We believe that the teachings of Jesus Christ instruct us in a way of life that brings about peace, understanding, compassion and tolerance among people.
The message that Jesus brought to us has, unfortunately, been usurped by theological and philosophical speculations, so-much-so that what was (and is) a very simple message has become complicated by the addition of doctrines and dogmas, many of which detract from the original message and some of which have been the root cause of much blood-shed, violence and unrest.
So what is the message that we consider of paramount importance. Basically it is the teaching of Jesus that affirms our place in God’s plan. We are, each one of us, uniquely precious and despite our human frailty we are cherished as being ‘sons of God’. Not only are we loved by God but we are called to love and care for one another – not out of a sense of duty, but because we realise that as human beings we all need the support and understanding of our fellow man.
Despite the many difficulties experienced in contemporary living, people still have a ‘spiritual thirst’ that is not being satiated by the teachings of religious organisations. Perhaps this is because what they are preaching no longer resonates as being authentic; perhaps it is because what they preach is often thinly veiled bigotry or intolerance; perhaps it is because what they preach seems at odds with what Jesus preached; perhaps it is because what they preach seems far removed from the concerns of most individuals. Whatever the reason it is blatantly clear that organised religion has failed miserably in satisfying the spiritual needs of many people.
Maybe now is the time to look at Christianity in a fresh light and strip it back to its original core message: Love!
“Love one another as I have loved you” is what Jesus told to do (John 13:34-35)
To love one another is to care for and about one another. It is being concerned about the needs of others; it is offering a helping hand; it is about reacting against inequality, unfairness, under-hand dealings; in short, it is about striving for a society in which every single person is safe, secure and, above all else, is loved. Unless we are actively promoting such a society (not passively praying for it to descend to us), then we are not following the teachings of Christ and have no right to call ourselves Christians. Either we follow Christ, and this will often lead us in the opposite direction to most people, or we do not. Nobody said it would be an easy task – Jesus himself warned us that in order to follow him we pick up our own cross. Cf. Luke 9:23
Summary of Beliefs
- God can not be defined in human terms because God is much greater than humanity’s understanding. Faith alone prompts us to believe in God.
- As Christians we believe that Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, revealed to us the ‘nature’ of God.
- There is no right or wrong Religion or Church, nor is there “a true Religion or Church”. All religions and churches are merely pointers towards God. No Religion or Church can monopolise God because God is far greater than these.
- The Spirit of God dwells within the hearts of all and it is for the individual to accept or reject the Spirit.
- A “Church” is an assembly of people, gathered together to give thanks to God and to explore their personal faith. God requires neither buildings nor tents since God is already in everything that exists.
- Baptism is the means by which an individual becomes part of Christ’s Way (1). Baptism is not something to be merely ‘done’. It is a public expression of Faith and brings with it the responsibility of adhering to the teachings of Christ.
- The Lord’s Supper (known also as the Eucharist, Holy Communion, the Mass & the Divine Liturgy) is a remembrance of Christ’s Last Supper.
- Holy Orders does not bestow any magical qualities upon the ordinand. Superstition has no place in an authentic Faith.
- Marriage is the union of two people and it’s primary purpose is to bring mutual companionship, solace and comfort.
- Confession of Sin is a private matter for individuals and the manner in which those sins are confessed is equally a personal decision.
- The greatest responsibility a Christian has is to ensure that he/she treats every other person in the same way he/she would like to be treated. By treating others as our brothers and sisters, we then give to God the greatest act of praise imaginable.
- Christians are expected to behave in a moral and ethical manner.
- All life is Sacred and the taking of life is the gravest wrong an individual can perpetrate.
- The infliction of cruelty upon any living creature is contrary to the Christian Way and repugnant to the teachings of Christ.
- Affecting the life of another in a negative way is morally wrong.
- Divorce is a reality and must never be used as a means of judging or condemning an individual. If we put Jesus’ prohibition of divorce into the context of the times we realise that a man who divorced his wife was condemning her to a life of cruelty, since she would have been shunned by the community and be forced to live the life of an outcast. Conversely, we hold the belief that a divorced person may remarry.
- Homosexuality is not “a way of life”. People who are born homosexual can-not alter their sexual orientation. Given this, homosexuality is neither unnatural nor evil. Homosexuals and heterosexuals alike have every right to express love.
- The Scriptures, both Hebrew and Greek, must be read in the context of the times they were written. The authors of Scripture used the language of mythology to convey a message. It is the overall message that is significant and not the peripheral details.
The Order in the Order of Marian Apostles denotes “way”.
Marian, refers to Jesus’ Mother, Mary. We do not accept the traditional presentations of Mary in the life of her Son, nor do we venerate her in the way Catholics do. On the contrary, we see Mary as an exemplary woman who loved Jesus dearly throughout His life. We can only imagine how difficult it was for Mary, as a simple carpenter’s wife, to understand the message Her Son was preaching. Yet, she loved Him and stood by Him to the end. Mary’s love was unconditional and so too should ours.
Apostles denotes followers. We follow Mary’s example. Even though we don’t always fully comprehend the significance of our faith, or the duties it brings with it, we nevertheless continue to live the life commended to us by Christ. Our love for Him and for each other must always be unconditional, just like Mary’s.
The symbols adopted by OMA are (1) the Cross & (2) the Fish. The earliest image used by the post-apostolic Christians was the fish. The Greek word for ‘fish’, ΙΧΘΥΣ (Ichthys) is an acronym for “Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ”, (Iēsous Christos, Theou Yios, Sōtēr), which translates into English as “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Saviour”. Long before this was formulated, however, Jesus was represented by a fish, perhaps because of the many references to ‘fish’ in the Gospels and, in particular, to Jesus’ reference to making His followers ‘fishers of men’ (Mark 1:17). Conversely, the fish had been in use, pre-Christ, as a symbol for various goddesses, including Aphrodite, Isis and Pelagia.
The Cross is, perhaps, the most widely known symbol of Christ and requires little or no explanation.
Our motto, ‘Facta, Non Verba‘, simply translates as ‘Deeds (or action), not Words’. Our Faith is about action and deeds will always speak louder than words.
(1) The word “Way” refers to the Greek word “ekklesia” and has often been mistranslated as ‘church’. “Ekklesia”, however, meant much more than (A) a building or (B) an organization. The direct translation of the word “ekklesia” is “the called-out ones”. Hence, when Christ says to Peter: “On this rock I shall build my ‘ekklesia’”, He is actually saying: “on this rock I shall build up my assembly”. Conversely, the Greek word for ‘Church’ is ‘Kuriakos’.We believe Christ instituted a “Way” of Living and not an organised structure such as the ‘Church’.