What Do I Believe?

Our English word creed originated from the latin credo, which means "I believe." As a baptismal confession, believers had to recite a creed. The idea was that they had to believe this much to be accepted as Christian brothers, but nothing more.

One of the earliest creeds of the Christian church...

Core Beliefs

I hold to the core beliefs of the ancient creeds.

I am a member of Park Street Church, Boston. As a Congregational church, in the tradition of the Congregationalist Puritans, Park Street holds to a Reformed statement of faith.

The Two R's

Reformed versus Remonstrant.

The Formative Years

My grandmother took me to church when I was a toddler, but the first church experience I recall was the Church of the Nazarene in Arlington, Oregon. The church building was the canonical steepled, white, wooden structure as seen on Little House on the Prairie.

When we moved to California, we continued to attend the Church of the Nazarene: first for a year in Bakersfield, and then for several years in Stockton. We attended First Church of the Nazarene, Stockton until my junior year in high school. I can recognize that many of my beliefs were formed by those of my parents and the church denomination that I attended as a child. The Church of the Nazarene was an outgrowth of the Holiness movement (Pentecostals, Charismatics) and describes itself as Wesleyan-Arminian in theological outlook. I understood none of this as a child, but I do recall hearing from numerous sources that I should be wary of Baptists, who believe "once saved, always saved". The only Christians more to be avoided than the Baptists were the Calvinists, who believe in predestination.

I know that God has a sense of irony, because when we left Stockton First Nazarene, we ended up at Stockton First Baptist. And now that I'm in Boston, I belong to a church that is historically Calvinist.

I was only at Stockton First Baptist Church for a couple of years, so I was never confronted with the question of eternal security. But while at MIT, I met my Fraternity little brother Daniel Hermann, and I was almost as surprised to learn that he was a Calvinist as he was that I was not. I had never known a real, live Calvinist, but I was pretty sure that they were on the slippery slope. My reasoning? From my Nazarene perspective, I looked at the Presbyterians as the prime example of the Reformed faith. Not knowing about the nuances of that denomination, I could see that they were debating over basic tenets of the faith--things that would be considered too basic even to question in Nazarene circles--and I saw that their record on holiness was less than spectacular, considering their official position on abortion and their refusal to recognize the sinfulness of homosexual activity. This evidence seemed to confirm the Nazarene contention that false presumptions of eternal security and predestination lead only to profligacy.

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