The Basic teachings of the Seraphic Church can be found in the following Statements of Faith, Articles of Faith, Confessions, and Creeds.
containing twenty three Articles.
Note: This Confession of Faith was written in 1673 by Robert Barclay as a part of his A Catechism and Confession of Faith in regard to the belief and practice of the Religious Society of Friends. The Seraphic Church proclaims this confession as part of Way of Faith.
Concerning God, and the True and Saving Knowledge of him.
There is one God [Eph. 4:6; 1 Cor. 8:4,6] Who is a Spirit [John 4:24] And This is the Message which the Apostles heard of him, and declared unto the Saints, That he is Light, and in him is no Darkness at all [1 John 1:5] There are Three that bear Record in Heaven, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and these Three are One [1 John 5:7] The Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Father [John 10:38; 14:10-11; 5:26] No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him [Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:22] The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God [1 Cor. 2:10] For the Things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God: Now the Saints have received not the Spirit of the World, but the Spirit which is of God, that they might know the things which are freely given them of God [1 Cor. 2:11-12] For the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father sends in Christ's name, he teacheth them all things, and bringeth all things to their Remembrance. [John 14:26]
Concerning the Guide and Rule of Christians.
Christ prayed to the Father, and he gave the Saints another Comforter, that was to abide with them forever, even the Spirit of Truth whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him, but the Saints know him; for he dwelleth with them, and is to be in them [John 14:16-17] Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his; For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God [Rom. 8:9,14] For this is the Covenant that God hath made with the House of Israel, he hath put his Laws in their Mind, and writ them in their Hearts; and they are all taught of God [Heb. 8:10-11] And the Anointing which they have received of him, abideth in them; and they need not that any man teach them, but as the same Anointing teacheth them of all things, and is Truth, and is no Lye. [1 John 2:27]
Concerning the Scriptures.
Whatsoever things were written afore-time, were written for our Learning, that we through Patience & Comfort of the Scriptures, might have Hope [Rom. 15:4] which are able to make wise unto Salvation through Faith, which is in Christ Jesus: All Scripture being given by Inspiration of God, and is profitable for Doctrine, for Reproof, for Instruction in Righteousness, that the Man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all Good Works [2 Tim. 3:15-17] No Prophecy of the Scripture is of any private Interpretation; for the Prophecy came not in old time by the Will of man, but Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. [2 Pet. 1:20-21]
Concerning the Divinity of Christ, and his Being from the Beginning.
In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; the same was in the Beginning with God: All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made, that was made [John 1:1-3] Whose Goings forth have been from of Old, from Everlasting [Mic. 5:2] For God created all things by Jesus Christ [Eph. 3:9] Who being in the Form of God, thought it no Robbery to be equal with God [Phil 2:6] And his Name is called, Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace [Isa. 9:6] Who is the Image of the invisible God, the First-born of every Creature [Col. 1:5] The Brightness of the Father's Glory, and the express Image of his Substance [Heb. 1:3] Who was cloathed with a Vesture dipt in Blood; and his Name is called the Word of God [Rev. 19:13] In him dwelleth all the Fulness of the God-head bodily [Col. 2:9] And in him are hid all the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge. [Col. 2:3]
Concerning his Appearance in the Flesh.
The Word was made Flesh [John 1:14] For he took not on him the Nature of Angels, but he took on him the Seed of Abraham, being in all things made like unto his Brethren [Heb. 2:16-17] Touched with a feeling of our Infirmities; and in all things tempted like as we are, yet without Sin [Heb. 4:15] He dyed for our Sins, according to the Scriptures; and he was buried, and he rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures. [1 Cor. 15:3,4]
Concerning the End and Use of that Appearance.
God sent his own Son in the Likeness of sinful Flesh, and for Sin condemned Sin in the Flesh [Rom. 8:3] For this Purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the Works of the Devil [1 John 3:8] Being manifested to take away our Sins [1 John 3:5] For he gave himself for us, an Offering and a Sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling Savour [Eph. 5:2] Having obtained Eternal Redemption for us [Heb. 9:12] And through the Eternal Spirit offered up himself without spot unto God, to purge our Consciences from dead Works, to serve the living God [Heb. 9:14] He was the Lamb that was slain from the Foundation of the World [Rev. 5:8,12;13:8] Of whom the Fathers did all drink; for they drank of that Spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ [1 Cor. 10:1-4] Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an Example, that we should follow his Steps [1 Pet. 2:21] For we are to bear about in the Body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the Life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body, being alway delivered unto Death for Jesus sake, that the Life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our Flesh [2 Cor. 4:10-11] That we may know him, and the Power of his Resurrection, and the Fellowship of his Sufferings, being made conformable to his Death. [Phil 3:10]
Concerning the Inward Manifestation of Christ.
