Statement of Faith

➡ Average Reading Time: 2 minutes

God's <abbr>EPIC</abbr> AdventureA Statement of Faith is an example of this systematic approach. Statements of Faith are attempts at a brief systematic theology (systematitis) by breaking the Story into fragmented parts that are held up as “final” beliefs to which one is to ascribe, believing that it has captured all knowable truth on the subject visited. However, I believe that Story is the beginning of belief not the conclusion of belief. The church needs to have restored to her a sense of the “whole” that emphasizes history and story as God’s method of revealing himself to her. Could it be that even the early “creeds” like the Apostle’s Creed was a shorthand Story beginning with God the creator of the universe and ending with everlasting life and not really a “statement of faith” in the sense of what “statements of faith” have become today?

While at odds with each other, those following the legacy of Schleiermacher and those following the legacy of Hodge have one thing in common: they seek to maintain the credibility of Christianity within a culture that glorifies reason and deifies science.[ref]Stanley J. Grenz and John R. Franke. Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping Theology in a Postmodern Context. 37).[/ref]

Could it be that the foundation of nonfoundationalism is to believe that there is no foundation? What then of a possible solution? Scripture appears to speak of an objectivity of a future eschatological world that is God’s determined will for his creation. How do we proceed toward this eschatological world? According to Grenz and Frank, we have a mandate that says that we are to be participants in God’s work of constructing a new world that reflects God’s own will for his creation, a world which finds its connectedness with Jesus Christ. Where do we find this mandate? We discover it through the Spirit’s primary tool: narrative/story. In God’s Story the Spirit’s goal is to bring us to view all reality in accordance with God’s program for recreation.[ref]Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping Theology in a Postmodern Context. 53-54).[/ref] The redemptive event in which Christians have participated makes each a Story liver and Storyteller as she or he lives as a newly created being for the sake of the world while telling others the Story by deed and word. Will we know or discover absolute truth? Only in the eschaton will we know truth in its absolute fullness. Until then we read the Story/stories and live the Story/stories to our fullest capacity with the empowerment of the Spirit.

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Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)