The Word fo God
As approved by 1979 Assembly NSW Baptist
of Faith (33)
(Including the Trinity)
GOD - TRINITY
We hold that the
God is one:Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and that he fulfils his
purposes - in creation, revelation, redemption, judgement, and the
of his kingdom - by calling out from the world a people united to
and to each other in love.
I. Of Faith
There is but one
and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of
power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things
visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three
of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the
There is one
existent in three persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the
Spirit (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14).
of the Godhead
There is one God
eternal personal Spirit. He is infinite in power, wisdom, holiness and
love. He is Triune in essential being and revealed to us as Father, Son
and Holy Spirit.
God, and of the Holy Trinity.
I. There is but
living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most
spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable,
eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free,
absolute, working all things according to the counsel of his own
and most righteous will, for his won glory, most loving, gracious,
long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity,
and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him; and withal most
just and terrible in his judgments; hating all sin; and who will by no
means clear the guilty.
II. God hath
goodness, blessedness, in and of himself; and is alone in and unto
all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which he hath
nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory
by, unto, and upon them; he is the alone foundation of all being, of
through whom, and to whom, are all things; and hath most sovereign
over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatsoever himself
In his sight all things are open and manifest; his knowledge is
infallible, and independent upon the creature; so as nothing is to him
contingent or uncertain. He is most holy in all his counsels, in all
works, and in all his commands. To him is due from angels and men, and
every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience he is
to require of them.
III. In the
Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity:
the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none,
neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternal begotten of the
the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.
Of God's Eternal Decree.
I. God from all
did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and
ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the
of sin;nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the
liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather
II. Although God
may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions; yet hath he not
decreed any thing because he foresaw it as future, as that which would
come to pass, upon such conditions.
III. By the
for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are
unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death.
IV. These angels
thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably
designed; and their number is so certain and definite that it can not
either increased or diminished.
V. Those of
are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world
laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret
and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ, unto everlasting
glory, out of his free grace and love alone, without any foresight of
or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in
the creature, as conditions, or causes moving him thereunto; and all to
the praise of his glorious grace.
VI. As God hath
the elect unto glory, so hath he, by the eternal and most free purpose
of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore they who
elected being fallen in Adam are redeemed by Christ, are effectually
unto faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season; are
adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power through faith unto
Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called,
adopted, sanctified, and
saved, but the
VII. The rest of
God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will,
whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory
of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordain
to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious
high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence
care, that men attending to the will og God revealed in his Word, and
obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual
be assured of their eternal election. So shall this doctrine afford
of praise, reverence, and admiration of God; and of humility,
and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel
I. It pleased
Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal
power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create or make of
the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the
space of six days, and all very good.
II. After God
other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and
souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness after
own image, having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to
fulfill it; and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to
the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change. Besides
law written in their hearts, they received a command not to eat of the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil; which while they kept were
in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.
I. God, the
of all things, doth uphold, direct dispose, and govern all creatures,
and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and
providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and
immutable counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his
power, justice, goodness, and mercy.
II. Although in
to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things
to pass immutably and infallibly, yet, by the same providence, he
them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either
freely, or contingently.
III. God, in his
providence, maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above,
against them, at his pleasure.
IV. The almighty
unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest
in his providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first Fall, and
all other sins of angels and men, and that not by a bare permission,
such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and
ordering and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to his own
holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the
and not from God; who being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can
be the author or approver of sin.
V. The most
and gracious God, doth oftentimes leave for a season his own children
manifold temptations and the corruption of their own hearts, to
them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden
of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be
and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their
upon himself, and to make them more watchful against all future
of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.
VI. As for those
and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous judge, for former sins, doth
and harden; from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they
have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon their
but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had; and exposeth
to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin; and withal,
gives them over to their own lusts, the temptatoins of the world, and
power of Satan; whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves,
under those means which God useth for the softening of others.
VII. As the
God doth, in general, reach to all creatures, so, after a most special
manner, it taketh care of his Church, and disposeth all things to the
God made us
in his own
image, conferring on us dignity and worth and
enabling us to
himself, we now are members of a fallen race;
we have sinned
short of his glory.
XVI. Of Sin after
Not every deadly
committed after Baptism is sin against the Holy Ghost, and
Wherefore the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall
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
again, and amend our lives. And therefore they are to be condemned,
say, they can no more sin as long as they live here, or deny the place
of forgiveness to such as truly repent.
IX. Of Original
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
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, frohnayma sarkos,
some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some
desire, of the flesh,) is not subject to the Law of God. And although
is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized; yet the
doth confess, that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of
X. Of Free
The condition of
the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by
own natural strength and good works, to faith, and calling upon God.
we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God,
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
We are accounted
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 is expressed in the Homily of Justification.
XII. Of Good
Albeit that Good
which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot
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.
of Christ, and the Inspiration of his 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
over and above, God's Commandments, which they call Works of
cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety: for by them men do
that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do,
but that they do more for his sake, than of bounden duty is required:
Christ saith plainly, When ye have done all that are commanded to you,
say, We are unprofitable servants.
Man was made in
of God and for fellowship with Him. By transgression of God's command
fell from fellowship with God and his nature was corrupted. As a
all men are spiritually dead under Satan's dominion and control and
to God's wrath and condemnation. Therefore, apart from God's grace, man
is helpless and hopeless.
the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment thereof.
I. Our first
seduced by the subtilty and temptations of Satan, sinned in eating the
forbidden fruit. This their sin God was pleased, according to his wise
and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to his own
II. By this sin
from their original righteousness and communion with God, and so became
dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul
III. They being
of mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same death in
and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity, descending from
by original generation.
IV. From this
whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all
and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.
during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated; and
it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself, and all
motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.
VI. Every sin,
and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and
thereunto, doth, in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner,
he is bound over to the wrath of God, and curse of the law, and so made
subject to death, with all miseries spiritual, temporal, and eternal.
WORD OF GOD
We believe that
and New Testament Scriptures
their writers spoke from God as they were moved
by the Holy
are fully trustworthy in all that they affirm; and
are our highest
for faith and life.BIBLE
meet God through the Bible, we emphasize the
as a whole.
read it so that they come to repentance, faith, obedience to God and
(b) We prepare
programmes and materials for children, young people and adults,
to their age and situation.
(c) We are
Bible reading which is thoughtful, prayerful and regular and which
the reader to respond to the message of the whole Bible rather than to
(d) We are
interpret the text in a way which enables people, in their contemporary
situations, to hear for themselves the message of the Bible from its
(a) We aim to
principles in all that we do. This includes, for example, our
our publicity and the way we care for our staff and volunteers.
(b) We seek to
in carrying out our ministries, by combining prayerful reliance on him
with the use of the best available means,
(c) We believe
for financial support, in dependence on God, and telling the Christian
public of our needs, without distorting the truth or
VI. Of the
of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.
all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read
nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it
be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or
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
any doubt in the Church.
The First Book
The Second Book
The First Book
The Second Book
The First Book
The Second Book
The First Book
The Book of
And the other
saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of
but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine; such are
The Fourth Book
The Book of
The Book of
The rest of the
The Book of
Jesus the Son of
The Song of the
The Story of
Of Bel and the
The Prayer of
The First Book
The Second Book
All the Books of
Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account
VII. Of the
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
which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises.
Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and
do not bind Christian men, nor the Civil precepts thereof ought of
to be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian
whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are
The Bible Is the
and only infallible and authoritative written Word of God (2 Tim 3:16;
2 Pet 1:19-21).
of the Scriptures
of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, are the
Word of God. They were written by holy men of God inspired by the Holy
Spirit and have supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
that the Church has received the books of the Old and New Testaments as
unique prophetic and apostolic testimony, in which it hears the Word of
God and by which its faith and obedience are nourished and regulated.
the Church preaches Jesus Christ, its message is controlled by the
witnesses. The Word of God on whom salvation depends is to be heard and
known from Scripture appropriated in the worshipping and witnessing
of the Church. The Uniting Church lays upon its members the serious
of reading the Scriptures, commits its ministers to preach from these
to administer the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper as
signs of the Gospel set forth in the Scriptures.
that God has never left the Church without faithful and scholarly
of Scripture, or without those who have reflected deeply upon, and
trustingly in obedience to, God's living Word. In particular the
Church enters into the inheritance of literary, historical and
enquiry which has characterised recent centuries, and gives thanks for
the knowledge of God's ways with humanity which are open to an informed
faith. The Uniting Church lives within a world-wide fellowship of
in which it will learn to sharpen its understanding of the will and
of God by contact with contemporary thought. Within that fellowship the
Uniting Church also stands in relation to contemporary societies in
which will help it to understand its own nature and mission. The
Church thanks God for the continuing witness and service of evangelist,
of scholar, of prophet and of martyr. It prays that it may be ready
occasion demands to confess the Lord in fresh words and deeds.
