This We Believe: Living the Gospel with Courage and Conviction

Since the earliest beginnings of Christian proclamation, the followers of Jesus have used hymns, creeds and confessions to articulate the narrative of faith (see Philippians 2:1-11). One of the earliest confessions was “Jesus Is Lord.” Found in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians and in his epistle to the Romans, Jesus is Lord was the proclamation that Jesus was Lord over death, life, and the future that was to come. Proclaiming Jesus Is Lord, the earliest Christians went forward in witness unafraid and unified in mission because of this central claim.

In the contexts in which we live and minister today, Christians need to live this gospel claim with courage and conviction. But what does that mean? How do we gain courage and what are our central convictions?

As the church developed in an often hostile and pagan world, not unlike our own, the Creeds and confessions of our church articulated the central convictions of the Christian faith. Christians had a unified proclamation and this gave courage as they went forward in witness and mission. The creeds and confessions of the church bound it together, and in an ever-increasing pluralistic and fragmented world, the more crucial the Creeds!

All week long at the Summer Institute, we will explore how we live out the Christian faith with courage and conviction in multiple ways. But, central to our week together we will examine the great Creeds and Confessions as a means of understanding all that unites us in Christ Jesus. We will explore what the Church has believed for thousands of years as the central narrative of faith. In so doing, we hope to reconnect participants with the narrative of Jesus through the gospels; the narrative of the Church as they wrestled to understand the meaning and significance of Jesus Christ in redemption; and the narrative of Christian pilgrims throughout the ages who demonstrate the realities of a lived faith in Christ–not without struggle or doubt—but held by that which bound them together in Christ.

As the apostle Paul encouraged Timothy: “Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord … but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.