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CREDO

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The Credo of Alexander Men is a selection of statements of belief taken from his writings and organized by theme, with the compiler having added Scripture references. It is coherent and a remarkable statement of a faith which indeed can be received by Christians of many backgrounds and lands today


Christianity is not “an ideology”, an abstract doctrine or a fixed system of rituals. The Good News entered the world as a dynamic force, encompassing all sides of life, open to everything created by God in nature and in human beings. It is not just a religion which has existed for the past twenty centuries, but a Way focused on the future (John 14.6; Acts 16.17; 18.26).


The Faith of a Christian

A Christian

  • centers his or her faith on Jesus Christ by whom all is measured and evaluated (Gal 2.20; Rev 1.8);
  • understands the revelation of the inner life of God, of the mystery of the Trinity as evidence of the love of God and as a call to unity in love (John 3.16; 17.21; I John 4.8);
  • believes that the coming to earth of the God-man was not a divine one-sided act but a call for people to respond to the love of God (Rev. 3.20).

The Bible and its Interpretation

A Christian

  • does not look on faith to be an abstract conviction, but understands it to be total trust in God as revealed in Christ (Rom. 4.3);
  • accepts the word of God which is recorded in scripture but guards against giving a literal interpretation to every line of the Bible especially of the Old Testament (Rom. 7.6);
  • believes that one and the same God revealed himself in both Testaments; but that God revealed himself gradually as befitted the level of human consciousness (Heb. 1.1-2);
  • does not ask for tangible signs (Mark 8.11-12) but remembers that creation is a miracle (Ps. 19.1);
  • refuses to point to human imperfection, or to “the survival of animal nature” as the sole reason for the existence of evil in human beings, but believes in the reality of metaphysical evil (John 8:44);
  • rejects the tendency to find in scripture or in the writings of the Church Fathers statements about natural science held to be valid for all time;
  • views the academic study of the Bible and church history as an important means for clarifying the meaning of revelation and establishing the actual circumstances of sacred history.


The Church, Tradition, and Christian Unity

A Christian

  • recognizes the presence and activity of Christ in the church, and in all life, even in the simplest and most mundane of its manifestations (see our Lord's parables, in particular Matt. 6.28-29);
  • believes that the church lives and grows in the strength of Christ (Matt. 16.18; 28.20);
  • believes that Christ reveals himself in the sacraments of the church, in her sanctification of the world, in her teaching and acts of service (I Cor. 11.26; Matt. 18.19-20; Rom. 6.11; Matt. 28.18-20; Luke 10.16), but knows that not one of these aspects of the church's life is sufficient on its own, for Christ came as savior, healer and teacher.
  • recognizes the line dividing Tradition (the spirit of faith and learning from “traditions”, many of which are associated with folklore and are impermanent accretions to religious life (Mark 7.8; Col. 2.8);
  • respects the ritual forms of devotion without forgetting for a moment that they are secondary in comparison with love for. God and other people (Matt. 23.23-24; Mark 12.28-31);
  • believes in the significance of the hierarchical and canonical principle within the church, seeing them as structural features of an active organism which is called to be effective on earth (I Cor. 12.27-30);
  • knows that liturgical rules and canon law have changed over the centuries and cannot (and should not>) remain absolutely unaltered in the future (John 3.8; II Cor. 3.6, 17). This also applies to the theological interpretation of the truths of the faith. Such interpretation has had a long history, and has passed through phases when more of the truth was revealed and when interpretation deepened (for instance the Church Fathers and councils introduced new concepts which are not to be found in the scriptures);
  • is not afraid to look critically at the church's past following the example of the teachers in the Old Testament and of the Church Fathers;
  • considers that all the inhuman excesses of the Christian past (and present) — the execution of heretics and such like — betrayed the spirit of the Gospel, and was an actual deviation from the church (Luke 9.51-55);
  • knows that the opponents of Christ (illegitimate rulers, power-loving members of the hierarchy, fanatical supporters of the past), are to be found not only in the Gospel period but reappear under various guises at any time in history (Matt. 16.6);
  • guards against authoritarianism and paternalism, which are rooted not in the spirit of faith but in characteristics inherent to the fallen nature of humanity (Matt. 20.25-27; 23.8-12);
  • experiences the divisions among Christians as a sin which is common to all and a violation of Christ's will (John 10.16); believes that in the future this sin will be overcome not by a sense of superiority, pride, complacency, or hatred, but rather through a spirit of brotherly love without which the Christian calling cannot be fulfilled (Matt. 5.23-24);
  • is open to all that is valuable in all Christian denominations and non-Christian beliefs (John 3.8; 4.23-24);
  • considers that the separation of the church from the state is the most desirable situation for faith and sees the danger inherent in the very idea of a “state religion”;
  • values the national character of each church as being particular, concrete embodiments of the human spirit and of the mystery of the incarnation. However, this is not to deny the universal nature of the church;
  • treats the works of art of the church over the centuries not as a mistake but as a way of realizing God's gifts.


