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For your information, inspiration and intercession, please study this ICCP Discussion Document from the Reformation 500 Church Consultation in Wittenberg, Germany, October 2017, in preparation for the upcoming Reformation 500 Church Council Zürich, 15-19 July 2019.

 

If you have any suggestions on how these may be improved, or to communicate the support of your church, mission, or ministry, write to the International Church Council Project. 

 

ARTICLES OF AFFIRMATION AND DENIAL

 

The NATURE of GOD:

 

Article I

We affirm that there is only one living God who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible and absolutely distinct from His creation.

We deny any and all views of God that negate or deviate from the traditional Judeo-Christian concept of God, including Atheism, Deism, Finite-godism, Panentheism (Process God), Polytheism and Pantheism.

 

Article II

We affirm that God is both transcendent over and immanent in His creation.

We deny that in His being God is totally other, or that He is identified with His creation.

 

Article III

We affirm that from time to time God supernaturally intervenes in the course of natural or human events to accomplish His redemptive purposes.

We deny any naturalistic view which either rejects a supernatural God or His miraculous intervention in nature or history.

 

Article IV

We affirm that God is a personal, infinite, eternal, self-existent, unchangeable, indivisible, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, spiritual being Who is the creator and sustainer of the universe.

We deny that God is impersonal, finite, temporal, changeable, divisible, material, or is limited in His power, knowledge, or presence in the universe.

 

Article V

We affirm that God is absolutely holy, just, good, true, loving and merciful in His being and all His activities.

We deny that God is any less than absolutely and totally perfect in all of His attributes.

 

Article VI

We affirm that this one God exists eternally in three distinct Persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), each of whom shares equally in all the divine attributes.

We deny that God is more than one Being (as in Tri-theism) or that He is less than three eternal Persons (as in strict Monotheism, Arianism, or Modalism).

 

The NATURE of THE UNIVERSE:

 

Article VII

We affirm that the entire universe, including all finite beings, was created by God out of nothing (ex nihilo).

We deny that the universe is not created or that it was created out of God (ex deo) or out of pre-existing material (ex materia).

 

Article VIII

We affirm that the space/time universe is finite, temporal and real.

We deny that the space/time universe is infinite, eternal, or illusory.

 

Article IX

We affirm that the entire universe is absolutely distinct from and utterly dependent upon its Creator-God.

We deny that the universe is in any way to be identified with God or that it exists independently of God.

 

Article X

We affirm that man (male and female) was specially created by God.

We deny that man evolved from or is genetically derived from the lower forms of life.

 

Article XI

We affirm that man was created in the image and likeness of God and consequently is endowed by God with immeasurable dignity and worth.

We deny any view that tends to demean or diminish the God-given freedom, dignity and value of man or reduce him to the status of a mere animal.

 

Article XII

We affirm that man as a rational and moral being is ultimately responsible and accountable to God.

We deny that man’s moral actions are determined genetically or environmentally, or that his responsibility is limited to himself or society.

 

Article XIII

We affirm that because of man’s rebellion against God, both he and his environment exist in a corrupted state and stand under the condemnation of God.

We deny that either man or the world in their present corrupted state may be perfected by natural or human agencies alone.

 

Article XIV

We affirm that man, from the moment of conception, is a creature who has individual conscious existence eternally beyond physical death.

We deny that man is a merely mortal creature whose individual conscious existence terminates at physical death, or that man’s unborn offspring are less than human.

 

The NATURE of TRUTH:

 

Article XV

We affirm that God is the ultimate author of all truth.

We deny that man can be the ultimate author and determiner of truth.

 

Article XVI

We affirm that truth is objective, absolute and ultimately non-contradictory.

We deny any view that reduces truth to a purely relative, subjective, experiential, or a paradoxical status.

 

Article XVII

We affirm truth to be that which corresponds to and accurately describes and explains reality.

We deny any view that conceives of reality as mere subjective experience, existential encounter, mere coherence, dialectical process, or that conceives of reality in any other relativistic manner.

 

Article XVIII

We affirm that insofar as God has revealed truth, whether in general or special revelation, it is knowable by man even though it is neither exhaustive nor comprehensive.

We deny that the limitations of man’s knowledge of God’s truth leave him incapable of knowing, communicating, or using that truth.

 

Article XIX

We affirm that all truth disclosed in God’s special revelation, the 66 books of the Bible, is propositional.

We deny that the human language of the Bible is an inadequate vehicle for communicating God’s truth to man.

 

The NATURE of TRUE VALUES:

 

Article XX

We affirm that God is the source of all right and just values and that they reflect His moral character.

We deny that true values are ultimately derived from man or any other finite source.

 

Article XXI

We affirm that the basis of all true values are objective and absolute.

We deny that the basis of all true values is merely subjective, relative, or cultural.

 

Article XXII

We affirm that true values are determined by God and merely discovered by man.

We deny that it is legitimate for man to create his own true values on either the personal or societal level.

