Update: My Beliefs as of Now

1) Christian, by which I mean that I identify as a person whose primary object of faith and lifestyle is the Jesus of the so-called New Testament, subsequent Christian writings, and antecedent Hebrew story. I believe that God’s good creation has become incomplete, and that salvation, in the holistic sense, is the redemptive renovation of the creation by the power of the Holy Spirit through the atonement of Christ. The effect of this salvation is restored relationship between individuals, families, and communities with God and, potentially, each other.

2) Trinitarian, by which I mean to believe in ONE GOD in three persons. I believe in God the Father, the “Son” of God, and the Holy Spirit. However, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are ONE GOD. So I believe.

3) Protestant. My formulation of Protestantism is basically the belief that the church does not consist so much of an institution as it does baptized people who put faith in Jesus Christ. I believe that to be officially considered ecclesiastical (part of the church), a person must be baptized. (This is different in my view from saying a person must be baptized in order to be made righteous.) Baptism is the initiation rite into the church, I think. Despite my Protestantism, I am staunchly critical of certain aspects of the Reformed movement as I’m convinced it tends to oversimplify and distort important aspects of justice, guilt, atonement, and theology by essentially trying too hard to systematize God in ways that often neglect original historical contexts in favor of imagined Biblical contexts. (A bad idea, in general.)

4) Sacramental. I believe in two central sacraments, namely, baptism and the Eucharist. These are activities that Christians are supposed to partake of. I’m currently not wholly conviced of what they mean ontologically, myself.

5) Miracles. I believe that God can and does override the normal, sustained behavior of the world. For example, I believe that Jesus’ crucified body was resuscitated AND resurrected. A resurrected body is different, but is still a physical representation of the dead person. I believe that Jesus performed miracles. I also think that God does and has done miracles in non-Christian cultures to make a point about himself and to bring healing to communities outside the reach of Israel and the church. I reject the general Enlightenment denial of miracles.

6) Eschatology. I believe there will be an end of the current mode of existence that we know. Creation will not be destroyed, however, but reborn to be creation as it should have been. A new heaven and a new earth would mean that the whole cosmos has been born again, and not forsaken. (“For he cannot deny himself.”)

7) Origenism. I freaking love Origen. Yeah, he thought some weird stuff, but who doesn’t, right? Gregory of Nyssa is currently my favorite church father, and he, along with the other Cappadocian Fathers was a staunch Origenist. Origenism segues well into my eighth article of faith.

8) Patristic Biblical Eschatological Purgatorial Christological Universalism. I believe that at some time during or after the Eschaton, all sinners will more or less freely choose to be reconciled to God. Origen was the first person to explicitly propose this. I agree with him, and think that the position is arguably supported by the Bible. He famously wrote something to the effect that “as long as there is one sinner in hell, Christ remains on the cross.”

9) Liberation theology. I’m very drawn to it. I think some forms of it–see Jürgen Moltmann, for example–are excellent and shed much light upon the Good News that Christ preached.

10) Inspiration and Prophecy. Prophecy is not foretelling, but forth-telling, and comes in a myriad of forms. The prophets wrote as the were “moved by the Holy Spirit.” This makes Prophecy (Scripture) a special gift of God, graciously revealing truth through the Prophet that is at least basically understandable to the average person.

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