Welcome to the Traditional Anglican Church
We would like to introduce ourselves. This little introduction comes to you from a part of God's family. We want to share with you what we have and we hope that you will feel free to join us in our adventure in faith.
Our Adventure Story...
God has a habit of stirring things up! When God became Man He disturbed the religious leaders of the day. It isn't surprising that one of the signs of the continued presence of Jesus in the Church is that people are led to do disturbing things still.
When people go on an adventure for God, they are often challenged by church leaders who ask the question, "By what authority do you act in this way?" It seems presumptuous to suggest that the authority comes from God. Jesus told His disciples to go into the world as witnesses filled with His Spirit. We are trying to be obedient to that calling. We would like you to join us.
What Does The Adventure Involve?
The short answer to that question is that it involves a great deal of sacrifice. When we meet together around God's altar, we say to God, "And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee."
All over this country small groups of people are establishing Christian congregations in the Anglican/Episcopal tradition. A few families get together. They may begin in a home, or rent a hall. They have to give a whole lot of energy, talent and money to serve in a new congregation as together they reach out to people like you. As the new congregation grows, it buys land and finally builds a church. In the family of each church, ordinary people, young and old, meet the living Lord, learn His will, and become His servants.
Why Make Such A Sacrifice?
Christianity is a missionary faith. It spread through Europe and from Europe to the New World, Africa, and the East. Men and women risked all to accomplish this missionary task. As the Church on earth is made up of mere mortals, it gets things wrong from time to time. God rescues His Church through changed lives. Four hundred years ago, at what we call the Reformation, some English clergymen risked their lives to call the Church back to its faith and mission. They did not create a "new church." They reformed the part of the Church in which they served. That Church is called the Church of England. Most of the first settlers in America belonged to that Church. After the Revolution they called themselves Episcopalians. During the last thirty years many Episcopalians have felt called to reform their part of the Church. Reformation renews; it doesn't start something new!
How Do You Know You Are Right?
We believe we are doing God's will by testing our beliefs by the witness of the Church. What does that mean? God works through people. People note their experiences. The greatest book of experiences is called the Bible. God inspired its writers to record that which God revealed not only to them but to His people, and particularly through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of His Son. We are a biblical church.
Our Lord called Apostles, who appointed successors. These successors - bishops, priest, deacons, and laity - have left to the Church accounts of their experiences. In the Creeds, sermons, books about God, reflections on the Bible, accounts of holy lives, we learn how God's call is heard and lived from generation to generation. This we call the Tradition. Tradition does not mean the dead voice of the past, but the living voice of God speaking to His people. We are a traditional Church.
When the Church forgets its purpose by neglecting the Scriptures, forgetting the Tradition and substituting new ideas and purposes, God uses His chosen few to bring His people back to Him.
What About Ordinary People?
All Christians are ordinary people. God makes the difference. There are four orders of called people in the Church. They are bishops, who are new Apostles; priests, who share the Apostolic calling; and deacons, who inspire us to be servants of the Lord. Lay people form the fourth order.
Lay people share fully in our adventure in faith. They are called to participate fully in worship. Our liturgy, the Book Of Common Prayer, ensures that worship is conducted by all the people and not just by a minister.
Lay people are called to share fully in service. In the local congregation, the people of God own their property and minister to each other through their elected representatives. This is also true in the whole Church. Lay people spread the Gospel, help the needy and set examples of God's love.
What Does All this Amount To?
In technical language, the Traditional Anglican Church is a continuing Anglican Church. "By 'continuing' we mean remaining constant to the faith delivered to us by our forebears in the Anglican Church, the Great Western Church, and all the way back to the Early Church established by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself through His Apostles." Its beliefs are based on the teachings of the Bible as explained in the Creeds and the Tradition of the Church. Its bishops hold valid consecrations and are in Apostolic Succession to the original apostles who were chosen by Christ Himself. The liturgy in use is the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.
Our family is not an exclusive club. It is open to all who wish to know, worship, and serve our Lord. The witness of the Traditional Anglican Church is twofold. It exists to preach and bear witness to the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ, as set forth in the teachings of the Bible and the Tradition of the Church. The Bible and the Tradition of the Church are relevant to the ever changing demands of modern life today. The Traditional Anglican Church also calls Anglicans back to the high levels truth and of service it was once known to posses. Our Church is a family of Christians devoted to our Lord Jesus Christ and you are invited to be a part of our family.
What is the Traditional Anglican Church?
The Anglican Church is a branch of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church instituted by Jesus Christ. The word 'Anglican' refers to our spiritual heritage and roots in the Church of England.
Traders, merchants and soldiers seem to have brought the Christian Faith to Britain shortly after it became part of the Roman Empire in the middle of the First Century AD. Sixteen hundred years later, during what we call the Reformation, the Church of England emerged as a unique institution. It retained its 'Catholic' heritage enshrined in the Creeds, the decisions of the General Councils, its liturgy and sacraments, and in the threefold ministry of bishops, priest and deacons in Apostolic Succession. It 'reformed' itself by eliminating some nonessential accretions of the later medieval Church, by restoring much of the practice of the earliest Christians, and by insisting upon the authority of Holy Scripture as the rule and guide of faith.
Members of the Church of England came to America in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In many of the original colonies, the Church of England was the established or official Church. After the Revolution, American Anglicans established an autonomous branch of the Church, which became known as the Episcopal Church. Recently, during the last thirty-five or so years, that body abandoned most of the tradition of historic Anglican Faith and Practice. It is this tradition that many former Episcopalians and other faithful Anglicans are seeking to preserve and proclaim.
