Visulising belief

How do you write a belief statement for a local church?

For me there were at least three guiding principles when I penned the belief statement below:

Generosity:

So much of what we as a local church believe, is shared by millions and millions of Chrisitan across the denominational spectrum and with brothers and sisters who have followed Jesus throughout history. We’re not trying to be novel, fashionable or parochial. No, we celebrate the fact, that our orthodoxy is something shared by a throng of believers (Rev 7:9) who know in their hearts and will declare with their mouths for all of eternity that “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne…” (Rev 710)

Simplicity:

Too many belief statements require an advanced degree in Theology to decipher. That’s not only unhelpful but also disingenuous to the members of the church. I want them to not only read the words of the statement but wholeheartedly agree with what is written. This requires a commitment to straightforward language.

Concentric circles of belief:

My desire with this belief statement was to try and map from the largest shared beliefs across all Christian communities to some of the more distinct beliefs we hold (Reformed Charismatic). As a visual learner, I felt using concentric circles of belief is a helpful way of thinking about this (see below):

Our Belief Statement 

What we believe (beliefs) really does shape who we are as a church and impacts everything we do. 

We are Christian[1]: this separates us from all other religions, cults, philosophies and worldviews. As an expression of our commitment to the historical Christian faith we believe and hold fast to the Apostles Creed[2] and the Nicene Creed[3], both of which clearly spell out the core Christian beliefs (or doctrines). 

We are Evangelical:  in its simplest form this means that we believe that the Bible is God’s Word and is therefore our final authority in all matters of life and doctrine and that people need to be saved by hearing and responding to the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a church we believe that the Evangelical Alliance’s (UK) Basis of Faith is a helpful summary of the essential beliefs of scripture[4] 

We are Reformed:  this means that we believe that scripture emphasises the sovereignty of God[5] in all things, man’s inability to do spiritual good before God (apart from saving grace[6], salvation is God’s divine initiative [7] from start to finish and the glory of God[8] is the highest end of all. 

We are Charismatic:  this means that we believe that all spiritual gifts[9] and ministries[10] are gifts of grace[11] given by the Holy Spirit[12] and are valid for today. As Christians we are called to live Spirit-empowered[13] lives and to eagerly desire Spiritual Gifts[14]. 

__________ 

[1] Acts 11:26

[2] “creed”—derived from the Latin “credo” meaning ‘I believe’ – is, in its ecclesiastical sense, used to denote a summary or concise statement of doctrines formulated and accepted by a church (Dodds, J.)

[3] The Nicene Creed (325AD)

[4] http://www.eauk.org/about/basis-of-faith.cfm

[5] 1 Chron. 29:12; Ps 103:19; Ps 135:6; Job 9:12; Job 41:11; Rom 9:14-18

[6] Eph 2:1-5

[7] Acts 13:48; Eph 1:3-14; Eph 2:5

[8] Rom 11:36; 1 Cor 10:31; Eph 3:21; 1 Tim 1:17

[9] 1 Cor 12:7-11; Rom 12:6-8

[10] Eph 4:11

[11] Rom 12:6; 1 Cor 12:4-7

[12] 1 Cor 12:11; Heb 2:4; 1 Pet 4:10

[13] Acts 1:4-8

[14] 1 Cor 14:1 

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