I’m not a big fan of statements of faith, which attempt to summarize the Bible. It’s difficult to condense a one-thousand page book into a few propositions. What should be included? What should be excluded? And what arrangement should be used? So I prefer to stick with statements of faith that come straight from the Bible. For examples of such statements, read the post entitled, What Must We Believe?
While I prefer to use biblical statements, I understand why creeds and statements of faith have been written throughout church history. And if I had to choose a favorite, I think it would be the Apostles’ Creed.
Since statements of faith have become the norm for many churches and Christian organizations, here’s my attempt, probably to be revised, at writing my own statement of faith.
- There is one and only one God who is the entirely good Creator of all things. (If God chose to use evolutionary means in the development of creation, I’m OK with that.)
- All human beings have been created in God’s image and therefore possess an inherent dignity.
- Beginning with the first humans, all humans have, in one way or another, rejected God and therefore suffer as a result. When we walk away from light and life, we end up in darkness and death.
- God called Abraham and promised to bless all people through him. Abraham’s physical descendants are the people of Israel.
- Jesus of Nazareth, a descendant of Abraham, is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. Jesus was born in Israel about two thousand years ago, grew up, performed miracles, taught about God’s kingdom, died as a criminal on a cross, was buried, three days later rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. Jesus is God incarnate, the Word of God who became human. Jesus is the Messiah or the Christ, God’s anointed servant. And Jesus is presently ruling as Lord over all things.
- God offers forgiveness, reconciliation, and hope to all human beings through Jesus. Specifically this reconciled status is the result of Jesus’ death and resurrection and it is experienced on the basis of faith.
- Believers receive God’s Spirit enabling them to call God, “Abba, Father,” empowering them to be Christ’s witnesses, and distributing gifts of service to them.
- God is love and he commands his people to love him and to love others.
- God is triune—eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Spirit.
- Christ will one day return visibly and gloriously to earth.
- The dead will be raised. The dead in Christ will rise to life and eternal joy and the dead apart from Christ will rise to suffer because we reap what we sow. (I don’t think, however, that the wicked will experience eternal conscious torment. I believe they will suffer for a time and then either be annihilated or purified and restored.)
- God will, in his own timing and with his own power, make all things new. The new creation will consist of a new heaven, a new earth, and new imperishable bodies for God’s people. Corruption and evil will be excluded.
- God’s people presently have partial knowledge, but in the life to come they will have full knowledge.
- The Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testament, is God’s written word to humanity. Understanding the Bible requires humility, patience, skill in translating and interpreting, and divine assistance.
If you haven’t tried writing a personal statement of faith, give it a shot. You’ll learn something about yourself in the process.