CHAPTER I. Of
I. Although the
nature, and the works of creation and providence, do so far manifest
goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet
they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will,
is necessary unto salvation; therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry
and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will
unto his Church; and afterwards for the better preserving and
of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the
against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the
world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the holy
to be most necessary; those former ways of God's revealing his will
his people being now ceased.
II. Under the
Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the Books
of the Old and New Testament, which are these: All which are given by
of God, to be the rule of faith and life.
III. The books
called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the
of Scripture; and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God,
to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.
V. The authority
holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth
not upon the testimony of any man or Church, but wholly upon God (who
truth itself), the Author thereof; and therefore it is to be received,
because it is the Word of God.
V. We may be
by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the
Scripture; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the
the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of
whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes
of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable
and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth
evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet, notwithstanding, our full
and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is
from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with
Word in our hearts.
VI. The whole
God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's
faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good
and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which
at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit,
traditions of men. Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumination
of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of
things as are revealed in the Word; and that there are some
concerning the worship of God, and the government of the Church, common
to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of
nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the
which are always to be observed.
VII. All things
are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those
things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for
are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or
that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the
means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.
VIII. The Old
in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old),
and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it
was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by
God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are
therefore authentical; so as in all controversies of religion the
is finally to appeal unto them. But because these original tongues are
not known to all the people of God who have right unto, and interest
the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and
them, therefore they are to be translated into the language of every
unto which they come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all,
they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and, through patience and
comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.
of interpretation of Scripture, is the Scripture itself; and therefore,
when there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture
(which is not manifold, but one), it may be searched and known by other
places that speak more clearly.
X. The Supreme
which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all
of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private
spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can
be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.
has shown us his
in giving Jesus Christ, his only Son, for us,
and guilt, we were subject to his wrath and
his grace by putting sinners right with himself
when they place
in his Son.
II. Of the
of God, which was made very Man.
The Son, which
of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and
God, and of one substance with the Father, took Man's nature in the
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,
very Man; who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to
his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt,
also for actual sins of men.
In the deity
Christ, in his
in his sinless life, in his miracles, in his vicarious and atoning
in his bodily resurrection in his ascension to the right hand of the
in his personal future return to this earth inpower and glory to rule a
The Deity and
Jesus Christ as
Person of the Godhead is eternally one with God the Father of Whose
and glory He is the accurate expression. To become man He was conceived
of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, so that two whole and
natures, the nature of God and the nature of man, were united in one
truly God and truly man.
Of Christ the Mediator.
I. It pleased
eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only-begotten
Son, to be the Mediator between God and men, the prophet, priest, and
the head and Savior of the Church, the heir or all things, and judge of
the world; unto whom he did, from all eternity, give a people to be his
seed, and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified,
II. The Son of
second Person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one
and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come,
upon him man's nature, with all the essential properties and common
thereof; yet without sin: being conceived by he power of the Holy
in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole,
and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably
together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion.
Which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only
between God and man.
III. The Lord
human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified and anointed
the Holy Spirit above measure; having in him all the treasures of
and knowledge, in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should
to the end that being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and
truth, he might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a
and Surety. Which office he took not unto himself, but was thereunto
by his Father; who put
all power and
his hand, and gave him commandment to execute the same.
IV. This office
Jesus did most willingly undertake, which, that he might discharge, he
was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfill it; endured most
torments immediately in his soul, and most painful sufferings in his
was crucified and died; was buried, and remained under the power of
yet saw no corruption. On the third day he arose from the dead, with
same body in which he suffered; with which also he ascended into
and there sitteth at the right hand of his Father, making intercession;
and shall return to judge men and angels, at the end of the world.
V. The Lord
perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, which he through the
Spirit once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of
Father; and purchased not only reconciliation, but an everlasting
in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto
VI. Although the
redemption was not actually wrought by Christ till after his
yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefits thereof were communicated into
elect, in all ages successively from the beginning of the world, in and
by those promises, types, and sacrifices wherein he was revealed, and
to be the seed of the woman, which should bruise the
Lamb slain from the beginning of the world, being yesterday and today
same and for ever.
of mediation, acteth according to both natures; by each nature doing
which is proper to itself; yet by reason of the unity of the person,
which is proper to one nature is sometimes, in Scripture, attributed to
the person denominated by the other nature.
VIII. To all
Christ hath purchased redemption, he doth certainly and effectually
and communicate the same; making intercession for them, and revealing
them, in and by the Word, the mysteries of salvation; effectually
them by his Spirit to believe and obey; and governing their hearts by
Word and Spirit; overcoming all their enemies by his almighty power and
wisdon, in such manner and ways as are most consonant to his wonderful
and unsearchable dispensation.
I. Those whom
calleth, he also freely justifieth: not by infusing righteousness into
them, but by
sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not
any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake
not by imputing faith
itself, the act
or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but
by imputing the
and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on him
faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.
and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of
not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all
dead faith, but worketh by love.
and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are thus
a proper, real, and full satisfaction o his Father's justice in their
inasmuch as he
by the Father for them, and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in
their stead, and
not for any thing in them, their justification is only of free grace,
both the exact
rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.
IV. God did,
decree to justify the elect; and Christ did, in the fullness of time,
for their sins
again for their justification; nevertheless they are not justified
Spirit doth, in
actually apply Christ unto them.
V. God doth
continue to forgive
the sins of those that are justified; and although they can never fall
from the state
yet they may by their sins fall under God's Fatherly displeasure, and
not have the
countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess
their sins, beg
and renew their faith and repentance.
believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respect, one and the
same with the
of believers under the New Testament.
CHAPTER XII.Of Adoption.
God vouchsafeth, in and for his only Son Jesus Christ, to make
of the grace of adoption: by which they are taken into the number, and
enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God; have his
put upon them; receive the Spirit of adoption; have access to the
of grace with boldness; are enabled to cry, Abba, Father; are pitied,
and chastened by his as by a father; yet never cast off, but sealed to
the day of redemption, and inherit the promises, as heirs of
CHAPTER XIII. Of Sanctification.
I. They who
called and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in
them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue
of Christ's death and resurrection, by his Word and Spirit dwelling in
them; the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the
lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified, and they more
more quickened and strengthened, in all saving graces, to the practice
of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
throughout in the whole man, yet imperfect in this life: there abideth
some remnants of
in every part, whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war, the
Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.
III. In which
the remaining corruption for a time may much prevail, yet, through the
rom the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regerate part doth overcome:
and so the
grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
CHAPTER XIV. Of Saving Faith.
I. The grace
the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the
work of the
in their hearts; and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word:
by which also,
administration of the sacraments, and prayer, it is increased and
II. By this
believeth to be true whatesoever is revealed in the Word, for the
authority of god
speaking therein; and acteth differently, upon that which each
yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings,
of God for this life, and that which is to come. But the principle acts
of saving faith
receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification,
life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.
in degrees, weak or strong; may be often and many ways assailed and
growing up in many to the attainment of a full assurance through
Christ, who is
author and finisher of our faith.
CHAPTER XV.Of Repentance Unto Life.
an evangelical grace, the doctrine whereof is to be preached by every
of the gospel, as well as that of faith in Christ.
II. By it a
the sight and sense, not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness
as contrary to the holy nature and righteous law of God, and upon the
in Christ to such as are penitent, so grieves for, and hates his sins,
turn from them
God, purposing and endeavoring to walk with him in all the ways of his
be not to be rested in as any satisfaction for sin, or any cause of the
the act of God's free grace in Christ; yet is it of such necessity to
pardon without it.
IV. As there
small but it deserves damnation; so there is no sin so great that it can
who truly repent.
V. Men ought
themselves with a general repentance, but it is every man's duty to
particular sins, particularly.
