The quotes from the church's statement are in bold and the Scriptures I'm adding are in plain print. (I didn't spend much time on this, by the way, but just put in some passages off the top of my head to help you compare the two.)
What We Believe
The mystery of the Christian liturgy well celebrated remains: God is faithful and waits.
So the liturgy in its whole range—from daily prayer, to initiation rites, to Eucharist, to burying the dead—waits patiently for our humanity to be opened to it. The liturgy waits patiently, like the Scriptures, like Jesus, like the whole life of God who, as Tolstoy once observed, “Sees the truth but waits.” (1)
"The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24)
"And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God." (1 Cor. 2:1-5)
Heaven is revealed upon the earth both in the cup of cold water which is given to the poor... and in Michelangelo’s David: in both the dance of a child and the melody of Mozart. (2)
Alertness is all. (3)
"But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." (Isa. 64:6)
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing." (1 Cor. 13:1-3)
"Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil." (1 Thess. 5:21-22)
Belief is appropriately a moving target, which shifts and adjusts with time, circumstances, and the continuing new revelation of the Spirit of God. It’s also so varied and complex—even within a single parish—that any attempt at a summary would be immediately misleading. Belief isn’t a set of ideas or propositions. It’s rather an approach to life and a dynamic engagement with the mystery of God.
"Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." (Heb. 11:6)
"Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ." (Jude 3-4)
"For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures." (1 Cor. 15:3-4).
"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory."
(1 Tim. 3:16)
“'Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber'... Then Jesus said to them again, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.... I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." (John 10:1-2, 7-9, 25-27)
"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector." (Matt. 18:15-17)
"I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore 'put away from yourselves the evil person.'” (1 Cor. 5:9-13)
Being alert in this way opens to us the reality of God’s heaven in our midst and in our world. Heaven is not merely a distant reward. This is a terrible caricature. Glimpses of heaven are, rather, present to us in the beauty of creation and in our sharing the image of God in our own creativity. They’re also made manifest in many acts of redemption: by our reaching out in care, by our offering forgiveness and reconciliation, and by our making our first delight service to others.
"Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men." (2 Cor. 5:9-10)
"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31)
"Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?' Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’" (Matt. 22:35-38)
True belief unfolds slowly, across the spans of lifetimes....
"Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
"By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith." (Heb. 11:7)
"For what does the Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.'” (Rom. 4:3).
"Once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation." (Heb. 9:26-28)
Those last verses highlight what is missing from that church's "statement of faith"--the gospel (1 Cor. 15:3-4)! What Christ has done for us on the cross, the most important truth for us to believe, is not explained in it. Of course, the leaders of that church may not even believe in the penal substitutionary sacrifice of Christ, because denying that doctrine is common in "progressive" or "liberal" circles. It's not my purpose here to defend it or to explain the nuances of the passages I listed above--I just wanted you to see and think about the disparity between the way many people talk about the Christian faith and what is actually contained in the Word that He gave us as a basis for it. But if you'd like to discuss any of this further, I'd be glad to.
Footnotes from "What We Believe":
1) Donald Saliers: Worship as Theology
2) Gerardus van der Leeuw: Sacred and Profane Beauty
3) Michael Fishbane: Spiritual Attunement
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