7 Things to Know about Christian Belief
Belief forms the framework of a life built on Jesus. Building on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ, the windows, doors, and walls of a Christian life are the doctrines that are entrusted to us. We learn, accept, and trust in God who gives them to us. Just as the apostles proclaimed salvation through Jesus, we too proclaim our beliefs in him. Even those who are considered to be “uneducated and ignorant” are qualified to teach; the first apostles were too.
Each Wednesday night this fall, I’ll be discussing the core beliefs of the Christian faith as well as some other beliefs that are also a part of Baptist practices. In case you miss a study, you can listen to audio recording here Session 1 has already been uploaded for you to enjoy.
Here are seven things you need to know about our study of Christian beliefs:
- Doctrines develop over time.
There is not a one particular moment in time when we had all this sorted out. The church has developed these beliefs based on scripture over the course of centuries.
- Doctrine preserves room for mystery.
Any time you receive the Lord’s Supper, you can recognize the special meaning of this service. The elements are symbolic of something very powerful that happens among believers and Jesus. Baptism is no different. This mystery means that we will never fully be able to comprehend everything we believe.
- Our beliefs have been entrusted to us.
As 21st century Americans, we don’t simply decide what we want to believe today. Even Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 said he received what the Lord passed onto him. So do we. We are stewards of these beliefs.
- Doctrine has been abused and misused.
As a teenager, I remember signing belief statements that had little to do with the Bible and very much to do with codes of conduct. (My teachers were quite concerned that I would listen to contemporary Christian music.) These beliefs were designed to control rather than empower the Spirit’s movement. Any time we discuss doctrine, we approach these issues humbly knowing that we “see through a glass darkly.” (1 Corinthians 13)
- Doctrine leaves room for interpretation.
By necessity, Baptists understand that scripture must be engaged, interpreted, and studied in order to be lived out through the church.
- Doctrine engages the culture
It’s hard to talk to people about their beliefs if you answer their questions with, “Just believe whatever you want to believe.” By stating, describing, and showing people how to believe we are able to engage our world faithfully.
- We discuss our beliefs with others the same way we live them out.
In Colossians 3, Paul shows us how belief affects behavior. We live holy lives with our bodies, minds, lips, and heart. By showing our truth, we invite people to follow the one who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.