Many Christians throughout the ages have spoken aloud and put down in writing what they believe. And it is good to know what one believes, if you believe it strongly and actually care about what you believe. And it makes sense to let others know what you believe, as well.
But many Christians today can no longer believe what was believed in darker ages, in creeds written by men influenced by their previous pagan philosophies and by men and teachings other than those of Jesus. Requiring millions of faithful people to believe these words has led millions of them to abandon God and turn their backs on Jesus. That's a tragedy!
The emerging #JesusFollowers organization has been seeking for a while now to lay out an alternative path, one that follows the teachings of Jesus alone, influenced only by the moral teachings of the Hebrew Scriptures, which had been the prime influence on his teachings.
So, let’s take a moment to lay out some principles on which a new Church can be founded, and one in which Jesus is put ahead of all others.
Following Jesus, we love God and Serve Others, Working Righteousness.
We follow Jesus Alone – The words and teachings of Jesus, not any other teacher, savior, preacher, or theologian, are at the core of our beliefs.
Jesus is God's Chosen, Adopted, and Anointed Spokesman – God set Jesus apart from other men, Anointing and Adopting him as a special spokesman at his baptism.
Jesus teaches us to repent from sin, and follow God – Repentance (turning away) from actions that separate us from God was the core of Jesus' teachings and ministry.
Jesus is our perfect moral example in life and death – The life, teachings and death of Jesus inspire us to follow Jesus' example.
Jesus teaches us to selflessly love God and others completely – Love of God and love of Others is the core of Jesus' teaching on Love, and summarized the teachings of the Jewish prophets and Law.
Jesus challenges us to do Works of Righteousness – We are called upon by Jesus to do Righteous deeds, by which we will be judged by God, and which bring about God's Kingdom on earth. The Gospel challenges us to do better, be more than what we were, to seek Righteousness through Good Works of service.
And to seek God's forgiveness when we stumble – We will not immediately become perfect when we start (and continue) to follow Jesus' example and teachings. But when we forgive others who sin against us, we are forgiven by God for falling short of His goals.
God gave us Reason and the ability to obey Him – Reason is a God-given gift we use to discern His will, and we are fully able to follow Jesus' challenge to live our lives for God. We have no excuses with this moral ability.
God, Our Father, is One God – God (the God of Israel and of Jesus) is One God, not many – eternal and completely indivisible. God’s spirit comforts us but is not a separate Being to be worshiped.
God speaks through Jesus and the wisdom of Hebrew Scriptures – The Hebrew Bible and the words of Jesus, interpreted through Reason, faith and discernment, are our guide and comfort, and God speaks to us through these writings.
God gives us spiritual gifts: wisdom, love and moral strength – When we speak to God, God encourages us to obey Him and the one whom He sent, Jesus. God does not promise material wealth or perfect health, but gives freely His wisdom, love and moral and spiritual strength.
To build God's Kingdom here on Earth, as in Heaven – We are called to build up God's Kingdom here on earth, as it is in Heaven.
We yearn to live with God forever – When we persevere in our Faith, doing what we are called to do by God and His Servant, Jesus, and humbly rely on God's forgiveness when we falter, we may live with God eternally, but this is God’s decision to judge us, not for us to judge ourselves, nor that others should judge us.
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