"Credo"

As should be the case with any Bible-based ministry that has a published credo, our ultimate source of authority is the Bible, the written Word of God. The Bible is completely true and entirely trustworthy. But no creed can make that claim for itself. At best, a credo can be Bible-based, but it is not the Bible and has certain limitations. Credos are merely helpful ways to summarize and encapsulate what a particular ministry believes about the Bible, but they are not true in all their parts and entirely trustworthy as the Bible is.

Since the beginning of this ministry web site, many visitors to the site have contacted us asking what we believe, what is our credo, what is our written "confession," what are our articles of faith? For whatever the reasons, some folks seem to need that sort of written statement in order to function in life. One visitor to the site e-mailed me, stating he didn't want to read any of the teachings until he knew what we believed. I replied, stating he would find out what we believed if he read our teachings.

Until now, we've never had a formulated, written credo. We've never had a statement of faith. We've never had any articles of faith, nor have we ever wanted to. We have always felt that all such statements were far too narrow and limiting, often outdated before ever being written. We have always felt that the moment we wrote something of that nature, it would be changed by new information or new understanding. We believe written articles of faith place God's plans and purposes, his works and his ways, in a restrictive "box." Through the years, we've discovered that God just won't allow himself to be contained in the little boxes we build for him. He keeps breaking out of our boxes!

Nevertheless, upon further consideration and prayer, we have decided to write a statement that might satisfy most of our web site visitors who ask such questions. We know that whatever we write won't satisfy everyone, nor will it cover everything. That's just not possible. But we'll try. Here goes. I assure you it won't be anything you expected. It will not be a typical church or Christian ministry statement of faith or credo. It will be living document, subject to change as we gain more understanding of God.

God

God is. He always has been. He always will be. He is eternally self-existent. He created everything. He sustains everything. He will always sustain everything. God is all those usual things people write about him: all-powerful, all-knowing, always present everywhere and everywhen, etc., but God's core nature is unfailing, unceasing, all-encompassing, eternal love for all his creation. He is our Father (and "mother," too, in a manner of speaking), loving, nurturing, and caring for all creation, doing so in a special way for all living beings he created. He has a unique, special, eternal love in his heart for all humans. He is always good, and never bad.

He created humans in his image, meaning we are visible representations of an invisible God. All humans, from the first to the last, sin against God, meaning we disobey him, withdrawing ourselves from close friendship with him, marring and disfiguring his image in us. Obviously that saddens God, but he has always had in place a plan to restore sinning humans to full, intimate friendship with him again. In whatever ways necessary, he is always drawing sinful humans back to restored friendship with himself.

Our disobedience and sin are not (and never were!) a surprise to God. He always knew it would happen and set his restorative plan in action even before he created the first humans. Ultimately, God will restore all the "fallen" creation—including all his beloved humans—to full, eternal fellowship with himself.

Sin

Speaking of sin, here's a good "working definition" of that phenomena: Sin is making conscious choices and decisions to live an egocentric . . . self-filled . . . self-seeking . . . self-consumed . . . self-focused . . . self-centered . . . self-absorbed . . . self-indulgent life instead of a God-filled life. Do you see your self anywhere in that definition? If you do, then you are a sinner. If you don't . . . well, then you're unique: the only human among billions of us who is different from every other person on the planet.
The Bible

The Bible is a special book in which God takes the initiative in revealing himself in writing to all humanity. God also reveals himself to us through Jesus, and to some degree through nature and the universe. The Bible is God's written word; Jesus is God's living Word or revelation of himself in human form. If you want to know what God is really like, look at Jesus!

Jesus, during his time here on earth, taught his disciples that the Old Testament portion of the Bible was really all about him in veiled and shadowy form. The written word and the living Word blend and interact. They are interwoven together. They are one. If you dig deep enough you will find "Jesus in every book of the Bible." So . . . in veiled form Jesus can be found in each of the 39 books of the Old Testament written before his time on earth. And in clear form the 27 books of the New Testament portion of the Bible (written during his life and shortly thereafter) are all about him.

The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed; the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. The Old Testament informs the New; the New Testament fulfills the Old.

Jesus

Who is Jesus? In some way that cannot begin to be explained with limited, finite, and faulty human languages, he is both fully God and fully human. He is God the Son. As a human, in historical time he was born in Bethlehem, Israel, of a virgin mother named Mary who was impregnated by God's Spirit. He lived a sinless life on earth as a human for 33 years and then was killed. Three days later, Father God brought Jesus back to life, and a short while after that Jesus returned to heaven, the unique habitation of God in a "place" called Eternity. Jesus' birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension (and present ministry) were for the sake of all sin-full, disobedient and estranged humans, restoring them to full, intimate friendship with God for all time and eternity. Through what Jesus has done on our behalf, God is always working out all things for the good of all humans, even though we often don't understand what he is doing at the time.

