Christian Conservative Christian "Independent"

I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Statement of Faith

I know lots of people think that Christians shouldn't have anything to do with politics in Canada, but I disagree. So I thought I'd start another discussion on that topic to see what people think.

For starters, I found this "Statement of Faith" online from a nearby church, and I think it's pretty good... nothing here I'd disagree with. How about you?

What We Believe as a Church

1. About the Bible
We believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God. The word "inspired" means that God superintended the writing and the collection of the books of the Bible, allowing the writers to use their own style, reflecting the uniqueness of their readers. We believe the Bible is without error in the original writing and is the final authority for faith and life. No other writings are inspired like the Bible. (Joshua 1:8, Psalm 19:7-11, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:21)

2. About God
We believe there is one God who exists in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These three persons possess the same nature, qualities and glory but are distinct in their roles. (Deuteronomy 6:4, Isaiah 48:16, Matthew 28:19, James 2:19)

3. About Jesus Christ
We believe that Jesus Christ is the only son of God, he was both fully man and God, was conceived of the Holy Spirit, was virgin born of Mary, died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin, he rose again the third day in bodily form and that the only way to reconnect with God is through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He ascended into heaven and sits at the Father's right hand, interceding for us. (I John 5:20, Luke 1:35, Matthew 1:20, I Peter 1:18-19, Romans 4:25, Ephesians 2:8-9, Hebrews 4:14-16)

4. About Salvation
We believe that we were all created reflecting God's character but were separated from God because of sin and that salvation is entirely because of God's grace and mercy through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We believe that once you are part of God's family, that you are part of it for all eternity. (Genesis 1:27, Romans 3:23; 5:12, Titus 3:5, I Peter 1:5)

5. About the Holy Spirit
We believe that each believer is indwelt with the Holy Spirit at the time of crossing the line of faith. The work of the Holy Spirit is to help people understand who Jesus Christ is; to convict us when we sin, to guide, instruct and provide the power to become fully devoted followers of Christ. (Ephesians 4:30, Romans 8:9, John 14:16-18; 16:8-14)

6. About the Church
We believe that all followers of Christ are part of the universal church with Jesus Christ as the head of the church. The local church is an expression of God's design for the church and it has the right to decide and rule over its own affairs. Baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances that are to be observed during this present age. (Matthew 28:19-20, I Corinthians 11:23-28; 12:12-27, Galatians 3:27-28, Ephesians 1:22-23, Acts 2:42-46)

7. About the Return of Christ
We believe that one day Jesus will return from heaven and gather those who are followers back to heaven to spend eternity with him. (John 14:1-6, Acts 1:11, I Thessalonians 4:14-18, Revelation 21:1-4)

8. About the Resurrection
We believe in a bodily resurrection from the dead and that those who are followers of Christ will go to heaven and those who reject the message of the gospel will be separated for eternity from God in a place called hell. (Revelation 20:12-13, Philippians 1:23, 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9)

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  • At Wed Jul 16, 01:13:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    In my mind, Christians have as much right to debate politics as Atheists, Muslims, Buddists, the Church of AGW, the Socialists or just about anybody else.

    The fact that a certain segment of the population thinks they shouldn't says that they are the bigots and the hypocrites spouting about free speech, but only on their terms.

    Keep on blogging just as you have - it is your right and besides, I love how it drives that certain, think they are better than you" segment of the population nuts!!!

  • At Wed Jul 16, 01:51:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Robert G. Harvie, Q.C. said…

    I think that Christians have as much right as anyone to be a part of politics in Canada - if that's what your asking. However, if you're going beyond that and suggesting that Christian doctrine should have a direct influence on policy and legislation - I'm afraid you'll have to leave me out.

    The idea of the State taking any active part in suggesting moral guidance to the population is, well, a sort of fascist concept.

    I mean - to begin with - which Christian doctrine to we ascribe to? I mean, there are a host of different Christian belief sets.. for example, I'm a Christian - but I happen to believe the bible is a flawed piece of work, put together by man doing their best to often explain things beyond their understanding... so already, my Christianity is going to come to conflict with your Christianity.

    Mormans do not believe in the trinity being one and the same - and believe that Jesus is a separate entity from God and the Holy Spirit is again a separate entity..

    So - I for one, while encouraging others to believe in God, would be horrified to have issues of faith, whether Christian or otherwise, become an instrument of the State..

