Statement of Beliefs

Sola Fide Sola Scriptura0ASolus Christus (1)

Below are summary statements on key points of Christian thought and practice. I hold to a high view of Scripture and stand within the Protestant tradition of the Wesleyan-Holiness variety (although I’m more Reformed than I once thought, which I suppose was predestined).

 You will discover here that I am an equal opportunity offender: Too conservative for some, too liberal for others. I strive for purity of doctrine, consistency of practice and teachability of spirit in all of these areas.

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GOD

Triune: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient.

God is not impassible. Scripture records that He does have emotions. He is not, however, controlled by them.

SCRIPTURE

The Old and New Testament Scriptures are an authentic, Divinely-inspired and reliable record of events, people, places, etc.. Collectively known as the Bible, these Scriptures contain nothing but truth. They are without error. They teach all that is necessary to faith and Christian living.

CREATION

God made everything and everyone. Genesis 1 & 2 do not have to be interpreted in a strictly literal sense in order to maintain Christian faith (i.e. the “7 days” may not have been seven 24-hour periods), but evolutionary theory is in conflict with the Scriptural record.

MAN AND WOMAN

In the making of everything and everyone, God made man and woman, both of whom reflect His image. Man and woman are entirely equal.

Man and woman are also complementary to each other. Each has strengths and weaknesses and needs the other in all areas: physical, mental, emotional.

Note: This does not mean that men always have “x, y or z” strengths and weaknesses, or that women always have “x, y or z” strengths and weaknesses.

SIN

To sin is to violate God’s law. It is to say, in essence, that God is not in charge.

SINFUL NATURE

Humanity is sinful. All are born with a fallen nature and possess a drive to rebel against God. While the image of God within humanity was not fully erased upon the introduction of sin into the world, we must think of ourselves as being fundamentally warped. Without the redemptive action of God in our lives, we will lead lives that are marked by selfish, rebellious and evil patterns.

ATONEMENT

Sin separates man from God. Man cannot bridge this gap. Therefore, God the Father sent God the Son, Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, to live perfectly (or “fulfill the Law”) and offer Himself as a sacrifice. He was crucified, buried for three days and rose again.

OFFER

The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is offered to the whole of humanity, regardless of race, sex, gender, class, ethnicity or past. Anyone may come to God through Jesus.

EXTENT

Though salvation is offered to all, the atoning work of Christ is sufficient only for those who repent and submit to Him. Salvation is not universal.

ENABLED

Due to the sinful nature of man, it is impossible to choose God without Him granting us the ability to do so. The loving action of the Holy Spirit known as prevenient grace, or the grace that goes before, prepares and enables the sinner to choose God.

REPENTANCE

Repentance is required for a restored relationship with God. To repent is turn away from something. In doing so, we acknowledge the depth of our depravity and ask Jesus to apply His actions in the Cross and Resurrection to our lives. We submit to His rule over every aspect of our lives. We commit to rejecting sin and obeying God.

JUSTIFICATION

When we submit to Him in faith, believing that Jesus died and rose again, we are made right before God.

REGENERATION

Upon justification, one is regenerated, or made new in Christ.

SEALED

The Holy Spirit dwells within believers and speaks to them to convict, guide and comfort; as such, there is room for nothing and nobody else. Believers cannot be demon-possessed.

SANCTIFICATION

Believers are enabled by God to have victory over sin. We do not have to live defeated lives and should not continue in willful sin if we are in relationship with Christ. We are to be submitted to Him, recognizing that He has the authority to create the boundaries and define the way. This, of course, does not mean that we will never sin again. It does, however, mean that the overall pattern and habit of our lives is to be one one of obedience to the Lord.

WORKS

Our faith in shown in our works, or how we live. Thus the Christian life should be marked by growth in grace and love toward all, a firm commitment to sharing the truth of the Good News and the eschewing of sin.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

Christians are called to speak for the voiceless, defend the oppressed and care for the widow and the orphaned. This is to be done in the context of spreading the Gospel message, never apart from it.

PACIFISM

Christian faith should lead the individual to commit to peace. Violence, in any form, is contradictory to the Gospel.

Note: While this is my firm conviction and I do not understand how others draw a different conclusion, I fully respect and do not question the faith of men and women who choose to serve in the military or on the police force.

EGALITARIAN

Men and women of all ages and backgrounds are called by God to serve Him as He wills and pleases.

MARRIAGE AND SEXUALITY

The only legitimate marital relationship, as defined in Scripture, is between one man and one woman.

Scripture condemns heterosexual promiscuity, polygamy, homosexuality, adultery, incest, bestiality and pedophilia. This does not mean that those with such inclinations or attractions cannot be saved, but it does mean that those with these desires who claim to follow Christ must submit these desires to Him and live in obedience to His code of sexual ethics.

Members of the Body should faithfully surround these brothers and sisters who must live in celibacy in order to encourage and support them both in their walk with Christ and in practical aspects, such as providing care for them when ill.

Additionally, it is impossible to change one’s sex or gender.

FAMILY SIZE

Children are a blessing, not a requirement. Though the normative marital relationship will result in the procreation of children, the infertile and those couples who choose to not have children are not condemned by God. There is no commandment regarding family size or the use of birth control in Scripture. Such decisions are between the couple and God.

ABORTION

Life begins at conception. Abortion is murder.

SINGLENESS

Marriage is not required for salvation. Single Christians have a vital and unique role to play within the community of faith.

HEALING

God can and does heal miraculously. He also heals through medical treatment, nutrition and exercise. If healing does not come, if that is not part of His plan, then He will be faithful to pour out peace, patience and strength upon the suffering. It is wrong to believe that the sick are being punished for sin. It is equally wrong to assert that medical treatment and vaccinations are contrary to Christian faith.

STUDY

Christians need to study Scripture in order to avoid being deceived. This should not take place apart from the community of faith. It is important to receive the input of other believers, both within our own congregations and the long history of Christianity itself, to aid in a proper understanding and application of the text.

BIBLE TRANSLATION

All translations, in any language, published and supported by orthodox Christians will guide the reader to salvation and life, despite differences in translation philosophy (i.e. “word for word” or “thought for thought”).

HEAVEN

Those who have repented of their sin and come under the authority of God will live eternally with Him in Heaven, which is a real place.

HELL

Those who do not repent and acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior will be eternally separated from Him in Hell, which is a real place. God does not “send people” to Hell. Those who spend eternity there do so because they freely chose to reject God’s saving hand.

ENDINGS

The Lord will one day return, the dead will be raised and the final judgment will take place.