Restoration in America
In 1968 a meeting of such faithful Episcopalians, clergy and lay, was held in Mobile Alabama. From that meeting emerged the 'American Episcopal Church'. Nine years later a Congress of Concerned Churchmen took place in St. Louis, Missouri. It was attended by United States and Canadian Anglicans committed to continuing our Church without the fatal deviations espoused by the Episcopal Church in recent times. A statement called 'The Affirmation of St. Louis' was agreed upon which affirms as unalterable the received Faith and Tradition of the Church; the essential core of Christian belief and practice. This includes the Holy Scripture, the Church's ancient and universal Creeds, the writings of the Fathers of the Early Church, the decisions of the General Councils held by the whole Church before any grave divisions took place, and the historic Apostolic Ministry of male bishops, priests and deacons descended in unbroken succession from the first Apostles. The statement called upon faithful Anglicans to "reorder such godly discipline as will strengthen us in continuation of our common life and witness."
As a result of this meeting, several groups of Anglican traditionalists in the United States and Canada began efforts to form a continuing, still-Anglican Church. While the work in Canada prospered, events in the U.S.A. were complicated by a lack of unity, and several "jurisdictions" emerged working separately from one another. In 1978, 1981, and 1991, bishops were consecrated through the Anglican Apostolic Succession to provide for the continuation of the Ministry as instituted by Christ.
Our Faith and Worship are set forth in the last orthodox and seemly American edition of the historic Book of Common Prayer, that of 1928. This treasure of English language, scriptural spirituality and Catholic worship has shaped the lives of countless faithful Christians through the centuries and is the basis of our services of worship.
Catholic and Reformed
As we have seen, the Anglican Church affirms its 'Catholic' heritage. That term is used to affirm our fidelity to the whole Faith as revealed by Jesus Christ (without either additions or subtractions) as proclaimed by the Apostles, evangelists, saints, scholars and martyrs of the Early Church and taught in Holy Scripture. At the same time Anglicans give thanks for the witness of those pastors and teachers, who in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries sought to "reform" the Church, some of whom gave their lives in witness to the authority of the Bible as the principle rule of Faith and Practice.
Anglicans do not regard the terms "Catholic" and "Reformed" (or "Evangelical") as contradictory claims, but rather as affirmations of the wholeness of the one Faith. The task of the Church in every generation is to transmit faithfully that which God has revealed. The test of that fidelity is the Gospel itself, the "Good News" revealed by God the Father, in His Son, through the Holy Spirit, primarily in the words of Holy Scripture, but also in the living witness of the Church called Tradition. While Anglicans treasure their "Catholic" identity, shared by the Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Old Catholic Churches, they also demand that Catholicity be continually tested by the fidelity of 'particular' Churches to "the faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).
What is this Faith we have sought to preserve?
Anglican faith is thoroughly grounded in Holy Scriptures. Anglicans believe "the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the authentic record of God's revelation of himself, his saving activity, and moral demands - a revelation valid for all men and for all times" (The Affirmation of St. Louis). The 'Apocryphal Books,' found in some, but not all Bibles are used also in our worship, being read for instruction, but they are not used to establish doctrine.
We hold that the ancient creeds - the 'Apostles', 'Nicene', and 'Athanasian' - express the faith of the Church and are to be understood as they are written. The Anglican Church is a creedal church, not a confessional one. The creeds, which come from the earliest years of Christianity, summarize the "faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). By them we are taught that God is one God in three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; that God the Son became man, born of a virgin as our Lord Jesus Christ; that by our Lord's sinless life, death and resurrection He gained access for us to God the Father and opened the way for us to be children of God and to live with Him for all eternity.
On Christian morality, we believe that "every Christian is obligated to form his conscience by the divine Moral Law of the Mind of Christ as revealed in Holy Scriptures, and by the teachings and Tradition of the Church" (The Affirmation of St. Louis). Such teaching is especially seen in the Sermon on the Mount (St. Matthew 5,6,7) and in our Lord's Summary of the Law, which states that we must first love God with our heart, soul and mind, and also love our neighbors as ourselves, as well as in His teaching on the sanctity of all human life, and of marriage and the family.
What about our Worship?
Anglicans are expected to pray. When we pray in private, each of us prays in his own way (although guidance and instruction are available for those who wish to grow in the life of prayer). When we pray together in services of worship, our "common prayers" are 'liturgical,' that is, they are structured. Only in this way can we truly share our worship of God. Our liturgical worship involves the whole person, body, mind and spirit. We are active participants rather than just listeners. Worship to us is not "show business". It goes from us to God rather than from a preacher to us. We come to church to give God the praise and worship which, as His creatures, we owe Him; not to get something for ourselves.
The Holy Eucharist
The center of our worship is the Holy Eucharist. Other traditional names for this service are: the Holy Communion, the Mass, the Lord's Supper, and the Divine Liturgy. It is the service specifically commanded by Jesus in the New Testament. The Eucharist joins our offering of worship to Christ's offering of Himself upon the altar of the cross. As He promised (Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; John 6; I Corinthians 11) Jesus is truly, spiritually present under the outward forms of the consecrated Bread and Wine, to infuse our lives with the spiritual strength of His life.
Receiving Holy Communion
By receiving Holy Communion, we give our Solemn Assent, our "Amen," to the entire Anglican Eucharistic Service. We express our belief that the Eucharist is a spiritual sacrifice which must be administered by a bishop or a priest whose ministry derives in succession from the Apostles themselves. We express also our faith in Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharist. Because of the seriousness of these affirmations, this Church does not presume to invite those who in good faith cannot yet accept these beliefs to compromise their conscience by receiving Holy Communion at our Altar. It is for these reasons that we are not an "open Communion" Church. Those who do so believe, and who have been confirmed by a Bishop in Apostolic Succession, and who are spiritually prepared, are welcome to receive Holy Communion.
