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Who I am - what I believe no 1

  • Thabo Pienaar

last videos in this category will be about what I actually believe - as Theology is also on of my major interests.

This then is Who I am - what I believe no 1. It is so easy to say "I believe". The real question however is; what do you believe? What is the content of your faith? In a post-modernistic and information age, coupled with more and more people who feel that their faith has reached a stage where the traditional confessions might not fully express their believes, it might just be a valuable exercise to sit down and really think about the content of your own belief system. I would like to provide a few statements about my own belief system (in no particular order). This is by far not my last words. I believe we are on an ever-changing journey campon which we gain more and more insights; changing and correcting our views in alignment to God's Word and will. In saying this, these statements represent where I am now on my journey - albeit an off-road journey. The term "emergent" has received negative content the past few years due to criticism against some of the emergent theologians, i.e. Rob Bell and others. So let me define the word from my perception: I see emergent as something gradually and almost unnoticed coming into being; growing into the full potential inherent of its being by "using" the experiences already gained. In terms of myself then; emerging means to me the gradual growth and fulfilment of my God-given potential by learning from the past experiences and insights gained. This is also why I can say that this is not my last words; its where I am NOW on the journey. In a sense, it goes hand in hand with being reformed. I'm not reformed only because I believe in the dogma that Luther & Calvin started in the 16th & 17th centuries, and that which developed through the following 300 - 400 years. I' reformed because being reformed is to constant;y evaluate the "teaching f the day" against the Bible and the original "golden thread" of God's interaction with man. On the other hand, I'm NOT saying that I'm throwing away the teachings and dogmas of the past 300 - 400 years of reformation. Many theologians wrote volumes of very valuable insights, dogma and ethics since then and many of them have indeed played a major role in forming my faith. But, they do not have the last word on all matters and we should continually evaluate and reform as our understanding grow. I'm reformed because I believe in the "root" creeds and words of Jesus as portrayed in the Bible. But I'm also constantly reforming to a better understanding of Jesus' original teachings and to a better life and practice of His teachings. The reformers coined the phase: "semper reformada" which explains this notion. This phrase was meant to take Christianity back to the original teaching of Jesus; to the original creeds and dogma developed over the first century. But the phrase also captured the notion of continually reforming; in a sense to never get into the same situation the Catholic church got into after 1600 years. If we lose this, we're bound to end up in the same situation because its inevitable that the church community will, over time, institutionalise certain practices and beliefs. Even today we can identify many "church rules and practices" which developed over time and are enforced by well-meaning churches, but which kills the life of the church and its members. Practices and rules which even exclude others just for not "being like us". I'm reformed and reforming which include the possibility to include newer creeds; creeds that address a modern problem. The creeds from the 16th and 17th century might still be applicable today, but does this mean that for 300 - 400 years there were no need for a confession addressing modern problems like apartheid, racism, colonialism, war, etc. I believe we should be open to adopt new confessions (like the Confession of Belhar) if we are truly reformed and reforming. Another important notion built into this phrase is the fact that we are being reformed (passive form) by the Word and the Holy Spirit. It's not as if we are reforming by our own will; we're being reformed. Therefore, I'm reformed by believing in the original words, teachings and "dogma" of Jesus, the disciples, apostles and the early church. But I'm also constantly reforming; emerging into a deeper understanding of Christian life, practices and ethics as we travel on this journey with God. Video here.  

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