PSALT is a reform movement within the PCC seeking a recommitment to:
- God in Christ as the centre of church life;
- Scripture as God’s holy and authoritative revelation;
- The Holy Spirit as the active agent forming grace-extending, truth-telling, disciple-making communities;
- A view of discipleship which demands whole-life obedience and sacrifice unto freedom and joy;
- A view of mission which seeks explicit sharing of the apostolic gospel and a call unto faith and repentance.
1. God in Christ as the centre of church life
Jesus Christ, fully divine and human, once-slain, risen and glorified, is the one through whom the Church focuses its worship of the Triune God of Grace. As the Truth sent from above, Jesus is the only sufficient Revealer of God, and Judge of humankind. Confessing Jesus as Saviour means that, more than a guide, or one Way among many, Jesus is the one who, embodying the divine Love for lost humanity, surely achieved salvation by his atoning death, for all who are united to him by faith and repentance. Holding Jesus as Lord means that we grant his sovereign right to command our lives, and the life of the Church. The real and spiritual Presence of Christ in believers and believing churches is what renders them Alive to God and able to hold forth Life; it is signified by a believing attitude toward his Word and a holy living-out of his Way.
2. Scripture as God’s holy and authoritative revelation.
Scripture — the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments — is God’s Word written. In Scripture, God reveals everything we need know of the Divine Identity and Will for our lives. Although the Scriptures were written and recognized within human community and culture across a period of years, long ago, our faith declares that these processes were superintended by the Holy Spirit, who is active also as The Word is opened in our time. Thus do Word and Spirit lead only ever in the same direction, and thus is there a unity, universality, uniqueness and authority to the Word, lent by its divine Author, working in and beyond the human authors. Authority means that Scripture’s Word must be allowed to evaluate the wisdom of contemporary culture and subjective experience — not vice versa. Living under Scriptural authority requires trust, obedience and courage to live counter-culturally, but it also gives the church a prophetic Voice, wiser than The Age. Jesus is God’s Living Word; both Old and New Testaments witness to him. Apart from Scripture we cannot know who Jesus is.
3. The Holy Spirit as the active agent forming grace-extending, truth-telling, disciple-making communities.
Jesus continues his Presence in the church, following his ascension, by the Holy Spirit. As Jesus himself was “full of grace and truth,” the Holy Spirit is both the Guide into all Truth and the imparted Gift of divine Love. By the Spirit we are able to believe, and really, though imperfectly, able to prove our love to God by keeping the commandments. The early church was an Act of the Spirit’s creation. Spirit-formed communities have certain marks: 1. They are diverse in every human way, yet united around a common allegiance to Christ as Saviour and Lord, and a common adherence to the behavioural teachings of the New Testament. 2. They speak Truth, with the confidence that it will be liberating “good news” for those who hear it, and practice Love with deeds of gracious service. 3. They are well-ordered and disciplined recognizing that the Spirit of freedom does not amount to an excuse for license or the toleration of sin. Rather the Holy Spirit forms holy communities. 4. They are communities on a mission to make and nurture disciples.
4. A view of discipleship which demands whole-life obedience and sacrifice unto freedom and joy.
When Christ calls us to follow him he bids us come and die. Discipleship involves a putting off of our old life and a putting on of the new. This renovation is thorough-going, touching every area — the way we speak to ourselves and others, spend our money, use our time, live out our sexuality, treat our families, approach our work and face suffering. The journey is also life-long — only a defective discipleship stalls upon profession of faith, and does not grow to reproductive maturity. Disciples make other disciples. As the Son subdued self-will, denied the self-directed life, and replicated himself in the lives of others, he knew conflict with the world and the devil. Similarly we contend with forces around us and within. As we renounce attitudes and behaviours that feel comfortable to us and which culture affirms, we experience the cost of following Jesus, but we also know our lives transformed from sickness unto health. There are no saints without sacrifice, but it is also only through dying that we can be born into the joy and freedom of eternal life.
5. A view of mission which seeks explicit sharing of the apostolic gospel and a call unto faith and repentance.
The church is not an institution but a movement, begun in the heart of God, who so loved the world, that the Son was sent, to seek and to save that which was lost. Christ later sent the church, in the power of the Spirit, to go into all the world, making disciples of all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey all that he had commanded. The church engages the world missionally through both service and evangelism. While service is often welcomed in a pluralistic culture with bad memories of cultural imperialism by European Christians, evangelism is not. However if the church refuses to share Christ, as well as mercy, it shows itself disobedient to the great commission and distrustful that the apostolic gospel is really good news for all. In post-Christian culture it’s especially important that the church be clear about the content of the Apostles’ proclamation, and willing to share its stories of what a response to that Message with true faith and repentance actually looks like. All disciples are named ambassadors of the gospel, with their own story to tell.