Tuesday, 3 July 2012
Reports of CWI's doctrinal demise are greatly exaggerated
Just as Mark Twain denounced the premature report of his death as 'greatly exaggerated, I too want to set the record straight about the rumours I’ve heard over the last ten years since I became the General Secretary of Christian Witness to Israel that CWI is moving away doctrinally from its historic Reformed position.
CWI has always been an interdenominational mission and our basis of faith is the Bible, as articulated in the historic confessions of the Reformation, in particular the Westminster Confession of Faith, the 39 Articles of the Church of England, the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession and the Savoy Declaration. CWI is the only international mission to the Jewish people whose basis of faith is firmly based on the Reformed confessions.
The core teachings of those confessions is that the Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God, the only authority for what Christians should believe and how they should live, and that salvation is granted by the grace of God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), solely through faith in the completed work of Jesus the Messiah. We are committed to the confessional 'solas': Scripture alone, God alone, Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone.
CWI workers agree not to teach, encourage or practice anything contrary to the consensus of the Reformed Confessions but, where those Confessions are not in agreement, each worker is at liberty to teach, encourage and practise what they believe is the teaching of the Scriptures. Therefore CWI has no formal or official position of such things as baptism, church government, the charismatic gifts, the modern state of Israel or the Last Things.
At our staff conference two weeks ago, we spent an entire session dealing with and affirming our commitment to the confessions and to the doctrines of grace. Our commitment to the Reformed Confessions is not something we bang a drum about but it undergirds all CWI believes and teaches. I’m making an issue of that commitment now – and I’m doing it publicly – in order to scotch these rumours once and for all.
To refer to Mark Twain again, he is alleged to be the source of the adage, ‘A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.’ Stories that CWI has changed its doctrinal position could do us a great deal of harm, so my shoes are on and I’m stating categorically that CWI remains unequivocally committed to the historical Confessions of Faith listed above.
And that’s the truth.