We affirm that human beings flourish and find fulfillment when they are accepted, valued and productive.
It is a paradox that seeking our value in actions or achievements leads to disappointment and disillusionment. We accept that a disproportionate focus on good deeds over a clear message of forgiveness and hope from Christians perpetuates in society the belief that people are valuable according to achievement.
We believe the church must recover the Biblical imperative to speak out the good news that acceptance, value and therefore true flourishing and fulfillment come first and only from being at peace with God through Jesus.
In the UK we have our very own heretic. Probably born in Britain in 360AD his name was Pelagius and the heresy named after him is that we can be saved through good works. His legacy remains strong in the land of his birth. Martin Luther's 95 Theses were written to challenge such thinking and yet we allow these kind of ideas to flourish in 2017. Not only do we allow them to flourish but we actively encourage society to believe being good is what makes you a Christian and acceptable to God. We do this negatively by our lack of a clear message otherwise and positively by making most of our public activity about social action.
A key bible passage that is misunderstood and used to elevate good works is Matthew 25:31-46, the parable of the sheep and the goats. Verse 40 reads, "The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me." Here Jesus is clearly speaking to the world about how they receive and treat Christians who bring the message of Jesus and not to Christians about how they treat the poor of the world. Rather than being a passage which teaches salvation by works it is a passage that teaches salvation by receiving the message of Christ.
If we are to write 95 new theses in recognition of 500 years since Martin Luther then let us also recognize his core message of returning to the biblical teaching of salvation by grace through faith and the urgency to proclaim it in the face of other 'gospels'.