We who subscribe this Covenant bind ourselves together in fellowship to uphold, defend and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ according to the doctrine of the Church of England.
We affirm the definition of this doctrine that is set out in Canon A5 as follows:
The doctrine of the Church of England is grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular such doctrine is to be found in the 39 Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal.
Specifically, we lay emphasis on the following:
- The triune personhood of God as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and the historical incarnation of the Son of God through the Virgin Mary.
- The substitutionary sin-bearing death, bodily resurrection, present heavenly reign, and future return to judgement of Jesus Christ the incarnate Son.
- The universality of sin, the present justification of sinners by grace through faith in Christ alone, and their supernatural regeneration and new life through the Holy Spirit.
- The calling of the Church and of all Christian people to a life of holiness and prayer according to the Scriptures.
- The primacy of evangelism and nurture in each local church’s task of setting forth the kingdom of God.
- The significance of personal present repentance and faith as determining eternal destiny.
- The finality of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ and the uniqueness of his ministry as our prophet, priest and king, and the only Saviour of sinners.
- The infallibility and supreme authority of “God’s Word written” and its clarity and sufficiency for the resolving of disputes about Christian faith and life. (See Article 20)
Our understanding of God’s way of life for his people includes:
- The special teaching responsibility of ordained leaders within the every-member ministry of the body of Christ, and the need to provide for its continuance.
- The unique value of women’s ministry in the local congregation but also the divine order of male headship, which makes the headship of women as priests in charge, incumbents, dignitaries and bishops inappropriate.
- The vital importance of monogamous life-long marriage for the care and nurture of children, and the well being of human society.
- The rightness of sexual intercourse in heterosexual marriage, and the wrongness of such activity both outside it and in all its homosexual forms.
- The urgent need for decentralisation at national, diocesan and deanery level, and the need radically to reform the present shape of episcopacy and pastoral discipline, to enable local churches to evangelise more effectively.
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The Trustees and Council of Reform sign this Covenant each year. Those applying to join Reform will be invited to confirm that they give their assent to the Reform Covenant.