REACH South Africa (previously known as the Church of England in South Africa)
The name embodies what we stand for:
Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa
The distinctives of REACH SA:
1. We are a Word centred church
The Bible occupies a central place in our denomination which is expressed in our motto: “Your word above all things”.
Reach SA is a ‘Biblical’ church. We read and preach from the scriptures every week in our services and Bible Study groups.
Article 6: “Holy Scripture sets forth everything that is necessary for our salvation. Consequently, nobody should be required to believe as an article of the Christian faith, or to regard as necessary for salvation, anything that is not found in Scripture”
Scripture and Scripture alone is the standard by which all teachings and doctrines of the church must be measured. As Martin Luther so eloquently stated when asked to recant on his teachings, “Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God.”
2. We are an Evangelical church.
What makes us Evangelical?
• The absolute supremacy we assign to Holy Scripture
• The depth and prominence we assign to the doctrine of human sinfulness and corruption
• The paramount importance we attach to the work and office of our Lord Jesus Christ and the nature of the salvation He has wrought for mankind
• The high place which we assign to the inward work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of man.
• The importance we place on the outward and visible work of the Holy Spirit manifesting itself in the life, conduct and behaviour of the believer in overcoming the world, the flesh and the devil i.e. the evidence of godliness and holiness
3. We are a Protestant church.
At one level being Protestant is nothing more than not being Roman Catholic. The English word “Protestant” comes from the Latin and is made up from two words, pro = ‘for’, and testari = ‘witness’. And it has come to mean to write or speak strongly against.
REACH SA upholds the right of every believer to read and understand the Bible for Salvation, as opposed to salvation truth being mediated by the church. We believe in the priesthood of all believers.
REACH SA can only be effective in evangelism, mission and pastoral care if it trains its laity and empowers them for ministry.
4. We are a Reformed church.
Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury in the time of King Henry VIII, was able to bring Martin Luther’s rediscovery of justification by faith alone into the heart of the Church of England.
The REACH SA is Reformed in that it embraces and articulates the great biblical insights of Luther, Calvin and the other reformers.
These five points of doctrine were at the heart of the Reformation: By grace alone, By faith alone, By Christ alone, By scripture alone and to the glory of God alone.
5. We are a Missional church
We believe in the great commission. We are therefore evangelistic and missionary in our outlook. It’s our vision ‘to bring the gospel to every man’s door’.
6. We are a Creedal (Confessional) church
REACH SA is a church that uses confessions of faith to express the teaching of the Bible.
Article 8: ” The three creeds, namely the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed, and what is commonly called the Apostles’ Creed, should be received and believed without reservation, because they may be proved from Holy Scripture”
7. We are a Covenantal church
REACH SA can be called a covenantal church because it emphasises God’s one single covenant with his people promised to Abraham, which is a covenant not simply with individuals but with families – first with the family of Abraham, Israel, and then with Gentile families adopted into the family of Abraham, especially since the coming of Christ.
REACH SA practices the baptism of infants, not just adults, but requires of those infants personal reaffirmation of the Christian commitment at the years of discretion, in confirmation.
REACH SA would urge the clergy to ensure, as far as it is within their power to do so, that the parents of infants brought for baptism be converted and properly instructed.
8. We are an Episcopal church.
REACH SA is an Episcopal church. It values Bishops, as an ancient and well tried form of ministry, agreeable to Scripture (though not actually required by Scripture).
Both the Presbyter and Bishop are viewed by the Prayer Book Ordinal in the New Testament way, as primarily pastors and teachers. Bishops are to exercise their role toward both clergy and laity.
The ministry of women in the church is vital, but it does not require them to be ordained as Presbyters or Bishops. The proposal to admit women as Presbyters or Bishops would be a denial of the headship of the man, taught by the New Testament.
9. We are a Liturgical church
REACH SA is a liturgical church in that it values and uses set forms for its public services. In particular we subscribe to the theology, principles and format expressed in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.
In practice that means that each service must be congregational and have a from and structure that includes confession of sin, praise and thanksgiving, prayer, the reading of God’s word and the preaching of God’s word.
10. We are an Anglican church
An Anglican is not defined by the recognition of the Archbishop of Canterbury or by an invititation to the Lamberth Conference.
Historically true Anglicans are those who subscribe to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the 39 Articles. The 39 Articles and 1662 Book of Common Prayer stand as the one touchstone of genuine Anglicanism.
REACH SA subscribes to the Jerusalem Declaration. More information about this can be found online at http://fca.net/recources/the_jerusalem_declaration/
The reachsa.org.za website has helpful informatioin on the various ReachSA churches, resources, gatherings, etc.