Ever develop a personal Statement of Faith?

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O'Darby

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In a discussion on another thread, I made an offhand remark that I found the notion of an internet forum statement of faith slightly comical, as though an internet forum were a denomination of some sort. On an entirely different forum, I once pointed out how long and complex its statement of faith was in comparison to the great creeds that have traditionally defined the Christian faith, such as the Nicene Creed and Apostles' Creed. That seems a bit odd to me, but my comparison was not well-received (to put it mildly). I can understand why the Southern Baptists or Jehovah's Witnesses might need a detailed statement of faith to distinguish what it means to be a Southern Baptist or Jehovah's Witness – but an internet forum? Anyway, the discussion on the other thread here started to become a bit heated, which wasn't my intent.

This thread isn't a criticism of this forum's statement of faith or even about this forum's statement of faith. The site owners can do whatever they want, and the one here is a fair summary of the Once Saved Always Saved branch of Protestantism. I don't see any insistence that anyone must hold that theology in order to participate, so I suppose a "This is what we believe" statement is fine if the site owners and administrators believe it serves a purpose.

(If you haven't read the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds lately, you may find them almost quaint in their simplicity. Not a word about biblical inerrancy. Indeed, not a word about the Bible! EEK!!!)

What I'm talking about here is your personal statement of faith. Have you ever thought about developing one?

When I was a member of a denomination with a detailed statement of faith, I gradually realized there were elements I strongly believed, others I "sorta kinda" believed, and a few I had to pretend to believe if I wanted to remain comfortable within the denomination. Eventually, I moved on rather than continue to pretend. It wasn't that I felt unwelcome; I simply felt uncomfortable.

Over a period of years and after pretty intense study, I developed my own statement of faith. I'm not going to share it with you, because that's not the point. It sets forth the things I genuinely believe and don't have to pretend to believe. It's shorter and more basic than the typical denominational or even internet forum statement of faith. I continually try to pare it down to what seem to me the absolute essentials, but someone else may prefer a more full-blown and detailed one.

I found developing it to be a very useful exercise. I enjoy being able to say, just to myself and God, "This is what I really believe, what I am genuinely capable of believing without doubt or pretense."

Certainly, we can't just ignore the great creeds, confessions and statements of faith and call ourselves Christians. They have defined the faith for centuries, and those who wrote them all believed they were being guided by the Holy Spirit. Yet once we get beyond the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds and into the more elaborate ones, some of them are very different on fundamental points. Hence, I have not felt it was iconoclastic or displeasing to God to examine what I personally believed, for the benefit of myself alone.

You may arrive at a personal statement of faith that meshes exactly with this forum's or the Southern Baptists' or whatever. Fine, but at least you won't simply have adopted that statement because someone told you that you must, and you will know that, yes, this is what you relieve believe and are really capable of believing. You will know that you aren't simply mouthing things you've never really even thought about because "this is what I'm told all Baptists believe, and I want to be welcome here."

Detailed statements of faith are, in my observation, inherently exclusionary: If this is what Southern Baptists believe, then if you don't believe it then you should look elsewhere. That's fine, so long as the Southern Baptists (or any other denomination) recognize that their statement of faith defines them but doesn't inevitably define what it means to be a Christian.

When I pointed out on the other thread that a Once Saved Always Saved statement of faith excludes the Orthodox, Catholics and a fair number of Protestants, another participant informed me the statement describes "God's ways." Oops, that's the trap. My personal statement of faith is my understanding of God's ways, not a definition of God's ways even in my own mind. The fact you disagree with me on elements 3 and 7 means nothing more than that – you disagree with me on those elements, not that you aren't a Christian (and, hopefully, not that I'm not a Christian in your view).

I tend to think this exercise of developing a personal statement of faith may be pretty close to what Paul meant by working out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Philippians 2:12-13. At least it's a step in that direction.
 

Pearl

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A personal statement of faith would tell people what one's beliefs are - sort of setting your stall so that it was clear to all.
 
