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In Theory:

Getting to the roots of your heritage, faith

June 06, 2009

On a recent Sunday in L.A.’s Boyle Heights, which in decades past was a large Jewish enclave that has more recently become home to Latinos, the Mexican- American-Jewish family marked the 61st anniversary of Israeli statehood at “Fiesta Shalom.” How important is it for people to know not only their heritage but the roots of their religion, and how does your church or temple encourage its faithful to do so?

Our church is made up of wonderful people from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds. We have accepted and loved one another for years and are grateful for such blessed diversity, but our primary focus has always been on the person of Jesus Christ and the amazing unity we find in Him.

A core belief of our church is that the Bible is inspired directly by God, and that it is inerrant and authoritative in everything it addresses. It teaches us about the very deepest roots of our ethnic heritage and our faith. It reminds us that we all share a common heritage as descendants of Adam and Eve. It reminds us that God loved people of every nation so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, who bore the sins of the whole world for us on the cross.

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Scripture tells us that “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus . . . there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26, 28).

In our church’s meetings we are constantly reminded of the deepest roots of our historic, orthodox Christianity — God saves us by grace through faith in His Son Jesus; the Bible is His unchanging word to us; we are called to love others and help them become Jesus’ disciples.

PASTOR JON BARTA

Valley Baptist Church in Burbank

In my view, knowledge of our religious roots is crucial to the proper observance of rituals — and more importantly, it is a central ingredient when educating our youth to appreciate spiritual values.

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