1 Statement of Christian Faith Rev. Dr. Bruce R. Glover 1. Introduction Since my ordination in 1983, I have diligently sought to be faithful to my ordination vows. They have been a touchstone of my call, and I have humbly and faithfully affirmed these vows in the installations of the three Presbyterian Churches I have served as pastor. Additionally, I have intentionally maintained my identity as a minister of word and sacrament (teaching elder) by affirming my Christian faith and ordination vows in each of my Air Force promotion ceremonies to major, lieutenant colonel, and colonel. Since these vows are fundamentally important to my faith journey, I will use them as a framework for this personal statement of faith. 2. Statement of Faith: a. Do you trust in Jesus Christ your Savior, acknowledge him Lord of all and Head of the Church, and through him believe in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? I believe God is triune, eternally existing in three persons of one substance. God's being is a mystery, and not bound by our language, our limited conceptions, time, or space. We know God as both immanent and transcendent, judging and gracious. Only through revelation do people come to understand and profess these mysteries of God. Our history as Christians is holy history, meaning the history of how God enters the course of human events. As God has spoken and worked through the prophets, kings, the patriarchs of Israel, and most fully in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so the triune God is present and active both in our present and future. God the Creator, whom Jesus called "heavenly Father," has created all that exists both what we see and do not see and continues to create through God's dynamic might and grace. God the Redeemer, the Son, is God made flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth for the salvation of humanity. Jesus is fully God and fully man an inexplicable mystery of our faith. Jesus lived a sinless life; preached the good news of God's grace; and ministered to the sick, the poor, the hungry, and the social and political outcasts. Jesus suffered the ridicule, agony, and death of the cross, taking upon Himself the sins of the world. Because He is the offering for our transgressions, we praise Him as the Paschal Lamb. He arose from the dead, conquering for all the power of sin and death. Appearing to believers, he broke bread with them, taught them, and departed to be in the presence of God, the Father. I believe that Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again. God the Sustainer, or Holy Spirit, empowers, persuades, convicts, and comforts all believers as we proceed in our journeys of faith. The Holy Spirit is the power of God working in and through us for ministry in Christ's name. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, people are led and guided to confess faith in the triune God, brought to repentance, and filled with the comforting peace of God. The Holy Spirit's presence is evident through the preaching of both past and present prophets. We also experience the Holy Spirit through the formation and equipping of the Church's mission, acts of liberation and reconciliation, and the discernment of God's Word in scripture. b. Do you accept the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be, by the Holy Spirit, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the Church universal, and God s Word to you? Scripture, by the Holy Spirit, is the one authoritative witness to the Word incarnate, Jesus Christ. The Bible witnesses to the history of salvation, in which we as the Church are presently involved. As such, it is the authoritative guide for faith and practice, both for our individual as well as corporate life. Written in ancient languages and within another era, the Bible is understood and interpreted with the aid of critical, scholarly exegetical methods.
