there is nothing quite like a gray day in ohio, people. i mean it was gray a lot in seattle, but if you could see past the fog, you remembered the mountains surrounding you and the beach not so far…and even when you couldn’t see past it, you knew they were there. here, its like ‘well its gray. period.’ it was below freezing all week and then today is 50 degrees and the snow is melted. i like snow ok…i would like it better if somehow when it went away instead of leaving slush and mud, it left dry roads and immediately green grass…anyone feeling me?
i realized today as i sat down at the computer to share with you my beliefs, that i am not sure just where to start. there are so many facets and topics and little nuances that make up what i hold to as true… its like i know y’all are really interested in the controversial things and where i land on those spectrums… don’t worry, that’s not an indictment, all humans love a little drama. but really those things are my fringe beliefs and so i am hesitant to start there…
and actually before i get into what i believe, i thought it might be appropriate to revisit the why of my belief. i actually blogged about this a couple of years ago and since my fingers only have so much typing in them before cohen awakes, i thought i’d just redirect you there: Why I Believe Part 1 and Why I Believe Part 2
so as we dive into these big and then ‘nitty gritty’ issues of Christianity, i just want to state that my study has only served to back up and deepen the beliefs that i hold very simply because of the whispers of God into my heart and His hand drawing me near. these intellectual pursuits could never have persuaded me to love Him they way His tenderness has!
the most important truths i hold near aren’t controversial…they are the basic beliefs expressed so well in the apostles creed.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.
And 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 into hell.
The third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Christian Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
(does anyone else hear Rich Mullins singing that in your head as you read? *grin* some of you, no doubt, are too young for that… but others of you know just what i am referring to!)
this the foundation of what i know to be true…God is the Designer of Life and He created everything with purpose…I don’t consider myself a “creationist” in the most traditional sense of the term. i would probably title myself something like “theistic evolutionist” if i thought it were important to give myself a title (which i don’t). for me, science and the Bible are only mutually exclusive entities in the imaginations of limited beings (like myself). if this topic interests you, feel free to read another old post Irreducible Complexity. but to me, the point of the creation story isn’t how as much as why. to me, what matters is that the origin of Life is with God… He is the designer and creator and everything that is came out of His raw essence of pure existence! And that is a belief I hold very dear.
the trinity makes my head spin…how God can be 3 and also 1 is baffling to a human trapped within the confines of my finite mind…but still, i believe it. i believe that the three persons of the trinity are not ‘part’s but completely whole in and of themselves and then also not truly separate. like i said, faith is my reason for believing this…its not something i can prove.
i believe in Jesus…that He is the one and only begotten Son of God. i believe that He was somehow conceived by the Holy Spirit into a young, faithful woman. i believe He was both fully God and fully man…that in His coming to earth, He did not forfeit one iota of his Godness. and that in being God, He was able to take on humanness and be fully present and experience every temptation and joy we live in. i believe He lived on the earth, grew up into a man, and had ministry of healing and teaching that was so counter-culture that the religious people of the day had to kill Him before He kicked the wind out of their empty traditions and showed their ego and power wielding tactics for just what they were. i believe it was the plan of God for Him to die as a sacrifice for the whole world, which also baffles me. in some way, He took on the iniquities of us all and made atonement for us with God His Father. i believe He died, was buried in a tomb, and then rose from the dead. everything else i hold as true hangs on the fact that Jesus conquered hell and death, making a way for us all to God.
i believe the Holy Spirit is a Person in the community of the Trinity. i believe He was given as a guide and ‘nudger’ of our hearts. i believe that when a person calls on God and trusts Him, that the Holy Spirit is sent as a seal over that person’s heart. i believe that the Spirit has gifts. i don’t believe those gifts are now inactive, because i can’t see any Biblical backing up of that and because it has been my experience that those gifts are real even in the now of history. still, i think an important distinction to make is that the gifts of the Spirit are just that: the gifts of the Spirit and not the gifts of any man! i don’t think that if someone heals or has a prophet word that that person becomes a Healer or a Prophet. i think its highly possible that God could impart the gift of healing for His purposes, and then never do it again with the same person… because i believe the gifts are to be orderly..used to edify the Church. it saddens me that we look to the Holy Spirit and immediately think of His gifts and not His Person.
i believe in the Church as the bride of Christ…sometimes a wayward bride, but a bride none the less. and i believe someday soon God is coming back for her.
i believe in the Kingdom of God. Jesus taught more about the Kingdom of God than anything else…morals, politics, human relationships… and i believe the Kingdom is NOW and not ONLY something that we will experience when we’ve died and gone to eternity. i believe the Kingdom is forcefully advancing and that men can lay hold of it..not unlike the way we try to harness the wind in all of its wild unpredictability. i believe the Kingdom is real and even tangible, although not seen with human eyes.
i believe that Jesus made atonement for me and the whole world, and that through Him i am able to come confidently before God, knowing that my sins (past, present and future) have been removed as far as the east is from the west. and that’s the best new i know.
i believe that one day Jesus is coming back and whether or not i am already gone from this world, that i will go to be with Him in Glory FOREVER. my mind can’t wrap around that, but i believe it.
so those are the bones that make up the skeleton of what i believe. everything else, hangs from these truths. sure, there are more ‘issues’ and doctrinal perspectives to discuss…but as we get into those in the next few posts, let’s not forget the foundational truths we all agree on as believers. i promise i will talk about the emergent church and science and predestination/free will and maybe even politics, but let’s just not jump to define these fringe issues that separate us when there is so much we all know is true. i hesitate to go further, lest i stir up arguments and draw arbitrary lines in the sand that we might feel prone to defend…
i want to say that i have in no way, a desire to divide or to offend and if i should do either, please charge it to my head and not my heart. i sincerely hope we can discuss as friends…as brother and sisters in the Lord, with one desire only…to love God and serve each other.
good evening, friends. more later