29.6.08

So here's GAFCON'S Jerusalem Declaration and my response to it

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. (I rejoice, too)

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.(Plain and canonical sense? By whose authority? There's no such thing as 'plain' sense. We all filter God's Word through a human brain, bringing our own presuppositions and prejudices to bear. I don't think I can accept a 'plain' reading if that means 'a traditionalist, conservative reading because that reading damns all homosexuals to Hell more quickly it would seem than any other sinners; it also prohibits women in ministry, so yiex - I feel suspicious on these grounds, my pen would be shaking considerably if I were being asked to sign on the bottom line)


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.(Pretty happy with this, would need to check out the small print first!)

4. 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. (Again, I want to go through the 39 articles with a fine-tooth comb, after-all I know what Forward in Faith do with Canons such as A4 see below)

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. (I gladly proclaim this too).

6. 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. (Does that mean Common Worship 2000 is out the window?)

7. We recognise 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. (I need to look into the small print of the classic Anglican Ordinal, by reverting to the classic, if this is what is being proposed, is GAFCON seeking to undo the ordination of women in the Church which began in 1994?)


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. (A Godly ideal, yes in which I will bring up my own children, but at the same time I feel nervous that this will be used to set a 'minimum entry requirement' for Christianity, sinners are saved through faith in Jesus Christ, this is credited to them as righteousness, if it is promoted that only true Christians are those who conform to this ideal, then we are elevating some Christians above others, promoting a skewing of the gospel in which we can sometimes earn our salvation by leading the right sort of lives and reducing the powers of the Lord's amazing grace, that we sinners, can be saved by what he did once and for all upon the cross, we would also be implying that some sins are worse than others and that somehow God has a scale by which he rates us- as you can see I have problems with this one then.)

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. (I gladly accept this too.)

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. (I am mindful of my responsibility too.)

11. We are committed to the unity of all those who know and love Christ and to building authentic ecumenical relationships. We recognise the orders and jurisdiction of those Anglicans who uphold orthodox faith and practice, and we encourage them to join us in this declaration. (These two sentences seem to contradict each other, so I'm a little confused here.)

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. (I'm not quite convinced that this diversity is actually celebrated.)

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.(This seems rather theologically arrogant in its tone.)

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.
(I rejoice too).


I'm going to find out how other people feel about this declaration and update my blog.

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A little background reading on the two theological integrities in the Church of England regarding women in ministry.