A declaration or Statement of Faith can be defined as a phrase or phrases that articulate a set of spiritual or religious beliefs representing the key ideas in a religion or spiritual practice. Statements of faith are often used in religious services or celebrations to allow members to reaffirm their shared beliefs regarding their relationship with God. A statement of faith can be short or long and at a deeply personal level it can be an explanation of your spiritual beliefs. A guide suggests that in writing a statement of faith, that some of the questions you ask yourself include:
what you believe about the Scriptures,
what you believe about Jesus,
what is the purpose of the Holy Spirit, and
some other important belief statements.
As I grew up, my first exposure to a Statement of Faith was The Apostles Creed. It articulates a belief in God and Jesus Christ, the Immaculate Conception, Jesus' death, Resurrection and Second Coming, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. The current traditional church I attend also has a Statement of Faith that is recited at every Service by those attending. Guests are welcome to participate as well. The power of sharing beliefs and thought systems is well articulated in the Course with the following popular passages: "Thoughts increase by being given away." (OrEd.Tx.5.8) "…ideas increase only by being shared," (OrEd.Tx.5.76) and Jesus also says in the Course, "Each of us is the light of the world, and by joining our minds in this light, we proclaim the Kingdom of God together and as one." (OrEd.Tx.6.38).
As part of my spiritual practice, I have been consistently prodded to distill the teachings of A Course in Miracles into some type of declaration or statement that would provide me with a foundation for reaffirming daily my allegiance to its thought system using as much as possible Text, Workbook or Teacher's Manual passages. We receive great encouragement to align our thinking to the Course's thought system when Jesus says, "To join with me is to restore His power to you, because we are sharing it." (OrEd.Tx.8.38) While I am mindful of the need to consistently consult the Holy Spirit for guidance, developing and using a personal statement of faith allows me to take the initiative to begin the process with the acknowledgement of my choice to follow the Holy Spirit and remember fundamental teachings. This assists me in reaffirming my allegiance to God and leads me into a mindset of receptiveness to be still and listen for guidance.
The process of developing a statement of faith began by assembling some of the content that "leapt off the page" to me during certain periods of reading, engaging in Workbook practice or participating in Community Miracles Center sponsored class times. Recently, I have begun my day with the following excerpts on being happy, the responsibility for sight, what is often referred to as the Course version of the Lord's Prayer and the opening paragraph to the Workbook section "What Am ?"
"Be happy, and you gave the power of decision to Him Who must decide for God for you. This is the little gift you offer to the Holy Spirit, and even this He gave to you to give yourself. For by this gift is given you the power to release your savior that he may give salvation unto you." (OrEd.Tx.21.17)
"[The offering of my small willingness to the Holy Spirit] is the only thing that you need do for vision, happiness, release from pain, and the complete escape from sin, all to be given you. Say only this, but mean it with no reservations, for here the power of salvation lies:
"I am responsible for what I see.
I chose the feelings I experience, and I decided
on the goal I would achieve.
And everything that seems to happen to me
I asked for and received as I had asked.
"Deceive yourself no longer that you are helpless in the face of what is done to you. Acknowledge but that you have been mistaken, and all effects of your mistakes will disappear." (OrEd.Tx.21.14-16)
"Forgive us our illusions, Father, and help us to accept our true relationship with You in which there are no illusions and where none can ever enter. Our holiness is Yours. What can there be in us that needs forgiveness when Yours is perfect? The sleep of forgetfulness is only the unwillingness to remember Your forgiveness and Your Love. Let us not wander into temptation, for the temptation of the Son of God is not Your will. And let us receive only what you have given and accept but this into the minds which You created and which You love. Amen." (OrEd.Tx.16.81)
"I am God's Son, complete and healed and whole, shining in the reflection of His Love. In me is His creation sanctified and guaranteed eternal life. In me is love perfected, fear impossible, and joy established without opposite. I am the holy home of God Himself. I am the Heaven where His love resides. I am His holy sinlessness itself, for in my purity abides His own." (OrEd.WkBk.SpTp.351.1)
However I have been led to refine this further incorporating a wider selection of key Course teachings that are repeatedly emphasized through the book. I struggled with how to structure it until I spent more time examining the structure of the United Church of Christ (UCC) statement of faith that is used in the church services I attend. I liked its multidimensional approach of several brief statements that covered a number of important aspects of the UCC's traditional theology. I also found it interesting that there were three statements of faith that congregations in the United Church of Christ (UCC) can use. They differ in their length, breadth of traditional Christian theology, and emphasis on Jesus and the Holy Trinity. But, it is important to note that they do not conflict allowing churches to select the statement of faith that fits their congregation best yet remains aligned on core principles.
Below is the UCC statement of faith used in my traditional church. I have included a brief description of what each section addresses or a primary theme.
Fundamental Belief Statement: "We believe in God, the Eternal Spirit, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and our Father, and to his deeds we testify:"
What God Does: "He calls the worlds into being, creates man in his own image, and sets before him the ways of life and death. He seeks in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin. He judges men and nations by his righteous will declared through prophets and apostles."
The Role of Jesus: "In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Lord, he has come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the world to himself."
The Holy Spirit: "He bestows upon us His Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues and races."
Our Function: "He calls us into his church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship; To be his servants in the service of men; To proclaim the Gospel to all the world and resist the powers of evil; To share in Christ's baptism and eat at his table; To join him in his passion and victory."
God's Promises: "He promises to all who trust him forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, his presence in trial and rejoicing and eternal life in his kingdom which has no end."
Praise to God: "Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto him. Amen."
