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Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of bread and wine into the very body and blood of Christ) in the Supper of the Lord can not be proved by Holy Writ, is repugnant to the plain -words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a sacrament, and hath given occasion to many and idolatrous superstitions.
Consubstantiation (or the doctrine that Christ is veiled under the unchanged bread and wine, and that his very body and blood are present therein and separate the one from the other) is utterly without warrant of Scripture, is contradictory of the fact that Christ, being raised, dieth no more, and is productive equally with transubstantiation of idolatrous errors and practices.
We feed on Christ only through his Word, and only by faith and prayer; and we feed on him, whether at our private devotions, or in our meditations, or on any occasion of public worship, or in the memorial symbolism of the Supper.
The elements of the Lord's Supper were not by Christ's ordinance designed to be reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshiped.
Of Both Kinds.
The Cup of the Lord is not to be denied to any of his people, for both the bread arid the wine, by Christ's ordinance and commandment, ought to be ministered to all Christian men alike.
Of Unworthy Persons Ministering in the Congregation.
Although in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the evil have chief authority in the ministration of the Word and ordinances: yet, forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ's, the believer is not deprived of the benefits of God's ordinances; because, though they be ministered by evil men, yet are they Christ's institution, and set forth his promise.
Nevertheless, it appertaineth to the discipline of the Church that inquiry be made of evil ministers, and that they be accused by those that have knowledge of their offences; and finally, being found guilty by just judgment, be deposed.
Of the one Oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross.
The offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin but that alone. And as there is only this one sacrifice in the Christian Church, once made, never to be repeated, so there is but the one Priest, even Jesus Christ, the Apostle and High-Priest of our profession. Wherefore the sacrifices of masses, in the which it is commonly said that the priest offers Christ for the quick and the dead, for the remission of pain or guilt, or any representations of the Lord's Supper as a sacrifice, are blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits.
Of Certain Erroneous Doctrines and Practices.
The Pvomish doctrines concerning purgatory, penance, and satisfaction have no support from the Word of God, and are, besides, contradictory of the completeness and sufficiency of the redemption in Christ Jesus, of justification by faith, and of the sanctifying efficacy of God the Holy Ghost. Praying for the dead is man's tradition, vainly invented, and is in violation of the express warnings of Almighty God to the careless and unconverted. The adoration of relics and images, and the invocation of saints, besides that they are grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, are idolatrous practices, dishonoring to God, and compromising the mcdiatorship of Christ. It is also repugnant to the Word of God to have public prayer in the Church, or to minister the ordinances, in a tongue not understood by the people.
Of Confession and Absolution.
Private confession of sins to a priest, commonly known as Auricular Confession, has no foundation in the Word of God, and is a human invention. It makes the professed penitent a slave to mere human authority, entangles him in endless scruples and perplexities, and opens the way to many immoralities.
If one sin against his fellow-man, the Scripture requires him to make confession to the offended party; and 60 if one sin and bring scandal npon the Christian society of which he is a member. And Christians may often, with manifest profit, confess to one another their sins against God, with a new solely to instruction, correction, guidance, and encouragement in righteousness. But in any and every case confession is still to be made to God; for all sins are committed against him, as well such as offend our fellow-man as those that offend him alone.
Priestly absolution is a blasphemous usurpation of the sole prerogative of God. None can forgive sins as against God but God alone.
The blood of Jesus Christ only can cleanse us from our sins, and always we obtain forgiveness directly from God, whenever by faith in that blood we approach him with our confessions and prayers.
Of the Marriage of Ministers.
Christian ministers are not commanded by God's law either to vow the estate of single life or to abstain from marriage; therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Christian men, to many at their own discretion.
Of the Power of the Civil Authority.
The power of the civil magistrate extendeth to all men, as well ministers as people, in all things temporal; but hath no authority in things purely spiritual. And we hold it to be the duty of all men who are professors of the gospel to pay respectful obedience to the civil authority, regularly and legitimately constituted.
Of Christian Men's Goods.
