What do you believe?2017-01-18T22:14:19+00:00

Beliefs: What does Water’s Edge Partnership believe?

man curious about an empty tombBelief is part mystery, part decision, and part awareness. To talk about belief is wonderfully complex. We have a set of “Statements” or doctrine we hold. But these statements are the culmination over centuries of dialogue and experiences with God. So, to talk about belief as “statements” is helpful but probably misses a lot of the juice in the meat so to speak. The Statements are Here.

Mystery.

It’s mystery, because if we ever said we “had it all figured out” most of us would be looking skeptical and saying, “What the heck are you talking about man???”

There are “beliefs” which are fact, but still full of mystery! Sure, Jesus’ existence can be proven by historical record, just like each of our existences can be proven. But … it’s a different belief to say a man who lived over 2000 years ago is God who walked the earth, and still walks among us. And, my life direction is completely different; my life is full and extraordinary; and I realize I have a responsibility to hear Jesus to move out serving his concerns in the world.

Mystery is always involved.

Somehow belief has to involve trust in something not quite visible at the moment. And somehow, the mind and the heart have to work together. One does not “trump” the other.

Mystery is a wonderful place because experience and rationality both become essential to understanding more deeply. The process of believing involves the entire body and all the information we have at our disposal.

Decision.

Our heart and our mind lead us to an informed but warm decision: Jesus is the real deal.

iStock_000000767099XSmallAt Water’s Edge we know deeply that Jesus is real, even today. We believe this mysterious God is already talking to you. We believe God cares – immensely. we believe God is much bigger than we already understand. We believe extraordinary life just gets started when we launch into God’s arms. We understand Jesus causes us to re-evaluate life, pursuits and ways of living. But we have found that as we listen and adjust to Jesus’s ways of living, including radically caring about our world, that an extraordinary life blazes in and through us. So, we want others to know and experience this extraordinary life through this both mysterious and knowable Jesus.

We decide to trust this Jesus for a life extraordinary.

Awareness.

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, helped us become more aware by talking about belief, and growing in belief, as a process. As we grow, we become more aware of aspects of faith, and God, that we were not aware of previously. The Holy Spirit, a very real entity, helps us hear and discern, like a mother teaching a child. We become more capable of increased awareness like a baby learning a word who can eventually make sentences and then paragraphs.

Part of what helps us develop awareness is the Scriptures. They tell stories which makes us more aware of who Jesus is and what He has done. They guide our life in an evolutionary way; i.e. we evolve as we learn and grow and develop awareness.

If you’ve ever heard the term “salvation” – or “I am saved,” – you might be interested in different ways of talking about salvation. It’s an awareness that this life is not “whole” yet, that all is not right, that evil exists … but that as we change, as we address evil with God’s wholeness, and as we take more healthy paths, we become whole and healthy. Wholeness is spiritual, emotional, physical and mental/attitude. Wholeness is for people, the earth/creation, and world (relationships, justice). To say “I am saved” is to say something like, “I am now aware of Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection as a work to heal and save me. I realize I am not my own, but bought back from the sin I’ve done at a price by this Jesus. He has set me free, and I’m thankful for His love, for me! I am seeking Him in every way I can, to live as a movement with a Christ following community for freedom, rightness, and wholeness.”

We grow in awareness of all that God has done for us and it swells thankfulness in us!

So, you will also hear “belief” expressed as an experience or feeling or sense of God’s presence and speaking in life. Music bursts among us, and a dance comes to mind.

Real faith is always an adventure of discovery … and a journey in learning to listen, question, change, and follow.

Living What You Believe!

We are all hypocrites! (This is Sandy Boone speaking.) I was overhearing my own conversation with a group of ladies about how I wanted to lose weight. Then, I went home and had some potato chips! What a hypocrite I am!

We know one thing and sometimes we do another, “negating what I know I believe” thing.

For example, I believe all people are valuable. But sometimes I go so quickly in life that I miss the opportunity to simply make good eye contact and let someone else really know that they are valuable. Or I “forget” to give my husband a kiss good-bye. On and on.

Jesus always lived what he believed.

I think it’s what makes him the most interesting character of all time. He never wavered.

There are a lot of great men out there. Seriously ladies: There are a lot of great men out there.

But there is no one like Jesus. Full of integrity. Full of grace. Full of love. Full of saying one thing and not doing another.

