The Communion of the Saints: Our Faith

I believe in the communion of the saints… The Apostles’ Creed states the basic beliefs of the Christian faith or the conditions for our communion. Chief among these beliefs is the divinity of Jesus and our acknowledgment of his exclusive claims.  Jesus said,  I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14.6. And in the early church Christianity was frequently called, as it is in the Book of Acts, “the Way” (Acts 9.2, 19.9,23) Jesus is not one way among many to God, but the way. He is saying, in effect, I am the way (to the Father) in that I am the truth and the life. This goes against popular thinking that all major religions are equally valid and basically teach the same thing. In this line of thinking, it is arrogant to say your religion is superior and try to convert everyone else to it because surely all the religions are equally good and valid for meeting the needs of their particular followers.

Some even think that religion is the major obstacle to world peace today, and that religion (and for purposes of this discussion we’ll allow that Christianity is a religion) should be outlawed or kept privately because it just separates people and makes them enemies because as they morally improve themselves they think they are superior to others. And Christianity can and does have this effect, if and when, it is reduced or perverted to the idea that we are to  lead a good life so that we can go to heaven. But Christianity is not about this at all. Far from it! Jesus does not show us how to live so that we can merit salvation. He comes to forgive and save us through his life and death in our place. And our message can never be about hate or superiority when it is about him. Our message is about a man who died for his enemies, saying Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing! When this is at the heart of our faith we cannot act in violence and oppression against others. Instead our calling is to lead a life of love that reflects what Jesus has done for us. But this is the condition and foundation of such a faith: that one not merely believe in Jesus’ humanity or goodness, but in the divine claim Jesus makes about himself, as the way to reconciliation with God that is his alone.

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