Beliefs That Count by Georgia Harkness
Georgia Harkness was educated at Cornell University, Boston University School of Theology, studied at Harvard & Yale theological seminaries and at Union Theological Seminary of New York. She has taught at Elmira College, Mount Holyoke, and for twelve years was professor of applied theology at Garrett Biblical Institute. In 1950 she became professor of applied theology at the Pacific School of Religion, in Berkeley, California. Published by The Graded Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1961. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock.
Foreword by Horace R. Weaver
This is the seventh book in a series of twelve volumes entitled Basic Christian Books.
Chapter 1: We Believe in God
God condemns, but he does not reject us. Mercy, not judgment, is God’s last word. Therefore, we should not be surprised to find that "there is no conflict between the justice of God and the mercy of God; both spring out of His infinite love for His children." And if this is true, it is certainly true that in response to his self-giving love he bids us love both him and our neighbor.
Chapter 2: We Believe in Jesus Christ
Rightly we celebrate on Easter God’s gift of eternal life. But as John’s Gospel repeatedly assures us, eternal life begins here --where we are -- as we "believe" in Christ. It begins as we accept him as our Lord and find our lives anchored to God through him.
Chapter 3: We Believe in the Holy Spirit
There is no real contradiction between the Holy Spirit as God himself and as his gift to us of guidance, grace, and power for every need. Though we may never fathom the full mystery of God’s nature as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we still can know the glorious fact of his presence in our minds and hearts.
Chapter 4: We Believe in the Bible
For Christians, the Bible "...is God’s eternal Word to every generation." When we read the Bible with receptive minds and hearts, God speaks to us through it.
Chapter 5: We Believe in Man
If the Christian in all humility subordinates himself to God and recognizes his sin and weakness and his complete dependence on God for his existence and his salvation, there is nothing wrong in thinking that man is the supreme object of God’s concern. Jesus apparently believed this, and so may we.
Chapter 6: We Believe in Salvation From Sin
Salvation from sin means more than personal sanctification. A regenerated Christian looks outward in sympathy and service to other people -- all people of all races, classes, and nations. He takes so seriously the injunction to love God and his neighbor that he cannot be at ease before injustice, evil-doing, or the suffering of others.
Chapter 7: We Believe in Christian Experience
We do not know God in Christ through one channel only; we know him through the Bible, through the great Christian heritage of the Church, and through the best possible use of our minds. Our experiences in all of these areas are made real, personal, and vital through the Holy Spirit. One channel taken by itself may be deceptive.
Chapter 8: We Believe in Christian Perfection
Two things must be said unequivocally: first, that it is God who saves us and not we ourselves; and second, that God saves only those who in penitence and obedience respond to his proffered grace. If we do not so respond, we fail to meet the conditions he lays upon us and thus we cannot lay claim to salvation.
Chapter 9: We Believe in the Church
The Church is the body of which Christ is the Head. It must have no other head but Christ; the governing authorities and all else within it must be subject to him. It exists to exalt the lordship of Christ over all of life. When anything or anybody else becomes supreme, idolatry has corrupted its nature and distorted its function. Christ is the incarnate Word of God, and he alone must reign within it.
Chapter 10: We Believe in the Kingdom of God
In the kingdom of God, God rules as Lord but loves as Father and works with us as Companion. Slowly, gradually, like the leaven and the mustard seed, the Kingdom comes as we labor faithfully in God’s service. Some evidences of its coming we see about us in redeemed lives and in a better society; for others we must hopefully wait, labor, and pray.
Chapter 11: We Believe in Divine Judgment
The wrath of God must not be taken to mean vindictiveness. It means God’s inevitable condemnation and terrible judgment upon sin. It is because sin is so serious and divine judgment is so real that hell (alienation and separation from God by persistent rejection of him) is a reality upon earth and may well be after death. God forces no man to love and serve him; but when we refuse his invitation, we bear the penalty.
Chapter 12: We Believe in Eternal Life
It is our Christian hope that Christ, who rose triumphant over sin and death, will reign forever in God’s eternal kingdom and that we shall know the glory and blessedness of his presence.
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