Our Doctrinal Statement
Jesus answered them, and said, 'My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. (John 7:16,17)
"No Creed, but Christ!" Disciples believe that faith in Jesus Christ is a personal faith. Both the Campbells and Stone taught that creeds were irrelevant and that scripture alone was sufficient for faith in Jesus Christ. (From Disciples of Christ).
Our doctrine is the Bible in action. It is too comprehensive to print here. Read it and you will know our beliefs. However, when most ask for a "doctrinal statement" they are actually asking how our opinions on various scriptural teachings are askew or inline with their own. How do we perceive key scriptural issues? This is the valid question.
Once we begin to define issues of controversy we open a Pandora's box. Thousands of organizations and thousands of people will look at us and ask if we are in kinship with their particular keys to the Kingdom. I do not stand against anyone or any organization labeling their comfort zones. This gives one a sense of security in their beliefs. I am saddened when one finds a jot missing in our belief and can no longer support our work with the Father's heart.
Yes, there are divergences from our own personal levels of comfort that would relinquish our relationship with some. We all have these beliefs. This brings us back to our own doctrinal statement. It is the doctrine of the Father. Look at us. If we are not doing the will of the Father we do not know His teaching. And then the Father lovingly points us forward. He does not reject His children. And so we move ahead trying very hard to serve his heart and His children.
We are striving to do His will in the area of lost and forgotten children. Our doctrine then is James 1:27
"Jesus did not have a "statement of faith." He called others into faithful relation to God through life in the Spirit. As with the prophets of the Hebrew Bible, he was not concerned primarily with whether individuals gave cognitive assent to abstract propositions but with calling persons into trustworthy community through embodied and concrete acts of faithfulness. The writers of the New Testament were not obsessed with finding a final set of propositions the assent to which marks off true believers. Paul, Luke and John all talked much more about the mission to which we should commit ourselves than they did about the propositions to which we should assent. The very idea of a "statement of faith" is mired in modernist assumptions and driven by modernist anxieties." (LeRon Shults)
Shepherd's Purse could scribe out our personal assumptions as a doctrinal statement. Yet, this ministry incorporates many individuals from many backgrounds who share a common assumption that the Father's heart is for His children. Shepherd's Purse could scribe out a corporate statement as do most every reputable organization.
Our statement might go something like this, "We believe that Jesus came to this earth, preached good news for all but had a tremendous heart for those in distress like the orphans. We further believe He died on the cross in order redeem children who are forced into thievery and prostitution in order to survive. He then proceeded to overpower death with his resurrection as a promise that children like Nastya will rise again, and He gave us a watery grave to wash away the filth and guilt of our past, present, and future sins. Furthermore, He commissioned us with share all this great stuff with the world around us." He says he wants to recapture our hearts and is pleased when we seek Him throughout this new journey. (Note: as a doctrinal statement this is far from comprehensive because the Bible is so beautifully comprihensive and expansive.)
The problem is that if we set these words as the "most important things" we believe there will always be someone who will analyze why we used the word "tremendous" to describe the content of the Lord's heart. They may accuse us of trivializing the Holy Heart of our God. No matter how hard we would try there would be no pleasing all who examine our belief system. Our safest bet would be to copy/paste a set of doctrines from a well reputed organization. Of course then we might exclude all variant view holders.
All we know is that God has taken thousands of years and many writers to present the tip of His doctrine for us to read. God used a whole book to share His compacted "doctrinal statement" and we love that book. Yet, His doctrine only begins there. We must do the will of His heart to complete the statement of true faith. This is where we fail so much of the time. We pull out a few statements that make us comfortable but white-out those that disturb our thinking.
The "doctrinal statement" of Shepherd's Purse is to attempt the will of the Father for His children in distress. By that you will know if we following the doctrine of God and His son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. One thing we know is that He has shown us a picture of "true" religion - to take care of the widows and orphans in their distress. If you are not interested or involved in that - then have you experienced that which pleases the heart of the Father?
If you want to know what we believe on a certain issue, if somehow it would shade our effectiveness with helping these children, please, by all means ask.