What do Christians believe?
This week we begin a new sermon series, devoted to that question. We’ll use these six weeks of Lent to explore the basic beliefs of Christian faith. Our task is simplified by turning to the most ancient statement of Christian faith – the Apostles’ Creed. Each week we’ll look at one to three of the beliefs of that historic creed.
Now, is this an exercise in theological speculation – six lectures from Theology 101 about things as spooky as Ouija boards and numerology?
Not at all! You will discover that Christian beliefs are not esoteric, untestable claims about hidden realities. Rather, Christian beliefs are entirely practical. And our Bible has always asked us to test the practical outcome of our beliefs — their ” fruits.” As the Apostle Paul writes: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control..
My dissertation advisor, Harvard Professor Gordon Kaufman, taught that our ideas about God are very practical in their actual use. Believers use their beliefs like a map – to navigate where we are in life’s journey, when we should turn, what we should avoid and where we should pause in awe. Especially, where can we find security in an unpredictable world? “Where is that Travelodge?”
Religious beliefs are a very special kind of map – covering the existential questions and crises of life. No map at Triple A can cover this terrain. But our beliefs and stories about God provide exactly the maps we need.
Not only will we consider the Apostles’ Creed during these six weeks. We’ll also hear from fellow church members, reading their own personal creeds. We are blessed by six church members who have put their guiding beliefs and personal experiences into words. They’ll read them during our video worship.
What do you believe? This Lent you’ll get a chance to consider the beliefs that guide your life – your theological road map!