The riches and goods of Christian men are not common, but their own, to be controlled and used according to their Christian judgment Every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the poor, according to his ability; and as a steward of God, he should use his means and influence in promoting the cause of truth and righteousness to the glory of God.
THE DOCTKINAL BASIS OF THE EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE. A.D.1846.
Adopted at the Organisation of the American Branch of the Evangelical Alliance, in January, 1867.
[The Nine Articles were adopted by the first meeting of tbe Evangelical Alliance, In London, 1840, and published in the Report of the Proceeding* of the Conference, held at Freemasons' Hall, London, from A ug. vah to Sept. 2d, 1846. Published by order of the Conference. London, 1847.
The preamble, which we print in small type, was added by tbe American Branch of the Alliance, organized in the Bible House, New York, Jan., 186T, and, with this qualifying preamble, the doctrinal articles were ased at the General Conference of the Alliance held in New York, Oct, 18TS.
The Evangelical Alliance is no Chnrch, and has no authority to issne and enforce an ecclesiastical creed. It is simply a voluntary association of individnal Christians for the promotion of Christian union and religious liberty; but as such it may declare on what doctrinal basis it proposes to labor for its end, and bow much or how little of the traditional faith It takes for granted among its members.]
Resolved, That in forming an Evangelical Alliance for the United States, in co-operative union with other Branches of the Alliance, we have no intention or desire to give rise to a new denomination or sect; nor to affect an amalgamation of Churches, except in the way of facilitating personal Christian intercourse and a mutual good understanding; nor to interfere in any way whatever with the internal affairs of the various denominations; but, simply, to bring individual Christians into closer fellowship and co-operation, on the basis of the spiritual union which already exists in the vital relation of Christ to the members of his body in all ages and countries.
Resolved, That in the same spirit we propose no new creed; but, taking broad, historical, and evangelical catholic ground, we solemnly reaffirm and profess our faith in all the doctrines of the inspired Word of God, and the consensus of doctrines as held by all true Christians from the beginning. And we do more especially affirm our belief in the Divine-human person and atoning work of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as the only and sufficient source of salvation, as the heart and soul of Christianity, and as the centre of all true Christian union and fellowship.
Resolved, That, with this explanation, and in the spirit of a just Christian liberality in regard to the minor differences of theological schools and religious denominations, we also adopt, as a summary of the consensus of the various Evangelical Confessions of Faith, the Articles and Explanatory Statement set forth and agreed on by the Evangelical Alliance at its formation in London, 1846, and approved by the separate European organizations; which articles are as follows:1
'1. The Divine inspiration, authority, and sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures.
'2. The right and duty of private judgment in the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures.
13. The Unity of the Godhead, and the Trinity of the persons therein.
1 In the original form the Articles are introduced by the following sentence: "The parties composing the Alliance shall be such persons only as hold and maintain what are usually understood to be evangelical views in regard to the matters of doctrine understated, namely—'
14. The utter depravity of human nature in consequence of the Fall.
'5. The incarnation of the Son of God, his work of atonement for the sins of mankind,1 and his mediatorial intercession and reign.
'6. The justification of the 6inner by faith alone.
'7. The work of the Holy Spirit in the conversion and 6anctificatiou of the sinner.
'8. The immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the body, the judgment of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, witli the eternal blessedness of the righteous, and the eternal punishment of the wicked.
'9. The divine institution of the Christian ministry, and the obligation and perpetuity of the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
'It is, however, distinctly declared: First, that this brief summary is not to be regarded in any formal or ecclesiastical 6ense as a creed or confession, nor the adoption of it as involving an assumption of the right authoritatively to define the limits of Christian brotherhood, but simply as an indication of the class of persons whom it is desirable to embrace within the Alliance; Second, that the selection of certain tenets, with the omission of others, is not to be held as implying that the former constitute the whole body of important truth, or that the latter are unimportant.'
1 The official Report of Proceedings (both on pp. 77 and 189) reads 'for tinners of mankind,' which is probably a typographical error. All other issues of the Articles in the Alliance publications read situ.