Learn > Theologies
We believe various things about God that shape our community. We call these things guiding theologies. As they’re called, they’re simply guides. They aren’t carved-in-stone checkpoints for community acceptance or sacred bullet points sent from Heaven. Instead, these are things that we think have spiritual, social and pragmatic directives that help to guide us into being a community that lives in the way of Jesus.
As Eikon continues to grow and flourish, we hope to regularly take a look at these guiding theologies to see how they can be tweaked and tuned to best represent the nature of God and the nature of our ever-changing community.
(NOTE: Beyond Jesus as our starting point, these aren’t in an assumed hierarchical order of importance, though we do believe there is a logical flow in this order.)
The life, ministry, mission and values of Jesus directly dictate everything we do, say, and decide. If it does not fit within the context of Jesus, we simply do not let it inform our community. We believe that the most guiding principals of Christ’s life were grace, mercy and love. Because of this, those things shape every aspect of our community.
We don’t view Scripture as a rulebook or law book, but rather; we view Scripture as a guidebook that points toward Truth and the way of Christ. In our community, it will serve as the guide that informs our decisions and guides us in the way we engage others. While we understand that reason and community and experience deeply inform us (though we’re not inherently Wesleyan in theology, the Wesleyan Quadrilateral is a great reference tool), we believe the starting point for living in the way of Jesus is Scripture.
We believe that God breathed life into human beings and created them in his eikon-his image. Because everyone is created in the image of God, we are all uniquely made and are worthy of grace and love and acceptance and equality. No one is valued more or less than anyone else in this community—not the leaders, not the people with greater financial resources and not the people with specific skills or giftings.
We are shaped by and affirm two types of truth. The first is capital “T” Truth, which is truth that comes from the way of Christ. It is truth that is revealed in Scripture, is unchanging and has eternal significance. The second kind is lowercase “t” truth. This is truth that’s an outcome of the fall of humankind. It’s the truth that’s apparent in everyday broken life. Little “t” truth can be ugly or beautiful, harsh or comforting, brutally honest or poetic. Little “t” truth informs the way we live out our big “T”-shaped theologies.
One of the most defining acts of love and grace was when God stepped down from his home in Heaven and became like humans. Bringing humankind back into a redemptive relationship with God was so important that Jesus became like humans in the context of cultural norms: his dwelling place, family structure, workplace, dress standards, vernacular, worship practices, and the list could continue. In summation, Jesus went to and became like the people he was trying to reach. He saw culture as a tool and not an enemy to his message. Likewise, at Eikon, we don’t expect people to become like us or become an Americanized, white, subculture version of Christ. We want to use the culture as a tool to be connect and meet people in relevant contexts.
In our daily lives, we’re often caught in the mundane rut of our bland environment. Our world can often be a grey, concrete blur that is depressingly monotonous. God, though, is a God of beauty. God’s creation is beautiful and diverse. Our goal is to inject our community with beauty that permeates our worship and church culture. By placing a value on the arts, we feel that we’re expressing the beauty and creativity that God created and programmed into human beings.
We believe that as advanced as humans may become, we will always be limited in our understanding and knowledge about God. Because of that reality, our leadership and community want to uphold an atmosphere of theological humility. In other words, no matter of theology is “off the table.” We are open to discuss any doubts, questions, points-of-view or differing theological positions. We believe that some things—as presented in Scripture—are definitive and unchanging, but none of these areas are exempt from further examination and open discussion. One of our defining statements is, “I’m not God and I’m okay with that.”
We believe that isolation is the enemy of God. We most wholly and truly experience Christ when we are doing life together. The Church isn’t simply about a weekly gathering time or a building. Instead, the Church is about a community of people who engage in the way of Christ in a harmony and rhythm of life beyond the “four walls.” We want to place people in situations in which community can be honored and fostered.
In Jesus’ death and resurrection, a Christ pattern was enacted. On one side is death and pain and suffering. Life happens. It’s often hard and full of hurt and uncertainty. On the other side, though, is resurrection. New life occurs. So, to extend the metaphor beyond the literal sense of resurrection, we want resurrection to be found in our community as an invitation to hope and renewal and redemption. In a broken world, God’s plan is restoration of the hurt and broken and oppressed and disparate. We hope to be reflections of the opportunity for resurrection on the other side of pain.
If, like one of our aforementioned guiding theologies state, we are made in the image of God, then we are all equal and valued. With this assertion, we then have a calling and obligation to create a world in which we partner with and look out for the poor and oppressed and disenfranchised and voiceless. If we are truly the body of Christ, then our community will be one of people who serve others and seek out ways to bring justice to the world around us. When we take Jesus’ words and life seriously, we understand that the utmost spiritual and moral test of a community is how it treats the most vulnerable in our society.