God dwelleth with the Contrite and Humble in Spirit [Isa. 57:15] For he said, he will dwell in them, and walk in them [2 Cor. 6:16] And Christ standeth at the Door, and knocketh; if any man hear his Voice, and open the Door, he will come unto him, and sup with him, and he with him [Rev. 3:20] And therefore ought we to Examine our own selves, and prove our own selves, knowing how that Christ is in us, except we be Reprobates [2 Cor. 13:5] For this is the Riches of the Glory of the Mystery, which God would make known among (or rather IN) the Gentiles, Christ within, the Hope of Glory. [Col. 1:27]
Concerning the New Birth.
Except a Man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God [John 3:3] Therefore ought we to put off the Old Man with his Deeds, and put on the New Man, which is renewed in Knowledge after the image of him that created him, and which after God is created in Righeousness and true Holiness. [Eph. 4:21-22; Col. 3:10] For henceforth know we no man after the Flesh; yea, though we have known Christ after the Flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more [2 Cor. 5:16] For if any Man be in Christ, he is a new Creature, old things are past away; behold, all things are become new [2 Cor. 5:17] For such have put on the Lord Jesus Christ [Rom. 13:14] And are renewed in the spirit of their minds [Eph. 4:23] Sith as many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ [Gal. 3:27] Being born again, not of corruptible Seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever [1 Pet. 1:23] And Glory in nothing, save in the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the World is crucified unto them, and they unto the world [Gal. 6:14] For in Christ Jesus, neither Circumcision availeth any thing, nor Uncircumcision, but a new Creature. [Gal. 5:6]
Concerning the Unity of the Saints with Christ.
He that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one [Heb. 2:11] For by the exceeding great and precious Promises that are given them, they are made Partakers of the divine Nature [2 Pet. 1:4] Because for this End prayed Christ, that they all might be one, as the Father is in him, and he in the Father, that they also might be one, in them; and the Glory which he had gotten from the Father, he gave them, that they might be one, even as the Father and he is one: Christ in the Saints, and the Father in Christ, that they might be made perfect in one. [John 17:21-23]
Concerning the Universal Love and Grace of God to all.
God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have Everlasting Life [John 3:16] And in this was manifested the Love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten Son, that we might live through him [1 John 4:9] So that if any Man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous; and he is the Propitiation for our Sins; and not for ours only, but also for the Sins of the whole world [1 John 2:1-2] For by the Grace of God he hath tasted Death for every man [Heb. 2:9] And gave himself a Ransom for all, to be testified in due Time [1 Tim. 2:6] Willing all Men to be saved, and to come to the Knowledge of the Truth [1 Tim. 2:4] Not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to Repentance [2 Pet. 3:9] For God sent not his Son into the World to condemn the World, but that the World through him might be saved [John 3:17] And Christ came a Light into the World, that whosoever believeth in him should not abide in Darkness [John 12:46] Therefore, as by the Offence of one Judgment came upon all Men to condemnation; even so by the Righteousness of one, the free Gift came upon all Men to Justification of Life. [Rom. 5:18]
Concerning the Light that enlighteneth every man.
The Gospel was preached to every Creature under Heaven [Col. 1:23] which Gospel is the power of God unto Salvation to them that believe [Rom. 1:16] And if it be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the God of this World hath blinded the Minds of them which believe not, lest the Light of the glorious Gospel of Christ should shine into them [2 Cor. 4:3-4] And this is the Condemnation, that Light is come into the World, and Men love Darkness rather than Light, because their Deeds are Evil [John 3:19] And this was the true Light which lightneth every Man that cometh into the World [John 1:9] By which all things that are reproveable are made manifest: for whatsoever maketh manifest is Light [Eph. 5:13] Every one that doth Evil hateth the Light, neither cometh to the Light, lest his Deeds should be reproved; but he that doth Truth, cometh to the Light that his Deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God [John 3:20-21] And they that walk in the Light, as Christ is in the Light, have Fellowship one with another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth them from all Sin [1 John 1:7] Therefore ought we to believe in the Light, while we have the Light, that we may be the Children of the Light [John 12:36] Therefore to Day, if we will hear his Voice, let us not harden our Hearts [Heb. 4:7] For Christ wept over Jerusalem, saying, If thou hadst known; even thou, at least in this thy Day, the Things which belong unto thy Peace, but now they are hid from thine Eyes. [Luke 19:42] And he would often have gathered her Children; as a Hen gathereth her Chickens; but they would not [Matt. 23:37] for the stiff-necked and uncircumcised in Heart and Ears do always resist the Holy Ghost: [Acts 7:51] And are of those that rebel against the Light [Job 24:13] Therefore God’s Spirit will not always strive with Man [Gen. 6:3] For the Wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all Ungodliness and Unrighteousness of Men, who hold the Truth in unrighteousness [Rom. 1:18] Because what is to be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them [Rom. 1:19] And a Manifestation of the Spirit is given to every Man to profit withal [1 Cor. 12:7] For the Grace of God that brings Salvation hath appeared to all Men, teaching us, that denying Ungodliness and Worldly Lusts, we should live Soberly, Righteously, and Godly in this present World [Tit. 2:11-12] And this Word of his Grace is able to build up, and give an Inheritance among all those that are Sanctified [Acts 20:32] For the Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two edged Sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the Soul and Spirit, and of the Joints and Marrow, and is a Discerner of the Thoughts and Intents of the Heart [Heb. 4:12] This is that more sure Word of Prophecy, whereunto we do well that we take heed, as unto a Light that shineth in a dark place, until the Day dawn, and the Day-Star arise in the heart [2 Pet. 1:19] And this is the word of Faith which the Apostles Preached, which is nigh in the Mouth and in the Heart [Rom. 10:8] For God, who commanded Light to shine out of Darkness, hath shined in our Hearts, to give the Light of the Knowledge of the Glory of God in the Face of Jesus Christ [2 Cor. 4:6] But we have this Treasure in earthen Vessels, that the excellency of the Power may be of God [2 Cor. 4:7] and not of us, for the Kingdom of God cometh not by Observation, but is within us. [Luke 17:20-21]
Concerning Faith and Justification.
