Monday, January 19, 2009

Summing Up the Bible: Part III

Now that we have given attention to the basic structure of the biblical narrative, it is possible to move forward by another step. Here we are not moving away from our goal of taking the Bible on its own terms, but staying as close as possible to that basic strategy. We can, I believe, summarize the Bible both doctrinally and narratively at the same time, in a manner that does justice to both. While some doctinal summaries move away from the biblical narrative to a more abstract and philosophical statement, other summaries keep closer to it. One of those doctrinal summaries is found in the Hymnal: A Worship Book 'prepared by the Churches in the Believers Church Tradition.'

We believe in Jesus Christ,
who was promised to the people of Israel,
who came in the flesh to dwell among us,
who announced the coming rule of God,
who gathered disciples and taught them,
who died on the cross to free us from sin,
who rose from the dead to give us life and hope,
who reigns in heaven at the right hand of God,
who comes to judge and bring justice to victory.

We believe in God,
who raised Jesus from the dead,
who created and sustains the universe,
who acts to deliver God's people in time of need,
who desires everyone everywhere to be saved,
who rules over the destinies of people and nations,
who continues to love us even when we turn away.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
who is the form of the God present in the church,
who moves us to faith and obedience,
who is the guarantee of our deliverance,
who leads us to find God's will in the word,
who assists those who are renewed in prayer,
who guides us in discernment,
who impels us to act together.

We believe God has made us a people,
to invite others to follow Christ,
to encourage one another to deeper commitment,
to proclaim forgivenss of sins and hope,
to reconcile people to God through word and deed,
to bear witness to the power of love over hate,
to proclaim Jesus the Ruler of all,
to meet the daily tasks of life with purpose,
to suffer joyfully for the cause of right,
to the ends of the eath,
to the end of the age,
to the praise of Christ's glory.

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