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Randy Kluth

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In a discussion on another thread, I made an offhand remark that I found the notion of an internet forum statement of faith slightly comical, as though an internet forum were a denomination of some sort. On an entirely different forum, I once pointed out how long and complex its statement of faith was in comparison to the great creeds that have traditionally defined the Christian faith, such as the Nicene Creed and Apostles' Creed. That seems a bit odd to me, but my comparison was not well-received (to put it mildly). I can understand why the Southern Baptists or Jehovah's Witnesses might need a detailed statement of faith to distinguish what it means to be a Southern Baptist or Jehovah's Witness – but an internet forum? Anyway, the discussion on the other thread here started to become a bit heated, which wasn't my intent.

This thread isn't a criticism of this forum's statement of faith or even about this forum's statement of faith. The site owners can do whatever they want, and the one here is a fair summary of the Once Saved Always Saved branch of Protestantism. I don't see any insistence that anyone must hold that theology in order to participate, so I suppose a "This is what we believe" statement is fine if the site owners and administrators believe it serves a purpose.

(If you haven't read the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds lately, you may find them almost quaint in their simplicity. Not a word about biblical inerrancy. Indeed, not a word about the Bible! EEK!!!)

What I'm talking about here is your personal statement of faith. Have you ever thought about developing one?

When I was a member of a denomination with a detailed statement of faith, I gradually realized there were elements I strongly believed, others I "sorta kinda" believed, and a few I had to pretend to believe if I wanted to remain comfortable within the denomination. Eventually, I moved on rather than continue to pretend. It wasn't that I felt unwelcome; I simply felt uncomfortable.

Over a period of years and after pretty intense study, I developed my own statement of faith. I'm not going to share it with you, because that's not the point. It sets forth the things I genuinely believe and don't have to pretend to believe. It's shorter and more basic than the typical denominational or even internet forum statement of faith. I continually try to pare it down to what seem to me the absolute essentials, but someone else may prefer a more full-blown and detailed one.

I found developing it to be a very useful exercise. I enjoy being able to say, just to myself and God, "This is what I really believe, what I am genuinely capable of believing without doubt or pretense."

Certainly, we can't just ignore the great creeds, confessions and statements of faith and call ourselves Christians. They have defined the faith for centuries, and those who wrote them all believed they were being guided by the Holy Spirit. Yet once we get beyond the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds and into the more elaborate ones, some of them are very different on fundamental points. Hence, I have not felt it was iconoclastic or displeasing to God to examine what I personally believed, for the benefit of myself alone.

You may arrive at a personal statement of faith that meshes exactly with this forum's or the Southern Baptists' or whatever. Fine, but at least you won't simply have adopted that statement because someone told you that you must, and you will know that, yes, this is what you relieve believe and are really capable of believing. You will know that you aren't simply mouthing things you've never really even thought about because "this is what I'm told all Baptists believe, and I want to be welcome here."

Detailed statements of faith are, in my observation, inherently exclusionary: If this is what Southern Baptists believe, then if you don't believe it then you should look elsewhere. That's fine, so long as the Southern Baptists (or any other denomination) recognize that their statement of faith defines them but doesn't inevitably define what it means to be a Christian.

When I pointed out on the other thread that a Once Saved Always Saved statement of faith excludes the Orthodox, Catholics and a fair number of Protestants, another participant informed me the statement describes "God's ways." Oops, that's the trap. My personal statement of faith is my understanding of God's ways, not a definition of God's ways even in my own mind. The fact you disagree with me on elements 3 and 7 means nothing more than that – you disagree with me on those elements, not that you aren't a Christian (and, hopefully, not that I'm not a Christian in your view).

I tend to think this exercise of developing a personal statement of faith may be pretty close to what Paul meant by working out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Philippians 2:12-13. At least it's a step in that direction.
Of course it's a good idea to establish your own statement of faith. I've never really done it because I grew up from birth reciting the creeds, and have now been in a number of evangelical groups who recognize that new issues have emerged in history requiring more detail. I also recognize that many solid Christian groups differ on various subjects. Some groups demand strict allegiance on these more "peripheral" matters. Other groups are more relaxed.