 

Article XXIII

We affirm the true values revealed by God place a prescriptive obligation on man by which he must order his life.

We deny that true values are merely descriptive of human behaviour or that man is not obliged to live by them.

 

Article XXIV

We affirm that the only perfect, comprehensive and complete expression of God’s values is to be found in the Bible.

We deny that those who are unaware of the Bible are thereby excused from moral obligations revealed by God in the hearts of men.

 

The NATURE of AUTHORITY:

 

Article XXV

We affirm that the ultimate source of authority is God.

We deny that man has the authority to create his own moral standards.

 

Article XXVI

We affirm that God has expressed His authority to His creatures in general revelation and most clearly and fully in special revelation.

We deny that human society, culture, or consensus is a legitimate basis for man’s moral conduct.

 

Article XXVII

We affirm that God in his general revelation, through the works of creation and the consciences of men, has revealed His eternal power and deity with His moral law in the hearts of all men, even though they in their corrupted state suppress this truth in unrighteousness.

We deny that man is either an amoral creature or that he is inherently good or naturally perfectible.

 

Article XXVIII

We affirm that God’s normative, special revelation is expressed in and limited to His authoritative, inerrant, written Word, the Bible, which is the final bar of appeal in all matters of faith and life and stands in judgment over all reason, revelation and experience.

We deny that God has left man without any normative special revelation or that there is any other or additional normative special revelation from God.

 

Article XXIX

We affirm that the laws of man must be based upon the laws of God.

We deny that the laws of man have any inherent authority of their own or that their ultimate authority is rightly derived from or created by man.

 

The NATURE of SALVATION:

 

Article XXX

We affirm that God alone is the source of man’s salvation.

We deny that man can initiate or attain his own salvation.

 

Article XXXI

We affirm that Jesus Christ, the God-Man, by virtue of His perfect life, His substitutionary, atoning death and His bodily resurrection, is the only Mediator between a Holy God and sinful man.

We deny that man can achieve salvation by means of secular education, social programs, political action, genetic engineering, psychology, or self-realization, or by any other means.

 

Article XXXII

We affirm that Jesus Christ in His Incarnation is wholly God and wholly man, two natures in one person, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation.

We deny that the two natures of Jesus Christ can be confused, changed, or divided, or that the one Divine Person can be separated from either nature.

 

Article XXXIII

We affirm that God’s gift of salvation is supernaturally applied to those who believe by the gracious working of God the Holy Spirit.

We deny that in the matter of his salvation, man is left to his own resources or that he can merit this salvation by his own works.

 

Article XXXIV

We affirm that salvation is from the presence, power and penalty of sin and to joyful obedience and service to God in His present and future kingdom.

We deny that salvation applies only to the eternal destinies of man.

 

The NATURE of HUMAN GOVERNMENT:

 

Article XXXV

We affirm that the institution of human government has been ordained by God.

We deny that any form of government (or ruler) has authority from any source other than God or that God approves governments indiscriminately.

 

Article XXXVI

We affirm that God has established a multiplicity of human governments such as individual, familial, ecclesiastical and civil.

We deny that any form of human government (or ruler) has valid authority from any source but God or that any human government has either absolute or complete jurisdiction over all other governments.

 

Article XXXVII

We affirm that it is the duty of all citizens to obey God ordained authority.

We deny that any citizen is obliged to obey any government when it transgresses its God given mandate or requires him to disobey God’s Laws.

 

Article XXXVIII

We affirm that it is always the obligation of believers to participate in promoting good government.

We deny that a Christian can fully discharge his duty to God apart from social, cultural and political action aimed at influencing society for God and for human good.

 

The NATURE (and PURPOSE) of HISTORY:

 

Article XXXIX

We affirm that the Sovereign God is providentially directing the course of human history and that the saving purposes of God in Christ are accomplished within the same history.

We deny any philosophy which espouses a naturalistic, chaotic, cyclical, dialectical, two-levelled or any other view that neglects or negates the directive activity of God in history.

 

Article XL

We affirm that the purpose and meaning history is to bring praise and glory to God and abundant life to His children.

We deny any view which rejects meaning or purpose in history or which has man, nature, or anything other than God enshrined as its ultimate object.

 

Article XLI

We affirm that although man may be the primary focus and subject of history, God is its ultimate author and finisher.

We deny any view in which man is elevated to the level of architect, director, or determiner of the course of historical events.

 

Article XLII

We affirm that the consummation of history is the final triumph of God over all death and evil and their consequences and its ultimate goal is the manifestation of the glory of God.

We deny any view which embraces reincarnation, universalism, the ultimate overpowering of good by evil, the annihilation of man, or the elimination of a place of eternal punishment and separation from God.

 

Coalition on Revival

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See also:

Reformation 500 Church Council Zürich

1. The Authority of Scripture

2. Biblical Hermeneutics

Ulrich Zwingli – The Reformer of Zürich

   

 
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