As some of you know we recently held our annual three-day ACT 3 Board of Directors meeting. One of the items that we addressed was the need to revise our out-dated Constitution. We drafted the original constitution for this ministry in 1991. Then four people sat in my living room with a dream. We named the ministry Reformation & Revival Ministries. In 2005 we changed it to the present brand and name, ACT 3.
In our revised constitution we state our purpose as a mission in these words:
1. The corporation is a not-for-profit Christian teaching organization; its purposes are to advance the Christian tradition by encouraging obedience to the missional mandate of the Lord Jesus Christ, through the witness of Scripture and the wisdom of the Christian tradition. This is done through (a) teaching and preaching in local congregations, schools, conferences; (b) writing and distributing Christian teaching; (c) advocating an ecumenical vision of the Christian Church through various means; and (d) encouraging Christian leaders in their personal spiritual formation and growth through counsel and support.
2. The corporation does not discriminate in its membership on the Board of Directors, or in its hiring practices, with regard to a person’s race, color, sex or national origin.
We also discussed a meaningful way to confess our historic and biblical orthodoxy in our statement of faith. We wanted to reflect a genuine desire to demonstrate strong doctrinal fidelity as well as our commitment to the new ecumenism. The statement we adopted is below. It does this, I believe, in a unique way if you read it very carefully and understand the history of theological reflection and unity in the whole Church.
We declare ourselves to be a Christian mission in agreement with the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed, as confessed in either the Eastern or Western tradition.
I am quite aware that these statements above will not satisfy some who wish we would say a lot more. In all three of the great branches of Christianity there are those who insist we must say more or we are out of line.
For these individuals unless you say much more than we have said you are not faithful to an X, Y or Z belief system. We respect the various creeds and confessions of the varying expressions of the whole Church but we are a mission to the whole Church, not a local church or a denomination of churches. The various members of our ACT Board are members of churches with widely different doctrinal expressions. We opted, as a mission, to express our orthodox stance along with our ecumenism in this short statement that says a whole lot in a very short sentence. In this case I believe
"less is more." This is where we’ve been and now we have stated it as a mission in the clearest possible way. These two statements, regarding our purpose and statement of faith, clearly and plainly put to rest the notion that ACT 3 does not have a clear purpose or doctrinal position. You may like or not like the one we have but this is what ACT 3 is all about.
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Thanks for the update on ACT 3. It’s all new to me, so I appreciate the review.
I read this post awhile ago and wanted to comment then, but time did not permit. I realize you are a few posts beyond this one, and so I hope you don’t mind me commenting now.
I want to say that I very much appreciate your statement of faith. I am sure there are some who would want more distinctives, more details, but what I see you doing is providing a solid historical basis for an embrace that transcends denominational barriers. Theological details that go beyond what is articulated in the Nicene and Apostle’s Creed should be welcomed in an effort to deepen our understanding of the faith, but they should not be the basis of exclusion.
John. I just read your chapter in “Feed my Sheep” this week and used to subscribe to your journal back in the 90’s. Coincidently, a friend yesterday commented about how John Armstrong had “gone off the tracks” and into that “emergent, missional” stuff. I googled your name and found this blog. So far, I like what I see, although I don’t care for loaded terms like “missional.” I am a “reformed baptist” but a Christian first and foremost and I am sick and tired of being separated from other true believers in the real Church because of arguing about being “right.” I believe we desperately need to simplify. From what I can see you are not trying to downplay doctrine for the sake better market position (at least I hope not!) but wanting to unite with ALL of those who grasp Christ in a saving way and cling to Him through faith. I like it.
You have correctly understood me and what I am trying to do by these blogs and my ministry of ACT 3. I am NOT downplaying doctrine but rather saying it includes more than we have included in many instances, including a confession in “one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.” Why must we pit other doctrinal issues against this one which is also VERY important? John 17 is my guide, plain and simple.