2 c. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the essential tenets of the Reformed faith as expressed in the confessions of our church as authentic and reliable expositions of what Scripture leads us to believe and do, and will you be instructed and led by those confessions as you lead the people of God? I believe the eleven confessions of our church are expressions of faith by faithful Christians seeking to discern and express the Spirit's guidance in a particular time and milieu. They enable us to wrestle with the challenges of our era, as we are likewise guided by the fundamental beliefs of the Reformed tradition: the sovereignty of God, Sola Fide, Soli Deo Gloria, Solus Christus, Sola Scriptura, and Sola Gratia. Guided by these principles of faith, our church can boldly affirm that we are reformed, yet always reforming not in fundamental beliefs, but in form and mission. The following five ordination vows are addressed below, as well as in my Personal Faith Journey: d. Will you fulfill your ministry in obedience to Jesus Christ, under the authority of Scripture, and be continually guided by our confessions? e. Will you be governed by our church s polity, and will you abide by its discipline? Will you be a friend among your colleagues in ministry, working with them, subject to the ordering of God s Word and Spirit? f. Will you in your own life seek to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, love your neighbors, and work for the reconciliation of the world? g. Do you promise to further the peace, unity, and purity of the church? h. Will you pray for and seek to serve the people with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love? I believe in the Church Universal, which was begun by Jesus Christ through the Apostles and sustained by God. The Church is the body of Christ, the gathering of believers to worship and praise God; to hear the Word; and to strengthen, refine, and proclaim their faith in Christ. The Church is called and commissioned to proclaim to all creation, by word and deed, the liberating and reconciling power of the gospel of Jesus Christ as that unique expression of love which transforms futility into hope, depression into joy, bondage into freedom, tyranny into justice, and sacrifice into bounty. i. Will you be a faithful teaching elder, proclaiming the good news in Word and Sacrament, teaching faith and caring for people? Will you be active in government and discipline, serving in the councils of the church; and in your ministry will you try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ? I believe the Lord instituted two sacraments, which are visible signs and seals of invisible grace. Baptism, both of adults and infants, symbolizes one's engrafting into the body of Christ. As a sign and seal of our baptism, water symbolizes our purification and rebirth in and through Jesus Christ. The baptism of infants is a paradigm of how God's grace comes to us all. Before we are able to recognize and name it, God loves us. In the Lord's Supper Christ's real, spiritual presence is offered for the nourishment of our faith, service, and worship. Responding faithfully, we remember our total dependency upon God for salvation, celebrate the benefits of His death which we share, and participate in the body of Christ, the Church throughout all ages.
3 Personal Faith Journey Rev. Dr. Bruce R. Glover a. Do you trust in Jesus Christ your Savior, acknowledge him Lord of all and Head of the Church, and through him believe in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Throughout my life I have known God to be loving and gracious. I have always been taught and I have always celebrated that Jesus loves me, forgives me, and leads me. As an infant I was welcomed into the communion of saints in baptism. From my loving Christian parents and family, my Christian friends throughout my schooling, my home church, caring mentors, congregations I have served, scripture I've read, sermons I've researched and preached, my faithful wife of thirtyfour years, and two loving daughters, I have grown in my commitment and love of Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Likewise, through confirmation and ordination I have joyfully proclaimed that I am and hope always to be a humble disciple of Jesus Christ. b. Do you accept the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be, by the Holy Spirit, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the Church universal, and God s Word to you? I have been blessed to attend both Princeton Theological Seminary and McCormick Theological Seminary, and at each school learn from consummate Bible professors. In addition, I have enjoyed many other teachers, preachers, and Bible study programs (e.g. Kerygma) by which my love of scripture has been ignited and nurtured. I am immensely grateful for teachers during each decade of my life who helped God's Word live in me. While in college, I had the rare opportunity to live in Iran for six months. This overseas study program of Lewis and Clark College was to be the first of several opportunities in my life to encounter a radically different culture. During this challenging season of life, while engrossed in Islamic culture, I solidified and affirmed what I had known all my life to that point: Jesus Christ is my King and Lord, and my life goal is to serve Him. Two scriptures that are particularly important to me are the "I am" sayings of Jesus in the Gospel of John and Jeremiah 29:11 ("For surely I know the plans I have for you... plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.") In moments of despair, challenge, and disappointment, these passages of scripture have restored hope and joy in my life. c. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the essential tenets of the Reformed faith as expressed in the confessions of our church as authentic and reliable expositions of what Scripture leads us to believe and do, and will you be instructed and led by those confessions as you lead the people of God? One of the great joys of my ministry has been leading the people of God in worship. Studying preaching in both college and seminary, the public proclamation of God's Word has been a life-long study and pursuit. One sermon series I particularly enjoyed was on the confessions of the church. These sermons gave me new appreciation for confessions that are commonly less familiar, like the Theological Declaration of Barmen. As a student of WWII, I am greatly moved by the confession's resolute stance against Hitler and the Nazi's confrontation of God's sovereignty. I have also appreciated how the Reformed faith has impacted the development of western nations and the U.S.A. in particular. It is a source of denominational pride and gratitude that the Presbyterian Church was so influential in the development of our nation's form of government and our national character. d. Will you fulfill your ministry in obedience to Jesus Christ, under the authority of Scripture, and be continually guided by our confessions?