Once Saved Always Saved seems to be your own particular "issue," and that's okay. It isn't a big deal with me. This form of Predestination runs from Jesus to Paul to Augustine to Luther to Calvin. Some call it OSAS, or predetermined Salvation of the Elect. Even the wording can be controversial or mean different things to different people. OSAS may be different, in a sense, from Predestination?

I go to a church that has a different eschatology than me. I just put up with it, knowing that fellowship in Christ is what is essential. If we're one in Christ we can build one another up in Christ. We don't have to use eschatology to do it.

We can argue Water Baptism, the Eucharist, Sanctification, or Pentecostalism, but the centrality of Christ and the outworking of his life in ours is essential. Several cardinal doctrines support this, such as the Deity and Atonement of Christ. In the end it is our own relationship with God that makes the difference and whatever cardinal doctrines we need to have this experience.
 
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O'Darby

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A personal statement of faith would tell people what one's beliefs are - sort of setting your stall so that it was clear to all.
True, but why do that? To me, the whole point of a personal statement of faith is to clarify for yourself what you really believe and why. To make it public would suggest a certain level of arrogance and invite diputes. "Setting my staff" is exactly what I don't want to do. I always want to remain flexible and open-minded enough to revise my convictions if there seems to be good reason. I don't want anyone to view my personal beliefs in the context of "this is what I think you should believe" or "this is how I define a Christian."
 
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O'Darby

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Once Saved Always Saved seems to be your own particular "issue," and that's okay. It isn't a big deal with me. This form of Predestination runs from Jesus to Paul to Augustine to Luther to Calvin. Some call it OSAS, or predetermined Salvation of the Elect. Even the wording can be controversial or mean different things to different people. OSAS may be different, in a sense, from Predestination?
No, it's definitely not a personal issue with me. I simply cited it because it's the one thing in the forum's statement of faith that would leap out to an Orthodox, Catholic or many Protestants. One forum wisely banned any further discussion of OSAS at all because it's inevitably an unedifying bloodbath. (Rather humorously, on another thread where I was not talking about the Trinity AT ALL several people decided I had a problem with the doctrine. I guess one must choose one's words carefully here.)

FWIW, I came to Christianity through an OSAS ministry and spent my formative years in an OSAS church and seminary. I just assumed it was what all Christians believed (ditto with the Rapture). As I read the Bible, however, I encountered so many verses that were difficult to square with the OSAS position. As I matured, I arrived at basically what the Orthodox and Catholics believe without even knowing that was what they believed. (Please, OSAS folks, don't assault me with your pet verses - I know them all and DON'T CARE WHAT YOU BELIEVE on this issue.)

At least as I understand OSAS, it has zero to do with Calvinistic predestination. The TULIP of Calvinism simply guarantees that the elect WILL turn to God and WILL perserve to the end. The OSAS of my experience is an entirely Arminian doctrine. Prevenient grace allows anyone and everyone to turn to Christ. As the forum's statement of faith indicates, OSAS says that all who do turn to Christ have eternal life from that moment. The Orthodox and the unaffiliated Church of What O'Darby Believes say no, turning to Christ opens the door of salvation and perserving in the faith secures it. This is viewed by some as adding works to faith, but again we O'Darbians say no, perserving is an integral part of what it means to have faith in Christ. Having faith is a journey, not a moment in time.

Could OSAS be correct? Sure! I hope it is. If it isn't, I could see how believing it might be a bit dangerous. But as I said in one of the OSAS bloodbaths on another forum, I can't that whether I believed OSAS or what I actually do believe would make the slightest difference to my Christian walk.

If this thread turns into an OSAS vs. non-OSAS bloodbath, I'm going to be very disappointed. I probably shouldn't have waded in as far as I did.
 