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is God in unlimited spirit "form," having no body and no face. He is God the Spirit. It is he through and by whom God performs all his activities throughout the entire creation, including living inside humans who invite him to come live his own life in them, and through them, as them. The Holy Spirit is a real "person." He just happens to be a person without a limiting physical body as we humans have.

Jesus' Return

While here on earth the first time, Jesus clearly proclaimed he would return some day after his death, burial, resurrection and ascension into heaven. He will return! Only the Father knows when Jesus will return. But . . . He will return as He promised! We reject the dismal, gloomy theories that Jesus' return will be in the form of a so-called "rapture" or that at the end of time the earth and the universe will dissolve in a fiery conflagration and cataclysmic dissolution. He will return as King of Kings and Lord of lords and fully establish his Kingdom over the freshly restored earth and all creation!

The Church

Shortly before he was killed, Jesus established his Church on earth, commissioning its members to tell the entire world about God's love for all people. The Church by definition is "everyone everywhere and everywhen in whom Jesus lives in the 'form' of the Holy Spirit." The Church's mission is to tell all humanity the Good News about God's fully restorative love for them, thus continuing to spread the Kingdom of God throughout all time and eternity.
Jesus created the Church as a living organism, not as a dead organization. The Church is not buildings. God does not dwell in places made by human hands. Yes, during Old Testament times and in Jesus' time, God did make his presence known to people in a special way by "dwelling" in a tabernacle and in temples, but that was only temporary—as an object lesson for another, greater "temple" in which he would live in the future. When the final Jewish temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., that was it. Never again would God "dwell" in buildings made by humans. Thereafter, he would dwell forever in another type of temple not made with human hands.

The "temple" God now dwells in is people. He will continue to dwell in people throughout all time and eternity. Jesus is building his Church with "living" building materials. That's us. That's you. That's me. We are the living building materials with which Jesus is building a living Church.

God's Kingdom

Jesus is "King-in-Exile," so to speak, of God's ever-expanding and growing Kingdom of righteousness, love and peace. His Kingdom—although begun here on planet Earth—will eventually encompass all of God's creation throughout all time and eternity. Jesus reigns as King wherever and whenever people "crown" him King in their hearts and swear eternal allegiance to him as King and Master. His Kingdom spreads when his subjects tell others about God's great restorative love and care for them—and the hearers then crown him as King of their lives. Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords!

Success and Prosperity

These two subjects generally are not included in a Christian credo or statement of faith, but since they are integral to the beliefs of those of us who minister to others through Life Enrichment Services, Inc., we want to include them. Success by definition is for a person "to move steadily and consistently toward accomplishing God's plans and purposes for one's life, according to one's *potential. Success is a lifelong (and eternal) journey, not a destination." [ * Potential consists of three components: 1. our innate ability or God-given talents and gifts. 2. Our education and training. 3. Our inner desire to ascertain and accomplish God's plans and purposes for our lives.]

Prosperity is "for one to have enough for one's journey." It is to have all of one's physical, mental, emotional, financial, and spiritual needs met by God throughout one's journey. The basic operative principle to ensure ongoing prosperity is to give to God in all areas of one's life, for Jesus said it is more blessed (more productive) to give than to receive. As we give, God gives back to us at our points of need throughout our eternal journeys.

Summary

In summary, God is. He created all. He loves all of sinful humanity—you, me—uniquely and deeply, doing all that is necessary to restore each of us to full friendship with himself—a mutually loving friendship that will last for all time and throughout eternity. God is especially fond of all the humans He created!

Knowing that I have a tendency to get a little wordy at times, someone once jokingly challenged me to state in ten words or fewer what we believe. It took a long time to formulate such a brief statement, but here it is. Let's call it a summary "credo": "God restores everyone. Those who know, tell those who don't."

There you have it: the credo some of you have been asking us to write, so our readers and students will have a better idea of just who we are and what we believe.

We are well aware that a few of our students and readers will accept this credo as a growing, living document, subject to change as God furnishes additional insight and illumination, leading to greater comprehension and understanding. We are also well aware that some who read this credo will label it as heretical and unorthodox. Oh well . . . .

Revised and updated  September 2017

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