Christian BELIEF

WHAT CHRISTIANS BELIEVE

There are no ‘easy answers’ or ‘ready-made explanations’ about Christian belief. Broadly speaking, Christians share common beliefs about their faith, with the many Christian denominations placing different emphases on aspects of their beliefs and how to express those beliefs (for example in their ways of worshipping and in serving the wider community).

The Anglican Church is a world-wide denomination.

Here in England it is the established church, the church of this land with Her Majesty the queen being the head of the church. it is known as the “Church of England”. Central to the Christian Faith is a belief in:

GOD

Christians believe that the universe, including Earth, was created by God: God was the ‘creative force’ behind everything seen and unseen. Christians believe that God had a purpose in creating the universe and that God created humankind in His own image. His act of creation, is an act of love, we are therefore of great value to God – a God of love for all that He created. Nobody has seen God, nobody can understand God fully, but God’s ways are ways of love.

Christians believe in God as a ‘Trinity’ (a three-in-one):

GOD the FATHER

In the Gospels Jesus referred many times to ‘the Father’. Here is found a Father-Son relationship. Human beings are also relational, beginning with a parent-child relationship, relationships with friends, and then broadening into the local community, the country and the world. It is only when good relationships are established everywhere that humanity can begin to reach the full potential that God longs to see come to fruition. God wants us to be in relationship with Him and each other.

GOD the SON: JESUS

Jesus was God’s ‘gift to humanity’, the time when God wished us to experience ‘in the flesh’ God’s love for us all. Jesus taught his disciples about his relationship with the Father, a relationship of loving guidance by God and obedience by Jesus. Jesus obedience to a life purpose driven by God the father, took Him to the cross. Jesus’ miracles were an expression of God’s love for the sick and for the outcasts of society: they were important to God. In this way we too are reminded that we are important to God: our lives are of value. We are His precious children, He created us, He loves us, and longs to be in a relationship with us

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth and learned a trade as a carpenter-builder. At the age of about 30 Jesus became a wandering teacher, calling 12 disciples to work with him as He taught the people about God’s love for them. Jesus ministry ruffled the feathers of the romans and Jewish leaders, his following and teaching of love and forgiveness gained much popularity. He had to go! Around 3 years later Jesus was tried by the Romans and Crucified.

Christians believe that at the Resurrection Jesus rose from the dead and this astonishing event inspired Jesus’ followers to proclaim this ‘Good News’ far and wide; even though to say such things led many to their death and years of persecution. The Christian faith spread throughout the world, and today is still the largest faith in the world, across the world. The Easter ressurection is the very foundation of the Christian faith. 2,000 years later, Christians endeavour to share this news with those who wish to receive it: a story of wonder for those who like to reflect on their own lives – lives which are of value to God.

GOD the HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit is most commonly depicted as a dove, it is understood by Christians to be a ‘creative energy’. When Jesus’ earthly ministry was over He promised His disciples that He would send a ‘Comforter’ – a force that would assist them as they carried on their work of teaching, caring and loving their neighbours and community after Jesus had left them.  Today the Holy Spirit offers guidance and energy to those who seek its help – and, indeed, to those who least expect it!

THE CHURCH

Christianity is a corporate activity (i.e. is not done alone) and so the Church is a group of Christians who may well meet in a building called a church. The Christian way of life is lived out with other people in the community as well as those who come to Church. The Christian way of life will include prayer and worship with other Christians as well as numerous (confidential, behind the scenes); acts of love and support for the community. A Christian regularly goes to church to worship (give worth-ship to) God, learn about Jesus, and try to discover the best ways to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to other people. Different denominations (i.e. the different churches within the Christian Church) will worship and serve others in different ways.

One of the strengths of the Church of England is that it is a ‘broad Church’, able to serve its local community (its parish) in the way it believes is right. Although it doesn’t have to conform to a standardised way of working, there are guidelines and expectations which it must strive to meet as the Established Church of this land. Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth the II, is the head of the Church of England

THE BIBLE

The Jewish Old Testament scriptures describe the history of the Israelites as they gradually sensed that they were in a special relationship with God who ‘spoke’ to them through the proclamations of the prophets. we are reminded that Jesus Himself was a Jew, and the early church, were Jewish Christians. The early church the disciples of Jesus carried on Jesus ministry of

reaching out to the marginalised. Jesus taught them to love the unlovable and outcasts and His seeking to bring social justice to the poor and oppressed, carries on in the Christians of the 21st century. In the New Testament the Gospels [Matthew, Mark, Luke and John] describe the life of the Messiah – Jesus – with accounts of his teaching, his healing many people, and of his Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension.

Acts of the Apostles describes the early years of the Church and there are several letters written by Paul and some of the Apostles to the church communities. The first early church congregations and Jesus followers were Jewish / Christians. Christians and Jewish communities embrace their shared history.

Christians believe that the Old and New Testament writers were inspired by God’s Holy Spirit, and that the scriptures can be carefully studied and can act as a guide in our relationship with God today.

PRAYER

Put very simply, prayer is a ‘conversation with God’. We can speak in the formal setting of prayers in a church service, but we can also speak informally as we go about our daily work or enjoy a time of relaxation. Prayer gives us the opportunity to ask God to help us, or others, in difficult circumstances, but also to give thanks because, even in difficult times, there are things to be thankful for.

However, it is important to realise that God may not give an ‘instant response’. God answers prayer in His way and in His time – which may not coincide with our time. Each of your churches has a prayer corner and a prayer board, were you can write prayers. St Margaret has an array of prayers you may take home with you. You may also light a candle in memory of a loved one. COME…..all are welcome to spend time being still for a while, in God’s presence

SALVATION

Christians believe that, when Jesus died on the cross on Good Friday, He has won for us forgiveness from the effects of inappropriate choices and actions in life (sinfulness): those occasions when we fall short of the sort of person we know we should be.

When Jesus appeared to His disciples and many thousand more, after His ressurection, He promised His followers that He would, “Go and prepare a place for them,” and so Christians believe and trust that after our life on Earth, those who believe in Him, will not simply perish, but will have eternal life in Heaven, where we shall be in the presence of God.

We can only speculate what existence awaits us after our earthly journey is over but Christians believe that we shall find fulfilment as resurrected beings in the presence of God in the heavenly life of Eternity