Credo

This is my personal statement of faith. It is always a work in process. In its current version, I have written it in the form of a Q&A.

Who are you?

I am Pauline, a child of God.

What does it mean to be a child of God?

I belong to God, who created me to fulfill His purposes, and who loves me and calls me His own.

Do you faithfully fulfill God’s purposes?

No, I sin in thought, word, and deed.

What is sin?

Sin is what I do that is wrong, or what I should have done that is right, but I didn’t. Sin usually hurts other people, and always hurts myself – often through outward consequences, and always inwardly by its corrosive effect on my mind, will, and emotions.

Is there a solution for sin?

Yes, thanks be to God – by grace God offers salvation through Jesus Christ.

How is that salvation offered and received?

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He came to teach, to heal, to forgive, and to give his life to redeem us. By his resurrection he broke the power of sin and death so that we may receive the abundant life he offers.

As I recognize my sin and need of forgiveness and grace, as I repent and turn from self and sin to God, I receive by faith that abundant life, that begins here and now in this life and continues, despite physical death, into eternity.

How do you experience abundant life?

Here is where this statement becomes very much a work in process – because I am a work in process. There are times my life seems far from abundant – but I consider that a shortcoming in myself and not in the promises or power of God.

I can see, as I look over the more than thirty years since I first prayed for salvation through Jesus Christ, ways in which God has reshaped my life and my character. He has used circumstances, and books I have read (including of course the Bible), but primarily other people. As I give thanks for what I have rather than complaining about what I do not have, I experience gratitude and a sense of God’s blessing. As I am willing to serve rather than be served and to give rather than take, as I listen to others rather than wanting them to know all about me, I experience the joy of doing God’s will and becoming the kind of person He desires. And as I admit my failures rather than justifying them, ask forgiveness, and learn good habits to replace the bad, I experience the joy and peace of forgiveness and the hope of living a holy life.

to be continued…

9 Responses to Credo

  1. modestypress says:

    You may delete this message. It may not be appropriate in this location. I leave it to your judgment.

    As you know, I regard myself as a “radical agnostic.” I regard this made-up non-religion as having three levels (a parody of Anglican/Episcopal “high and low church” labels): high agnosticism (so close to atheism it’s hard to tell the difference); medium agnosticism (skeptical about the value of terms and concepts such as “liberal” and “conservative”); and low agnosticism (compatible with religious belief, but respectful of facts, logic, and common sense).

    I’m a high agnostic. I regard you as a “low agnostic.” I don’t know if you are offended by that label or not.

  2. Pauline says:

    No, I’ve never been offended by your giving me that label. I’ve always said that I could easily be made to doubt my own name if enough people questioned it. After many times examining what I believe and why, I have each time come back to affirm the basic Christian doctrines, but I can’t ever say I am absolutely sure.

  3. Make it Man says:

    Make that at least two of us…

    I wonder what you think of Doug Wilson’s sermon here:

    http://www.dougwils.com/index.asp?CategoryID=4&SermonOutlines=All

    Scroll down til you see the title,

    “Things That Accompany Salvation”.

    This one rubbed me the wrong way for some reason. I’m not sure if it was because it only dealt with assurance of salvation (which is totally different than assurance that something is true) or whether it’s based on what Doug meant when he said “Never give place to doubt”.

    Love to hear your 2 cents.

  4. Intrigued.

    Maybe I’ll enage a little later.

    Either way;

    Don’t forget to smile, as often as you can.

    Aude sapere!

    trebor esq.
    Buttefly @ Large

  5. Pauline says:

    Make It Man,
    I also have a problem with Doug Wilson’s statements about doubt.

    His example about the husband, for instance – well, what if he isn’t faithful? No reason a wife should be dwelling on the possibility if there is no indication he isn’t, but if there’s any reason to think he might not be, probably better to have some serious thought about what to do if that proves to be the case, because if it is she’ll have to deal with it.

    I suppose from his point of view, there’s no reason to ever doubt the essential truth of Christianity, such as that Jesus is divine. If it’s true, then there’s no good reason to doubt – but how do I know it is true? Because Wilson says so? Because my pastor says so? Because people I love and trust say so?

    For a long time that was what my faith rested on. And it meant I’d better not let myself come to love or trust anyone who didn’t believe the same things. Sometimes I wished I had been slower to accept the Gospel so that I could still ask questions as an unbeliever, because it seemed acceptable for them to have doubts but not for me.

    The fact that there are so many different views on God and everything to do with religion – even some pretty significant disagreements among different Christian traditions – is enough of a reason, to me, to consider the possibility that it’s not so simple as “The Bible says it. I believe it. That settles it.”

