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Bishop’s Note: July 12, 2018 – The "Jerusalem Declaration" and The Creeds and Councils
As we continue our exploration of the "Jerusalem Declaration" (full text here: https://www.gafcon.org/resources/the-complete-jerusalem-statement), we examine the third proposition of the declaration: “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.”

People often ask us: “What does the Anglican Church Believe?” And we are often at a loss as to what to say; but my answer is quick and easy: “I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.” You may recognize this as the opening line to the Apostles Creed. To be an Anglican Christian is to be a “Creedal” Christian – meaning that the historic faith of the Church is bound in the three historic creeds of the church: the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds. These creeds are what united the Church into a common faith by the end of the fifth century, and, quite frankly, still define what a Christian is. Therefore, to move away from the three creeds is to move away from the Christian faith; and it is for that reason that the Mormon Church, among others, is not considered Christian – because the Mormon Church does not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, which is clearly outlined in the three historic creeds.

Each of these creeds
were developed and ratified when the bishops and leading theologians from around the world gathered in a council in order to define the faith; doing so primarily in response to false teachings.

The four foundational Ecumenical Councils (there were seven in total) took the names of the cities where the council took place: Nicaea in 325, Constantinople in 381, Ephesus in 431, and Chalcedon in 451. These councils are called “ecumenical” because they represented the universal church and laid out the true or orthodox faith.

Dr. Stephen Noll has given a wonderful short synopsis of the three creeds that I would like to share with you:

The Apostles Creed – is the shortest creed and outlines briefly the nature of God the Father, Maker of heaven and earth. It recounts the key moments of Jesus’ life, His Virgin Birth, His suffering and death under Pontius Pilate, His going down into hell (the place of the dead), His Rising to life and going up into heaven, and His Second Coming in glory. It then turns to God the Holy Spirit in the universal church, which includes the communion of saints across space and time. It concludes with several other key teachings: the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body at the end of this age and life everlasting in the age to come.

The Nicene Creed – includes the teachings of the Apostles’ Creed, but adds an explanation of the Trinity, particularly saying that Jesus is fully God, of one being or nature with the
Father, and that the Holy Spirit is Lord, proceeding from the Father and the Son.

The Athanasian Creed – not used as often in
church due to its length and complexity. It expands on the nature of the Trinity and Divine Manhood of Jesus Christ, and clarifies that right belief is necessary for salvation, and that those who deny orthodox belief cut themselves off from the true church.

Each of the three creeds
are grounded in the Word of God and submit to the Authority of God’s Word, both for us as Christians in general, and as Anglicans in specific!

I pray you all a very blessed week!

Bishop Menees

Calendar

July 13-26
Bishop Menees on Vacation

August 2-5
Anglican 4th Day Retreat @ St. Anthony's Retreat Center

August 4
90 Days prior to Convention: Per Canon 20.08 Proposed Constitutional Amendments due to The Constitution and Canons Task Force (email to administrator@dioceseofsanjoaquin.net or snail-mail to 1300 E. Shaw Ave. Ste. 123, Fresno, CA 93710)

August 5
Bishop @ St. Matthias

August 12
Bishop @ St. Clement of Alexandria

August 14
Rural Deans Meeting

August 18
Diocesan Council Meeting
San Joaquin Anglican
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