Thursday, April 24, 2008

What I believe

I was raised in the Pentecostal church, and amongst the many schools I attended were Baptist, and Charismatic private schools (as well as some public schools).

So the religious teachings that I was exposed to were Christian, but often were in direct opposition. For example Baptists teach that salvation is a one time experience and the Pentecostals teach that a person could be saved then "loose" their salvation, then at a later date repent and regain their salvation.

Another example of these disagreements is speaking in tongues, Pentecostals believe that the spiritual gifts spoken of in the New Testament are available to believers today, and they believe that speaking in tongues is a proof of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Whereas the Baptists, being premillenial dispensationalists, believe that while the miracles did occur in the days of the apostles, once the Bible was available the gifts were no longer needed or available. It was a different "dispensation".

Now Baptists and Pentecostals don't disagree about everything of course, for example both denominations are Intelligent Design creationists.

But, maybe, you can see that there were some tensions in my life that were not easy for me to resolve. Religiously speaking that is.

I have spent the past 15 or so years trying to figure out what I believe. I know that I believe in God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I believe that God became man in the form of Jesus and I believe in the redemptive power of his death and resurrection. That is the core of what I believe. But what about all of the rest of it? What about the rest of it?

There are a lot of doctrines and beliefs in the various Christian churches, but which are correct? And which are important?

I am drawn to the mystical and experiential but not the gnostic. I feel that we are intended to have a relationship with the Creator that is greater than what we are often presented with. I think that there are mysteries that we are intended to explore.

At times in the past I have read a bit of the early church fathers and teachers, I probably need to look into that again. I think that there are joys that are just waiting for me to discover them and reading the thoughts of others who have gone before may help guide me.

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