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For your information, inspiration and intercession, please study this ICCP Discussion Document from the Reformation 500 Church Consultation in Wittenberg, Germany, October 2017, in preparation for the upcoming Reformation 500 Global Church Council Zürich, 15-19 July 2019.


If you have any suggestions on how these may be improved, or to communicate the support of your church, mission, or ministry, write to the International Church Council Project.




Article I

We affirm that the Christian gospel is indispensably a message about the saving work of the historical individual, Jesus Christ, who was fully God and fully man, whose substitutionary death upon the Cross secured justification for believers against the judicial condemnation of God which rests upon sin and sinners.

We deny that Christianity is merely a metaphysical abstraction, ethical program, or social movement.

Luke 2:1-7; Romans 5:18-19; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8; Hebrews 13:12

John 1:1-3; 20:27-28; 1 Timothy 3:16; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1

Matthew 26:45; Matthew 28:9,17; Luke 1:35; John 6:53; John 14:7-11; 1 Timothy 2:5

Matthew 1:1,21; Luke 24:39; Romans 3:21-26; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 1:13,14,22; Hebrews 9:26, Hebrews 28; 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18


Article II

We affirm that the Bible presents salvation as salvation from sin’s guilt and power and that the measuring rod for sin is God’s holy and unchanging character, as disclosed through the created order and man’s heart, but verbally revealed in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

We deny that sin is defined by any alleged changes in God’s standards, simply a failure in cultural standards, or a failure in man’s attitudes or projects, such as self-esteem, positive perspective, affirmation of others, etc.

Matthew 1:21; Romans 3:21-26; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 1:22; Hebrews 9:26, 28; Hebrews 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18

Leviticus 11:44-45; Leviticus 20:7; Joel 3:17; 1 Peter 1:14-17; 1 John 3:5-6

Psalms 19:1-4; Romans 1:18-21; Romans 2:1,14-16; Acts 14:17; Acts 17:28-31

Exodus 20:1-17; Deuteronomy 6:1-7; Isaiah 1:10; Hosea 1:1; Amos 7:16; John 5:39; 2 Timothy 3:16; Revelation. 22:18-19; etc.


Article III

We affirm that as an affront to God’s righteousness, sin fully deserves the wrath of God, who imposes the just recompense and inescapable condemnation of death either upon sinners, or upon an innocent Substitute who satisfies the justice of God in their place.

We deny that the divine, wrathful and just sentence of death upon sinners can be mitigated or set aside at the discretion of a holy and righteous God without the infliction of His announced penal sanction.

Ezekiel 18:4; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Hebrews 10:26-31; Revelation. 20:10-15; Revelation 21:8; Revelation 22:15

Leviticus 1:4; 3:2; Matthew 1:21; Romans 3:21-26; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 1:20-22; Hebrews 9:26, 28; Hebrews 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18

Psalm 49:7-9; Isiah 40:27; Ezekiel 18:4; Hebrews 10:26-31


Article IV

We affirm that Jesus Christ, by His death, offered a complete substitutionary Atonement, rescuing His people from the judicial condemnation of God upon their sin by fully bearing the penalty of their sin upon the Cross, the righteous dying as a sacrifice for the unrighteous and being cursed in their behalf.

We deny that the death of Christ was merely a utilitarian public example of sin’s ugliness and suffering, intended by God to deter others from immoral living, rather than being retributive in character.

Matthew 1:21; Romans 3:21-26; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 1:20-22; Hebrews 9:26, 28; Hebrews 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18


Article V

We affirm that the reconciling work of Christ removes God’s enmity and alienation against sinners who believe in Christ by paying the prescribed penalty which rests upon their objective, legal guilt before God.

We deny that Christ’s saving work was merely an act of mediation or a compelling gesture of good will intended to restore communication between God and men as parties who do not trust each other.

Isaiah 53:4-6; Mark 16:16; John 3:18; John 5:24; 1 Corinthians 15:3; Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:13-22; 3:12; Colossians 2:13-14; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 2:24-25


Article VI

We affirm that justification is a forensic transaction in which God acquits or pardons the sinner in consideration of Christ's self-sacrifice for sins. Furthermore, it also imputes the positive righteousness of Christ to the legal account of the sinner. This righteousness is both foreign to our old nature and elemental in our new nature, thus serving as the basis in truth of God's declared verdict of a righteous status for the believer.

We deny that the Atonement was merely or primarily a pathos-evoking example of God's love, intended to have a subjective moral influence in the heart of believers and leading them to live self-sacrificially by imitation.

We further deny that God's justification of the wicked is in any way a Divine assessment based upon the inward character of the believer.

Romans 3:21-24; Romans 4:1-8; Romans 5:19;Romans 7:18-25; Romans 8:1-4; Romans 10:3-10; 1 Corinthians 1:30-31; 2 Corinthians 5:21


Article VII

We affirm that the judicial concerns of substitutionary Atonement and forensic justification are indispensable to the rich and comprehensive work of God’s gracious salvation, which extends beyond the guilt of sin to its power, pollution and consequences as well.

We deny that God’s saving work of sinners is restricted to the judicial concerns of substitutionary Atonement and forensic justification.

We deny any claim that God’s saving work fails to encompass also the breaking of sin’s power and the reversing of sin’s consequences in the regeneration and sanctification of men and subduing of creation and in the ultimate glorification of believers and re-creation of the world.

We deny that God's saving work of sinners from the natural and penal consequences of sin no longer apply.

Matthew 1:21: Acts 13:38-39; Romans 6:12-18; Colossians. 1:20-23; Revelation 1:5

1 Corinthians 1:2,30; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 2:1-10; Ephesians 5:26; Colossians 3:5; Titus 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:22-23

Genesis 1:28; Romans 8:19-22; Hebrews 2:6-9

Romans 8:17,30; Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 3:6; Colossians 3:24; 2 Thessalonians. 2:14; Titus 3:7; Hebrews 9:15; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:7

2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1


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See also:

Reformation 500 Church Council Zürich

Ulrich Zwingli and the Reformation in Switzerland

1. The Authority of Scripture

2. Biblical Hermeneutics

3. The Essentials of a Christian World View

4. The Kingdom of God

5. The Omniscience of God and Human Freedom

6. The Pelagian Controversy      

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