The Value of the Person, Human Relationships, and the Christian Vocation

A Christian

  • knows that the dignity of the human person and the value of life and creativity are based on the belief that humanity was created by God (Ps. 8);
  • professes that freedom is one of the most important laws of the Spirit, and in the light of this sees sin as a form of slavery (II Cor. 3.17; John 8.32; Rom. 6.17);
  • believes that it is possible for a person to acquire the Spirit of God, but in order to distinguish this from a sick form of spiritual exhaltation (“bewitchment”), judges it by the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5.22-23);
  • following the teaching of the apostle Paul looks on the human body, although imperfect owing to the fallen condition of nature, as the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 6.19);
  • recognizes that it is essential to look after the body (I Tim. 5.23) so long as this does not turn into “worship of the flesh”; believes in the sanctity of human love if it is combined with responsibility, believes in the sanctity of the family and marriage (Gen. 2.18, 23-34; Matt. 19.5);
  • according to the decisions of the church councils looks upon marriage and monasticism as equally honorable estates so long as monasticism is not undertaken for reasons of ambition and other sinful motives;
  • does not reject good even if it comes from non-religious people; but rejects force, dictatorship, and hatred even if they are perpetrated in the name of Christ (Matt. 7.21; 21.28-31; Mark 9.40);
  • sees all that is beautiful, creative, and good as belonging to God, as the secret activity of Christ's grace;
  • considers that when some area of life is infected by sin this should not serve as a reason for rejecting it. On the contrary, the struggle to establish the kingdom of God should take place at the center of life;
  • realizes that the Gospel understands “asceticism” not so much as an escape from the world but rather as a spirit of selflessness, a struggle against “enslavement to the flesh”, through recognition of the supremacy of eternal values (Matt. 16.24);
  • sees that the Christian vocation can be realized in everything: in prayer, work, creativity, in active service and moral discipline;
  • does not consider reason and science to be the enemies of faith. Knowledge enlightened by the spirit of faith deepens our understanding of the greatness of the creator (Ps. 104; I Kings 4.29, 33-34; Ps. 89);
  • faces all the problems of the world, considering that any of them can be evaluated and made sense of in the light of faith;
  • affirms with the apostle Paul that the witness of faith in the world is first and foremost the witness of service and active love (I Cor. 13);
  • looks upon the life of society as one of the spheres where the principles of the Gospel can be applied;
  • recognizes our duty as citizens (Rom. 13.1) in so far as they do not contradict the demands of faith (Acts 4.19);
  • does not proclaim this or that system of government to be specifically Christian. The value of a system is measured by what it gives people: by its expediency and humaneness.

History and the kingdom of God

A Christian

  • believes that history is moving forward through trials, catastrophes and struggle towards the future kingdom of God which transcends history;
  • treats with reservation the idea of “the flawed nature of history”, that is the conviction that God's truth has been totally defeated on earth (this is contradicted by Rev. 20.1-6);
  • believes that, whenever the Last Judgment may come, people are called to work for the benefit of others, to create the city of God, the reign of the good;
  • believes that the Last Judgment has already begun, that it began from the moment Christ began to preach (John 3.19; 12.31);
  • sees the condition of the human soul after death as temporary and incomplete, waiting to be fulfilled at the general resurrection and transfiguration of all (Dan. 7.13-14; John 5.28; Rom. 8.11; Rev. 20.11-15);
  • knows that the kingdom of God which is to come, can reign “within us” even today (Luke 9.27; 17.21)