Want the short version? It's all about Jesus. "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life," Jesus once said. "No one comes to the Father except through me." Not a lot of ambiguity there, huh? Our post-modern culture has embraced the "grayness" of life. It doesn't like black and white. It doesn't like the concept of Truth. But our culture has run into a very big problem. Jesus says He is Truth. Jesus says there is black and white, right and wrong, sin and righteousness, mercy and justice. And Jesus says the distinction comes only from Him.
Don't be mad at me. I didn't make the rules.
Perhaps my grandfather said it best: "No creed but Christ. No law but love." That's good stuff.
More? I like the Mars Hill Church "What We Believe" page, specifically their opening statement. It goes like this:
Finally, if you're looking for a traditional statement of belief--you know, the numbered list you find on most church sites--here goes.
"When it comes to doctrine, culture, preferences, traditions, lifestyles, politics, behavior, etc., Mars Hill takes a closed hand/open hand approach. The closed hand hangs onto the non-negotiable tenets of Christian orthodoxy: sin is the problem, Jesus is the answer, the Bible is true, Hell is hot. The open hand, however, allows room for differences when it comes to secondary matters; we liberally allow freedom for conscience and wisdom to guide where the Bible is silent. The open hand fosters unity among the diversity of expressions...Democrats and Republicans, soccer moms and indie rockers, carnivores and vegans, trendy bohemians and Microsoft nerds.
Hence, Mars Hill is in favor of good beer (in moderation), great sex (in marriage), and even tattoos (Jesus has one). But our goal must always be love and concern for our friends so that we don't enjoy our freedom at the expense of our faith.
In this way, we are seeking to simultaneously heed the Bible's commands to have sound doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16; Titus 1:9, 2:1), to love our Christian brothers and sisters (1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 4:7-21) and to avoid unnecessary divisions (Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 1:10, 12:25; Titus 3:10).
- I believe in a trinitarian God; that is, a God who exists in three persons: Father, Son and Spirit.
- I believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came to earth as both God and man, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, allowed Himself to be crucified to as a substitution for the punishment mankind deserved, physically rose from death after three days to fulfill the work of humanity's redemption and ascended to Heaven, where He lives and from where He will one day return to judge both the living and the dead according to whether they accepted His mercy or whether they will receive His justice.
- I believe in the ministry of the Holy Spirit, is a spiritual presence that dwells within those who have accepted Christ as Savior at the moment of their redemption and, following that experience, acts as intercessor between man and God, guiding him to righteousness, convicting him of sin and fulfilling the work of sanctification.
- I believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, i.e., written by man through direct inspiration from God Himself. Therefore, the Bible, both Old and New Testament, is without error and is the ultimate authority from which man can discern the Truth.
- I believe man is inherently sinful and therefore imperfect. Because of man's "total depravity," it is therefore impossible to have a relationship with a sinless and perfect God. It is likewise impossible for man, by his own abilities and efforts, to eliminate this alienation from God. Jesus, through His sacrificial death, bridged the gap, providing a way for man to have a personal relationship with God Himself. Salvation is thus a gift from God to man, provided by His grace, which must be accepted as an act of personal faith in the person of Jesus Christ.
Please understand: this is not an exhaustive list of my beliefs. Far from it. But what you see in the bulleted list above is the foundation upon which my faith rests.
If you would care to discuss additional points, I would welcome the opportunity. Drop me an e-mail at CandidChristian@gmail.com, or we can "talk" through any number of social networks on which I maintain a presence: Twitter, Facebook, Theologica, Ping.fm, Last.fm, GTalk, Plurk, Pownce, Brightkite, Loopt. And we can chat by phone, too. I'm always open to talking about Jesus.
Grace and Peace...