- November 28th, 2011
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This is a statement of faith composed by John Harris with PCPJ in mind. Although PCPJ does not have a statement of faith because we have such a diversity of folks among us, this reflects John’s perspective and hopefully it can serve to create conversation and action.
1. We believe in God as the Creator. This God created all things, visible and invisible.
2. We believe in God as Jesus. Jesus is God. God came to earth in the form of a human and lived among us for some thirty-three years. He did mighty miracles, sided with the poor, and spoke out against oppression and abuse among the clergy. He was well liked by most people of his day. A lot of his friends were people who were looked down on in society: the poor, the sick, outcasts, prostitutes, and even tax collectors. He told great stories with significant truths about people, God, power, love, justice, spirituality, forgiveness, and the like. Sometimes he got in people’s faces and challenged their authority; this would get him in a lot of trouble, and eventually executed. He proclaimed himself to be both the Messiah as well as God in the flesh. He proved all this by dying on the cross and coming back to life three days later in the flesh. He spoke to a lot of people during the next month, and many knew he had come back to life. After that month was over, he elevated into the clouds in front of a crowd of people. In these ways, he proved that he was truly the Messiah and truly God on Earth.
3. We believe in God as Spirit that dwells within us. When we pray, our prayers don’t travel through some time-space continuum; they are heard by God that is already inside of us. God’s spirit in us can be our comforter, our guide, and our supporter throughout life, if we allow God to become these things to us.
4. We believe that God is good. God is nothing but good. God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. God is just and loving, among many other words that describe good characteristics.
5. We believe that every person, throughout their lives, does good things and bad things. In doing bad things, we have turned away from God. We all choose to turn from God in one way or another, which is pretty dumb once you think of it. When we do bad things, we are in line for punishment, as life has prescribed. This punishment comes not only from those who we have harmed, but takes on a spiritual form as well. To make amends with people we have hurt, we must sacrifice ourselves to make things right with them. God, on the other hand, is the one who steps out first and makes the sacrifice so that we might be good with God again. This happened at the death of Jesus. Jesus, God on Earth, suffered and died so that he could be the sacrifice that will reunite people with God. Because of his death, our wrongs are forgiven by God if we choose to follow God.
6. We believe we should all make this choice to follow God. It is the best decision we can make in life. While we are sacrificing up by giving our lives to God, we are receiving something unexpectantly better: God in our life.
7. We believe it is good to praise God, to worship God as the one we submit to. A better life begins the day we give up our own will and begin to submit to God’s will. Praising God lifts up our spirits. It is awesome! We were made to praise God, and we feel fulfilled when we do.
8. We believe that God is still calling us to follow God. God does this primarily through the story of when God came to Earth as Jesus and died so that our wrongs would be forgiven.
9. We believe that God wants Christians to help show others the story of Jesus, so that they too can recognize their wrong doings, repent to God, and have a restored relationship with God.
10. We believe that God loves life. God created life. God created human life. God gave us a sex drive so that we might take part in the creation of life. God is always trying to help people and protect people so they don’t live under persecution, slavery, tyranny, abuse, and neglect. God is always instructing us to do good things for ourselves and for others. Yes, God wants us to grow and mature through our struggles, but God also wants us to experience joy and love and peace and good times. Jesus went to a lot of parties in his day, hung out, and had a good time with his friends. In the Bible, God commands us to have long-ass parties at different times of the year to celebrate the good things God is doing for us.
11. We believe that God hates death. This is why Jesus healed people. This is why he encourages us so much to be fair to each other. When Jesus came back to life, he had conquered death. Yes, he was the sacrifice for our wrongdoings, but the injustices that led to his execution were not strong enough to keep him dead! When he came back to life, it told us that injustice does not have the last say, that God can overcome the death that injustice brings.
12. We believe that all Christians are united as one big group of Christians. No one group of Christians has anything special about them that other Christians don’t have. We are all equally awesome to God!
13. We believe that Jesus will come back to Earth sometime in the future. When he comes again, he will make everything right. He will judge us all at that time, everyone who has ever lived. This will bring on the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine) and will create the afterlife of Heaven and Hell.
14. We believe that the Bible is the story of God and humans and salvation. It is what we base our beliefs and practices on, as we believe that the Bible is from God.
15. We believe God is all about fairness. The Bible uses words like justice and righteousness to describe the idea of fairness. In the Bible, we see God freeing us when we were slaves, then creating a peaceful and prosperous life for us, and staying with us after all that. The prophets, or “messengers” of God, then spoke to us, now a free and prosperous people, when we got cocky and began to oppress one another. God also taught us about economic redistribution, and called it “Jubilee.” Landless people got land back that had been taken from their ancestors, and all debts were cancelled. God envisions a day when “everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid.”
16. We believe God is all about peace. Jesus died so that we might have peace with God. God wants us to have complete peace: free from the fear of bodily harm, a deep spiritual connection to God, good relationships with other people, and the ability to work hard and make a decent living without fear of violence or oppression. Some of us think that God prohibits all acts of violence, while others think that there may be a time and place for the appropriate use of violence; we all agree that part of our mission as Christians is to help create the conditions where violence would be less. This is where the fairness/justice thing comes in.
17. We believe that all humans are created in the image and likeness of God, a God who is loving and just. No matter our gender, race, nationality, physical ability, mental ability, or anything else, we are all equally wonderful and worthy to God. God hates the power inequalities that we have created along the lines of gender, race, nationality, physical ability, mental ability, economic well-being, etc. God is about love, fairness, peace, and equality.
18. We believe that God wants Christians to do good things for other people, especially those that really need it. This could come in the form of medical assistance, gifts of money, job creation and job training, helping people become economically fruitful, or even lending an open ear to someone with a crisis. By serving others, we serve God. God promises us a joy in serving others.
19. We believe that God wants us to get together with other Christians and try to do life together. We call this church. We are to see our church friends like family.
20. We believe that God causes miracles to happen all the time. God can do whatever God wants, so far as it is good. God gives some Christians the ability to speak in human languages they have never known before. God gives other Christians the ability to speak in languages that only angels can understand. God often chooses to heal diseases in people and help people out in other unexpected ways that temporarily change the structure of the physical world.