"Ain't Gonna Study War No More"

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Right-To-Life Party, Christian, Anti-War, Pro-Life, Bible Fundamentalist, Egalitarian, Libertarian Left

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Treasure Every Child

U.S. Policies Defy Spirit of Season

Early returns on Christmas are up modestly, we are told. Are these reports on an increase in church attendance? Or a decline in the numbers of homeless? The spread of peace in the world? No, the reports are about sales, which are better than last year, particularly in the high-end luxury stores. Christmas - the mass celebrating the birth of Christ - is the biggest shopping season of the year.

But, of course, that's not what the Christmas story is about. It's about a couple - Mary and Joseph - forced by an oppressive government to leave their home to travel far to be counted in the census. It's the story of a child born in a barn and placed in a manger - a makeshift crib. He might have died from exposure, but the stars aligned in the night to provide light and warmth. The innkeeper had no room for the strange couple. If he had understood who the baby was, he would have offered them his bed.

The measure of Christmas is not about what is bought and what is sold. It is not about consuming. Yes, Wise Men left their daily ways, followed the star, and brought gifts to the poor child. But their wisdom was not in the value of their gifts - much of what they brought were scents, to mask the smell of the barn, perhaps - but in their ability to see the power in the infant, even though he was lying in a wooden manger. They saw what the innkeeper could not. The Christmas story instructs us to treasure every child, for even the poorest child of a homeless couple has limitless potential.

Unlike the reports on the business page, the reports on the moral page are grim. Poverty is up in this country - more than 30 million now in poverty. Homelessness is up, with mayors reporting record numbers seeking shelter each night. Many of these are families with a working parent, still unable to afford an apartment or a house. More people go without health care for lack of insurance, or do without the prescriptions they need for lack of money. More than 45 million Americans lack health insurance.

Reports from the values page are also pretty bleak. Inequality is at record levels, yet the administration that insists on cutting taxes on the wealthy also opposes any increase in the minimum wage. College tuitions are soaring, but Congress just authorized a cut in college grants to more than 1 million students. Schools and classes are overcrowded, but across the country, teachers are being laid off and needed repairs are put off.

What was Christmas about? It was about an oppressed people who were praying for a Messiah, a mighty warrior who would conquer their oppressors. But when the Messiah came, he came as the prince of peace, not of war. He taught love and hope and charity, not violence and vengeance. He was the greatest liberator of them all, but he carried no arms, and provisioned no army. His army would be the legions of the faithful, struggling to follow in his path.

But this year, the reports from the peace page are also grim. Our soldiers are in armed occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Our cities are girded against the threat of terrorist attack. We possess the mightiest military, but we are more insecure than ever. We're losing young men and women each day in a war of choice, while generating more hatred against us every week.

War is not a present Jesus would seek. Nor tax breaks for the wealthy, nor a spread of hunger and homelessness.

A mass for Christ would not be about shopping. It would celebrate family and community. Measure yourself, taught the Messiah, by how you treat the "least of these." Today in America, millions of poor children head to school not ready to learn. They suffer from malnutrition, from inadequate health care, from broken homes. One of five children in wealthy America is raised in poverty. We are failing the standard he taught us.

Let us all remember the true spirit of Christmas this year. Protect the babies in the dawn of life. Care for the elderly in the dusk of life. Nurture the sick; shelter the homeless. Stop for the stranger on the Jericho Road. Work for the promise of peace. Surely that is what Jesus would want under his tree. Merry Christmas, everyone.

Rev. Jesse Jackson
The Chicago Sun Times

US Families of Dead Raise 600,000 Dollars for Fallujah Refugees

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Families of US troops killed in the offensive on the Iraqi city of Fallujah are to travel to Jordan next week with 600,000 dollars worth of humanitarian aid for refugees of the attack.

The November assault on Fallujah left 71 US military dead, according to the families, and the Iraqi government said more than 2,000 Iraqis were killed.

"This delegation is a way for me to express my sympathy and support for the Iraqi people," said Rosa Suarez of Escondido in California.

"The Iraq (news - web sites) war took away my son's life, and it has taken away the lives of so many innocent Iraqis. It is time to stop the killing and to help the children of Iraq," she added in a statement released by the families.

The families said with peace groups, physicians' organisations and relatives of the September 11, 2001 attacks victims, they raised 100,000 dollars in an internet appeal. Humanitarian groups such as Middle East Children's Alliance and Operation USA contributed 500,000 dollars worth of medical supplies.

