Things I Do NOT Believe: My Anti-CreedAuthor: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: Bobby's World, Church, Faith, Kingdom, Ministry, Preaching, Restoration History, Sectarianism, Unity
1. I do not believe in a distant God. Rather God is deeply involved in the world working to redeem his good creation.
2. I do not believe that God’s Spirit works only through the written word, the Bible. Rather I believe that the Spirit indwells the Christian for the purpose of fellowship and spiritual guidance.
3. I do not believe that salvation is a co-operative effort where God does 50% and humans do 50%. That is I do not believe that salvation is through both God’s grace and human works. Rather I believe salvation is by God’s grace and is received through faith apart from works of righteousness unto good works.
4. I do not believe that Jesus and the early church can be understood apart from Judaism and the long history of redemption revealed in the Hebrew Bible. Rather I believe that the Hebrew Bible and “Second Temple” Judaism is essential for hearing the New Testament. The story of Israel, the people of God, is essential for understanding Christian faith.
5. I do not believe that salvation is individualistic; that I can be a Christian/disciple all alone. Rather salvation is wholistic for mind, body and soul. Salvation is for all things that have been devastated by the fall of humanity. Salvation is communal and I must be in the community of God.
6. I do not believe that ministry to the poor (benevolence work some call it) is a “non-spiritual” activity. Rather care for the poor and taking care of needs is, in light of Jesus’ ministry, a profoundly Godly, spiritual activity. It is part of the work of salvation.
7. I do not believe that the church and the kingdom of God are one and the same thing. Rather I believe the kingdom is where ever the Reign of God is manifest. The church is the beach head of the kingdom in the present age … it is the future on display in the present.
8. I do not believe that God made a mistake when he created the world or when he gave humanity a body. Rather I believe that life as the Bible defines it cannot be simply “spirit” but body and spirit joined together.
9. I do not believe that Yahweh is a technical God and thus reject salvation by “precision” obedience.
10. I do not believe that any one nation is especially God’s favorite nation in the world. Rather I believe that all nation states fundamentally are self-serving rather than God-serving.
11. I do not believe that scholarship threatens or endangers faith. Rather I believe that our faith is deepened and enriched through study.
12. I do not believe everyone has to agree with me. Rather I believe all should study and ask for the Spirit’s guidance and come to a firm faith they believe. Unity and fellowship are not conditioned upon adhering to any creedal position on contentious issues in the the brotherhood. Rather unity and fellowship are an act of God’s Spirit.
Finally, I believe the church is a witness to the fallen age of what God intends creation to look like. Church is the place where God’s will is done “on earth as it is in heaven.” Here we serve and obey. Here we love and sacrifice for one another. Here we honor our promises and keep our word. Here there are no outcasts but all are welcome. I guess the church is heaven on earth … or that is what God intends … and through his indwelling Spirit we are becoming more of that each and every day. That is the goal.