Charismatic Episcopal Church

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Lamb of God: A Three Streams Church Beliefs

Posted by on 07 Jul 2012 | Tagged as: Charismatic Episcopal Church, Theology

So that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth.

1 Tim. 3:15 NLT

Lamb of God: A Three Streams Church is a Bible-believing, Christ-exalting, and Spirit-immersed group of believers eagerly yearning for more of Christ in our lives and the presence of God in our community. We are men and women of faith drawn together by the Holy Spirit from various denominational, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds.

We desire to be a complete expression of the early church: our worship is Biblical and historic, liturgical and Spirit-filled, ancient and contemporary, holy and joyful. We are a church that is submitted to the authority of Scripture as interpreted by the continuing witness of the ancient church. Lamb of God Church is committed to advancing the Kingdom of God by proclaiming the gospel to the least, lost, lonely and last.

Lamb of God Is Fully Sacramental and Liturgical:

At the center of Lamb of God’s worship is the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper where we believe resides the presence of Christ. The Lord’s Supper is precious for it is an encounter with the living resurrected Jesus. Grace poured forth, faith renewed, sins forgiven, spirits encouraged, healing released, and hope restored, all found at the table of the Lord. At the Lord’s table, the resurrected Christ meets the people of God as the heart of God makes known the love of God in bread and wine. Through baptism and the partaking of Christ’s body and blood, we are brought into living union with Christ.

Lamb of God Is Fully Evangelical:

Lamb of God Church believes that we are saved by grace alone, justified by faith alone in Christ alone. Christ who is our Lord and Savior is calling all men and women to a personal relationship with Him. We believe the gospel which is the good news that God in Christ has come into the world and by his life, death, and resurrection has conquered our greatest foes: the world, flesh, sin, death, and the devil. The gospel is the proclamation that our sins are forgiven and we are under the condemnation of judgment no more. This precious gospel calls forth from each of us a response of faith and repentance.

Lamb of God Church holds to a high view of Holy Scriptures both the Old and New Testaments, believing them to contain all things necessary to salvation; nothing can be taught as necessary for salvation that is not found in the Scriptures. We are committed to the preaching of the Gospel to fulfill the great commission for salvation is found only in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lamb of God Is Fully Charismatic:

We are a church that participates in the person and work of the Holy Spirit. We believe that through the baptism of the Holy Spirit all believers are can partake in the fullness of the Spirit and are given power for Christian ministry. The baptism of the Holy Spirit releases in the believer both the fruit and gifts of the Spirit for the building up of the church and the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

Lamb of God Is Consensus Government:

We are a church governed by Christ through bishops in apostolic succession who are humbly submitted to the leading of the Holy Spirit and to one another. Our desire is to be a house of prayer, yearning to hear and obey the voice of God. Decisions are made by our elders upon coming to consensus with our bishop under the Lordship of Christ.

What Theologians Are Supposed to Do!

Posted by on 14 Jun 2010 | Tagged as: Charismatic Episcopal Church, J. I. Packer, Puritans, Theology

Theology that Quickens the Conscience and Softens the Heart

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

Hebrews 1:1-2

Several years ago, Bishop Charles W. Jones graciously appointed me as his canon theologian. A canon theologian is responsible for advising his bishop in theological matters, teaching the classic truths of the Faith, and encouraging his fellow clergy in the study of the Word of God. I take the task seriously, perhaps too seriously. But, I feel a responsibility to equip the people of God in the truths of God for the upbuilding of the church of God for the advancement of the kingdom of God. Theology need not be a purely intellectual exercise: theology should elevate the people of God into the presence of God for the worship and love of God. Theology should be birthed in prayer, pastorally sensitive, and understandable to the everyday believer. As J. I. Packer states below, theology should clean out the church’s sewers so that God’s truth might flow to the benefit of all.

If our theology does not quicken the conscience and soften the heart, it actually hardens both; if it does not encourage the commitment of faith, it reinforces the detachment of unbelief; if it fails to promote humility, it inevitably feeds pride. So one who theologizes in public, whether formally in the pulpit, on the podium or in print, or informally from the armchair, must think hard about the effect his thoughts will have on people — God’s people, and other people. Theologians are called to be the church’s water engineers and sewage officers; it is their job to see that God’s pure truth flows abundantly where it is needed, and to filter out any intrusive pollution that might damage health.

