WHAT WE BELIEVE
THREE STREAMS IN ONE RIVER
At Good Shepherd we are shaped by, and deeply connected to, three great aspects of classic Christian belief and practice: the Scripture, the Sacred, and the Spirit. Together, the three "streams" of the Scripture, the Sacred and the Spirit define the core values that shape our identity and guide the expressions of our faith – our words, our actions and our worship.
Our focus on Scripture mirrors the "evangelical" tradition within Christianity that emphasizes the authority of Scripture, the proclamation of the Gospel, the need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, evangelism and outreach/missions. The Anglican Church believes and upholds eternal truths revealed by God through His Son and His Word. We recognize Scripture as the final authority in matters of faith and practice: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Good Shepherd embraces the sacred nature of the historic faith and sacramental life of the Church – God has set the Church apart as holy. Sometimes termed the "catholic" tradition, we understand the sacred as embodying that which has been taught and believed within the one holy catholic apostolic church throughout the centuries. Our Liturgy (forms of worship) and our practice of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper (Holy Eucharist) are rooted in the earliest Christian church and express these truths. "...contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints." (Jude 3)
We celebrate the power of God's Spirit at work in the Church and the world, a focus often associated with the "charismatic" tradition. The Anglican Church believes God's Spirit was poured out at Pentecost and continues to move in a mighty way by demonstrating His presence through powerful acts and the transformation of believers. We believe the Spirit of God guides, instructs and equips believers for works of service: "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit...to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good." (1 Cor. 12:4,7)
On the SCRIPTURE
The Supreme Authority of Holy Scripture
In solidarity with the Anglican Communion, with historic Anglican doctrine, and with the Bishops gathered at Lambeth 1998 and with the Jerusalem Declaration , we believe that Holy Scripture is the supreme authority in the Church, that it is the Word of God written and contains all things necessary to Salvation. The Church is neither to add anything to it nor to remove anything from it. It is proper for the Church to set forth rites and order its life in the light of Scripture; it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God's Word written.
Proper Interpretation of Holy Scripture
With regard to the interpretation of Holy Scripture, we affirm the clarity of its plain sense so that it may and can be understood by ordinary readers. We hold to the importance of the scholarly interpretation of Scripture by a faithful use of responsible historical and grammatical scholarship. We affirm that the original meaning of the text is to be given its due primacy. Further we believe in the unity and harmony of its various books and two Testaments so that one place of Scripture may not be expounded so as to be repugnant to another. Also, it is only by referring to the whole Canon of Scripture that Scripture will be allowed to interpret Scripture. We hold to the sufficiency and trustworthiness of Scripture in bringing unbelievers to Christ and nurturing and sustaining believers unto eternal life. By following these principles of interpretation the Church will interpret Scripture in accord with its nature as the Word of God written.
With the ancient Church we affirm the dogmatic definitions of the first seven general councils (the last three being seen as out-workings of the first four). Accordingly, we affirm these three Ecumenical Creeds as standing in perfect accord with Holy Scripture:
the Chalcedonian Creed
As a summation of these three Ecumenical Creeds, we also affirm and uphold, along with the whole Church in the West, the Athanasian Creed.
OTHER DOCTRINAL STATEMENTS
In addition to the Creeds, which all Christians hold in common, the Thirty-nine articles offer a summation of the particular theological views of the Anglican Church, of which Good Shepherd is a part. The Articles spring from the theology of the Reformation and place the Anglican Church firmly within the Protestant and Reformed tradition.
The Jerusalem Declaration is a theological statement of basic Biblical Anglican belief. It originates from the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) of 2008 in Jerusalem. GAFCON is a global family of authentic Anglicans standing together to retain and restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion. GAFCON's mission is to guard the unchanging, transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ and to proclaim Him to the world. The Jerusalem Statement is a doctrinal confession which articulates the standard for theological unity in GAFCON.