So I finished revising my statement of faith to reflect changes in my conception of Christianity. Comments would always be nice ;) if not I hope to encourage others to think about just how they view what it means to be Christian (a lifelong process).
I believe that that the Bible is the word of God revealed to humanity and that through it all may gain an understanding of God. The Bible is fit for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. The Bible is composed of sixty-six books and epistles composed at diverse times and by many people and that the revelation of God in written form ceased after the writing of the Apocalypse of John, that is, Revelation.
I believe that these works are quick (living) and powerful and form the highest standard of authority for Christian faith and practice. The authorities of these works come not from the writers that wrote them but from the breath of life from an Almighty God. Additionally, there is only one perfect interpretation of this work by the nature of truth, though that truth may not be fully known by people until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, all Christians should strive to understand and interpret the Bible, trying to disregard all biases and human error, examining Scripture in light of Scripture first and with additional guidance from reason and the tradition of the Church. I believe that all that is necessary for salvation is contained within the Bible.
I believe in one God, eternal, infinitely perfect, immutable, sovereign over all things, having knowledge of all that has been, is, and will be in all the universe and working all things according to his good and perfect will. I believe that this God exists in the three persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, all united in one essence, consubstantial with each other. All three persons are united into one Godhead, neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the essence, with all persons being co-eternal and powerful, and with all persons infinitely worthy and equally deserving of our praise and adoration. I believe in the non-contingency of this God, with all creation contingent on the creative effort of Godhead.
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty who has made heaven and earth, and all things visible and invisible. I believe that the Father is the source of all life and works all things for his glory and is sovereign above all things.
I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, eternally begotten of the Father before all worlds. He is God of God, Light from Light and is consubstantial with the Father, and by him were all things made. I believe that Christ is the means of our salvation, having accomplished this by being incarnated of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit and. And having been made flesh, he dwelt among us people, enduring the full burden of temptation and was found perfect and through death fulfilled God’s divine plan for the salvation of humanity.
I believe that for us people and for our salvation, the incarnation of Christ, the Son of God was sent in the fullness of time, descended from heaven, and bore the full essence of God through the Father and the full essence of humanity through the virgin birth through Mary with both the essences of God and man subsisting in one body, the corporeal body of Christ. Through these essences Jesus was fully consubstantial with the Father and consubstantial with man to the purpose of our salvation.
I believe that having been found perfect under the law, Christ was condemned to the cross where he willingly became the propitiation of our sins. He suffered and was buried, descended into hell, and on the third day rose again according to the scriptures. By this he satisfied the wrath of God against humanity and thereby became the one atonement for our sins to all those that believe on his name, the one Mediator between God and man whereby he makes intercession for the elect.
I believe that Jesus Christ now sits at the right hand of the Father, working to reconcile all things to himself. Christ shall come again with glory to judge the quick (living) and the dead and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and giver of life. I believe that the Holy Spirit is both co-equal and consubstantial with God and eternally proceeds from the mouth of the Father and of the Son. I believe that the Holy Spirit has been working for all creation and continues to work to call the unregenerate unto Christ. Additionally the Holy Spirit has been sent by Christ to the whole of the elect to act as a guide and helper to all that believe and by this also helps to sanctify the believer from sin.
I believe that humanity was created, male and female, in the image of God to glorify and to love God and to live in perfect communion with God. I believe that by being in the image of God, humanity was created replete with an immortal and immaterial soul, with the ability to reason and to think, and with the law of God written into the hearts of all people. And also having also a capacity to reject the good and perfect plan of God, people acted selfishly and placed themselves over God, alienating themselves from God and destroying the perfect communion once held with God.
I believe that Adam’s sin has imparted an indelible stain upon the human spirit, rendering it unable to turn of its own will to God, being made spiritually dead by original sin. I believe that this rebellion continues to the present day and that it is only by the effective work of the Holy Spirit that any person can become regenerated and reunited with Christ. I believe that this regeneration can only be accomplished through the acceptance of God’s plan for salvation in Christ.
I believe that sin is any act that places the will of the individual over the will of God. Every sin, both original and actual, is an act that violates the divine law and imputes guilt onto the unrepentant sinner. By this guilt, humanity brings upon itself the wrath of God and is then made subject unto death both temporal and eternal.
I believe that sin involves actions both committed and omitted and with and without knowledge so long as the law of God is violated. I believe that though all sin brings death, not all sin is of the same severity. I believe that some sins are of a higher gravity and guilt and merit a larger punishment, both temporal and eternal. I believe that the regenerate should also regularly examine his or her life and confess all sins before Christ, who has absolved the repentant of all sins and makes them able to continually strive to conform to the law of God.
I believe that God, in his inscrutable will and infinite mercy has chosen to provide a way to save the elect through his Son, Jesus Christ. I believe that all people would not choose this plan of salvation of their own will, having their will impaired by the sin nature that humanity has acquired, and that it is only by the call of the Holy Spirit are any able to come to a knowledge of Christ, the only way to regain communion with God.
