Statement of Belief

Although I don’t  really hold with ‘doctrine’ as such, there are certain things that I believe firmly. Here then is a list of my core beliefs…please note that ‘offshoot’ beliefs, like my stances on various moral and ethical issues, are not listed here.

  • God – I believe in one God, Who exists as a Trinity, three Persons in One God: Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit. All are fully God. All have existed forever in perfect loving relationship. Each Person of the Godhead relates to humans in a different way.
  • Father – The Creator God Who created the whole Universe. He wants a loving relationship with His people, His creations, by adopting them as His Children. He’s not angry, nor ‘scared off’ by sin, but instead wants us to be able to approach Him despite it, like children to their Father. God is all-powerful, all-seeing, all-knowing and all-loving. God is good, only good, there is no evil in Him and He is good all the time.
  • Jesus – Jesus is fully human and fully God, and is central to everything – Creation, salvation, faith, belief, healing, righteousness, afterlife, relationships, forgiveness – everything. He chose to take on our human limitations but modelled what a proper human life can be like. I believe that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, and that He suffered and died on the Cross for our sins and for our healing, rose again from the dead and ‘ascended’ to Heaven. I believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father and the only Name by which we may be ‘saved’; however, I do not discount other faiths as being irrelevant. For people in those faiths, Jesus is still the Way; I am simply unsure as to exactly how this works for them – possibly after death. I believe that Jesus is the exact representation of God’s character and power, displaying His love, compassion, Kingdom and personality; in this way He makes the unknowable God knowable and approachable – someone we can identify with.
  • Holy Spirit – The ‘part’ of the Godhead that lives within all believers. His presence is the guarantee of all that is to come and of our inheritance as the Children of God. He Himself bears witness to this in our hearts. The supernatural occurrences known as the ‘Gifts of the Spirit’, a non-exhaustive list of which is found in 1Corinthians chapter 12, did not cease after the Apostolic age as some claim; logically, supernatural occurrences are to be expected as a normal part of life if the Spirit of God is living within a person. In this way, He enables us to live the Christ-life, to do His works, and He reminds us of what Jesus has told us. He teaches us about Jesus, and He transforms us in stages into being more like Jesus.
  • Relationship – The central feature of the Christian life is the believer’s personal relationship with Jesus. Everything else flows from this. The believer grows continually in this relationship beginning with the very moment they come to faith in Christ. It is not simply a concept, or something that people talk about as a theory, but  real, living and active relationship. Knowing Christ is the centre of the whole thing, the beginning, means and end of faith, and the essence of Eternal Life – which is to know the Son and the Father Who sent him. It is possible to believe in Him without developing this relationship, but a) Jesus does take initiative in developing the relationship and b) the believer who does not have this relationship is missing out on the entire centre of their faith.
  • Bible – The Bible is a complex collection of writings that gives the points of view of many individual people in their search for meaningful relationship with God. Its primary two functions are: a) to point us to its central Figure, Jesus Christ; and b) as one of the main channels through which God speaks to humanity. It is not, and was never intended to be, a divine Rule Book; Jesus gave only two commandments: Love God; and love your neighbour. It is not inerrant, in that it does have at least contradictions and in some places errors, but this does not mean that it is invalid for use as a tool towards faith, and the assertion that there is a ‘law of non contradiction’, where if the Bible is shown to be wrong then it is wholly wrong, is a complete fallacy. The Bible is, however, inspired, in that it was written by people who were generally in touch with God on spiritual matters. The Bible is not the definitive record of God’s dealings with humanity, as these dealings have gone on for centuries after the last part of the Bible was finished. Nor is it the end of God’s revelation of Himself to humanity; indeed He continues to reveal Himself to individual people today on a minute-to-minute basis. And lastly, the Bible is not God; questioning the Bible is not equivalent to blasphemy which, by definition, is against God. It is, however, the only Scripture that is authoritative for Christians. The Bible is an amazing volume, full of grace and beauty as well as containing stuff that’s maybe not so good. But God speaks to humanity through the Bible like He does through no other book. As He breathes His life into a Scripture passage by His Spirit, it comes to life like nothing else. This is when God speaks through it!
