Radix Fidem (Latin for “root of faith”). This is the name for our religion, while “Kiln of the Soul” is the name for this particular online parish.
The basic idea is this: We consciously strip away everything above ground, as it were. We want nothing to do with the old growth that is even now wilting and dying. We might be willing to use some of the residue for fertilizer — we don’t have to be utterly alien and inexplicable, but we aren’t really eclectic, either. You have to let the Spirit of God lead through your heart how you answer the questions this label will raise. But while we might be willing to use commonly accepted terminology of the existing organized religions, the content is wholly different.
We can’t pretend to go back to the historical New Testament churches in any way except in terms of essence. We seek what is organic to human nature as God revealed it. Taking seriously Paul’s admonition to “rightly divide” the Bible, we seek to transplant that ancient root to a new context. What would Jesus be like if He were born in your place? We don’t get that answer by dragging in a mountain of cultural garbage from Western Civilization. But we aren’t trying to resurrect any other civilization, either. We reference the Ancient Near East simply because that’s how we know what the Bible says to us today.
This is a living document. Elements would be characterized thus far:
1. Consciously and emphatically non-Western. This means we exclude the fundamental materialism and rationalism that makes man the measure of all things. We go out of our way to understand what distinguishes Western Civilization so that we can discern how it’s mythology has ruined historic Christian religion.
2. Fundamentally super-rational, not cerebral. This correlates to the previous point. We reject the notion that reason and intellect are the pinnacle of human capabilities. While we recognize that most people abuse the word “mysticism” as something useless and irrational, we contend that God will scarcely bother with addressing Himself to human intellect, but calls to us from far higher faculties. Revelation is inherently mystical. We assert that He gave us other forms of “knowing” that are hard-wired into human nature. We reject the Western dismissive attitude about anything not rational. Faith is above reason, not below it.
3. The Spirit Realm is real and beyond comprehension. There is a distinct realm of existence totally alien and separate from ours. It is in every way superior, and our plane of existence is merely a temporary bubble within that greater realm. The human mind is totally unequipped to handle the Spirit Realm, and it is best understood with other faculties.
4. We follow Christ. Jesus Christ as a historical figure was the final revelation of God’s moral character. Everything that departs from His teaching is inherently wrong. No living human — past, present or future — could claim to be Christ’s proxy on this earth. No organization or institution existing today can justly claim to speak for Him. Rather, we insist that we each must follow Him as best we can discern His calling. His founding of the “church” was not for purposes of control, but fellowship. We fellowship with each other to the degree and for the duration of how well we can tolerate each other with a clear conscience.
5. The Law Covenants symbolize the nature of reality itself. We are fallen creatures and unable to natively discern how to live. We are beholden to His Law Covenants in the sense that they manifest how He intends we should live within our existential context. His Law Covenants explain the fundamental nature of reality itself. Living by His revelation means living consistently with how God created things, and such living elicits a positive and supportive response from Creation. It is our duty to abstract our best obedience from the context in which those Law Covenants were revealed. However, the specifics of the Law are not binding outside of its context.
6. All Creation is alive. That is, in the sense of how we conceptualize and act in God’s Creation, we cannot get it right if we don’t see it as living and active in its own right. It is not passive and neutral, but has a distinct will and interest consistent with God’s revelation. It longs to see us living in faith. Down to the smallest individual subatomic particles and energy flows, the world around us celebrates with us when we desire holiness. Creation is not fallen; we are, so the burden is on us to discover God’s provision. Only by embracing God’s moral character can we discern His intention in Creation.
7. All truth is God’s truth. If it works and your conscience is clear, the beliefs and practices you hold are between you and God. We recognize that certain expressions of genuine faith will limit who can fellowship with us, and take no offense at what God prospers outside His work in our lives. We have more than enough to occupy ourselves with what He has for us. Taking yourself too seriously is a moral failure.
(A PDF tri-fold pamphlet version of this is available here.)