While this place is meant to be a repository for my thoughts in general, it’s also a place I invite pastoral nominating committees to learn more about me, read or listen to sermons, and so on. To that end, I thought I’d make a series of posts, “Here I Stand,” which will detail, in no particular order and with regard to things large and small, some of my personal theological beliefs and how that plays out in the life of the church. I’ll collect these posts on a separate page for easy reading, but they’ll start out as individual posts on the home page.
This first post just sets the foundation – it’s the statement of faith taken from my Personal Information Form – it’s basic, concise, lets people know that I’m not a wildly unorthodox heretic, and (just) meets the maximum-word limitation of the PC(USA) online form field. So, here we go…
Statement of Faith
The Triune God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; three distinguishable Persons yet inextricably in relation one to another as one Being.
Human beings were created in God’s image, in love, through love, and for love. Our ability to give and receive love is the foremost aspect of our having been created in God’s image. We cannot be fully human as God intends, merely as an individual, but only when we are in relationship, with God and one another. The inseparable loving relationship among
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit illustrates the kind of intimate relationship that God desires to exist between us.
However, all of creation has been irreparably broken and altered from God’s original intent through sin. This brokenness is the result of both our deliberate actions, as well as simply being creatures now existing within this broken creation. This brokenness makes us unable to be in proper relationship with God and one another, and we cannot repair this separation through our own efforts.
God has made our reconciliation possible by entering the world, in the flesh, in Jesus Christ – fully divine and fully human. He is the true Word of God – the fullest and most sufficient revelation of God to humanity. Through his life, death, and resurrection, creation is redeemed and reconciled with God. Through Christ, God reveals to us that we are so beloved, so good, so beautiful, so precious, that our redemption is worth dying for. Through this act of pure grace on God’s part, and through our faith in Jesus Christ, God chooses to consider us as righteous, even while we are not.
Once we have received this grace through faith, neither life nor death can separate us from God’s love, due to the work of the Holy Spirit – who dwells within us, guides us, comforts us, challenges us, emboldens us, and sustains us in our faith.
The Spirit guides proclamation of the gospel and opens hearts, minds, and ears to hear it. The Spirit guides interpretation and understanding the Scriptures, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ, and God’s word to us. The Spirit acts within the Sacraments of Baptism, sealing and claiming us as God’s own; and the Lord’s Supper, enabling us to be genuinely and effectually united with Christ.
Christ established the Church and is its one and only true Head. God’s mission for the Church is to enable corporate worship of God, through proclamation of the gospel, administration of the sacraments, and execution of discipline.
Consistent with Reformed tradition, the proclamation of the gospel by the Church, in word and deed, must always be consistent with the context, time, and place that the Church finds itself within. The Church must always be willing to reform itself as necessary to carry out this mission, and must never settle into the familiarity of traditions arising out of any one context, which may make the eternal truth of the gospel inaccessible to people living within a different context.