“What Does Your Church Believe?”: Part II- Freedom of Belief

This is the second installment of my “What Does Your Church Believe?” series. Last week I discussed the notion of open communion and the importance of it in DOC theology (click here for Part I). This week we will look at “Freedom of Belief.”

Back in the 19th Century when the what is now know as the Disciples of Christ was beginning to form as a movement, one of the pillars that many lifted up was the notion of freedom of belief. Our founders came out of a Presbyterian background. While there is nothing wrong with being Presbyterian, the founders did not like the use of creeds in worship and as tools for believing the ‘right’ types of things. Over time the motto of the Disciples of Christ became “no creed, but Christ.” This means that we are called as followers of Christ to seek out a relationship with God in a way that is meaningful for ourselves, just as long as we center our beliefs on that idea that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior.

We all come from different backgrounds, life experiences, socio-economic status, generations and education levels. We are NOT going to interpret the same thing even though we are reading the exact same passage. Some passages that were meaningful to us five years ago do not mean as much today. I like to give this example. My daughter, Violet, was born on February 1. On January 31, passages in the Bible that mentioned parenting, God as a loving parent, or that the people of Israel were God’s children, it not mean as much to me as they did when I read them on February 2.

Now if there was just one interpretation, who would get to decide which was “correct?” Would the Catholic interpretation be favored over the Baptist interpretation? Would the Presbyterians be “more correct” than the Methodists? As you can see this would cause major dissention between the denominations (and there is already enough of that to go around.)

Does Freedom of Belief mean you can believe whatever you want? In sense no. When reading the scriptures one has to remember the original intent of the book or passage one is reading; we can’t make the Bible “say” something that it never was intended to ‘say’ in the first place. The Disciples of Christ sum it up by stating “Persons are free to follow their consciences guided by the Holy Spirit, study and prayer, and are expected to extend that freedom to others.” The key here is extending grace and acceptance to others. We may not all believe the same things, we may all see something different when it comes to the Bible, but if we are grounded in the one essential of faith, Jesus Christ, then everything else is secondary.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

7 thoughts on ““What Does Your Church Believe?”: Part II- Freedom of Belief

  1. Thank you for this series, I have read all four parts, plus the conclusion. I have struggled in my Christian walk with these issues too, but it’s nice to know that I nonetheless have a place in the body of Christ:)

    Like

    • I am glad you liked the series! As a minister I struggle with the way that Christianity is perceived in the world. I want people to expereince God in a way that is meaningful for them. I have a relationship with God and I want others to know the freedom that exists in the Christian faith. Of course you have a place in the body of Christ! Do not ever doubt that!

      I pray that you will encounter Christ today and every day.

      If I may inquire how did you come across my blog and series?

      In Christ,

      Rev. Evan

      Like

  2. Dear Rev Evan,

    I keep a religious section in my Google news page, and your article was there from another website. It was just the conclusion, but I shared it on my FB page. Then, I looked up your blog and read all the previous four parts. It’s called therecordlive.com. A friend also clicked the link, but got a football page, then she finally found your article.

    Like

    • I am glad you shared it on Facebook. The local paper here in Texas is undergoing an update so that is why the link did not work, I hope you continue to visit my blog often and share with your friends. I pray that you and your friends as well.
      God Bless

      Rev. Evan

      Like

  3. Pingback: “What Does Your Church Believe?” Part III- The Oneness of the Church | Rev. Evan Dolive

  4. Pingback: “What Does Your Church Believe?”: Part IV- Baptism | Rev. Evan Dolive

  5. Pingback: “What Does Your Church Believe?”: Part V- Ministry of All Believers | Rev. Evan Dolive

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s