Many Christian churches have a confession of faith.
In the Anglican tradition, there is the Apostes' Creed and the Nicene Creed, both wonderful and well-worth memorizing, along with the 39 Articles.
In the Reformed tradition, there's the Westminster Confession.
In the anabaptist (Baptist) tradition, there's a rudimentary informal creed along the lines of "we believe the Bible (and reject everything else churches teach that don't line up with it)".
And then there's the United Church of Canada.
In a letter to the National Post today, letter-writer Harry MacLean helpfully outlines the beliefs, or, rather, unbeliefs, of the modern United Church.
* They believe the Bible is an historical record of people's views of God, rather than the word of God [contrary to the witness of Jesus Christ, the apostles, and the tradition of the Church]
* They believe that Jesus was a revelation of God, rather than God him/herself [a nice liberal side-step dodge. Usually damning error is not outrageous, as in "I don't believe Jesus even existed"; the best error is exquisitely subtle.... The Bible speaks of a Subtle One, does it not?]
* They believe the essence of God is love and compassion rather than justice and punishment [Does this mean that God's nature precludes justice and punishment, or that love and compassion are merely more core-values? I think the bottom line here is it means we don't have to worry about sinning. God's a Teddy Bear.]
* They believe that God is non-violent, meaning no apocalyptic “end of time.” [If Satan's evil forces rise up against God and his heavenly host, God won't fight back! If man thumbs his grimy nose at God, God smiles benignly and says, "tut, tut". Evil wins!]
This was the letter I submitted to the National Post:
re: Letter from Harry MacLean
When members of a church such as Wesley-Knox United believe that the Bible is merely a record of how people in the past understood God rather than the word of God, isn't it time for a name change?
Since their leader Jesus Christ clearly understood Scripture as the word of God, isn't it time, in all honesty, to drop the name Christian (as in Christ-follower), and, out of respect for the views of John Wesley and John Knox, drop the Wesley-Knox designation while they are at it?
And that's the way the Ball bounces.