In his book, One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow, Scot McKnight explores the centrality of what he calls the “Jesus Creed” found in Mark 12.29-31: “Jesus answered, ‘The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” McKnight writes that he started to recite the Jesus Creed daily and repeatedly in the course of his normal life routine. And this is what he learned, “The aim of accepting Christ, the aim of the believer’s personal practices of piety, and the aim of everything we are called to do is twofold or it is wrong. The aim is that we are to become those who love God and those who love others.” (One.Life, page 48)
The way a follower of Jesus thinks about basic Christian theology (God) and Christian practice (others) is important. Of course, an obvious early question becomes, “What does loving God and others look like in one’s daily routine?” There are many and diverse answers to that question. We value what one denomination has done as a summary of what this might look like. That group has identified ten “core values” which are influenced by their historical commitment to Anabaptist and Pietist understandings of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. [Coming soon to this website: explanations as to what Anabaptism and Pietism are.] Those ten core values are:
- We value the free gift of salvation in Christ Jesus and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.
- We value the Bible as God’s authoritative Word, study it together, and build our lives on its truth.
- We value heartfelt worship that is God-honoring, Spirit-directed, and life-changing.
- We value wholehearted obedience to Christ Jesus through the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit.
- We value integrity in relationships and mutual accountability in an atmosphere of grace, love, and repentance.
- We value an active and loving witness for Christ to all people.
- We value serving others at their point of need, following the example of our Lord Jesus.
- We value all human life and promote forgiveness, understanding, reconciliation, and nonviolent resolution of conflict.
- We value uncluttered lives, which free us to love boldly, give generously, and serve joyfully.
- We confess our dependence on God for everything, and seek to deepen our intimacy with him by living prayerfully.
Those ten short sentences introduce us to complex and exciting implications for the Christian life. If you would like to learn more about them, we suggest you locate a copy of Focusing our Faith, edited by Terry L. Brensinger. And if you are further interested in learning how to better live the Jesus Creed, please journey with us as we learn as well.Jay McDermond