On God: The deepest truth of the universe is personal, relational, and loving. God has willed and created in accord with this truth, which is God’s very self. The truth of the order in God’s creation is therefore one that ever beckons God’s creatures to communion with God and one another through an invitation full of grace. In blessing Abraham, Sarah, and their children that they might become a blessing to all peoples, God began to offer all humanity this gracious invitation to enter into right relationship. Every law and every judgment by which God continues to order creation has its premise in grace, and is thus a law of love, both from its source and in our response.
On Jesus Christ, God’s Son: Only through Jesus Christ, however, do human beings know with surety that God is such a God and that God’s intention in creation is kindly. In Jesus of Nazareth God has entered into humanity’s fallen history, showing both God’s own character and God’s will for humanity so fully that Christians must conclude Jesus is very God even as he is very human. In Jesus Christ, then, we see that God’s own deepest purpose and calling is that we return to communion in God, and do so in a gracious and nonviolent gathering of the humble and the enemy alike. Jesus Christ became the surety of this new creation by suffering the brunt of human rebellion, demonstrating that none less than God has born the consequences of our sin and taken on the task of our transformation. Christian faithfulness fully relies on Christ’s faithfulness. In Jesus Christ, God’s “thou shalt” has become a promise that “you shall” become the people God created human beings to be.
On the Holy Spirit: The power of Jesus’ resurrection is then the power of our own resurrection. The ethical life of a Christian is a regenerated life. Through the Holy Spirit who is the very bond of love between God and Son, God draws us into the communal life for which we were created. That life, love, and gracious power of God the Holy Spirit is what enables us to respond to the troublesome, the unlovely, and the enemy as God in Christ has done for us, with forgiveness and the promise of peace. The first fruit of the Spirit’s work of regathering is the church, the community of believers, which actualizes and witnesses to God’s suffering love, forgiveness, and reconciling power within human history.
On the knowledge of God, in the humility of God: God’s own trinitarian life draws creation and human history into itself even as it has risked a vulnerable entry into that history. In Jesus Christ the fullness of God’s life has appeared in our own clay, at our very feet. And so the Triune God has seen fit to beckon, dwell in, and empower that same clay. The truth of Christianity is thus a treasure in earthen vessels. We rely and bind ourselves to the canonical witness of Israel and of Christ’s apostles, trusting that their quite human words are yet God’s Word to us as fully as Christ is both human and divine. We receive with a debt of gratitude the whole catholic tradition of Christian reflection on this witness, despite the vicissitudes of church history, the lapses of Christians, and the blemishes on the church’s historical witness. We discern God’s truth in community, for all need the counsel and testing of others to live out that truth in word and deed. We give special weight to the voices of the poor and the suffering who challenge our collective complacency. We remind ourselves, after all, that the church needs even its skeptics, heretics, opponents, and outright enemies to keep it honest and to recognize the truth it sees only dimly. The “one faith” of Christianity is a faith that must always defend itself nonviolently; the church must always be vulnerable to the truths of others lest it deceive itself about its own truth.