Faith is the Substance of things hoped for, and the Evidence of things not seen [Heb. 11:1] Without which it is impossible to please God [Heb. 11:6] Therefore we are justified by Faith, which worketh by Love [Gal. 5:6] For Faith without Works, being dead, is by Works made perfect [Jas. 2:22,26] By the Deeds of the Law there shall no Flesh be justified [Rom. 3:20] Nor yet by the Works of Righteousness, which we have done; but according to his Mercy, we are saved by the Washing of Regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost [Tit. 3:5] For we are both washed, sanctified and justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. [1 Cor. 6:11]
Concerning Good Works.
If we live after the Flesh, we shall dye; but if we through the Spirit do mortifie the Deeds of the Body, we shall live [Rom. 8:13] For they which believe in God, must be careful to maintain good Works [Tit. 3:8] For God will render to every Man according to his Deeds: acording to his Righteous Judgment to them, who by patient Continuance in well-doing, seek for Glory, Honour, and Immortality, Eternal Life [Rom. 2:6-7] For such are counted worthy of the Kingdom of God [2 Thess. 1:5] And cast not away their Confidence, which hath great Recompence of Reward [Heb. 10:35] Blessed then are they that do his Commandments, that they may have Right to the Tree of Life, and may enter in through the Gates into the City. [Rev. 22:14]
Sin shall not have Dominion over such as are not under the Law, but under Grace [Rom. 6:14] For there is no Condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the Flesh, but after the Spirit; for the Law of the Spirit of Life, maketh free from the Law of Sin and Death [Rom. 8:1-2] For such are become dead unto Sin, and alive unto Righteousness; and being made free from Sin are become Servants of Righteousness [Rom. 6:2,18] Therefore ought we to be perfect, as our Heavenly Father is perfect [Matt. 5:48] For the Yoak of Christ is easie, and his Burthen is light [Matt. 11:30] And his Commandments are not grievous [1 John 5:3] And whosoever will enter into Life, must keep the Commandments [Matt. 19:17] Hereby do we know that we know God, if we keep his Commandments [1 John 2:3] He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his Commandments is a lyar, and the Truth is not in him [1 John 2:4] Whosoever abideth in him, sinneth not; whosoever sinneth, hath not seen him, neither known him. [1 John 3:6] Let no Man deceive us; he that doth Righteousness is Righteous, even as he is Righteous; He that committeth Sin is of the Devil: whosoever is born of God, doth not commit Sin; for his Seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God [1 John 3:7-9] For not every one that saith, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doth the will of the Father, which is in Heaven [Matt. 7:21] Circumcision is nothing, & Uncircumcision is nothing; but the keeping of the Commandments of God. [1 Cor. 7:19]
Concerning Perseverance and Falling from Grace.
We ought to give Diligence to make our Calling and Election sure, which things if we do, we shall never fall [2 Pet. 1:10] For even Paul kept under his Body, and brought it into Subjection, lest by any Means, when he preached to others, he himself become a Cast-away [1 Cor. 9:27] Let us therefore take heed, lest there be in any of us an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God [Heb. 3:12] Likewise, let us labour to enter into that Rest, lest any man fall after the same example of Unbelief [Heb. 4:11] For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the Heavenly Gift, and were made Partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted of the good Word of God, and the Powers of the World to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance [Heb. 6:4-6] For he that abideth not in Christ, is cast forth, and is withered [John 15:16] Yet such as overcometh he will make as Pillars in the Temple of his God, & they shall go no more out [Rev. 3:12] And these are perswaded, that nothing shall be able to separate them from the Love of God, which is in Christ Jesus. [Rom. 8:38]
Concerning the Church and Ministry.
