Much discussion is taking place as to what one believes as to whether it changes over time and should we be open to the voice of our culture? First we should always be aware and listening to the discussions taking place around us, and doing so with a humble open heart. From my view today I thought I would wade in and share my perspective.
My formative years were spent in a Wesleyan/holiness congregation. The denominational family of which I am a part has been the church of choice for some in my family since my great-grandmothers conversion circa 1918 in northwest Ohio. As a young teenager without a dad in his life, my home church took me in and made be feel like an important part of the family. I have such fond memories of growing up in a Wesleyan/holiness church. At times I am overtaken by a combination of memories/nostalgia and deep appreciation for what was done on my behalf by God and His people. In this environment which was my incubator of faith I came to believe certain things:
- There is a God! He is the creator and sustainer of the world. He is personal, He is loving, kind and He is the God of the Bible. I was as a child and now as an adult overwhelmed that the one and only God was interested in a kid like me. Yes, today I still believe this to be true. Having gone to college and seminary to prepare for ministry, my appreciation and love for God grew. My educational experience not only enhanced my love of God, but also my love for the church as well.
- Jesus Christ is the Savior. Sin is the problem, I was a sinner, I needed a Savior. God sent His One and Only Son to be the sacrifice for my sins. I was taught that I needed forgiveness and it would be found only in the person of Jesus Christ.
- The Holy Spirit is real. I could not come to faith without the drawing power of the Holy Spirit. Growing up in a holiness church I also understood that I was in need of the deep cleansing power of the Holy Spirit. I was taught and discovered that the Holy Spirit is a , teacher, nudger, advocate, friend, healer and much more.
- The Bible is God’s Word. What I know today about God I learned from His Word. Even in my academic training where I learned much about God, it was still based on what was taught in Scripture. As I continue the practice of reading God’s Word, I am amazed at new lessons being learned from the Bible I have preached out of for well over forty years. Yet, with learning new things and seeing things in ways I had not before, it still remains to me God’s Holy Word.
This is not everything I believe but this is some of the foundation. Today many voices are trying to tell me that you need to tear down everything you believe and reconstruct a modern view of your faith. Were there excesses in the by-gone days? Of course. Just as historians will point out excess of this generation of Christ-followers in the future. Okay Ron what is the point of this blog? You better know what you believe and why? What I long for is a supernatural move of God through the Holy Spirit. Whether in years passed or this present age, it is not by might or human power, or our ability to articulate clever and well reasoned arguments, rather we need an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
I am not going to come down to the end as a critical old man. I am looking for God to touch me anew and assist me to be a help to others.
There is a phrase from an old song that is my testimony today.
I’m so glad I learned to trust Him,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend
And I know that He is with me,
Will be with me to the end.
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!