The Church as APOSTOLIC
By The Rt. Rev. George Katwesigye, on behalf of the Church of Uganda
To address the question of ‘APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION’ and its importance to the unity/continuity of Christ’s Ministry through His whole church, and re-echoing Jesus’ prayer before His passion:
“I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word that they may all be one, even as thou Father, art in me, and I in thee that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou has sent me.” (John 17: 20-21).
The following aspects and questions will be studied:
• Definition of Apostle and Apostolate.
• The Historical Development for the Apostolic Succession.
• How do the apostles like Peter and Paul regard Apostolicity?
• When we are talking of the ‘Apostolic Succession’ within the Anglican Communion, are we not thinking of the Ministry of the Apostles from Jesus to us?
• How can the Apostolic Church recover its primary vision of being missionary i.e. being a church sent into the world for Christ’s Mission?
• How should we treat or regard those whose teaching is contrary to the apostolic traditions?
• Concluding Remarks.
1.0 DEFINITIONS: APOSTLE/APOSTOLATE, AND APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION.
Apostle (from Greek apostolos, “person sent”) is one who has been sent with authority to act on behalf of the one who has sent him. In the New Testament the term is used of Jesus Himself (Heb. 3: 1), and the twelve disciples chosen by him as his associates (Mark 6: 30, Luke. 6: 13) – their number corresponding to that of the Old Testament patriarchs, which suggests that they were intended to be the priest-rulers of the New Israel, symbolic of the continuity/link between the O.T and N.T. On the other hand the term is sometimes applied to others authorized directly by God e.g. Paul (Gal. 1: 1) or by a local church e.g. Barnabas (Acts 13: 2ff) (Richardson 1969: 13).
The Privileges of the Twelve were to be in continual attendance on their master and to be the recipients of Jesus’ special teaching and training. At least once, they were sent on a special mission, two by two, to announce the imminence of the Messianic Kingdom (Mk. 6 cf Matt. 10; Luke 9). Hence, from the N.T. Gospel narratives, Jesus seems to have attached special importance to his 12 disciples in preparing them before sending them out for ministry. Thus, the Twelve Apostles chosen by Jesus had an indispensable link with Christ himself and his church, and were personally mandated eye- witnesses of the Lord, the pioneers of the church. It was to them that Christ spoke: As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (John 17: 18). God’s sending of Jesus has its counterpart, and in a sense its continuation, in the commissioning of the apostles (Mt. 10: 40; 28: 18-19, Jn. 20: 21; Acts 9: 17; Acts 10: 29).
In their initial calling, the twelve were given a double function. They are the nucleus of the reformed Israel, and at the same time, they have a unique mission to Israel and the world as observed by Anderson (1979: 440):
“In one sense, the ministry of the twelve was unique and untransimmisable. They laid the foundation. The document of their unique ministry is the New Testament: “In its most definite sense the term ‘Apostolic’ refers to the Holy Scriptures as the source and norm of the church’s existence throughout history. The church lives by the New Testament, a canon of its life and faith and is begotten from age to age in this apostolic tradition through the Gospel which they handed on.”
In sense, therefore, the ministry of the apostles is continued from generation to generation with a double function:
i) The apostles were the nucleus and first fruit of the church; through the basic apostolic succession in which the whole church stands, his pioneering ministry of being the church sent with the world is continued in the worship and the daily life of all the baptised.
ii) The Apostles received also a mission to the church; through the Apostolic succession the ministers of the church continue; that other apostolic task in their intercession and work for the church.
On the other hand, however, Paul himself claimed the title of Apostle on the ground that he had seen the Lord and received a commission directly from Him. This appears to agree with the condition in Acts that a newly appointed witness should be capable of giving eyewitness testimony to the Lord’s Resurrection. Later, after the period covered by the New Testament, the word Apostle is used to designate a high administrative or ecclesiastical officer.
