Reformation and unity in ACC’s ecumenical resolutions

By Gavin Drake
Posted Apr 26, 2016

[Anglican Communion News Service] A call for Anglicans to commemorate next year’s 500th anniversary of the Reformation and the commendation of a number of new inter-denominational agreements and reports were amongst a raft of ecumenical resolutions adopted by the Anglican Consultative Council when they met in Lusaka, Zambia, earlier this month.

In Resolution 16.16, the ACC spoke of the “significance” of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, and recommended that Anglicans should mark the anniversary by taking part in shared services, study, and mission activities with Lutherans and other ecumenical partners. The ACC also encouraged Anglicans to “engage with the Lutheran World Federation’s focus: Liberated by God’s Grace”.

In a separate resolution – 16.17 – the ACC said that it “welcomes and affirms the substance” of the joint Lutheran and Roman CatholicDeclaration on the Doctrine of Justification, which the two churches signed in 1999.

The ACC say that it “recognises that Anglicans and Lutherans share a common understanding of God’s justifying grace, as the Helsinki Reportstated that we are accounted righteous and are made righteous before God only by grace through faith because of the merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and not on account of our works or merits.”

The resolution goes on to recognise “that in 1986 the Anglican – Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) produced a statementSalvation and the Church, which observed that our two Communions are agreed on the essential aspects of the doctrine of salvation and on the Church’s role within it.”

The Resolutions were two of a number which touched on ecumenical relations.

Continuing with the Lutheran churches, Resolution 16.18 recognises the relationships that already exist between Anglicans and Lutherans globally; and commends the steps being taken by North American, British and Irish Anglican churches, to bring the three regional agreements of Communion into relationship with each other. It goes on to encourage “Anglican churches in other regions to explore deepening relationships with churches of the Lutheran World Federation in a formal theological way following the guidelines offered in the 2012 Anglican-Lutheran International Commission report To Love and Serve the Lord.”

Resolution 16.13 deals with the relationship between Anglicans and Methodists. It calls for the creation of an Anglican-Methodist International Coordinating Committee to “oversee and foster relationships between Methodist and Anglican member churches”. The Commission would have five members each from the World Methodist Council and the Anglican Consultative Council as well as ecumenical participants.

The Commission will be given the task of monitoring and advising “the development of Anglican-Methodist relations around the world, giving attention to their consistency with each other and with the self-understanding of the two communions” and to “act as a catalyst for the development of Methodist and Anglican relations, and in particular for agreements of communion where these do not yet exist.”

The Resolution also “welcomes the report of the Anglican-Methodist International Commission for Unity and Mission – Into All the World: Being and Becoming Apostolic Churches” and commends it to the churches of the Anglican Communion “for study, action and response.”

In Resolution 16.14, the ACC praises the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission’s Agreed Statement on Christology as “a significant step of reconciliation across ancient divides” and commends it to the Churches as “a means to deepen faith in our Incarnate Lord, and as an opportunity to reflect on this faith together with members of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, and with other Christians, as part of an ongoing process of reception.”

And in Resolution 16.15, the ACC welcomes the Buffalo Statement of the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue, In the Image and Likeness of God: A Hope-Filled Anthropology; as a “profound exploration of what it means that God has become human not only that we may share in the divine life, but also that we may become fully human” and commends it to Anglican provinces as “a resource for study, reflection and reception.”