VI. As every
to make private confession of his sins to God, praying for the pardon
the forsaking of them, he shall find mercy: so he that scandelizeth his
brother, or the
Christ, ought to be willing, by a private or public confession and
for his sin, to
his repentance to those that are offended; who are thereupon to be
love to receive him.
CHAPTER XVI.Of Good Works.
I. Good works
as God hath commanded in his holy Word, and not such as, without
devised by men out of blind zeal, or upon any pretense of good
in obedience to God's commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a
true and lively
by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their
the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and
they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that, having their fruit
have the end, eternal life.
good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of
And that they
thereunto, besides the graces they have already received, there is
of the same Holy Spirit to work in them to will and to do of his good
hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any
duty unless upon
motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the
grace of God
IV. They, who
attain to the greatest height which is possible in this life, are so
far from being
and to do more than God requires, that they fall short of much
which in duty
V. We can
works, merit pardon of sin, or eternal life, at the hand of God, because
of the great
that is between them and the glory to come, and the infinite distance
is between us
by them we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former
sins; but when
all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants:
and because, as
good, they proceed from his Spirit; and as they are wrought by us, they
are defiled and
so much weakness and imperfection that they can not endure the
the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works
not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreprovable
in God's sight;
he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that
accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.
men, although for the matter of them they may be things which
use both to themselves and others; yet, because they proceed not from
a heart purified
nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word; nor to a right
end, the glory
are therefore sinful and can not please God, or make a man meet to
And yet their neglect of them is more sinful, and displeasing unto God.
JESUS CHRSIT AND
as Lord and God;
as truly human,
the virgin Mary;
of grace and truth;
as only Mediator
dying on the cross in our place,
redeeming us from the grip, guilt and
as Victor over
all his forces,
glorious body, being taken up to be with his
Father, one day
personally in glory and judgement to establish
IV. Of the
Christ did truly
from death, and took again his body, with flesh, bones, and all things
appertaining to the perfection of Man's nature; wherewith he ascended
Heaven, and there sitteth, until he return to judge all Men at the last
XV. Of Christ
Christ in the
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
the Lamb without spot, who, by sacrifice of himself once made, should
away the sins of the world; and sin (as Saint John saith) was not in
But all we the rest, although baptized, and born again in Christ, yet
in many things; and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and
the truth is not in us.
Salvation only by the Name of Christ.
They also are to
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
to that Law, and the light of Nature. For Holy Scripture doth set out
us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved.
XXXI. Of the
of Christ finished upon the Cross.
The Offering of
made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for
the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is
other satisfaction for sin, but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifices of
Masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer
for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were
fables, and dangerous deceits.
The only means
cleansed from sin is through repentance and faith in the precious blood
of Christ (Eph. 1:7).
the Sin of Man
In order to
from the guilt, penalty and power of sin, Jesus Christ became man and
a sacrificial death as our representative substitute. By His
God's acceptance of His atoning death was demonstrated. This atonement
is sufficient for the whole world but effective only in those who
it. The sinner is justified and reconciled to God, not through any
merit but solely on the basis of God's gracious gift of salvation in
Christ received through faith.
3. BUILT UPON
LORD JESUS CHRIST
acknowledges that the faith and unity of the Holy Catholic and
Church are built upon the one Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ the risen crucified One and confesses him as Lord to the glory
God the Father. In Jesus Christ "God was reconciling the world to
(2 Corinthians 5:19 RSV). In love for the world, God gave the Son to
away the world's sin.
announced the sovereign grace of God whereby the poor in spirit could
God's love. Jesus himself, in his life and death, made the response of
humility, obedience and trust which God had long sought in vain. In
him to live and reign, God confirmed and completed the witness which
bore to God on earth, reasserted claim over the whole of creation,
sinners, and made in Jesus a representative beginning of a new order of
righteousness and love. To God in Christ all people are called to
in faith. To this end God has sent forth the Spirit that people may
God as their Father, and acknowledge Jesus as Lord. The whole work of
is effected by the sovereign grace of God alone.
fellowship of the Holy Spirit confesses Jesus as Lord over its own
it also confesses that Jesus is Head over all things, the beginning of
a new creation, of a new humanity. God in Christ has given to all
in the Church the Holy Spirit as a pledge and foretaste of that coming
reconciliation and renewal which is the end in view for the whole
The Church's call is to serve that end: to be a fellowship of
a body within which the diverse gifts of its members are used for the
up of the whole, an instrument through which Christ may work and bear
to himself. The Church lives between the time of Christ's death and
and the final consummation of all things which Christ will bring; the
is a pilgrim people, always on the way towards a promised goal; here
Church does not have a continuing city but seeks one to come. On the
Christ feeds the Church with Word and Sacraments, and it has the gift
the Spirit in order that it may not lose the way.
that the Church is able to live and endure through the changes of
only because its Lord comes, addresses, and deals with people in and
the news of his completed work. Christ who is present when he is
among people is the Word of God who acquits the guilty, who gives life
to the dead and who brings into being what otherwise could not exist.
human witness in word and action, and in the power of the Holy Spirit,
Christ reaches out to command attention and awaken faith; he calls
into the fellowship of his sufferings, to be the disciples of a
Lord; in his own strange way Christ constitutes, rules and renews them
as his Church.
We believe in
who convicts the
guilt in regard to sin,
who makes the
effective to sinners,
now turn to Christ in repentance, and directing
Lord Jesus Christ;
who through the
makes us partake
life of the risen Christ, and
who is present
to grasp the truth of Scripture,
granting to them
in the world.
V. Of the
The Holy Ghost,
from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory,
the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.
Spirit is absolutely essential for personal salvation (John 1:13;
1 Pet. 1:23).
of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Chrisitan is enabled to live
a holy life (Gal. 5:16).
he Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit
Person of the Trinity is eternally one with the Father and the Son yet
He is sent by Them to achieve the Divine purpose in the world and in
The ministry of
Spirit is necessary for the acceptance of God's provision of salvation.
The Holy Spirit convinces sinners of their sinfulness, leads them to
faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and so brings them to
birth as God's children and to fellowship in Christ. Working within the
life of believers the Holy Spirit makes real the presence of Christ,
to their relationship with God, leads into all truth, bestows gifts for
effective service and produces grace for holy living.
We recognise the
as the body of
together and growing up in him;
both as a total
throughout the world, and as the local
The Church is
people whom God has separated from the world through faith in Jesus
as their Lord and Saviour. All regenerate persons are members of the
Church of God which takes local form wherever groups of believes unite
for worship, fellowship and service in accordance with scriptural
All believers are called to priestly ministry in the offering of
sacrifices and sent into the world to be witnesses. God calls
to positions of oversight and leadership or to special ministries. The
Church recognises such by ordaining pastors, commissioning
appointing deacons and other leaders, following New Testament practice.
1. THE WAY
Union of Australia, the Methodist Church of Australasia and the
Church of Australia, in fellowship with the whole Church Catholic,
witness to that unity which is both Christ's gift and will for the
hereby enter into union under the name of the Uniting Church in
act may be to the glory of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
They give praise for God's gifts of grace to each of them in years
they acknowledge that none of them has responded to God's love with a
obedience; they look for a continuing renewal in which God will use
common worship, witness and service to set forth the word of salvation
for all people.
declare their readiness to go forward together in sole loyalty to
the living Head of the Church; they remain open to constant reform
unity in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Churches commit their members to acknowledge one another in love and
as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ,
commission of the Risen Lord to make disciples of all nations,
to obey his will.
this union the Churches concerned are mindful that the Church of God is
committed to serve the world for which Christ died, and that it awaits
with hope the day of the Lord Jesus Christ on which it will be clear
the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of the
Christ, who shall reign for ever and ever.
2. OF THE
in Australia lives and works within the faith and unity of the One Holy
Catholic and Apostolic Church.
recognises that it is related to other Churches in ways which give
however partially, to that unity in faith and mission.
Councils of the early centuries, the Uniting Church looks forward to a
time when the faith will be further elucidated, and the Church's unity
expressed, in similar Councils.
that the uniting Churches were members of the World Council of Churches
and other ecumenical bodies, and will seek to maintain such membership.
special relationship which obtained between the several uniting
and other Churches of similar traditions, and will continue to learn
their witness and be strengthened by their fellowship. It is encouraged
by the existence of United Churches in which these and other traditions
have been incorporated, and wishes to learn from their experience.
