Showing posts with label theology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label theology. Show all posts

Monday, June 20, 2016

Powerful Statement from Our Denomination Following the Shootings in Orlando

American Baptist Churches USA is the most diverse denomination in the United States. Our churches have a great deal of autonomy, we are equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, and we have varying interpretations of particular passages that have been the focus of recent cultural and religious debated.

Yet, in the midst of turmoil, our leadership provided the following powerful message of love. Please follow this link and read: http://www.abc-usa.org/2016/06/17/abc-interim-general-secretary-addresses-orlando-shooting/

A few highlights:
We offer our deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims of the horrible tragedy in Orlando. We extend love to those of our family directly affected. We grieve with our American Baptist brothers and sisters who are part of the LGBTQ community. My message to them is, never mistake our debates and disagreements with the depth of our love for you as part of our family. To the rest of the ABC family my message is, even in the midst of profound disagreement, let us love as Christ loved. 
~Interim General Secretary Dr. Susan Gillies


Following Gillies remarks, Rev. Judy Fackenthal said, “As President of ABCUSA, I concur with Interim General Secretary Susan Gillies that any act of violence against any part of the human family is fully outside the vision of God’s gracious love for all people. While American Baptists may not agree on a wide variety of issues, we claim God’s love as a just and all-encompassing love. I pray for the people of Orlando, particularly the LGBTQ community as well as the Hispanic community that has been particularly affected by this horrific violence. May we work together to seek to end hate and the outcomes associated with it.”


“The events of last week hurt me deeply, as a Christian, Baptist and as a Puerto Rican,” said Dr. Josue D. Gómez-Menéndez, vice president of ABC. “At this time I would like to express my solidarity with all the people who are suffering from the effects of violence, misconceptions and separation. In the end what we discover in the depth of love is that we find our essence and human reality, our claim to the dignity of the human being and our real choice to reflect Jesus in every step.”

Saturday, January 17, 2015

New Beginnings





Genesis 1: In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.

3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

It is amazing the theological depths contained within these five verses and those that follow in Genesis 1-2:4. The sermon begins with a reminder of what is possible when faithful people work together to support those in need in our community. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Who Is Jesus?

American Baptist Churches USA, our denomination, states, "American Baptists celebrate the fact that belief in Jesus Christ assures salvation and eternal fellowship with a loving God. The events of the first Easter week are the cornerstones of our faith: the death of Christ, in which He took upon Himself the sin of the world, and the Resurrection, which gave proof of His triumph over sin and death. Holy Scripture always has been for American Baptists the authoritative and trustworthy guide for knowing and serving the God who is revealed as Creator, Savior and Advocate."

Henri Nouwen, in this devotional book, Bread for the Journey, gives admirable insight into one facet of Jesus. On page 63, he states,

“Jesus, the Blessed One, is gentle. Even though he speaks with great fervor and biting criticism against all forms of hypocrisy and is not afraid to attack deception, vanity, manipulation, and oppression, his heart is a gentle heart. He won’t break the crushed reed or snuff the faltering wick (see Matthew 12:20). He responds to people’s suffering, heals their wounds, and offers courage to the fainthearted.

Jesus came to bring good news to the poor, sight to the blind, and freedom to prisoners (see Luke 4:18-19) in all he says, and thus he reveals God’s immense compassion. As his followers, we are called to the same gentleness.”

Christians are to follow Jesus' example, approaching the world with Jesus' gentle heart. 

Jesus also guides us to the two greatest commandments, to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. In the parable of the "Good Samaritan," we learn by the kind actions of the Samaritan, an enemy of the people of Israel, when he helped a wounded Israeli, that our neighbors are everyone who needs us. It's a very all inclusive love we are to offer. 

Jesus is a friend of sinners, a blazer of trails for us to follow, a wonderful teacher who used humor to make his points and memorable stories known as parables, a controversial character who had little patience for those who quibbled over the letter of the law while entirely missing the law's spirit, and Jesus is shown as the true shepherd of the sheep, willing to lay down his life for the beloved flock (all of us). Jesus is our savior. Through his actions he closed the gap humanity had created between us and God when we refused  to love God, who loves us. 

Now, I could go on and on. However, I suspect you might find that just overwhelming. There is no end of what might be said about Jesus. Instead, I recommend getting to know Jesus for yourself through the Bible, which tells us best who Jesus is and what he intends for us all. 

The other thing you can do is ask believers for stories of what Jesus has meant in their lives. There you will find some wonderful insights into what Jesus means to believers who have dedicated their lives to Jesus. You can find one example of such a story right here on this blog site: http://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2014/06/statement-of-faith.html

Jesus wants to develop a personal relationship with you, today. Jesus is calling to you. Will you respond?

We also invite you to visit us, worship with us, and come to know Jesus through our community. We welcome you. 

For a post about Jesus changing expectations, see: http://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2014/04/sermon-summaries-palm-sunday-king-of.html