In May 2005 "A Christian Affirmation" appeared in the Christian Chronicle, signed by several leaders in the Churches of Christ in North America, as a type of statement of some of the beliefs generally held to by members of the Churches of Christ. The signers did say that it was not meant to be comprehensive and they did not mean to be judgemental of those who did not subscribe to these particular beliefs. Rather, they wrote it in an effort to "strengthen the Christian identity of Churches of Christ" and to "seek through discussion with our brothers and sisters a deeper understanding of God's saving truth." Although somewhat disappointed in what it had to say, I have to respect their intentions in writing it, because they are people that love the Lord and are trying to do His will.
This article was brought to the forefront of my mind about a week ago, after seeing my church's Order of Worship for this past Sunday evening:
Faith and Values
5:30 PM Worship July 8, 2007
--Welcome / Opening Comments / Prayer--Elder of the Month
--Opening Song 4 - “To God Be The Glory”
--Song 66 - “Doxology”
Hearing From Our Elders: How We Got Here / Why Did We Draft This Document?
--Scripture Reading - Ephesians 4:1-6
--Song 528 - “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”
Hearing From Our Elders: What This Document is Not
--Song 449 - “Thy Word”
--Scripture Reading - Colossians 3:12-17
Hearing From Our Elders: The Purpose of this Document: For Our Own Internal Benefit
--Song 705 - “A Common Love”
Hearing from Our Elders: The Purpose of this Document: As A Tool For Outreach
--Song 68 - “Give Thanks”
--Song 777 - “Father, Hear the Prayer We Offer”
--Scripture Reading As Prayer -Romans 15:5-7
I'm thinking, "Okay, obviously, our elders have drafted some type of document for us as a church. I wonder what it's about." And, to be honest, I'm not sure how I felt about it. The idea kinda rubs me the wrong way for some reason. I suppose I have a problem with a few people, whether they be elders or not, laying out beliefs for many people. Because, undoubtedly, there are just as many different beliefs on some things as there are different people in our church. Unfortunately, I was unable to be at church this past Sunday evening, so I'm still wondering what it's about. I did, however, call one of my friends and ask her about it. She said that they had printed a type of pamphlet that they handed out for us to use and to give out to others; it basically stated what we, as a family at PV, believe. After hearing that, I'm still not sure how I feel about it. However, I respect our elders' intentions in writing it, because I respect them as leaders, and I know that they, as well, love the Lord and are trying to do His will. So I am trying to refrain from forming an opinion about it until I have the opportunity to read it.
Something else that was brought to my mind by this was one person's response to "A Christian Affirmation." He decided to write his own, personal affirmation of beliefs, and encouraged others to do the same. And I can't seem to shake some of what he posted in the comments section of his affirmation...his words keep coming back to me. He said, "...it's just an extraordinary experience writing one! It's a great way to distill your interpretation of the creed that never changes in scripture. I wish I had written one 20 or 30 years ago so I could compare it to what I'd write now. I'd see how much I've grown spiritually. It'd be like the pencil marks on the door labeled with each birthday!" The emphasis there is mine. Since I fall into that category (being approximately 30 years younger than him!) I've decided to take the advice of one a little bit older and alot wiser than myself.
That's right, I feel challenged to write...or at least attempt to write...my own, personal statment of faith. And if it turns out to be any good, I just might post it here to share with you guys! But it may take me awhile to turn out something blog-worthy--we'll see. Just wanted to share that with you guys. I'll be working on it. Stay tuned!
And thanks, Keith.
Much love to you all!