposition is to insist on our own autonomy, to repeat the folly of the Garden of Eden where the goal was to determine right and wrong without reference to God and the word he had given (Gen. 3:4–6). If we are to be reconciled to God, then the cconsequences of our rebellion against him — our guilt, corruption, enslavement to sinful thinking and behaviour, and death — must all be dealt with in their entirety. A gospel which does not explain this most basic need is no gospel at all.
  4. The gospel which the Christian church proclaims is that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried and was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3–8). Christ was delivered up for our transgressions and was raised for our justification (Rms 4:25). This is the provision of the triune God whose determined love for the men and women he has made causes him to bear all the consequences of their sin and exhaust them (Eph. 2:4–7).
  5. The embrace of this salvation is only possible by the work of the Spirit transforming human hearts, bringing new life and creating faith (Jn 3:5–6; Rms 8:9–17; 1 Cor 12:3). Without such a work we all remain lost. No human effort will bring us within the orbit of Christ's salvation, it is entirely a gift of grace to undeserving sinners (Eph. 2:8–9). We are justified by faith alone and this faith which is the instrument of our justification is produced in us by the Spirit (Rms 5:1; Gal. 5:5).
  6. To be forgiven, and so incorporated into the family of God, transforms the entirety of our lives. The gospel of Jesus Christ determines an entirely new set of priorities which shape life in the public square, in the workplace, in places of recreation and in our homes. There is no facet of life which stands beyond the claims of Christ's lordship (Phil. 1:27; Col. 2:6–4:6; Eph. 4:1–6:9).
  7. While each of us continues to struggle with various forms of temptation, the continuing dynamic of the Christian life is one of repentance and faith (Mk 1:15; Acts 20:21; Heb. 6:1). Our orientation to sin, in whichever form it is expressed in each of us, is not what defines us and should not be given expression in our thoughts, words or actions. Once again it is the Spirit who has been given to us who enables us in this struggle: 'the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do' (Gal. 5:17).
  8. We are not saved to a life of individualism, self-realisation, independence or autonomy. God has always been about saving a people for himself (Gen 12:2–3; Ex. 19:3–6; Jn 12:32; Rev. 5:9–10). Following Christ means serving others just as he has served us. This is why the local congregation is at the centre of God's purposes. Here the life of service and love is lived out in relationship with others who have been saved by Christ and reaching out to those who are still lost. After all, it is the church — and not just individual Christians — which Christ presents to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish' (Eph. 5:27).
  9. This is not to deny important responsibilities beyond the local congregation, responsibilities modelled at points even in the New Testament (e.g. Acts 15:1–35; 1 Cor. 16:1–4; 1 Thess. 1:6–8). Over the centuries, various institutional structures have been developed in order to support, resource and assist the faithful life and witness of the gathered people of God. Yet these must never become the focus of loyalty themselves nor must the unity of the Spirit be confused with a common institutional structure. The unity the Spirit brings is neither created nor preserved by institutional regulation. It arises out of a fellowship in the gospel (Phil. 1:5) which is maintained 'in the bond of peace' (Eph. 4:3). It is a unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God (Eph. 4:13) which cannot be separated from a unity of mind (Phil. 2:2; 1 Pet. 3:8). Denominations need to concerned with faithfulness to the gospel of Christ above any consideration of structural cohesion.
  10. Leadership amongst God's people is first and foremost about fidelity to the gospel and a transparent, humble submission to the teaching of Scripture. There should be a mutual accountability of those set apart to serve the churches and those who follow their lead in the churches (Mtt. 23:8). Leaders who abandon the biblical gospel in teaching or lifestyle (ie a lifestyle either lived by them or endorsed by them and contrary to the teaching of Scripture), should be held to account and if they will not repent, be removed for the sake of the people they are meant to be serving in truth and faithfulness (Acts 20:29–31; 1 Tim. 1:18–20; Jude 3).
  11. The mission of Christ is the priority of Christ's people. Amidst the myriad of demands made upon the resources of individual Christians, churches or denominations, those being conformed to the image of God's Son share his concern to save the lost. Preeminently concerned to see lost men and women come to faith in Christ and grow to maturity in him, they will not let evangelism and discipleship be overshadowed by other worthwhile activity.
  12. A longstanding temptation facing the churches has been a longing for acceptance, a sense of respectability, and an acknowledgement by those with power or influence that they have a legitimate place in contemporary society. Such a temptation has often led to an accommodation to elements of the contemporary secular agenda. In all of this the words of Jesus are easily forgotten: '... because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you' (Jn 15:19; 17:14). The church will always be a despised minority in a world arraigned against God. Nevertheless, despite such opposition, even the power of death will not prevail against the church that Christ is building (Mtt. 16:18). Though we ought not to seek the animosity of the world, or indeed provoke it by our own arrogance or folly, we need to remember that vindication and legitimization will only come on the day we are invited to 'enter the joy of our master' (Mtt. 25:21, 23).

Friday, January 21, 2011

When is enough Enough

Michael Ovey, principal of Oak Hill College (Anglican Seminary) in London, responds to a question regarding error in the church:

Question: What are some of the consequences of a church, seminary or denomination tolerating false teachers?

