Thursday, 3 July 2008

The Jerusalem Declaration.

Another GAFCON delegate proud to be changing the Church. Just like all those English Vicars in yesterdays Guardian who would not give their names at All Souls Langham Place.

Just in case I am accused of being partisan (perish the thought!), here is the full text of the Jerusalem Declaration for you to pore over. Just bear one thing in mind, where is the moral directive? Where is the Christ of Matthew, Mark and Luke (and in a lesser way, John)? Where is the commandment to love your neighbour and to live lives informed by love and the moral teachings of Jesus?

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. (yes....)

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. (how can this be? Read in a plain and canonical sense as well as being respectful of readings from consensual sources? Sounds like fudge to me).

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. (then the 39 Articles are utterly incapable of being upheld).

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. (see above).

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. (rejection of pluralism, which may come as a relief, but which shows the underlying fear behind this council).

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. (locally adapted? is this not just a fudge because liturgy is rarely paracontinental unless it relates to the incarnation of Christ on our altars, which this council in their Protestantism rejects? This will just cloud the issue and produce a vast amount of local variants of the BCP).

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. (AN authoritative or THE authoritative standard?)

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. (fine, but is not the rape of Zimbabwe worthy of attention as well?)

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. (again, this is welcome, but clearly shows the underlying fear of a plural world and the coming of this world to Africa).

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. (what about Zimbabwe? Sierra Leone? Ghana? Chad? Darfur?......)

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. (glad you're still talking to me and thanks for the invitation, but no, thank you. If I was going to leave the Church I know where I would go).

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. (Work together with whom? Those you like? It is far more Christ like to work with those you do not like and to set an example of Godly living as well as learning from others. This is no way for us all to be one).

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 is something which the two biggest communions in the world would say of you as well, which is not helpful either).

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. (and, presumably, this means the Spirit has begun this work of renewal. Well, we shall see).