The Montreal Declaration was developed and adopted by the Anglican Essentials movement in Canada in 1994, and was designed for domestic Canadian consumption. However, it is such a fine summary of the Anglican understanding of the Christian faith that it is receiving much wider circulation. The "setting" of the Montreal Declaration that follows was produced for the American scene with the help of the Rt. Rev. Ray Sutton, the Rt. Rev. John Rodgers, and the Rev. Dr. Leslie Fairfield for the Anglican Congress.
The Declaration of Anglican Essentials
"In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity."
The Original declaration was adopted at a national conference of Anglicans from across Canada in June 1994 and serves as the theological basis of those involved in this on-going movement. Members of the Anglican Church of Canada from every province and territory, and participants in the Essentials 1994 Conference in Montreal, united in praising God for his saving grace and for the fellowship we enjoy with our Lord and with each other. We join with our Canadian brothers and sisters in Christ to affirm the following Christian essentials as modified for the American setting and as an application of the historic Anglican formularies to the current times:
1. The Triune God
There is one God who is Transcendent and Immanent,
self-revealed not as one Person only but as three Persons, "of one
substance, power and eternity," the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
For what we believe of the glory of the Father, we believe the same of
the Son and of the Holy Spirit without any difference or inequality.
For the sake of the Gospel we decline proposals to modify or marginalize
these names and we affirm their rightful place in prayer, liturgy, and
hymnody. For the Gospel invites us through God the Holy Spirit to share
eternally in the Divine Fellowship, as adopted children of the God in
whose family Jesus Christ is both our Savior and our brother.
(Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Galatians 4:4-6; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 1 Peter 1:2; Jude 20-21.
Cf. Article I of the 39 Articles, Book of Common Prayer.)
2. Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier
The almighty triune God created a universe out of
nothing that was in every way good until creaturely rebellion disrupted
it. Sin having intruded, God in love purposed to restore cosmic order
through the calling of the covenant people Israel, the coming of Jesus
Christ to redeem, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to sanctify, the
building up of the church for worship and witness, and the coming again of
Christ in glory to make all things new. Works of miraculous power mark the
unfolding of God's plan throughout history.
(Genesis 1-3; Isaiah 40:28; 65:17;Matthew 6:10; John 17:6; Acts 17:24-26, 28; 1 Corinthians 15:28; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 1:11; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 11:3; Revelation 21:5.
Cf. Article I.)
3. The Word made Flesh
Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, born of
the Virgin Mary, sinless in life, raised bodily from the dead, and now
reigning in glory though still present with his people through the Holy
Spirit, is both the Jesus of history and the Christ of Scripture. He is
God with us, the sole mediator between God and ourselves, the source of
saving knowledge of the Godhead, and the giver of eternal life to the
(Matthew 1:24-25; Mark 15:20-37; Luke 1:35; John 1:14; 17:20-21; Acts 1:9-11; 4:12; Romans 5:17; Philippians 2:5-6; Colossians 2:9;1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 1:2; 9:15.
Cf. Articles II-IV; the Nicene Creed, BCP.)
4. The Only Savior
Human sin is prideful rebellion against God's
authority, expressing itself in our refusing to love both the Creator
and his creatures. Sin corrupts our nature and its fruit is injustice,
oppression, personal and social disintegration, alienation, and guilt
before God; it destroys hope and leads to a future devoid of any enjoyment
of either God or good. From the guilt, shame, power, and path of sin,
Jesus Christ is the only Savior; penitent faith in him is the only way
By his atoning sacrifice on the cross for our sins,
Jesus overcame the powers of darkness and secured our redemption and
justification. By his bodily rising he guaranteed the future resurrection
and eternal inheritance of all believers. By his regenerating gift
of the Spirit, he restores our fallen nature and renews us in his own
image. Thus in every generation he is the way, the truth, and the life
for sinful individuals, and the architect of restored human community.
(John 14:6; Acts 1:9-11; 2:32-33; 4:12; Romans 3:22-25; 1 Corinthians 15:20-24; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Philippians 2:9-11; Colossians 2:13-15; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 1 John 4:14; 5:11-12.
Cf. Articles II-IV, XI, XV, XVIII, XXXI.)
5. The Spirit of Life
The Holy Spirit, "the Lord, the Giver of life,"
sent to the church at Pentecost by the Father and the Son, discloses
the glory of Jesus Christ, convicts of sin, renews the sinner's inner
being, induces faith, equips for righteousness, creates communion, and
empowers for service. Life in the Spirit is a supernaturalizing of our
natural existence and a true foretaste of heaven. The loving unity of
Spirit-filled Christians and churches is a powerful sign of the truth
(Genesis 1:2; Exodus 31:2-5; Psalm 51:11; John 3:5-6; 14:26; 15:26; 16:7-11, 13-15; 1 Corinthians 2:4; 6:19; 12:4-7; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 4:4-6; 5:22-26; Ephesians 1:13-14; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 2 Timothy 3:16.
Cf. Article V; The Nicene Creed.)
