Picking the Right Faith

With so many different theological
beliefs within Christianity, how can we be confident that we're living
a faithful life?  Should we just pick one and hope we're picking right?
D.M., Chicago 

 

How are we to know when we are "on the right
path" with regard to our Christian faith and practice?  If by "know"
you mean to ask how can we have complete certainty, I am not sure there
is an answer.  As you note, there are many groups offering somewhat
different beliefs and practices, and each of those groups is "sure"
they have it right (or, at least, righter than anyone else).  Perhaps,
however, that kind of certainty is not what God is after.
   

If you examine the major traditions within the
Christian faith, there is a great deal of agreement.  We affirm the
trinitarian nature of God, restoration to right relationship with God
and our fellows through faith in Christ, and the empowerment of the
Holy Spirit for walking the life of faith. On practices, we pretty
much agree that we are to celebrate the sacraments of baptism and
eucharist, engage in works of mercy, and live in ways that are worthy
of our being called God's children.  So, before we focus on
differences, we should celebrate our common heritage.

 

At a deeper level, though, we need to think about what it means to grow
in our faith over an extended period of time. When we begin the walk
of faith, we are, metaphorically speaking, like little children. As
little children, we only have a beginning grasp of what it means to be
a Christian and to live faithfully as one. 

 

For us to grow, there are
three ways in which we are guided to maturity: First, we have friends
and family who serve as mentors in the faith. They both teach us and
demonstrate for us what it means to be faithful to God.  Second, we
participate in the distinctive Christian practices of baptism,
eucharist, bible study, prayer, etc. These serve to form us into the
kinds of people God intends. Finally, and most significantly, God's
Spirit leads us in the path of faith encouraging here, correcting there so that, over time, we come more and more to conform to the image of Christ.

 

Just as engaging
in "guitar player practices" makes us better guitar players, so
engaging in this set of practices makes us more faithful Christians.

<!–
D(["mb"," At a deeper level, though, we need to think about what it means to grow in our faith over an extended period of time. When we begin the walk of faith, we are, metaphorically speaking, like little children. As little children, we only have a beginning grasp of what it means to be a Christian and to live faithfully as one. For usn to grow, there are three ways in which we are guided to maturity. First, we have friends and family who serve as mentors in the faith. They both teach us and demonstrate for us what it means to be faithful to God. Second, we participate in the distinctive Christian practices of baptism, eucharist, bible study, prayer, etc. These serve to form us into the kinds of people God intends. Finally, and most significantly, God's Spirit leads us in the path of faith encouraging here, correcting there so that, over time,we come more and more to conform to the image of Christ. Just as engaging in "guitar player practices" makes us better guitar players, so engaging in this set of practices makes us more faithful Christians.n",1]
);
//–>


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