Saturday, November 22, 2014

My Statement of Personal Faith in God, Jesus and the Spirit

This is my statement of faith.

I believe that faith is a journey, not a destination.  I believe we were put here by God to experience His love, and to grow in faith.  I believe that suffering is an important tool in that faith journey, as it calls us back to God when nothing else will.  I believe that God is there to help us, but he expects us to help ourselves.  He expects us to act on our faith, even as salvation is not based on works or deeds, but on faith alone.  But I believe that inner faith without external manifestations of that faith is a slender reed, and a hollow one.

I believe in God and He shapes my life, provides me guidance (when I listen) and sees me through troubled times.  I believe in Jesus as the one true son of God, the author of my salvation.  I believe in the Holy Spirit of God, and have (at critical points in my life) felt touched by the Spirit of God.  The Trinity remains a mystery to me (as, I suppose, it was meant to), but I believe in God the Father, I believe in Jesus the Son and pathway to salvation, and I believe in the Holy Spirit.

I believe in the Bible as the primary source of God's message to humanity (and to me).  I reject those who claim that the Bible was solely the work of man, as that denies the reality of divine intervention.  The experiences in my life have proved to me the divine nature of the Bible.  I find spiritual value in both the Old and New Testaments, but in cases of a conflict, I believe that the New Testament (and Jesus) were created to refine and replace the Old Testament.

I believe in baptism as a vital step in a person's faith journey.  However, I believe that infant baptism is symbolic of the intent of the infant's parents, family and godparents to raise the child in faith, but it doesn't "confirm" adult salvation.  That adult salvation requires informed and committed faith, demonstrated by baptism, to "count" as baptism.

I believe Jesus meant what he said about the Eucharist, and those faiths that don't include communion with every church service are (at best) misinformed.  I believe that Satan exists and is active in this world, and that he is a major part of every person's faith journey.  As I believe that Satan exists to tempt Man, I believe that Hell is the destination of those who hear the Gospel and refuse to accept it. 

I believe in the life everlasting for those who believe in God and in the saving power of Jesus.

However, I have no real idea of what Heaven is like, or how Hell works.  Those answers have not been shown to me. 

I do not know how infant baptism works, but I believe that God accepts into his loving arms all infants and children who die while still too young to profess faith.  I also do not profess to know what happens to those who die having never been introduced to God and Jesus - as they saying goes, "that's way above my pay grade."

I believe that God created the universe, and that He created mankind, but I do not rule out the possibility that he used Evolution as a tool for doing so - God is infinite, and those who try to constrain him set themselves up to judge God - always a bad idea. I am not saying that God used evolution - I am saying that in His infinite wisdom, he used whatever tools he chose (and that evolution might - or might not - have been one of them).

I believe that, just as Jesus used parables, God might have been using parables in His teachings about Adam and Eve in the Garden, or about Noah and the Flood, or about Jonah and Leviathan.  The literal truth vs. the parabolic truth of these is not important to my faith.  What they tell me about what God wants of me is vitally important, just as the lessons of Jesus' parables are far more important than the name and zip code of the Prodigal Son.

This is not all of my faith, but it reflects a significant part of my faith as God has shown my faith to me at this point in my life.

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