  • Salvation – Salvation is the state of being ‘saved’ by faith in Jesus Christ. Salvation is by Grace from start to finish – the extravagant, amazing, unbounded, unrestricted, undeserved and unreasonably generous act of a loving God – not by works of the flesh in any way, shape or form. Works follow faith as fruit of the changes in the believer’s life, but again these works are also by Grace and as a fruit of that Grace. Works are not required for salvation; only God knows what happens in a believer’s heart and what works he has done in response to his salvation by Grace. The Bible does not contain a set formula as to how a person comes to faith in Christ; it simply says that to be ‘saved’, one must believe in Jesus. To those who receive Jesus, those who believe in His Name, God gives the right to become the Children of God. I believe that the method for this is not prescribed clearly in Scripture because it is different for each individual. Every believer will have a different salvation experience. Saying the ‘sinner’s prayer’ is ok but really all those who believe in Him are ‘saved’. In addition, salvation involves not only an assurance of life after death, but also an ‘abundant life’; ‘eternal life’ which begins in the here and now. This all flows from knowing Jesus and the Father Who sent him. The Bible does not set a time limit to when a person can ‘accept Jesus’. People who believe in Jesus really are a ‘new creation’, a different order of being, and He shows Himself through them in different measure. The ‘new creation’ is easily noticeable to others who are also part of the new creation, in that they recognise it for what it is. However, it is also very often apparent to unbelievers, although they may not easily recognise it for what it is.
  • Priesthood – All believers are priests under God, that is, people who can access God directly either on their own behalf or on behalf of others. There is no need for ‘ordination’ or any other ‘official’ recognition of this; it has already been done for us through Jesus.
  • The Church – Those who believe in Jesus are ‘Christians’, and they are all part of the ‘Church’. Church occurs whenever two or more believers get together for any reason. The simple fact that brothers live together in unity means that there the Lord commands the blessing. Larger congregations are an opportunity for believers to serve God by serving others, to worship God together, to form relationships with other believers, and to help bring the power of the Kingdom into today’s world in salvation, signs and wonders, and restoration.
  • Kingdom of God – I believe that the Kingdom of God is present wherever its King, Jesus, is present. Because Jesus is present in the hearts of all believers by His Spirit, it follows that where a believer is, the Kingdom is. Jesus demonstrated the nature of His Kingdom right from the start of His earthly ministry when He performed miracles and healings. This shows us that it is God’s will that we are made to be free from disease, poverty, sickness and so on. It follows from this that it is the right of all believers to a) live in the fulness of this Kingdom and b) be able to pass on that right and benefit to others.
  • Heaven – Heaven begins on earth when a believer comes into the Kingdom of God and all its benefits. Eternal life begins right now, as soon as a person believes in Jesus. The believer walks with Jesus all his life and, at the end of his earthly life, continues the walk with Jesus through the veil of death and on into Heaven.
  • Hell – Many people believe that the fate of everyone who does not believe in Jesus here in this life is to go to Hell, a place of everlasting, conscious torment. I do not believe this. I believe that God gives everyone a chance to believe in Him, even after death. Jesus’s teachings on Hell were not part of a dichotomous Heaven/Hell either/or choice structure, as many fundamentalists would have us believe, but were instead part of His wider teaching on the Kingdom of God. They were not intended as a threat to those who did not believe in Him. In fact, Jesus did not really preach about ‘salvation’ or what happens to the ‘unsaved’; He preached mostly on the Kingdom of God and its nature. One final point on Hell – it is NOT the dominion of Satan and his demons, where they sit prodding at burning sinners with pitchforks. If anything, Hell is the place where Satan and his demons are tormented forever – they certainly do not rule there! For more on my ideas about Hell, please visit my Hell Resource Page.
  • Calling – Believers are called to be ‘little Christs’ – that’s what ‘Christian’ means; it’s a nickname given by the locals in Antioch in Acts 11:26. The believers adopted the nickname gleefully because it fitted in with how they saw themselves! Jesus’s ministry was performed entirely under the auspices of what Father God was doing at the time – He did only what He saw the Father doing – and the call on the believer is the same. And above all – love God and love your neighbour.
  • Devil – I believe that there exists a personification of evil called Satan, or the ‘Devil’. He is a created being, not as powerful as God, who is responsible for the inspiration of much, but not all, of the evil in the world. I believe he also has co-workers which are usually known as ‘demons’. Jesus destroyed the remaining power and authority of these beings on the Cross.
  • Humanity – I believe that each human being is a unique individual, made in the image of God, is precious in God’s sight and is known and loved by Him.
  • Evolution – I believe in ‘Guided evolution’; that is, that evolution occurs, but it is guided by God’s creativity. Essentially, God creates, and one of the tools He uses to create is the process that we call ‘evolution’.