What We believe

Given below are key principles that guide and organize the work of Ithaka Fellowship. With them we are able to explore reality, the human experience within reality, and the various relationships God intends His image bearers to nurture and restore through Christ's saving power and grace.

God is Creator of All Things

The whole of Scripture teaches the truth that God is the Creator of all things (c.f. Psalm 24:1-2). We teach this principle early in a child's life. “Who made the moon?” I’ll ask my three year old daughter. “God!” she quickly responds. Simple truth. Short lesson. But when nestled deeply within the heart it possess life changing realities. For instance, if God is the Creator of all things and the earth and all its fullness belongs to Him, then the land, animals, plants and even all the things we don’t understand about this world can not be treated as unclaimed property. Even our own bodies cannot be viewed as something we possess. They belong to the Lord and deserve respect and dignity. To think of anything as intrinsically “less than” is an insult to the Creator. Ithaka Fellowship seeks to teach this fundamental truth and integrate it into the practices and relationships of everyday life.

God is Present in His Creation

As soon as we say God is present in His creation, we find ourselves in a continuum. On one end of the spectrum is Pantheism, meaning, all of creation is a manifestation of God: literally, nature is God; there is no reference point beyond nature. And on the other end of the spectrum is Deism, meaning, God is the Creator but completely removed from His creation; reason is our sovereign guide and not an immanent Deity. Since the 1960s, America’s academic communities have blamed Christianity’s practice of dominion theology for our ecological crisis. Sensing the need for a moral basis to improve man’s relations to nature, they’ve sought answers in eastern religions. Thus the rise in Pantheism. Now of course, the Christian church has rightly understood that there are no true answers here. Nonetheless, we believe she has been reactionary; swinging away from Pantheism, past orthodoxy, and is now sitting dangerously close to Deism. What then is the nature of God’s involvement within creation?

God is Present by Creating and Sustaining Redemptive History

It is crucial to understand that God promised through His Covenant of Grace (starting in Genesis 3:15) to create and sustain a redemptive history for the glory of His Name. The Bible is a Book that unfolds these dramatic events in time and space through various administrations of this one Covenant; reaching its consummation in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God’s faithful remnant has rightly made this the focal point of her teaching and interaction with culture for as long as she has been in existence. Ithaka Fellowship is committed to this covenantal understanding of the Gospel and seeks to bring it to bear upon people's lives in a winsome and loving way.

God is Present by Creating and Sustaining the World by Virtue of His Spirit

Before words like sin, death, alienation, redemption, restoration, forgiveness and salvation were on the lips of God’s people, there was another basic story. It is a story about God’s personal commitment to sustain and nurture a world that He loves (cf. John 3:16; Psalm 104). Consider the words of John Calvin: "For it is the Spirit who, everywhere diffused, sustains all things, causes them to grow, and quickens them in heaven and in earth. Because he is circumscribed by no limits, he is expected from the category of creatures; but in transfusing into all things his energy, and breathing into them essence, life, and movement, he is indeed plainly divine" (Institutes 1, 13.14). It should be no surprise when we read Scripture and see relational/reciprocal words defining God in creation. He is, after all, ‘making’, ‘preserving’, ‘maintaining’, ‘perfecting’, and ‘delighting in’, His creation. There is mutuality between the Spirit and His created beings. Ithaka Fellowship seeks to explore this interrelationship within the areas of culture, ecology, agriculture, and spiritual formation.

Man is Steward of the Created World

God created man in his image to have a relationship with Him and fulfill the task of developing and embellishing God’s creation so that it would realize its God-glorifying potential (Genesis 1:28). Man is separate from nature yet related to it and should feel a spiritual and emotional connection to it. It is our belief that the modern church in her zeal to preach the gospel to all the nations (the first half of the story) has failed to live out the second half of the story as Steward. Consequently, the church is exhibiting a profoundly deficient anthropology and an impoverished world-and-life view. It is the mission of Ithaka Fellowship to explore the complexities of creation, culture, and acts of conscience, not merely as an apologetic for the existence of God, but to help Christians develop an inner transformation that will impact the world and establish Christ’s Kingdom on earth (Matthew 6:10).

Christ Provides Substantial Healing Now and Complete Healing in the Future

Sin’s impact upon the world is cataclysmic. The Bible identifies a five-fold divorce: 1. Man and God; 2. Man and Self; 3. Man and Man; 4. Man and Nature; and 5. Nature and Nature. All of creation, in other words, is groaning and laboring with birth pains as it awaits complete restoration (Romans 8:22). It is the promise of the Gospel, to quote the late Francis Shaeffer, that "substantial healing can be found today and complete healing in the future," as far as the curse is found. That being true, Ithaka Fellowship has been raised up to resist conformity to the spirit of the age by examining the wide-ranging consequences of Christ’s work of redemption. We seek to promote harmony and healing in a holistic way by exploring spiritual disciplines that strengthen the interrelationship between Christ, others, and the created world.