Theology

I Believe [New]

I believe in one God, the Trinity composed of three distinct persons, the first being the Father – omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. He, the eternally sovereign, is the creator of all things, visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the One and only Son of God, who existed before all time. In Him everything holds together. He is not a created being, but is eternally begotten of the Father. He is absolutely God in every way, in one being with the Father, yet in His incarnation was absolutely human in every way. These two natures were without division, separation, confusion, or change. For us and our redemption Christ came down from heaven and was born to the virgin Mary through the Holy Spirit. He then lived a perfectly sinless life on earth, thus fulfilling the righteous requirements of the law. In our place, He was crucified under Pontius Pilate, suffered an excruciating death in which He bore the full brunt of the Father’s wrath and judgment as He became sin for us, descending into Hell, was buried in a tomb, and on the third day He rose again in accordance with the Scriptures. After appearing in the flesh to many, He ascended into heaven to be seated in His rightful place at the right hand of the Father. He promised to return back in the same way in which He left, only that time it will be in glory and judgment upon both the living and the dead. His reign will be never-ending.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, fully God who proceeds from the Father and is totally worshiped and glorified just as the Father and the Son. In the time before Christ came, the Spirit spoke through the prophets, coming and going. After Christ came, the Spirit dwells in believers, transforming us through the process of sanctification, working in us, and working through us. The Spirit is our seal and down-payment for the day of redemption, ensuring that we belong to God.

I believe in one universal, historical, and apostolic church. I acknowledge the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist as instruments of God’s grace in the life of the believer. I look for the resurrection of the dead and the eternal life to come in the new heaven and new earth. Amen

~ Rachel

How Then Shall We Live?

Unspoken Creeds

Have you ever been in a Gathering and wanted more than anything to just go home? The people around you are so into this. You wonder if the guy raising his hands and crying beside you is actually serious right now. And it’s almost unbearable to stay because a girl a few rows back has decided to sing the harmony up an octave and then some, but she’s still managing to sing flat. Needless to say, the Spirit of God is not falling afresh on you and you don’t see the point of staying. (I’m hoping you’re agreeing with all of this, unless I’m actually the only super-cynical person in chapel services.)

Then to add to your misery, the worship leader is telling you to stand with everyone, to say a Bible passage together, to go Vespers style and read the bolded print off the screen. This is torture. You don’t want to be a part of this body right now. You just want to go finish your homework.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone through this process- I had this exact train of thought last Sunday night. I feel like a hypocrite for staying and participating in the service. I’m not really doing much besides mumbling and judging other people. But after reading A More Profound Alleluia‘s chapter on creeds and prayers, I don’t really think that it’s a bad thing to participate in a service you don’t feel. So much of our faith today is condensed into charismatic emotion in the Presence of God. I’m not saying this is a bad thing- but be honest, do you always feel overcome with emotion when you praise God? Are we supposed to stop praising God when we don’t feel like it anymore, or when we don’t feel his Presence?

At JBU (as far as I know) we don’t normally use any creeds, but we do declare the same things about God every week. He is holy, and powerful, and worthy of our praise. We are sinners that need the grace and pardon of Jesus’ sacrifice. We must go out of our campus to minister to the world. These were all themes in the Gathering on Sunday, and I declared them all with the rest of the campus even if I didn’t feel like it. It brought unity to me and the people beside me. That’s kind of awesome. The girl beside me overwhelmed by God’s presence, and the guy in the back row doing homework in between songs, are declaring the same thing.

Next time you’re forced to a chapel for no reason besides getting your credits in, pause the cynicism and take a moment to listen to the unified declaration around you. Even if it’s not on pitch, it’s still beautiful if you stop and think about it.

~ Rebekah