J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1990), 15.

HT: Ray Ortlund

“Again”: A Prophetic Word

Posted by on 03 Dec 2009 | Tagged as: Charismatic Episcopal Church, Gift of Prophecy

Bishop Charles “Chuck” W. Jones Shares a Prophetic Word from the Provincial Council of the Southeast Province of the Charismatic Episcopal Church

On Sunday night,  Nov. 15, 2009,  the Archbishop’s Council and the Provincial Council of the Southeastern Province (CEC) met for dinner in Thomaston, Georgia, before visiting with Bishop John Holloway and his family. After our visit, we drove to Peachtree City, Georgia, where we began a twenty-four hour fast. Monday was designated as our day of fasting and praying for our Province, each Diocese, and the CEC in general. Tuesday was set aside as a day of business, but Monday was committed to prayer and fasting. I do not think I am stretching it to say that our time on Monday was profoundly important and encouraging.

On Monday, it was a wonderful experience to watch these men cry out to God doing battle on behalf of the CEC, the church we all have been called to serve. During our time of prayer, a couple of significant prophetic words (1 Cor. 14:1-4) came forth, and as a council, we wanted to pass these words on to you for your encouragement.

The first word that kept coming was the word “AGAIN”. I am a New American Standard (NASB) guy but for some reason, I didn’t have my Bible with me.  However, I noticed a Bible on the altar rail, I picked it up because the Holy Spirit kept speaking from Jeremiah chapter 18. The Bible was Fr. David Paysinger’s which is the New King James Version (NKJV). This is important because the NASB does not use the word “again” in Jer. 18:4, but the NKJV does.

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again (emphasis mine) into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.

Jer. 18:1-4 (NKJV)

We have come through a time in the Charismatic Episcopal Church (CEC) in America where it seems that the vessel was marred in the potter’s hand. The aftermath of such trauma can be a deep sense of loss and logical doubts. We fear that we might not see our holy dreams realized. The Lord is saying dream “AGAIN”; hear the words you once heard “AGAIN.” Believe “AGAIN.” Labor with joyful hope “AGAIN.” Be excited about your calling, your parish, the three steams of convergence, and the CEC, “AGAIN.”

While sharing this prophetic word with each other, the Holy Spirit spoke a second time. He asked the question, “what day is this,” the answer was the 16th of November. Immediately, the Holy Spirit lead us to read Jeremiah chapter 16. As I read the chapter, I came across verse 16. Jeremiah 16:16 speaks about fishing and hunting for men. For several months now the Lord has been persistently speaking to me both pastorally and prophectically about being fishers of men.

Behold, I will send for many fishermen,” says the Lord, “and they shall fish them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.

Jer. 16:16 (NKJV)

The Lord said, we are to be consumed and driven, as all true fishermen are, with capturing the hearts of people with the love of Christ. This prophetic word isn’t just about an evangelism strategy. The word is about asking the Lord to bring us and our  parishes into living union with the thirsting heart of Christ who seeks a fallen and broken humanity. Jesus longs for us to embrace his suffering heart for others. Having a heart for the least, lost, and lonely is where the blessing of God is found, where the anointing of the Holy Spirit is released, and where incarnational Christianity is realized.

God powerfully confirmed his word to us: the word was Jeremiah 16:16 on the 16th day. God’s use of numerical repetition is a common way in which he has spoken and confirmed his words to us in the past. This provincial council meeting was the first time we had met at Bishop David Epp’s church, and as further confirmation, Bishop Epps’ remembered that the 16th was the second anniversary of his consecration.

These events were all amazing coincidences of our Lord. He was shouting to us that we are to ask him to make us and our parishes fishers of men. We are not to stop crying out until our hearts are consumed with the LOVE of CHRIST for all human beings. We are to go forth with hope in our hearts knowing that the Lord has spoken “AGAIN.” The Lord is a second time calling the CEC to fulfill our destiny.

