This Declaration of Belief combines the essence of the 1922 Basis of the Society and the subsequent 1986 Statement of Faith into one document using contemporary English.
It is authorised by Crosslinks’ Council for ease of use and in the interests of clarification, but is intended neither to alter nor replace the original Basis of the Society.
Standing in succession to those who founded the Bible Churchmen’s Missionary Society (BCMS) we share their vision for the proclamation of the gospel of God’s grace to all people as affirmed in the 2008 Jerusalem Declaration. We endorse their doctrinal convictions as set out in the 1922 Basis of the Society and in accordance with the Book of Common Prayer’s Thirty-nine Articles of Religion and the historic creeds.
1. The Bible is God’s word written
Carried along by the Holy Spirit, the human authors spoke from God and their words are wholly trustworthy in all that they affirm and deny. Being God-breathed the Scriptures are the full, final and sufficient revelation of God, and are therefore our supreme authority in all matters of faith and doctrine.
2. Sin renders all people liable to condemnation
By nature all people are rebels against their Creator, and objects of his righteous anger and wrath. Being dead in sin we are powerless to save ourselves and, apart from God’s mercy and the life giving power of the Holy Spirit, must surely perish on the Day of Judgement.
3. The gospel proclaims the only way of salvation
The living God, eternally existing in three persons, has acted in love for the salvation of men and women, old and young from every people and nation. God the Father sent God the Son into the world to be the Saviour we need; God the Son gave himself up to death on the cross to redeem all who will turn and trust in him for their salvation; God the Holy Spirit brings the blessing of conviction of sin and new birth into the rich inheritance of grace and truth, pardon and peace won for us by Christ. This belongs equally to all who are adopted as children of God. In Christ there is now no condemnation.
4. Jesus is the only Saviour, and judge of all
In the fullness of his eternal deity our Lord Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and became man, being born of the Virgin Mary. He took upon himself a perfect human nature without compromising his divine nature and acquired a truly human experience. Humbling himself to death on a cross, Jesus shed his blood as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, bearing in our place the condemnation our sin deserved. All who turn to him as Lord are justified by faith alone through grace alone and, having Christ’s righteousness credited to them, are assured of eternal life. By raising Jesus bodily from the dead, and by exalting him into heaven, God the Father demonstrated full acceptance of Christ’s finished atoning work and proclaimed him to be the one who will judge all the world.
5. The worldwide church is the fellowship of all who belong to Christ
The people of God consists of all those who are born again by the Spirit. The fellowship of believers is sustained primarily through prayer and the ministry of God’s word, with baptism and the Lord’s Supper as important signs of God’s covenant of grace. The risen and ascended Lord Jesus gives gifts and ministries to his people so that, under the authority of his word, his church may be built up in love to serve God and proclaim his salvation in the power of the Spirit.
6. God’s mission is to proclaim salvation to the ends of the earth
All mission is God’s mission. From the time of humanity’s rebellion God has acted in loving mercy to seek and to save the lost. It is God who is the missioner, and the church is the fruit of his mission. Out of his great love God the Father sent his one and only Son into the world, not to condemn but to save. Likewise, Jesus sent his disciples into the world with delegated authority, and in living dependence upon the Spirit. They were sent to make available the forgiveness of sins to all who will believe. Jesus prayed that every subsequent generation of his people would be united with the Apostles in belief and mission, and so today we continue to take God’s word to God’s world. We proclaim the forgiveness of sins to all nations, and teach all that Jesus commanded, baptising in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, until he returns in glory. God delays Jesus’ return, not wishing any to perish but all to come to eternal life. But return he will, to judge the living and the dead, to usher in the new heaven and new earth, to call his servants to account and to receive them into glory. Amen. Come Lord Jesus.
Revised 1 May 2012
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