What I believe and what you believe about God, pain, suffering, evil, and the many other complex mysteries of faith is sometimes difficult to articulate and often in a state of flux. Nonetheless, here are a few things that we believe that will help you understand our vantage point in our discussions. And, by the way, there is room to disagree in our community without being shamed or ridiculed.
We believe in the triune God as revealed in the Old and New Testaments of Holy Scripture. God is one in essence who is manifested to us in three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
We believe that the Bible is God's special revelation. It is divinely inspired. There are very clear teachings in Scripture. There are also many that may seem ambiguous or confusing to people today. When we choose to disagree about Scripture, we should do so in a charitable way.
Holiness, Love, and Salvation
God is holy. God is love. There is no conflict within God's nature. There is no holiness apart from love; there is no true love apart from holiness. God created humans in His own image with whom He desires to have a relationship. God in perfect wisdom chose the best of all possible worlds by allowing human freedom. This free will made sin possible. Once sin came into the world, it resulted in suffering and death for humans as well as the rest of creation.
God made a way of salvation through the sinless life, complete atoning sacrifice, and resurrection of God the Son, Jesus Christ. We do not see this as a divine Father torturing His Son; rather, Jesus freely offered Himself, motivated by His love for all humanity. As the second Adam, He lived a sinless life. Salvation in Christ brings forgiveness from sin, hope, peace, and joy in this lifetime and eternal life in the world to come. We cannot work our way to heaven. We trust in the finished work of Christ for the salvation of our souls. As followers of Christ, we should love our neighbors (and our enemies) and serve them. We should treat others as we would want to be treated. We believe in showing love in tangible ways to the oppressed and poor.
All of our pain and suffering will be redeemed in the world to come. In fact, these sufferings are not worthy of comparison to the glory of which those who know Christ as Savior will enjoy.
References: Genesis 1-3; Isaiah 53; Matthew 28; John 3;
Romans 3-5; Romans 8; Romans 10; Matt. 25