I believe that salvation is given by God by grace, and that no person can do things to merit salvation of his or her own works and that the grace of God is received through faith. I believe that the act of regeneration is instantaneous, though it is not necessary for such regeneration to be accompanied by a specific salvative event. I believe that the result of salvation is eternal life filled with the bliss and joy of communion with God in heaven. It is ultimately grace through faith that allows Christians the ultimate victory over sin and death, sharing in Christ’s defeat of death at the resurrection.
I believe that there is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church which consists of the whole number of the elect that believe and call upon the name of Christ, constituting the invisible body of Christ. I believe that this church consists of the church militant and the church triumphant across all the ages, united to each other by prayer and love in Christ Jesus our Lord. I believe that the church militant consists of all that call upon the name of Christ for salvation, thus being united by Christ, though differing in code and creed.
I believe that the church triumphant consists of all those that have passed form this world and has entered into the presence of God in heaven, having washed their robes pure in the blood of the Lamb.
I believe that this church is the bride of Christ and will be reunited with him at the end of time. I believe also that this church is the Body of Christ, with members raised from spiritual death to the first born from the dead, Jesus Christ, and is reconciled with him, becoming his hands and feet in this world with Christ as the head of the Church. I believe that by being a part of this church we work to bring about the coming of our Lord by reaching out to others so that they may share in the redemption found in Christ.
I believe that the visible church is composed of the institutional church that is catholic (universal) under the Gospel, and serves to unite the members of the invisible church in doctrine and conduct. I believe that the visible church is wanted by God to be united, but that though human conscience and imperfect understanding is separated into its various denominations in pursuit of the one truth in Christ. I believe that this visible church should be a tool to show the light of Christ in service and charity, affecting the world around it. I believe that there is no perfect church, with all churches having various levels of purity under the doctrine of the Gospel in Christ.
I believe that Christ has instituted two sacraments (holy and visible signs) for the church to continue in until the coming of Christ Jesus our Lord: Baptism and the Eucharist. I believe that baptism is an act administered to an individual that has knowingly committed his or her life to Christ and can be done by pouring or immersion. It is done to mark the death of our old selves and our rebirth in Christ. I believe that the Eucharist, or Lord’s Supper / Communion, has been instituted to remember the atoning work of Christ in the Cross where by we mark in remembrance the body and blood of Christ in the species of the bread and wine.
I believe that following the justification of the soul in Christ and the rebirth found through the baptism of the Spirit, the Christian must continue in the Word and that good works will form an evidence of the salvation found in Christ. Indeed, the old self has been crucified with Christ and the dominion of the body of sin is destroyed and the Spirit dwells in the justified as a helper. Then, having been justified, the Christian must undergo continual sanctification until called again to God in the fullness of time. This sanctification is accomplished by a continual warring against the lust of the eyes and of the flesh and the pride of life with the aid of the Spirit, continually separating ourselves from sin on a daily basis.
I believe it is by grace that the Christian is able to continue in full surrender and faith to the workings of God, with the Spirit delivering us from continued rebellion from the remnants of the old body of sin. This grace does not make the individual sinless or unable to fall into sin, but nevertheless sustains the Christian in the present age through continued separation, introspection, and confession of sin to Christ our mediator.
I believe that all Christians are called to be in, but apart from the world, abstaining from sin. It is the responsibility of the Christian to try as best as they can to proclaim the good news in word and deed so that through our lives the Spirit may act and call others to reconciliation with Christ.
I believe that each person is subject to his or her own conscience in matters of faith and practice, in light of the Word. I believe that each person should be wholly convicted of what they believe, but to also work for the unity of all believers as one body in Christ, that is to say, “in necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas” (in essentials, unity; in uncertain things, liberty; in all things, charity).
Resurrection of the Dead and the Second Coming
I believe that in death Christians are made perfect in holiness, entering paradise. I believe that Christ will come again with glory. I believe in the resurrection of the dead in those finals days so that all will be judged before Christ, the elect church unto continued and increasing communion with God for all eternity and the unrepentant to an eternity apart from God. I believe that Christ will reconcile all things to himself culminating in a new heaven and a new earth where Christ will reign forever and ever, world without end. And the elect Church will remain as coheirs with Christ, sharing in his glory and drawing closer to God for all eternity.
In addition I affirm the Nicene (including the filoque clause, in the manner of the Western Church) and Apostle’s creed as standards of Christian faith and the Heidelberg Catechism (excepting several questions on baptism) as an additional standard of Protestant orthrodoxy.
In finality I declare these statements to be representative of what I believe it means to be Christian. I claim no infallibility, and indeed am likely wrong on many parts but I hope that I may continue to refine what I believe in light of Scripture and with the aid of the Spirit and the conviction of conscience throughout my life. I encourage conversation and debate and encourage all to search scriptures to see is these things are true. Additionally, I have purposefully left vague somethings that I am continuing to work through.