Doctrinal Statement, SAGC Specific Beliefs

DOCTRINAL STATEMENT OF SHEPHERDING ALL GOD’S CREATURES

The present statement of faith has the goal of presenting the main beliefs of Shepherding All God’s Creatures (SAGC) in order to help orient those that wish to be a part of it. The statement’s purpose is to indicate a centre of core doctrine that represents the general beliefs of the group. Its primary purpose is not to exclude or create boundaries but to help indicate the basic doctrinal outlook of the site and its writers. The General Beliefs of SAGC fall within basic Christian orthodoxy, and more specifically a general Protestant/Evangelical understanding of the Bible and the gospel, but we welcome believers from all theological traditions. The group’s Specific Beliefs represent the goals and beliefs of SAGC in regard to its mission in promoting the stewardship of the animal kingdom and creation, and how these are correlated to other issues.

GENERAL BELIEFS

We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.

We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.

We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.

We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.

We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.

We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. (Copyright NAE)(1)

Together with the historic-orthodox Christian Church we confess the Apostles’ Creed: I believe

in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

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(1) Statement of Faith: National Association of Evangelicals, https://www.nae.net/statement-of-fa…, accessed 27/03/2017.

DOCTRINAL STATEMENT: SAGC

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic(2) church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

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(2) ‘Catholic’ here means simply universal.

SPECIFIC BELIEFS

Our Specific Beliefs characterize the mission and purpose of SAGC. As a ministry dedicated specifically to caring for the animal kingdom, and to communicating God’s hope for creation, SAGC seeks to emphasize God’s love for all his creatures, responsible and Christ-like stewardship of the environment, and the glorious expectation of a new heavens and earth without pain and violence.

  • • We believe that God’s original purpose for creation and the animal kingdom has always been peace or Shalom (Genesis 1-2). Shalom is a state of non-violence characterized by harmony between human beings, between humans and animals, and amongst animals themselves. In this sense we believe that death entered creation through sin (Genesis 3, Romans 5:12) and was not God’s will but brought by the enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy. On the contrary, Jesus came to bring life (John 10:10), and to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).
  • • We believe that Jesus’s atoning death on the cross was not just to reconcile human beings but ‘all things’, ta panta τὰ πάντα (Colossians 1:20, Ephesians 1:10), and that all of creation and the animal kingdom are awaiting redemption (Romans 8), when the lion will dwell with the lamb and edenic peace will be restored (Isaiah 11:6-7). We look forward to the new heavens and new earth in which righteousness and peace will reign (Revelation 21-22, 2 Peter 3:13).
  • • We believe that the Church as Christ’s Body on earth has the goal of seeking to make God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). God has equipped the Church with gifts and talents, and has endowed it with authority (Matthew 28). In regard to the animal kingdom and creation this means actively coming against the principalities and powers that currently oppress it. For this reason we believe in utilizing all the spiritual tools and weapons God has given us; these include, but are not limited to, prayer, fasting, holding fast to God’s promises, and also seeking to promote the truth about the animal kingdom contained in the Scriptures and the gospel.
  • • We believe that God cares for and sustains every living creature. The Lord loves each one of his creatures individually and not just as groups or species (Luke 12:6, Matthew 6:26). Even though this varies in its expression on the basis of historical, geographical and individual factors, we believe that humans should seek to practice compassion towards animals (Proverbs 12:10, Deuteronomy 22:6, Jonah 4:11), and that cruelty does not reflect the character of our Creator whose tender mercies are over all his works (Psalm 145:9).
  • • We believe in being faithful caretakers and stewards not only of the animal kingdom (Genesis 1-2) but also of the environment and its resources. As people specifically entrusted by God with looking after the earth and its creatures, Christians will have to give account of how they looked after what was given to them (Luke 19:11, Revelation 11:18, Romans 14:12).
  • • While we respect the dietary choices of all believers (Romans 14, Matthew 15:1-20, Mark 7:1-23), realizing that this is an issue between the believer and the Lord, SAGC sees vegetarianism, and more specifically veganism as God’s ideal for creation (Genesis 1-2, Matthew 19:8, Isaiah 11:6-7), and as a practical manifestation of compassion towards animals. In this sense, SAGC, as part of its particular calling, sees it as one of its goals to promote biblically grounded forms of vegetarianism not only as a sign of the coming kingdom but also for the stewardship of the environment, natural resources, as well as for the improvement of human health.
  • • SAGC’s concern for animals is in line with, and linked to, an overall concern for the weak and the oppressed: these include the poor, the unborn, children, the elderly and the marginalized. In this sense, SAGC sees these issues as indivisible and compassion as an overarching vision that touches all aspects of God’s world. SAGC sees itself within the abolitionist tradition of William Wilberforce, who together with his quest to end slavery sought to fight against cruelty to animals (SPCA 1824). SAGC believes that these problems are all interconnected and that ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’ (Martin Luther King Jr.).

This statement was put together and written by Marcello Newall; thanks, Marcello, it is because of your fine penmanship that we have such an excellent statement of faith! ~Kathy