    There is a separation of religion and state for a reason - as without it, we run the risk of theocracy, such as the Taliban.. and the comfort that we may have at present that "Christian" principals are different will be small solace if the state adopted the sort of Christian values that the Catholic Church espoused during the crusades or the inquisition..

    So - we shouldn't look down our noses at anyone of faith, but, please, let me exercise my faith without the "assistance" of Ottawa.

    Frankly - it is the suggestion of mixing Church and State which is a great achilles heel in the conservative movement.. and which requires us to harken back to the words of Thomas Jefferson, that

    History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes

    While this may offend Christians, who feel comfortable at present with their place in society - by inviting government into matters of religious conscience, we may find ourselves very dismayed should fundamental Muslims eventually become the dominant majority.

  • At Wed Jul 16, 02:16:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There is nothing in it that I would create dissent in a church over, but if I was writing it I would make some changes:

    1) remove the part about the bible being the 'final authority'. There is no practical way in many cases of determining which interpretation is the best one, so claiming it as a 'final authority' is not really helpful. It just makes two groups who can't get beyond being 'right', instead of listening to both sides and sometimes living in the tension of the mystery that is present. Instead I'd replace this point with something like: "We believe the bible is useful for the proper teaching ourselves and others in Godly living." This would put it in harmony with 2 Tim. 3:16, which talks about the practicality of the bible in the lives of believers, rather than authority.

    re: 2) I would only change the word 'role' to 'persons' or some other word which conveys that all three are fully God and yet have distinct differences in personality. The word 'role' has been used in many churches to justify 'roles' for men and women, and I would rather avoid using it for that reason. There is no point in injecting a debate around gender into a belief framework about the nature of the trinity.

    re: 3) I would reword the phrase "to pay the penalty for our sin" to something like: died on the cross "to create a way for us to be reconciled to God". The only reason I would do that is to avoid restricting the mechanism of atonement to susbstitutionary atonement. There are over 160 different theories of atonement, and while some are clearly unscriptural, many others are not. Certainly his death and ressurection allow for us to be reconciled to God, but the mechanism thereof is still debateable.

    I would also amend the section related to a 'personal relationship' to God. That term is distinctly absent from scripture (which creates a problem if you hold to scripture being the 'final authority'). I would probably leave it out and add something in the previous section above about Jesus' death and ressurection being the ONLY mechanism by which one can be saved.

    re: 4 I would replace the part about it being 'through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ' for much of the same reasons I cited above, and instead say something like: Jesus' death and ressurection is the only way through which all people can come to recieve salvation."

    re: 5 I would remove the 'at the time of the crossing the line' bit. That just confuses people whose journey of faith doesn't have that 'defining sinners prayer moment'. Everything else is bang on.

    re: 6 I would remove "it has the right to decide and rule over its own affairs." What they are trying to say is 'we're not subordinated to a greater church heirarchy like the pope or a bishop'. What they should do is state that belief positively, rather than negatively: 'We believe that Christ is the head of every church, including our local church."

    re: 7 A-ok. Simple to the point.

    re: 8 No real nitpicks with this either.

    I think writing a statement of faith is an interesting process. Having been involved in writing several, and having been a signatory to several, I can say that each one tells you a lot more about a church or organization than anything else you might read about them.

    Personally, my a priori thinking is that a statement of faith should be a 'bare minimum' statement. That it shouldn't be used to target other churches, but should provide a framework into which many people can fit. For example: no 'the KJV is the only real Bible' or 'Predestination only' or pre-millenial theology. Instead, focus on the really important stuff. To their credit, this church appears to have mostly done that.

  • At Wed Jul 16, 08:11:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As always a faith statement is a work in progress. I have worked on several and actually wrote one for myself. It is amazing how over time I have had to go back and re-edit the statement as my understanding of God, Faith and Christianity have been refined. For my own statement of faith I took the Nicene Creed and expanded each point of the Creed to explain what I actually believe.

    Like PaulM I too have removed the "final authority" due to the huge number of interpretations all of which claim to be "Final Authoritive". Sometimes these "final authoritive actually go so far as to call Jesus a liar.

    I further agree with Paulm regarding the "personal relationship". All too often that has become code words for the post modern 'its true for me' syndrome. Either the Christian Gospel is Universally True or else it is no gospel at all.


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