/What does the Covenant Church believe?/
On one level, the answer is quite simple.
When new members join a Covenant church, they are asked two questions about belief: “Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior and promise to follow him as Lord?” and “Do you accept the Holy Scriptures, the Old and New Testaments, as the word of God and the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine, and conduct?”
They are then asked if they intend to live as faithful followers of Christ and members of the church and denomination.
That is enough.
! Affirmation of “Core Beliefs”
* the centrality of the word of God,
* the necessity of the new birth,
* a commitment to the whole mission of the Church,
* the Church as a fellowship of believers,
* a conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit, and
* the reality of freedom in Christ.
God is in the business of setting people free from the things that bind them:
* Israel from Egypt,
* Used judges to liberate Israel from occupants of the land
* David liberated Israel from the Philistines
* humans from sin, etc.
At the end of the Hebrew Bible Jews were waiting for God to speak, to liberate.
Jesus reads from the prophet Isaiah to say what his ministry will be about: preaching good news to the poor, freedom to the captives, sight for the blind, release for the oppressed.
Jesus goes on to say that if you follow his teachings, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free, and the one whom the Son has free is truly free!
In Galatians, Paul goes on to say that we are free from the Law – the things that God used to show our need for a savior.
But notice his caution – our freedom must not be used to indulge the sinful nature; rather we are to serve each other in love.
/Importance of the authority of the word of God/
This takes precedence over all else – even human interpretation.
That means that there can be differing interpretations when humans disagree:
* End times
* The exact nature of the inspiration of scripture
* Various matters of life and conduct
Difficult position for those who need boundaries, need black or white.
We are a denomination that lives in black /and/ white – even sometimes gray.
What does the denomination say?
Taking no stands?
Because the word of God takes precedence over any human interpretation of it, and because we highly value this word of God, what becomes crucial is our commitment to the community of faith and the unity of the fellowship of believers.
If we are free to follow the Bible as we see fit we need to afford others that same freedom.
This is difficult.
How do we do it?
Where is it written?
Discuss theological issues with family and friends
Humility with respect to God and his wonder, Job 38 – 41!