I want to be holy, like Jesus is holy. Jesus said it this way,

“Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

There’s a part of me that shrinks when I hear those words because I know I am far from perfect. Yet, I believe we know we need to keep pressing on towards “something right and good.” We know we are not supposed to be hypocrites. And, we know, we don’t want to “hear it” from someone else about where we are hypocritical.

Jesus is different. He doesn’t condemn.

He shows up. He guides with his life. You know, I need his example and leadership to live what I believe.

One of the things I hear charged against “Christians” is that they are hypocritical. Yep, that charge is right!

But, Jesus wasn’t, ever hypocritical. And he’s the only one I know who wasn’t. It just goes to show you that none of us are Jesus! LOL And knowing he is not hypocritical is inspiring. It softens my heart to want to know him better, and truly be more like him.

What would it take for us to be more like Jesus?

 Beliefs: The Head

Statements of Faith (aka Doctrine)

Sometimes belief is quoted as a set of propositions or very specific understandings about God. That’s the head side of belief. It’s important to be clear. You’ll hear that head side also called “theology” or “doctrine.”

“Theology” usually means a more formal study of God and people. It’s also usually a bit more philosophical. John Wesley was an astute thinker who lived in the 1700’s and while on fellowship with Oxford University, London, England, he began to give deep thought to beliefs. His sharp mind challenged many of his contemporaries, and often what he said or wrote was around a particular issue of religion during his day. For example, he railed against a “dead” faith – one that is all lip service and no action. He challenged the church with his ideas around regular “lay” persons leading others in worship.

It was during this era that the Methodist Church began to take shape. It was John Wesley,that acute mind, who made sure the “Methodists” had a sharp mind to inform the shape of understanding God and our relationship with Him. Although the language is old, the essence is still valid today, standing the test of time.

Water’s Edge affirms these “Articles of Faith” as stated in The United Methodist Book of Discipline, 2008, and as quoted here:

Article I—Of Faith in the Holy Trinity
There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body or parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the maker and preserver of all things, both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there are three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Article II—Of the Word, or Son of God, Who Was Made Very Man
The Son, who is the Word of the Father, the very and eternal God, of one substance with the Father, took man’s nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin; so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one person, never to be divided; whereof is one Christ, very God and very Man, who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for actual sins of men.
Article II—Of the Resurrection of Christ
Christ did truly rise again from the dead, and took again his body, with all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature, wherewith he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth until he return to judge all men at the last day.

Article IV—Of the Holy Ghost
The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.

Article V—Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation
The Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical books of the Old and New Testament of whose authority was never any doubt in the church. The names of the canonical books are:
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, The First Book of Samuel, The Second Book of Samuel, The First Book of Kings, The Second Book of Kings, The First Book of Chronicles, The Second Book of Chronicles, The Book of Ezra, The Book of Nehemiah, The Book of Esther, The Book of Job, The Psalms, The Proverbs, Ecclesiastes or the Preacher, Cantica or Songs of Solomon, Four Prophets the Greater, Lamentations, Twelve Prophets the Less.
All the books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive and account canonical.
Article VI—Of the Old Testament
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard who feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the law given from God by Moses as touching ceremonies and rites doth not bind Christians, nor ought the civil precepts thereof of necessity be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral.

Article VII—Of Original or Birth Sin
Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk), but it is the corruption of the nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and of his own nature inclined to evil, and that continually.

Article VIII—Of Free Will
The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and works, to faith, and calling upon God; wherefore we have no power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.

Article IX—Of the Justification of Man
We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by faith, only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort.

Article X—Of Good Works
Although good works, which are the fruits of faith, and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God’s judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and spring out of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree is discerned by its fruit.

Article XI—Of Works of Supererogation
Voluntary works—besides, over and above God’s commandments—which they call works of supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety. For by them men do declare that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but that they do more for his sake than of bounden duty is required; whereas Christ saith plainly: When you have done all that is commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants.

Article XII—Of Sin After Justification
Not every sin willingly committed after justification is the sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore, the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after justification. After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and, by the grace of God, rise again and amend our lives. And therefore they are to be condemned who say they can no more sin as long as they live here; or deny the place of forgiveness to such as truly repent.

Article XIII—Of the Church
The visible church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments duly administered according to Christ’s ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.

Article XIV—Of Purgatory4
The Romish doctrine concerning purgatory, pardon, worshiping, and adoration, as well of images as of relics, and also invocation of
saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warrant of Scripture, but repugnant to the Word of God.

