I grew up in a home that was fairly strict and could be classified as fundamental and evangelical, for those who understand those terms. My parents were fairly strict about the things that we could watch, read, and listen to. Those restrictions were a mixed blessing and at the same time, have caused me to me much more diverse in my watchings, readings, and listenings.
For the most part, my core beliefs remain intact. The thing is, within Christian circles, there are people who hold to an orthodoxy of words and feel the need to explicitly state the things that they believe. Over the centuries of church history, statements, creeds, and confessions were formed, many times in reaction to the heresies or wrong beliefs of the time. The notion of creating statements of faith has stuck and if you go onto most church websites, you will most likely not have to search too far to find some kind of statement of beliefs.
Like I said, many of the statements in church history explicitly stated things to contrast them with some of the wrong beliefs at the time. They were reactions to the time in which they were written. Not much has changed and many of the boldest words in these statements are reserved for the things to which they stand diametrically opposed.
When I graduated from seminary, I had to write a statement of faith. The statement is fifteen pages long. That statement doesn’t make me a Christian. In fact, I would dare say that it is possible that I could write such a statement simply by knowledge rather than because of a change of heart or some kind of life transformation that I had experienced.
Words are powerful, but sometimes actions trump them. Statements are long lasting on paper or screens, but what supports those statements? How do those statements gain support and clout? Are they really any good if there are not supporting actions to back them up?
Everyone wants to make a statement. Everyone wants to stand for something. But how do we go about doing it?
Statements are good for the ability to concisely communicate the beliefs and values that we have, but how about the idea about making a statement with your life? Isn’t that much more effective? When we write things, we assent to them, when we live them, we show that we really believe them.
I wonder if sometimes, those of us who consider ourselves Christians or Christ followers, get more concerned about saying things correctly and forget that living things correctly is more important. If we don’t live a statement of faith, how effective are we really being?
Everyone makes a statement. What’s yours?