The Church of God is the Pillar and Ground of Truth [1 Tim. 3:15] Whereof the Dear Son of God is the Head [Col. 1:18] From which all the Body by Joints and Bands, having Nourishment ministred, and knit together, increaseth with the Increase of God [Col. 2:19] Which Church of God is, them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus [1 Cor. 1:2] Who when he ascended up on high, gave Gifts unto Men: And he gave some Apostles, some Prophets, some Evangelists, some Pastors and Teachers, for the perfecting of the Saints, for the Work of the Ministry [Eph. 4:8,11-12] Who ought to be blameless, vigilant, sober, of good Behaviour, given to Hospitality, apt to teach; not given to Wine, no Strikers, not greedy of filthy Lucre, but patient: not Brawlers, not covetous [1 Tim. 3:2-3] Lovers of good Men, sober, just, holy, temperate, holding fast the Faith, as they have been taught, that they may be able by sound Doctrine both to exhort and to convince Gain-sayers [Tit. 1:8-9] Taking heed to themselves and to the Flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made them Overseers, to feed the Church of God [Acts 20:28] Taking the Oversight thereof, not by Constraint, but willingly; not for filthy Lucre, but of a ready Mind, neither as being Lords over God’s Heritage, but as being Ensamples to the Flock [1 Pet. 5:2-3] And such Elders as rule well, are to be counted worthy of double Honour, especially they who labour in the Word and Doctrine [1 Tim. 5:17] And to be esteemed very highly in Love for their Works sake [1 Thess. 5:13] As every Man hath received the Gift, so ought the same to be minstred: if any Man speak, let him speak as the Oracles of God; if any Man minister, let him do it, as of the Ability which God giveth [1 Pet. 4:10-11] Preaching the Gospel, not with the wisdom of Words, lest the Cross of Christ be made of none Effect [1 Cor. 1:17] Nor yet with enticing Words of Man's Wisdom, but in Demonstration of the Spirit and of Power; that the Faith may not stand in the Wisdom of Men, but in the Power of God [1 Cor. 2:4-5] Howbeit such spake Wisdom among them that are Perfect; yet not the Wisdom of this World, nor of the Princes of this World, which cometh to nought; but they speak the Wisdom of God in a Mystery, even the hidden Wisdom, which God ordained before the World to their Glory [1 Cor. 2:6-7] Which things they also speak, not in the words which man's Wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth [1 Cor. 2:13] For it is not they that speak, but the Holy Ghost, or Spirit of the Father that speaketh in them [Matt. 10:20] Who if they sow spiritual things, ought to reap carnal things; for so the Lord hath ordained, that they which preach the Gospel, should live of the Gospel: for the Scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzle the Mouth of the Ox that treadeth out the Corn; and the Labourer is worthy of his Reward [1 Cor. 9:11,14,9] Yet a necessity is laid upon them; yea, Wo is unto them, if they preach not the Gospel; and their Reward is, that when they preach the Gospel, they make the Gospel of Christ without charge [1 Cor. 9:16-18] Not coveting any Man's Silver, or Gold, or Apparel; but their Hands minister to their Necessities, that so labouring, they may support the Weak; remembring the Words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, Its more blessed to give, than to receive [Acts 20:33-35] For they are not of the greedy Dogs that can never have enough [Isa. 56:11] Nor of the Shepherds that look to their own Way, every one of his Gain from his Quarter. [Isa. 56:11] That feed themselves, and not the Flock [Ezek. 34:8] That make the People err, biting with their Teeth, and crying Peace, and preparing War against all such as put not in their Mouthes, teaching for Hire, and divining for Money [Mic. 3:5,11] Nor yet of those which teach things which they ought not for filthy Lucres sake [Tit. 1:11] That run greedily after the Error of Balaam for reward, loving the Wages of Unrighteousness [2 Pet. 2:15] And through Covetousness, with feigned Words, making Merchandize of Souls [2 Pet. 2:3] Men of corrupt Minds, destitute of the Truth, supposing that Gain is Godliness [1 Tim. 6:5] But they know that Godliness with Contentment is great Gain [1 Tim. 6:6] and having Food and Rayment, they are therewith content. [1 Tim. 6:8]
The Hour cometh, and now is, when the true Worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him [John 4:23] God is a Spirit; and they which worship him, must worship him in Spirit and in Truth [John 4:24] For the Lord is nigh to all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in Truth [Psal. 145:18] He is far from the wicked; but he heareth the Prayer of the Righteous [Prov. 15:29] And this is the Confidence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his Will, he heareth us [1 John 5:14] What is it then? We must pray with the Spirit, and with the Understanding also; we must sing with the Spirit, and with the Understanding also [1 Cor. 14:15] Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our Infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for, as we ought; but the Spirit it self maketh Intercession for us with Groanings, which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the Heart, knoweth what is the Mind of the Spirit, because he maketh Intercession for the Saints according to the will of God. [Rom. 8:26-27]
As there is One Lord, One Faith, so there is One Baptism [Eph. 4:5] which doth also now save us; not the putting away of the Filth of the Flesh, but the answer of a Good Conscience towards God, by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ [1 Pet. 3:21-22] For John indeed baptized with Water, but Christ with the Holy Ghost and with Fire [Matt. 3:11] Therefore as many as are baptized into Jesus Christ, are baptized into his Death; and are buried with him by Baptism into Death, that like as Christ was raised up from the Dead by the Glory of the Father, even so they also should walk in Newness of Life [Rom. 6:3-4] Having put on Christ. [Gal. 3:27]
Concerning Eating of Bread and Wine; Washing of one another's Feet; Abstaining from things Strangled, & from Blood; and Anointing of the Sick with Oyl.
