Roy Mohon, minister of Presbyterian Reformed Church, Stockton-on-Tees, explains a Reformed initiative recently launched.
‘In view of the present violent opposition from the adversary of God and man, and the evident confusion and grave departure from biblical truth in the professing church, we believe it laid upon us to make solemn affirmation of the doctrine we seek firmly to believe and strenuously to maintain’. So begins Affirmation 2010. What is this affirmation about and why has it been launched?
At least one political party campaigns in the general election on the basis that it is time for change. At times opinion polls have suggested voters are not entirely with them or are confused as to the change involved.
But many Christians have no doubt that it is time for change in our nation, although the fundamental change needed is not political but spiritual. Such spiritual change needs direction and definition.
We are perhaps well aware Christians have been making a serious stand on moral issues from politically correct legislation, especially holy matrimony as God’s unique provision for sexual relations and procreation.
This March, peers voted to permit civil partnerships to be registered in religious premises; the Christian Institute’s comment on this was sobering: ‘…there could still be scope for legal cases against those ministers and churches who refuse’.
So threats from outside the churches are very real. However, Christians must also address the even more compelling issues that arise from within professing churches. Affirmation 2010 is a timely initiative relating to these.
The affirmation is an 8,000 word evangelical and reformed statement of key doctrines that covers the infallibility of Scripture, Trinity, grace, six-day creation, penal substitution, justification by faith alone, holiness, the Lord’s day/Christian sabbath, reverence in worship, and those fundamentals of the faith needing re-affirmation in the light of contemporary departures from biblical truth.
The document pointedly declares that it ‘does not cover every tenet of the faith once delivered to us, but statement is herein made, and emphasis given, to the doctrine particularly assailed at the present time’.
It quotes the words of Martin Luther:’If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are attacking at that moment, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ.
‘Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all battlefields besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point’. We should respond positively to Luther’s challenge. Each generation comes on to the scene ‘for such a time as this’ (Esther 4:14).
Affirmation 2010 advocates biblical change in returning to God and conforming to Christ’s will as sole Head of his church. The Reformers sought to bring back the church to divine standards of doctrine, discipline and practice. Those who share the Reformation heritage will recognise the same spirit here.
Thisis a banner unfurled to which soldiers of Christ can rally against contrary movements of our day. That many are doing so is evident from the response to the web site so far (www.affirmation-2010.org). Here believers can sign up and express identification with the affirmation’s aims.
Affirmation 2010 is published in conjunction with the Bible League Trust. (More details: firstname.lastname@example.org; or 47 Pennsylvania Avenue, Cheltenham, GL51 7JG.)