After our General Meeting it was agreed to rename ourselves St. James, (The English Reformed Church). Reasons are that we are within the tradition of the Church of England, while enjoying being independent. The Letter of James emphasizes the need for action to validate a profession of faith, which is sorely needed today. A biblical name expresses the tradition we come from and the style of our worship, which is essentially the BCP 1662 in modern English. I wear traditional robes, but not Anglo-Catholic ones.
We felt that the other options like Alton Reformed Church would confuse us with the United Reformed Church, which would be anathema, because they are not Christians in any sense that we can identify with. Names with Bible in them say that we are Charismatic-evangelical, which we are most definitely not. We have nothing to so with speaking in tongues and that whole agenda, because it is unbiblical. Names like Blossom Lane Chapel say that we are baptistic, whereas we emphatically practice infant baptism in obedience to the explicit command to baptise our children for the remission of sins.
So now you know what we are not, but may be asking yourself what we positively stand for. We are Reformed in the historical and theological sense of the word. We are Reformed Catholics (not Anglo-Catholics) like Cranmer, Luther, and the Reformed Tradition of which the CoE was part. We are Protestants who believe firstly that the Bible is not of any private interpretation, but holy men of God spoke as they were carried by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is the final authority in all matters of faith and morals, bar none. Science must bow the knee before the word of God.
The gospel that Jesus is Lord and Christ is the usual means of conveying salvation to men, together with the sacraments of Baptism and the Supper. This gospel is summarised in the Apostles’ Creed.
The Ten Commandments are God’s law for all men, especially the rulers of the earth, and also for the Church, communities, and individuals. Christ is not Lord if he does not rule, and the law is his will for us.
The Lord’s Prayer summarises all the important points of prayer. It teaches us how to pray, and it should be used all the time in its original form, together with other prayers, whether prepared or extempore.
“Why have we not joined up with others of like mind?” you will be asking. We have distinctives that mark us out, and that make us unwelcome to others of our ilk. We firmly deny the popular belief that immortal souls survive death and go to heaven, there to be judged for good or for ill, and then to proceed to heaven or hell. We believe that this doctrine is nowhere found in the Bible. A soul is living, breathing dust, according to Genesis 2, and when it dies it return to dust. The idea that the soul is an invisible, insubstantial, immortal entity is an invention of the heathen philosophers, which has been unconsciously read into the Bible by good men who made a mistake.
We believe that life after death is bodily resurrection, according to the pattern that Christ lived out by death, burial, and physical rising. We believe that a man is judged on the Last Day, not immediately after his death, and that the reward of faith and godliness is immortality through resurrection. We believe that the home of the blessed is the eternally restored Kingdom of David on earth, not heaven, and that Jesus sat down upon that promised throne when he ascended to the right hand of Power. He will return in glory to the earth to enter into the full, visible possession of his kingdom, which will have no end.
In short, we have restored the resurrection of the body, the Judgement Day, and the kingdom of God to their proper place in our understanding of the gospel. The belief concerning immortal, invisible souls overthrows these vital elements of the gospel, and overthrows the arguments whereby Christ and Paul establish the bodily resurrection.
We know all about the thief on the cross, and Paul wanting to leave his body to be with Christ. We just interpret those passages properly, using the rules of grammar and exegesis. 🙂
If you wish to make a comment, please feel free, but be courteous. Trolling will be moderated by being made invisible and insubstantial, but not immortal. LOL. 🙂