Preparation for Holy Communion generally takes the form of private prayers. In many Anglican parishes, those physically able to do so refrain from eating ordinary food prior to morning Communion, or for three hours prior to an evening Communion.
Morning and Evening Prayer
The Daily Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer are prayer services derived in many ways from the Synagogue worship of the Old Testament. They consist of readings from the Psalms, other Bible readings, canticles (songs), and prayers. They are provided in the Book of Common Prayer in a manner which makes their discipline of prayer, psalmody, and Holy Scripture the daily spiritual diet of the Church, clergy and lay folk alike.
If you are new to Anglican worship you may find some of the customs in our services unfamiliar. You will also find some variation of customs from parish to parish. The priest in your local parish will be happy to explain to you the symbolism of our worship. One general rule of thumb for Anglicans is that we stand to praise God, sit for listening to instruction, and kneel humbly to pray.
Worship is the prime responsibility for all Christians. Anglicans believe that the life of Christian service is possible only through a full life of worship, through which we receive God's love and express our love to Him. Hence, we believe it is our obligation not only to worship God together every Lord's Day (Sunday) but also to have a daily life of prayer. A number of parishes are able to offer the Daily Offices and the Holy Communion during the week, as well as on Sunday.
The first Christians regarded the Church as the Sacrament, Jesus, Who is God, became truly human in the Incarnation, in the same manner as we are human, except that He was without sin. The Church is truly his Body. It is the outward and visible sign of God's presence with his people. Gradually, teachers identified certain outward and visible signs as "sacraments", that is as actions of the Church which gave the grace of God's presence and blessing. The Anglican Church believes that the Sacraments are "sure witnesses, and effectual signs of grace, and God's good will toward us, by the which He doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our Faith in Him" (The Articles of Religion). Anglicans regard the two Gospel Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist as being "generally necessary to salvation". Five other sacramental rites, in their Biblical sense, are also termed sacraments.
Holy Baptism by means of water and in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19) conveys new birth (John 3:5; Romans 6:4) and forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; I Peter 3:21).
The Holy Communion also called the Lord's Supper, the Holy Eucharist, the Divine Liturgy and the Mass, was instituted by our Lord at the Last Supper when He said, "Do this in remembrance of me" (I Corinthians 11:24, Matthew 26:20-28; Mark 14:17-25; Luke 22:14-20). By this Sacrament He feeds His people with His Body and Blood (John 6:41-59)
Confirmation conveys the strengthening gifts of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17; 19:1-7; Ephesians 1:13) for life as a mature Christian.
Penance conveys the forgiveness of sins (John 20:23; James 5:16) and the assurance of that forgiveness.
Holy Unction is the anointing with oil for healing (James 5:14; Mark 6:13) of body, mind, and soul.
Holy Matrimony is the union of one man and one woman for life before God.
The relationship, St. Paul tells us (Ephesians 5:31-32), is like that between Christ and His Church.
Holy Orders denote the Apostolic Ministry of bishops, priest and deacons, instituted by Christ, and male in character (John 20:19-23; Matthew 16:18; Acts 6:1-6). Our Lord commissioned the Apostles and their successors, the bishops, to proclaim His work and salvation which He accomplished on Calvary. When Anglicans speak of Apostolic Succession, we mean an unbroken line of consecrations and commissions from our Lord to the present bishops, continuing the same teachings and ministry established by Jesus Christ Himself.
Baptism and Confirmation
Anglican parents who have a child to be Baptized should contact their priest. Some preparation is involved. Selection of Godparents is important. For Anglicans, this office is not just "honorary"; it creates a real spiritual responsibility towards the Godchild. Two Godparents of the same sex as the child, and one of the opposite sex, are required. Adult candidates for baptism and/or Confirmation undergo a period of instruction. Holy Confirmation is often administered at the same service as Holy Baptism in the case of adults. Adult candidates do not require Godparents but they may elect to have sponsors to "stand up" for them.
The Sacrament of Holy Confirmation, which completes and "seals" our Baptism, is administered by a bishop. By the imposition of the bishop's hand on our head, we come into sacramental unity with the Successors in Office to the Holy Apostles commissioned by Christ himself to govern His Church. A period of considerable instruction usually precedes the administration of this Sacrament.
In the Anglican tradition, Holy Matrimony is generally administered only to couples who have both been baptized and at least one of whom is a practicing member of the traditional Anglican Church. Because sacramental Marriage is a life-long, solemn commitment, significant preparation and instruction is required. The clergy should be consulted before any other plans (including the date of the wedding) have been made.
Those coming to the Church to ask God's blessing upon their marriage will want to use the Church's prescribed rites and ceremonies. Neither the laity nor the clergy have the authority to change the Church's form of service or to substitute something in its place.
Clergy of the Anglican Church will provide a Christian burial for any baptized Christian.
For practicing Anglicans, the funeral service provided by The Book of Common Prayer consists of the Burial Office, the Requiem Eucharist and the Committal at the grave. For other baptized Christians, the priest may suggest appropriate changes. At many Anglican funerals the casket, no matter how expensive or ornate, is covered with a cloth pall. Flower displays are not used in the Church. When we go to meet our Maker, we all do so on an equal footing.
When you need a Priest
If you are ill or shut in, If you are going to the hospital, or if you have a family emergency or need advice and counsel, contact one of the clergy at once. They are "on duty" twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Are there many opportunities for service?