    It’s not that I want to turn away from Christ, but I need to be able to know that if I stick with my faith, it’s not just because I don’t dare consider the alternative. If it’s true, it should be able to stand up to questioning – and not just the kind of questioning Wilson is talking about, which is just asking for a better understanding, not asking if it’s true to begin with.

    I wonder what Wilson would say to a Jew or Muslim who said, “Sorry, I can’t consider Christ because I have been taught that I have no right to doubt what my religion teaches is true.”

  6. free of faith says:

    Modesty Press: Deffo a high agnostic according to your lights. Doesn’t mean I don’t believe in anything though – I believe in loads, just not the supernatural. Not plausible to me.

    What’s a radical agnostic? Someone who is against god, religion, superstition etc? Maybe that is an anti-theist.

    Maybe I’m one of those.

    Can you be a radical apathetic?

    Help.

  7. modestypress says:

    Hello, free of faith. I decided I was an atheist before I was ten years old. One day I attended a debate between a pominent atheist and a prominent agnostic. Before the debate, the master of ceremonies referred to a quote (I can’t track down) that ran along the lines of Be an religious believer or be an atheist, but don’t be an agnostic. The implication was that agnostics are wishy washy people who can’t make up their minds or take a stand. At that moment, I was “converted” to an agnostic.

    Later, I participated in the evangelical Christian web site, WorldontheWeb. The militant atheists who sometimes participate there sometimes kicked sand in my face (metaphorically speaking) for being too wimpy to take a stand as an atheist.

    I began to call myself a “radical agnostic” to show that agnostics can be just as irrational and terrifying as religious fanatics and atheist fanatics. We hold people who claim certainty hostage and refuse to release them until they express doubt and uncertainty.

    Aren’t you glad you asked?

  8. snagmtnsage says:

    I like your creed.
    Here’s mine:
    http://www.3minutecreed.com/
    click on the video

  9. rafael says:

