My Faith


American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today,
with approximately 5,000 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members
across the United States and Puerto Rico.

Faith is as valid and more comprehensive a worldview than science.  If it is possible
to know all things - if it is possible to know enough to make one's life as satisfying
as it can possibly be - it is only possible by embracing both faith and science - in that order.

In the final analysis, what we can learn from science is limited.
What we can know in faith is limitless.


The Emerging Church

No, faith is not superseded by science any more than science is superseded by faith.  No, the church as an institution is not dying, it is emerging anew.  No, secular ideals and standards aren't enough to sustain society or make the world a better place, and

Yes, spirituality must rule and be on display in every moment of our lives - not in terms of what anyone else does or does not, should or should not do - but in terms of how every man or woman lives his or her own life and relates to all others, with love.

What I believe can and should happen is that tens of thousands of congregations will become what I call “schools” or “studios” of love. . . .

The only thing that matters [in life] is faith expressing itself in love. —Galatians 5:6 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. . . . No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and [God’s] love is perfected in us. —1 John 4:7-8, 12

Could it be that now is the time, at long last, for Christians to migrate to the vision shared by its original founder and his original followers? . . . If Christian faith can be redefined in this way, if our prime contribution to humanity can be shifted from teaching correct beliefs to practicing the way of love as Jesus taught, then our whole understanding and experience of the church could be transformed . . . [into] a school of love.

What I believe can and should happen is that tens of thousands of congregations will become what I call “schools” or “studios” of love. . . . What I care about is whether they are teaching people to live a life of love, from the heart, for God, for all people (no exceptions), and for all creation. . . .

If our churches make this migration, if they make the way of love their highest aim, they will experience what Paul prayed for in his Epistle to the Ephesians: their members will be “strengthened in [their] inner being with power through [God’s] Spirit, [so] that Christ may dwell in [their] hearts through faith, as [they] are being rooted and grounded in love” (3:16-17).

They will employ every text, prayer, song, poem, work of visual and dramatic art, ritual, rite of passage, and other spiritual resource to help people comprehend “what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that [they] may be filled with all the fullness of God” (3:18-19).

Brian McLaren, The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian (Convergent: 2016), 47-48, 54-55.


A book I read and recommend is  &  A Body Knows: A Theopoetics of Death and Resurrection - Melanie A. May

    From the front flap:  Claiming the wisdom of her grandmother's expression "a body knows" Melanie May thinks as a theologian not about her body or through her body but in her body as she writes of near-death experience, of surgery for cancer, of depression, and of lesbian love in a homophobic society and religious culture

These theological insights open new perspectives on what it means to be church today, or the future of the worldwide ecumenical movenent, on the practice of ministry, and on preaching. 


A Brief Statement of My Faith
Edward John Devine

       The personal God revealed in Scripture possesses a divine nature that is seductive, self-disclosing, and immensely self-giving.  The experience invites us into a deep inner freedom, along with intimacy and the possibility of real friendship - unbelievably with the Divine itself.  The relationship deeply empowers us to friendship and amazing love in the human realm, which is the apparatus of pure joy and peace on earth. 

       I am a life-long American Baptist (American Baptist Churches USA) and have been an active member of American Baptist congregations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York.  Over the years I have been a youth leader, a deacon and served as stewardship committee chair and on a pastoral relations committee.  I am ordained in the American Baptist Tradition and served as pastor of an American Baptist church for 11 years from January 2003 - April 2014.  Since then I have been a member of Immanuel Baptist Church.   

      My vision is for mainline Christianity and the institutional church to reclaim their places on the world stage; faith and religion must be progressive for this to be a reality.  I embrace science and am captive to Scripture.  I understand to love God with all my heart and soul and mind is a package deal.  God did not intend for any generation to understand fully, so we can never stop learning.  I read and study Scripture, works of theologians, scholars and others, and pray for guidance.  I hold Scripture as the ultimate authority on all matters and am excited when my study is rewarded with fresh understanding that speaks to the present day realities of all God's children.

       Discipleship extends not only to the love of God and the love of family and friends, but the love of everyone on the planet.  There is no quibbling as to race, religion, gender or sexual orientation or any other defining factor.  It is also doing the hard work of loving foes as friends.

       In this modern era in America it is difficult to understand God's call to humility and to be humble.  In our society there is resistance to God's authority and certain presence in every aspect of life.  It's easy to be confused about when to honor God's law and when to defer to the ways of mortals.  Spirituality is a 24/7 proposition and it is impossible to separate spirituality from any human construct or endeavor and it takes a lot of conviction, strength, stewardship and wisdom to succeed at it.

       Love of God and love of each and all others is Job #1 for Christians but equally important is love of our universe and all the other universes.  Peace on earth, global warming, climate change and ecology are all the concern and cause of disciples of Christ.

       The scientific community discovered the world was created 13.8 billion years ago and our faith community knows God created it, and God gave the world meaning 5,774 years ago in a way the people of that time could understand it. Through intelect and discernment we've come to understand it differently. We know science tell us what happened and can't prove that God was the architect of it all, but faith can.

       Science can scarce comprehend the capacity for knowledge of the human brain or limits of the multiverse, and science is just beginning to confront the reality of the eternal nature of our souls and the evidence of the universal conciousness that is the bedrock of faith and wisdom.  Because of this, it is more than arrogant and decidedly unscientific and just plain wrong to imagine science is the only way to know everything, and everthing scientists don't know does not exist.

      Faith is as valid and more comprehensive a worldview than science.  If it is possible to know all things - if it is possible to know enough to make one's life as satisfying as it can possibly be - it is only possible by embracing both faith and science - in that order.In the final analysis, what we can learn from science is limited. What we can know in faith is limitless. 


The Church – As I Know It

Rochester Genesee Region of American Baptist Churches USA has 43 constituent congregations 12 of which are outside what have been traditional regional boundaries. Regional churches are located in 6 counties of NY State and in 7 states ranging from Minnesota to Florida. ABC-RGR has been one of few regions of the ABCUSA which has granted refuge to congregations which for theological and other reasons were forced to find a new region home or choose to align themselves with this region because of theological affinity.

The character of this region has from its beginning been characterized by the distinctives of soul freedom and local church autonomy. It was Walter Raushenbusch who wrote in 1905, "Our Baptist faith, like our American political constitution, is founded on great principles, and even if some misuse it or misunderstand it, or are inwardly traitors to it, its greatness lifts others up to it. Baptists uphold Baptist principles; and Baptist principles in turn lift up Baptists."


In a world of religious denominations and divisions, including even some ABC regions that do not always uphold a theology of love and inclusiveness, ABC-RGR congregations stand firmly for love and inclusiveness of all.





Rev. Edward John Devine



Copyright ©2018 - Edward John Devine

Hosted by Orlando Web Services