Principles of Faith
“In essential matters there is unity, and in those that are not essential there is freedom, and in everything there is love.”
These principles of faith and their applications reflect our dependence on the Bible as explained by the Apostles Creeds and the founding documents of the Episcopal/Anglican Church, our prayer that these principles based on God’s thought shape our Church, our leaders, and our common lives together.
1- The Trinity of God:
We believe in one God who revealed himself through three Hypostasis equal in essence, power and eternity. This Hypostasis is: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Bible calls us – by the Holy Spirit – to have eternal fellowship with this one and three-Hypostasis God, as we become by adoption children of God in his holy family where Christ is our Savior and also a brother to us.
(Deuteronomy 6: 4; Isaiah 5:45; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Galatians 4: 4-6; Second Thessalonians 2: 13-14; 1 Peter 1: 2; Judah 20:21 See the first clause from the 39 articles for the doctrines of Faith and the Book of Common Prayer)
2- The Creator, Savior, and Sanctifier:
God the Almighty, the Triangle of Hypostasis created to be good in everything until it was torn apart by the disobedience of his creation. With the entry of sin into the world, God wanted in his love to renew the whole creation through his call to establish a covenant with his people starting with Abraham, then the coming of Jesus Christ, the only savior of all nations, then the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to purify and sanctify, then the initiation of the church for worship and martyrdom, then the coming of Christ. With great glory, everything becomes new. Also, miraculous works are a feature of the revelation of God’s plan throughout history.
(Genesis 1: 3; Isaiah 40:28; 65:17; Matthew 6: 10; John 17: 6; Acts 17: 24-26, 28; 1 Corinthians 2: 15; 28 Corinthians 5:19;2 Ephesians 3:16, 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 11: 2; Revelation 21: 5. See the first clause of the 39 articles the doctrines of faith)
3- The word has become flesh:
Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, without sin, and rose in the flesh from the dead, and now reigns in glory. He is also present by the Holy Spirit with his people, for he is the word of God who is eternal and incarnate. He is “God is with us,” the only mediator between God and human beings. It is the source of God’s knowledge of salvation, and the giver of eternal life to the universal Church.
(Matthew 1: 24-25; Mark 15: 20-37; Luke 1: 35; John 1:14, 17: 20-21; Acts 1: 9–11, 4:12; Romans 5: 17; Philippians 2: 5-6; Colossians 2: 9; 1 Timothy 2: 5-6; Hebrews 1: 2, 9: 15. See sections 2-4 and the Nicene Creed.)
4- The Only Savior:
Human sin is disobedience, pride, and rebellion against the authority of God, and this appears when we refuse to love God the Creator and his creation. As for the result of sin, it is a feeling of guilt and distance from God. Sin also leads to oppression and oppression in society, and to personal and social decadence. It destroys hope and leads to a future devoid of rejoicing in God and all that is good. Jesus Christ is the only deliverer from feelings of guilt, and from the shame, power and paths of sin. The only path to salvation is repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
By the atoning death of the Lord Jesus on the cross for our sins, he triumphed over the forces of evil, achieving for us redemption and justification. By his physical resurrection, he secured future resurrection and the eternal inheritance of all who believe in him. And with the Holy Spirit that He grants to us, He renews our fallen nature, so that we may become faithful to His image. Thus it is the way, the truth, and the life of all generations.
(John 14: 6; Acts 1: 9-11, 2: 32-33, 4:12; Romans 3: 22-25; 1 Corinthians 15: 20-24; 1 Corinthians 5: 18-19; Philippians 2: 9 – 11; Colossians 13: 2-15; 1 Timothy 2: 5-6; 1 Peter 1: 3-5, 1 John 4: 14, 5: 11-12. See Articles of Faith 2-4, 11, 15, 18, 31).
5- The spirit of life:
We believe that the Holy Spirit “the living Lord who proceeds from the Father” sent by Jesus Christ to the church on the day of the fiftieth, proclaims the glory of Jesus, weeps against sin, renews the sinner’s inner nature, inspires the strength of the faithful, prepares for you, and prepares you for the faith. Life in the spirit transports our normal life to something that is superior to nature, so we experience in advance the heaven that awaits us. The life of unity with love lived by believers who are full of spirit, individuals and churches, is the strongest evidence of the validity of Christianity.
