Welcome to Agape Family
WHAT CHRISTIANS BELIEVE
There is so much one can say about what Christians believe, and it is hard to know where to start. What I will do is to take the Nicene Creed as a summary of our beliefs, and then expand on what it means. The Nicene Creed was formulated in the 4th Century AD in response to heresies that were frequently circulated at that time. The thrust of this creed was to affirm that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are One. This mystery of God being One, yet in Three Persons, is known as the Trinity.
THE NICENE CREED
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.
GOD THE FATHER
Christians believe that God the Father created all things visible and invisible. Most significantly, we believe that He created humanity. What was special was that God created us in His image, His intention being that He would commune with us as Father to child, and friend with friend. But we disobeyed God and became alienated from Him. Without God, humankind would eventually perish in our own wicked schemes. Much of the Bible narrates how we became more and more evil, hence further alienating ourselves from God. But God in His love would not let us go. The rest of the Bible tells of the extent to which God sought to redeem humankind and to restore the broken image of God within us.
JESUS CHRIST THE SON OF GOD
We believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was not created, but begotten of the Father, and in every way, is by nature God. He existed before any created thing even existed, and it was through His agency that all things were created. Jesus came to live on earth, to show what God is like, and how God viewed humanity. During His time on earth, Jesus showed particular attention to the outcasts, spending much time with those considered sinners, touching and healing ‘untouchables’, healing the crippled, the blind, the mentally deranged, and raising the dead. He was often at odds with the religious leaders of his time who insisted on being legally and ritualistically correct while ignoring principles of mercy and justice. Just before he was betrayed by one of his disciples and executed, he explained to his followers that even though he was God, he had come to serve rather than to be served, and urged them to do as he had done. Jesus was eventually executed by being nailed onto a cross, a symbol of shame. On the third day, Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to more than 500 of his followers. 40 days later, Jesus returned to heaven. But before He did so, He told His disciples to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit, (also known as the Spirit of God, or Spirit of Jesus) who would come and live in, and empower all who believed in Jesus.
The Holy Spirit is instrumental to the birth of the church. 10 days after Jesus returned to heaven, the Holy Spirit was given to the first followers of Jesus. The coming of the Holy Spirit transformed the disciples from terrified fugitives to fearless public preachers who continued Jesus’ legacy of healing the sick, giving hope to the hopeless, and declaring God’s love for all, including sinners. We believe that the Holy Spirit continues to be given to all who believe in Jesus, up to the present time. With the Holy Spirit living in us, we are transformed into persons who know God personally as God’s children, and who continue to demonstrate God’s love and power to a world that needs hope.
The Church exists to continue the work of Christ in demonstrating God’s love and care for every person in the world. To this end, the church does not exist to protect and promote her own interests but to give herself and her resources to the world. A failure to do so is a failure of the church to continue the legacy of her God and master Jesus Christ.
Throughout much of history, God has been misunderstood. He has often been portrayed as hating humanity and seeking ways to destroy the world. The truth is that it is we who are hurting each other, and in the process, destroying the world. God came to earth in the form of a human being, as Jesus Christ, to show the world how much He cares for the inhabitants of the earth, even for the least and lowest of humanity. While on earth, God demonstrated that He values humanity more than Himself, and laid His life down for the worst of sinners. God’s ultimate plan is that through the church, being the body of believers empowered by the Holy Spirit, the world will know how much He loves the world, and humanity will then learn to love and treasure each other.