Confession and Calling
of the Anglican Communion
Dioceses and Parishes

 
 



Preface
There are times within the history of the church when Christians have been faced with threats, some internal and some external, to the integrity of their common life and faith. The recent actions of the Diocese of New Westminster and the General Convention of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. confront the various provinces of the Anglican Communion with just such a threat to the historic Faith and Order that defines their existence as a communion. In the face of this, obedience requires a faithful statement of belief and a renewed commitment to the practices that give expression to the saving truth of the Christian Gospel. The statement of confession and calling that follows has been occasioned by actions that have compromised the witness and mission of Anglicans throughout the world, rent the unity of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church U.S.A., torn the fabric of the Anglican Communion, and violated the trust so necessary for the fruitful relations with other churches and other faiths. It is offered with an admission of common responsibility for the dire circumstances in which the Anglican Communion finds itself, with a deep sense of penitence for shared disobedience. We are committed to amendment of life, the genuineness of which we pray shall be attested by the appearance among us of the fruits and the gifts of the Spirit. The statement is offered also with the knowledge that the spiritual health of our Communion and the authenticity of its witness and mission require of us not only fidelity to the faith of the Apostles but amendment of life in ways marked out by the path of suffering taken by our Lord.

 

 
  Stewards of a Trust
I. 1. We confess, hold and bear witness before God and the world, that we have been “entrusted with a glorious Gospel” by God (1 Tim. 1:11), a “message of reconciliation” in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:19); and that as “stewards of God’s mysteries” our calling is to be “trustworthy” (1 Cor. 4:1f.), willing to “guard the truth” that the Holy Spirit has shared with us through our baptism (2 Tim. 1:14) in the Church, passed on to us from the apostles (1:13). Our identity as Anglicans, whether in the Episcopal Church, USA or the Anglican Church in Canada, is founded on this trust and this calling.

I. 2. We confess, hold and bear witness that this “mystery of the faith” (1 Tim. 3:9) is the Church’s knowledge and proclamation of and life within the glorious reality of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This trust embraces the full knowledge of God, given for the life of the world (cf. Jn 1:18) and revealed in Christ through the Church’s own life and teaching (cf. Eph. 1:15-23).

 

“…in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.” (1 Tim. 1:11)

“… in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation…” (2 Cor. 5:19)

“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.” (1 Cor. 4:1f.)

“Follow the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.” (2 Tim. 1:13f)

“They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.” (1 Tim. 3:9)

“No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known”. (Jn. 1:18)

“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lore Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lore Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe, according to the working of his great might which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come; and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” (Eph. 1:15-23)

“Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed and through the prophetic writings is made known to all nations…” (Rom. 16:25f.)

“When you read this you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (Eph. 3:4-5).

“We believe in the Holy Spirit…He has spoken through the Prophets” (Nicene Creed).

“I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me. […] I made known to them thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:20-26).

“For I want you to know how greatly I strive for you, and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged as they are knit together in love, to have all the riches of assured understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, of Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with beguiling speech. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (Col. 2:1-6).

 
 

I. 3. We confess, hold and bear witness that we are obliged to share this “mystery of Christ” even and particularly in suffering (Col. 4:3). Its form and meaning is embodied in the historical reality of God’s own self-giving, the Father “sending the Son” (1 Jn. 4:9f.) in Jesus’ incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension (1 Tim 3:16). It is given testimony through and for the sake of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives (1 Cor. 2:7 ff.), “sending us” in the same movement as the Father sends His Son (Jn. 20:21f.), so that, in the end, God might be glorified (cf. Rom 16:27). This is our mission, located in God’s own life.

I. 4. We confess, hold and bear witness that this sending, the work of the Holy Spirit in particular, is accomplished not through drawing us into new truths, but by binding us more fully to Scripture’s remembered word, especially the living testimony to Jesus’ very words, rooted in the Old Testament’s promises and meanings. Thus, the mystery of God’s own life as Trinity lived in mission is shared with the
world through his revealed word and human lives that listen and live within the revelation of God’s own being in Christ (compare Jn. 2:22; 14:24ff; Acts 11:16).

