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Letter to the Editor: Prayers for the Dead at Remembrance Services

Prayers for the Dead at Remembrance Services   Sir, Remembrance Sunday is an important and poignant landmark in our nation’s annual calendar, and a day to reflect, give thanks and pray for peace. We see church and civic life combine in silence and remembrance, as...

Evangelical Theological College of Asia

Evangelical Theological College of Asia Have you ever wondered if there was a sound reformed theological training institution in Asia?  The Evangelical Theological College of Asia is just such a school.  It is located in Singapore and its faculty are mostly from...

Prudence Dailey’s Commentary: Should Women Be Afraid of Men?

Prudence Dailey's Commentary Should Women be Afraid of Men? Recently, someone I used to work with shared on her Facebook page a link to an article from The Times magazine by the feminist writer Caitlin Moran. The substance of Ms Moran’s piece—rhetorically addressed to...

FIEC Updates Its “Values Statement”

FIEC Updates Its “Values Statement” The Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches recently updated its “Values Statement.”  It is well-worth your time to read.  There are FIEC affiliated congregations in England, Scotland, and Wales.   1. God-honouring and...

Death of LENORA HAMMOND

Lenora Hammond 1960-2021 Mrs Lenora Hammond, wife of Frontline Fellowship founder Dr Peter Hammond, died on 9 November.  She was six days short of her sixty-first birthday.  Frontline Fellowship is headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa. Mrs Hammond was born into a...

Archbishops’ Appointments Secretary to Retire

Archbishops’ Appointments Secretary to Retire “The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have paid tribute to the service of Caroline Boddington, who has announced she will be leaving the National Church Institutions (NCIs) at the end of 2021 after 17 years as the...

Book Review: The Lullingstone Secret

The Lullingstone Secret Jill Masters Wakeman Press, 2021 (ISBN: 9781913133115, 97pp, £5.95) Lullingstone Villa in Kent is a fascinating site to visit whatever one’s awareness of ancient history and is lavishly curated by English Heritage. Since its excavation in the...

Book Review: The Welsh Methodist Society

The Welsh Methodist Society The Early Societies in South-West Wales 1737-1750 Eryn M. White University of Wales Press, 2021 (ISBN: 9781786835796, 350pp, £24.99) In many respects, the church in Britain continues to live off the puttering afterglow of the eighteenth...

Eastern Rite Catholics: What Are They?

Eastern Rite Catholics What Are They? Former Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali’s recent defection to Rome has highlighted earlier efforts of the Roman Catholic Church to bring other ecclesiastical jurisdictions into its orbit.  There are a total of twenty-three which have...

Anglican Futures: Mere Christianity: the Body & Gender Identity

What follows is an answer I recently gave to someone asking what the Christian tradition believes concerning the body and gender identity, and whether it matters. For orthodox Anglicans, the focus on the creeds in what follows is important for three reasons. First, it shows that this is not an eccentric position: it’s mere Christianity, the universal church’s common theological inheritance. Secondly, Article VIII and the liturgies of the Prayer Book recognise the Creeds as true, authoritative and important confessions of orthodox Christian faith, because they can be proved from Scripture. Thirdly, the Church of England’s pastoral guidance on the welcome of transgender persons encourages using the authorised liturgy for Affirmation of Baptismal Faith to mark someone’s new self-identification. In the light of what follows, this can be seen to be a startling abuse and denial of our baptismal confession, the Apostles’ Creed.

The human body is centrally important to the Christian faith. Orthodox Christian theology regards the human person as a psychosomatic (integrated soul-body) unity, according to God’s design in both creation and salvation. The importance of the body can be seen clearly in the Bible, which has binding authority for Christian belief and practice. It is also clearly reflected in Christianity’s major creeds and theological texts. This can be seen in the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed, which are theological summaries of the Bible’s central teaching, and whose doctrines are accepted by every Christian tradition.[1]

The Creeds reflect the Bible’s affirmation of the original goodness of creation as the good craftsmanship of a good God (Genesis 1). This includes the embodied reality of humanity, made in God’s image as male and female (Genesis 1:26-27). This understanding of humans as sexually dimorphic (as a species, male and female, and as individuals male or female) image-bearers of God is at the heart of historic Christian anthropology.[2]

Following reference to creation, the Creeds then focus attention on the central realities of the Christian gospel: First, Christ’s taking on of human flesh in the incarnation, in which human nature (body and soul) is dignified in its personal union with God’s Son. Then, Christ’s sufferings in human flesh under Pontius Pilate, his death by crucifixion, his burial, and his bodily resurrection from the dead on the third day. Significantly, the Gospels emphasise that Christ’s tomb was empty, and that Christ therefore rose with the same body he had before he died, a body that still bore the marks of the nails with which he was crucified, and the spear with which his side was pierced. Thirdly, both the Bible and the Creeds treat Christ’s resurrection as the certain promise of the bodily resurrection of all people for judgement, and Christian believers for embodied eternal life. 

These beliefs lie at the core of the Christian faith. Public confession of them, in the words of the Apostles’ Creed, is required for baptism: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, I believe in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried…on the third day he rose again…I believe in…the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life of the world to come”.

Used with permission. The authors of all Anglican Futures articles are kept anonymous. www.anglicanfutures.org

 

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