The families are to fly to Amman on December 26 and hand over the supplies to humanitarian and medical workers there.

Thu Dec 23,12:37 PM ET U.S. National - AFP

Yes, You Must Pull Out - But Also Pay for the Damage

The US isn't protecting or feeding Iraqis, it's stoking violence and hardship

Colin Powell invoked it before the invasion, telling aides that if the US went into Iraq "you're going to be owning this place". John Kerry pledged his allegiance to it during the first presidential debate, saying: "Now, if you break it, you made a mistake. It's the wrong thing to do. But you own it."
It's the so-called Pottery Barn rule: "You break it, you own it." Pottery Barn, a chain of stores that sells upmarket home furnishings in shopping malls across America, apparently has an in-store policy that if you shatter anything while shopping, you have to pay for it, because "you own it".

In US foreign policy, this little dictate has come to wield more influence than the Geneva conventions and the US army's law of land warfare combined - except it turns out that the rule doesn't even exist. "In the rare instance that something is broken in the store, it's written off as a loss," an exasperated company spokesperson recently told a journalist.

Never mind that. The imaginary policy of a store selling $80 corkscrews continues to be the favoured blunt instrument with which to whack anyone who dares to suggest that the time has come to withdraw troops from Iraq: sure the war was wrong, the argument goes, but we can't stop now - you break it, you own it.

Though not invoking the chain store by name, Nicholas Kristof laid out this argument in a recent New York Times column. "Our mistaken invasion has left millions of Iraqis desperately vulnerable, and it would be inhumane to abandon them now. If we stay in Iraq, there is still some hope that Iraqis will come to enjoy security and better lives, but if we pull out we will be condemning Iraqis to anarchy, terrorism and starvation, costing the lives of hundreds of thousands of children over the next decade."

Let's start with the idea that the US is helping to provide security. On the contrary, the presence of US troops is provoking violence on a daily basis. The truth is that as long as the troops remain, the country's entire security apparatus - occupation forces as well as Iraqi soldiers and police - will be exclusively dedicated to fending off resistance attacks, leaving a security vacuum when it comes to protecting regular Iraqis. If the troops pulled out, Iraqis would still face insecurity, but they would be able to devote their local security resources to regaining control over their cities and neighbourhoods.

As for preventing "anarchy", the US plan to bring elections to Iraq seems designed to spark a civil war - the civil war needed to justify an ongoing presence for US troops no matter who wins the elections. It was always clear that the Shia majority, which has been calling for immediate elections for more than a year, was never going to accept any delay in the election timetable. And it was equally clear that by destroying Falluja in the name of preparing the city for elections, much of the Sunni leadership would be forced to call for an election boycott.

When Kristof asserts that US forces should stay in Iraq to save hundreds of thousands of children from starvation, it's hard to imagine what he has in mind. Hunger in Iraq is not merely the humanitarian fallout of a war - it is the direct result of the US decision to impose brutal "shock therapy" policies on a country that was already sickened and weakened by 12 years of sanctions. Paul Bremer's first act on the job was to lay off close to 500,000 Iraqis, and his primary accomplishment - for which he has just been awarded the presidential medal of freedom - was to oversee a "reconstruction" process that systematically stole jobs from needy Iraqis and handed them to foreign firms, sending the unemployment rate soaring to 67%.

And the worst of the shocks are yet to come. On November 21, the group of industrialised countries known as the Paris Club finally unveiled its plan for Iraq's unpayable debt. Rather than forgiving it outright, the Paris Club laid out a three-year plan to write off 80%, contingent on Iraq's governments adhering to a strict International Monetary Fund austerity programme. According to early drafts, that programme includes "restructuring of state-owned enterprises" (read: privatisation), a plan that Iraq's ministry of industry predicts will require laying off an additional 145,000 workers. In the name of "free-market reforms", the IMF also wants to eliminate the programme that provides each Iraqi family with a basket of food - the only barrier to starvation for millions of citizens. There is additional pressure to eliminate the food rations coming from the World Trade Organisation, which, at Washington's urging, is considering accepting Iraq as a member - provided it adopts certain "reforms".

So let's be absolutely clear: the US, having broken Iraq, is not in the process of fixing it. It is merely continuing to break the country and its people by other means, using not only F-16s and Bradleys, but now the less flashy weaponry of WTO and IMF conditions, followed by elections designed to transfer as little power to Iraqis as possible. This is what Argentinian writer Rodolfo Walsh, writing before his assassination in 1977 by the military junta, described as "planned misery". And the longer the US stays in Iraq, the more misery it will plan.