Yes there are. Depending on the local parish, the chances for involvement will vary. All of our parishes need and welcome active lay men and women. It has been well said that the traditional Anglican movement has been built upon the efforts of its laity.
Within the parish there is the need for an altar guild, acolytes, church school teachers, lay readers, choir, vestry members and parish committees which help in carrying out the parish's mission. Also, a number of our parishes are in the process of obtaining their own property, building new structures or renovating existing ones for use in worship. A vast array of talent is needed to complete these tasks. Many parishes have begun study groups, prayer groups, and church school classes, offering further opportunity for involvement.
Beyond the parish you will find many Anglicans involved in community concerns or serving on committees of the diocese or province.
The laity are an integral part of the government of the traditional Anglican Church. The parish vestry (similar to a board of directors) is comprised of parish communicants and is charged with the management of the temporal affairs of the parish. Synods - or meetings - of the diocese have active lay participation. Each parish sends lay representatives to the diocesan synod.
Anglicans take seriously our Lord's call to all Christians to serve Him. This means both a ministry within the Christian family and a ministry to the world to spread the Gospel and actively to show forth Jesus Christ in our lives.
How can I learn more?
Come and worship with us! Seek the nearest congregation of the traditional Anglican Church. They will be glad to welcome you and answer your questions.
Inquirers' Classes are conducted, usually by the clergy but sometimes by knowledgeable lay teachers, for persons interested in learning more about the traditional Anglican Church or interested in becoming a member of the Church. Parish members are encouraged to attend, both to "brush up" on their own knowledge of the faith and to show their interest in potential members.
Bible Study Groups exist in most parishes of the traditional Anglican Church. These are open to Anglicans and non-Anglicans alike who wish to deepen their understanding of God's word in the Holy Scriptures. Other study topics of interest to most Christians: Church History, Worship, the life of prayer, etc. are investigated from time to time, often as part of a study group during the Lenten Season. Interested inquirers of any faith are always welcome.
" O Gracious Father, we humbly beseech thee for thy holy Catholic Church; That thou wouldest be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of him who died and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, thy Son, Our Lord. Amen." ( The Book of Common Prayer, page 37)
How Do Traditional Anglicans Worship?
In worship, we use the Book of Common Prayer, 1928 edition. This edition contains prayers and affirmations of faith dating to the beginning of Christianity, as well as the traditional Anglican/Episcopal liturgy. This liturgy has been in continuous use since it was first published in 1549.
The congregation actively participates in the service. As an expression of devotion, it is customary to kneel for prayers and for receiving the Holy Communion unless a person is physically unable to do so. We sit to receive instruction as we do when scriptural lessons are read or when a sermon is given. We stand in reverence at the reading of the Holy Gospel and in affirming our faith when reciting the Creed. We also stand to sing praise to God in our hymns.
The Lord's Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Apostle's Creed
I Believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
I believe in the Holy Ghost: The holy Catholic Church; The Communion of Saints: The Forgiveness of sins: The Resurrection of the body: And the Life everlasting. Amen.
The Nicene Creed
I BELIEVE in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And
of all things visible and invisible:
The Athanasian Creed
Whosoever will be saved : before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholick Faith.
Which Faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled : without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
And the Catholick Faith is this : That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity ;
Neither confounding the Persons : nor dividing the Substance.
For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son : and another of the Holy Ghost.
But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one, the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal.
Such as the Father is, such is the Son : and such is the Holy Ghost.
The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate : and the Holy Ghost uncreate.
The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible : and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.
The Father eternal, the Son eternal : and the Holy Ghost eternal.
And yet they are not three eternals : but one eternal.
As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated : but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible.
So likewise, the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty : and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties : but one Almighty.
So the Father is God, the Son God : and the Holy Ghost is God.
And yet they are not three Gods : but one God.
So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord : and the Holy Ghost Lord.
And yet not three Lords : but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity : to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord ;
So are we forbidden by the Catholick Religion : to say, There be three Gods, or three Lords.
The Father is made of none : neither created, nor begotten.
The Son is of the Father alone : not made, nor created, but begotten.
The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son : neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
So there is one Father, not three Fathers ; one Son, not three Sons : and one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghost.
And in this Trinity there is none is afore, or after other : none is greater, or less than another; But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together : and co-equal.
So that in all things, as is aforesaid : the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.
He therefore that will be saved : must thus think of the Trinity.
Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation : that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess : that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man ;
God, of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds : and Man, of the Substance of his Mother, born in the world ; Perfect God, and perfect Man : of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting ; Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead : and inferior to the Father, as touching his Manhood.
Who although he be God and Man : yet he is not two, but one Christ ;
One ; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh : but by taking of the Manhood into God;
One altogether ; not by confusion of Substance : but by unity of Person.
For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man : so God and Man is one Christ;
Who suffered for our salvation : descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead.He ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty : from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies : and shall give account for their own works.
And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting : and they that have done evil into everlastingl fire.
This is the Catholick Faith : which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost ;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.
The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion
As established by the Bishops, the Clergy, and the Laity of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, in Convention, on the twelfth day of September, in the Year of our Lord, 1801.
I. Of Faith in the Holy Trinity.
There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in the unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
II. Of the Word or Son of God, which was made very Man.
The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father, took Man's nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect Natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God, and very Man; who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for actual sins of men.
III. Of the going down of Christ into Hell.
As Christ died for us, and was buried; so also it is to be believed, that he went down into Hell.
IV. Of the Resurrection of Christ.
Christ did truly rise again from death, and took again his body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of Man's nature; wherewith he ascended into Heaven, and there sitteth, until he return to judge all Men at the last day.