6. The Authority of the Bible
The canonical Scriptures of the Old and New
Testaments are "God's Word written," inspired and authoritative, true and
trustworthy, coherent, sufficient for salvation, living and powerful as
the rule and ultimate standard of God's guidance for belief and behavior.
The Trinitarian, Christ-centered, redemption-oriented
faith of the Bible is embodied in the historic ecumenical creeds
[Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian] and the Anglican foundational
documents [The Anglican formularies known as the historic Book of
Common Prayer of 1662 and the Articles of Religion]. To this basic
understanding of Scripture, the Holy Spirit leads God's people and the
church's counsels in every age through tradition and reason prayerfully
and reverently employed.
The church may not judge the Scriptures, selecting
and discarding from among their teachings. But Scripture under Christ
judges the church for its faithfulness to his revealed truth.
(Deuteronomy 29:29; Isaiah 40:8; 55:11; Matthew 5:17-18; John 10:35; 14:26; Romans 1:16; Ephesians 1:17-19; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:14-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21.
Cf. Articles VI-VIII, XX.)
7. The Church of God
The supernatural society called the church is
the family of God, the body of Christ, and the temple of the Holy
Spirit. It is the community of believers, justified through faith in
Christ, incorporated into the risen life of Christ, and set under the
authority of Holy Scripture as the word of Christ. The church on earth
is united through Christ to the church in heaven in the communion of the
saints. Through the church's ministry of the word and sacraments of the
Gospel, God ministers life in Christ to the faithful, thereby empowering
them for worship, witness, and service.
In the life of the church only that which may be
proved from Scripture should be held to be essential to the faith and
that which is non-essential should not be required of anyone to be
believed or be enforced as a matter of doctrine, discipline, or worship.
(Ephesians 3:10-21; 5:23, 27; 1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 12:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:14-17.
Cf. Articles XIX, XX and XXI.)
8. The New Life in Christ
God made human beings in the divine image so that
they might glorify and enjoy their creator forever, but since the Fall,
sin has alienated us all from God and disorders human motivation and
action at every point. As atonement and justification restore us to
fellowship with God by pardoning sin, so regeneration and sanctification
renew us in the likeness of Christ by overcoming sin. The Holy Spirit,
who helps us practice the disciplines of the Christian life, increasingly
transforms us through them. Sinlessness, however, is not given in this
world, and we who believe remain flawed "in thought, word and deed"
until we are perfected in heaven.
(Genesis 1:26-28; 3; John 3:5-6; 16:13; Romans 3:23-24; 5:12; 1 Corinthians 12:4-7; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; Galatians 5:22-24; Ephesians 2:1-5; Philippians 2:13; 2 Peter 3:10-13.
Cf. Articles IX-XVI; Book of Alternative Services, p. 191.)
9. The Church's Ministry
The Holy Spirit bestows distinctive gifts upon
all Christians for the purpose of glorifying God and building up his
church in truth and love. All Christians are called in their baptism
to be ministers, regardless of gender, race, age, or socioeconomic
status. All God's people must seek to find and fulfill the particular
form of service for which God has called and equipped them.
Within the priesthood of all believers we honor the
ministry of word and sacrament to which bishops, priests and deacons
are set apart by the Ordinal.
(Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:11; 12:4-7, 27; 2 Corinthians 5:20; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 4:11-13; 1 Timothy 3:1, 12-13; 5:17; Hebrews 2:11; 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10.
Cf. Articles XIX, XXIII.)
10. The Church's Worship
The primary calling of the church, as of every
Christian, is to offer worship, in the Spirit and according to truth,
to the God of creation, providence, and grace. The essential dimensions
of worship are praise and thanksgiving for all good things, proclamation
and celebration of the glory of God and of Jesus Christ, prayer for human
needs and for the advancement of Christ's kingdom, and self-offering
for service. All liturgical forms -- verbal, musical, and ceremonial --
stand under the authority of Scripture.
The 1662 Book of Common Prayer provides a
biblically-grounded doctrinal standard, and should be retained as the
theological and liturgical norm for all alternative liturgies. It should
not be revised in the theologically-divided climate of the contemporary
church. The 1979 Book of Common Prayer as an alternative service book
meets a widely-felt need for contemporary liturgy, and brings life and
joy to many Anglican worshipers. The 1928 BCP is an historic American
prayer book within the common prayer tradition of the 1662 BCP used and
appreciated by many Episcopalians and other Anglicans jurisdictions.
No form of worship can truly exalt Christ or draw
forth true devotion to him without the presence and power of the Holy
Spirit. Prayer, public and private, is central to the health and renewal
of the church. Healing, spiritual and physical, is a welcome aspect of
(John 4:24; 16:8-15; Acts 1:8; 2:42-47; Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; 12:7; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Ephesians 5:18-20; Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5; 5:19.
Cf. The Solemn Declaration of 1893, p. viii, BCP; Articles XXV, XXXIV.)
