The Anglican Identity which I am underscoring. . . is the identity which ultimately sent the 16th century English reformers to the flames in Oxford, England. An identity for them, and many other modern day martyrs, which cost them their lives. Why did they do it? How do you explain being willing to accept death for the sake of Jesus Christ and his Church? The Anglican Identity which sent bishops Hugh Latimer (68) Nicholas Ridley (55) and Thomas Cranmer (66) to an excruciating execution in the flames is also our Anglican Identity – nothing in this regard has changed and nor should it ever change! Let us in the diocese, in this age, in our generation, bear witness that we believe the deaths of the English martyrs matters to us, that we mean their deaths shall not have been in vain. What they died confessing, let us now confess. For their witness we give thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ.
This Anglican Identity then and now elevates The Holy Bible and unashamedly declares that the scriptures of the Old and New Testament contain all things necessary to salvation, so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved therein, is not to be required in any man, that it should be believed as an article of faith (article vi). This, my brothers and sisters. . .is what we fundamentally believe and declare when we explain our Anglican Identity.
So serious is this identity that later this afternoon this Synod will decide by vote whether we will amended our Diocesan Constitution’s fundamental declarations to state that the thirty-nine Articles of Religion in all and every Article therein contained, the Book of Common Prayer (the version of 1662), and The Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, annexed to The Book of Common Prayer of 1662 commonly known as the Ordinal, the texts being read according to their plain and historical sense and being accepted as faithful expressions of the teaching of Scripture, provides the standard for Anglican theology and practice and may be assented unto with a good conscience by all members of [this] Missionary Diocese.
As bishop of this Missionary Diocese, I fully support and endorse the second reading of our proposed constitutional amendment. If we pass this amendment, our fundamental declarations will repudiate any gospel which sees humanity as fundamentally sound. If we pass this amendment, we will clarify with a secure confidence the difference between salvation and worldly political goals. We will declare that a transformed life is only ever possible though repentance and faith in Christ alone. If we pass this amendment, our fundamental declarations will confront as heresy the denial of the reality of hell and judgment and the populist doctrine that all are saved. The theology of this proposed constitutional change deals a fatal blow to any gospel in which other beliefs and other religions offer in a way to God the Father. This Anglican Identity is the faith of the Holy Bible, the Prayer Book and the Articles of Religion; it is the faith of the Jerusalem Declaration and the GAFCON Primates, who last week in the communiqué from Nairobi said, “GAFCON works to guard and proclaim the unchanging, transforming Gospel through biblically faithful preaching, teaching, and programs.” This is Anglican identity.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, I believe it is doubtful whether a Church without a recognizable, articulate doctrinal commitment can ever survive for long. Let us not be that Church. Let us be a Church. . .with a renewed confidence in The Bible declaring and affirming the faith of the Church – this is our Anglican Identity.
Bishop Julian Dobbs, “Pastoral Address“, Synod 2016.