The term ‘Apostolic Succession’ relates to the view that episcopacy is derived from the apostles by continuous succession. This Christian doctrine views the apostolic church as the authentic church, continuing the teaching and practice of the Apostles, who had been ‘eye witnesses’ of the events proclaimed in the church’s message and who had been commissioned by Christ Himself. Faithfulness to the apostles appears as a mark of the New Testament church in its earliest teaching: “they devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching” (Acts 2: 42). It is therefore the continuity of the redeemed life of the church in Christ, which is the heart of the apostolic succession, or continuity in the apostolically founded church. Hence all members, through baptism partake in the apostolic succession; all share in the one apostolic mission and called to take part in the ministry of the Gospel.
According to this doctrine, bishops possess apostolic powers handed to them from the Apostles to perform three tasks:
- The act of representation of Christ in His church.
- The authoritative teaching and disciplining.
- The pastoral oversight of the church so that it may worship and serve in unity (Anderson 1979: 441).
In the following sections we will show how these three tasks have continually been addressed in the historical development of the Apostolic Succession in Christ’s church, and the controversies surrounding it that have continually threatened church unity, particularly in the Anglican Communion.
2.0 THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT FOR THE APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION.
In discussing the historical development for the “Apostolic Succession,” which is a doctrine of church government, it is beneficial first to reflect on the different forms of church government used for selecting officers of the church. Grudem (1994; 923) clearly identifies three large categories existing today, which we may term “Episcopalian”, “Presbyterian” and “Congregational”. He explains the way they function in the following words:
“Theepiscopalian forms have a government by a distinct category of church officers known as priesthood, and the final authority for decision-making is found outside the local church (sometimes an episcopalian form of government is called a “hierarchical” government). The Episcopal Church system is the primary representative among Protestants of this form of government. The presbyterian forms have a government by elders, some of whom have authority not only over their local congregation, but also, through the presbytery and the general assembly, over all the churches in a region and then in the denomination as a whole. The congregational
forms of church government have final governing authority resting with the local congregation, although various degrees of self-rule are given up through denominational affiliation, and the actual form of local church government may vary considerably.
For the purpose of this paper, we shall only examine the historical development of the episcopalian system of government whereby an archbishop has authority over many bishops. They in turn have authority over a “diocese”, which simply means the churches are under the jurisdiction of a bishop. The officer in charge of a local parish is a rector (or sometimes a vicar, who is an “assistant” or one who substitutes for the rector”. Archbishops, bishops, and rectors are all priests, since they have all at one time been ordained to the episcopalian priesthood (but in practice the Rector is more called the priest).
The Episcopal Church affirms in its creeds, the basic characteristics of its embodiment, the ways of conceiving it as the Church by notes of the church that keeps it in unity as;holiness, catholicity and apostolicity.
It is important to state here that this unity built on these basic characteristics of the church (or traditional notes of the church) has as its centre Jesus Christ Himself. (Macquarrie 1966: 359-373). Samuel Stone, a clergyman- poet of the Church of England, in the 1860, affirming this central position of Jesus Christ in His church, wrote in the opening words of what has become a beloved hymn:
The Church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord. (Sydnor 1980: 59).
This organic unity of the church built on Jesus Christ Himself is emphasized further by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesian church in the following words:
“You are no longer strangers and so-journers, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and members of the household of God, built upon the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone In whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you are also built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.(Eph.2: 19-22).
The truth of those words began to take shape when the risen Christ commissioned the apostles to be his witness to the very ends of the earth (Mt. 28: 18-20). The bestowal of the Holy Spirit on His disciples and the commission to proclaim the Good News of God in Christ to all nations was the starting point (John 20: 19-23, Acts 1: 8, 2: 1-11). Thus, the story of the apostolic church, from the beginning, is the authentic church, continuing the teaching and practice of the apostles, who had been “eye-witnesses” of Jesus life, ministry and resurrection.
As we consider ‘the historical development of the “apostolic succession” (the church’s own living continuity with the apostles) therefore, it is important to note that this doctrine has been surrounded with so much controversy since the early church. However, the origins of its doctrine are obscure, and the New Testament records are variously interpreted. Those who accept apostolic succession as necessary for a valid ministry argue that it was necessary for Christ to establish a ministry to ‘carry on’ his work as evidenced in His great commission of His apostles. The apostles in the turn consecrated others to assist them carry on the work. In fact, the Apostolic Age (AD100-150) is characterised by the development of the three-fold ministry of the church: Deacon, Priest and Bishop- with three functions of ministry as highlighted in the Pastoral Epistles, namely:
- Oversight, teaching and service (Johnson & Webber 1993: 351). The supporters of the doctrine also argue that evidence indicates that the doctrine was accepted in the very early church.
