Dr. Edward White, a ministry consultant with the Alban Institute, Bethesda, MD,shared with my former church in Pennsylvaniathat persons of mature Christian faith have eight characteristics:
- Trusts in God’s saving grace and believes firmly in the humanity and divinity of Jesus.
- Experiences a sense of personal well-being, security, and peace.
- Integrates faith and life, seeing work, family, social relationships, and political choices as part of one’s religious life.
- Seeks spiritual growth through study, reflection, prayer, and discussion with others.
- Seeks to be a part of a community of believers in which people give witness to their faith and support and nourish one another. (They show-up for worship and participate in a small group.)
- Holds life-affirming values, including commitments to racial and general equality, affirmation of cultural and religious diversity, and a personal sense of responsibility for the welfare of others.
- Advocates social and global change to bring about greater social justice.
- Serves humanity, consistently and passionately, through acts of love and justice.
These eight core dimensions of faith were identified after interviews with theological scholars, denominational executives, and open-ended surveys with several hundred adults from six participating denominations, and reviews of the literature in psychology and religion. Where are you on your journey toward mature faith?