V. Of the Holy Ghost.
The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory, with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.
VI. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.
Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.
Of the Names and Number of the Canonical Books
And the other Books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine; such are these following:
All the Books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account them Canonical.
VII. Of the Old Testament.
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to Mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the Civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.
VIII. Of the Creeds.
The Nicene Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles' Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and believed: for they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture.
The original Article given Royal assent in 1571 and reaffirmed in 1662, was entitled, "Of the Three Creeds; and began as follows, "The Three Creeds, Nicene Creed, Athanasius's Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles' Creed..."
IX. Of Original or Birth Sin.
Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam, (as the Pelagians do vainly talk;) but it is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek, *fro/nhma sarko/s*, (which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire, of the flesh), is not subject to the Law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized; yet the Apostle doth confess, that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin.
X. Of Free Will.
The condition of Man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith, and calling upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.
XI. Of the Justification of Man.
We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely expressed in the Homily of Justification.
XII. Of Good Works.
Albeit that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God's judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith; insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.
XIII. Of Works before Justification.
Works done before the grace of Christ, and the Inspiration of the Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ; neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the School-authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea rather, for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.
XIV. Of Works of Supererogation.
Voluntary Works besides, over and above, God's Commandments, which they call Works of Supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety: for by them men do declare, that they not only render unto God as much as they are bound to, but that they do more for his sake, than of bounden duty is required: whereas Christ saith plainly, When ye have done all that are commanded to you, say, We are unprofitable servants.
XV. Of Christ alone without Sin.
Christ in the truth of our nature was made like unto us in all things, sin only except, from which he was clearly void, both in his flesh, and in his spirit. He came to be the Lamb without spot, who, by sacrifice of himself once made, should take away the sins of the world; and sin (as Saint John saith) was not in him. But all we the rest, although baptized, and born again in Christ, yet offend in many things; and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
XVI. Of Sin after Baptism.
Not every deadly sin willingly committed after Baptism is sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore the grant of repentance is not be denied to such as fall into sin after Baptism. After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and by the grace of God we may arise again, and amend our lives. And therefore they are to be condemned, which say, they can no more sin as long as they live here, or deny the place of forgiveness to such as truly repent.
XVII. Of Predestination and Election
Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore, they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God's purpose by his Spirit working in due season: they through Grace obey the calling: they be justified freely: they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his only- begotten Son Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.
As the godly consideration of Predestination, and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal Salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: So, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's Predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the Devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wrethchlessness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.
Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise, as they be generally set forth to us in Holy Scripture: and, in our doings, that Will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the word of God.
XVIII. Of obtaining eternal Salvation only by the Name of Christ
They also are to be had accursed that presume to say, That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that Law, and the light of Nature. For Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved.
XIX. Of the Church.
The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.
As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred; so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith.
XX. Of the Authority of the Church.
The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God's Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation.
XXI. Of the Authority of General Councils.
[The Twenty-first of the former Articles is omitted; because it is partly of a local and civil nature, and is provided for, as to the remaining parts of it, in other Articles.]
The original 1571, 1662 text of this Article, omitted in the version of 1801, reads as follows: "General Councils may not be gathered together without the commandment and will of Princes. And when they be gathered together, (forasmuch as they be an assembly of men, whereof all be not governed with the Spirit and Word of God,) they may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining unto God. Wherefore things ordained by them as necessary to salvation have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared that they be taken out of holy Scripture."
XXII. Of Purgatory.
The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Relics, and also Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.
XXIII. Of Ministering in the Congregation
It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of public preaching, or ministering the Sacraments in the Congregation, before he be lawfully called, and sent to execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to this work by men who have public authority given unto them in the Congregation, to call and send Ministers into the Lord's vineyard.
XXIV. Of Speaking in the Congregation in such a Tongue as the people understandeth.
It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the Primitive Church, to have public Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understanded of the people.
XXV. Of the Sacraments.
Sacraments ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men's profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of grace, and God's good will towards us, by the which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our Faith in him.
There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.
Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.
The Sacraments are not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same, they have a wholesome effect or operation:but they that receive them unworthily, purchase to themselves damnation, as Saint Paul saith.
XXVI. Of the Unworthiness of the Ministers, which hinders not the effect of the Sacraments.
Although in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments, yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ's, and do minister by his commission and authority, we may use their Ministry, both in hearing the Word of God, and in receiving the Sacraments. Neither is the effect of Christ's ordinance taken away by their wickedness, nor the grace of God's gifts diminished from such as by faith, and rightly, do receive the Sacraments ministered unto them; which be effectual, because of Christ's institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil men.
Nevertheless, it appertaineth to the discipline of the Church, that inquiry be made of evil Ministers, and that they be accused by those that have knowledge of their offences; and finally, being found guilty, by just judgment be deposed.
XVII. Of Baptism
Baptism is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of Regeneration or New-Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God.
The Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ.
XVIII. Of the Lord's Supper.
The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another; but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ's death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.
Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.
The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith.
The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.
XXIX. Of the Wicked, which eat not the Body of Christ in the use of the Lord's Supper.
The Wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as Saint Augustine saith) the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ: but rather, to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so great a thing.
XXX. Of both Kinds.
The Cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the Lay-people: for both the parts of the Lord's Sacrament, by Christ's ordinance and commandment, ought to be ministered to all Christian men alike.
XXXI. Of the one Oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross.
The Offering of Christ once made in that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits.
XXXII. Of the Marriage of Priests.
Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, are not commanded by God's Law, either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage: therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Christian men, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve better to godliness.