The Lord Jesus, the same Night in which he was betrayed, took Bread, and when he had given Thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat, this is my Body which is broken for you; this do in Remembrance of me: After the same manner also he took the Cup, when he had supped, saying, This Cup is the New Testament in my Blood; this do ye, as oft as ye drink it in Remembrance of me; for, as oft as ye do eat this Bread, and drink this Cup, ye do shew forth the Lord's Death till he come [1 Cor. 11:23-26] Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his Hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God, he ariseth from Supper, and laid aside his Garments, and took a Towel and girded himself; after that he poured Water into a Bason, and began to wash the Disciples Feet, and to wipe them with the Towel wherewith he was girded: So after he had washed their Feet, and had taken his Garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done unto you? Ye call me Master and Lord, and ye say well; for so I am; If then I your Lord and Master have washed your Feet, ye also ought to wash one another's Feet; for I have given you Example; that ye should do as I have done unto you [John 13:3-5,12-15] For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us, to lay upon you no greater Burden than these Necessary Things, That ye abstain from Meats offered to Idols, from Blood, and from things Strangled, and from Fornication; from which if ye keep your selves, ye do well [Acts 15:28-29] Is any man sick among you, let him call for the Elders of the Church, and let them Pray over him, anointing him with Oyl. [James 5:14]
Concerning the Liberty of such Christians as are come to know the Substance, as to the Using, or not Using of these Rites, and of the Observation of Dayes.
The Kingdom of God is not Meat and Drink; but Righteousness, and Peace, and Joy in the Holy Ghost [Rom. 14:17] Let no man therefore Judge us in Meat or Drink, or in Respect of an Holy Day, or of the New Moon, or of the Sabbath days [Col. 2:16] For if we be dead with Christ from the Rudiments of the World, why, as though living in the World, are we subject to Ordinances? Let us not touch, or taste, or handle, (which all are to perish with the Using) after the Commandments and Doctrines of Men [Col. 2:20-22] For now, after we have known God, or rather are known of him, why should we turn again unto the Weak and Beggarly Elements, or desire again to be in Bondage to observe Dayes, and Months, and Times, and Years, lest Labour have been bestowed on us in vain [Gal. 4:9-11] If one man esteem a Day above another, another esteemeth every day alike; let every man be fully perswaded in his own Mind: He that regardeth a Day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the Day to the Lord, he doth not regard it. [Rom. 14:5,6]
Concerning Swearing, Fighting & Persecution.
It hath been said by them of old, Thou shalt not Forswear thy self; but shalt perform unto the Lord thine Oathes: But Christ says unto us, Swear not at all, neither by Heaven, for it is God's Throne; nor by the Earth, for it is his Foot-stool; neither by Jerusalem, for it is the City of the great King; neither shalt thou swear by thy Head, because thou canst not make one Hair white or black; but let your Communication be Yea, Yea; Nay, Nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of Evil [Matt. 5:33-37] And James chargeth us, Above all things not to swear, neither by Heaven, neither by the Earth, neither by any other Oath; but let your Yea be Yea, and your Nay, Nay, lest ye fall into Condemnation [Jas. 5:12] Though we walk in the Flesh, we are not to War after the Flesh; for the Weapons of our Warfare are not to be carnal, but mighty through God, to the pulling down of strong Holds, casting down Imaginations, and every High Thing that exalteth itself against the Knoweldge of God, and bringing into Captivity every Thought to the Obedience of Christ [2 Cor. 10:3-5] For Wars and Fightings come of the Lusts, that War in the Members [Jas. 4:1-2] Therefore Christ commands, Not to resist Evil; but whosoever will smite on the right Cheek, to turn the other also [Matt. 5:39] Because Christians are Lambs among Wolves [Luke 10:3] Therefore are they hated of all Men for Christ's sake [Matt. 10:22] And all that will live Godly in Christ Jesus must suffer Persecution [2 Tim. 3:12] Such are Blessed; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven [Matt. 5:10] For though they have lost their Lives, yet shall they save them [Matt. 16:25] And because they have confessed Christ before men, he will also confess them before the Angels of God [Luke 12:8-9] We ought not then to fear them which kill the Body, but are not able to kill the Soul; but rather him, which is able to destroy both Soul and Body in hell. [Matt. 10:28]
Let every Soul be subject to the Higher Powers; for there is no Power but of God: the Powers that be, are ordained of God; Whosoever therefore resists the Power, resists the Ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves Damnation: For Rulers are not a Terror to Good Works, but to the Evil; wilt thou then not be afraid of the Power, do that which is good, and thou shalt have Praise of the same; for he is the Minister of God to thee for Good: But if thou do that which is Evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the Sword in vain; for he is the Minister of God; a Revenger to execute Wrath upon him that doth Evil: Wherefore we must needs be subject, not only for Wrath, but also for Conscience sake; for, for this Cause pay we also Tribute; for they are God's Ministers, attending continually upon this very thing: Render therefore to all their Dues, Tribute to whom Tribute is due, Custom to whom Custom, Fear to whom Fear, Honor to whom Honor [Rom. 13:1-7] Therefore are we to submit our selves to every Ordinance of Man for the Lord's sake, whether it be to the King, as Supream; or unto Governours, as unto them that are sent by him, for the Punishment of Evil-Doers, and for the Praise of them that do Well; for so is the Will of God, that with Well-doing we may put to Silence the Ignorance of Foolish Men [1 Pet. 2:13-15] Yet it is right in the Sight of God, to hearken unto him more than unto them [Acts 4:19] And though they straightly command us, not to teach in Christ's Name, we ought to obey God rather than Men. [Acts 5:28-29]
Concerning the Resurrection.
