This is the foundation set of principles on which the Reformed Episcopal Church was formed. It provided short statements on matters which were present in the Episcopal Church in the 1870's and reflected the doctrinal understanding of the "old Evangelicals" as they adhered to the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion. While the Declaration is not comprehensive in scope, it was understood by those who created this church that the Reformed Episcopal Church was to be subject to Holy Scripture, the Creeds, the two Sacraments of the Gospel, and the Doctrines of Grace set forth in the the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion. The Declaration is composed of four Principles. Article I establishes the "Authorities" in the Reformed Episcopal Church. Article II identifies the structure of the Church. Article III identifies the worship of the Church and Article IV seeks to identify errors which were at work in the Episcopal Church in 1873.
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The Declaration of Principles
Adopted December 2, 1873
1) The Reformed Episcopal Church, holding "the faith once delivered unto the saints," declares its belief in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the Word of God, as the sole rule of Faith and Practice; in the Creed "commonly called the Apostles' Creed;" in the Divine institution of the Sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper; and in the doctrines of grace substantially as they are set forth in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion.
2) This Church recognizes and adheres to Episcopacy, not as of Divine right, but as a very ancient and desirable form of Church polity.
3) This Church, retaining a liturgy which shall not be imperative or repressive of freedom in prayer, accepts The Book of Common Prayer, as it was revised, proposed, and recommended for use by the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, A.D. 1785, reserving full liberty to alter, abridge, enlarge, and amend the same, as may seem most conducive to the edification of the people, "provided that the substance of the faith be kept entire.
4) This Church condemns and rejects the following erroneous and strange doctrines as contrary to God's Word:
Second, that Christian Ministers are "priests" in another sense than that in which all believers are a "royal priesthood:"
Third, that the Lord's Table is an altar on which the oblation of the Body and Blood of Christ is offered anew to the Father:
Fourth, that the Presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper is a presence in the elements of Bread and Wine:
Fifth, that regeneration is inseparably connected with Baptism.
© 1995, The Reformed Episcopal Church.