Archdiocese of the Sacred Heart
The Archdiocese of the Sacred Heart is an ecclesial communion within the one Church of Jesus Christ. As the Nicene Creed frames it: Christ’s “one, holy, catholic (universal) and apostolic Church.
The One Church
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all” (Eph. 4:4-6). “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (Eph. 2:19-22).
Christ’s Church is the living temple of God in the earth – the meeting place between God and man.
The Church is the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, the Army of God, “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” (1 Pet. 2:9a), and so much more.
Inherently, Christ’s Church is the living presence of the Kingdom of God in the earth, the Kingdom Community. Jesus Christ is King and Lord, and is ruling now. His Kingdom was established in his cross and resurrection, inaugurated at his ascension, unleashed at Pentecost, is maturing and expanding now and will be consummated at his coming in glory. In the meantime, the enthroned Messiah gives gifts to his Church that some shall be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-13). Thus, the body of Christ, His one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church progressively manifests Messiah’s Kingdom, God’s will being done “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10), until the earth is “filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14).
Communion vs. Denomination
A communion is a body of Christians who hold to a common faith and order. In contrast to a denomination, a communion expresses the organic unity Jesus Christ originally established in his Body, the Church. Rather than emerging from divisions created by historic differences over doctrine and practice, a communion represents a return to unity based on the recovery of the essential oneness of the ancient, medieval, and contemporary church. A communion seeks such unity, not merely through modern ecumenism within the Body of Christ, but rather on the basis of a return to the apostolic foundations of the one Church. As a communion, the Archdiocese of the Sacred Heart affirms vital connection with the apostolic Church through apostolic succession and seeks to embody and promote the faith, order, worship, ministry, mission, and vision of the Church established by Christ and his apostles.
Identity and Vision
The Archdiocese of the Sacred Heart embraces the Ancient/Future Model for the Church, which both looks back to what Christ and the apostles established the Church to be and also looks forward to Christ’s ultimate intention for the Church: “to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Eph. 5:27). The Model recognizes that from the one Seed, Jesus of Nazareth, Christ’s Church grows from the apostolic root, in order to ultimately produce apostolic fruit, manifesting all the while the life of the one Seed. Inherent in this growth is process, adaptation, contextualization, development and maturation, all the while holding to both the ancient foundations and the glorious future of the Church: change and development, yes, yet only within the parameters of what Christ established and intends.
Or as the Apostle Paul put it, holding to the “head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow” (Col. 2:19), and “we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Eph. 4:15-16).
Considering the Ancient/Future Model of Christ’s Church, there are three issues relevant to the identity of the Archdiocese of the Sacred Heart.
Although drawing on the riches of the whole Church, everywhere and at all times, the ARCHSH looks in particular to Anglicanism as an historic example of the Ancient/Future Model of the Church.
The ARCHSH defines Anglicanism as English Orthodoxy, developing from the very beginning of the Christian faith in the British Isles and continuing to the present age. Therefore Anglicanism is inclusive of apostolic roots, Celtic origins, patristic influences, the Medieval Church, the Protestant Reformation, the Wesleyan Evangelical Revival, the Oxford Movement, and the Modern Charismatic Movement.
We measure Anglican history not only from Thomas Cranmer forward, but also from the Reformation backward. Anglicanism in the ARCHSH is not shaped by its connection to the See of Canterbury, but by its relationship to history
- Some of the distinctive intrinsic to historic Anglicanism are:
- The priority and authority of Holy Scripture;
- The doctrinal guidance of the Catholic Creeds. Anglicanism, while honoring many of the Church’s historic confessions and creeds, receives The Apostles’ Creed (the Baptismal Confession), The Nicene Creed (the Eucharistic Confession), and the Athanasian Creed as authoritative in the life of the Church;
- The truth that salvation is, in the final analysis, the gift of God and by grace alone;
- Liturgical worship that is faithful to Scripture and apostolic practice, embodying the worship experience of the Church over the centuries;
- The historic episcopate (the order of bishops) as the continuation of apostolic ministry and as a sign of the unity of the one Church of God;
- The threefold ministry of bishop, presbyter (priest), and deacon as the shape of ordained ministry adopted by the primitive Church;
- The Sacraments, the rites of the covenant, as outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace given by Christ, and as the sure and certain means by which we receive that grace. Anglicanism acknowledges both the Gospel (or Dominical) Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion and the sacramental rites of the Church: Confirmation (the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Spirit), Penance (confession and absolution), Unction (the anointing with oil for healing), Holy Matrimony and Holy Orders (ordination);
- The unity of Word and Sacrament in the Divine Liturgy, the Holy Eucharist;
- Regular preaching and teaching from the Holy Scriptures;
- The visible unity of the Church on earth as God will;
- The need for a regularly received Canon Law in order to respond to the unfolding needs of the people and the Church;
- The priesthood of the whole Church as a worshipping and praying society;
- A commitment to fulfill the Great Commission.
Most distinctively, the ARCHSH is a communion in Convergence.
The ideal of Christian Convergence is based on a three-fold recognition. First, that the primitive Church of not only the first century, but of the first few centuries, was unitary in its life, worship, and ministry. All churches everywhere were established upon the Kingdom rites of the New Covenant, which were eventually referred to as the Sacraments. All had apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral, and teaching ministry. All were governed by apostles and presbyters. All had deacons. Priority was given to teaching and preaching, evangelism and discipleship. The gifts and operations of the Holy Spirit were normative. Worship was derived from the Synagogue and Temple, therefore liturgical: liturgy being defined as the work of the people, where everyone had “a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation” (1 Cor. 14:26). “But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way” (1 Cor. 14:40). Healing, deliverance, confession, and ordered ministry were all commonplace.