(Genesis 1: 2; Exodus 31: 2-5; Psalms 51: 11; John 3: 5-6, 14:26, 15: 26, 16: 7-11, 13-15; 1 Corinthians 2: 4, 6 :19: 12: 4-7; 2 Corinthians 3: 18; Galatians 4: 4-6, 5: 22-26; Ephesians 1: 13-14, 5: 18; 1 Thessalonians 5: 19; 2 Timothy 3:16 See the fifth clause of the Articles of Faiths and the Nicene creed.)
6- The Authority of the Bible:
The canonical books of the Old and New Testaments are the authoritative, inspired and authoritative Word of God. They are true and trusted, they are interconnected, and they contain everything we need for salvation, vivid and effective as a divine guide to belief and behavior. The Church does not have the right to judge or change what is in the Bible, or choose from it what it wants.
The biblical faith in the Holy Trinity and in the redemption centered on Jesus Christ, we find it embodied in the Ecumenical historical laws of faith, as well as in the founding documents of the Episcopal/Anglican Church. The Holy Spirit guides the people of God and the ecclesiastical councils of all ages to this basic concept of the Bible through ecclesiastical tradition and rational logic supported by a spirit of prayer and reverence.
(Deuteronomy 29: 29; Isaiah 40: 8, 55: 11; Matthew 5: 17-18; John 10: 35, 14: 26; Romans 1: 16; Ephesians 1: 17-19; 2 Timothy 2: 15, 3- 2: 14-17; 2 Peter 1: 20-21; see sections 6, 8, 20 of the Articles of Faith Doctrines)
7- The Church of God:
The “Church” is the family of God, the body of Christ, and the temple of the Holy Spirit. It is the group of believers who are justified by faith in Christ, who live the resurrection life in Christ and submit to the authority of the Bible as the word of God.
Christ connects the church on earth with the church in heaven in the communion of the saints. And through serving the Church with the word and practicing the sacraments of the Gospel. And the Lord grants life in Christ to those who come to him sincerely, and strengthens them to worship, testify, and serve.
The church should adhere to only the essential matters related to faith that can be proven from the words of the Bible. As for everything that is not essential, the church has no right to demand or impose it on anyone, whether in belief, order or worship.
(Ephesians 3: 10-21, 5: 13, 27; 1 Timothy 3: 15; Hebrews 12: 1-2; 2 Timothy 14: 3-17; see sections 19, 20, 21 of the Articles of Faith Doctrines)
The episcopal community in our region adheres to the ecumenical spirit and seeks to build positive relationships with all denominations, valued for their traditions, while adhering to and strengthening everything that is important in our traditions (John 17: 21; Ephesians 4: 4-6)
8- الحیاة الجدیدة في المسیح:
خلق الله الإنسان على صورته المقدسة حتى یُمجد الله ویتمتع بالحیاة معه إلى الأبد. لکن منذ سقوط الانسان أبعدتنا الخطیة عن الله، إذ تسببت في تشویش دوافع الإنسان واضطراب تصرفاته وکل أحواله. وکما أن الکفارة والتبریر یُعیدان لنا الشرکة مع الله بغفران الخطیة، کذلک المیلاد الثاني والتقدیس فهما یُجددان طبیعتنا بالإنتصار على الخطیة لنصیر على صورة المسیح. إن الروح القدس الذي یعیننا في ممارسة الحیاة المسیحیة یغیرنا تدریجیًا إلى صورته. ففي هذا العالم لا یمکن أن نصیر کاملین بلا خطیة. لکن نحن الذین نؤمن سنظل نخطئ بالفکر والقول والفعل إلى أن نصیر کاملین في السماء.
