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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 Romish 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 mediatorship 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 so if one sin and bring scandal upon 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 view 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 marry 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 DOCTRINAL BASIS OF THE EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE. A.D. 1846.
Adopted at the Organization of the American Branch of the Evangelical Alliance, in January, 1867.
[The Nine Articles were adopted by the first meeting of the Evangelical Alliance, in London, 1846, and published in the Report of the Proceedings of the Conference, held at Freemasons' Hall, London, from Aug. 19th to Sept. 2d, 1846. Published by order of the Conference. London, 1847.
The preamble, which we print in small type, was added by the American Branch of the Alliance, organized in the Bible House, New York, Jan., 1867, and, with this qualifying preamble, the doctrinal articles were used at the General Conference of the Alliance held in New York, Oct., 1873.
The Evangelical Alliance is no Church, and has no authority to issue and enforce an ecclesiastical creed. It is simply a voluntary association of individual 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 how 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.
'3. 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-'
4. 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,' and his mediatorial intercession and reign.
6. The justification of the sinner by faith alone.
7. The work of the Holy Spirit in the conversion and sanctification of the sinner.
8. The immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the body, the judgment of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, with 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 sense 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 sinners of mankind,' which is probably a typographical error. All other issues of the Articles in the Alliance publications read sins.