St. James’ Church, Lossiemouth, is part of the Church of Scotland. What do we believe and what is the basis of our faith?
You can find more detail about Statements of the Church’s Faith on the Church of Scotland website but the ancient Apostles’ Creed – foundational for many Christian Churches around the world – is a good initial summary of what we believe.
The Apostles’ Creed
“I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth, and in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell.
“The third day he rose again from the dead, he ascended into Heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
“I believe in the Holy Ghost; the Holy Catholic Church; the Communion of Saints; the Forgiveness of Sins; the Resurrection of the Body; and the Life Everlasting.”
Church of Scotland statement
Approved by the Church of Scotland General Assembly of 1992, this stands alongside the Apostles’ Creed, for example, and goes into a bit more detail:
We believe in one God:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
God is love.
We praise God the Father:
Who created the universe and keeps it in being.
He has made us his sons and daughters to share his joy,
Living together in justice and peace,
Caring for his world and for each other.
We proclaim Jesus Christ, God the Son:
Born of Mary, by the power of the Holy Spirit,
He became one of us, sharing our life and our death. He made known God’s compassion and mercy
Giving hope and declaring forgiveness of sin, offering healing and wholeness to all.
By his death on the cross and by his resurrection He has triumphed over evil.
Jesus is Lord of life and of all creation.
We trust God the Holy Spirit:
Who unites us to Christ and gives life to the Church;
Who brings us to repentance and assures us of forgiveness.
The Spirit guide us in our; understanding of the bible,
Renews us in the sacraments
And calls us to serve God in the world.
We rejoice in the gift of eternal life:
We have sure and certain hope of resurrection through Christ, and we look for his coming again to judge the world.
Then all things wilI be made new.
And creation will rejoice in worshiping the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Spirit,
one God, blessed for ever.
Do these raise more questions than they answer?
For the uninitiated (and even for the initiated) these creeds and statements probably do raise as many questions as provide answers.
But that’s precisely the point.
It’s all about exploring and developing a curious mind that will not be palmed off with easy answers.
How do you become a Christian?
It is important not to fall into the trap of listing a few ‘essential’ decisions that you must take to qualify yourself as ‘in’.
The Gospels (the first 4 Books of the New Testament – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – each essentially about the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) present us with a person (Jesus) that we encounter and respond to.
It’s that development of a ‘personal’ relationship with Jesus which matters rather than adherence to a set of propositions.
The Bible also emphasises the significance of community and learning to live and grow in faith, rather than a decisive ‘moment of conversion’ to Christianity (although that does happen too, sometimes).
Christians are lifelong learners and growers in their faith and the learning opportunities in community with others include how biblical material is handled in the sermons by our Minister, Rev. Geoff McKee.
So the answer to the question is really: “Come and hear and ask questions that help everyone to grow.”
We would wholeheartedly recommend Tom Wright’s ’Simply Christian: Why Christianity makes sense’ as the worthy successor to C.S. Lewis’s ‘Mere Christianity’ as the best introduction for anyone with lots of burning questions about faith, in general, and Christianity, in particular.