I. 5. We confess, hold and bear witness, in particular therefore, that this trust is given to us in the Holy Scripture’s received authority: the “Word of God” making known the “mysteries” of God through the prophets and apostles by the Holy Spirit (Col 1:25ff.; Rom. 16:25f.; Eph. 3:5; Nicene Creed). This Word is made known and rightly apprehended, furthermore, in the Church’s life as it is bound in the unity of love and truth before the eyes of the world (Jn. 17:20-26; Col 2:1-6), expressed in the common Creeds and Canons of the Christian churches, as they have been led in recognized council across the ages. Within the Anglican Church of which we are a part, this means that Scripture’s meaning is rightly discerned in addition through the theological ordering of our common historic formularies, including the sixteenth and seventeenth century authorized Books of Common Prayer and the Thirty-Nine Articles which ground the belief and practices of our Communion’s life. “In this way the authorities, which the church needs for her mission, are defined and limited.” (Barmen Declaration Article 1).

 

“Pray for us also, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison” (Col. 4:3).

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9f.)

“But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. […] God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. […] And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:7-13)

“’As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (John 20:21f.)

“Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept hidden… to the only wise God by glory for evermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.” (Rom. 16:25, 27).

“When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.” (John 2:22)

“He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:24-26).

“And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ (Acts 11:16)

“I became a minister [of the church] according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints” (Col. 1:25-26).
 
  I. 6. We confess, hold and bear witness finally that Scripture’s authority is fruitfully received and fulfills its formative function for the people of the Church when it is read in common, as a whole, coherently and comprehensively, Old and New Testaments together, as a single revelation of God’s mysteries which teaches and builds up the Church in truth and holiness (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:19-21; I Cor. 10:6).

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…’ (2 Timothy 3:16)

“And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:19-21)

“Now these things that took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.” (I Corinthians 10:6)

 

 
  Trustworthy in Obedience and Communion
II. 1. In light of this trust, we are called by God to two primary acts and attitudes of faithfulness: obedience and communion. The preaching of Jesus Christ is done for the sake “bringing about the obedience of faith” (Rom. 16:26), and to this we submit ourselves, standing firm over against “every wind of doctrine” precisely for the sake of “growing up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together […] upbuilds itself in love” (Eph. 4:14-16).

II. 2. We are called because of this to found our communion in Christ on common obedience to God’s word which requires of us not pluriformity of truth and practice, but that we be of one mind and follow the pattern of holiness marked out for us by our Lord and his Apostles (Jn. 17:14 & 17; Phil. 2:2 & 5; I Pet. 2:21; II Pet. 1:20; I Tim. 1:15-16).

II. 3. We are called therefore to oppose assaults on the authority of the Scriptures. We are also called to oppose assaults on the way of life that the Scriptures enjoin (1 Tim. 6:3-6). This opposition comes, not from a divisive spirit, but from the precious vocation to holiness, which leads us away from sin into the clear and obedient participation in God’s own nature (Lev. 11:44: 20:26; Matt. 5:48: I Pet. 1:14-16; 2 Pet. 1:4).

“But [this mystery] is now disclosed and through the prophetic writings is made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith” (Rom. 16:26).

“So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love” (Eph. 4:14-16).

“I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world…Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:14 & 17)

“… complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind…Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who…Philippians 2:2 & 5)

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” (I Peter 2:21)

“… knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretations.” (II Peter 1:20)

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” (I Timothy 1:15-16)

“If any one teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching which accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit, he knows nothing; he has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes and words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, and wrangling among men who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. There is great gain in godliness with contentment” (1 Tim. 6:3-6).