There shall be a Resurrection of the Dead, both of the Just and Unjust [Acts 24:15] They that have done Good, unto the Resurrection of Life; and they that have done Evil, unto the Resurrection of Damnation [John 5:29] Flesh and Blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, neither doth Corruption inherit Incorruption [1 Cor. 15:50] Nor is that Body sown that shall be; but God gives it a Body as it has pleased him, and to every Seed his own Body: It is sown in Corruption, it is raised in Incorruption; It is sown in Dishonor, it is raised in Glory; It is sown in Weakness, it is raised in Power; It is sown a Natural Body, it is raised a Spiritual Body. [1 Cor. 15:37-38,42-44]
Note: The Seraphic Church accepts the Articles of Faith written by Matthew Fox and teach in accordance with them. I added the headings, links, and notes to the 95 Theses to add clarity to the text and provide a way to explore further resources on these topics.
by Matthew Fox
Like Luther, I present 95 theses or in my case, 95 faith observations drawn from my 64 years of living and practicing religion and spirituality. I trust I am not alone in recognizing these truths. For me they represent a return to our origins, a return to the spirit and the teaching of Jesus and his prophetic ancestors, and of the Christ which was a spirit that Jesus’ presence and teaching unleashed.
1. God is both Mother and Father.
2. At this time in history, God is more Mother than Father because the feminine is most missing and it is important to bring gender balance back.
3. God is always new, always young and always “in the beginning.”
4. God the Punitive Father is not a God worth honoring but a false god and an idol that serves empire-builders. The notion of a punitive, all-male God, is contrary to the full nature of the Godhead who is as much female and motherly as it is masculine and fatherly.
5. “All the names we give to God come from an understanding of ourselves.” (Eckhart) Thus people who worship a punitive father are themselves punitive.
6. Theism (the idea that God is ‘out there’ or above and beyond the universe) is false. All things are in God and God is in all things (panentheism).
Religion and Spirituality
7. Everyone is born a mystic and a lover who experiences the unity of things and all are called to keep this mystic or lover of life alive.
8. All are called to be prophets which is to interfere with injustice.
9. Wisdom is Love of Life (See the Book of Wisdom: “This is wisdom: to love life” and Christ in John’s Gospel: “I have come that you may have life and have it in abundance.”)
10. God loves all of creation and science can help us more deeply penetrate and appreciate the mysteries and wisdom of God in creation. Science is no enemy of true religion.
11. Religion is not necessary but spirituality is.
12. “Jesus does not call us to a new religion but to life.” (Bonhoeffer) Spirituality is living life at a depth of newness and gratitude, courage and creativity, trust and letting go, compassion and justice.
13. Spirituality and religion are not the same thing any more than education and learning, law and justice, or commerce and stewardship are the same thing.
14. Christians must distinguish between God (masculine and history, liberation and salvation) and Godhead (feminine and mystery, being and non-action).
15. Christians must distinguish between Jesus (an historical figure) and Christ (the experience of God-in-all-things).
16. Christians must distinguish between Jesus and Paul.
17. Jesus, not unlike many spiritual teachers, taught us that we are sons and daughters of God and are to act accordingly by becoming instruments of divine compassion.
Justice and Sustainability
18. Ecojustice is a necessity for planetary
survival and human ethics and without it we are crucifying the Christ
all over again in the form of destruction of forests, waters,
species, air and soil.
19. Sustainability is another word for justice, for what is just is sustainable and what is unjust is not.
20. A preferential option for the poor, as found in the base community movement, is far closer to the teaching and spirit of Jesus than is a preferential option for the rich and powerful as found in, for example, Opus Dei.
21. Economic Justice requires the work of creativity to birth a system of economics that is global, respectful of the health and wealth of the earth systems and that works for all.
22. Celebration and worship are key to human community and survival and such reminders of joy deserve new forms that speak in the language of the twenty-first century.
23. Sexuality is a sacred act and a spiritual experience, a theophany (revelation of the Divine), a mystical experience. It is holy and deserves to be honored as such.
24. Creativity is both humanity’s greatest gift and its most powerful weapon for evil and so it ought to be both encouraged and steered to humanity’s most God-like activity which all religions agree is: Compassion.
