The Right Revd Riah Hanna Abu El Assal, the retired Anglican bishop in Jerusalem, was interviewed on Sunday about the situation in the Middle East. He speaks candidly about the plight of the Christian community and his hopes for peace. You can listen to the interview here
† “I am the way, and the truth and the life…”
“‘I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to God except through me.’ The first thing I want you to explore with me is this: I simply refuse to hold the doctrine that there is no access to God except through Jesus. I personally reject the claim that Christianity has the truth and all other religions are in error… I think it is a mistaken view to say Christianity is superior to Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism and that Christ is the only way to God and salvation.” The Rev. Dr. George F. Regas, Rector Emeritus All Saints Episcopal Church, Pasadena, California, April 24, 2005, guest sermon at Washington National Cathedral
“My understanding of idolatry includes the assumption that I can know and comprehend the way in which God saves people who are not overtly Christian. I understand that Jesus is my savior, I understand that Jesus is the savior of the whole world. But I am unwilling to do more than speculate about how God saves those who don’t profess to be Christians. I look at the fruits of the life of someone like Mahatma Ghandi and the Dhali Lama and I see Christ-like features …” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Virginia Theological Seminary, May 25, 2007
The Jerusalem Declaration was endorsed by the 1200 Archbishops, Bishops, clergy and laity attending the GAFCON pilgrimage to Jerusalem in June. While it is simply a restatement of Anglican orthodoxy, it is nevertheless probably the most important document to be formulated by Anglicans since the Reformation. In a couple of weeks our own Church Council, like many others, will be considering whether it can endorse the following resolution:
“Recognising that the Jerusalem Declaration is consistent with the doctrine of the Church of England as stated in Canon A5, we stand in solidarity with the Jerusalem Declaration and Statement on the Global Anglican Future.”
Here are five reasons why I believe every indivdual Anglican and every Anglican Church Council should do so:
1. This act of solidarity will encourage those especially of the Anglican Communion in the USA and Canada who are being deposed and persecuted for their gospel stand and commitment to the Scriptures. It is lamentable that so few evangelical Anglican Bishops, for example, have shown solidarity with Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh recently deposed.
2. This act of solidarity will strengthen Anglicans in the Global South in countries such as Nigeria and Sudan who are being persecuted by Muslims because they are wrongly identified with the schismatic and immoral stance of The Episcopal Church in the USA and Canada.
3. Endorsing the Declaration in no way prejudices relationships with our Bishop, Diocese and the Church of England. Just the reverse – it is a restatement of the official teaching of the Church of England and demonstrates our fidelity.
4. Endorsing the Declaration demonstrates that we remain fully committed to the Church of England. We are not leaving, being schismatic or divisive. We are going to reform the Church of England from within. Endorsing the Declaration is a way of declaring our intent.
5. Expressing our solidarity with the Jerusalem Declaration does not commit us to any other decision or course of action. The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans is precisely that – a fellowship of like-minded believers. We invite you to be a part of this growing fellowship.
“We stand in solidarity with the Jerusalem Declaration and Statement on the Global Anglican Future.”
The full text of the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration