In the midst of a world at war, amidst a creation straining toward light, amidst a people divided against themselves, amidst broken homes, broken families, broken bodies, broken hearts: I believe I believe I believe in God.Above is a statement of faith I found as I was browsing around the internet. It was written by my internship mentor, Rev. Aimee Moiso (and yes, I am guilty of Internet stalking). As I read it, I was struck by the simplicity and poetic beauty to it, not like many statements of faith I have read. The concise clarity and theological precision of the multitude of statements available are a serious asset for us, and yet, I felt stirred up in my spirit when I read this beautiful explanation of our faith. It serves as a reminder to me that theological accuracy is of supreme importance, but that we cannot also forget that God is a God Who is beautiful, altogether glorious, wonderfully creative–the Master Artist.
I believe in the one God who made swaths of brilliant stars in the empty darkness of space, crafted the orange-tipped wings of a million butterflies painted the emerald moss clinging to frozen tundra. I believe in the one God who created from the ruddy earth beings in the image of God, Creative, blessed, eager, amazing children of the most high imprinted with the likeness of the giver of life and born into a covenant of love, but who in the darkness of sin have forgotten and forsaken their true selves and their Creator and are thirsty and wandering lost, yearning for renewed and new life amidst disillusionment, despair, and death. In infinite imagination and unquenchable love, our God self enfleshed, and was born penniless and pitiable –– one simple, finite life on the ruddy earth that we might return to the God of perpetually new and everlasting life. Jesus the Christ recalibrated the rules, calling the powers to servanthood, the divided to kinship, and the nations to justice. Jesus the Christ restored the rejected touching the ones called unclean, healing the ones called unfit, loving the ones called unwelcome. Jesus the Christ enacted the impossible fully God, fully human, the Creator of the universe under the tyranny of Rome, forgiving even his executioners, laid cold as stone in a tomb and at the turn of the tide was preposterously raised from the dead to glorious fullness of life. I believe I believe I believe in God. I believe in the God who through power over even the sting of death shows us that love does conquer all and that even the worst we can do is not enough to separate us from the love of God. I believe in the God who through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ has sliced clean through the sticky web of sin that within a world that still groans in bondage we might live again and forever as children of God. I believe in the God who through the sweet communion of the Holy Spirit gives us freedom from fear that we might fiercely and unswervingly love one another even at the cost of our own lives and with joy proclaim to the world that what was broken can be healed what was lost, found what was dead, made new. Through the wholly inspired and holy authoritative Word of God in Scripture, the testimony of the great cloud of witnesses to the work of the great God, we hear, discover, recognize, discern and remember the presence and prompting of God among us. In the washing of the water and the sharing of the bread and cup we see, taste, touch, feel, smell and know that God is good and that God’s grace abounds as we are reborn, renewed and reclothed in sacrament. I believe in the God who calls women and men, boys and girls, young and wise, kind and strong to bring their foibles and folly and be the church to live as God’s family and welcome others to the table, a table set with china and chopsticks, cheese and chocolate, and enough chairs for everyone. In thanksgiving and hope, I believe I believe I believe in God. -Source: http://www.theridgepath.com/amoiso/startling-comfort
Statements of faith can be found on most church, ministry, seminary websites, etc., making plain what each individual organization maintains to be the truth set down in Scripture, and serve a purpose that is similar to the ecumenical creeds of old (to see some of the most important historical creeds, see the Christian Creeds section of this blog). Any doctrinal statement must be subordinate to the authority of Scripture, which alone is inspired by and breathed-out by God Himself. This is the task of every Christian–to test all things against the Scriptures (Acts 17:11).
Seeing a personal statement of faith, as opposed to the usual institutional statements we see for churches, denominations, etc., I really believe that each Christian should write their own individual statement of faith. We are commanded that we always “honor Christ the Lord as holy, [and] always being prepared to make a defense (give an answer; NIV) to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15 ESV). Being able to articulate our faith in a manner that is thorough is absolutely essential if we are going to live a missional lifestyle. If we are seeking to show the message of Christ’s love and grace, which is offered to all who would come to Him, we must be able to explain it to them. After all, “…how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Rom. 10:14).
God is drawing unto Himself all of His sheep–He won’t lose a single one of us. He does not need any help in the process: “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:24-25 ESV). And yet, He chooses to use us to make an appeal to His sheep, calling us out from darkness into light: “…we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20 ESV). As we participate in this wonderful privilege of bringing the message of God’s grace to those around us, we must come to a knowledge of the truth for ourselves.
And when we get caught up in the intricacies of certain doctrines, let us never forget to focus primarily on things of first importance:
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified…[and] I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive…
-1 Cor. 2:2, 15:3-6
I believe in the God who through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ has sliced clean through the sticky web of sin that within a world that still groans in bondage we might live again and forever as children of God.
What else could we say but, “Praise be to God!”
It is my hope that we would each be stirred up to praise the beautiful and lovely God Who is proclaimed in this statement of faith, that we would all encounter Him personally, experiencing His love and grace. I pray that God would transform us and captivate us. I pray that we can say as Aimee does, no matter what chaos or pain we see in the world, “I believe, I believe, I believe in God”, and that we would put our hope in God Who is seeking to save and redeem this fallen world.
To the Godhead–Father, Spirit, and Son–may there be praise and glory and honor forevermore. And may we always seek to be gracious unto others as He has been gracious to us, sacrificing Himself on our behalf. May His love drive us to love others just the same.