Pastor Note #39: A Statement of Faith

“Trumpets to Heaven” on a dead tree beside the Chemung River in Elmira, NY; photo by GAC

            God is not an idea or a concept but is rather a Personal Being of infinite power, beauty, and goodness.  He is a Being who desires to be known and reveals himself to us.  He makes himself known to us through the works of his creation and through direct experience of his Holy Spirit.  But above all, God anchors all revelation of himself in the infallible words of holy Scripture – the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament – the very breath of God breathed into our hearts.  This I believe and know.

            God is a single being in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – a mystery beyond human reason yet true nonetheless.  In this triune nature of the one true God, the three persons of the Godhead live in an intimate communion of love.  This I believe and know.

            Overflowing in love, God was moved to create.  All that exists, visible and invisible, spiritual and material, is created by God and is sustained in its existence by God moment by moment.  In particular, God created human beings – male and female – bearers of his image – designed specifically to live in all aspects of their lives in loving, creative relationship with him.  That is who we are meant to be.  This I believe and know.

            In an act of irrational and inexplicable rebellion and self-assertion, the first man and the first woman – and in them all men and all women – fell from communion with God, fell into sin and brokenness, fell into alienation from God, from each other, from all the created order, and even from our very selves.  This I believe and know.

            From this dreadful fall into sin and alienation, all manner of evil has been loosed upon humanity and every part of the creation – demonic oppression, moral degradation, social and political injustice, consumeristic self-absorption and desolate secularism.  The result is a meaninglessness that plagues all people and drives them into a frantic, chaotic desperation in search of a substitute for the God they have rejected.  No such substitute can be found that does not simply deepen the barren meaninglessness of a life apart from God.  This I believe and know.

            God’s love for us human beings is so immense and so unstoppable that he is not willing to leave us to be lost in our sin-sick fallenness.  And so, he has acted to redeem, to reconcile, and to restore all that sin ruins.  The Father sent the Son to be an atoning sacrifice for sin.  Jesus Christ – the eternal Son of the Godhead who took on flesh – Jesus Christ – fully God, fully human – a mystery beyond human reason yet true nonetheless – Jesus Christ – son of Mary, sinless carpenter of Nazareth, Word of God, victim of Pilate and of sin, killed yet bodily raised again to life.  He has ascended and reigns in glory – the victorious King over all powers and authorities.  This I believe and know.

            The power and authority of Jesus are not only for a time long ago; they are not only for a time yet to come.  The power and authority of Jesus are his gift to his people for now as at Pentecost.  The sanctifying and empowering presence of the Holy Spirit is Jesus’ gift to his people, so that the power that is at work through him might also be fully at work through us, his people, so that as he promised (John 14:12) we might see the power of the Holy Spirit at work through us in our ministries just as it was through him in his earthly ministry.  This I believe and know.

            The people of God are called and empowered by the Holy Spirit to embody the living presence of Jesus in proclaiming salvation to the lost, in healing the sick, in setting free the captives, in living out the power of Christ’s kingdom in all spheres of life, both now and until he returns in glory.  This I believe and know.

©2012 Gary A. Chorpenning; all rights reserved.

Light in the Sky; photo by GAC

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