Roundtable Drafts Articles for a Common Cause Federation
Pittsburgh, PA -- The Common Cause Roundtable which represents nine orthodox Anglican jurisdictions and organizations in North America met in Pittsburgh August 16-18, 2006 to continue its unifying work. The Common Cause Roundtable Partners accomplished three major tasks:
• affirmed their Covenant Declaration;
• amended and approved the Theological Statement of the Common Cause Partnership; and,
• recommended the formation of the Common Cause Federation (CCF).
The Roundtable drafted and approved proposed articles to create the Common Cause Federation which would formalize the relationship of the partners and allow for other orthodox Anglican groups to apply for membership. The representatives at the meeting will now take the three above-mentioned documents back to their constituent bodies for approval and adoption. The approval process is likely to extend over the next 18 months. The texts of the Covenant Declaration and the Theological Statement are contained below and are available on the website of the Anglican Communion Network at www.acn-us.org. The text of the Articles of the Common Cause Federation will be available in mid-October.
One of the actions of the Common Cause Partners’ meeting was to include the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) as the ninth Roundtable Partner. In addition, the retired Archbishop of Southeast Asia, the Most Rev. Yong Ping Chung was the Bible teacher for the Roundtable meetings over the three day period. Bible teaching took a central place in shaping the work of the Common Cause Roundtable.
COVENANT DECLARATION OF THE COMMON CAUSE PARTNERS
We intend by God’s grace:
• to partner together in a renewed missionary effort in North America and beyond, driven by our passion for Jesus and His Gospel.
• to ensure an orthodox Anglican Province in North America that remains connected to a faithful global Communion.
• to create a unity in the essentials of our Anglican faith that respects our varied styles and expressions.
• to build trusting relationships marked by effective coordination, collaboration, and communication.
THEOLOGICAL STATEMENT OF THE COMMON CAUSE PARTNERS
We believe and confess Jesus Christ to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no one comes to the Father but by Him. Therefore, the Common Cause Partnership identifies the following seven elements as characteristic of the Anglican Way, and essential for membership:
We confess the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments to be the inspired Word of God, containing all things necessary for salvation, and to be the final authority and unchangeable standard for Christian faith and life.
We confess Baptism and the Supper of the Lord to be Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself in the Gospel, and thus to be ministered with unfailing use of His words of institution and of the elements ordained by Him.
We confess the godly historic Episcopate as an inherent part of the apostolic faith and practice, and therefore as integral to the fullness and unity of the Body of Christ.
We confess as proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture the historic faith of the undivided church as declared in the three Catholic Creeds: the Apostles’, the Nicene, and the Athanasian.
Concerning the seven Councils of the undivided Church, we affirm the teaching of the first four Councils and the Christological clarifications of the fifth, sixth and seventh Councils, in so far as they are agreeable to the Holy Scriptures.
We receive The Book of Common Prayer as set forth by the Church of England in 1662, together with the Ordinal attached to the same, as a standard for Anglican doctrine and discipline, and, with the Books which preceded it, as the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship.
We receive the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1562, taken in their literal and grammatical sense, as expressing the Anglican response to certain doctrinal issues controverted at that time, and as expressing the fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief.
In all these things, the Common Cause Partnership is determined by the help of God to hold and maintain as the Anglican Way has received them the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ.
“The Anglican Communion,” Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher wrote, “has no peculiar thought, practice, creed or confession of its own. It has only the Catholic Faith of the ancient Catholic Church, as preserved in the Catholic Creeds and maintained in the Catholic and Apostolic constitution of Christ’s Church from the beginning.” It may licitly teach as necessary for salvation nothing but what is read in the Holy Scriptures as God’s Word written or may be proved thereby. It therefore embraces and affirms such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the Scriptures, and thus to be counted apostolic. The Church has no authority to innovate: it is obliged continually, and particularly in times of renewal or reformation, to return to “the faith once delivered to the saints.”
To be an Anglican, then, is not to embrace a distinct version of Christianity, but a distinct way of being a “Mere Christian,” at the same time evangelical, apostolic, catholic, reformed, and Spirit-filled.
Proposed to the Partners
August 18th, 2006