The purpose of this article is not to debate the traditional belief statements above but to use the descriptions or primary themes as suggestions on structuring a Course focused Statement of Faith. In addition to and in some cases instead of considering these primary themes, I have attempted to focus on key phrases that hold special meaning for me and themes that are repeatedly emphasized throughout the Course's body of work – the Text, the Workbook for Students, the Manual for Teachers, etc. The content below is primarily direct quotes from the Course. There are some personal edits I have made that are in brackets that mostly reflect grammar changes from the original Course wording to relate to me personally and/or identify who is specifically referred to by pronouns in its original wording. There is some slight paraphrasing to consolidate multiple sentences into single sentences.
Fundamental Beliefs: Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God. I am as God created me – in understanding, appreciation and in love. I am God's [holy] Son, complete, healed and whole, shining in the reflection of His Love. I can choose to listen to two voices. One, the ego, I made myself. The other is given me by God Who asks me only to listen to it. [I] can only find peace by complete forgiveness. By giving, [I] receive. But, to receive is to accept, not get.
God: God is the Giver of life. God is not the author of fear. God is all in all in a very literal sense. God is the only Cause. God is love. God is incomplete without [me]. God is my strength; my Source; the Light in which I see; the Mind with which I think; the Love in which I forgive; the Strength in which I trust; God is my Life; God is my Father; my refuge and security.
The Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit was God's Answer to the separation. The Holy Spirit is God's voice and is the highest communication medium. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of joy. The Holy Spirit will respond to [my] slightest invitation. The Holy Spirit judges every belief [I] hold in terms of where it comes from. If it comes from God, He knows it to be true. If it does not He knows that it is meaningless. [I will to] learn how to offer to the Holy Spirit everything [I] do not want. [I will to] follow His teaching in forgiveness then because forgiveness is His function. Miracles are merely the sign of [my] willingness to follow the Holy Spirit's plan of salvation. [By being] happy [I have given] the power of decision to Him Who must decide for God for [me].
Jesus: Jesus bridges the distance as an elder brother to man on the one hand and as a Son of God on the other. In this world [I] need not have tribulation because [Jesus has] overcome the world. That is why [I] should be of good cheer. [Jesus] was a man who remembered the Soul and its knowledge and as a man did not attempt to counteract error with knowledge so much as to correct error from the bottom up. [Jesus] demonstrated the powerlessness of the body and the power of the mind. [Jesus] is in charge of the process of Atonement which [he] undertook to begin. Jesus says, [I] must join the Great Crusade – "Listen to my [Jesus'] Voice, learn to undo error, and do something to correct it."
The Atonement: The Atonement is an interlocking chain of forgiveness of which miracles are a part. Atoning means undoing fear. The Atonement is the way to peace. The forgiven are the means of the Atonement. Those released by Christ must join in releasing their brothers, for this is the plan of the Atonement. I accept the Atonement for myself.
Miracles: There is no order of difficulty in miracles. Miracles are expressions of love and are natural expressions of forgiveness. They are a form of healing. Prayer is the medium of miracles. The miracle is an expression of an inner awareness of Christ and the acceptance of His Atonement. Miracles are a sign of my willingness to follow the Holy Spirit's plan of salvation. Each day should be devoted to miracles. Miracles make minds one in God. The sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself.
The Mind: The Atonement belongs at the center of the inner altar, where it undoes the separation and restores wholeness of the mind. Your holy minds are altars unto God and where He is no idols can abide. Only the mind needs the Atonement. The mind is the only creative level and its errors are healed by the Atonement. The miracle places the mind in the service of the spirit. This establishes the proper function of the mind and corrects its errors. The mind that serves the spirit is invulnerable. Minds that serve the spirit use miracles to unite with Christ for the salvation or release of God's creations.
Our Function: [Salvation and forgiveness are the same and are my function as the light of the world]. Only by fulfilling the function given [me] by God will [I] be happy because [my] function is to be happy by using the means by which happiness becomes inevitable. Forgiveness is the healing of the perception of separation. The only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness because those who have forgiven have everything. [I] bring His happiness to all [I] look upon, His peace to everyone who looks on [me] and sees His message in [my] happy face.
God's Promises: Whoever says, "there is no gap between my mind and yours" has kept God's promise. You are beloved of Me and I of you forever. Be you perfect as Myself, for you can never be apart from Me. The Holy Spirit offers [me] another promise, and one that will lead to joy. For His promise is always, "Seek and you will find" and under His guidance [I] cannot be defeated. He (the Holy Spirit) has promised the Father that through Him [I] would be released from littleness to glory.
Praise to God: God is praised whenever any mind learns to be truly helpful. The truly helpful are invulnerable because they are not protecting their egos. The truly helpful are God's Miracle workers whom [Jesus] direct[s].
As I went through the development of this Statement of Faith, I used my Kindle search engine exhaustively since I often could only remember portions of phrases and wanted to ensure that I utilized complete versions of the ideas. Developing the Statement of Faith may become an iterative process reflecting any future guidance I receive. It is longer than my original intention but I found it difficult to cull and wanted to make sure the ideas where presented in an understandable way. I am sure that there are other key Course concepts that you may perceive are absent. With blessings on your path, I invite you to use that as motivation to create your own Statement of Faith. ♥
1. The guide referenced here can be found at http://www.theologydegrees.org/how-to-write-an-effective-statement-of-faith/
2. The UCC Statement of Faith can be viewed in its entirety at http://www.ucc.org/beliefs_statement-of-faith
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This article appeared in the March 2017 (Vol. 31 No. 1) issue of Miracles Monthly. Miracles Monthly is published by Community Miracles Center in San Francisco, CA. CMC is supported solely by people just like you who: become CMC Supporting Members, Give Donations and Purchase Books and Products through us.