Randy Kluth

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No, it's definitely not a personal issue with me. I simply cited it because it's the one thing in the forum's statement of faith that would leap out to an Orthodox, Catholic or many Protestants. One forum wisely banned any further discussion of OSAS at all because it's inevitably an unedifying bloodbath. (Rather humorously, on another thread where I was not talking about the Trinity AT ALL several people decided I had a problem with the doctrine. I guess one must choose one's words carefully here.)
;) Yes, forums are not for the faint of heart! Hope for the best, but expect the worst! We are servants, and cannot complain if we're not being served.
FWIW, I came to Christianity through an OSAS ministry and spent my formative years in an OSAS church and seminary. I just assumed it was what all Christians believed (ditto with the Rapture). As I read the Bible, however, I encountered so many verses that were difficult to square with the OSAS position. As I matured, I arrived at basically what the Orthodox and Catholics believe without even knowing that was what they believed. (Please, OSAS folks, don't assault me with your pet verses - I know them all and DON'T CARE WHAT YOU BELIEVE on this issue.)
On a personal note, I tend towards Calvinism and my older brother towards Arminianism. We have gotten heated at times, but we are best friends! I think keeping a level head and persevering has helped us both modify either our positions or our attitudes.

I also know all the arguments! I also have no inherent need to argue the matter.
At least as I understand OSAS, it has zero to do with Calvinistic predestination. The TULIP of Calvinism simply guarantees that the elect WILL turn to God and WILL perserve to the end. The OSAS of my experience is an entirely Arminian doctrine. Prevenient grace allows anyone and everyone to turn to Christ. As the forum's statement of faith indicates, OSAS says that all who do turn to Christ have eternal life from that moment. The Orthodox and the unaffiliated Church of What O'Darby Believes say no, turning to Christ opens the door of salvation and perserving in the faith secures it. This is viewed by some as adding works to faith, but again we O'Darbians say no, perserving is an integral part of what it means to have faith in Christ. Having faith is a journey, not a moment in time.
So you're saying that OSAS, in O'Darby's terms, indicates that you can be Saved Always, but only after you've persevered? Arminianism is clearly all about human freedom to be Saved or not to be Saved. But it certainly wouldn't deny that at some point a person is truly Saved? When would that be--at death or Christ's Coming? Just curious...

I don't personally see OSAS as an "entirely Arminian doctrine." To me it is classic Predestination of the Elect (not Double Predestination, and not the Bondage of the Will), indicating that at the point where someone identifies himself as the Elect of God, and responds to that call, he is truly and finally Saved.

That does not mean, for me, that a person who gets Saved is immune from falling away. I just don't happen to think that those who succumb to failure will necessarily be Lost. The Grace of God goes a very long ways to keep one from remaining a perpetually failure!

Certainly there are those who answer the call of God to accept Salvation who accept it on conditions that prevent it from being a full, true Salvation. God will not deny His Spirit from those who wish to draw upon it for righteousness. But neither will He commit His full Spirit to someone who clearly has 'issues," who does not want to commit fully without preconditions.

For example, "I will serve you God as long as you meet my expectations." This is not true covenant material!
Could OSAS be correct? Sure! I hope it is. If it isn't, I could see how believing it might be a bit dangerous. But as I said in one of the OSAS bloodbaths on another forum, I can't that whether I believed OSAS or what I actually do believe would make the slightest difference to my Christian walk.

If this thread turns into an OSAS vs. non-OSAS bloodbath, I'm going to be very disappointed. I probably shouldn't have waded in as far as I did.
No, just because I share my views doesn't mean I wish to bring up the typical back and forth rhetoric. I'm just agreeing with you really. We need to manage the difference between essential doctrine and peripheral doctrine, and keep things sane.

Besides, the whole reason these peripheral issues are argued for so long between otherwise good Christians is because the issues are complex. That makes the language difficult.

And when you factor in all of our different ministries, all of our different languages and ethnicities, and all of our different backgrounds, we have to expect some diversity of opinion, right? ;)

Take care!
 
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O'Darby

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;) Yes, forums are not for the faint of heart! Hope for the best, but expect the worst! We are servants, and cannot complain if we're not being served.