XXXIII. Of excommunicate Persons, how they are to be avoided.
That person which by open denunciation of the Church is rightly cut off from the unity of the Church, and excommunicated, ought to be taken of the whole multitude of the faithful, as an Heathen and Publican, until he be openly reconciled by penance, and received into the Church by a Judge that hath the authority thereunto.
XXXIV. Of the Traditions of the Church.
It is not necessary that the Traditions and Ceremonies be in all places one, or utterly like; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's Word. Whosoever, through his private judgment, willingly and purposely, doth openly break the Traditions and Ceremonies of the Church, which be not repugnant to the Word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, (that others may fear to do the like,) as he that offendeth against the common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the Magistrate, and woundeth the consciences of the weak brethren.
Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish, Ceremonies or Rites of the Church ordained only by man's authority, so that all things be done to edifying.
XXXV. Of the Homilies.
The Second Book of Homilies, the several titles whereof we have joined under this Article, doth contain a godly and wholesome Doctrine, and necessary for these times, as doth the former Book of Homilies, which were set forth in the time of Edward the Sixth; and therefore we judge them to be read in Churches by the Ministers, diligently and distinctly, that they may be understanded of the people.
Of the Names of the Homilies
[This Article is received in this Church, so far as it declares the Book of Homilies to be an explication of Christian doctrine, and instructive in piety and morals. But all references to the constitution and laws of England are considered as inapplicable to the circumstances of this Church; which also suspends the order for the reading of said Homilies in churches, until a revision of them may be conveniently made, for the clearing of them, as well from obsolete words and phrases, as from the local references.]
XXXVI. Of Consecration of Bishops and Ministers.
The Book of Consecration of Bishops, and Ordering of Priests and Deacons, as set forth by the General Convention of this Church in 1792, doth contain all things necessary to such Consecration and Ordering; neither hath it any thing that, of itself, is superstitious and ungodly. And, therefore, whosoever are consecrated or ordered according to said Form, we decree all such to be rightly, orderly, and lawfully consecrated and ordered.
The original 1571, 1662 text of this Article reads as follows: "The Book of Consecration of Archbishops and Bishops, and Ordering of Priests and Deacons, lately set forth in the time of Edward the Sixth, and confirmed at the same time by authority of Parliament, doth contain all things necessary to such Consecration and Ordering; neither hath it any thing, that of itself is superstitious and ungodly. And therefore whosoever are consecrated or ordered according to the Rites of that Book, since the second year of the forenamed King Edwand unto this time, or hereafter shall be consecrated or ordered according to the same Rites; we decree all such to be rightly, orderly, and lawfully consecrated and ordered."
XXXVII. Of the Power of the Civil Magistrates.
The Power of the Civil Magistrate extendeth to all men, as well Clergy as Laity, in all things temporal; but hath no authority in things purely spiritual. And we hold it to be the duty of all men who are professors of the Gospel, to pay respectful obedience to the Civil Authority, regularly and legitimately constituted.
The original 1571, 1662 text of this Article reads as follows: "The King's Majesty hath the chief power in this Realm of England, and other his Dominions, unto whom the chief Government of all Estates of this Realm, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Civil, in all causes doth appertain, and is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign Jurisdiction. Where we attribute to the King's Majesty the chief government, by which Titles we understand the minds of some slanderous folks to be offended; we give not our Princes the ministering either of God's Word, or of the Sacraments, the which thing the Injunctions also lately set forth by Elizabeth our Queen do most plainly testify; but that only prerogative, which we see to have been given always to all godly Princes in holy Scriptures by God himself; that is, that they should rule all estates and degrees committed to their charge by God, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Temporal, and restrain with the civil sword the stubborn and evil-doers.
"The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England.
"The Laws of the Realm may punish Christian men with death, for heinous and grievous offenses.
"It is lawful for Christian men, at the commandment of the Magistrate, to wear weapons, and serve in the wars."
XXXVIII. Of Christian Men's Goods, which are not common.
The Riches and Goods of Christians are not common, as touching the right, title, and possession of the same; as certain Anabaptists do falsely boast. Notwithstanding, every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the poor, according to his ability.
XXXIX. Of a Christian Man's Oath.
As we confess that vain and rash Swearing is forbidden Christian men by our Lord Jesus Christ, and James his Apostle, so we judge, that Christian Religion doth not prohibit, but that a man may swear when the Magistrate requireth, in a cause of faith and charity, so it be done according to the Prophet's teaching in justice, judgment, and truth.
THE AFFIRMATION OF ST. LOUIS
Issued by the Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen September 17, 1977
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY GHOST. AMEN.
THE CONTINUATION OF ANGLICANISM. We affirm that the Church of our fathers, sustained by the most Holy Trinity, lives yet, and that we, being moved by the Holy Spirit to walk only in that way, are determined to continue in the Catholic Faith, Apostolic Order, Orthodox Worship and Evangelical Witness of the traditional Anglican Church, doing all things necessary for the continuance of the same. We are upheld and strengthened in this determination by the knowledge that many provinces and dioceses of the Anglican Communion have continued steadfast in the same Faith, Order, Worship and Witness, and that they continue to confine ordination to the priesthood and the episcopate to males. We rejoice in these facts and we affirm our solidarity with these provinces and dioceses.
THE DISSOLUTION OF ANGLICAN AND EPISCOPAL CHURCH STRUCTURE. We affirm that the Anglican Church of Canada and the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, by their unlawful attempts to alter Faith, Order and Morality (especially in their General Synod of 1975 and General Convention of 1976), have departed from Christ's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
THE NEED TO CONTINUE ORDER IN THE CHURCH. We affirm that all former ecclesiastical governments, being fundamentally impaired by the schismatic acts of lawless Councils, are of no effect among us, and that we must now reorder such godly discipline as will strengthen us in the continuation of our common life and witness.
