Core beliefs have less to do with character and more to do with the content of our faith.
What is it that we believe is essential to Christianity? And what are the beliefs that particularly identify us, as members/affiliates of Robert McClure United? With “core beliefs” it is vital to remember that as a United Church, we embrace a wide diversity of beliefs and theological perspectives. Within this diversity, what is the core that unites us?
This is a rather complex word, summed up in our mission statement when we say, “In God’s love.” Grace means that God always loves us first. We don’t, we can’t, do anything to earn God’s love. It is already given to all of us. It means that God knows our names, that God is paying attention to us. It means that we believe God is alive and active in the world. It means that we trust that the power of Easter, the hope of resurrection, is offered not only to us, but is ultimately the most important thing in the world, in the Universe.
TRANSFORMATION THROUGH DISCIPLESHIP
We know that neither we, nor the world we live in, live up to God’s hopes and call. But we believe that God’s grace, the working of God’s power and love, leads us to change, to be transformed. This is both an individual transformation towards health, wholeness, and right relationship, and a societal transformation towards community and justice and the Kingdom of God. This transformation occurs through relationship with God through Jesus Christ. To be Christian is to follow Jesus, much like the earliest disciples did. To be taught by Jesus, and to have our lives, inside and out, transformed to become Christlike.
We believe that God is communicative, and that the most reliable communication of God comes through Scripture, as it is studied and understood within the community of God’s people. Both aspects of this statement are important, because we believe not that God “spoke” through Scripture in the past, but that God is currently speaking through the Scriptures. The scholarship, the interpretation, the current experience of the Holy Spirit in the church, are all crucial to hearing the “here and now” voice of God through the Bible. But just as we cannot properly hear God’s voice without current scholarship and conversation, so we cannot reliably hear God’s voice without the Bible.
We believe that each of us, ultimately, is responsible for our own lives, our own answer to God’s call. This means that we must trust one another, and respect each other’s freedom to find our own spiritual paths, and to form our own answers to God. We can offer each other friendship and support, but we can not demand conformity to any “party line.”
We believe that Christianity is essentially communal. As we become followers of Jesus, we are called to become the Church. The church is, to be sure, a fallible human institution. It is also, however, a sign and a foretaste of the coming Dominion of God. We are the beginning, the seed, the “thin edge of the wedge” of God’s new world. We are the “body of Christ,” the community charged with carrying on Christ’s ministry of healing, teaching, and spreading the Gospel and God’s love to the world.