“For I am the Lord your God. Consider yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground.” (Leviticus 11:44)

“You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.” (Leviticus 20:26)

“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:14-16)

“… by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” (2 Peter 1:4)


 
  II. 4. We are called in our day and place, to oppose all those actions of synods, conventions, individual bishops and priests, that contradict the apostolic and the Church’s commonly accepted scriptural teaching on marriage between man and woman as the divinely ordained, holy, and exclusive context of human sexual activity, as the privileged social sacrament of God’s covenant of faithfulness for and figure of human redemption (Hosea 2:16-21; Mark 10:5-9: Eph. 5:29-32; Rev. 19: 7-9), and on chastity outside of marriage as a holy and worthy calling (Matt. 19:12; I Cor. 7:32). Such contradictions of Christian teaching subvert the communion of our churches within the Anglican Communion and rend relationships within the larger Church. In doing this, they represent an attack on the very mysteries of God, the evangelical trust of which we are stewards

“And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband’, and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of he field, the birds of he heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And I shall know the Lord. And in that day I will answer, declares the Lord, I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth.” (Hosea 2:16-21)

“And Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh.’ What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. (Mark 10:5-9)

“For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:29-32)

“’Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure’ for the linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me ‘Write this: Blessed are those invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” (Revelation 19: 7-9)

“For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it. (Matthew 19:12)

“I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. (I Cor. 7:32)

 

 
 

II. 5. We are called to confess our profound sorrow for how these actions have broken ecumenical trust within the wider household of faith. We are further called, then, to oppose all such actions that subvert the truth of the gospel and the unity of the church that flows from it. We recognize that this opposition will involve a struggle to discern true witness and in this struggle we seek to be governed by charity and the desire to build up and not tear down others in the integrity of their faith (I Cor. 8:1, 9; II Cor. 13:10; I Tim. 6:11; Titus 3:9ff). For we uphold the truth that all persons are called in baptism to a life that is daily renewed in the image of Christ Jesus according to his word (2 Cor. 3:18; Rom. 8:29; Col. 3:5-17). We seek always to witness to this universal gift and challenge together.

II.6. We are called to preach, convince, rebuke, exhort and teach in accordance with the Scripture’s truth that draws us together in Christ (2 Tim. 4:2).

II.7. Our calling to obedience in particular commits us to follow the apostolic injunction to direct ourselves to the knowledge and commending of Holy Scripture (Acts 20:27; 1 Tim. 4:13; Col. 3:16), devoting ourselves to the Apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42). To that end,

II. 7. i. We commit ourselves to the study of Scripture, through serious, regular, and responsible discipline and scholarship;

ii. We commit ourselves to the clear explication of Scripture’s full and perspicuous meaning as apprehended within the common witness of the Church, in our preaching, writing, and witness;

iii. We commit ourselves to an obedient following of Scripture through disciplined habits of prayer, zeal to maintain the unity of the body in the bond of peace, a common life conformed to the pattern of our Lord’s, and through humble listening, conforming, and mutual correction according to the teaching of Holy Scripture;

iv. We commit ourselves to teaching the people and leaders of the Church through word and example the truths of Scripture's mysteries through disciplined and accountable means of Christian and priestly formation.

 

“Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that ‘all of us possess knowledge.’ This ‘knowledge’ puffs up, but love builds up…But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” (I Cor. 8:1, 9)

“For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.” (II Cor. 13:10)

“But as for you, man of God, shun all this; aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness” (1 Tim. 6:11).


“But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels over the law, for they are unprofitable and futile. As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned” (Titus 3:9-11).

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18).

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29).

“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming […] But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony […] Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom […] And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of he Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:5-17).

“ Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2).

“… for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” (Acts 20:27)

“ Till I come, attend to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching, to teaching” (1 Tim. 4:13).

“ Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom” (Col 3:16).

“ And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).

 
 

II. 8. Our calling to communion in Christ in particular leads us to a commitment to engage, be formed by, contribute to, and promote the “proper working” of the “knitted joints” of Christ’s Body within the church in which we are placed by God:

II. 8. i. We commit ourselves to the primary organ of stewardship within the Church of Christ, that is, an episcopate rooted in holiness, knowledge of Scripture, and apostolic faithfulness (Titus 1:7-9);

ii. We commit ourselves to the organs of communion within the Anglican Fellowship of churches, respecting, living within, and holding accountable the representative bodies of our larger church, especially in its faithful witness to the Gospel of which she is a steward;

iii. We commit ourselves to conciliar discussion and decision-making, and reject the patterns of autonomous and sectarian self-rule that characterize the present age;

iv. We commit ourselves to the virtues of communion (cf. Rom. 12:9-21; Eph. 4:25-5:21), which embody the revealed truth of the Scripture’s witness to the very being of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the pattern of love itself;

v. We commit ourselves to the work of healing schism and estrangement within the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 1:10), through truth-telling, testing of the faith, repentance, humility, apostolic authority, and building each other up (2 Cor. 13:5-11).

vi. We commit ourselves to the support of communion, through our ministry, mission, and the sharing of our goods and resources in partnership with those to whom God has joined us in the Body of His Son.