- About AD 95 Clement, Bishop of Rome, in his letter to the church in Corinth (First letter of Clement), expressed the view that bishops succeeded the Apostles, and that: “The apostles (appointed bishops and deacons) in every place, and it were they who gave directions how the ministry should perpetuate itself” (Cross and Livingstone 1997: 360).
In fact, the writings of Ignatius (c. 35—107 AD) clearly indicate the formation of the monarchical bishop. The context at that time was that of the struggle with Gnostics. The norm for orthodoxy, in a time when the New Testament. Scriptures had not been canonised, was a bishop who maintained orthodox theology and practice.
Soon, the bishops being the centre of the church’s orthodoxy, was used to support the teaching of Apostolic Succession, a view that emerged with clarity in the writings of Irenaeus (AD130-200), Bishop of Lyons. The argument, actually is that; “the situation that caused the emergency of “Apostolic Succession was the debate with the Gnostics, who claimed to enjoy higher knowledge of the truth handed down secretly from apostolic times. Irenaeus, in his work ‘AGAINST HERESIES’, he refutes the Gnostics and argued that: “true tradition of Christianity had been handed down from the Apostles through the succession of bishops.”
In summary, the Bishop, in the second century had acquired a position of importance, not only as the bearer of the Apostolic tradition, but also the guardian and protector of the truth. The teaching of Bishops retaining the Apostolic tradition and passing it down through a apostolic succession played an important role in halting the spread of Gnosticism, which had no claim to apostolic authority. The subsequent years up to the 5th century were marred with similar controversies and heresies, threatening the unity of the church centred on the episcopacy (e.g. the rise of Novatianism in AD 250 during the time of Bishop Cyprian of Carthage, Arianism during the time of Bishop Alexander in AD 320 and the rise of the Roman bishop in West to a position of ascendancy).
By the end of the fourth century, a full thirty years before the death of Augustine, the church in the West was well defined. It functioned according to the three-fold ministry of Bishop, Priest and Deacon. It was unified around the Bishop, with the Bishop at Rome enjoying a position of the first among equals. However, the period of the Medieval church saw the power of the Bishop’s see at Rome being abused and approaching the Zenith of its power, having the Papal Supremacy -leading to the Protestant experiences of the times of the church reformation from the 15th-17th century, challenging the Papal Supremacy. (Johnson, Webber 1993: 350-362).
Since then, a number of Christian churches have challenged the apostolic succession and church government based on bishops; that it is unnecessary for a valid ministry. They argue that the New Testament gives no clear direction concerning the ministry, that various types of ministers existed in the early church, that the apostolic succession cannot be established historically, and that true succession is spiritual and doctrinal rather than ritualistic.
Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Swedish Lutheran and some other “apostolic churches” believe that the only valid ministry is based on bishops whose office has descended from the Apostles. This does not mean, however, that each of these groups necessarily accepts the ministries of other groups as valid. Roman Catholics, for example, generally regard the ministry of the Eastern Orthodox Churches as valid but do not accept the Anglican ministry. The Anglicans, on the other hand, consider episcopacy as necessary to the “well-being” but not to the “being” of the church; therefore, they only accept the ministries of the other groups as valid, but also have entered into close associations with protestant groups that do not accept apostolic succession.
3.0. HOW DO THE APOSTLES LIKE PETER AND PAUL REGARD APOSTOLICITY?
Earlier on, while introducing this paper, we saw that the New Testament Apostles had a unique kind of authority in the early church: authority to speak and write “words of God” in an absolute sense. To disbelieve or disobey them was to disbelieve or disobey God. The apostles, therefore, had the authority to write words of Scripture. The New Testament singles out two qualifications for being an apostle:
- Having seen Jesus after his resurrection with one’s own eyes (thus, being an “eyewitness of the resurrection”).
