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1. I believe and affirm that the Bible and this document -perennially in last draft form- are the structuring and guiding sources of my Christian pilgrimage and ministry. Only for the sake of length, some not central but always important beliefs and affirmations are not included.
2. I believe and affirm that God is above all mystery for humans. We know God only through God’s self revelatory initiative. It is humanly impossible to precisely describe God’s divine nature with limited human words. Christian theology may fall into a pedantic project when it tries to be scientifically precise in describing God. Therefore, my only human alternative is to use comparative language to describe all divines realities.
3. I believe and affirm that every Christian is a theologian accountable to the church and the world for the biblical soundness of his or her beliefs and affirmations. Therefore, my decision is not to add the traditional list of biblical texts to each of the following points, but to affirm my total and complete biblical-theological accountability to respond to the inquires of every reader of this document.
4. I believe and affirm that the whole Bible, the Word of God composed by the sixty six canonical books of the Old and New Testament is infallibly inspired God’s self revelation through the Holy Spirit for instruction in salvation and training in righteousness. The Scriptures are to be interpreted by any Christian without other mediation, as well as a body of believers, testing our theology with the larger church family. I accept the Scriptures as the fully reliable, trustworthy and authoritative standard for Christian faith and life, with Jesus Christ as the key to interpreting both the Old and New Testaments.
5. I believe and affirm my faith in one God eternally existing as three equal persons or personalities as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and that all things, visible and invisible, were created by God.
6. I believe and affirm that God didn’t create planet earth with national boundaries, flags and anthems, but those are the result of human sin. Jesus Christ, as attested in Holy Scripture, knows no national boundaries. Those who confess His name are found throughout the earth. Our allegiance to Jesus Christ takes priority over national identity because first and above all Christians are God’s Kingdom citizens. Whenever Christians or the church compromise with nationalistic ideologies, the gospel of Jesus Christ is discredited.
7. I believe and affirm the full deity and full humanity of Jesus Christ conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered as a marginalized human being and was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day He arose, and is coming again. His salvation is equally offered to all people.
8. I believe and affirm that the miraculous reality and work of the Holy Spirit, as seen in the New Testament, is real and relevant for today’s church and that the Holy Spirit’s presence, guidance, and empowerment is essential in our church activities and in our daily lives. Jesus Christ and His church, with the Holy Spirit, have authority and power to provide healing not only for individual human suffering, but also for a broken world.
9. I believe and affirm that all human beings have sinned and fallen short of God’s perfection, and that there is only one way to be reconciled to God; through faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
10. I believe and affirm the sinfulness of all human beings and, as a result of it, of all society structures. The individual result of sin is a shattered relationship with God, others, and self. Societal result of sin is shattered social relationships and institutions.
11. I believe and affirm that all human sin, personal or corporate, individual or societal can be forgiven when there is genuine repentance and factual change in persons and communities, nations and the entire society. Therefore, as mandated by the Bible, God’s men and women are to always oppose unrighteousness and injustice, and be agents of holistic evangelism and social transformation.
12. I believe and affirm that human life, created in the image of God, is of incredible worth and significance in all its dimensions, including the unborn, the aged, the widowed, the mentally handicapped, the unattractive, the physically challenged, and every other condition in which humanness is expressed from conception to the grave.
13. I believe and affirm the divine healing ministry of the church, where Jesus Christ is the Healer in the power of the Holy Spirit.
14. I believe and affirm that the institution of marriage was and still is intended by God to be a permanent, lifelong relationship between a man and a woman, regardless of trials, sicknesses, financial difficulties or emotional stresses that may arise.
15. I believe and affirm that divorce shows the tragic reality of fallen human nature, and calls God’s people to be faithful to the Scriptures by upholding and promoting the sanctity of the marriage covenant, as well as, to walk redemptively and holistically with people who have experienced marital failure or brokenness.
16. I believe and affirm that the Bible teaches that either singleness or a lifelong marriage between one man and one woman is God’s design for humanity. The Bible is clear that nurturing the lust for or participating in premarital or extramarital hetero or homosexual behavior is sin.
17. I believe and affirm that Jesus Christ taught his disciples, including us, to be not only peaceful but intentionally active peacemakers, living in and for peace. Peacemaking is central to our vocation in a troubled world where Christ is Lord. He commits Christians to a strong presumption against war. Standing in the shadow of the Cross, Christians have a responsibility to count the cost, speak out for the victims, and explore every alternative before any nation goes to war.
18. I believe and affirm that the absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ should impact all of life all of the time. Lord Jesus Christ is either authoritative for Christians, or he is not. This must affect our relationship to each person we meet and radically reshape our attitude toward all possessions and resources placed in our care. Faithfull Christian stewardship calls us to lead a simple life style.
19. I believe and affirm the equality and essential dignity of men and women of all ethnicities and nationalities, ages and classes. All persons are made in the image of God and are to reflect that image in the community of believers, in the home, and in society.
20. I believe and affirm that the Christian Church is not a group of religious persons but a community of disciples of Jesus Christ; it is the Kingdom community within the civil community; it is a counter cultural community; it is Christ taking form in society. It is His agency empowered by the Holy Spirit and is responsible to share and impact, spread, and transform lives and families, communities and nations, with the salvation and hope, justice and peace of the Gospel of the Kingdom in power, grace, and truth.
21. I believe and affirm that the Christian church should be especially committed to making sure that Jesus' witness to the Kingdom of God is heard, as well as His call for mercy, peace, justice, and nonviolence. His concern for the poor, the excluded, the enemy, the disreputable, the forgotten, and the powerless should always be proclaimed and taught, testified, and procured.
22. I believe and affirm that the Holy Spirit gives gifts to every single member of the Body of Christ. Every Christian has been gifted, as well as, ordained through his or her baptismal obedience, to be a minister to edify and serve the church, and to procure and extend God’s Kingdom.
23. I believe and affirm that God intends for us, as the Christian church family, to be accountable to each other and to serve each other in love and humility. The peace and unity of the church is decisively important to God and is a witness to our community and the world.
24. I believe and affirm that in the New Testament economy, women as well as men exercise the prophetic, priestly, and royal functions. Therefore, the few isolated texts that appear to restrict the full redemptive freedom of women, must not be interpreted simplistically but their interpretation must take into account their relationship to the broader teaching of Scripture and their total context. Therefore, church spiritual gifts of women and men are to be equally recognized, developed and used in serving and teaching ministries at all levels of involvement and responsibility. In so doing, the church will honor God as the source of spiritual gifts.
25. I believe and affirm my faith and hope in the second coming of Jesus Christ: that our Lord and Savior ascended into heaven, is sitting at the right hand of the Father, and that He will return. On the last day of human history, there will be a resurrection of the dead including the righteous and the wicked, and after judgment the righteous will be rewarded and the wicked will be punished.
Osvaldo L. Mottesi
February 14, 2012