But if staying in Iraq is not the solution, neither are easy bumper-sticker calls to pull the troops out and spend the money on schools and hospitals at home. Yes, the troops must leave, but that can be only one plank of a credible and moral antiwar platform. What of Iraq's schools and hospitals - the ones that were supposed to be fixed by Bechtel but never were? Too often, antiwar forces have shied away from speaking about what Americans owe Iraq. Rarely is the word "compensation" spoken, let alone the more loaded "reparations".

Antiwar forces have also failed to offer concrete support for the political demands coming out of Iraq. For instance, when the Iraqi national assembly condemned the Paris Club deal for forcing the Iraqi people to pay Saddam's "odious" debts and robbing them of their economic sovereignty, the antiwar movement was virtually silent, save the dogged but undersupported Jubilee Iraq. And while US soldiers aren't protecting Iraqis from starvation, the food rations certainly are - so why isn't safeguarding this desperately needed programme one of our central demands?

The failure to develop a credible platform beyond "troops out" may be one reason the antiwar movement remains stalled, even as opposition to the war deepens. Because the Pottery Barn rulers do have a point: breaking a country should have consequences for the breakers. Owning the broken country should not be one of them, but how about paying for the repairs?

Naomi Klein
Monday December 27, 2004
The Guardian
A version of this column was first published in The Nation


The Gospel of Jesus Christ: An Evangelical Celebration

—John 3:16

—Isaiah 12:5


This Gospel declares the only way to know God in peace, love, and joy is through the reconciling death of Jesus Christ the risen Lord.

This Gospel is the central message of the Holy Scriptures, and is the true key to understanding them.

This Gospel identifies Jesus Christ, the Messiah of Israel, as the Son of God and God the Son, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, whose incarnation, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension fulfilled the Father's saving will. His death for sins and his resurrection from the dead were promised beforehand by the prophets and attested by eyewitnesses. In God's own time and in God's own way, Jesus Christ shall return as glorious Lord and Judge of all (1Th 4:13 18; Mt 25:31 32). He is now giving the Holy Spirit from the Father to all those who are truly his. The three Persons of the Trinity thus combine in the work of saving sinners.

This Gospel sets forth Jesus Christ as the living Savior, Master, Life, and Hope of all who put their trust in him. It tells us that the eternal destiny of all people depends on whether they are savingly related to Jesus Christ.

This Gospel is the only Gospel: there is no other; and to change its substance is to pervert and indeed destroy it. This Gospel is so simple that small children can understand it, and it is so profound that studies by the wisest theologians will never exhaust its riches.

All Christians are called to unity in love and unity in truth. As evangelicals who derive our very name from the Gospel, we celebrate this great good news of God's saving work in Jesus Christ as the true bond of Christian unity, whether among organized churches and denominations or in the many transdenominational co-operative enterprises of Christians together.

The Bible declares that all who truly trust in Christ and his Gospel are sons and daughters of God through grace, and hence are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

All who are justified experience reconciliation with the Father, full remission of sins, transition from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, the reality of being a new creature in Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. They enjoy access to the Father with all the peace and joy that this brings.

The Gospel requires of all believers worship, which means constant praise and giving of thanks to God, submission to all that he has revealed in his written word, prayerful dependence on him, and vigilance lest his truth be even inadvertently compromised or obscured.

To share the joy and hope of this Gospel is a supreme privilege. It is also an abiding obligation, for the Great Commission of Jesus Christ still stands: proclaim the Gospel everywhere, he said, teaching, baptizing, and making disciples.

By embracing the following declaration we affirm our commitment to this task, and with it our allegiance to Christ himself, to the Gospel itself, and to each other as fellow evangelical believers.

which God sets forth in the infallible Scriptures combines Jesus' own declaration of the present reality of the kingdom of God with the apostles' account of the person, place, and work of Christ, and how sinful humans benefit from it. The Patristic Rule of Faith, the historic creeds, the Reformation confessions, and the doctrinal bases of later evangelical bodies all witness to the substance of this biblical message.

The heart of the Gospel is that our holy, loving Creator, confronted with human hostility and rebellion, has chosen in his own freedom and faithfulness to become our holy, loving Redeemer and Restorer. The Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world (1Jn 4:14): it is through his one and only Son that God's one and only plan of salvation is implemented. So Peter announced: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Ac 4:12). And Christ himself taught: "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (Jn 14:6).

