The Principles of Doctrine
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.
The Essentials of Truth and Order
We repudiate all deviation of departure from the Faith, in whole or in part, and bear witness to these essential principles of evangelical Truth and apostolic Order:
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 pre-requisites 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.
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 teaching and Tradition of the Church. We hold that when the Christian conscience is thus properly informed and ruled, it must affirm the following moral principles:
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 and child 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.
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.
Note: The statutes of the Society require that any brother who at any point does not agree with any of these principles resign from the Society. The statutes of the Society further require that any brother, being cognizant of a brother who departs from these principles, shall lay the matter before the Council and Master-General.