Tony Houghton

If I am hearing it right, the Anglican Covenant is going to be a document that expresses what Anglicans believe, in a nut shell. If this is a correct interpretation of the covenant then the letter I write makes sense; if not then my mistake.

Too often these days people still think that they can call themselves Christians and believe whatever they want. I have heard some say that they don't believe certain ideas in the creed and during a service when it comes to a part they don't believe, they cross their fingers, as it were, or give it some "spiritual" meaning. They want to come to the Christian faith on their own terms.

Paul says "Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves." (2 Cor. 13:5) The problem is, we test ourselves, but we also give the answers too. The answers come from scripture and nowhere else; they will tell the truth, for they are truth. The basics of Christian faith are like a finely woven garment: cut one thread and the whole thing falls apart.

We may not fully understand some doctrines of faith; that's where we rise to its level, and not pull it down to our level. It's about time that the Anglican Church laid out the non-negotiables of our faith as written in the Apostles Creed, the Thirty-nine Articles, etc.

A lot of people nowadays see the articles of faith-that have been in the most part accepted as the foundation of the church - as a smorgasbord. "I will have some of this, a little of that, oh, I don't like that, I'll have none of that." When we start making decisions on doctrine on what "we" believe God's plan is instead of aligning what we believe to what the Bible says, we start making God in our own image.

You hear the results of this thinking all the time: "My god wouldn't do such and such"; we've made him out to be someone like Barney: "I love you, you love me..."

What J. Gresham Machen wrote in the 20s could have been written for the church today:

"It makes very little difference how much or how little of the creeds of the Church the Modernist preacher affirms, or how much or how little of the Biblical teaching from which the creeds are derived. He might affirm every jot and tittle of the Westminster Confession, for example, and yet be separated by a great gulf from the Reformed Faith. It is not that part is denied and the rest affirmed; but all is denied, because all is affirmed merely as useful or symbolic and not as true.

"This temper of mind is hostile to precise definitions. Indeed nothing makes a man more unpopular in the controversies of the present day than an insistence upon definition of terms... In view of the lamentable defects of modern life, a type of religion certainly should not be commended simply because it is modern or condemned simply because it is old. On the contrary, the condition of mankind is such that one may well ask what it is that made the men of past generations so great and the men of the present generations so small."

That pretty well says it all.