(تکوین ۱: ۲6 – ۲۸؛ یوحنا ۳: 5-6، ۱6: ۱۳؛ رومیة ۳: ۲۳- ۲4، 5: ۱۲؛ كورنثوس الأولى۱۲: 4- ۷؛ كورنثوس الثانية 3: ۱۷ – ۱۸؛ غَلاطيَّة 5: ۲۲-۲4؛ أفسس ۲: ۱- 5؛ فيلِبِّي ۲: ۱۳؛ بطرس الثانية۳: ۱۰- ۱3. انظر البنود ۹، ۱6 من بنود عقائد الإیمان وکتاب الخدمات البدیلة)
8- The new life in Christ:
God created man in his holy image in order to glorify God and enjoy life with him forever. But since the fall of mankind, sin has kept us away from God, as it has caused the impulses of man to be disturbed and his behavior and all his conditions disturbed. Just as atonement and justification restore fellowship with God for us through the forgiveness of sin, so do the second birth and sanctification, so they renew our nature by triumphing over sin in order to become the image of Christ. The Holy Spirit who helps us in practicing Christian life gradually changes us into his image. In this world, we cannot become perfect without sin. But we who believe will continue to err in thinking, saying and deed until we are perfect in Heaven.
(Genesis 1: 26-28; John 3: 5-6, 16:13; Romans 3: 23-24, 5: 12; 1 Corinthians 12: 4- 7; 2 Corinthians 3: 17-18; Galatians 5: 22- 24; Ephesians 2: 1-5; Philippians 2: 13; 2 Peter 3: 10-13. See sections 9 and 16 of the Articles of Faith Doctrines and the Book of Alternative Services)
9- Church Service:
The Holy Spirit grants special gifts to all Christian believers to glorify God and build His Church in truth and love. Every Christian is called to service, regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, social status, or economic status. All God’s people must know and practice the specific service that the Lord has called for and qualified for it.
In the concept of the priesthood of all believers, we honor the service of the Word and the sacred practices to which the bishops, priests and deacons are called, and for which they are assigned to the service of ordination.
(Romans 12: 6- 8; 1 Corinthians 3: 16, 6: 11, 12: 2-4, 12; 2 Corinthians 5: 20; Galatians 2: 16; Ephesians 4: 11-13; 1 Timothy3: 1, 12 – 13,5: 17; Hebrews 2: 11; 1 Peter 2: 4-5, 9-10; see Articles 18, 23 of the Articles of Faith Doctrines).
10- Worship in the Church:
The Church’s call, and every Christian, is to offer worship with spirit and truth to the God of creation, care and grace. The essence of worship includes: praise and thanksgiving for everything, confession, repentance, proclamation, rejoicing in the glory of God and Jesus Christ, prayer for human needs and the spread of the kingdom of Christ, and offering oneself to service. All forms of ritual and systems of worship, whether in speech, music, or preaching – are subject to the authority of the Bible.
The Book of Common Prayer gives us a doctrinal scale on a biblical basis that we should maintain as a model for all other ritual prayers. It is not required that the system of church service be the same in all churches, rather it can vary according to country, time, or culture, provided that it is consistent with the biblical truth, absolutely no form of worship can truly glorify Christ, or lead to true consecration without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Prayer, whether group or individual, is an important basis for the health and renewal of the Church. Spiritual and physical healing is an aspect of episcopal worship.
(John 4: 24, 16: 8-15; Acts 1: 8, 2: 42-47; Romans 12: 1; 1 Corinthians 11: 23-26, 12: 7; 2 Corinthians 5: 18-19; Ephesians 5: 18-20; Colossians 3: 16; 1 Thessalonians 1: 4-5, 5: 19; see Articles 25, 34 of the Articles of Doctrines of Faith)
11- The priority of evangelism:
Evangelism is to announce that Jesus Christ is the divine Savior, Lord and Friend, in a way that attracts others to God the Father, so they come to Him through Christ to worship and serve Him, seeking the power of the Holy Spirit for their lives in discipleship and the life of fellowship in the Church. Every Christian is called to testify to Christ as evidence of his love for God and neighbor. In order to do this top priority work, we must train personally, and keep looking at ways in which we can persuade others. We sow the seed, then we look to the Lord who gives the fruit.
(Matthew 5: 13-16, 28: 19-20; John 3: 16-18, 20: 21; Acts 2: 37-39, 5: 31-32; 1 Corinthians 1: 23, 15: 2-4, 2 Corinthians 4: 5, 5:20; 1 Peter 3: 15).