On a personal note, I tend towards Calvinism and my older brother towards Arminianism. We have gotten heated at times, but we are best friends! I think keeping a level head and persevering has helped us both modify either our positions or our attitudes.

I also know all the arguments! I also have no inherent need to argue the matter.

So you're saying that OSAS, in O'Darby's terms, indicates that you can be Saved Always, but only after you've persevered? Arminianism is clearly all about human freedom to be Saved or not to be Saved. But it certainly wouldn't deny that at some point a person is truly Saved? When would that be--at death or Christ's Coming? Just curious...

I don't personally see OSAS as an "entirely Arminian doctrine." To me it is classic Predestination of the Elect (not Double Predestination, and not the Bondage of the Will), indicating that at the point where someone identifies himself as the Elect of God, and responds to that call, he is truly and finally Saved.

That does not mean, for me, that a person who gets Saved is immune from falling away. I just don't happen to think that those who succumb to failure will necessarily be Lost. The Grace of God goes a very long ways to keep one from remaining a perpetually failure!

Certainly there are those who answer the call of God to accept Salvation who accept it on conditions that prevent it from being a full, true Salvation. God will not deny His Spirit from those who wish to draw upon it for righteousness. But neither will He commit His full Spirit to someone who clearly has 'issues," who does not want to commit fully without preconditions.

For example, "I will serve you God as long as you meet my expectations." This is not true covenant material!

No, just because I share my views doesn't mean I wish to bring up the typical back and forth rhetoric. I'm just agreeing with you really. We need to manage the difference between essential doctrine and peripheral doctrine, and keep things sane.

Besides, the whole reason these peripheral issues are argued for so long between otherwise good Christians is because the issues are complex. That makes the language difficult.

And when you factor in all of our different ministries, all of our different languages and ethnicities, and all of our different backgrounds, we have to expect some diversity of opinion, right? ;)

Take care!
The Orthodox position (as I understand it) is, "You will know you're saved when you die and God tells you." That's essentially what I believe.
 
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Pearl

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True, but why do that? To me, the whole point of a personal statement of faith is to clarify for yourself what you really believe and why. To make it public would suggest a certain level of arrogance and invite diputes. "Setting my staff" is exactly what I don't want to do. I always want to remain flexible and open-minded enough to revise my convictions if there seems to be good reason. I don't want anyone to view my personal beliefs in the context of "this is what I think you should believe" or "this is how I define a Christian."
Like @Randy Kluth I grew up reciting the creeds - both apostles and Nicene. But at the time I was saying them I hadn't a clue about dying to self or being baptised or being born again. They were just some words you said in church. Many years later after I became spiritually re-born I understood the words and related to them. And even now as a member of an independent evangelical fellowship I still believe them even though I haven't thought about them for many years. It isn't saying the words that counts it's believing them.
 
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Randy Kluth

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The Orthodox position (as I understand it) is, "You will know you're saved when you die and God tells you." That's essentially what I believe.
That is a position I used to hold onto for a significant period of time. I was pretty adamant about it too. However, theologian and Bible Answerman Walter Martin, in his radio show, convinced me there may be merit in Predestination.

So I think what I used to believe is that Salvation is a kind of *knowledge* that we can have on an intermittent basis. Once you have it you can consider yourself "Saved." But if you lose it, you've lost both the knowledge of and the reality of Salvation.

But you think nobody has Salvation until he or she dies? Well, that for certain is a time when we will all know! :)
 
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Pearl

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Welcome - CHURCH@Claremont This is my church and what it is about. You call it a statement of faith. Some of the people pictured are those in my avatar.

Church at Claremont logo

Church meeting 1
... is an independent Christian Church which wants everyone to know that Jesus Christ came to offer a relationship with the Living God. This relationship is available to everyone who will chose to follow Him, and opens up to us a new dimension in our lives – Spiritual Life – set free from the guilt of any wrong we may have done in the past and able to communicate freely with God.

