Paul Littleton was the first speaker this morning. I realize that I am prone to superlatives and have to guard myself against exaggeration in writing. With that awareness, I honestly believe every evangelical Christian who is a member of a denomination or convention could read or hear Paul's presentation. It was understated in emotional presentation but one of the most powerful statements on the modern church I have ever heard. I encourage you to go to Paul Littleton's blog and read his paper.
As promised, the revised and adopted Antioch Network of Churches Doctrinal Confession and Statement of Cooperation is below. Changes are in bold italics
An Antioch Network of Churches Doctrinal Confession and Statement of Cooperation
The gospel is the story about Christ, God’s and David’s Son, who died and was raised and is established as Lord. Churches forming the Antioch Network desire to join together to proclaim the good news that God's Kingdom has come in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord and Messiah, in fulfillment of the Word of God.
The gospel we declare evokes faith, repentance and discipleship --- its accompanying effects include the forgiveness of sins, justification, reconciliation, adoption, wisdom and the gift of the Holy Spirit. We accompany our proclamation of the gospel with cooperative works of compassion and mercy for those in need or distress.
We strive to advance Christ’s kingdom on earth with the confession, proclamation, and application of the good news. The Bible is undoubtedly central to our cooperation, but Jesus Christ is the center of it. Therefore, we resolve to cooperate with one another, affirming the essentials of the gospel and our identity as Christ followers in these five doctrines:(1). We affirm the authority, sufficiency, reliability and consistency of God’s infallible revelation to man in both the Words of Holy Scripture and the Person of Jesus Christ
(2) We affirm that the one true God exists eternally in three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and that these, being one God, are equal in deity, power, and glory. Furthermore, we affirm both the full humanity and deity of Jesus Christ.
(3). We affirm Christ’s virgin birth, His substitutionary death for sinners, His resurrection from the dead, His second coming, and His gift of eternal life to all who are in relationship with Him by grace through faith alone.
(4). We affirm that God has ordained the gospel message by His proclamation of the gospel message by His people in the power of the Holy Spirit, who is both the gift of God to the church and the giver of diverse spiritual gifts. We also affirm baptism as the public testimony for those who have come into covenant relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
(5). We affirm that those apart from a relationship with Christ will face God’s judgment.
The sole authority for faith and practice among the Antioch Network of Churches is the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Doctrinal confessions, including this one, are only guides to interpreting the Bible, and have no authority over the conscience. Christians have historically differed in interpretation on finer points of doctrine not essential to Christian faith. Yet, with all our differences on secondary issues, we who form the Antioch Network of Churches desire to cooperate in ministry because of our love for the gospel.
Therefore, we intentionally put aside our differences on secondary issues for the sake of cooperative gospel ministry. We desire unity in the essentials, liberty in the non-essentials, but charity in all things. This statement of cooperation defines the necessary essentials which must be affirmed in order to participate in the cooperative ministries and fellowship of the Antioch Network of Churches.
We desire to send to the world and our evangelical brethren through this statement of cooperation a sure and certain message: It is the gospel that unites us, and what unites us is greater than anything that might potentially divide us.
The Statement of Cooperation is simply background on the doctrinal confession, and is not considered doctrine itself. In addition to this statement, the group issued an additional statement that defined Antioch as a network and not a denomination or convention.
The group officially adopted the name The Antioch Network of Churches and a leadership team of twelve was elected. Over the next several months the network will evolve as the Lord leads. Our church and - I myself as pastor - will remain committed to the Southern Baptist Convention both financially and in full participation in missions and evangelism. I look forward to being a part of an additional network of churches - broader than just the Southern Baptist Convention - that will work toward the expansion of the kingdom of Christ.
In His Grace,