Pondering on my core beliefs

It is many years ago I wrote a series of blogs on ‘Scotty still believes’ and thought I would have another go at writing about my convictions, that which shapes my perspectives and (I hope) impacts how I act, speak and behave. The practical outworking is the scary part for we all know (of) people who boldly proclaim how orthodox they are (what they believe) but their everyday ethical behaviour is a denial of that. In Jesus there was no separation of the two – he was the truth, the reality.

[Not simply to be provocative, but to keep pushing toward the boundaries let me suggest that this does not mean everything Jesus believed and said was ‘true’. He did not have the education that we have received, maybe he would have thought the earth was the centre of the universe, that there was a literal Adam and Eve, that Jonah was historical etc. Maybe not. I put that in here as ‘getting it right’ does not mean we are communicators of the truth; I am certainly wrong on some of my convictions – the number of historical and current Christians who would disagree with me on many points mean that I am in the minority, hence I would be foolish to think I have the truth! However, the bigger challenge is not what I believe, but who I am. Paul said ‘follow me’ and even he had to qualify it with ‘as I follow Christ’. Jesus as the truth is pointing far beyond his words.]

In lockdown I wrote four small books under the overall title of ‘explorations in theology’ (all four are available at: https://bozpublications.com . I started with ‘Humanising the Divine’ so let me explain why. Theology when written almost always starts with ‘God’. Then very soon comes the Christology part and the wrestling with the two natures of Jesus. I object to that approach for Jesus placed himself as the lens through which God is seen, a non-Jesus like God is not GOD. All centres in on Jesus… and not simply the ‘this is who God is’ but ‘this is humanity as intended / will be’. God and humanity – made by God for one another. God has a HIGH view of humanity not a low view… those passages that come back with ‘all your righteousness is as filthy rags’ and the like are critiques of vain attempts to reach to God. Forget it, God is among us, for in him we live and move and have our being. The passages that are along the lines of ‘I am but a worm… in sin I was born’ we can all identify with, but they are hardly theological statements! And why do we identify with them, because they speak eloquently of our ‘falling short… of the glory of God’. We have such a high calling that we all face moments of ‘and I am called to image God, to be like Jesus’. Sin stares us in the face – our sins that mark us out as not being who we are called to be / become and sin (singular) that power that too often successfully traps us and condemns us to being slaves of sin.

At some stage in theology comes a discussion on eternal destinies – inadequately summarised as ‘heaven and hell’. From the Scriptures it is not possible to determine what Jesus thought about those subjects, those references to ‘gnashing of teeth and outer darkness’ certainly have no immediate reference to things ‘eternal’. I respect those who hold to such beliefs but suggest that they are far from central in Scripture. ‘Salvation’ in its various shapes we find it are far more immediate, salvation from sins rather than from ‘hell’ being central. And I find I need salvation on a daily basis, with the great hope that one day I will truly be saved.

So I will slowly just write up over the coming days – as I ponder as to what Scotty believes and why – in a random way where I think some of my core convictions lie, and I am sure in the process I will receive some sight of where there is a gap between my professed beliefs and my practices. Always the OUCH part.

2 thoughts on “Pondering on my core beliefs

  1. Fun! I enjoy finding “what Scotty believes.” Keep it coming man! Good stuff.

  2. I think it takes great courage to review and reassess one’s core beliefs. The danger is that you will be provoked to engage in a major shift or change. That is the challenge. And are you truly open to that? Are any of us?

    And yet, the gain may well be an opening up of new perspectives, new horizons, and understandings. Great gain but still a cost. Perhaps its something we all need to consider doing.

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