11. The Priority of Evangelism
Evangelism means proclaiming Jesus Christ as divine
Savior, Lord, and Friend, in a way that invites people to come to God
through him, to worship and serve him, and to seek the empowering of
the Holy Spirit for their life of discipleship in the community of the
church. All Christians are called to witness to Christ, as a sign of love
both to him and to their neighbors. The task, which is thus a matter of
priority, calls for personal training and a constant search for modes
of persuasive outreach. We sow the seed, and look to God for the fruit.
(Matthew 5:13-16; 28:19-20; John 3:16-18; 20:21; Acts 2:37-39; 5:31-32; 1 Corinthians 1:23; 15:2-4; 2 Corinthians 4:5; 5:20; 1 Peter 3:15.)
12. The Challenge of Global Mission
Cross-cultural evangelism and pastoral care remain
necessary responses to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. His command
to preach the gospel world-wide, making disciples and planting churches,
still applies. The church's mission requires missions.
Christ and his salvation must be proclaimed
sensitively and energetically everywhere, at home and abroad, and
cross-cultural mission must be supported by praying, giving, and
sending. Global mission involves partnership and interchange, and
missionaries sent by younger churches to the United State of America
should be welcomed.
(Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 10:2; Romans 15:23-24; 1 Corinthians 2:4-5; 9:22-23; 2 Corinthians 4:5;8:1-4, 7; Ephesians 6:19-20; Philippians 2:5-7; 1 Thessalonians 1:6-8.)
13. The Challenge of Social Action
The gospel constrains the church to be "salt" and
"light" in the world, working out the implications of biblical teaching
for the right ordering of social, economic, and political life, and for
humanity's stewardship of creation. Christians must exert themselves in
the cause of justice and in acts of compassion. While no social system
can be identified with the coming Kingdom of God, social action is an
integral part of our obedience to the Gospel.
(Genesis 1:26-28; Isaiah 30:18; 58:6-10; Amos 5:24; Matthew 5:13-16; 22:37-40; 25:31-46; Luke 4:17-21; John 20:21; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4; James 2:14-26; 1 John 4:16; Revelation 1:5-6; 5:9-10.
Cf. Article XXXVIII.)
14. The Standards of Sexual Conduct
God designed human sexuality not only for procreation
but also for the joyful expression of love, honor, and fidelity between
wife and husband. These are the only sexual relations that biblical
theology deems good and holy.
Adultery, fornication, and homosexual unions are
intimacies contrary to God's design. The church must seek to minister
healing and wholeness to those who are sexually scarred, or who struggle
with ongoing sexual temptations, as most people do. Homophobia and all
forms of sexual hypocrisy and abuse are evils against which Christians
must ever be on their guard. The church may not lower God's standards of
sexual morality for any of its members, but must honor God by upholding
these standards tenaciously in face of society's departures from them.
Congregations must seek to meet the particular needs
for friendship and community that single persons have.
(Genesis 1:26-28; 2:21-24; Matthew 5:27-32; 19:3-12; Luke 7:36-50; John 8:1-11; Romans 1:21-28; 3:22-24; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 13-16; 7:7; Ephesians 5:3; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; 3:2-4, 12.)
15. The Family and the Call to Singleness
The family is a divinely ordained focus of
love, intimacy, personal growth and stability for women, men and
children. Divorce, child abuse, domestic violence, rape, pornography,
parental absenteeism, sexist domination, abortion, common-law
relationships, and homosexual partnerships, all reflect weakening and
distortion of the family ideal. Christians are called to strengthen
family life through teaching, training, and active support, and work
for socio-political conditions that support the family. Single-parent
families and victims of family breakdown have special needs to which
congregations must respond with sensitivity and support.
Singleness also is a gift from God and a holy
vocation. While single, Christians are called to celibacy and God will
give them grace to live in chastity.
(Psalm 119:9-11; Proverbs 22:6; Matthew 5:31-32; Mark 10:6-9; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Ephesians 5:21-6:4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 John 3:14-15.)
The New Beginning
Together we reaffirm the Anglican Christianity that
finds expression in the historic standards of the ecumenical creeds, the
Thirty-Nine Articles, and the Book of Common Prayer. Respect for these
standards strengthens our identity and communion. In humility we recognize
we have often been ashamed of the gospel we have received and disobedient
to the Lord of the Church. God helping us, we resolve to maintain our
heritage of faith and transmit it intact. This fullness of faith is
needed both for Anglican renewal and for the effective proclamation of
the good news of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.
We invite all Episcopalians, Reformed Episcopalians
and other jurisdictions in the Anglican Way to join us in affirming the
above as essentials of Christian faith, practice, and nurture today. In
this declaration we believe that we are insisting upon only what is
genuinely essential. In regard to non-essentials, we should recognize
and respect that liberty and that comprehensiveness which have been
among the special graces of our Anglican heritage. Participants in the
U.S. Anglican Congress with the
The Episcopal Church of the United States of America
The Reformed Episcopal Church
The Anglican Province of America
The Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches
December 4-7, 2002 in Atlanta, Georgia
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