Statement of Faith

Rev. Douglas B. Olds STATEMENT OF FAITH September 2017

(I am a signatory of the Boston Declaration)

From hearing the Revelation of Israel's Messiah in Scripture, and

Within the heart's experiences of the Holy Spirit, and

Through the Vision of God:

I came to believe in the Creator--the gracious, forgiving, and loving outpouring of God's existence toward me, an unworthy sinner.

I trust in the steadfast love of the one God, the essence of overflowing, self-giving, covenant love. The Creator is everywhere God chooses to be, sustaining each moment from an eternal vantage of love and justice.

I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the source of wisdom and the light of the world, who begins the renewal of Creation by revealing God's justice from trust. He is alive now and in union with us, reconciling us from alienation to the image of God in others. Christ brings healing knowledge of God's justice through his ministry and prayers for me in my human weakness. His body tortured and broken by the Cross transforms it from a technology of human will toward destruction and evasion of responsibility into a symbol of affirmation of life. The Cross of Jesus seals me in God’s love and the trustworthiness of life, and allows us to take hope in the victory of justice tempered by mercy.

I believe in the Holy Spirit who acts in history. I read the Reformed Confessions in community for developing fresh perspectives from scripture that rise to challenges and opportunities of contemporary ministries of reconciliation and dismantling of Satan's empires. I struggle towards saintliness: virtue, works of love and justice for reconciliation of broken communities through obedience to my Spirit-guided conscience. Through the sacrament of Eucharist I celebrate and renew this union within Christ's trusting community for service to wholeness in others. I join in the faith of my denomination that my children’s baptisms are justified in the Commandments as we learn the ways of neighborhood peace that deflects human wrath.

I believe in the universal people of God called forth by Spirit to create peaceful and just communities. We are to equip each other to carry forth not only the announcement but also authentic acts of reconciliation and embodiment of Christ’s justice and material response to a neighbor in need. The Church witnesses to Christ-led consciences and healing power through word, prayer, and deed, in thankfulness for all that we have received and resolving to be grateful for all that we will receive.

God reveals meaning to a community of spiritual yearning through God's Word. God freely meets whom God chooses in compassion but will not negate the Creation intended toward freedom. I exist in Christ for salvation, therapeutic service, acceptance of cause and effect in the Rule of God, and to join the tradition that makes meaning of the reports of the Cross, the received teachings of Jesus, and post-death encounter with a man Jesus. Salvation comes from forgiveness of sins that allows us to become our true selves: to know God’s will toward humanity that opens our hearts toward love of neighbor and the continued glorification of God.

There are two distinct ways of looking at our fellow human: full of original sin, or made in the image of God.

There are two distinct ways of perceiving nature: irrevocably fallen from pristine grace, or restorable by the efforts of the godly.

There are two distinct ways of working for the Kingdom of God: by hastening God's intervening arrival through continued degradation and impoverishment, or by working humanely toward its realization by our own actions.

There are two distinct ways at evaluating the Gospel: by the number who have avoided damnation by simply accepting the Lord alone, or by accepting that the our Lord tasks believers to work for the realization of God's purposes on Earth, which includes justice in all things.

There are two distinct ways of anticipating heaven: that's when real life begins and this earthly existence is only an intermediate testing grounds, or that earthly life is the real life and that our heavenly destiny depends on what we do in this life.

There are two distinct ways at discerning the end times: that the Sermon on the Mount is negated by the Book of Revelation's sword-bearing Lamb, or that the Sermon on the Mount is addressed to all believers for all ages.