Preamble to the By Laws of St. Peter’s Anglican Church
The following statement adapted from the American Anglican Council’s “A Place to Stand” and serves as a Confession of Faith for the Parishioners of St. Peter’s Anglican Church. It forms the basic theological and ethical standard for our common life as Christians in the Anglican tradition as we serve Jesus Christ in the 21st Century.
A Common Confession of the Gospel
The Gospel and The Triune God: We rejoice in the grace of the Triune God, who has forgiven our sins and given us redemption in Jesus Christ. We proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, fully human and fully divine, who became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, lived a life of perfect obedience to his Heavenly Father, died on the cross to atone for the sins of the world, and rose bodily in accordance with the Scriptures. God the Holy Spirit draws us to faith in Jesus Christ, through whom alone we are justified and found acceptable by God the Father.
Christian Obedience: We confess Jesus as the Lord to whom all authority in heaven and earth has been given by God the Father. We commit ourselves to follow him and love him above all else and to conform our lives in obedience to his example and teaching by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Holy Scripture: We believe all Scriptures were “written for our learning” (Romans 15:4; II Timothy 3:16), that they are “God’s Word written” and that we are to “hear, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them.” We commit ourselves to regular Bible study and to preach and teach only that which is in accordance with Holy Scripture.
Parish Life: We hold corporate worship, discipleship, sharing and mission to be interconnected and indispensable aspects of our response to God as He revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ. We are committed to being sacrificially involved in all four aspects of parish life.
Mission and Missions: The Risen Lord Jesus Christ commissioned His disciples to preach the gospel and to follow His commandments. The mission of the Church includes both evangelistic proclamation and deeds of love and service. We commit ourselves and our resources to this mission, both locally and to the uttermost parts of the earth. We affirm our particular responsibility to know, love and serve the Lord in our local settings and context. Since the biblical pattern of witness moves from the local to the global, we will endeavor to be well-informed about our local communities and active in church planting, evangelism, service, social justice and cross-cultural, international missions, with particular concern for the poor and the unreached peoples of the world.
Historic Faith, Ecumenical Vision: We affirm the Faith of the Anglican Church, as it is set forth in the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds and the Book of Common Prayer, 1662 and 1928 editions. We further affirm the principles of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral as an expression of the normative authority of Holy Scripture and as a basis for our present unity with brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion and for the future reunion of all the divided branches of Christ’s one holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
Contemporary Implications of the Gospel
The Christian mission is rooted in unchanging Biblical revelations. At particular times, however, specific challenges to authentic faith and holiness arise which require thoughtful and vigorous response. Accordingly, we speak specifically to the following issues of our time and affirm the following:
The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ: While religions and philosophies of the world are not without elements of truth, Jesus Christ alone is the full revelation of God. In and through the Gospel, our Savior, Christ Jesus, judges and corrects all views and doctrines. All peoples everywhere need to learn of Him, come to know and believe in Him, receive forgiveness and new life in him, as there is no other name given under Heaven by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12).
Church and State: Biblical social commandments and Christian ethical principles are foundational to the wellbeing of every society. Recognizing the call of Christians to be faithful witnesses and a challenging presence in society, we are committed to seek ways to express these commandments and principles in all spheres of life, including the public life of the nation.
The Sanctity of Life: All human life is a sacred gift from God and is to be protected and defended from conception to natural death. We uphold the sanctity of life and bring grace and compassion of Christ Jesus to those who face the realities of previous abortion, unwanted pregnancy, and end-of-life illness.
True Inclusivity: In grateful response to Christ Jesus, in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, we will extend the welcome of the Church to every person, regardless of race, sex, social or economic status, sexual orientation, or past behavior. We will oppose prejudice in ourselves and others and renounce any false notion of inclusivity that denies that all are sinners who need to repent.
Marriage, Family and the Single Life: God instituted marriage from the Beginning to be a life-long union of husband and wife, through which the two, created distinctly male and female in the image of God, become “one flesh,” and in their marital union bear witness to the mystical union of Christ and His Bride, the Church (Gen. 1:27, 2:24; Mark 10:8; Eph. 5:31-32). From the Beginning God intended for marriage to be fruitful for the procreation of children, and faithful 1) for the mutual joy, comfort, and sanctification of the husband and wife, 2) for the safety and security of children, 3) for a public witness to God’s covenant faithfulness, and 4) for the health, strength and stability of society. The distinctly masculine and feminine character of father and mother are profoundly important as together and in their unique roles they are the chief providers of moral instruction and examples of godly living in the family. For this reason the church must be attentive to the challenges of single-parent homes. Though in a fallen world divorce has become a reality, it is always contrary to God’s original intention. Therefore every effort must be made to honor, preserve and strengthen the marital bond, and to encourage reconciliation should it be strained or fractured. Those who live the faithful single life either by calling or circumstances are no less honored by God, and unmarried persons are equally to embrace and be embraced by the larger Christian family.
Human Sexuality: Sexuality is inherent in God’s creation of every person made in His image as male and female. We submit the gift of our sexuality to God for its fulfillment in His good purposes and for His glory. As followers of Jesus Christ we affirm that our bodies are not our own, but are to be temples of the Holy Spirit, and we gratefully offer them to Him in worship (Rom. 12:1-2, 1 Cor. 6:19-20). All Christians are called to chastity: Husbands and wives in exclusive and comprehensive sexual fidelity to one another, and single persons in abstinence from all forms of sexual activity. God intends and enables all people to live within these boundaries as we abide daily in Christ’s presence, drawing new life from Him by the power of the Holy Spirit, and with the committed support of Christian brothers and sisters.