Christians in Australia are called to bear witness to a unity of faith
and life in Christ which transcends cultural and economic, national and
Uniting Church commits itself to seek special relationships with
in Asia and the Pacific.
Church declares its desire to enter more deeply into the faith and
of the Church in Australia, by working together and seeking union with
and accepts as members all who are recognised as members of the uniting
Churches at the time of union. Thereafter membership is open to all who
are baptized into the Holy Catholic Church in the name of the Father
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The Uniting Church will seek ways in
which the baptized may have confirmed to them the promises of God, and
be led to deeper commitment to the faith and service into which they
been baptized. To this end the Uniting Church commits itself to
with other Christians, to explore and develop the relation of baptism
confirmation and to participation in the Holy Communion.
that it belongs to the people of God on the way to the promised end.
Uniting Church prays that, through the gift of the Spirit, God will
correct that which is erroneous in its life, will bring it into deeper
unity with other Churches, and will use its worship, witness and
to God's eternal glory through Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen
Return of Christ
In the blessed
rapture of the church at Christ’s coming (1 Thess 4:17); in the
resurrection of both the saved and the lost; the one to everlasting
and the other to everlasting damnation (Dan. 12:2; John 11:25-26; Rev
The Return of
At the end of
according to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and
in His glory to the earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom of God
awaits His return.
In the blessed
rapture of the church at Christ’s coming (1 Thess 4:17); in the
resurrection of both the saved and the lost; the one to everlasting
and the other to everlasting damnation (Dan. 12:2; John 11:25-26; Rev
Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of
Relics, and also Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainly
and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the
Word of God.
At the end of
is to be a resurrection both of the righteous and the unrighteous.
death the bodies of men return to dust, but their spirits return
to God - the righteous to be with Him and the unrighteous to be
for the punishment.
in a Future State
of final judgement for the world. At that time jesus Christ will judge
every man and each will receive reward or punishment according to his
Those judged righteous, in their resurrected and glorified bodies, will
receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting
the State of Man After Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead.
I. The bodies of
death, return to dust, and see corruption; but their souls (which
die nor sleep), having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to
who gave them. The souls of the righteous, being then made perfect in
are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of
in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies;
the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in
and utterdarkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day. Besides
two places for souls
from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.
II. At the last
as are found alive shall not die, but be changed: and all the dead
be raised up with the self-same bodies, and none other, although with
qualities, which shall be united again to their souls forever.
III. The bodies
shall, by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonor; the bodies of the
just, by his Spirit, unto honor, and be made conformable to his own
Of the Last Judgment.
I. God hath
day, wherein he will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ,
to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father. In which day,
only the apostate angels shall be judged; but likewise all persons,
have lived upon earth, shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to
an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds; and to receive
to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.
II. The end of
this day, is for the manifestation of the glory of his mercy in the
salvation of the elect; and of his justice in the damnation of the
who are wicked and disobedient. For then shall the righteous go into
life, and receive that fullness of joy and refreshing which shall come
from the presence of the Lord: but the wicked, who know not God, and
not the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments,
from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.
III. As Christ
us to be certainly persuaded that there shall be a day of judgment,
to deter all men from sin, and for the greater consolation of the godly
in their adversity: so will he have that day unknown to men, that they
may shake off all carnal security, and be always watchful, because they
know not at what hour the Lord will come; and may be ever prepared to
Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen.
GOVERNMENT AND MISSION
to proclaim the
to all people, making them disciples, and
teaching them to
to love our
resulting in service to the church and society,
for all with God and their fellows,
every kind of oppression; and in spreading
We seek to
ministries God has given us in obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ and
reliance on the Holy Spirit. We therefore aim to follow Biblical
in all that we do and to emphasize the vital importance of prayer.
We approach our
the following ways:
(a) We are
teaching basic Christian truths as an essential part of evangelism.
(b) We aim to
Good News to children, young people and families,
not only in
by building caring relationships with them.
(c) We make
to communicate the Gospel in contemporary language
and in ways
to the context.
(d) We emphasize
should always lead to action and to growth in
the Gospel has inescapable social dimensions and
in service to others and a concern for social justice.
In view of our
aims, we have a special responsibility for children
and young people
poor, deprived or exploited.
(f) We encourage
to follow Christ in ways that are appropriate to
taking special account of their home
level of maturity.
(g) We believe
new birth is a profound supernatural experience, brought about by the
Spirit. So we invite people to respond to what He is doing in their
and guard against calling for superficial responses.
(h) We are
working in ways that reflect our beliefs, in appropriate cooperation
organizations and institutions, such as schools, that welcome us.
in God's worldwide family and seek ways of working positively with a
(b) We encourage
who come to faith through our ministries to take part in the life of a
local church fellowship.
beings are of equal worth in the sight of God and that all those who
their faith in Christ are one in Him.
(b) We are
to exercising our ministries without
colour, gender, language or social position.
(c) We recognise
Union worldwide is a family of national movements in which resources
be shared in a responsible way on a basis of trust.
(d) We express
commitment in varied and creative ways since we are drawn from diverse
XIX. Of the
is a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure Word of God is
preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ's
in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.
As the Church of
Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred; so also the Church of Rome hath
not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters
XX. Of the
The Church hath
decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith:
yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is
to God's Word written, neither may it so expound one place of
that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a
and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing
the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be
for necessity of Salvation.
of General Councils.
former Articles is omitted; because it is partly of a local and civil
and is provided for, as to the remaining parts of it, in other
in the Congregation.
It is not lawful
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
which be chosen and called to this work by men who have public
given unto them in the Congregation, to call and send Ministers into
of Bishops and Ministers.
The Book of
of Bishops, and Ordering of Priests and Deacons, as set forth by the
Convention of this church in 1792, doth contain all things necessary to
such Consecration and Ordering; neither hath it any thing that, of
is superstitious and ungodly. And, therefore, whosoever are consecrated
or ordered according to said Form, we decree all such to be rightly,
and lawfully consecrated and ordered.
the Civil Magistrates.
The Power of the
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
Deacons, are not commanded by God's Law, either to vow the estate of
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.
DEACONESSES AND LAY PREACHERS
inception, will seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to recognise among
its members women and men called of God to preach the Gospel, to lead
people in worship, to care for the flock, to share in government and to
serve those in need in the world.
To this end:
(a) The Uniting
and accepts as ministers of the Word all who have held such office in
of the uniting Churches, and who, being in good standing in one of
Churches at the time of union, adhere to the Basis of Union. This
and acceptance may take place at the time of union or at a later date.
Since the Church lives by the power of the Word, it is assured that
who has never failed to provide witness to that Word, will, through
and in the power of the Holy Spirit, call and set apart members of the
Church to be ministers of the Word. These will preach the Gospel,
the sacraments and exercise pastoral care so that all may be equipped
their particular ministries, thus maintaining the apostolic witness to
Christ in the Church. Such members will be called Ministers and their
apart will be known as Ordination.
by prayer and the laying on of hands in the presence of a worshipping
In this act of ordination the Church praises the ascended Christ for
gifts upon men and women. It recognises Christ's call of the individual
to be his minister; it prays for the enabling power of the Holy Spirit
to equip the minister for that service. By the participation in the act
of ordination of those already ordained, the Church bears witness to
faithfulness and declares the hope by which it lives. In company with
Christians the Uniting Church will seek for a renewed understanding of
the way in which the congregation participates in ordination and of the
significance of ordination in the life of the Church.
and accepts as elders or leaders those who at the time of union hold
office of elder, deacon or leader appointed to exercise spiritual
and who, being in good standing in any of the uniting Churches at the
of union, adhere to the Basis of Union. It will seek to recognise in
congregation those endowed by the Spirit with gifts fitting them for
and oversight. Such members will be called Elders or Leaders.
and accepts as deaconesses those who at the time of union are
in good standing in any of the uniting Churches and who adhere to the
of Union. It believes that the Holy Spirit will continue to call women
to share in this way in the varied services and witness of the Church,
and it will make provision for this. Such members will be called
that at the time of union many seek a renewal of the diaconate in which
women and men offer their time and talents, representatively and on
of God's people, in the service of humanity in the face of changing
The Uniting Church will so order its life that it remains open to the
that God may call men and women into such a renewed diaconate: in these
circumstances it may decide to call them Deacons and Deaconesses,
the service is within or beyond the life of the congregation.
and accepts as lay preachers those who at the time of union are
lay preachers (local preachers) in any of the uniting Churches and who
adhere to the Basis of Union. It will seek to recognise those endowed
the gift of the Spirit for this task, will provide for their training,
and 'will gladly wait upon that fuller understanding of the obedience
Christians which should flow from their ministry. Such members will be
called Lay Preachers.