The Church and Her Priesthood
25. There is a priesthood of all workers (all who are doing good work are midwives of grace and therefore priests) and this priesthood ought to be honored as sacred and workers should be instructed in spirituality in order to carry on their ministry effectively.
26. Empire-building is incompatible with Jesus’ life and teaching and with Paul’s life and teaching and with the teaching of holy religions.
27. Ideology is not theology and ideology endangers the faith because it replaces thinking with obedience, and distracts from the responsibility of theology to adapt the wisdom of the past to today’s needs. Instead of theology it demands loyalty oaths to the past.
28. Loyalty is not a sufficient criterion for ecclesial office—intelligence and proven conscience is.
29. No matter how much the television media fawn over the pope and papacy because it makes good theater, the pope is not the church but has a ministry within the church. Papalolotry is a contemporary form of idolatry and must be resisted by all believers.
30. Creating a church of Sycophants is not a holy thing. Sycophants (Webster’s dictionary defines them as “servile self-seeking flatterers”) are not spiritual people for their only virtue is obedience. A Society of Sycophants — sycophant clergy, sycophant seminarians, sycophant bishops, sycophant cardinals, sycophant religious orders of Opus Dei, Legioneers of Christ and Communion and Liberation, and the sycophant press--do not represent in any way the teachings or the person of the historical Jesus who chose to stand up to power rather than amassing it.
31. Vows of pontifical secrecy are a certain way to corruption and cover-up in the church as in any human organization.
Original sin is an ultimate expression of a punitive father God and is
not a Biblical teaching. But original blessing (goodness and grace) is
biblical. (Read More)
33. The term “original wound” better describes the
separation humans experience on leaving the womb and entering the world,
a world that is often unjust and unwelcoming than does the term
“original sin.” (Read More)
Tradition and Unity
34. Fascism and the compulsion to control is not the path of peace or compassion and those who practice fascism are not fitting models for sainthood. The seizing of the apparatus of canonization to canonize fascists is a stain on the church.
35. The Spirit of Jesus and other prophets calls people to simple life styles in order that “the people may live.”
36. Dancing, whose root meaning in many indigenous cultures is the same as breath or spirit, is a very ancient and appropriate form in which to pray.
37. To honor the ancestors and celebrate the communion of
saints does not mean putting heroes on pedestals but rather honoring
them by living out lives of
imagination, courage and compassion in our own time, culture and historical moment as they did in theirs.
38. A diversity of interpretation of the Jesus event and the Christ experience is altogether expected and welcomed as it was in the earliest days of the church.
39. Therefore unity of church does not mean conformity. There is unity in diversity. Coerced unity is not unity.
40. The Holy Spirit is perfectly capable of working through participatory democracy in church structures and hierarchical modes of being can indeed interfere with the work of the Spirit.
Temple of God and the 7 Chakras
41. The body is an awe-filled sacred Temple of God and this does not mean it is untouchable but rather that all its dimensions, well named by the seven charkas, are as holy as the others.
42. Thus our connection with the earth (first chakra) is holy; and our sexuality (second chakra) is holy; and our moral outrage (third chakra) is holy; and our love that stands up to fear (fourth chakra) is holy; and our prophetic voice that speaks out is holy (fifth chakra); and our intuition and intelligence (sixth chakra) are holy; and our gifts we extend to the community of light beings and ancestors (seventh chakra) are holy.
43. The prejudice of rationalism and left-brain located in the head must be balanced by attention to the lower charkas as equal places for wisdom and truth and Spirit to act.
44. The central chakra, compassion, is the test of the health of all the others which are meant to serve it for “by their fruits you will know them” (Jesus).
Joy and Awe
45. “Joy is the human’s noblest act.” (Aquinas) Is our culture and its professions, education and religion, promoting joy?
46. The human psyche is made for the cosmos and will not be satisfied until the two are re-united and awe, the beginning of wisdom, results from this reunion.
The Four Paths
47. The four paths named in the creation spiritual tradition more fully name the mystical/prophetic spiritual journey of Jesus and the Jewish tradition than do the three paths of purgation, illumination and union which do not derive from the Jewish and Biblical tradition.
48. Thus it can be said that God is experienced in experiences of ecstasy, joy, wonder and delight (via positiva).
49. God is experienced in darkness, chaos, nothingness, suffering, silence and in learning to let go and let be (via negativa).
50. God is experienced in acts of creativity and co-creation (via creativa).
51. All people are born creative. It is spirituality’s task to encourage holy imagination for all are born in the “image and likeness” of the Creative One and “the fierce power of imagination is a gift from God.” (Kaballah)
52. If you can talk you can sing; if you can walk you can dance; if you can talk you are an artist. (African proverb and Native American saying)
53. God is experienced in our struggle for justice, healing, compassion and celebration (via transformativa).
The Holy Spirit works through all cultures and all spiritual traditions
and blows “where it wills” and is not the exclusive domain of any one
never has been.
55. God speaks today as in the past through all religions and all cultures and all faith traditions none of which is perfect and an exclusive avenue to truth but all of which can learn from each other.