12- Interfaith Dialogue:
The Bible urges us to strive to live in peace with everyone. Love for those who are close is not limited to those who share our faith. Our obedience to God as Christians requires us to enter into dialogue with others, while respecting their beliefs. Our goal of the dialogue is to remove all confusion and distortion in their understanding of Christianity, to build friendships with them, to search for everything that brings us together, to study what we disagree with, and to participate with them in social work on the condition that we adhere to the fundamentals of the Christian faith, which alone bears hope for all people.
13- Evangelism and Challenge Missionary to the World:
Evangelism, together with social work, pastoral concern, and dialogue are all essential in our response to the great mission that the Lord Jesus has entrusted us with his commandment: “Go and make disciples of all nations” still stands. We have to preach Christ and his salvation, taking into account the feelings of others, without tirelessness, and in every place: at home and outside the home. As for the transmission of different cultures, it should be supported not only by prayer and giving, but also by sending the evangelists. Evangelism to the world includes practical participation and effective exchange.
(Matthew 28: 19-20; Mark 16: 15; Luke 10: 2; Romans 15: 23-24; 1 Corinthians 2: 4-5, 9: 22-23; 2 Corinthians 4: 5, 8: 1-4, 7 ;Ephesians 6: 19-20; Philippians 2: 5-7; 1 Thessalonians 1: 6- 8)
14- Social work is an important challenge as part of the mission:
The Bible urges the Church to be a “salt” and “light” for the world, by doing all that is good for social, economic and political life based on the teachings of the Bible, and to be faithful in her stewardship of all God’s creation. Believing Christians should strive for justice and also in works of mercy: That is why social work is an essential part of our obedience to the Gospel.
(Genesis 1: 26-28, Isaiah 30: 18, 58: 6-10; Amos 5: 24; Matthew 5: 13-16, 22 : 37-40, 25: 31-46; Luke 4: 17-21; John 20: 21; 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4; James 2: 14-26; 1 John 4: 16; Revelation 1: 5-6, 5: 9-10. See clause No. 38)
15- Ethical Standards and Sexual Behavior:
All ethical aspects are important for a Christian believer and a Christian should be aware of experiences related to the misuse of money and power. Regarding sex, we must remember that God’s intention regarding sex is not only a means of reproduction, but also a joyful expression of love, honor and devotion between spouses. Thus, a healthy marital relationship between a man and a woman is the only sexual relationship that is sanctified and appreciated by the Bible.
As for sexual relations outside marriage, such as fornication, impurity, homosexuality, and same-sex marriage, they are against the divine order evident in the teachings of the Bible. Therefore, it is the duty of the Church to fight these matters, while offering the means of healing to everyone who has been afflicted with them. The church should honor God by upholding His moral standards without relegating to a lower level for any of its members. Therefore, Lambeth Conference Resolution 1998 No. 1: 10 is one of the important decisions that should be respected.
(Genesis 1: 26-28, 2: 21-24; Matthew 5: 27-32, 19: 3-12; Luke 7: 36-50; John 8: 1-11; Romans 1: 21-28, 3: 22-24, 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11, 13-16; Ephesians 5: 3; 1 Timothy 1: 8-11, 3: 2-4, 12)
God intended the family to be the center of love, intimacy, growth and stability for each of its members: women, men and children. But Child abuse, domestic violence, rape, fornication, childbearing outside of marriage, sexual bullying and abortion are all serious threats to family life. Likewise, divorce and polygamy represent a setback in ideal family principles. Hence, the duty of believing Christians is to strengthen family life through education, training and effective support, and to work to create a social environment that encourages a healthy family life. A family that has lost a parent and that suffers from family disintegration needs special support from church members.
As for celibacy and abstinence from sexual relations – it is also a sacred vocation and a gift from God. The people of the Church must remember that those whom God has called for such a life, they need friendship, participation, and collective support that the Church must make available to them.
Psalm 119: 9-11; Proverbs 22: 6; Matthew 5: 31-32; Mark 10: 6-9; 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11; Ephesians 5: 21-6: 4; Colossians 3: 18-21; 1 John 3: 14-15)
This document was discussed, revised, and accepted in the Synod of the Diocese of the Episcopal/Anglican Church in Egypt, with North Africa and the Horn of Africa on May 10, 2006.