In the above
the phrase "adhere to the Basis of Union" is understood as willingness
to live and work within the faith and unity of the One Holy Catholic
Apostolic Church as that way is described in this Basis. Such adherence
allows for difference of opinion in matters which do not enter into the
substance of the faith.
that the type and duration of ministries to which women and men are
vary from time to time and place to place, and that in particular it
into being in a period of reconsideration of traditional forms of the
and of renewed participation of all the people of God in the preaching
of the Word, the administration of the sacraments, the building up of
fellowship in mutual love, in commitment to Christ's mission, and in
of the world for which he died.
that responsibility for government in the Church belongs to the people
of God by virtue of the gifts and tasks which God has laid upon them.
Uniting Church therefore so organises its life that locally, regionally
and nationally government will be entrusted to representatives, men and
women, bearing the gifts and graces with which God has endowed them for
the building up of the Church. The Uniting Church is governed by a
of inter-related councils, each of which has its tasks and
in relation both to the Church and the world.
that Christ alone is supreme in his Church, and that he may speak to it
through any of its councils. It is the task of every council to wait
God's Word, and to obey God's will in the matters allocated to its
Each council will recognise the limits of its own authority and give
to other councils of the Church, so that the whole body of believers
be united by mutual submission in the service of the Gospel.
To this end the
Church makes provision in its constitution for the following:
Congregation is the
embodiment in one place of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church,
worshipping, witnessing and serving as a fellowship of the Spirit in
Its members meet regularly to hear God's Word, to celebrate the
to build one another up in love, to share in the wider responsibilities
of the Church, and to serve the world. The congregation will recognise
the need for a diversity of agencies for the better ordering of its
in such matters as education, administration and finance.
(b) The Elders'
Meeting (the council within a congregation or group of congregations)
of the minister and those who are called to share with the minister in
oversight. It is responsible for building up the congregation in faith
and love, sustaining its members in hope, and leading them into a
participation in Christ's mission in the world.
district council) consists of such ministers, elders/leaders and other
Church members as are appointed thereto, the majority of elders/leaders
and Church members being appointed by Elders'/Leaders' Meetings and/or
congregations, on a basis determined by the Synod. Its function is to
all the acts of oversight necessary to the life and mission of the
in the area for which it is responsible, except for those agencies
are directly responsible to the Synod or Assembly. It will in
exercise oversight over the congregations within its bounds,
them to strengthen one another's faith, to bear one another's burdens,
and exhorting them to fulfil their high calling in Christ Jesus. It
promote those wider aspects of the work of the Church committed to it
the Synod or Assembly.
(d) The Synod
council) consists of such ministers, elders/leaders and other Church
as are appointed thereto, the majority being appointed by Presbyteries,
Elders'/Leaders' Meetings or congregations, on a basis determined by
Assembly. It has responsibility for the general oversight, direction
administration of the Church's worship, witness and service in the
allotted to it, with such powers and authorities as may from time to
be determined by the Assembly.
(e) The Assembly
council) consists of such ministers, elders/leaders and other Church
as are appointed thereto, the majority being appointed by the
and Synods. It has determining responsibility for matters of doctrine,
worship, government and discipline, including the promotion of the
mission, the establishment of standards of theological training and
of ministers from other communions, and the taking of further measures
towards the wider union of the Church. It makes the guiding decisions
the tasks and authority to be exercised by other councils. It is
for it to seek the concurrence of the councils, and on occasion of the
congregations of the Church, on matters of vital importance to the life
of the Church.
will consist of members of the uniting Churches, appointed in equal
by them in such manner as they may determine, and is vested with such
as may be necessary to establish the Uniting Church according to the
of the Basis of Union.
Until such time
other than the Assembly can be established, the Uniting Church
and accepts the various agencies for the discharge of responsibility
are in existence in the uniting Churches. It invites any such
bodies immediately to enter a period of self-examination in which
are asked to consider afresh their common commitment to the Church's
and their demonstration of its unity. The Uniting Church prays that God
will enable them to order their lives for these purposes.
the responsibility and freedom which belong to councils to acknowledge
gifts among members for the fulfilment of particular functions. The
Church sees in pastoral care exercised personally on behalf of the
an expression of the fact that God always deals personally with people,
would have God's loving care known among people, and would have
members take upon themselves the form of a servant.
17. LAW IN THE
that the demand of the Gospel, the response of the Church to the
and the discipline which it requires are partly expressed in the
by the Church of its law. The aim of such law is to confess God's will
for the life of the Church; but since law is received by human beings
framed by them, it is always subject to revision in order that it may
serve the Gospel. The Uniting Church will keep its law under constant
so that its life may increasingly be directed to the service of God and
humanity, and its worship to a true and faithful setting forth of, and
response to, the Gospel of Christ. The law of the Church will speak of
the free obedience of the children of God, and will look to the final
of humanity under God's sovereign grace.
I. The catholic
Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect,
that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the
thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of Him that filleth
all in all.
II. The visible
which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to
nation as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the
that profess the true religion, together with their children; and is
Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ; the house and family of God, through
which men are ordinarily saved and union with which is essential to
best growth and service.
III. Unto this
and visible Church, Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and
of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life,
the end of the world; and doth by his own presence and Spirit,
to his promise, make them effectual thereunto.
hath been sometimes more, sometimes less, visible. And particular
which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the
of the gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and
worship performed more or less purely in them.
V. The purest
heaven are subject both to mixture and error: and some have so
as to become apparently no Churches of Christ. Nevertheless, there
be always a Church on earth, to worship God according to his will.
VI. There is no
of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ: nor can the Pope of Rome in
sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son
of perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and
that is called God.
I. God, the
and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates to be under
him over the people, for his own glory and the public good; and to this
end, hath armed them with the power of the sword, for the defense and
of them that are good, and for the punishment of evil-doers.
II. It is lawful
to accept and execute the office of a magistrate when called thereunto;
in the managing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety,
and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each commonwealth, so,
that end, they may lawfully, now under the New Testament, wage war upon
just and necessary occasions.
III. The civil
may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and
or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven: yet he hath
and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in
the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all
and heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in worship and
prevented or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled,
effecting whereof, he hath power to call synods, to be present at them,
and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to
mind of God.
IV. It is the
people to pray for magistrates, to honor their persons, to pay them
and other dues, to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to
authority, for conscience' sake. Infidelity, or difference in religion,
doth not make boid the magistrate's just and legal authority, nor free
the people from their obedience to him: from which ecclesiastical
are not exempted; much less hath the Pope any power or jurisdiction
them in their dominions, or over any of their people; and least of all
to deprive them of their dominions or lives, if he shall judge them to
be heretics, or upon any other pretense whatsoever.
CHAPTER XXVI. Of the Communion of the Saints.
I. All saints
to Jesus Christ their head, by his Spirit and by faith, have fellowship
with him in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory:
being united to one another in love, they have communion in each
gifts and graces, and are obliged to the performance of such duties,
and private, as to conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and
II. Saints by
are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship
God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their
edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things,
to their several abilities and necesities. Which communion, as God
opportunity, is to be extended unto all those who, in every place, call
upno the name of the Lord Jesus.
the saints have with Christ, doth not make them in any wise partakers
the substance of the Godhead, or to be equal with Christ in any
either of which to affirm, is impious and blasphemous. Nor doth their
one with another as saints, take away or infringe the title or property
which each man hath in his goods and possessions.
XXV. Of the
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
not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our Faith in him.
There are two
ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism, and
the Supper of the Lord.
Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony,
Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel,
such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles,
are states of life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet have not like
of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, for that they have
any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.
ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that
should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same,
have a wholesome effect or operation: but they that receive them
purchase to themselves damnation, as Saint Paul saith.
XXVI. Of the
of the Ministers, which hinders not the effect of the Sacraments.
