I have been reassessing my views, asking the difficult questions of why I believe what I believe. I wanted to hit the theological bedrock upon which I would live and serve in the body of Christ. As a marker of my progress I needed to know the essentials. What were my non-negotiables, the things I was certain and assured of? Since our worldviews run silently in the background I thought that attempting to put it in writing was a great way of teasing it out. I basically examined myself on what I had come to know.
The process itself was quite a challenge. I thought I would be done in an hour, I ended up taking a few weeks. Confessing your beliefs to yourself forces you to think carefully about what you actually believe. Christianity is a confessional faith. This means our beliefs are not privatised but we express them publically as who we are. Like rehearsing in front of a mirror a speech you are about to deliver it pushed me to confront what I really thought about God and his word.
Through the process I learnt a lot. It exposed the things that I had a firm grasp on and what I did not understand well or I was ignorant of. It showed me the things that I had missed in my thinking. There were certain things that I needed to give more attention and some less. It revealed what was essential to me in my understanding of faith. It was like taking a peak under the hood and discovering how the engine of my faith really worked. I saw the fundamental assumptions I practiced my faith on.
Christian beliefs in the Bible are highly developed. A cursory understanding of what it means is simply not enough. We need to dig deep and make the faith our own. Without this we cannot properly commit to living a life by faith in Christ. I have observed that the average churchgoer can in practice have a different creed to the denomination he is a part of. He may publically affirm a doctrine but in his life and thinking it is virtually absent. It usually means you either do not understand it properly, you do not think it is that important or you flat out disagree with it. If our mouths do not profess what our hearts truly believe the foundations are not yet secure and we might be living a lie.
It is important we get to grips with our own convictions. Analysing and writing down your personal theology is not an attempt to redefine things in your image. It is rather examining yourself to see the nature of your convictions and how you understand God and his word.