4 I have served Jesus Christ as an ordained Presbyterian Minister of the Word and Sacrament (teaching elder) for thirty-five years. Throughout my nearly twelve years as a parish pastor and over 31 years as a military chaplain (including active duty and reserve time), I have sought out enrichment experiences that nurtured my love and discipleship of Jesus. Conferences of the church, enrichment opportunities provided by the Presbyterian Council for Military Chaplains, and other spiritual and family renewal experiences were essential for me to remain focused on Jesus as the one for whom I have been called to live and serve. e. Will you be governed by our church s polity, and will you abide by its discipline? Will you be a friend among your colleagues in ministry, working with them, subject to the ordering of God s Word and Spirit? I have been an active and responsible member of five different presbyteries in which I have served during my thirty-five years of ministry. While serving as a pastor of three separate congregations in Montana and Missouri, I was involved with leading presbytery youth ministry programming, financial development campaigns, and new pastors' enrichment. A support group of younger pastors in Inland Northwest Presbytery was tremendously enjoyable for me while I was stationed in Spokane. The monthly support meetings and recreational outings we did together forged bonds of friendship that endure many years later. As a chaplain, I have faithfully served under the oversight of the Presbyterian Council for Military Chaplains and Military Personnel (PCCMP). This endorsing body of the Presbyterian Church has been an essential life-line for our family as we have served in seven states and two foreign countries. As required, I have submitted regular reports to PCCMP and my presbytery. One of my family's favorite events while we were serving on active duty were the PCCMP annual chaplain and family events. The speakers were fantastic, the fellowship enriching, and our family time restorative. f. Will you in your own life seek to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, love your neighbors, and work for the reconciliation of the world? In my counseling, preaching, family life, and friendships I have sought to fulfill this ordination vow. I have also been blessed to earn a master's degree from George Mason University in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. As part of this degree program, I worked as an intern for the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy in Washington, DC. This unique organization has had great success in helping governments and officials realize the importance of faith in building peace and reconciling differences between faith groups. g. Do you promise to further the peace, unity, and purity of the church? The Lord has blessed me with several opportunities to help congregations work through differences and experience healing. On a presbytery level, I have faithfully participated and served in positions of leadership, seeking the greater good and mission of the church. As a military chaplain, I have had the exceptional opportunity to bridge cultural and denominational divides to create Christian community. I have continually engaged in efforts to develop peace and unity, whether creating community between Protestant and Roman Catholic communities, resolving differences and creating effective ministry among Protestant chaplains, or building bridges of Christian charity between U.S. Christians and Korean or British Christian communities. h. Will you pray for and seek to serve the people with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love? This is my favorite ordination vow, because it asks for nothing but our best in the Lord's service. Though each of the qualities is important, imagination has required the most engagement in my ministry. Whether creating a new ministry, developing a Youth Club, creating an innovative
5 sermon, or utilizing my talents as a musician, I have always sought to serve the people with these four qualities! i. Will you be a faithful teaching elder, proclaiming the good news in Word and Sacrament, teaching faith and caring for people? Will you be active in government and discipline, serving in the councils of the church; and in your ministry will you try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ? During my thirty-five years of ordination, I have regularly preached and led Christian Education ministries and classes. The primary focus throughout my ministry is to lead people to Jesus and nurture their faith in Christ. Since my Doctorate of Ministry concentrated on pastoral care and my dissertation was on deacon training and equipping, caring for the people has also been a primary focus of my ministry. In addition, one of my most fulfilling responsibilities as a chaplain was to lead the U.S. Air Force Chaplain Candidate Program, nurturing approximately 250 seminarians from various religious traditions as they prepared for and discerned possible service as chaplains. My family and I have sought to be active in local Presbyterian Churches even though the Air Force assigned us to many different locations. I have frequently performed pulpit supply, and have enjoyed the opportunity to lead many different congregations in worship. Finally, I am eager and pleased to offer my leadership and pastoral care to assist Canyon Lake Presbyterian Church during a time of transition. However, there are many projects and goals I wish to pursue in retirement. Canyon Lake's offer for a part-time pastoral relationship until a pastor is called is appropriate for us at this time, since I am not pursuing full-time or installed pastoral positions.