Although in the
Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the evil
chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments, yet
as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ's, and do
by his commission and authority, we may use their Ministry, both in
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
Sacraments ministered unto them; which be effectual, because of
institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil men.
to the discipline of the Church, that inquiry be made of evil
and that they be accused by those that have knowledge of their
and finally, being found guilty, by just judgment be deposed.
acknowledges that Christ has commanded his Church to proclaim the
both in words and in the two visible acts of Baptism and the Lord's
in and through everything that the Church does in obedience to his
it is Christ who by the gift of the Spirit confers the forgiveness, the
fellowship, the new life and the freedom which the proclamation and
promise; and it is Christ who awakens, purifies and advances in people
the faith and hope in which alone such benefits can be accepted
and seals of the covenant of grace, immediately instituted by God, to
Christ and his benefits, and to confirm our interest in him: as also to
put a visible difference between those that belong unto the Church, and
the rest of thw world; and solemnly to engage them to the service of
in Christ, according to his Word.
II. There is in
a spiritual relation, or sacramental union, between the sign and the
signified; whence it comes to pass that the names and effects of the
are attributed to the other.
III. The grace
exhibited in or by the sacraments, rightly used, is not conferred by
power in them; neither doth the efficacy of a sacrament depend upon the
piety or intention of him that doth administer it, but upon the work of
the Spirit, and the word of institution, which conatins, together with
a precept authorizing the use thereof, a promise of benefit to worthy
IV. There be
ordained by Christ our Lord in the gospels, that is to say, Baptism and
the Supper of the Lord: neither or which may be dispensed by any but a
minister of the Word, lawfully ordained.
Old Testament, in regard of the spiritual things thereby signified and
exhibited, were, for substance, the same with those of the New.
Baptism is not
of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are
from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of
or New-Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism
are grafted into the Church; the promises of the forgiveness of sin,
of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly
and sealed; Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of prayer
The Baptism of
is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the
institution of Christ.
ordinances of Christian baptism by immersion for believers and the
Supper (Matt 28:19; Acts 2:38; 1 Cor. 11:23-26).
The Baptism of
Only, by Immersion
Baptism is an
of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a public declaration of a person's
in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. In accordance with New Testament
it should be administered only by total immersion which symbolises the
believer's identification with Christ in death, burial and
the remission of sins and the believer's dedication of himself to God
live and walk in newness of life.
that Christ incorporates people into his body by Baptism. In this way
enables them to participate in his own baptism, which was accomplished
once on behalf of all in his death and burial, and which was made
to all when, risen and ascended, he poured out the Holy Spirit at
Baptism into Christ's body initiates people into Christ's life and
in the world, so that they are united in one fellowship of love,
suffering and joy, in one family of the Father of all in heaven and
and in the power of the one Spirit. The Uniting Church will baptize
who confess the Christian faith, and children who are presented for
and for whose instruction and nourishment in the faith the Church takes
I. Baptism is a
of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn
admission of the party baptized into the visible Church, but also to be
unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, or his ingrafting
Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up
God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life: which sacrament
is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in his Churchy until
end of the world.
II. The outward
to be used in the sacrament is water, wherewith the party is to be
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by a
minister of the gospel,
III. Dipping of
into the water is not necessary; but baptism is rightly administered by
pouring or sprinkling water upon the person.
IV. Not only
do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ, but also the
of one or both believing parents are to be baptized.
V. Although it
sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are
so inseparably annexed unto it as that no person can be regenerated or
saved without it, or that all that are baptized are undoubtedly
VI. The efficacy
is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet,
by the right use of this ordinancy the grace promised is not only
but really exhibited and conferred by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether
of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the
of God's own will, in his appointed time.
is but once to be administered to any person.
The Supper of
not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among
one to another; but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by
death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith,
the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of
and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.
change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord,
be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of
overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many
The Body of
taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual
And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the
The Sacrament of
Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted
XXIX. Of the
eat not the Body of Christ in the use of the Lord's Supper.
The Wicked, and
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
Blood of Christ; yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ: but
to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so
XXX. Of both
The Cup of the
to be denied to the Lay-people: for both the parts of the Lord's
by Christ's ordinance and commandment, ought to be ministered to all
ordinance of the Lord Jesus Christ, instituted by Him to be celebrated
with the elements of bread and wine by believers in Christ until the
of the age. It commemorates and declares our thanks for the Lord's
death. The celebration of the ordinance expresses our fellowship with
in the Lord Jesus Christ as members of the Body of which He is the Head.
that the continuing presence of Christ with his people is signified and
sealed by Christ in the Lord's Supper or the Holy Communion, constantly
repeated in the life of the Church. In this sacrament of his broken
and outpoured blood the risen Lord feeds his baptized people on their
to the final inheritance of the Kingdom. Thus the people of God,
faith and the gift and power of the Holy Spirit, have communion with
Saviour, make their sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, proclaim the
Lord's death, grow together into Christ, are strengthened for their
in the mission of Christ in the world, and rejoice in the foretaste of
the Kingdom which Christ will bring to consummation.
I. Our Lord
night wherein he was betrayed, instituted the sacrament of his body and
blood, called the Lord's Supper, to be observed in his Church unto the
end of the world; for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of
in his death, the sealing all benefits thereof unto true believers,
spiritual nourishment and growth in him, their further engagement in
to all duties which they owe unto him; and to be a bond and pledge of
communion with him, and with each other, as members of his mystical
II. In this
is not offered up to his Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for
remission of sins of the quick or dead, but a commemoration of that one
offering up of himself, by himself, upon the cross, once for all, and a
spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same; so
the Popish sacrifice of the mass, as they call it, is most abominably
to Christ's one only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins
of the elect.
III. The Lord
in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to declare his word of
to the people, to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and
to set them apart from a common to an holy use; and to take and break
bread, to take the cup, and (they communicating also themselves) to
both to the communicants; but to none who are not then present in the
this sacrament by a priest, or any other, alone; as likewise the denial
of the cup to the people; worshipping the elements, the lifting them
or carrying them about for adoration, and the reserving them for any
religious use, are all contrary to the nature of this sacrament, and to
the institution of Christ.
V. The outward
in this sacrament, duly set apart to the uses ordained by Christ, have
such relation to him crucified, as that truly, yet sacramentally only,
they are sometimes called by the name of the thigns they represent, to
wit, the body and blood of Christ; albeit, in substance and nature,
still remain truly, and only, bread and wine, as they were before.
maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine, into the
of Christ's body and blood (commonly called transubstantiation) by
of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant, not to Scripture alone,
but even to common-sense and reason; overthroweth the nature of the
and hath been, and is, the cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of
partaking of the visible elements in this sacrament, do then also
by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but
receive and feed upon Christ crucified, and all benefits of his death:
the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally in,
with, or under the bread and wine; yet as really, but spiritually,
to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves
are to their outward senses.
and wicked men receive the outward elements in this sacrament, yet they
receive not the thing signified thereby; but by their unworthy coming
are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, to their own damnation.
all ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion
with him, so are they unworthy of the Lord's table, and can not,
great sin against Christ, while they remain such, partake of these holy
mysteries, or be
GIFTS AND HEALING
Spirit according to Acts 2:4 is given to believers who ask (Luke
In the present
of the supernatural operation of the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor.
Christ on the cross provides healing of the human body in answer
believing prayer (Isa. 53:4,5; Matt. 8:17).
13. GIFTS AND
that every member of the Church is engaged to confess the faith of
crucified and to be his faithful servant. It acknowledges with
that the one Spirit has endowed the members of Christ's Church with a
of gifts, and that there is no gift without its corresponding service:
all ministries have a part in the ministry of Christ. The Uniting
at the time of union, will recognise and accept the ministries of those
who have been called to any task or responsibility in the uniting
The Uniting Church will thereafter provide for the exercise by men and
women of the gifts God bestows upon them, and will order its life in
to God's call to enter more fully into mission.
III. Of the
of Christ into Hell.
As Christ died
was buried; so also is it to be believed, that he went down into hell.
VIII. Of the
which is commonly called the Apostles' Creed, ought thoroughly to be
and believed: for they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy
into unity with the Church throughout the ages by its use of the
known as the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. The Uniting Church
these as authoritative statements of the Catholic Faith, framed in the
language of their day and used by Christians in many days, to declare
to guard the right understanding of that faith. The Uniting Church
its ministers and instructors to careful study of these creeds and to
discipline of interpreting their teaching in a later age. It commends
ministers and congregations their use for instruction in the faith, and
their use in worship as acts of allegiance to the Holy Trinity.
