Dear friends in Christ,
This coming Sunday, our lectionary includes verses from the tenth chapter of Romans, in which St. Paul reminds his readers that it is critical that we both profess the Good News and believe it in our hearts. He writes, “if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
I hear again and again that the Episcopal Church is a safe place to ask questions, and I hope that is always true. A mature faith must involve wrestling with hard things, and doubt is often a necessary step on the path toward belief. I hope our self-understanding doesn’t just include the importance and goodness of questions. You see, we also need to offer answers.
Data from Forward Movement’s RenewalWorks ministry tells us that certain beliefs are correlated with spiritual growth. If you understand and believe in grace—the idea that God loves us all, regardless of our merit—you are more likely to grow spiritually. In other words, teaching supports growth.
If we want our churches to be places that promote spiritual growth, we need to encourage the profession of faith, inside and outside the church. Let us proclaim in the public square that death, evil, and sin never have the last word! Love always wins!
And it’s essential for us who follow Jesus to learn and to grow on our journey. Those of us who are called to a ministry of teaching should do it.
Think of St. Thomas. He expressed his doubt to his Lord. And Jesus lovingly replied, inviting him to see and to touch. Then Believing Thomas said, “My Lord and my God.” Doubt is good, and Jesus loves us through it. But then let us be quick to profess our faith when God blesses us.
More from our ministry:
Learn more insights for spiritual growth: Signs of Life
Brush up on core Episcopal beliefs: Walk in Love
New from ChurchNext: The Book of Exodus
From Grow Christians: The mythic, universal power of the Transfiguration