STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES

//STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES
STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES 2017-10-25T08:25:04+00:00

The Liberal Gnostic Church exists to forward the work of the LOGOS in the world and to feed his flock.

It is an independent and autonomous body, in no way dependent upon the See of Rome, or upon any other See or authority outside its own administration. It is neither Roman Catholic nor Protestant, but Catholic.

The Liberal Catholic Church, our parent church, came into existence as the result of a complete re-organization in 1915 of the Old Catholic movement in Great Britain upon a more liberal basis. This church derived its orders from the mother-see of the Old Catholic movement, the ancient archiepiscopal see of Utrecht in Holland. The Liberal Gnostic Church has carefully preserved this succession of Orders.

Doctrine

The Liberal Gnostic Church recognizes seven sacraments, which it enumerates as follows: baptism, confirmation, the holy Eucharist, absolution, Holy unction, holy matrimony, and holy orders. To ensure their efficacy to the worshiper, the administration of all sacramental rites is guarded with most care. It has preserved an episcopal succession that is valid, as understood throughout the whole of those churches in Christendom that maintain the apostolic succession is a tenant of their faith.

Freedom of Thought

Membership in most Christian churches rests on the acceptance of a common belief. There is frequently wide discrepancy between the real belief of a thoughtful individual and the official profession that is expected of him or her. This leads to suppressed disbelief, to say nothing of insincerity, and tends to check the free exercise of the mind.

The Liberal Gnostic Church permits to lay members entire freedom in the interpretation of creeds, scriptures and traditions, and of the liturgy. It asks only that differences of interpretation be courteously expressed. The church holds strongly that belief should be the result of individual study or intuition, not its antecedent. A truth is not a truth for a person, or a revelation until he or she sees it for himself or herself. As a person grows spiritually, so will he grow into the perception of truth. No mere lip profession or superficial assent of the mind can take the place of this growth, and to ask anything less than this is a sacrilege. Christ surely meant his religion to be one of love and freedom, one that would help people at their different stages of spiritual growth. He did not prescribe formulae whose literal acceptance should be a condition of salvation. The consequence of being unable to recognize a truth is simply to lose the help that knowledge of the truth would give.

The Liberal Gnostic Church considers, therefore, that it acts in accordance with the spirit of its Master in welcoming gladly into its ranks those who are still seeking for truth. As a working class of fellowship, it asks of its members not the profession of a common belief, but their willingness to worship corporately through a common ritual. It tries to help them discover truth for themselves by providing them with opportunities for spiritual growth. It asks of them sincerity, purity of motive, tolerance, breadth of mind, courtesy of expression, willingness to work, and a constant pursuit of higher ideals – confident, above all, that the power of the Blessed Sacrament of Christ’s love may well be trusted to work Gods own true purpose on their souls.

Ethics

The Liberal Gnostic Church lays great stress on the corporate aspect of Christian life and worship, believing that as a system of ethics, philosophy, and worship, Christianity was intended chiefly to help mankind grow in love, and in so doing to solve the many difficulties that beset the way of human brotherhood– That brotherhood which is the cornerstone of a truly religious life. Without mutual goodwill, no system of social organization can be other than chaotic.

Terms of Communion

The Liberal Gnostic Church welcomes to its altars all who reverently and sincerely approach them. It looks upon the Christian Church is a great brotherhood of all who turn to Jesus Christ– their master and their friend – as the inspirer of their spiritual life. It offers the Blessed Sacrament of his love to any member of the brotherhood who reverently desires it.

Candidates are admitted to the Liberal Gnostic Church by baptism, or (if that has been received in complete form) by confirmation or admission. Admission is a simple ceremony in which the person is accepted into membership and a blessing is invoked on their religious aspirations.

Relation to Other Churches

The Liberal Gnostic Church is not a new sect. It is a constituent part of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church: that historical church which is truly one, despite it’s many outward divisions both East and West, because the one life of Christ animates and sustains it through the sacraments he instituted. The Liberal Gnostic Church has preserved the sacraments in their integrity and plenitude and believes its doctrine to be in conformance with the teachings of Christ and freed from the corruption of later ages.

It regards Christ’s church as consisting of the blessed company of all faithful people. The different churches, whether historical or new, receive his blessing in proportion to the earnestness of their members and the extent to which they retain the sacraments of his grace and reflect his teachings.

The Liberal Gnostic Church, therefore, seeks to work in friendship with all other Christian denominations. It has no wish to proselytize, and welcomes all to regular and full participation in its services, without asking or expecting them to leave their own church. On the other hand, if the distinctive features of its work attract members of other churches, they are invited to join. The Liberal Gnostic Church is at all times ready to establish relations of intercommunion with other churches upon the friendliest possible basis.

Liturgy

The liturgy of the Liberal Gnostic Church is in the vernacular. The essential features of the various sacramental forms are preserved with scrupulous care. The endeavor has been, throughout, to place no sentiment on the lips of priest or congregation that cannot be honestly and sincerely meant. The fear of God’s wrath, the attitude of abject self abasement, together with the haunting fear of eternal hell, have been eliminated from the ritual. These ideas are derogatory alike to the idea of a loving father and to mankind, who he has created in his own image.

The Scriptures

The liberal Gnostic church teaches that the Scriptures (both canonical and extra-canonical/apocryphal, including the Gnostic Scriptures) are inspired in a general sense only. It considers that they contain much that is truly the product of divine inspiration, but that with things literally true are mingled other things to be allegorically and spiritually understood.

Individual Liberty

The clergy of the Liberal Gnostic Church, in common with the priesthood of other churches, hold Christ’s commission to teach, but claim no authority over the individual conscience. Stress is laid upon their function as ministers of the divine sacraments, stewards of the mysteries of God, ready to place themselves in all ways reasonable at the disposal of those who ask their help.

Confession

Private confession is entirely optional and is not required as a preliminary to the reception of Holy Communion. The church offers the sacrament of absolution following confession whether by the auricular method or in the public services. Such absolution, the church believes, brings the man or woman once more into harmony with the divine.

Celibacy

The Liberal Gnostic Church neither enjoins nor forbids the marriage of its clergy.

Politics

The Liberal Gnostic Church does not, as a body, enter into politics. The church strives to inspire its members with a love for humanity and the desire to serve their fellows.

Mysticism and Modern Thought

The church seeks to bring into alliance with its worship all that is true and good in modern thought. Spiritual truths are at all times capable of discovery or rediscovery.

The traditional path of purification, illumination, and union is still open for the seekers treading. Those who approach by this path may hope to attain the spiritual insight that is the aim of every earnest Christian.

The Liberal Gnostic Church, as a modern Christian church, maintains that religion should keep pace with human growth and enlightenment, and holds that the church has handed down a very precious heritage from Christ himself.

The Liberal Gnostic Church welcomes to its membership all who are seeking truth, and does not require acceptance of a specific body of doctrine.