- Having been specifically commissioned by Christ as his apostle.
The fact that an apostle ought to have seen the risen Lord with his own eyes is indicated by Acts 1: 22, where Peter said that person to replace Judas “must become with us a witness to his resurrection”. Moreover, it was “to the apostles whom he had chosen” that he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days” (Acts 1; 2-3; cf. 4: 33).
Paul makes much of the fact that he did meet this qualification, even though it was in an unusual way (Acts 9: 5-6; 26; 15-18) when he is defending his apostleship he says, Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?” (1Cor.9: 1). And when recounting the people too who Christ appeared after his resurrection, Paul says, “Then he appeared to James, then to all the Apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle” (1Cor. 15: 7-9). These verses combine to indicate that unless someone had seen Jesus after the resurrection, with his own eyes, he could not be an apostle.
The second qualification was the specific appointment of an apostle by Jesus evidenced from several verses. For example, the twelve disciples are called “apostles” specifically in a context where Jesus is commissioning them, “sending them out” to preach in his name:
“And he called to him twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirit, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. The names of the twelve are …These twelve Jesus sent out charging them, “… preach as you go, saying, ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ (Matt. 10: 1-7).
Paul himself insists that Christ personally appointed him as an apostle. He tells how, on the Damascus Road, Jesus told him that he had appointed him as an apostle to the Gentiles:
“I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and to bear witness… delivering you from the people and from the Gentiles – to whom I send you” (Acts 26; 16-17).
The word Apostle has also a wider reference. In Acts 14: 4, 14; it is used of Barnabas as well as of Paul; in Rom. 16: 7 is also used of Andronicus and Junias. In 2 Cor.8: 23, there are two unnamed brethren also called “Apostles of the church”; in Phil. 2: 25, Epaphroditus is referred to as “your apostle”. It is again used of Paul, Silas and Timothy, to define their relation to Christ. Hence, the Apostle involves “a sending, a mission” – signifying Apostleship. Apostleship in Pauline’s letters is recognised as the first spirited gift in church leadership – given among others for equipping the saints for the work of ministry and for building the body of Christ – the church (1 Cor. 12: 28 cf Eph.4: 11ff). For Peter he urges anyone in the leadership position to faithfully proclaim the “apostolic message” to Christ’s church in the world with this charge:
“To the elders among you, I appeal to you as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’ sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed. Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as oversees – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. (1 Pet..5; 1-4).
Paul in a similar ways sees one’s calling to the work of an overseer or bishop as a noble task. In 1 Tim. 3: 1, Paul says that:
“If anyone aspires to the office of a bishop, he desires a noble task”, and then lists the qualifications that should be expected of an Overseer (1 Tim. 3: 2ff). A similar list for overseer’s qualification is given in Titus 1: 5-16.
The apostolic charge Paul gives to Timothy for ministry re-echoes that of Peter and Jesus Himself to everyone called to His apostolic ministry:
“Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching … they will accumulate for themselves to suit their likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry” (2 Tim. 4: 2-5).
In their calling to be involved in Christ’s ministry, all the apostles understand their leadership as servant-hood, with particular responsibility of preaching, teaching, administration of the sacraments, and overseers of their congregations for nurture and discipleship.
Allow me to conclude this section with the words of Atkinson and Field (1995: 545):
“While no one theory of leadership is sufficient for the church, some findings illumine Biblical Principles. All authority is delegated from God, and those exercising it are responsible to Him. Those holding the office of overseers are required to have the highest standards of spirituality, of conduct of family and public life, and emotional maturity; they lead by example and model themselves on Christ.”
In other words, overseers in Christ’s church are called to serve and be models in their life- what St. Paul calls, “above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, dignified, hospitable, an apt teacher …… no lover of money”.
4.0. WHEN WE ARE TALKING OF THE ‘APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION’
(WITHIN THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION), ARE WE NOT THINKING OF THE MINISTRY OF THE APOSTLES FROM JESUS TO US?)