In Christ,

+Chuck Jones

Evangelical First and Foremost

Posted by on 19 Oct 2009 | Tagged as: Charismatic Episcopal Church, Evangelical, Gospel, Timothy George

Why I Am an Evangelical First

For I delivered to you as of first importance (emphasis mine) what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

1 Cor 15:3-5 (ESV)

In the Charismatic Episcopal Church (C.E.C.), we adhere to the biblical, historic theology of convergence. Convergence theology affirms the person and work of the Spirit (Charismatic), the beauty of Christ and his finished work on the Cross (Evangelical), and the historic church’s sacramental worldview with its Eucharist-centered life and Trinitarian worship (Sacramental).

I affirm convergence theology as the model and practice of the Book of Acts and the early church. However, the Charismatic and Sacramental streams are subservient to the message of the Good News. Why place the Evangelical stream at the head? We cannot enjoy the sacraments and the presence of the Holy Spirit unless we have experienced Christ first in all his saving work. We must be saved before we can know the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and experience the fullness of Christ at the Table of the Lord (1 Peter 1:3-5).

Therefore, I am grateful for Evangelicalism for without this movement, I would not have known the justifying grace of God. The Evangelical message is the message that saves, delivers, and heals. Evangelicalism preaches the Biblical gospel:

The gospel is the good news that God in Christ has come into the world and by his life, death, burial, and resurrection has conquered my greatest enemies: the world, the flesh, sin, death and the devil. This gospel calls forth a response of faith and repentance. Our response allows the Holy Spirit to transforming our entire beings making us a new creations in Christ.

In summary: the gospel is salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

So what is Evangelicalism or the Evangelical stream? Listed are two definitions: the first, focuses on Evangelical belief, and the second, identifies Evangelicalism’s historic roots.

An evangelical is someone who embraces the solas of the Reformation (salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone, according to Scripture alone), resonates with the emphasis on the new birth and the reviving work of the Spirit found in the Great Awakening, believes in the complete trustworthiness of the Bible contra the liberals and modernists, accepts the responsibility of world evangelization and social engagement as modeled by countless missionaries and reformers, rejects the obscurantism that marked parts of fundamentalism, and, in distinction to the pragmatists and postmoderns, affirms the importance of doctrinal propositions and the knowability of truth.

Kevin DeYoung via Evangel blog

At its heart [evangelicalism] is a theological core shaped by the Trinitarian and Christological consensus of the early church, the formal and material principles of the Reformation, the missionary movement that grew out of the Great Awakening and the new movements of the Spirit that indicate “surprising works of God” are still happening today.

Timothy George, ”Foreword,” in The Advent of Evangelicalism

I am an Evangelical first and foremost because Christ and his finished work on the cross is the first and foremost message of the New Testament (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Christ comes first in the Christian life because Christ is “before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence” (Col. 1:17-18 NKJV).

HT: Evangel blog at First Things

Sola Scriptura

Posted by on 09 Oct 2009 | Tagged as: Bible, Charismatic Episcopal Church, Evangelical, Martin Luther, Timothy George

Evangelical Essentials (Part Eleven)

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

2 Tim 3:16-17 (ESV)

The Reformation doctrine of sola Scriptura affirms the priority of scripture over traditions, councils, and church authorities. No practice or doctrine is binding on the life of a believer unless that belief or practice can be found in scripture. Sola Scriptura does not negate Tradition, but simply places Tradition under Scripture as a source of authority in the church.

The doctrine of sola Scriptura is one of the most misunderstood doctrines of the Reformation. From both within Evangelicalism and without: this doctrine is distorted and gravely mischaracterized. Sola Scriptura does not mean that Evangelicals reject tradition and read only the Bible (i.e., the error of Biblicism). Evangelical doctrine is not solo Scriptura, where all church councils, traditions, church authorities, and Bible commentaries are rejected as guides and interpreters of scripture’s meaning.

Reformation Church historian, Timothy George, writes,

Sola Scriptura does not mean nuda scriptura nor scriptura solitaria! It means instead that the Word of God, as it is communicated to us in the Scriptures, remains the final judge (norma normans) of all the teaching in the church.

[Timothy George, “An Evangelical Reflection on Scripture and Tradition,” Pro Ecclesia: A Journal of Catholic and Evangelical Theology (Volume IX, Number 2, Spring 2000), 206.]