ROLE OF TRADITION
XXXIV. Of the
of the Church.
It is not
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
of countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained
God's Word. Whosoever, through his private judgment, willingly and
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
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
the weak brethren.
Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish, Ceremonies or
of the Church ordained only by man's authority, so that all things be
The Second Book
the several titles whereof we have joined under this Article, doth
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
diligently and distinctly, that they may be understanded of the people.
Of the Names of
1 Of the right
2 Against Peril
3 Of repairing
clean of Churches.
4 Of good Works:
6 Against Excess
7 Of Prayer.
8 Of the Place
9 That Common
Sacraments ought to be ministered in a known tongue.
10 Of the
of God's Word.
11 Of Alms-doing.
12 Of the
13 Of the
14 Of the
15 Of the worthy
of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.
16 Of the Gifts
17 For the
18 Of the State
19 Of Repentance.
Goods, which are not common.
The Riches and
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
to the poor, according to his ability.
to learn of the teaching of the Holy Scriptures in the obedience and
of faith, and in the power of the promised gift of the Holy Spirit,
the witness of the Reformers as expressed in various ways in the Scots
Confession of Faith (1560), the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), the
Confession of Faith (1647), and the Savoy Declaration (1658). In like
the Uniting Church will listen to the preaching of John Wesley in his
Sermons (1793). It will commit its ministers and instructors to study
statements, so that the congregation of Christ's people may again and
be reminded of the grace which justifies them through faith, of the
of the person and work of Christ the justifier, and of the need for a
appeal to Holy Scripture.
I. The Lord
and head of his Church, hath therein appointed a government in the hand
of Church officers, distinct from the civil magistrate.
II. To these
keys of the Kingdom of Heaven are committed, by virtue whereof they
power respectively to retain and remit sins, to shut that kingdom
the impenitent, both by the word and censures; and to open it unto
sinners, by the ministry of the gospel, and by absolution from
as occasion shall require.
necessary for the reclaiming and gaining of offending brethren; for
of others from like offenses; for purging out of that leaven which
infect the whole lump; for vindicating the honor of Christ, and the
profession of the gospel; and for preventing the wrath of God, which
justly fall upon the Church, if they should suffer his covenant, and
seals thereof, to be profaned by notorious and obstinate offenders.
IV. For the
of these ends, the officers of the Church are to proceed by
from the sacrament of the Lord's Supper for a season, and by
fromthe Church, according to the nature of the crime, and demerit of
CHAPTER XXXI.Of Synods and Councils.
I. For the
and further edification of the Church, there ought to be such
as are commonly called synods or councils.
call a synod of ministers and other fit persons to consult and advise
about matters of religion; so, if magistrates be open enemies of the
the ministers of Christ, of themselves, by virtue of their office, or
with other fit persons, upon delegation from their churches, may meet
in such assemblies.
and councils, ministerially, to determine controversies of faith, and
of conscience; to set down rules and directions for the better ordering
of the public worship of God, and government of his Church; to receive
complaints in cases of maladministration, and authoritatively to
the same: which decrees and determinations, if consonant to the Word of
God, are to be received with reverence and submission, not only for
agreement with the Word, but also for the power whereby they are made,
as being an ordinance of God, appointed thereunto in his Word.
IV. All synods
since the apostles' times, whether general or particular, may err, and
many have erred; therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith or
practice, but to be used as a help in both.
V. Synods and
to handle or conclude nothing but that which is ecclesiastical:
are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the
unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or by way of
for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the
the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the
world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to
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,
vessels made to honour. Wherefore, they which be endued with so
a benefit of God, be called according to God's purpose by his Spirit
in due season: they through Grace obey the calling: they be justified
they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of
only-begotten Son Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works,
at length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.
As the godly
of Predestination, and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet,
and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in
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
things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their
of eternal Salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth
kindle their love towards God: So, for curious and carnal persons,
the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the
of God's Predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the
doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wretchlessness of
unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.
God's promises in such wise, as they be generally set forth to us in
Scripture: and, in our doings, that Will of God is to be followed,
we have expressly declared unto us in the Word of God.
I. God hath
of man with that natural liberty, that is neither forced, nor by any
necessity of nature determined to good or evil.
II. Man, in
innocency, had freedom and power to will and to do that which is good
well-pleasing to God; but yet mutably, so that he might fall from it.
III. Man, by
a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual
accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse
that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to
himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.
IV. When God
converts a sinner
and translates him into the state of grace, he freeth him from his
bondage under sin, and, by his grace alone, enables him freely to will
and to do that which is spiritually good; yet so as that, by reason of
his remaining corruption, he doth not perfectly, nor only, will that
is good, but doth also will that which is evil.
V. The will
perfectly and immutable free to good alone, in the state of glory only.
I. All those
predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased, in his appointed
to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in
which they are
to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ: enlightening their minds,
to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and
giving unto them
of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining
them to that
and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most
freely, being made willing by his grace.
of God's free and special grace alone, not from any thing at all
man, who is
therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is
this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.
in infance, are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who
and how he pleaseth. So also are all other elect persons who are
called by the ministry of the Word.
although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have
the Spirit, yet they never truly come to Christ, and therefore can not
be saved: much less can men, not professing the Christian religion, be
saved in any other way
so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and
law of that
do profess; and to assert and maintain that they may is without warrant
the Word of God.
The Perseverance of the Saints.
I. They whom
in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can
fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere
the saints depends, not upon their own free-will, but upon the
of the decree of
flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the
efficacy of the
intercession of Jesus Christ; the abiding of the Spirit and of the seed
God within them;
nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the
through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevelancy of
them, and the neglect of the means of their perseverance, fall into
sins; ad for a
therein: whereby they incur God's displeasure, and grieve his Holy
Spirit; come to
of some measure of their graces and comforts; have their hearts
wounded; hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal
CHAPTER XVIII. Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation.
other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false
hopes and carnal
of being in the favor of God and estate of salvation; which hope of
such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity,
good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that
they are in a
and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God: which hope shall
never make them ashamed.
a bare conjectural and probably persuasion, grounded upon a fallible
hope; but an
assurance of faith, founded upon the divine truth of the promises of
of those graces unto which these promises are made, the testimony
of the Spirit of
witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God; which
the earnest of
whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption.
doth not so belong to the essence of faith but that a true believer may
wait long and
many difficulties before he be partaker of it: yet, being enabled by the
Spirit to know
which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary
use of ordinary means, attain thereunto. And therefore it is the duty of
everyone to give
to make his calling and election sure; that thereby his heart may be
in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and
of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance: so far is it from
inclining men to
the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and
in preserving of it; by falling into some special sin, which woundeth
the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation; by God's
his countenance and suffering even such as fear him to walk in darkness
and to have no
are they never utterly destitute of that seed of God, and life of
love of Christ
that sincerity of heart and conscience of duty, out of which, by the
operation of the
this assurance may in due time be revived, and by the which, in the
from utter despair.
Congregation in such a Tongue as the people understandeth.
It is a thing
to the Word of God, and the custom of the Primitive Church, to have
Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not
of the people.
Persons, how they are to be avoided.
denunciation of the Church is rightly cut off from the unity of the
and excommunicated, ought to be taken of the whole multitude of the
as an Heathen and Publican, until he be openly reconciled by penance,
received into the Church by a Judge that hath authority thereunto.
As we confess
and rash Swearing is forbidden Christian men by our Lord Jesus Christ,
and James his Apostle, so we judge, that Christian Religion doth not
but that a man may swear when the Magistrate requireth, in a cause of
and charity, so it be done according to the Prophet's teaching, in
judgment, and truth.
(a) We work
small number of staff who recruit, motivate, train, equip and support a
larger number of volunteers with whom they work in partnership.
Spirit confers gifts of leadership on Christians of all nations without
discrimination. So we encourage national leadership of Scripture Union
movements, while recognizing the contribution of those from other
(c) We, as
from a variety of backgrounds, are united in
beliefs and working principles of Scripture Union.
