Statement of Faith

Faith

Following is the statement of faith I’ve prepared for my final examination before the Presbytery on the 15th of September. I thought I might put it out here to see what you think. Any comments or challenges are welcome!

There is only One God who alone in all the cosmos deserves honor, glory and praise. God alone is the source, the measure and the purpose of all creation. God exists as He has revealed Himself in history: Father, Son and Holy Spirit – three coequal, co-eternal persons selflessly affirming one another in perfect community. From the boundless resources of this inner abundance, the Triune God creates, sustains, governs and redeems all the cosmos. In selfless love, God extended Himself in the act of creation. God made all things to His glory and upon completion they were rightly declared to be whole and good.

From the rest of creation, humankind has been set apart as bearers of God’s image and likeness. Unimpeded, this image and likeness compels humans to reflect the nature of our creator by relating with God, one another, and the created world in self-sacrificial love. As His image bearers, humans are endowed with the unique ability to respond to God’s goodness in worship and obedience by exercise of free will. And yet, since the beginning of time, humankind has demonstrated an innate proclivity for distraction from this calling and to obsession with gratifying our perceived needs by our own power and means. In doing so, we have turned ourselves over to the pervasive forces of chaos and evil which now permeate every aspect of our existence and identity. The result is that God’s creational intention for humankind has been fundamentally compromised and we have been made partners – even unwittingly – with death and decay by our idolatry and disobedience.

No human effort – individual or corporate – could right these wrongs and as God is holy and just, restitution had to be made for sin so that a relationship of worshipful obedience might be restored. In His immeasurable mercy and grace, God extended Himself into fallen creation, entering history in the form of Jesus Christ, the one and only begotten Son of the Father, The God-Man, sent to die a righteous death to atone for the sin of the whole human race. Jesus lived and ministered among us and was crucified on the order of Pontius Pilate. As he promised, after three days he was raised from the dead by the Father and ascended into heaven, where he sits enthroned over the whole universe having conquered evil and chaos. In Christ, and in him alone, all are invited to bend the knee in worship and obedience to the one true God. Restitution has been made; relationship has been renewed; the image is being restored; and all of Creation awaits the consummation of God’s redemption project initiated in Christ.

For those who repent from sin, place their hope in Christ and join with the community of faith, Christ has sent his Holy Spirit to open our eyes to the truth of Scripture, to complete the work of sanctification and to form us into a people called according to God’s name and for God’s purposes. We together are God’s Church unified by Christ in our repentance, our redemption, and our worship. Together, we participate with God in reconciling the Cosmos with its Creator. We are sustained by the abundant love of the Trinity, by the presence of Christ in the Word, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and by the common life of worship. We are guided by the creeds and confessions of the Church. Together, we eagerly await the return of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment, and the eternal rule of God over His creation.

These things have been revealed in Holy Scripture and testified to by the people of God throughout time. The witness is inspired, true, accurate and trustworthy and I believe it with all my heart.

2 thoughts on “Statement of Faith

  1. Matt,
    Looks good. That looks like a really worthwhile excercise, and your statement is impressively nuanced. I can tell that you spent quite a bit of time picking over your words. The only bit that caught my attention with a theological red-flag was:
    –God extended Himself into fallen creation, entering history in the form of Jesus Christ–
    Entering history in the form of Christ doesn’t necessarily describe incarnation as the church understood it. That could be compatible with merely appearing as a human being, or taking the shape of a human being. Rather, the God’s second person IS a human being.

    Good stuff thanks for the link… Sorry to pick your theological nits…

    God’s peace,
    Eric

  2. Thanks for the feedback. Writing this really was a good exercise, especially given the constraint of one page with standard margins, spacing and font size. Forced me to really pare down my language but to maximize the highlights. In the process I realized that it would likely be a helpful thing to do every once in a while to see how the things I’ve been studying and the situation of the culture I’m in shapes my language.

    Good catch on the incarnation language. I see your point. I suppose I could avoid the “body snatcher” argument by simplifying to “entering history as Jesus Christ.” Still, I’d want to be clear that that Trinity has existed from the Beginning and isn’t just a historical necessity.

    All the best man!

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