Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Statement of Faith and Purpose

I got inaugurated into the first degree of the priesthood a couple of Sundays ago. In the service each of the people getting inaugurated made a statement of faith and purpose. You can listen to the service online but I also wanted to post a text version of my statement of faith and purpose here.

Before I get to that I want to mention a couple of other things. One is that I thought that the sermon that Bishop Tom Kline gave after the ordinations was really good. He used the Lord's example to illustrate the principle that priests should lead people but not compel them. I also want to mention that the Sunday after I got ordained there was another ordination service for Thane Glenn and Jay Barry and after their ordinations Thane preached a good sermon about what to do when we feel spiritually hopeless.

The final thing I want to tell you is that you can find other statements of faith and purpose in New Church Life. Every time a General Church minister gets ordained he makes a statement of faith and it eventually gets published in New Church Life. This means that you can find your favorite ministers' statements of faith and purpose on Select "New_Church_Life" and "all of the words" and in the search box put "declaration* of faith and purpose" [minister's name]. (Don't include the [] but do include the quotation marks.) If you don't find what you're looking for you could try "statement* of faith and purpose" [minister's name]. In either case the * is important because sometimes multiple declarations or statements of faith are published together.

Anyway I hope you enjoy reading a couple statements of faith and listening to some ordination services. Here's my statement of faith and purpose:
I believe in the Lord—Jesus Christ—the Savior of the world.1 He is my Lord and my God.2 He is God with us3—the infinite and Divine made visible4—Jehovah and Jesus—the Word made flesh who dwelt among us.5

I believe that He came into the world to subdue the hells and to glorify His Human and that without this no mortal could have been saved, and all people who believe in God and live according to what He teaches are saved.6

I believe that the Lord teaches people most clearly and completely in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the heavenly teachings of the New Church. I believe that the first and great commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. And the second is like it: to love your neighbor as yourself. And that on these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.7 I believe that the Lord has shown us what is good and what He requires of us: to first shun evils as sins against Him8 that we may do judgment, love mercy, and humble ourselves to walk with our God.9

I believe that, of ourselves, we are poor, broken, imprisoned, blind, and oppressed. I believe that the Lord is present with each person, urging and pressing to be received.10 And that He has come to preach the gospel to the poor; to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.11

I believe that good priests teach truths and lead people by means of them to the good of life and so to the Lord.12 I pray that I may cooperate with the Lord in this work and be a good shepherd of His sheep.13

1 Arcana Coelestia 14
2 John 20:28
3 Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23
4 True Christian Religion 787
5 John 1:14
6 True Christian Religion 2; Divine Providence 330:5-6
7 Matthew 22:37-40
8 True Christian Religion 435-438; Doctrine of Life 24, 108
9 Micah 6:8
10 True Christian Religion 766
11 Luke 4:18-19; Isaiah 61:1-2
12 Arcana Coelestia 10794; New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine 315
13 John 10:1-18


Nancy said...

Thank you for sharing this, Malcolm.

Not too long ago I spent an afternoon reading the Ordinal in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer. Thought you might be interested.

First, among possible readings it includes from the "thyrde Chapter, of the fyrst Epistle to Timothe":

"Likewise must the Ministers be honest, not double-tongued, not geven unto muche wyne, nether gredy of filthie lucre; But holding the mistery of the fayth, with a pure conscience; and let them first be proved, and then let them minister so that no man be able to reprove them."

Well, that should be familiar, minus the funny spellings. :) But there is something very touching to me about the continuity we can see in the vocation across centuries and across demoninations... These prayers seemed applicable to you, too =).


"YOU have hearde brethren, as well in youre private examinacion, as in the exhortacion, and in the holy lessons taken out of the Gospel, and of the writinges of the Apostles, of what dignitie, and of how great importaunce thys offyce is, (whereunto ye be called). And nowe we exhorte you, in the name of oure LORDE Jesus Christe, to have in remembraunce, into howe hyghe a dignitie, and to howe chargeable an offyce ye bee called, that is to saye, to be the messengers, the watchemen, the Pastours, and the stewardes of the LORDE to teache, to premonisshe [=warn], to feede, and provyde for the Lordes famylye: to seeke for Christes shepe that be dispersed abrode, and for hys children whiche bee in the myddest of thys naughtye worlde, to be saved through Christe for ever. Have alwayes therfore printed in your remembraunce, howe great a treasure is committed to your charge, for they be the shepe of Chryste, whiche he boughte with hys death, and for whom he shed his bloud."


"ALMIGHTIE god, who hath geven you this wyl to doe al these thynges, graunt also unto you strength and power to performe the same, that he may accomplishe his worke which he hath begon in you, until the tyme he shal come at the latter day, to judge the quicke and the dead.
THE Lorde be with you."

Malcolm said...

Thanks for the excerpt and for the thought about continuity. In preparing for ordination I had thought about the other ministers in the New Church who had gone through it before me but I hadn't thought much about the millions of other ministers (outside of the New Church) who have also gone through the same thing and prayed to the same God to help them serve Him and His people well. Pretty cool to think about.

Nancy said...

Yep, in a sense you are also joining a communion of priests, men and women, who have existed and served for more than a thousand years. :) Pretty cool.