Sunday, February 19, 2012

Comparitive Faith

 Why is there Doctrine? Most denominations and christian faiths have a statement of beliefs which I think is great. It is good to know what others stand for or believe before becoming a member or supporting their organization. Perhaps this open statement of faith will help you in making a personal statement of faith. For I believe the church we attend or belong to will not be as important as our personal faith commitment. Yes- we need to find others who believe as we do to encourage us, it is nice to belong to something.
 I have found as we start to compare faiths, those that believe they are right and everyone else is wrong be wary. Because no one knows the hour or day the world will end, and we certainly are continually seeking knowledge of the things of faith and spirituality. We will never be all-knowing therefore it is better to be objective and discern things as they come. When we get to the point where we start shopping for religion or Christianity on the internet, just like we are shopping for a piece of luggage it may be time to take a deep breath and relax , deep breath -relax. You will not find God on the internet, or the TV set, or the radio.
 I was listening to the radio and found God- that sounds so magical , it may be you found something suggestive and perhaps a seed of faith was planted. Do you even know what that person on the radio believes or what Doctrinal statement  is behind the voice. I am all for evangelism but we need to be discerning and take a personal responsibility for our faith. Do not get overcome with the handsome man with the flashy suit of commercial faith. If you find a suitable church that matches close to what you believe and builds on your personal experience be content. Because you have achieved what so few have and that is contentment.
 Three things about finding a suitable place to worship.
1. Do they believe as your personal experience and the Holy Spirit has led you. Is the bible the main book for spiritual guidance. I have read the bible cover to cover and by subject at least 5 times. My    personal feelings are each time it is read new thoughts are discovered. It is very important not to just read it once. God gives us what we need for that day another day we may need something else. Give us this day our daily bread.

2. Do they have a doctrinal statement of faith that you can read and discern. Maybe they have a      complex catechism or additional books you are not at first aware of. You agree with the Nicene and Apostolic creed but not these others. That is alright , take the time to read through them - pray about whether it is something you are willing to accept and if not move on.

3. Do you feel anxious or depressed , are you being misled. Does the church not allow woman to participate and you are a woman. Does it teach prejudice , remember it is about a personal relationship with God. Self denial is not denying oneself spiritual growth and happiness.More important than all the doctrine and beliefs is that you are loved. When you leave the worship service ,  you should have less burdens, more joy and something you are willing to share with others. I remember being told that Jesus was not our friend he was God and we should fear him. I never went back there, Jesus is Lord but also a friend to me. I do not have all the answers but have joy.

peace and joy-

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