The recent developments and debates within the Anglican Communion regarding ordination of women and issues concerning human sexuality are threatening the unity and leadership within the Anglican Church. The Windsor Report (2004: 42) talks about the “EPISCOPATE” in relation to the unity of the Anglican Communion in the following words:
“The unity of the communion is both expressed and put into effect among other things through the Episcopate. At the Reformation, the Church in England maintained the threefold order of ministry, in continuity with the early church.
As the events of the 17th century bear witness, it was by no means a foregone conclusion that the Church of England would end up with continuing episcopacy.
Looking at the historical developments of the Anglican Church in the world, the retention of episcopacy became a foundational form of government within the Anglican churches and has become “the distinctive mark of its claim to be both Catholic and Protestant”. Furthermore, reflecting on the practice of the very early church, the ministry of bishops as chief pastors and teachers of faith has remained as its central focus of unity and source of ministry within the Anglican Communion. This is further recognised in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral that: “an episcopate at once local and universal is therefore an essential element of the life of the Anglican Communion.”
Allow me to stress the important fact about the Anglican Communion faith that it has to be based on Scripture. This factor is well emphasized in the Windsor Report (2004):
“And to link up once more with Scripture as the central fact of unity within the communion, its’ the Bishop’s role as a teacher of Scripture that is meant, above to be not merely symbolic, but a very practical means of giving the church the energy and direction it needs for its mission and therefore the motivation and the ground-work for its unity.”
“Scripture” is very central as a tool of unity, with its important benefits as clearly elaborated by St. Paul in 2 Tim. 3: 16:
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
This reminds us of Martin Luther’s confession in the “Diet of Worms” in the defence of Scripture against the unsupported authority of the Pope and Council:
“Unless I am convicted of error by the testimony of scripture, or – since I put no trust in the unsupported authority of Popes and councils, for it is plain that they have often erred and contradicted themselves by manifest reasoning, I stand convicted by God’s word. I cannot and will not recant anything; far to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. On this, I take my stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen. (Schwers, 1999).”
Hence, any teaching, tradition or conduct/behaviour that contravenes God’s word as revealed through scripture brings dishonour and is a threat to the unity of the Anglican Communion. The Lambeth Quadrilateral states clearly the position of the Holy Scriptures within the Anglican Communion in the following words:
“The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as “containing all things necessary to salvation” and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith (Chatfield 1998; 25).”
When we are talking of the Apostolic Succession within the Anglican Communion, we take seriously the message of the church as founded by Jesus Himself and the Apostles as recorded in the New Testament. It is the duty of that Church (Anglican) to continue witnessing in word and action in every generation to Jesus Christ salvation of mankind as its Apostolic mission and make Him known to the end – bringing his healing and transforming life to those who hear and embrace His Gospel. (Mark 16: 15-18 cf. Matt. 28: 18f).
We, therefore, continue to raise questions concerning our current problem within our Anglican Communion: Is it not getting out of the apostolic faith to embrace Gen Robinson’s faith? Can this kind of deviant behaviour be allowed to grow in our Church? We still affirm strongly that the election and consecration of Gen Robinson to the Episcopacy, when he is living in homosexual union, is a total violation of our common faith in the risen Lord.
This is the mission of the Anglican Church. The church today stands in spiritual succession to the first generation of believers only as it commits itself to similar witness. In this work of worldwide witness, the New Testament church as the new Israel inherited the task, which Old Testament had failed to carry through (Gen. 12: 1-3, 18: 18, Is. 49: 6 cf. 43: 10, 12; 44: 8). The task of witnessing to the Gospel in the whole world falls afresh on the church in each generation. It is an element of her purpose, which she dare not relegate to a secondary level. It is worth observing also that the responsibility for witness, carrying forward the apostolic task, rests first of all on the apostolic community, the Church. The Anglican Church therefore is corporately commissioned for apostolic succession as it proclaims the Gospel to the whole world.
5.0. HOW CAN THE APOSTOLIC CHURCH RECOVER ITS PRIMARY VISION OF BEING MISSIONARY (i.e. BEING A CHURCH SENT IN THE WORLD FOR CHRIST’S MISSION?)
