We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation,
which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary
for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must
be measured. We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian's
conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set
forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of
Solus Christus: The Erosion Of Christ-Centered Faith
As evangelical faith becomes secularized, its interests have been blurred with
those of the culture. The result is a loss of absolute values, permissive individualism,
and a substitution of wholeness for holiness, recovery for repentance, intuition
for truth, feeling for belief, chance for providence, and immediate gratification
for enduring hope. Christ and his cross have moved from the center of our vision.
Thesis Two: Solus Christus
We reaffirm that our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the
historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are
sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father.
We deny that the gospel is preached if Christ's substitutionary work is not declared
and faith in Christ and his work is not solicited.
Sola Gratia: The Erosion Of The Gospel
Unwarranted confidence in human ability is a product of fallen human nature.
This false confidence now fills the evangelical world; from the self-esteem gospel,
to the health and wealth gospel, from those who have transformed the gospel into
a product to be sold and sinners into consumers who want to buy, to others who treat
Christian faith as being true simply because it works. This silences the doctrine
of justification regardless of the official commitments of our churches.
God's grace in Christ is not merely necessary but is the sole efficient cause
of salvation. We confess that human beings are born spiritually dead and are incapable
even of cooperating with regenerating grace.
Thesis Three: Sola Gratia
We reaffirm that in salvation we are rescued from God's wrath by his grace alone.
It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing
us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.
We deny that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques
or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation. Faith is not produced
by our unregenerated human nature.
Sola Fide: The Erosion Of The Chief Article
Justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone.
This is the article by which the church stands or falls. Today this article is often
ignored, distorted or sometimes even denied by leaders, scholars and pastors who
claim to be evangelical. Although fallen human nature has always recoiled from recognizing
its need for Christ's imputed righteousness, modernity greatly fuels the fires of
this discontent with the biblical Gospel. We have allowed this discontent to dictate
the nature of our ministry and what it is we are preaching.
Many in the church growth movement believe that sociological understanding of
those in the pew is as important to the success of the gospel as is the biblical
truth which is proclaimed. As a result, theological convictions are frequently divorced
from the work of the ministry. The marketing orientation in many churches takes this
even further, erasing the distinction between the biblical Word and the world, robbing
Christ's cross of its offense, and reducing Christian faith to the principles and
methods which bring success to secular corporations.
While the theology of the cross may be believed, these movements are actually
emptying it of its meaning. There is no gospel except that of Christ's substitution
in our place whereby God imputed to him our sin and imputed to us his righteousness.
Because he bore our judgment, we now walk in his grace as those who are forever pardoned,
accepted and adopted as God's children. There is no basis for our acceptance before
God except in Christ's saving work, not in our patriotism, churchly devotion or moral
decency. The gospel declares what God has done for us in Christ. It is not about
what we can do to reach him.
Thesis Four: Sola Fide
We reaffirm that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because
of Christ alone. In justification Christ's righteousness is imputed to us as the
only possible satisfaction of God's perfect justice.
We deny that justification rests on any merit to be found in us, or upon the
grounds of an infusion of Christ's righteousness in us, or that an institution claiming
to be a church that denies or condemns sola fide can be recognized as a legitimate
Soli Deo Gloria: The Erosion Of God-Centered Worship
Wherever in the church biblical authority has been lost, Christ has been displaced,
the gospel has been distorted, or faith has been perverted, it has always been for
one reason: our interests have displaced God's and we are doing his work in our way.
The loss of God's centrality in the life of today's church is common and lamentable.
It is this loss that allows us to transform worship into entertainment, gospel preaching
into marketing, believing into technique, being good into feeling good about ourselves,
and faithfulness into being successful. As a result, God, Christ and the Bible have
come to mean too little to us and rest too inconsequentially upon us.
God does not exist to satisfy human ambitions, cravings, the appetite for consumption,
or our own private spiritual interests. We must focus on God in our worship, rather
than the satisfaction of our personal needs. God is sovereign in worship; we are
not. Our concern must be for God's kingdom, not our own empires, popularity or success.
Thesis Five: Soli Deo Gloria
We reaffirm that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God,
it is for God's glory and that we must glorify him always. We must live our entire
lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone.
We deny that we can properly glorify God if our worship is confused with entertainment,
if we neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-esteem
or self- fulfillment are allowed to become alternatives to the gospel.
A Call To Repentance And Reformation
The faithfulness of the evangelical church in the past contrasts sharply with
its unfaithfulness in the present. Earlier in this century, evangelical churches
sustained a remarkable missionary endeavor, and built many religious institutions
to serve the cause of biblical truth and Christ's kingdom. That was a time when Christian
behavior and expectations were markedly different from those in the culture. Today
they often are not. The evangelical world today is losing its biblical fidelity,
moral compass and missionary zeal.
We repent of our worldliness. We have been influenced by the "gospels"
of our secular culture, which are no gospels. We have weakened the church by our
own lack of serious repentance, our blindness to the sins in ourselves which we see
so clearly in others, and our inexcusable failure adequately to tell others about
God's saving work in Jesus Christ.
We also earnestly call back erring professing evangelicals who have deviated
from God's Word in the matters discussed in this Declaration. This includes those
who declare that there is hope of eternal life apart from explicit faith in Jesus
Christ, who claim that those who reject Christ in this life will be annihilated rather
than endure the just judgment of God through eternal suffering, or who claim that
evangelicals and Roman Catholics are one in Jesus Christ even where the biblical
doctrine of justification is not believed.
The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals asks all Christians to give consideration
to implementing this Declaration in the church's worship, ministry, policies, life
and evangelism. For Christ's sake. Amen.
For articles relating to this document and related issues visit this site: Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals articles page.