(d) We agree
we are involved in Scripture Union activities, we will handle
issues, such as baptism, spiritual gifts and church order, in ways that
I. Marriage is
one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more
one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband at the same
II. Marriage was
for the mutual help of husband and wife; for the increase of mankind
a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed; and for
III. It is
sorts of people to marry who are able with judgment to give their
Yet it is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord. And,
such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with
Papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be
yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life,
maintain damnable heresies.
be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden in the
nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful by any law of
or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together, as man
wife. The man may not marry any of his wife's kindred nearer in blood
he may of his own, nor the woman of her husband's kindred nearer in
than of her own.
V. Adultery or
committed after a contract, being detected before marriage, giveth just
occasion to the innocent party to dissolve that contract. In the case
adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out
a divorce, and after the divorce to marry another, as if the offending
party were dead.
VI. Although the
of man be such as is apt to study arguments, unduly to put asunder
whom God hath joined together in marriage; yet nothing but adultery, or
such willful desertion as can no way be remedied by the Church or civil
magistrate, is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of marriage;
a public and orderly course of proceeding is to be observed; and the
concerned in it, not left to their own wills and discretion in their
Covenant with Man.
I. The distance
God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do
owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could never have any
fruition of him, as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary
condescencion on God's part, which he hath been pleased to express by
II. The first
with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam,
in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal
III. Man by his
made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased
make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace: wherein he freely
offered unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of
faith in him, that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all
that are ordained unto life, his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and
able to believe.
is frequently set forth in the Scripture by the name of a testament, in
reference to the death of Jesus Christ, the testator, and to the
inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed.
V. This covenant
administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel:
the law it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices,
the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the
of the Jews, all fore-signifying Christ to come, which were for that
sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to
and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they
full remission of sins, and eternal salvation, and is called the Old
VI. Under the
Christ the substance was exhibited, the ordinances in which this
is dispensed, are the preaching of the Word, and the administration of
the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper; which, though fewer in
number, and administered with more simplicity and less outward glory,
in them it is held forth in more fulness, evidence, and spiritual
to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles; and is called the New
There are not, therefore, two covenants of grace differing in
but one and the same under various dispensations.
I. God gave to
as a covenant of works, by which he bound him and all his posterity to
and perpetual obedience; promised life upon the fulfilling, and
death upon the
it; and endued him with power and ability to keep it.
II. This law,
continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness; and, as such, was
delivered by God
Sinai in ten commandments, and written in two tables; the first four
our duty toward God, and the other six our duty to man.
called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a
laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship,
graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly holding forth
All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated under the New
IV. To them
as a body
politic, he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the
state of that
obliging any other, now, further than the general equity thereof may
V. The moral
bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof;
and that not
of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of
the Creator who
Neither doth Christ in the gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen,
be not under the law as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified or
great use to them, as well as to others; in that, as a rule of life,
them of the will
and their duty, it directs and binds them to walk accordingly;
also the sinful
of their nature, hearts, and lives; so as, examining themselves thereby,
they may come to
conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin; together with a
clearer sight of
they have of Christ, and the perfection of his obedience. It is
use to the
restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin, and the
serve to show
their sins deserve, and what afflictions in this life they may expect
the curse thereof threatened in the law. The promises of it, in like
approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the
not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works: so as a man's
doing good, and
from evil, because the law encourageth to the one, and deterreth from
the other, is no
of his being under the law, and not under grace.
uses of the law contrary to the grace of the gospel, but do
the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that
will of God, revealed in the law, requireth to be done.
Liberty, and Liberty of Conscience.
Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel consists in their
freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the curse
the moral law; and in their being delivered from thos present evil
bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin, from the evil of afflictions,
sting of death, the victory of the grave, and everlasting damnation; as
also in their free access to God, and their yielding obedience unto
not out of slavish fear, but a childlike love, and a willing mind. All
which were common also to believers under the law; but under the New
the liberty of Christians is further enlarged in their freedom from the
yoke of the ceremonial law, to which the Jewish Church was subjected;
in greater boldness of access to the throne of grace, and in fuller
of the free Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily
II. God alone
the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and
of men which are in any thing contrary to his Word, or beside it in
of faith on worship. So that to believe such doctrines, or to obey such
commandments out of conscience, is ts betray true liberty of
and the requiring an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind
is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.
III. They who,
of Christian liberty, do practice any sin, or cherish any lust, do
destroy the end of Christian liberty; which is, that, being delivered
of the hands of our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in
and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
IV. And because
which God hath ordained, and the liberty which Christ hath purchased,
not intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one
another; they who, upon pretence of Christian liberty, shall oppose any
lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or
resist the ordinance of God. And, for their publishing of such
or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of
or to the known principles of Christianity, whether concerning faith,
or conversation; or, to the power of godliness; or, such erroneous
or practices, as either in their own nature, or in the manner of
or maintaining them, are destructive to the external peace and order
Christ hath established in the Church, they may lawfully be called to
and proceeded against by the censures of the Church, and by the power
the civil magistrate.
Religious Worship and the Sabbath-day.
I. The light of
that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all; is
and doeth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised,
called upon, trusted in, and served with all the hearth, and with all
soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the
true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed
that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices
of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation
any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.
to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and to him alone:
not to angels, saints, or any other creature: and since the Fall, not
a Mediator; nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ alone.
III. Prayer with
being one special part of religious worship, is by God required of all
men; and that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the
by the help of his Holy Spirit, according to his will, with
reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and, if
in a known tongue.
IV. Prayer is to
for things lawful, and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live
hereafter; but not for the dead, nor for those of whom it may be known
that they have sinned the sin unto death.
V. The reading
with godly fear; the sound preaching, and conscionable hearing of the
in obedience unto God with understanding, faith, and reverence; singing
of psalms with grace in the heart; as, also, the due administration and
worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ; are all parts
of the ordinary religious worship of God: besides religious oaths, and
vows, solemn fastings, and thanksgivings upon special occasion; which
in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious
any other part of religious worship, is now, under the gospel, either
unto, or made more acceptable to, any place in which it is performed,
towards which it is directed: but God is to be worshipped everywhere in
spirit and in truth; as in private families daily, and in secret each
by himself, so more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not
or willfully to be neglected or forsaken, when God, by his Word or
VII. As it is of
of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for
the worship of God; so, in his Word, by a positive, moral, and
commandment, binding all men in all ages, he hath particularly
one day in seven for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him: which, from
beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day
of the week; and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the
first day of the week, which in Scripture is called the Lord's Day, and
is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath.
be kept holy unto the Lord when men, after a due preparing of their
and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an
holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about
wordly employments and recreations; but also are taken up the whole
in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties
necessity and mercy.
Oaths and Vows.
I. A lawful oath
of religious worship, wherein upon just occasion, the person swearing
calleth God to witness what he asserteth or promiseth; and to judge him
according to the truth or falsehood of what he sweareth.
II. The name of
is that by which men ought to swear, and therein it is to be used with
all holy fear and reverence; therefore to swear vainly or rashly by
glorious and dreadful name, or to swear at all by any other thing, is
and to be abhorred. Yet, as, in matters of weight and moment, an oath
warranted by the Word of God, under the New Testament, as well as under
the Old, so a lawful oath, being imposed by lawful authority, in such
ought to be taken.
oath ought duly to consider the weightiness of so solemn an act, and
to avouch nothing but what he is fully persuaded is the truth. Neither
may any man bind himself by oath to any thing but what is good and
and what he believeth so to be, and what he is able and resolved to
Yet it is a sin to refuse an oath touching any thing that is good and
being imposed by lawful authority.
IV. An oath is
in the plain and common sense of the words, without equivocation or
reservation. It can not oblige to sin; but in any thing not sinful,
taken, it binds to performance, although to a man's own hurt: nor is it
to be violated, although made to heretics or infidels.
V. A vow is of
nature with a promissory oath, and ought to be made with the like
care, and to be performed with the like faithfulness.
VI. It is not to
to any creature, but to God alone: and that it may be accepted, it is
be made voluntarily, out of faith and conscience of duty, in way of
for mercy received, or for obtaining of what we want; whereby we more
bind ourselves to necessary duties, or to other things, so far and so
as they may fitly conduce thereunto.
VII. No man may
any thing forbidden in the Word of God, or what would hinder any duty
commanded, or which is not in his own power, and for the performance of
which he hath no promise or ability from God. In which respects,
vows of perpetual single life, professed poverty, and regular
are so far from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are
and sinful snares, in which no Christian may entangle himself.