God in Trinity
Our Christian faith is first and foremost characterized by a Christ centered faith and spirituality grounded in the Trinitarian God: God the Creator, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, the Holy Spirit, the Sustainer and Perfector. The Trinity is not three gods, but one God manifested in three coequal and coeternal persons. The three are always working together in harmonious cooperation for there is only one will, one essence, one God. When we say “God”, we mean the Trinity. The Trinity is constantly working together as in the Greek word “paraclesis” which means “the circle of dance” to fulfill their divine intention for creation. The threeness of God is revealed to us in the Scripture, in the Apostolic Tradition, in the experience of the saints throughout the centuries, and in our own experience of God. This is how God chooses to manifest God-self in the world for the continuing work of Creation, Redemption, and Sanctification.
Jesus Christ is the incarnation of god who became fully human and fully divine through the process known in the Greek work “kenosis”, which means “self emptying” (Philippians 2:5-8). Jesus is the human face of God turned towards us. God became human in order to open the way for humans to become divine. We hold in common with all Christians a faith in the mystery of salvation and transformation in and through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through the work of Redemption, Jesus Christ came to restore our fallen relationship with God and with the creation, and to bring “wholeness” in life through “abundant life” in God (John 10:10), not just for humans, but to all creation (Romans 8:22-23).
In pursuit of truth we utilize the Wesleyan Quadrilateral: Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience. We understand Christian faith as an engagement of our mind and heart, and therefore taking the Bible seriously means it cannot always be taken literally. We believe that God’s redeeming grace was revealed to us in Jesus Christ and that the work of the Holy spirit is operative in a person’s entire life as it was spelled out by John Wesley’s Doctrine of Grace: Prevenient Grace, Justifying Grace and Sanctifying Grace. We especially take seriously Wesley’s doctrine on Sanctification and Going on to Perfection. As Jesus spoke, “Be complete (whole), as your Father in heaven is complete (whole)” (Matthew 5:48. And as St. Paul said “.. be filled with the very nature of God” (Ephesians 3:19).
Inclusive Love of God
God’s embracing arms are so much wider and deeper than the narrow perimeter that humans set for defining who are acceptable and not acceptable to God. Jesus was consistent in is teaching and ministry to breakdown the false barriers that we erect to divide the human community. We believe God’s love revealed to us in Jesus Christ embraces all persons equal in worth, no matter their gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
The Goal of Christians
We understand our goal as Christians as becoming imitators of Christ. Saint Paul said, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). We are always to remember that God is the Creator and we are God’s creatures. We humans with all the creation are utterly dependent on God for our being. As Saint Paul rightly observed, “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28a). Without God we could not have come into being and will cease to exist. God created us for the purpose of living in loving relationship with God. There is an innate yearning instilled in us by our Creator to be united with God as it so beautifully expressed in Psalm 42:1-2, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so my heart longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” Saint Augustine of Hippo in the fourth century hit the nail on the head when he said, “You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are always restless until they rest in you” (The Confessions). There will always be an experience of incompleteness in our being until we arrive at God. The truth is that all our searching and seeking leads to God. Opening ourselves to God is what makes us, creatures, come alive. Therefore the most wonderful experience a human being can have is the experience of uniting with God through joyful surrender.
Unlike the rest of the creation, we humans are endowed with “free will”(Genesis 2:16-17) as we are created in the likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27). The misuse of this free will resulted in our fallen state and alienation from God, with other, and with God’s creation. Since the distance we created between God and ourselves was too great a chasm for us to reconcile through our own efforts, God came to us through “kenosis” (self-emptying) in Jesus Christ to bridge our broken relationship by redeeming our fallen nature. This was an act of great love on God’s part: “For God so loved the world..” (John 3:16a). As a result, “God became human in order that human can become divine.” Our work on earth, then, is threefold: one, live in intimate relationship with God; two, become like Christ by becoming “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4b); three, be co-creators with God by manifesting God’s divine intention for all God’s creation. For these reasons, Christ calls us to be global citizens who understand that God’s concern for the world is our concern. Therefore the social expression of love is justice and peace for all humankind and the natural world.
Increasingly we are living with diverse cultures of people and religion in the work place, school, neighborhoods, and society in general. The significant part of the work of Christ was to break down barriers that divide us, increase the bond of common humanity, and to recognize that we are all God’s children. Unless we make intentional effort to understand each other and learn to love one another, we will destroy ourselves.
For this reason we believe in the interfaith dialogue with the great religions of the world for the purpose of promoting greater understanding and respect toward one another’s different faith traditions, as well as enriching and deepening our own Christian faith in the process. As the scripture states, we believe God was present with all people since the beginning of creation. We view the other world religious traditions as allies rather than threats to our Christian faith. We take seriously in the Universal Christ portrayed in the prologue of the Gospel of John:
All things came into being through him (Christ).