I don’t really know where to put this thread, so I’ll place it here.
I wanted here to offer a “third way”, or more open way to be Christian, rather than Roman Catholic or Protestant.
Articles are statements I believe to be true. Postulates are statements I speculate are true. Contraries are statements I believe are false.
Article 1: Faith in the Holy Trinity I believe that God exists, is triune (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and that the Trinity should not be defined beyond the reach of Scripture and Tradition. Therefore I accept all that the Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed, and Apostles Creed states about the Trinity. I believe the same about the life, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Though I also believe in such aspects of the trinity as consubstantiation, hypostatic union, generation and procession, I consider these are apophatic definitions, describing what God isn’t instead of what God is, and I consider them too high for my poor intellect, and so will cease spending time trying to figure out what these words mean exactly. It is enough that I accept them as articles of faith. So Follows:
Article 2: The Word made Flesh, Christ Jesus, is both fully God and fully man
Article 3: Christ went down to Hell A note on this, I believe that when Christ broke the gates of hell, he broke them forever, and all souls are free to enter into Heaven when they so choose. Hell is eternal only for those who make it so by willing it eternally. The moment one comes to know and love God, one enters into heaven. As such, I believe it a possibility and a just hope that all, even the fallen angels, will enter into the eternal reward.
Contrary 1: Unwilling Eternal Torment After looking upon the face of my son, and knowing that God loves him more than I do, I cannot reasonably believe that such a loving God would ever cast him or any of us unwillingly into the torment even of separation from him forever.
Postulate 1: Purgatory I choose to use this term for that moment for those who are not yet pure after death, in which they are made pure. Its existence, unwritten in the Scriptures and, as evidenced by the Greek Church, unestablished in the Apostolic Tradition, is a matter of speculation, and not of necessary Christian faith.
Article 4: Resurrection I believe Christ rose from the dead.
Postulate 2: Bodily Resurrection I hold that the resurrection was physical and historical. I do not think belief in a physical resurrection is necessary for a person to be considered a Christian.
Postulate 3: Filioque Though no one can be certain whether the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son, or from the Father and the Son, or from the Father alone, I choose to accept the formation present in the Nicene and Athanasian creeds, in all of western Christianity, both Protestant and Catholic.
Article 5: The Holy Spirit I do, however, firmly believe in the Advocate spirit, imminent and at work in our faith and life.
Article 6: The Holy Bible I believe that the Old and New Testament contain all that is necessary for salvation, if understood properly in the community of the Church and in the light of Apostolic Tradition, mentioned by St. Paul the Apostle and reflected best in the worship of the Church throughout the ages.
Postulate 4: The Apocrypha Since the Greek, Roman and Protestant Christians have different lists of what suffices as Scripture, it is only reasonable to accept as canonical what is common to all of them, and regard as speculative what differs. I accept the Canon provided by the Council of Trent, but where this differs from the Protestant and Greek Canons, I admit I could easily be in error.
Contrary 2: The Form of Scripture I believe that the Bible is infallible in terms of faith and morals, but contains errors in matters of science and discipline (i.e. Tower of Babel, Genesis Creation, Women, Slaves). It was written to show God’s hand in history, to prophesy the Messiah, to document his life death and resurrection. I think anything involving fallible humans is prone to error. As such, I accept the possibility that the Canon of the Bible is incomplete, and think that any council declaring a Canon is potentially in error.
Article 7: Original Sin I believe that original sin is an absolute teaching of Scripture. If there were no original sin, then Christ’s death would not have been for the whole world, but only for those who have actually sinned. I think “original sin” should be called so only due to custom, but that it is not any actual sort of sin, or any real substance, but a label describing the privation of a certain part of God’s grace necessary for a perfect relationship with him.
Article 8: Free Will I believe that God has granted us free will. I believe that, because of original sin and actual sins we commit, we damage that free will. So we must rely on God’s grace alone for our salvation, and for every good thing we do.
Postulate 5: Effective Free Will I believe that God grants a greater effective free will to those who believe in Him. However, there is grace in all people, given that the relationship between them and God is only damaged and not destroyed by original sin. It is possible that this grace is sufficient to grant all people, even those who are not Christian, full effective free will.
Article 9: Justification We are saved by grace alone, justified alone by faith that works in love.
Article 10: Good Works Good works are totally ineffective in themselves to save us or offer us any sort of eternal reward. Joined with God’s grace, good works have great reward, both here and in the hereafter.
Article 11: Christ is Without Sin I believe that Christ alone of all men is sinless.