ACD Statement of Faith

Association for Christian Development

A Statement of Faith

“We also believe and therefore speak…”
2 Corinthians 4:13


PREFACE

This Statement of Faith is available in booklet form and can be ordered, free of charge, from the ACD. It represents the first published section of a larger three-part work now under way entitled: Discovering What To Believe About God.

Part One is a fascinating study of creeds in Scripture and church history. The Old and New Testaments are alive with many “I believe” statements intended to guide God’s people to the most important Divine truths. These ancient biblical creeds are examined in context and given fresh meaning.

Part One will offer examples from church history of magnificent, courageous creeds — richly spiritual and biblically sound. History also records shallow theological thinking, and sometimes political, compromising, expedient statements — all of which litter the paths winding away from the core teachings of Scripture.

Our Statement of Faith, comprising Part Two of the larger work, is followed by a detailed commentary (Part Three) of our understanding on each of the eight points. Selected scriptures are included along with our explanation of their meaning and application to contemporary living.

We offer Discovering What To Believe About God as a do-it-yourself primer on how to make your own statement of faith. Our beliefs about God, mankind and morality are intensely personal and are the basis for our relationship with both God and neighbor. Defining our faith is a fundamental step toward living our faith.

When our three-part work is completed it will be advertised in ACD publications. We invite you to request a copy then.

 INTRODUCTION

You have before you a statement of faith — our statement. Perhaps after careful and reflective reading, it could also serve as your statement of faith. If not, we suggest you write your own — expressing the beliefs you hold as fundamental to your Christian faith. From personal experience we can guarantee you will find the process both challenging and spiritually rewarding.

In the end, if we are Christian, “we live by faith” (2 Co 5:7). But we must ask: What is my faith? How would I express it? Does it harmonize with Scripture? What beliefs have I in common with other Christians? Finding answers to these questions is a step often skipped by believers — to their own spiritual peril.

But answers are available. The Bible contains numerous embedded statements of faith, some obvious, some not. These and others outside Scripture were all forged by devout believers inspired to state the core truths, beliefs, principles and doctrines for which they stood — and often, for which they were willing to die.

These faith statements, or declarations of belief became known as “creeds” (from Latin credo,“I believe”). Mighty acts of God, grand beginnings — as well as heresy and persecution — were some of the typical circumstances which gave birth to creeds. And the need for writing creeds did not cease with the Apostles or the New Testament Canon, but continues to this day.

Each generation of believers experiences God’s mighty creation, and can see divine intervention anew, the “salvation of our God.” Each generation also faces new challenges and conflicts, new threats and heresies, new fads and fables — a veritable spiritual and doctrinal minefield. Our Creator has not abandoned his people to dangerously grope in the darkness, but has given his living Word to light the path. To it we go to find our faith, to define our faith, to receive inspiration to live our faith.

This Statement of Faith which you can now read is our credo — our “we believe.” It is intentionally brief, having only eight points. As a result of years of careful study, pastoral experience and biblical scholarship, it reflects, we trust, a consensus of the Association for Christian Development, its parent organization, the Associated Churches, Inc., and affiliated congregations.

We share this declaration not to debate or create division, but to inspire, educate and promote unity around the core teachings of Scripture — the very heart of Christianity. Most importantly, it is our sincerest hope and prayer that this Statement will encourage each reader to search for and find his or her own statement of faith.

 STATEMENT OF FAITH

We encourage all toward a life of moving Godward: to live in the light of God’s revelation, with Jesus as the example and guide, to develop godly character through the practice of righteousness — that is, exercising faith, justice, mercy, tolerance, and loving-kindness — to strive for balance, beauty and excellence in this life, and to look for the future peace and well being of all humanity in the coming Kingdom of God.

 I. GOD 

The one true Almighty God, the Creator, has revealed himself to be eternally existing, transcendent, unique and free, perfect in love, supreme in righteousness and sovereign in all his ways — some of which are revealed to us and some of which remain within his invisible, mysterious control. Through his Son, Jesus the Messiah, the Eternal God graciously adopts the redeemed into his family, which enables us to call him Father.

II. CHRIST 

The one true Word of God, Jesus of Nazareth, the prophesied Messiah — the Christ — is the virgin-born and divinely begotten Son of God who lived a perfect life, suffered and died for the atonement and reconciliation of all mankind, and rose by resurrection from the dead to sit at the right hand of Majesty as the pioneer and captain of our salvation, our high priest and the sole intercessor between God and all humanity.

III. HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit is the power of God which flows from the Father, and is sent by the son as a divine Comforter. The dynamic of the Holy Spirit empowered leaders, prophets, the wise, the disciples of old to speak and write the Scriptures. This same spirit led the believers to collect and canonize the written Word of God, and now leads Christians throughout their lives in forming God-like character.

IV. BIBLE 

The Bible in both Old and New Testaments was written and preserved under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and contains God’s self-revelation to mankind. Therefore the Bible is the only infallible rule of faith and practice.

V. MANKIND 

Mankind was created by a special act of God. By free choice humanity, being tempted by Satan, the originator of sin, rebelled against God, bringing suffering and destruction upon itself. Only the grace of God can redeem mankind from his condition of spiritual ignorance and alienation. Yet the sacredness of human life is evident in that mankind was created in God’s own image, and in that Jesus died for mankind’s reconciliation. Therefore every person possesses worth, dignity and uniqueness, and so merits both respect and Christian love.

VI. MANKIND’S PURPOSE 

Forgiveness, reconciliation and salvation are offered freely to those who repent of sin, accept Jesus Christ as Savior, and in obedient wholeheartedness allow the leading of God in their lives. God the Father will have his reconciled children to become like himself and like his Son throughout their lives, in order that his divine family may be increased. The reward of glorification and eternal life is only partially granted in this life; it is fully given at the resurrection of the dead.

VII. THE CHURCH 

The Church is a spiritual organism, the body of Christ, which includes all of the redeemed regardless of whether they are members of an earthly organization of Christians. This body has been commissioned 1) to preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God to all the world, 2) to make disciples of all nations, 3) to feed the flock, which means where possible the Church should provide not only education for growth, but also a loving, forgiving, accepting atmosphere for fellowship, and 4) to watch for and expectantly await the soon-coming return of Christ as Bridegroom to the Church and as King of Kings to the entire earth.

VIII. GOD’S GRAND PLAN 

Scripture reveals that God has a plan for each and every individual. On the daily level God’s plan means that we may be personally helped, encouraged and guided by him — in short we commune with God through Christ. On the long-range level God’s gracious guidance will build character in us which will lead to our finally being born into a higher and eternal existence as the very sons and daughters of Almighty God — destined to inherit all of God’s creation.

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“…Christ in you, the hope of glory — for the earnest expectation of creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God…because creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

(Col 1:27; Ro 8:19, 21)

 

For further information on the subjects covered in this Statement or for literature and cassette tapes on other biblical teachings, please  write to the Association for Christian Development, 27013 Pacific Hwy. S. # 400, USA,

© 1998 Associated Churches, Inc./Association for Christian Development