In similar essay, Timothy George, elaborates on the development Martin Luther’s understanding of sola Scriptura:

Under duress, Luther articulated what would come to be the formal principle of the Reformation: all church teaching must be normed by the Bible. The following year, in The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, Luther stated: “What is asserted without the Scriptures or proven revelation may be held as an opinion, but need not be believed.” Late medieval theologians placed Christian tradition alongside the Bible as a source of church doctrine. Luther emphasized instead the primacy of Scripture.

However, Luther did not reject tradition outright. He respected the writings of the early church fathers, especially those of Augustine, and he considered the universal statements of faith, such as the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, binding on the church in his day. But all creeds, sayings of the Fathers, and decisions of church councils must be judged by—never sit in judgment upon—the “sure rule of God’s Word.”

[Timothy George, Martin Luther, Early Years, Christian History magazine, electronic ed. (Carol Stream IL: Christianity Today, 1992).]

Sola Scriptura rejects the “two-source theory” that affirms Scripture and Tradition as being of equal weight and authority in the life of church. Alternately, the doctrine of sola Scriptura rejects the individualistic Anabaptist principle of “no creed but the Bible.” Reformed theologian, Keith Mathison adds,

Instead of advocating chaos, the Evangelical church must regain an understanding of the Reformation doctrine of sola scriptura, which is essentially nothing more than the early Church’s doctrine of scripture and tradition framed within a different historical context. The Church must affirm that Scripture is the sole source of revelation. The Church must affirm that Scripture is the sole, final, and infallible norm of faith and practice. And the Church must affirm that Scripture is to be interpreted in and by the communion of saints within the theological context of the rule of faith. Only by rejecting all forms of autonomy, institutional or individual, can any branch of the Church be in obedience to Jesus Christ the Lord.

[Keith A. Mathison, The Shape of Sola Scriptura (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2001), 347.]

I might add that the Canon Law of the Charismatic Episcopal Church affirms that Holy Scripture is “the final authority on all matters of faith and practice,” and “ . . . is to be understood in light of apostolic tradition and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit” (Canon Eight, I. B. 1-2). This definition is in its essence the doctrine of sola Scriptura as taught by the Magisterial Reformers.

CEC Theological Summit

Posted by on 25 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: Catholicity, Charismatic Episcopal Church, Charismatic Movement, Theology

cec-theological-summit

A Summit of a Different Sort

Just in case you have been wondering what I have been doing all week, I attended the first annual CEC Theological Summit in Orlando, Florida.  The theme of our conference was *Toward a Theology of Convergence.* Our summit focused on the three streams of the historic faith: evangelical, charismatic, and sacramental. I wrote an essay on the evangelical stream and I shared those Reformed theological truths on Wednesday morning. My talk/address/sermon focused on the Cross, the exchanged life, evangelism and mission, priesthood of all believers, penal substitution, total depravity, heart conversion, imputed and imparted righteousness, and sola scriptura. You can see that I covered many doctrines in my hour and fifteen minutes, the time flew by quickly. I greatly enjoyed the experience: special thanks to Bishops Bates and Simpson for the opportunity.

The Charismatic Episcopal Church is part of a growing movement, which recognizes that for the church to be truly catholic in its faith and practice, it needs to integrate the three major streams of the Christian tradition: the evangelical, the charismatic, and the sacramental. I enjoyed hearing the four addresses which focused on the theological truth of each stream and a wrap-up talk on convergence. The talks revealed among our clergy a passionate love for Jesus combined with deep commitment to the historic truths of our faith: a rare combination indeed. The depth of theological thinking was quite amazing for a small communion. In addition, the spirit of unity and camaraderie among our clergy who hail from diverse theological backgrounds was personally encouraging.

Below, Bishop Epps conveys better than I ever could the spirit, tone, and tenor of our conference.

Christus Victor,

Cn. Glenn

IMPRESSIONS OF A THEOLOGICAL CONFERENCE

Bishop David Epps

One would think that a week-long meeting on theology would not be a riveting affair. At least, that was my assumption before I traveled to Orlando, FL a few days ago to be an observer at our denomination’s International Theological Conference.

