Up the road from my church is a religious group that also styles itself as Christian, yet upon close examination seems to lack all the creedal affirmation of Christian orthodoxy. Some locally have labeled them a cult. Here is their "Statement of Faith" from the church's website:
It is our belief that God cares much more about the condition of one's heart than in their doctrinal statement. We also believe that it is possible for people to vary greatly in their beliefs and doctrines and each be pleasing to God.
We believe that the bible is a very powerful book with great potential for either good or evil, depending on the motives of the person using it. We believe that God intended it for good but man's use of it often falls short of His intention.
GodWe believe that God is far greater than any person's or denomination's doctrinal view of Him. We believe that God loves us, gave His Son for us, and will ultimately see His plan to fruition.
We believe Jesus is the Son of God and that He died for the sins of mankind, was buried, and rose from the grave. We believe that His sacrificial death on the cross is also an example of how much God can require of those who seek to follow Him.
We believe that each person is responsible to use the gifts and abilities that God has given them to serve Him and others.
We believe that sin is a condition of the heart whereby the person chooses to defy God's will. Sin deals with motives and may or may not express itself in external behavior. We believe that sin is based upon knowledge and choice.
We believe that the only way to have an eternally productive life is to choose to pay the price to follow God. We believe that this life is not black and white but that each individual uniquely follows God. We believe that God leads in many different ways and what may be right for one person, may not be for another person. Therefore, we believe that judgment is reserved for God, for we cannot see another person's heart.
We believe that the church consists of all those who genuinely follow God in their heart, regardless of religious affiliation. We believe that unity is based more on a person's heart condition and desire to follow God, than it is on doctrinal agreement.
We believe that God judges on the basis of what a person knows and has, and how that person uses this. We believe that God will hold us personally responsible for the decisions we make based upon what we know to be right.
What do you think? It lacks a clear confession of Jesus' divinity, of the nature of original sin, of salvation by grace through Christ, of God's triune nature, the inspiration of scripture, just to name a few items. I would think those alone should exclude this statement from the Christian faith. In fact, it seems to have more in common with Mormonism than any Christian church.
However, one should thank the church for being honest enough to post this statement. For many groups are not even this forthright. Do you ever read a full disclosure by the Mormons on their beliefs, especially as they reveal their true non-Christian character.? Not at all. Now I can only hope that at least some potential members will be discerning enough to read it and evaluate it against the Bible itself, and if possible, against the orthodox confession of the ecumenical creeds. But that may be too optimistic.