We are Trinitarian, Christ-centered, new covenant, and “radical” grace-based in our beliefs, convictions, and emphases. We believe in the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed. We believe articles of faith that go beyond these are counterproductive to unity. Articles of faith are too often code for:
- Why we are better and smarter than everyone else.
- Why everyone else is wrong.
- Why we can’t get along with anyone else.
They are also often used to “score one another,” to look for “chinks in the armor” of another. We are not interested in entertaining that spirit.
We also believe that if our belief systems do not transform our relationships and interactions with God, one-another (the family of God) and humanity, those belief systems while perhaps orthodox in creed, are in the end . . . useless, vain.
I have found that doctrinal conformity does not ensure love, respect, and mutual service and it will never be enough to keep brothers together when things get tough. Only love is the cement of perfection/maturity, not doctrinal conformity. I walk in rich relationships with many brothers and sisters within Protestantism with whom I have very little in common doctrinally. I also have rich relationships with Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic brothers and sisters.
I think the whole “articles of faith” idea is a left-over relic of Reformation thinking and modalities based on argument and counter-argument over who was the”rightest,” rather than manifesting the life of Christ and loving each other well (Something in which the Reformers failed miserably.). I think “articles of faith” is a concept that has out-lived its usefulness. Depending on the source data which one wants to refer, there are between 33,000-41,000 known Protestant denominations, each with their own “articles of faith.” That is not good fruit. Frankly, I am not interested in playing on that field.
It is not that other issues beyond what I have mentioned here are not important. They are. They just should not define the bandwidth of our love and relationship. We each get to walk in the light of our conscience in “lesser things” while maintaining the bond of peace in the greater things. We are free to disagree on many lesser things.
We believe that “Jesus is Lord”-raised from the dead, the authority of the scripture as the revealer of Jesus Christ, and the reality of the ministry of the Spirit, are the irreducible minimum of Truth-based koinonia. We believe in keeping the Person and work of Jesus Christ central to all we say or do. We believe inordinate emphasis upon interesting, valuable, but lesser themes, usually results in unnecessary division and fragmentation of the body of Christ. There is no shortage of opportunity for speculation and argumentation for “Christians” who want to argue “the Bible.” We are not inclined to do so.
We endeavor to be inclusive and irenic in our interactions with other believers. We agree with the Westminster divines who said:
- In essentials conformity
- In non-essentials liberty
- And in all things, charity (love/kindness/goodwill)
If what I have said here is not good enough for you, does not satisfy you as to my “orthodoxy,” or does not meet your approval for doctrinal purity, if I am not “evangelical” enough for you, or “conservative” enough for you, well, we are probably not meant for each other. Go in peace.