Through the Gospel we learn that we human beings, who were made for fellowship with God, are by nature that is, "in Adam" (1Co 15:22) dead in sin, unresponsive to and separated from our Maker. We are constantly twisting his truth, breaking his law, belittling his goals and standards, and offending his holiness by our unholiness, so that we truly are "without hope and without God in the world" (Ro 1:18 32, 3:9 20; Eph 2:1 3, 12). Yet God in grace took the initiative to reconcile us to himself through the sinless life and vicarious death of his beloved Son (Eph 2:4 10; Ro 3:21 24).

The Father sent the Son to free us from the dominion of sin and Satan, and to make us God's children and friends. Jesus paid our penalty in our place on his cross, satisfying the retributive demands of divine justice by shedding his blood in sacrifice and so making possible justification for all who trust in him (Ro 3:25 26). The Bible describes this mighty substitutionary transaction as the achieving of ransom, reconciliation, redemption, propitiation, and conquest of evil powers (Mt 20:28; 2Co 5:18 21; Ro 3:23 25; Jn 12:31; Col 2:15). It secures for us a restored relationship with God that brings pardon and peace, acceptance and access, and adoption into God's family (Col 1:20, 2:13 14; Ro 5:1 2; Gal 4:4 7; 1Pe 3:18). The faith in God and in Christ to which the Gospel calls us is a trustful outgoing of our hearts to lay hold of these promised and proffered benefits.

This Gospel further proclaims the bodily resurrection, ascension, and enthronement of Jesus as evidence of the efficacy of his once-for-all sacrifice for us, of the reality of his present personal ministry to us, and of the certainty of his future return to glorify us (1Co 15; Heb 1:1 4, 2:1 18, 4:14 16, 7:1 10:25). In the life of faith as the Gospel presents it, believers are united with their risen Lord, communing with him, and looking to him in repentance and hope for empowering through the Holy Spirit, so that henceforth they may not sin but serve him truly.

God's justification of those who trust him, according to the Gospel, is a decisive transition, here and now, from a state of condemnation and wrath because of their sins to one of acceptance and favor by virtue of Jesus' flawless obedience culminating in his voluntary sin-bearing death. God "justifies the wicked" (ungodly: Ro 4:5) by imputing (reckoning, crediting, counting, accounting) righteousness to them and ceasing to count their sins against them (Ro 4:1 8). Sinners receive through faith in Christ alone "the gift of righteousness" (Ro 1:17, 5:17; Php 3:9) and thus be come "the righteousness of God" in him who was "made sin" for them (2Co 5:21).

As our sins were reckoned to Christ, so Christ's righteousness is reckoned to us. This is justification by the imputation of Christ's righteousness. All we bring to the transaction is our need of it. Our faith in the God who bestows it, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is itself the fruit of God's grace. Faith links us savingly to Jesus, but inasmuch as it involves an acknowledgment that we have no merit of our own, it is confessedly not a meritorious work.

The Gospel assures us that all who have entrusted their lives to Jesus Christ are born-again children of God (Jn 1:12), indwelt, empowered, and assured of their status and hope by the Holy Spirit (Ro 7:6, 8:9 17). The moment we truly believe in Christ, the Father declares us righteous in him and begins conforming us to his likeness. Genuine faith acknowledges and depends upon Jesus as Lord and shows itself in growing obedience to the divine commands, though this contributes nothing to the ground of our justification (Jas 2:14 26; Heb 6:1 12).

By his sanctifying grace, Christ works within us through faith, renewing our fallen nature and leading us to real maturity, that measure of development which is meant by "the fullness of Christ" (Eph 4:13). The Gospel calls us to live as obedient servants of Christ and as his emissaries in the world, doing justice, loving mercy, and helping all in need, thus seeking to bear witness to the kingdom of Christ. At death, Christ takes the believer to himself (Php 1:21) for unimaginable joy in the ceaseless worship of God (Rev 22:1 5).

Salvation in its full sense is from the guilt of sin in the past, the power of sin in the present, and the presence of sin in the future. Thus, while in foretaste believers enjoy salvation now, they still await its fullness (Mk 14:61 62; Heb 9:28). Salvation is a Trinitarian reality, initiated by the Father, implemented by the Son, and applied by the Holy Spirit. It has a global dimension, for God's plan is to save believers out of every tribe and tongue (Rev 5:9) to be his church, a new humanity, the people of God, the body and bride of Christ, and the community of the Holy Spirit. All the heirs of final salvation are called here and now to serve their Lord and each other in love, to share in the fellowship of Jesus' sufferings, and to work together to make Christ known to the whole world.