We place a strong emphasis on the Bible being God’s Word and His foremost way of communicating with mankind; we encourage everyone to discover the grace and generosity of our loving God and we seek to demonstrate our love for God and for each other.

We meet at Claremont House, in the centre of Bolton, every Sunday morning at 10:30, we hold a church prayer meeting on the first Wednesday of each month, our Times of Refreshing meeting on the third Thursday of each month at 7:30pm in , and at other times and places as advertised. Our small groups meet in homes during the week - mostly in the evening, but some during the day as well. We hold a mid-week bible study in the church office every other week.

Whether you are a Christian looking for a place to worship; someone who once followed Jesus Christ but drifted away; are interested to find out more or even if you have "never wanted anything to do with religion", you will find a warm welcome at this church! Everyone is invited to belong and to be a part of the life of the church in their own way.

Hand painting


We firmly believe:​

  • In a real, living God who takes great interest in our life story;
  • That Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who lived in this world for a time in order to provide a way for us imperfect people to have a relationship with the Living God;
  • That Jesus Christ not only lived (in the past) but that He is alive and well today, living in Heaven, where He sits with God the Father. Furthermore, He is willing and able to completely change the lives of those who agree to follow Him.
  • That the Holy Spirit will and does lead those who have committed their lives to Jesus Christ;
  • That God truly loves everyone and will lead us into every good thing - if only we will follow;
  • That God speaks to us in many ways, the most common being through His written Word, the Bible, but also through Christian teachers, music, dreams, prophecy and a host of others. However, many are not willing to listen or act on God's Words and so miss out on the wonderful opportunities that He offers everyone;
  • That the Church (the sum of all genuine Christ followers everywhere) is Christ's Body on Earth, where it represents Him and acts on His behalf, when we allow Him to lead us;
  • That Jesus Christ will return for all who have chosen to follow Him in this life;
  • That God the Father has Good plans for those who will worship Him here, and that our future is assured in a New Heaven and New Earth;
  • That it is the duty of Christians to share the Good News about Christ whenever possible.
 

marks

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In the end it is our own relationship with God that makes the difference and whatever cardinal doctrines we need to have this experience.
That's where I land on this question. I've nothing against a personal statement of faith, of course, I'd be endlessly tinkering with mine.

Much love!
 
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Randy Kluth

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That's where I land on this question. I've nothing against a personal statement of faith, of course, I'd be endlessly tinkering with mine.

Much love!
Brilliant. That is a distinct mark of your maturity, brother! When I stop changing I've left the flock...
 
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Bob Estey

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In a discussion on another thread, I made an offhand remark that I found the notion of an internet forum statement of faith slightly comical, as though an internet forum were a denomination of some sort. On an entirely different forum, I once pointed out how long and complex its statement of faith was in comparison to the great creeds that have traditionally defined the Christian faith, such as the Nicene Creed and Apostles' Creed. That seems a bit odd to me, but my comparison was not well-received (to put it mildly). I can understand why the Southern Baptists or Jehovah's Witnesses might need a detailed statement of faith to distinguish what it means to be a Southern Baptist or Jehovah's Witness – but an internet forum? Anyway, the discussion on the other thread here started to become a bit heated, which wasn't my intent.

This thread isn't a criticism of this forum's statement of faith or even about this forum's statement of faith. The site owners can do whatever they want, and the one here is a fair summary of the Once Saved Always Saved branch of Protestantism. I don't see any insistence that anyone must hold that theology in order to participate, so I suppose a "This is what we believe" statement is fine if the site owners and administrators believe it serves a purpose.

(If you haven't read the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds lately, you may find them almost quaint in their simplicity. Not a word about biblical inerrancy. Indeed, not a word about the Bible! EEK!!!)

What I'm talking about here is your personal statement of faith. Have you ever thought about developing one?

When I was a member of a denomination with a detailed statement of faith, I gradually realized there were elements I strongly believed, others I "sorta kinda" believed, and a few I had to pretend to believe if I wanted to remain comfortable within the denomination. Eventually, I moved on rather than continue to pretend. It wasn't that I felt unwelcome; I simply felt uncomfortable.

Over a period of years and after pretty intense study, I developed my own statement of faith. I'm not going to share it with you, because that's not the point. It sets forth the things I genuinely believe and don't have to pretend to believe. It's shorter and more basic than the typical denominational or even internet forum statement of faith. I continually try to pare it down to what seem to me the absolute essentials, but someone else may prefer a more full-blown and detailed one.

I found developing it to be a very useful exercise. I enjoy being able to say, just to myself and God, "This is what I really believe, what I am genuinely capable of believing without doubt or pretense."

Certainly, we can't just ignore the great creeds, confessions and statements of faith and call ourselves Christians. They have defined the faith for centuries, and those who wrote them all believed they were being guided by the Holy Spirit. Yet once we get beyond the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds and into the more elaborate ones, some of them are very different on fundamental points. Hence, I have not felt it was iconoclastic or displeasing to God to examine what I personally believed, for the benefit of myself alone.

You may arrive at a personal statement of faith that meshes exactly with this forum's or the Southern Baptists' or whatever. Fine, but at least you won't simply have adopted that statement because someone told you that you must, and you will know that, yes, this is what you relieve believe and are really capable of believing. You will know that you aren't simply mouthing things you've never really even thought about because "this is what I'm told all Baptists believe, and I want to be welcome here."

Detailed statements of faith are, in my observation, inherently exclusionary: If this is what Southern Baptists believe, then if you don't believe it then you should look elsewhere. That's fine, so long as the Southern Baptists (or any other denomination) recognize that their statement of faith defines them but doesn't inevitably define what it means to be a Christian.

When I pointed out on the other thread that a Once Saved Always Saved statement of faith excludes the Orthodox, Catholics and a fair number of Protestants, another participant informed me the statement describes "God's ways." Oops, that's the trap. My personal statement of faith is my understanding of God's ways, not a definition of God's ways even in my own mind. The fact you disagree with me on elements 3 and 7 means nothing more than that – you disagree with me on those elements, not that you aren't a Christian (and, hopefully, not that I'm not a Christian in your view).

I tend to think this exercise of developing a personal statement of faith may be pretty close to what Paul meant by working out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Philippians 2:12-13. At least it's a step in that direction.
I'm always looking for a "formula" to keep me happy and safe.
 
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O'Darby

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I'm always looking for a "formula" to keep me happy and safe.
I always say that I've been on a quest for Ultimate Ontological Truth, or as close as I can get in this lifetime. If my quest had led to a conviction that materialistic atheism were True, I'd be a materialistic atheist. Fortunately, it didn't. Actually, my experience was quite weird - I had a completely unexpected call from God at age 20 and was born again. I then questioned the reality of that experience and embarked on a long quest. Years (decades) later, I accepted that the call and the experience had been real. So now I'm back where I started, albeit with much stronger convictions.
 

Bob Estey

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I always say that I've been on a quest for Ultimate Ontological Truth, or as close as I can get in this lifetime. If my quest had led to a conviction that materialistic atheism were True, I'd be a materialistic atheist. Fortunately, it didn't. Actually, my experience was quite weird - I had a completely unexpected call from God at age 20 and was born again. I then questioned the reality of that experience and embarked on a long quest. Years (decades) later, I accepted that the call and the experience had been real. So now I'm back where I started, albeit with much stronger convictions.
I had a "call" from God at age 20, also. I suspect we aren't alone. I never had any doubts that it was real, but seeing God, and seeing how evil I had been, caused me about five years of a lot of discomfort. To this day I struggle - I keep thinking peace of mind is right around the bend. I think someday I will find it, with God's help.
 
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APAK

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In a discussion on another thread, I made an offhand remark that I found the notion of an internet forum statement of faith slightly comical, as though an internet forum were a denomination of some sort. On an entirely different forum, I once pointed out how long and complex its statement of faith was in comparison to the great creeds that have traditionally defined the Christian faith, such as the Nicene Creed and Apostles' Creed. That seems a bit odd to me, but my comparison was not well-received (to put it mildly). I can understand why the Southern Baptists or Jehovah's Witnesses might need a detailed statement of faith to distinguish what it means to be a Southern Baptist or Jehovah's Witness – but an internet forum? Anyway, the discussion on the other thread here started to become a bit heated, which wasn't my intent.

This thread isn't a criticism of this forum's statement of faith or even about this forum's statement of faith. The site owners can do whatever they want, and the one here is a fair summary of the Once Saved Always Saved branch of Protestantism. I don't see any insistence that anyone must hold that theology in order to participate, so I suppose a "This is what we believe" statement is fine if the site owners and administrators believe it serves a purpose.

(If you haven't read the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds lately, you may find them almost quaint in their simplicity. Not a word about biblical inerrancy. Indeed, not a word about the Bible! EEK!!!)

What I'm talking about here is your personal statement of faith. Have you ever thought about developing one?

When I was a member of a denomination with a detailed statement of faith, I gradually realized there were elements I strongly believed, others I "sorta kinda" believed, and a few I had to pretend to believe if I wanted to remain comfortable within the denomination. Eventually, I moved on rather than continue to pretend. It wasn't that I felt unwelcome; I simply felt uncomfortable.

Over a period of years and after pretty intense study, I developed my own statement of faith. I'm not going to share it with you, because that's not the point. It sets forth the things I genuinely believe and don't have to pretend to believe. It's shorter and more basic than the typical denominational or even internet forum statement of faith. I continually try to pare it down to what seem to me the absolute essentials, but someone else may prefer a more full-blown and detailed one.

I found developing it to be a very useful exercise. I enjoy being able to say, just to myself and God, "This is what I really believe, what I am genuinely capable of believing without doubt or pretense."

Certainly, we can't just ignore the great creeds, confessions and statements of faith and call ourselves Christians. They have defined the faith for centuries, and those who wrote them all believed they were being guided by the Holy Spirit. Yet once we get beyond the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds and into the more elaborate ones, some of them are very different on fundamental points. Hence, I have not felt it was iconoclastic or displeasing to God to examine what I personally believed, for the benefit of myself alone.

You may arrive at a personal statement of faith that meshes exactly with this forum's or the Southern Baptists' or whatever. Fine, but at least you won't simply have adopted that statement because someone told you that you must, and you will know that, yes, this is what you relieve believe and are really capable of believing. You will know that you aren't simply mouthing things you've never really even thought about because "this is what I'm told all Baptists believe, and I want to be welcome here."

Detailed statements of faith are, in my observation, inherently exclusionary: If this is what Southern Baptists believe, then if you don't believe it then you should look elsewhere. That's fine, so long as the Southern Baptists (or any other denomination) recognize that their statement of faith defines them but doesn't inevitably define what it means to be a Christian.

When I pointed out on the other thread that a Once Saved Always Saved statement of faith excludes the Orthodox, Catholics and a fair number of Protestants, another participant informed me the statement describes "God's ways." Oops, that's the trap. My personal statement of faith is my understanding of God's ways, not a definition of God's ways even in my own mind. The fact you disagree with me on elements 3 and 7 means nothing more than that – you disagree with me on those elements, not that you aren't a Christian (and, hopefully, not that I'm not a Christian in your view).

I tend to think this exercise of developing a personal statement of faith may be pretty close to what Paul meant by working out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Philippians 2:12-13. At least it's a step in that direction.
Using and applying terms such as Statements of Faith and Creeds must first be understood and then defined before generating either one or both. In fact to be complete, Tenets and Confessions should also be included. All four are necessary imo. And here's why...

Confessions are about what we believe; creeds are about in whom we believe. Creeds are not meant as comprehensive statements of the Christian faith; they’re instead pledges of allegiance to the person or persons we believe in. Tenets point to key doctrines of belief. Statements of faith indicate in what or whom or both we believe and place faith. Tenets point to key doctrines of belief.

Just saying....OD..I love a little more precision and organization in these personal matters.

Great Day to you