Article XV—Of Speaking in the Congregation in Such a Tongue as the People Understand
It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the primitive church, to have public prayer in the church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understood by the people.

Article XVI—Of the Sacraments
Sacraments ordained of Christ are not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s profession, but rather they are certain signs of grace, and God’s good will toward us, by which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm, our faith in him.
There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel; that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord.
Those five commonly called sacraments, that is to say, confirmation, penance, orders, matrimony, and extreme unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel; being such as have partly grown out of the corrupt following of the apostles, and partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures, but yet have not the like nature of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, because they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.
The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about; but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same, they have a wholesome effect or operation; but they that receive them unworthily, purchase to themselves condemnation, as St. Paul saith.

Article XVII—Of Baptism
Baptism is not only a sign of profession and mark of difference whereby Christians are distinguished from others that are not baptized; but it is also a sign of regeneration or the new birth. The Baptism of young children is to be retained in the Church.5

Article XVIII—Of the Lord’s Supper
The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, but rather is a sacrament of our redemption by Christ’s death; insomuch that, to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith receive the same, the bread which we break is a partaking of the body of Christ; and likewise the cup of blessing is a partaking of the blood of Christ.

Transubstantiation, or the change of the substance of bread and wine in the Supper of our Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ, but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.

The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after a heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is faith.
The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshiped.

Article XIX—Of Both Kinds
The cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the lay people; for both the parts of the Lord’s Supper, by Christ’s ordinance and commandment, ought to be administered to all Christians alike.

Article XX—Of the One Oblation of Christ,
Finished upon the Cross
The offering of Christ, once made, is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifice of masses, in the which it is commonly said that the priest doth offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, is a blasphemous fable and dangerous deceit.

Article XXI—Of the Marriage of Ministers
The ministers of Christ are not commanded by God’s law either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage; therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Christians, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve best to godliness.

Article XXII—Of the Rites and Ceremonies of Churches
It is not necessary that rites and ceremonies should in all places be the same, or exactly alike; for they have been always different, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men’s manners, so that nothing be ordained against God’s Word. Whosoever, through his private judgment, willingly and purposely doth openly break the rites and ceremonies of the church to which he belongs, which are not repugnant to the Word of God, and are ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, that others may fear to do the like, as one that offendeth against the common order of the church, and woundeth the consciences of weak brethren.
Every particular church may ordain, change, or abolish rites and ceremonies, so that all things may be done to edification.

Article XXIII—Of the Rulers of the United States of America
The President, the Congress, the general assemblies, the governors, and the councils of state, as the delegates of the people, are the rulers of the United States of America, according to the division of power made to them by the Constitution of the United States and by the constitutions of their respective states. And the said states are a sovereign and independent nation, and ought not to be subject to any foreign jurisdiction.

Article XXIV—Of Christian Men’s Goods
The riches and goods of Christians are not common as touching the right, title, and possession of the same, as some do falsely boast. Notwithstanding, every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the poor, according to his ability.

Article XXV—Of a Christian Man’s Oath
As we confess that vain and rash swearing is forbidden Christian men by our Lord Jesus Christ and James his apostle, so we judge that the Christian religion doth not prohibit, but that a man may swear when the magistrate requireth, in a cause of faith and charity, so it
be done according to the prophet’s teaching, in justice, judgment,
and truth.

[The following Article from the Methodist Protestant Discipline is placed here by the Uniting Conference (1939). It was not one of the Articles of Religion voted upon by the three churches.] Of Sanctification
Sanctification is that renewal of our fallen nature by the Holy Ghost, received through faith in Jesus Christ, whose blood of atonement cleanseth from all sin; whereby we are not only delivered from the guilt of sin, but are washed from its pollution, saved from its power, and are enabled, through grace, to love God with all our hearts and to walk in his holy commandments blameless.

[The following provision was adopted by the Uniting Conference (1939). This statement seeks to interpret to our churches in foreign lands Article XXIII of the Articles of Religion. It is a legislative enactment but is not a part of the Constitution. (See Judicial Council Decisions 41, 176, and Decision 6, Interim Judicial Council.)] Of the Duty of Christians to the Civil Authority
It is the duty of all Christians, and especially of all Christian ministers, to observe and obey the laws and commands of the governing or supreme authority of the country of which they are citizens or subjects or in which they reside, and to use all laudable means to encourage and enjoin obedience to the powers that be.