    PROSECUTION
    Is there a God? I will not try to say yes or no to this question. Rather, I will make this place a law court. I will ask you to be the judge, and I will be the prosecutor. The work of a judge is to make decisions, to approve or disapprove the truth of statements; the work of a prosecutor is to present all the evidence and arguments that he can possibly gather. Before we proceed, we have to be clear about one fact: all prosecutors are not eyewitnesses of crimes. They are not policemen. A policeman may personally witness an event, whereas a prosecutor obtains his information only indirectly. He places all the charges, evidence, and arguments collected before the judge. In the same way, I shall present before you everything that I can possibly find. If you ask whether I have seen God or not, I would say “no.” I am reading or demonstrating what I have gathered. My job is to search for facts and to call for witnesses. You are to arrive at a conclusion yourself.
    THE UNIVERSE
    First, looks at nature, the world that is before our eyes and every phenomenon in it. We all know that scientific knowledge is the rational explanation of natural phenomena. For example, there is an observed drop in the temperature of a patient. The drop in temperature is a phenomenon, and the explanation for it is scientific knowledge. When an apple falls from the tree, it is a phenomenon. Why does an apple not fly into the air? The explanation for this phenomenon constitutes knowledge. A man with knowledge is a man who has the proper explanations.
    ONLY TWO EXPLANATIONS
    The universe displays countless phenomena of diverse forms, colors, shapes, and nature. We cannot fail to notice these phenomena before our eyes. The explanation for all these phenomena is known as knowledge. All thoughtful persons have only two explanations as far as the origin of the universe is concerned; there is no third explanation. You have to take one or the other of them. What are these two explanations? The first says that the universe came into being through natural evolution and self-interaction; the second attributes its origin to a personified being with intellect and purpose. These are the only two explanations presented by all philosophers of the world. There is not a third one. Where did the universe come from? Did it come into existence by itself or through chance? Or was it designed by the One from whom we derive the concept of God?
    CHANCE EVENTS
    What are the characteristics of things that come about by chance? First, we know that they are unorganized. At the most they can be partially integrated. They can never be totally organized. One can achieve a specified goal by chance once, but he can never achieve a specified goal by chance all the time. Anything that comes together by chance can only be integrated partially, never totally. For example, if I throw this chair to the other side of the room, by chance it may come to rest at a perfect angle. If I do the same with a second chair, it may also lie neatly beside the first one. But this will not keep on happening with the third and the fourth and so on. Chance can only provide partial organization. It does not guarantee total integration. Furthermore, all random interactions are aimless, disorganized, and purposeless. They are without order and structure; they are loose, formless, disorderly, and not directed toward any meaningful purpose. Briefly, we can say that the characteristics of chance events are disharmony, irregularity, inconsistency, purposelessness, and insignificance.
    CONSISTENCY AND ORGANIZATION
    Now let us compare the things in the universe with these characteristics. Take, for example, the human being. He is carried in his mother’s womb for nine months and delivered; he grows up and eventually dies. This cycle is repeated for every single individual. Consistency can be observed. It is not a wild game of chance. Again, look at the sun above your head. It does not exist purposelessly. Rather, it has its purpose and significance. Look at the moon, the stars, and the myriads of galaxies through your telescope. Some stars have their own planets. They all follow definite tracks and patterns. They are all organized. Their manner of motion can be calculated and predicted. The calendar in your hand is derived from them. Even next year’s calendar can be printed before this year is past. All these show that the universe is organized, consistent, and purposeful.
    MICROORGANISMS
    Let us turn to the micro-world or quantum mechanics. Take a thin slice of wood. Put it under a microscope and observe its grain and structure, all meticulously regular and rhythmic. Even a blade of grass and the petal of a flower are finely fashioned. Nothing is unorganized or confused. Everything is disciplined and functional. All these things witness one fact to you: the universe, with its macro (the whole universe and galaxies) and micro aspects (quantum), is purposeful and meaningful and are bonded trasmiting movement or power. Can you say that all these came into existence by chance? Surely you cannot.
    CHANCE OR DESIGN
    The universe has to be created by someone with profound wisdom, vast knowledge, and intricate design. If you cannot accept the concept of random formation of the universe, you have to admit that it was created by such a God. There cannot be a third explanation. The choice is left to you. You have to decide if the universe came by chance or whether it was created by God.
    A DEMAND AND ITS OBJECT
    One witness may not be enough. I will call in another. This time we will consider man’s heart. Before doing so, we should also observe one fact: wherever there is a desire, there must first be an object for that desire. For example, an orphan who has never seen his father naturally has a desire for a kind of paternal love. I have asked many people who were orphans, and they all have felt this irrepressible yearning. By this we can see that every desire of the heart arises out of an object in the world. As human beings we have a need for social belonging. We need companionship and mutuality. If you put a boy on a deserted island and he grows up alone, he still has the yearning for companions, for beings like himself, even though he has never seen a human being. This yearning or desire is the very proof that somewhere in the world there is something known as “man.” At a certain age, man begins to think about posterity; he starts desiring children and grandchildren. This is not a mere fantasy. This desire stems out of the existence and possibility of offspring. Hence, where there is desire, there is an object for that desire.
    THERE IS GOD IN THE HEART
    Do we have any desires other than social identity and self-propagation? What other cravings do we have? Deep in everyone there is a craving for God. Whether they are highly civilized races, such as those among the Caucasians, or the ancient civilizations, such as the Chinese civilizations, or the African natives and uncultured aborigines, they all have a common craving –God. As long as they are men, they have a yearning for God, no matter what race or nationality. This is a fact. You cannot argue against it. Everyone is seeking after God. Everywhere man is craving for God. This is very clear. By applying the principle that we just mentioned, we can see that since our heart feels the need for a God, there must necessarily be a God in the universe. Since there is a need for God in the heart, there must be the existence of God in the universe. If no God exists, we would never have such a craving in our heart. We all have an appetite for food. In the same way, we all have an appetite for God. It would be impossible to live if there was only an appetite for food but no food. Likewise, it would be impossible to live if there was a capacity for God but no God.
    NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT GOD?
    Once, an atheist rudely rebuked me in a loud voice: “You said that a man has the psychological need for a God. But there is no such thing, and I do not believe in it.” I said, “Well, do you mean to say that you never think about God? In fact, even while you were talking, you were thinking about Him. This indicates that you do have a capacity for God. There is no one who has never thought about God. He may try not to think much about Him. Since this thought is in you, there must be such an object outside of you.
    “THE WORDS AND THE HEART”
    A young man once came to me to argue about God. He was vehemently against the existence of God. He gave me one reason after another for saying that there is no God. As he was enumerating the various reasons why God should not exist, I listened to him quietly without saying a word. Then I said, “Although you insist that there is no God and support yourself with so many arguments, you have lost your case already.” He said, “What do you mean?” I went on to explain: “Your mouth can say as much as you want about there not being a God, but your heart is on my side.” He had to agree with me. Although one can give all sorts of reasons in the head, there is a belief in the heart that no argument can defeat. A stubborn person may give a thousand and one reasons, but you can have the boldness to tell him, “You know better in your heart that there is a God. Why bother to look for evidence outside?”Now what would you say? After looking at nature and the universe, after checking with your inner feeling, it is up to you to decide whether or not there is a God. But you should not be irresponsible; your attitude must be sober because everyone has to meet God soon. One day you will all stand before Him. Everything concerning you will be laid bare. On that day you will know God. But now is the time for you to be prepared. We should all be prepared to meet our God.
    Finally is there is a God. Who is he? Who among all the most ancient religions of the world who was the only one who claim to be God’s son?
    There must be a written record of God and God’s son. Among all the ancients’ written records is there such a book?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: