I Believe

In addition to the Nicene-Constantinoplian Creed, which I think is about as close as we can come to a common, essential summation of Christian teaching; there are a few other things I should probably state about the nature of my faith.

I believe that Christianity is a whole lot more than a religious movement; it’s also a political movement. Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God, that’s political. He didn’t come to revive dynastic reign of David and restore the ancient kingdom of Israel—that’s what people expected of Him, but He on numerous occasions refused to take up earthly, temporal power. He didn’t come to bring a revolution that involved the sword; He patently refused the sword and rebuked Peter for wielding it. He didn’t come, politically, to make the system better. The movement He began He called the kingdom of God, and it was overflowing with the language of the Prophets; the corporate entity that He built to go and proclaim that kingdom He called ekklesia—church—a community of people called out from the polis of this world that would take up His way of living. His revolution was real, He preached it in His sermons, taught about it in His parables, lived it out in His actions, and sealed it in His death, resurrection and promise to come again. Christ came to turn the world upside-down, not by improving the status quo, but by subverting and inverting the system itself and turning it on its head. Jesus was a political revolutionary who came to do nothing less than overthrow the world, and He did. The Christian Church is the living organism that is intended to be the locus of God’s revolution, a new city, where the poor are wealthier than the rich and the hungry more satisfied than the full. Here the leper and the prostitute are called royalty. Here the imperial machinations of Caesar and the religious hypocrisy of the self-righteous flounder and dissipate. Here is a temple without walls, here is a nation without borders, here is a society that does not recognize the ordinary divides of human social structures. As St. Paul wrote so long ago, “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.” (Colossians 3:11).

I believe in the uniqueness and particularity of Jesus Christ, and am in agreement with St. Peter who said that there is no other name by which we might be saved.

I believe that being a Christian doesn’t save me, only the love and mercy of God can do that.

I believe that being a Christian means being a disciple of Jesus, not as a means of “getting to Heaven.”

I believe that there is more depth and width in Grace than any of us can ever conceive, and therefore have hope that God will make good on His promise to save the whole world.

I’m not convinced that I’m a Universalist (yet), but I believe God most likely is. I hope and long for, along with many in the ancient (and modern) Church, that there will be a restoration of all to God, and that even the devils themselves can find redemption in the depth of God’s mercy found in Jesus Christ. This ancient hope was called “apokatastasis panton” by the Greek Fathers; today we usually call it Universalism.

I believe that the purpose of salvation is theosis, not escape from some fire-filled cavern of darkness inspired more by the Divine Comedy than Holy Scripture or Christian Tradition.

I do not believe in the Rapture. Dispensationalism is not only silly, it’s offensive.

I do not believe that the universe was created in six days. Creationism is not only silly, it’s offensive.

I do not believe that “conservative” and “liberal” are helpful theological terms; they say nothing and mean nothing in any intelligible way.

I believe that I’m probably wrong; chances of me being right about anything are slim. I continue to have faith anyway.

I believe that God loves you, and if He has His way with me, I’ll love you too.

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2 responses

23 07 2008
theroamincatholic

Very nice. May God be with you!

2 12 2008
beinganddoing

Wonderful stuff. I find myself on many of the same wavelengths as you seem to be. I have now subscribed to your blog and look forward to many other posts.

BTW. Have you ever checked out “Death to the World?” It is an Orthodox monastic website that you might find interesting.

Peace,

Leon

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