 

“For a bishop, as God’s steward, must be blameless, he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, master of himself, upright, holy, and self-controlled; he must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it” (Titus 1:7-9).

“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hour hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality. […] Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all […] Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:9-21).

“Therefore, putting away falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another [... Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear […] Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But fornication and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is fitting; but instead let there be thanksgiving […] Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph. 4:25-5:21).

“I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10).

“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed […] For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. What we pray for is your improvement. I write this while I am away from you, in order that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority which the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down. Finally, brethren, farewell. Mend your ways, heed my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Cor. 13:5-11).

 
  Repentance, Reconciliation, Reform, Renewal
III. 1. We know that the trust we have been given is ours to guard even in the face of divine judgment, and even through the midst of suffering (2 Tim. 1:11f). Our faithfulness as stewards is tied both to our own penitence and accepted affliction, “rejoicing in the sharing of Christ’s sufferings” and in the testing and justice of God, “entrusting our souls to a faithful Creator” (1 Pet. 4:12-19). Our confession and calling therefore lead us to repent (Mk 1:14-15; Lk 24:45-47); to seek reconciliation among ourselves, in the church and in the world (2 Cor. 5:18-20); to reform our lives and the life of God’s Church (Matt. 5:17-20); and to renew the church where God has placed us (Rom 12:1-2), and to do this:

“For this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, and therefore I suffer as I do. But am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am sure that he able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me” (2 Tim. 1:11f.).

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as murdered, or a thief, or a wrongdoer, or a mischief-maker; yet if one suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but under that name let him glorify God. For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God […] Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will do right and entrust their souls to a faithful Creator.” (1 Peter 4:12-19).

“Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel’” (Mark 1:14f.)

“Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem’” (Luke 24-45-47).

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:18-20).

“Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teacher men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven […]” (Matt. 5:17-20).

“I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind […] (Rom. 12:1f.)


 
 

III. 1.i. through disciplined patterns, held in common among us and our leaders, of prayer, bible study, and the humility of constant repentance, gentleness, and suffering (James 4:6ff; 1 Tim. 1:15; Gal. 6:14). These patterns will be founded on a rule of life, of prayer, fasting and almsgiving as outlined by our Lord (Matt. 6:1-21) including but not limited to: the Daily Office using the Lectionary, Daily study of Scripture, weekly Communion, submission to appropriate spiritual authorities, regular fasting, and sacrificial giving.

ii. through the mission of sharing the glorious Gospel of God and teaching obedience to its revelation among all peoples (Matt.28:18-20), that “every family in heaven and on earth” might come to know and be transformed by the “fullness” of Christ’s love (Eph. 3:14-19);

iii. through the formation of believers in the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:12-4:6), in knowledge and sacrificial service;

“But he gives more grace; therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God […] Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you” (James 4:6-10).

“The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the foremost of sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15).

“But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14).

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others,. Truly, I say to you they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and streets corners, that they may be seen others. Truly, I say to you, they have relieved their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Prayer then like this: Out Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptations, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Do not lay up for yourselves treasurers on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:1-21)

“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always to the close of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20).

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might through hi Spirit in the inner man, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:14-19).

“Since we have such a hope, we are very bold […] for when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart […] For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of the darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (1 Cor. 3:12-4:6).

 

 


iv. through a unity of belief and practice that serves to expose the individualism and congregationalism that is now regnant within the Church at large and that denies the Name of Jesus (1 Cor. 1:10; Phil. 2:1-11);

v. through our seeking of the oneness of Christ’s body for which our Lord prayed, working to overcome the fractures past and present that have marred the Church of Christ “One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.” (Nicene Creed).

“I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10).

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ […] complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves […] Have this mind among yourselves which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:1-11).