Answer: This is a hard one to answer. Any church, seminary or denomination will have a range of views. Some of those views will be wrong. Nevertheless there are some views which are so wrong that tolerating them takes the church, seminary or denomination beyond a critical mass, so to speak. When that happens, I think it's clear that error multiplies and will not be confined simply to the original mistake, and at a more fundamental level the tendency is for the organization in question to stop seeking truth and answers but to rest content with the existence of conflicting opinions. In that way the search for truth is a casualty and I feel that that leads to an exponential growth in problems.

Question: Hilary of Poitiers said that 'Heresy lies in the sense assigned, not in the word written. The guilt is that of the expositor, not of the text.' What are the danger signs of this very thing happening in a minister's ministry?

Answer: I think the Hilary quote is brilliant. He also makes the point that a heretic uses the texts of Scripture but connects them in a way that the Scripture does not. Heretics do have an order, says Hilary (in respect of the Arian heresy), but the order is one that is imposed and is the heretic's own...."

p 180, 181 Risking the Truth by Martin Downes, 2009

Monday, January 17, 2011

What is the ACNA?

Reaching North America with the Transforming Love of Jesus Christ

Our Genesis

Globally, regionally and locally, Anglicanism is in the process of reformation. Within the last decades, the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada have increasingly accommodated and incorporated un-Biblical, un-Anglican practices and teaching.

In the context of this widening theological gap, the existing geography-based organizational model of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada became problematic for orthodox Anglicans. Orthodox parishes, clergy and dioceses that upheld Biblical authority and historic Anglican practice became isolated within their existing structures.

Distressed churches and entire dioceses began to disaffiliate from the established provinces in North America and seek episcopal oversight and spiritual care from Anglican Provinces and leaders in other parts of the world, including the primates and churches of Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South America and Uganda. Beginning in 2000 with the Church of Rwanda, these leaders have responded by accepting orthodox Anglican parishes and dioceses in North America into their care.

In February 2005, leading orthodox bishops and ministries representing a number of different Anglican jurisdictions in North America launched the Common Cause Partnership. In September 2007, the bishops of the partnership gathered to begin shaping a unified and orthodox Anglican church in Canada and the United States. The inaugural meeting of the governing council, held on 17 December 2007, elected the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan as the moderator of the Common Cause Partnership.

Then in June 2008, Anglican leaders from around the world gathered at the Global Anglican Future conference and, among other decisions, determined that the North American Anglican groups under their care and united in the Common Cause Partnership should form a united Anglican body and seek recognition as a province in the Anglican Communion.

Following significant formational work by the Common Cause Partners, these same Anglican leaders have now recognized the resulting ecclesial structure – the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) – as authentically Anglican and have commended formal recognition of ACNA to the other leaders in the Communion. During this period of transition, bishops within ACNA will retain membership in the House of Bishops of the province in which they were members prior to the formation of ACNA.

In bringing together so many faithful Anglicans and Anglican Churches, the ACNA has demonstrated its commitment to unity within the bounds of truth. It represents the reuniting of orthodox Anglicans who have been squeezed out of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada by successive changes to historic Christian teaching and Anglican practice. Unique among the members of ACNA, the Reformed Episcopal Church was founded in 1873. It has remained faithful to the unchanging Gospel of Jesus Christ for its 135 year history and is now reuniting with others who share the same commitment to the Word of God.

Founding members of the Common Cause Partnership

The ecclesial and non-ecclesial organizations which have worked together to form the 28 dioceses of the Anglican Church in North America are:

Under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone
Diocese of Fort Worth
Diocese of Pittsburgh

Diocese of Quincy

Diocese of San Joaquin

Anglican Network in Canada -
Various missionary initiatives in the United States

Under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of Nigeria
Convocation of Anglicans in North America

Under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of Rwanda
Anglican Mission in the Americas (including the Anglican Coalition in Canada)

Under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of Kenya
Various missionary initiatives in the United States

Under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of Uganda
Various missionary initiatives in the United States

Independent Anglican Church
Reformed Episcopal Church

Non-ecclesial founding members of the Common Cause Partnership
American Anglican Council
Forward in Faith North America
Anglican Communion Network

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Jerusalem Statement

The Jerusalem Declaration

In the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit:

We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, have met in the land of Jesus’ birth. We express our loyalty as disciples to the King of kings, the Lord Jesus. 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, solemnly declaring the following tenets of orthodoxy which underpin our Anglican identity.

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.

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.

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.

We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today.

We gladly proclaim and submit to the unique and universal Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humanity’s only Savior from sin, judgment 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.

We rejoice in our Anglican sacramental and liturgical heritage as an expression of the gospel, and we uphold the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer, to be translated and locally adapted for each culture.

We recognize that God has called and gifted bishops, priests and deacons in historic succession to equip all the people of God for their ministry in the world. We uphold the classic Anglican Ordinal as an authoritative standard of clerical orders.

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.

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 baptize, teach and bring new believers to maturity.

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.

We are committed to the unity of all those who know and love Christ and to building authentic ecumenical relationships. We recognize the orders and jurisdiction of those Anglicans who uphold orthodox faith and practice, and we encourage them to join us in this declaration.

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.

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.

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.