As we wrestle with the issues threatening the unity of the Anglican Communion, the Church of Uganda will continue to use Scripture as providing faithful guidance and resolutions of the controversial issues at stake. However, a question is raised on “how the apostolic church can recover its primary missionary character, so that succession means first of all, a succession in mission, in being a church sent into the world for the ministry of reconciliation? Macquarrie (1966: 374) helpfully points out that the ministry and mission of the church in the world is two-fold:
• It is the service of the church, ascontinuing the work of Christ in the world
(it is understood as the servant of Christ).
• St. Paul adequately describes it as “the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5: 18).
• The church as continuing the work of Christ is called upon to act as the representative of Christ in the world with a mark of holiness.
• The leaders of the church must be forerunners and pioneers of the church and should not be soaked within the worldly desires i.e., they should not be of the World.
• Recruitment and Training into church ministry should rigorously address the issue of call, selection and relevant training.
• Guidance and disciplining in the church is very important as away of strengthening Christian discipline and spirituality. The laity has to be involved in this approach; in worship, mission and evangelism.
The agenda for mission and evangelism is not for condoning sin (for example immorality including homosexuality). It should be geared towards bringing people to repentance and turning to Christ for deliverance and transformation. The ‘episcopacy’ has the duty to continue leading the church of Christ in its mission, following the examples of the apostles:
• Asrepresentatives of Christ
(being role models and compassionate).
• Have the authority as teachers and preachers of the Gospel. Study of Scripture is the very key for their effective ministry in this area (cf. Acts 17: 11).
• Through their pastoral oversight, they bring about unity within the church.
The Church is therefore, through mission, being called to live a life of purity and holiness (1 Pet. 1: 14-20). The Bishop and clergy have a particular commission to expound God’s word and being exemplary in their life (should be role-models). (cf. 1 Tim. 3: 11-13; 4: 12-13; 5: 19-20; Titus 1: 5-9, James 3: 1f; 2 Pet. 2: 2).
6.0. HOW SHOULD WE TREAT OR REGARD THOSE WHOSE TEACHING IS CONTRARY TO THE APOSTOLIC TRADITIONS?
- The church should apply skills in pastoral care by identifying whether the problem is internal or external.
• Identify the problem.
• Address the causes.
In the case of “Homosexual practice”, Resolution 1: 10 (d) of the Lambeth Conference on Human Sexuality, and the Windsor Report:
“Homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture”. Our concern in the Church of Uganda is not to condone this sin, but to offer pastoral care to such people for their redemption and transformation. We have a gospel commitment to them; to bring them to Christ..
►In pastoral care and guidance (Acts 20: 28f).
• It calls for “compassion and love” (cf John 10: 10).
• Seek the lost, care for the struggling (cf Lk. 15: 1-10).
• Teaching and Evangelism. (Including praying for them).
• Discipline (where necessary) in case of heretical teaching.
►Assurance of Hope (It goes with repentance).
• Can these dry bones have life (Ezek. 37: 1-14).
• When one is in Christ, he is a new creature. (2 Cor. 5: 17).
• Behold I make all things New (Rev. 21: 5).
7.0. CONCLUDING REMARKS.
Let me conclude by the assertion that human beings are prone to characteristics of change. We should therefore understand that we are change agents, amidst stormy situations, including what is currently being experienced in the Anglican Communion. We thank God that though the waves are still strongly testing our Anglican faith, God has and is using faithful men and women to convey to the world the truth of the Gospel without fear or favour. It is our hope that those who have erred and strayed (like we say in the General Confession) will repent. Ours, including all those who still hold firmly to the apostolic teaching, we make a fervent call to you all; to remain vigilant as faithful witnesses of Christ and cause “positive changes in the lives of those who have strayed from our Shepherd’s orthodox teaching as enshrined in the Holy Scriptures.
Meanwhile as the Province of the Church of Uganda (Anglican), we continue to disassociate ourselves from people and churches that teach contrary to the true Gospel..
We shall end with the Ash Wednesday Collect.
Almighty God, you hate nothing that you have made and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent, create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness,
we may receive from you, the God of all mercy,
perfect forgiveness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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