Accepting the Constitution
NCW 25, November 1995
Q. Accepting the Constitution is a condition of membership in the NCCG. But what if a baptismal candidate doesn't understand the Constitution because, for example, he is too young?
The Constitution, like the commandments, has been created to maintain order and discipline and to build harmony in the Church. We obey many of the commandments by faith, not comprehending them at first. As God makes this allowance for us, so we too make allowances for those with limited comprehension because of age or other factors.
The Constitution is, in any case, a manifestation in words and sentences of a certain spirit which anyone can experience coming to the Church. Those obtaining a testimony from the Holy Spirit that they are called into the New Covenant may be assured that the words in the Constitution are at least a partial manifestation of that Spirit. That does not, of course, mean that they have no responsibility to study the Constitution; as a member grows in wisdom and grace so he will be expected to test the Constitution in the light of Scripture and his own personal experience. In the meantime he must accept it on faith. Every member has the right to propose modifications to the Constitution by direct appeal to the Patriarchate.
The Constitution is not, moreover, a perfect manifestation in words of the Gospel. It contains instructions on administrative structures which will change in time. The present Constitution has already undergone many editions and at least two major revisions to reflect the calling of the Church at any one particular time. Accepting the Constitution means also, therefore, accepting the administrative structure of the Church too at any one time.
The most important qualification for baptism and membership in the NCCG is having a conviction that Jesus is the Christ, the resurrected Saviour of the world with whom one has entered into a personal relationship by faith. Accepting a set of doctrinal and administrative propositions is secondary to being born again. By the same token that we would admit someone into the Covenant even though they have an inadequate knowledge of the Constitution, we would also deny baptism to someone who accepted the Constitution but who had no relationship with Jesus. Conversion must be of the soul and not just the mind.
This page was created on 2 May 1998
Last updated on 2 May 1998
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