We learn from the Gospel that, as all have sinned, so all who do not receive Christ will be judged according to their just deserts as measured by God's holy law, and face eternal retributive punishment.

despite differences of race, gender, privilege, and social, political, and economic background (Jn 13:34 35; Gal 3:28 29), and to be of one mind wherever possible (Jn 17:20 21; Php 2:2; Ro 14:1 15:13). We know that divisions among Christians hinder our witness in the world, and we desire greater mutual understanding and truth-speaking in love. We know too that as trustees of God's revealed truth we cannot embrace any form of doctrinal indifferentism, or relativism, or pluralism by which God's truth is sacrificed for a false peace.

Doctrinal disagreements call for debate. Dialogue for mutual understanding and, if possible, narrowing of the differences is valuable, doubly so when the avowed goal is unity in primary things, with liberty in secondary things, and charity in all things.

In the foregoing paragraphs, an attempt has been made to state what is primary and essential in the Gospel as evangelicals understand it. Useful dialogue, however, requires not only charity in our attitudes, but also clarity in our utterances. Our extended analysis of justification by faith alone through Christ alone reflects our belief that Gospel truth is of crucial importance and is not always well understood and correctly affirmed. For added clarity, out of love for God's truth and Christ's church, we now cast the key points of what has been said into specific affirmations and denials regarding the Gospel and our unity in it and in Christ.


WE AFFIRM that the Gospel entrusted to the church is, in the first instance, God's Gospel (Mk 1:14; Ro 1:1). God is its author, and he reveals it to us in and by his Word. Its authority and truth rest on him alone.

WE DENY that the truth or authority of the Gospel derives from any human insight or invention (Gal 1:1 11). We also deny that the truth or authority of the Gospel rests on the authority of any particular church or human institution.

WE AFFIRM that the Gospel is the saving power of God in that the Gospel effects salvation to everyone who believes, without distinction (Ro 1:16). This efficacy of the Gospel is by the power of God himself (1Co 1:18).

WE DENY that the power of the Gospel rests in the eloquence of the preacher, the technique of the evangelist, or the persuasion of rational argument (1Co 1:21; 2:1 5).

WE AFFIRM that the Gospel diagnoses the universal human condition as one of sinful rebellion against God, which, if unchanged, will lead each person to eternal loss under God's condemnation.

WE DENY any rejection of the fallenness of human nature or any assertion of the natural goodness, or divinity, of the human race.

WE AFFIRM that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation, the only mediator between God and humanity (Jn 14:6; 1Ti 2:5).

WE DENY that anyone is saved in any other way than by Jesus Christ and his Gospel. The Bible offers no hope that sincere worshipers of other religions will be saved without personal faith in Jesus Christ.

WE AFFIRM that the church is commanded by God and is therefore under divine obligation to preach the Gospel to every living person (Lk 24:47; Mt 28:18 19).

WE DENY that any particular class or group of persons, whatever their ethnic or cultural identity, may be ignored or passed over in the preaching of the Gospel (1Co 9:19 22). God purposes a global church made up from people of every tribe, language, and nation (Rev 7:9).

WE AFFIRM that faith in Jesus Christ as the divine Word (or Logos, Jn 1:1), the second Person of the Trinity, co-eternal and co-essential with the Father and the Holy Spirit (Heb 1:3), is foundational to faith in the Gospel.

WE DENY that any view of Jesus Christ which reduces or rejects his full deity is Gospel faith or will avail to salvation.

WE AFFIRM that Jesus Christ is God incarnate (Jn 1:14). The virgin-born descendant of David (Ro 1:3), he had a true human nature, was subject to the Law of God (Gal 4:5), and was like us at all points, except without sin (Heb 2:17, 7:26 28). We affirm that faith in the true humanity of Christ is essential to faith in the Gospel.

WE DENY that anyone who rejects the humanity of Christ, his incarnation, or his sinlessness, or who maintains that these truths are not essential to the Gospel, will be saved (1Jn 4:2 3).

WE AFFIRM that the atonement of Christ by which, in his obedience, he offered a perfect sacrifice, propitiating the Father by paying for our sins and satisfying divine justice on our behalf according to God's eternal plan, is an essential element of the Gospel.

WE DENY that any view of the Atonement that rejects the substitutionary satisfaction of divine justice, accomplished vicariously for believers, is compatible with the teaching of the Gospel.