The second point of recognition is that over the centuries, the ministry of the Word and the operations of the Spirit were deemphasized but later addressed in the Protestant Reformation and Pentecostal Revival. The result though was a divided Church, divisions that some have referred to as the three streams of the Church: the Catholic, Protestant, and Pentecostal, or the sacramental/liturgical stream, the evangelical stream, and the Charismatic/Pentecostal stream.
The third point of recognition is that something new (or old) began to emerge out of the recent charismatic revival in mainline Protestant and Catholic churches. The three streams began to converge. Roman Catholics and Episcopalians were speaking in tongues, prophesying, practicing healing ministry and growing in personal relationship with the Lord. Liturgical services here and there were becoming Spirit-filled. Sacramental/liturgical ministries were preaching the Gospel. Many Evangelicals became charismatic, and some began to explore the richness of the Anglican, Orthodox and Roman traditions. Pentecostals began to hunger for connection to the historic church and true apostolic faith and order.
Convergence was occurring; the three historic streams of the Church (Sacramental-Evangelical-Pentecostal) no longer being sources of division, but converging as one mighty river in Christ.
True Convergence, however, is not achieved through an arbitrary blending of worship styles: evangelical preaching here, a few sacramental elements there, with lively music thrown in for good measure. Nor is it about dividing the service into three parts, one charismatic, one evangelical, and the other sacramental. In genuine convergence, the whole service and the whole Christian life and ministry are fully evangelical, fully charismatic, and fully liturgical/sacramental.
This is achieved only through a return to the ancient apostolic perspective and pattern, and to ancient apostolic practice. Only by being built on the apostolic foundation can the future church that God intends be realized.
The early Church had a Kingdom perspective. Peter and Paul and the whole Church proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom. “Be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah [savior-king]” (Acts 2:36). The original baptismal confession of the Church was “Jesus Christ is Lord.” The ascended Messiah is King and Lord now. His Kingdom is present and active now, is growing, and will one day fill the earth. Messiah’s rule is present in the earth and actively progresses through Christ’s Kingdom society, the Church. His Church therefore is royal and constitutes God’s holy nation. Its aim is to progressively manifest Christ’s rule “on earth as in heaven.” Its worship comes before the King’s table/altar/throne. Its prayer reaches heaven and changes the earth. Its task is to “disciple all nations,” that is, to bring all peoples under the discipline of the King. The Savior-King’s first act was to pour out the Holy Spirit on His Church, for God’s Kingdom program advances, “ ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zech. 4:6). The Church, and its life and work, is supernatural.
God told Moses to build the tabernacle (mobile temple, the meeting place between God and man) “according to the pattern shown you on the mountain” (Ex. 25:40). Moses was shown heaven and the courts of the Lord and supervised the building of an earthly copy of the heavenly reality. The apostles understood that the Church was the living temple, the place of God’s presence, where “living stones,” at the Thanksgiving (Eucharist) were admitted to the heavenly courts “with angels, archangels and all the company of heaven,” seated with Christ “in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6). And consequently, the local assembly becomes a copy on earth of the heavenly reality. The Church therefore is priestly. Its worship reflects that of heaven which is liturgical and where adornment and vestments are not out of place.
True Convergence, therefore, can only flower in the restoration of apostolic practice. That practice is plain to see in the New Testament Scriptures and is reflected in the writing of the Church Fathers. Remnants remain in all major Christian traditions in varying measure which is why a ‘convergence of streams’ assists in the emergence of the ‘one mighty river.’ But ultimately, to be most fully and authentically Christian, the coming one river must flow from the wellspring of apostolic faith and practice.
The Archdiocese of the Sacred Heart envisions a communion whose life, ministry, and parishes are fully evangelical, fully charismatic, and fully liturgical and sacramental.
The Archdiocese of the Sacred Heart is evangelical so practically speaking; the ARCHSH holds to the truth that the Holy Scriptures are the authoritative Kingdom documents and words of the Covenant, and therefore the Word of God. The Scriptures are inspired and contain all things necessary for salvation and godly living. The ARCHSH commends the faithful reading, study, and teaching and preaching of the Word of God. The ARCHSH also embraces the evangelical insistence on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, a holy life, and a commitment to evangelism and mission.
The ARCHSH is charismatic, receiving Christ’s mandate to be “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). Spiritual gifts are normative in life, worship, and ministry. The presence, power, and working of the Holy Spirit are anticipated in worship, daily acts of service, and in personal relationship with the Savior.
The ARCHSH is sacramental and liturgical. Therefore, this communion retains the historic creeds, episcopacy, and the three-fold nature of ordained ministry.
As a Convergence communion, the ARCHSH embraces the Anglican precedent and seeks to be a true expression of the Ancient/Future Church, making visible the Kingdom of God, fulfilling the Great Commission, and manifesting fully the beauty, glory and power of the One Church and its Lord.
The Church is universal, comprised of “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language” (Rev. 7:9). In its essence, the Church is unitary, “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone” (Eph. 2:20), holding to catholic (universal) and apostolic faith and order. However, in its expression the Church is varied and multiform, depending on place, time, nationality and culture. A church in Pakistan may have distinctive and traditions quite different from, say, a church in England. Yet, both are in essence equally authentic and catholic if they are faithful to the one pattern of faith and order.
The Archdiocese of the Sacred Heart is committed to disciplining the nations, not exporting a western expression of the Church. ARCHSH churches in Africa are encouraged to be African. Chinese churches are encouraged to be Chinese. European churches are encouraged to be western. And yes, African churches in England to be African; so that the Church of God worldwide may reflect the Glory of God with the myriad beauty and variety of all the peoples of the earth.