56. Therefore Interfaith or Deep Ecumenism are a necessary part of spiritual praxis and awareness in our time.
Since the “number one obstacle to interfaith is a bad relationship with
one’s own faith,” (the Dalai Lama) it is important that Christians know
mystical and prophetic tradition, one that is larger than a religion of empire and its punitive father images of God.
Creation and Grace
58. The cosmos is God’s holy Temple and our holy home.
59. Fourteen billion years of evolution and unfolding of the universe bespeak the intimate sacredness of all that is.
60. All that is is holy and all that is is related for all being in our universe began as one being just before the fireball erupted.
61. Interconnectivity is not only a law of physics and of nature but also forms the basis of community and of compassion. Compassion is the working out of our shared interconnectivity both as to our shared joy and our shared suffering and struggle for justice.
62. The universe does not suffer from a shortage of grace and no religious institution is to see its task as rationing grace. Grace is abundant in God’s universe.
63. Creation, Incarnation and Resurrection are continuously happening on a cosmic as well as a personal scale. So too are Life, Death and Resurrection (regeneration and reincarnation) happening on a cosmic scale as well as a personal one.
Love of Life and Love of Death
Biophilia or Love of Life is everyone’s daily task.
Necrophilia or love of death is to be opposed in self and society in all its forms.
66. Evil can happen through every people, every nation, every tribe, and every individual human and so vigilance and self-criticism and institutional criticism are always called for.
67. Not all who call themselves “Christian” deserve that name just as “not all who say ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven” (Jesus).
68. Pedophilia is a terrible wrong but its cover-up by hierarchy is even more despicable.69. Loyalty and obedience are never a greater virtue than conscience and justice.
70. Jesus said nothing about condoms, birth control or homosexuality.
71. A church that is more preoccupied with sexual wrongs than with wrongs of injustice is itself sick.
72. Since homosexuality is found among 464 species and in 8 percent of any given human population, it is altogether natural for those who are born that way and is a gift from God and nature to the greater community.
73. Homophobia in any form is a serious sin against love of neighbor, a sin of ignorance of the richness and diversity of God’s creation as well as a sin of exclusion.
Sin and Sustainability
74. Racism, Sexism and militarism are also serious sins.
75. Poverty for the many and luxury for the few is not right or sustainable.
76. Consumerism is today’s version of gluttony and needs to be confronted by creating an economic system that works for all peoples and all earth’s creatures.
Inner and Outer Work
77. Seminaries as we know them, with their excessive emphasis on left-brain work, often kill and corrupt the mystical soul of the young instead of encouraging the mysticism and prophetic consciousness that is there. They should be replaced by wisdom schools.
78. Inner work is required of us all. Therefore spiritual practices of meditation should be available to all and this helps in calming the reptilian brain. Silence or contemplation and learning to be still can and ought to be taught to all children and adults.
79. Outer work needs to flow from our inner work just as action flows from non-action and true action from being.
80. A wise test of right action is this: What is the effect of this action on people seven generations from today?
81. Another test of right action is this: Is what I am doing, is what we are doing, beautiful or not?
82. Eros, the passion for living, is a virtue that combats acedia or the lack of energy to begin new things and is also expressed as depression, cynicism or sloth (also known as “couchpotatoitis”).
Dark Night of the Soul
83. The Dark Night of the Soul descends on us all and the proper response is not addiction such as shopping, alcohol, drugs, TV, sex or religion but rather to be with the darkness and learn from it.
84. The Dark Night of the Soul is a learning place of great depth. Stillness is required.
85. Not only is there a Dark Night of the Soul but also a Dark Night of Society and a Dark Night of our Species.
86. Chaos is a friend and a teacher and an integral part or prelude to new birth. Therefore it is not to be feared or compulsively controlled.
87. Authentic science can and must be one of humanity’s sources of wisdom for it is a source of sacred awe, of childlike wonder, and of truth.
88. When science teaches that matter is “frozen light” (physicist David Bohm) it is freeing human thought from scapegoating flesh as something evil and instead reassuring us that all things are light. This same teaching is found in the Christian Gospels (Christ is the light in all things) and in Buddhist teaching (the Buddha nature is in all things). Therefore, flesh does not sin; it is our choices that are sometimes off center.
89. The proper objects of the human heart are truth and justice (Aquinas) and all people have a right to these through healthy education and healthy government.
The Name of God
90. "God” is only one name for the Divine One and there are an infinite number of names for God and Godhead and still God “has no name and will never be given a name.” (Eckhart)
Highways in and out of the Heart
91. Three highways into the heart are silence and love and grief.
92. The grief in the human heart needs to be attended to by rituals and practices that, when practiced, will lessen anger and allow creativity to flow anew.
93. Two highways out of the heart are creativity and acts of justice and compassion.
Intuition and Intelligence
94. Since angels learn exclusively by intuition, when we develop our powers of intuition we can expect to meet angels along the way.
95. True intelligence includes feeling, sensitivity, beauty, the gift of nourishment and humor which is a gift of the Spirit, paradox, being its sister.