WE AFFIRM that Christ's saving work included both his life and his death on our behalf (Gal 3:13). We declare that faith in the perfect obedience of Christ by which he fulfilled all the demands of the Law of God in our behalf is essential to the Gospel.

WE DENY that our salvation was achieved merely or exclusively by the death of Christ without reference to his life of perfect righteousness.

WE AFFIRM that the bodily resurrection of Christ from the dead is essential to the biblical Gospel (1Co 15:14).

WE DENY the validity of any so-called gospel that denies the historical reality of the bodily resurrection of Christ.

WE AFFIRM that the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone in Christ alone is essential to the Gospel (Ro 3:28; 4:5; Gal 2:16).

WE DENY that any person can believe the biblical Gospel and at the same time reject the apostolic teaching of justification by faith alone in Christ alone. We also deny that there is more than one true Gospel (Gal 1:6 9).

WE AFFIRM that the doctrine of the imputation (reckoning or counting) both of our sins to Christ and of his righteousness to us, whereby our sins are fully forgiven and we are fully accepted, is essential to the biblical Gospel (2Co 5:19 21).

WE DENY that we are justified by the righteousness of Christ infused into us or by any righteousness that is thought to inhere within us.

WE AFFIRM that the righteousness of Christ by which we are justified is properly his own, which he achieved apart from us, in and by his perfect obedience. This righteousness is counted, reckoned, or imputed to us by the forensic (that is, legal) declaration of God, as the sole ground of our justification.

We deny that any works we perform at any stage of our existence add to the merit of Christ or earn for us any merit that contributes in any way to the ground of our justification (Gal 2:16; Eph 2:8 9; Tit 3:5).

WE AFFIRM that, while all believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and are in the process of being made holy and conformed to the image of Christ, those consequences of justification are not its ground. God declares us just, remits our sins, and adopts us as his children, by his grace alone, and through faith alone, because of Christ alone, while we are still sinners (Ro 4:5).

WE DENY that believers must be inherently righteous by virtue of their cooperation with God's life-transforming grace before God will declare them justified in Christ. We are justified while we are still sinners.

WE AFFIRM that saving faith results in sanctification, the transformation of life in growing conformity to Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Sanctification means ongoing repentance, a life of turning from sin to serve Jesus Christ in grateful reliance on him as one's Lord and Master (Gal 5:22 25; Ro 8:4, 13 14).

WE REJECT any view of justification which divorces it from our sanctifying union with Christ and our increasing conformity to his image through prayer, repentance, cross-bearing, and life in the Spirit.

WE AFFIRM that saving faith includes mental assent to the content of the Gospel, acknowledgment of our own sin and need, and personal trust and reliance upon Christ and his work.

WE DENY that saving faith includes only mental acceptance of the Gospel, and that justification is secured by a mere outward profession of faith. We further deny that any element of saving faith is a meritorious work or earns salvation for us.

WE AFFIRM that, although true doctrine is vital for spiritual health and well-being, we are not saved by doctrine. Doctrine is necessary to inform us how we may be saved by Christ, but it is Christ who saves.

WE DENY that the doctrines of the Gospel can be rejected without harm. Denial of the Gospel brings spiritual ruin and exposes us to God's judgment.

WE AFFIRM that Jesus Christ commands his followers to proclaim the Gospel to all living persons, evangelizing everyone everywhere, and discipling believers within the fellowship of the church. A full and faithful witness to Christ includes the witness of personal testimony, godly living, and acts of mercy and charity to our neighbor, without which the preaching of the Gospel appears barren.

WE DENY that the witness of personal testimony, godly living, and acts of mercy and charity to our neighbors constitutes evangelism apart from the proclamation of the Gospel.

, we promise to watch over and care for one another, to pray for and forgive one another, and to reach out in love and truth to God's people everywhere, for we are one family, one in the Holy Spirit, and one in Christ.

Centuries ago it was truly said that in things necessary there must be unity, in things less than necessary there must be liberty, and in all things there must be charity. We see all these Gospel truths as necessary.

Now to God, the Author of the truth and grace of this Gospel, through Jesus Christ, its subject and our Lord, be praise and glory forever and ever. Amen.

"The Gospel of Jesus Christ: An Evangelical Celebration" is copyright © 1999 by The Committee on Evangelical Unity in the Gospel, P.O. Box 5551, Glendale Heights, IL 60139-5551. Reprinted by permission