THE INVALIDITY OF SCHISMATIC AUTHORITY. We affirm that the claim of any such schismatic person or body to act against any Church member, clerical or lay, for his witness to the whole Faith is with no authority of Christ's true Church, and any such inhibition, deposition or discipline is without effect and is absolutely null and void.
THE NEED FOR PRINCIPLES AND A CONSTITUTION. We affirm that fundamental principles (doctrinal, moral, and constitutional) are necessary for the present, and that a Constitution (redressing the defects and abuses of our former governments) should be adopted, whereby the Church may be soundly continued.
THE CONTINUATION OF COMMUNION WITH CANTERBURY. We affirm our continued relations of communion with the See of Canterbury and all faithful parts of the Anglican Communion.
WHEREFORE, with a firm trust in Divine Providence, and before Almighty God and all the company of heaven, we solemnly affirm, covenant and declare that we, lawful and faithful members of the Anglican and Episcopal Churches, shall now and hereafter continue and be the unified continuing Anglican Church in North America, in true and valid succession thereto.
FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES In order to carry out these declarations, we set forth these fundamental Principles for our continued life and witness.
PREFACE: In the firm conviction that "we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ," and that "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved," and acknowledging our duty to proclaim Christ's saving Truth to all peoples, nations and tongues, we declare our intention to hold fast the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith of God. We acknowledge that rule of faith laid down by St. Vincent of Lerins: "Let us hold that which has been believed everywhere, always and by all, for that is truly and properly Catholic."
I PRINCIPLES OF DOCTRINE
I. THE NATURE OF THE CHURCH We gather as people called by God to be faithful and obedient to Him. As the Royal Priestly People of God, the Church is called to be, in fact, the manifestation of Christ in and to the world. True religion is revealed to man by God. We cannot decide what is truth, but rather (in obedience) ought to receive, accept, cherish, defend and teach what God has given us. The Church is created by God, and is beyond the ultimate control of man. The Church is the Body of Christ at work in the world. She is the society of the baptized called out from the world: In it, but not of it. As Christ's faithful Bride, she is different from the world and must not be influenced by it.
2. THE ESSENTIALS OF TRUTH AND ORDER We repudiate all deviation or departure from the Faith, in whole or in part, and bear witness to these essential principles of evangelical Truth and apostolic Order:
HOLY SCRIPTURE. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the authentic record of God's revelation of Himself, His saving activity, and moral demands--a revelation valid for all men and all time.
THE CREEDS. The Nicene Creed as the authoritative summary of the chief articles of the Christian Faith, together with the Apostles' Creed, and that known as the Creed of St. Athanasius to be "thoroughly received and believed" in the sense they have had always in the Catholic Church.
TRADITION. The received Tradition of the Church and its teachings as set forth by "the ancient catholic bishops and doctors," and especially as defined by the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church, to the exclusion of all errors, ancient and modern.
SACRAMENTS. The Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, the Holy Eucharist, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, Penance and Unction of the Sick, as objective and effective signs of the continued presence and saving activity of Christ our Lord among His people and as His covenanted means for conveying His grace. In particular, we affirm the necessity of Baptism and the Holy Eucharist (where they may be had)--Baptism as incorporating us into Christ (with its completion in Confirmation as the "seal of the Holy Spirit"), and the Eucharist as the sacrifice which unites us to the all-sufficient Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and the Sacrament in which He feeds us with His Body and Blood.
HOLY ORDERS. The Holy Orders of bishops, priests and deacons as the perpetuation of Christ's gift of apostolic ministry to His Church, asserting the necessity of a bishop of apostolic succession (or a priest ordained by such) as the celebrant of the Eucharist - these Orders consisting exclusively of men in accordance with Christ's Will and institution (as evidenced by the Scriptures), and the universal practice of the Catholic Church.
DEACONESSES. The ancient office and ministry of Deaconesses as a lay vocation for women, affirming the need for proper encouragement of that office.
DUTY OF BISHOPS. Bishops as Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds and Teachers, as well as their duty (together with other clergy and the laity) to guard and defend the purity and integrity of the Church's Faith and Moral Teaching.
THE USE OF OTHER FORMULAE. In affirming these principles, we recognize that all Anglican statements of faith and liturgical formulae must be interpreted in accordance with them.
INCOMPETENCE OF CHURCH BODIES TO ALTER TRUTH. We disclaim any right or competence to suppress, alter or amend any of the ancient Ecumenical Creeds and definitions of Faith, to set aside or depart from Holy Scripture, or to alter or deviate from the essential prerequisites of any Sacrament.
UNITY WITH OTHER BELIEVERS. We declare our firm intention to seek and achieve full sacramental communion and visible unity with other Christians who "worship the Trinity in Unity, and Unity in Trinity," and who hold the Catholic and Apostolic Faith in accordance with the foregoing principles.
II PRINCIPLES OF MORALITY The conscience, as the inherent knowledge of right and wrong, cannot stand alone as a sovereign arbiter of morals. Every Christian is obligated to form his conscience by the Divine Moral Law and the Mind of Christ as revealed in Holy Scriptures, and by the teachings and Tradition of the Church. We hold that when the Christian conscience is thus properly informed and ruled, it must affirm the follow moral principles:
INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY. All people, individually and collectively, are responsible to their Creator for their acts, motives, thoughts and words, since "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ..."
SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE. Every human being, from the time of his conception, is a creature* of God, made in His image and likeness, an infinitely precious soul; and that the unjustifiable or inexcusable taking of life is always sinful.