The participants were tasked with presenting to the Bishops of our Church and to the larger communion a coherent and understandable “convergence theology,” which has to do with the synthesis of the evangelical, sacramental/liturgical, and Pentecostal/charismatic expressions of the Christian faith. Not very interesting, perhaps, for the average person, but the transmission of theology is vital for the future orthodoxy, survival, and prosperity of any denomination or movement. I came away with several impressions:

My first impression was how brilliant the “presbyter/theologians” of our denomination are. For us, a “presbyter” is a priest and these men are not ivory tower people who study for a living. They are pastors who, every week, visit the sick, preach, celebrate the Sacraments, deal with commissions and committees, counsel, hear confessions, and consistently do the “grunt work” of ministry in their home parishes. But “theologians” they truly are. The theological position papers they presented were as thorough and profound as any I have ever seen.

These men are Doctors of Philosophy, Doctors of Ministry, Doctors of Theology, Canons, Theologians, seminary professors-all of whom have extensive background in both academics and pastoral ministry. Though reasonably well-educated, I was not the smartest guy in the room-not by a long shot!

My second impression was how passionate these men were in their presentations. Like many people, I have been in academic or ecclesial settings in which papers, presentations, or sermons were presented in a way that sucked the very moisture out of the air-they were, in other words, dry as dust and dead as nails. Not so in Orlando. The presbyter/theologians almost “preached” their papers with as much passion as a Baptist evangelist. One could sense that the papers had been bathed in prayer and that the presenters had been empowered by a divine encounter.

My third impression concerned the respect and civility demonstrated toward conflicting points of view. I have been in many arenas where egotism was the order of the day and opposing views were not tolerated. The presenters listened to each other with a serious intensity and, even when disagreements were expressed during the open discussion time, there was a fraternal respect and a brotherly love and concern demonstrated. True humility was in abundance.

The fourth impression was how long it takes to “do theology.” The Church stills struggles with concerns that have been on the table for two thousand years. We are in a “quick-fix” society but serious theological grappling may take years, decades, or even centuries. The Church must be committed to the long view and eschew shortcuts.

The fifth impression was that the denomination in which I serve is in good theological hands. We will make mistakes, as we have in the past, but I am confident in the future. I believe that our children and grandchildren will be left a very good legacy, which, in turn, they will pass on.

I can imagine that the Church Fathers, the theologians of days past, and the faithful scholars and bishops of the early Church had little concept of the impact they would have on the future generations. Putting quill to parchment, writing by lamps filled with oil, suffering heat and cold, privation and persecution, those early leaders struggled to communicate the faith to their present generation and their works and influence remain with us today. I could imagine that, prior to coming to Orlando, these presbyter/theologians, though blessed with modern technology and comforts, were in a long line of people who were, quietly and without reward or fanfare, seeking to communicate timeless truth. God bless the scholars and theologians among us!

Bishop David Epps is the founding pastor of Christ the King Church, 4881 Hwy 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. He also serves as a Bishop to the Mid-South Diocese (www.midsouthdiocese.org).

Audio of “Supernatural Ministry: An Exposition of Psalm 23”

Posted by on 24 Dec 2008 | Tagged as: Abiding in Christ, Charismatic Episcopal Church, My Sermons, Sanctification

My Sermon, “Supernatural Ministry: An Exposition of Psalm 23” is now available in audio from the Cathedral of Christ the King website.

The Apocrypha: CEC Statement

Posted by on 20 Oct 2008 | Tagged as: Apocrypha, Bible, Charismatic Episcopal Church, Scripture

Statement on the Canon of Scripture from the US House of Bishops of the Charismatic Episcopal Church:

We, the US House of Bishops, unanimously confirm the original teaching of the ICCEC, that the 66 universally accepted books of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, containing all things necessary unto salvation.  As regards those several works commonly referred to as the Apocrypha or Deutero-canonical books, we further reaffirm the position which we have embraced as a communion since our founding, that while beneficial for edification and teaching, they are not to be considered part of the canon of Holy Scripture.  They may, therefore, be read in public worship, but not used to establish dogma or doctrine.  The US House of Bishops recommends this position to the Patriarch’s Council for adoption in our Canons.