MAN'S DUTY TO GOD. All people are bound by the dictates of the Natural Law and by the revealed Will of God, insofar as they can discern them.
FAMILY LIFE. The God-given sacramental bond in marriage between one man and one woman is God's loving provision for procreation and family life, and sexual activity is to be practiced only within the bonds of Holy Matrimony.
MAN AS SINNER. We recognize that man, as inheritor of original sin, is "very far gone from original righteousness," and as a rebel against God's authority is liable to His righteous judgment.
MAN AND GOD'S GRACE. We recognize, too, that God loves His children and particularly has shown it forth in the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that man cannot be saved by any effort of his own, but by the Grace of God, through repentance and acceptance of God's forgiveness.
CHRISTIAN'S DUTY TO BE MORAL. We believe, therefore, it is the duty of the Church and her members to bear witness to Christian Morality, to follow it in their lives, and to reject the false standards of the world.
III CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES In the constitutional revision which must be undertaken, we recommend, for the consideration of continuing Anglicans, the following:
RETAIN THE BEST OF BOTH PROVINCES. That the traditional and tested features of the Canadian and American ecclesiastical systems be retained and used in the administration of the continuing Church.
SELECTION OF BISHOPS. That a non-political means for selection of bishops be devised, adopted and used.
TRIPARTITE SYNOD. That the Church be generally governed by a Holy Synod of three branches (episcopal, clerical and lay), under the presidency of the Primate of the Church.
SCRIPTURAL STANDARDS FOR THE MINISTRY. That the apostolic and scriptural standards for the sacred Ministry be used for all orders of Ministers.
CONCURRENCE OF ALL ORDERS FOR DECISIONS. That the Constitution acknowledge the necessity of the concurrence of all branches of the Synod for decisions in all matters, and that extraordinary majorities be required for the favorable consideration of all matters of importance.
RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF DISCIPLINE. That the Church re-establish an effective permanent system of ecclesiastical courts for the defense of the Faith and the maintenance of discipline over all her members.
CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY TO BE CALLED. That our bishops shall call a Constitutional Assembly of lay and clerical representatives of dioceses and parishes to convene at the earliest appropriate time to draft a Constitution and Canons by which we may be unified and governed, with special reference to this Affirmation, and with due consideration to ancient Custom and the General Canon Law, and to the former law of our provinces.
INTERIM ACTION. In the meantime, trusting in the everlasting strength of God to carry us through all our trials, we commend all questions for decision to the proper authorities in each case: Episcopal, diocesan, and parochial, encouraging all the faithful to support our witness as subscribers to this Affirmation, and inviting all so doing to share our fellowship and the work of the Church.
IV PRINCIPLES OF WORSHIP
PRAYER BOOK THE STANDARD OF WORSHIP. In the continuing Anglican Church, the Book of Common Prayer is (and remains) one work in two editions: The Canadian Book of 1962 and the American Book of 1928. Each is fully and equally authoritative. No other standard for worship exists.
CERTAIN VARIANCES PERMITTED. For liturgical use, only the Book of Common Prayer and service books conforming to and incorporating it shall be used.
V PRINCIPLES OF ACTION
INTERCOMMUNION WITH OTHER APOSTOLIC BODIES. The continuing Anglicans remain in full communion with the See of Canterbury and with all other faithful parts of the Anglican Communion, and should actively seek similar relations with all other Apostolic and Catholic Churches, provided that agreement in the essentials of Faith and Order first be reached.
NON-INVOLVEMENT WITH NON-APOSTOLIC BODIES. We recognize that the World Council of Churches, and many national and other Councils adhering to the World Council, are non-Apostolic, humanist and secular in purpose and practice, and that under such circumstances, we cannot be members of any of them. We also recognize that the Consultation on Church Union (COCU) and all other such schemes, being non-Apostolic and non-Catholic in their present concept and form, are unacceptable to us, and that we cannot be associated with any of them.
NEED FOR SOUND THEOLOGICAL TRAINING. Re-establishment of spiritual, orthodox and scholarly theological education under episcopal supervision is imperative, and should be encouraged and promoted by all in authority; and learned and godly bishops, other clergy and lay people should undertake and carry on that work without delay.
FINANCIAL AFFAIRS. The right of congregations to control of their temporalities should be firmly and constitutionally recognized and protected.
ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS. Administration should, we believe, be limited to the most simple and necessary acts, so that emphasis may be centered on worship, pastoral care, spiritual and moral soundness, personal good works, and missionary outreach, in response to God's love for us.
THE CHURCH AS WITNESS TO TRUTH. We recognize also that, as keepers of God's will and truth for man, we can and ought to witness to that will and truth against all manifest evils, remembering that we are as servants in the world, but God's servants first.
PENSIONS AND INSURANCE. We recognize our immediate responsibility to provide for the establishment of sound pension and insurance programs for the protection of the stipendiary clergy and other Church workers.
LEGAL DEFENSE. We recognize the immediate need to coordinate legal resources, financial and professional, for the defense of congregations imperiled by their stand for the Faith, and commend this need most earnestly to the diocesan and parochial authorities.
CONTINUATION, NOT INNOVATION. In this gathering witness of Anglicans and Episcopalians, we continue to be what we are. We do nothing new. We form no new body, but continue as Anglicans and Episcopalians.
NOW, THEREFORE, deeply aware of our duty to all who love and believe the Faith of our Fathers, of our duty to God, who alone shall judge what we do, we make this Affirmation. Before God, we claim our Anglican/Episcopal inheritance, and proclaim the same to the whole Church, through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen.