"The unexamined life is not worth living." - Plato
- R. Totten
Preliminary Note: Various doctrinal items belong to one of three classes:
1. The first class includes statements of crucial and primary importance, such as the tri-une God, the deity of Christ, his sinlessness, his death on the cross as a substitutional payment for the sins of believers, and his bodily resurrection. ---If a person rejects or does not believe the teachings in this first class of doctrine, they most assuredly are not saved or born again.
2. The second class includes statements of high importance, which, while not necessary for salvation, are necessary for effective and cooperative ministry and fellowship among believers. Such doctrine includes most of the statements included in my doctrinal statements (below).
3. The third class includes statements of tertiary and periferal importance, on which sincere and intelligent believers may agreeably disagree, and still fellowship and minister together effectively. Such tertiary doctrine includes concepts such as: the proper mode for water baptism, types of church-government, head-covering for women, music styles in worship, views on the millennium, the timing of the rapture in relation to other end-time events, whether human nature is two parts or three (body, soul, spirit), the time-length of creation days, the age of the earth, and other such doctrine.
I believe that the Bible (the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments) is God's only written revelation and inspired (God-breathed) Holy Scriptures.
Every word of the original autographs is completely true, trustworthy and without error or falsehood in all matters it addresses (it is infallible and inerrant), being the supreme and only authority as God's written Word. |
The Scriptures do not derive their authority from the Church, or tradition, or any other human source.
Through the Bible, the Holy Spirit produces faith, and guides the Church in all matters of doctrine (teaching) and behavior.
Scripture is to be interpreted like normal speech, by grammatico-historical exegesis ("When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense") , and Scripture is to be interpreted by other Scripture.
--I deny that inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena like: observational (phenomenological) descriptions of nature, the lack of techno-scientifically precise modern language, the use of hyperbole and round numbers, the reporting of falsehoods, or the use of paraphrased citations.
I agree with "The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy," and commend it to you.
I believe that there is only one true and living God, the God of the Bible, who is spirit and invisible (with no body or physical parts), and is absolutely perfect, holy and righteous, and hates sin.
He is eternally self-existent, and is uncaused by anything else. God is the Creator of all things.
God is one indivisible being, eternally existing in three distinct "persons": Father, Son and Holy Spirit ...each of whom possesses equally all the attributes of deity and the characteristics of personality.
God is perfect and eternally all-knowing, so, he never improves himself, nor does he learn anything (including the "free-will" choices made by humans, angels or other personal beings)-- thus, it is unscriptural to say God does not know some future events.
God is absolutely almighty, and does whatsoever he pleases at all times and in all places. He is omnipresent, unchanging, and absolutely sovereign over all things and every single event of all history ...therefore, God has only one set of eternal decrees which he works out in all of eternity; there is no "plan B," and he never "changes his mind" as to his absolute decrees.
I believe that Jesus Christ (of Nazareth) is fully God --with all the power and glory of God, and he is also fully man, with those two distinct and unmixed natures united in one person. In Jesus, the eternal and unchanging Son of God was incarnate into a man ...having been conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of a virgin. Jesus Christ was tempted in every way, yet was without sin. He voluntarily shed his blood, and died on the cross to pay for our sins ...the "just One" dieing for the unjust, making it possible for man to be saved. He was buried, and on the third day was raised bodily from the dead, which powerfully shows that he is the Son of God. He ascended into heaven to the throne of God, where he is now our Intercessor and Advocate, and the only true Mediator between God and man.
I believe that God made the first man (Adam & Eve) from the dust of the ground, and not through any evolutionary process of descent from any animals. Man was created in God's image (both male and female), so that humans are personal beings, and also morally responsible. Because of one man's (Adam's) fall into sin, all of mankind (as yet unborn) fell away from God, and became guilty of sin, and condemned under God's wrath. Sin is anything that does not conform to the holy character or righteous commands of God, as described in the Bible. Ever since the fall, all the children of men are born with a sin-nature that effects every facet of their being, and they are estranged from God and spiritually dead in sin, and are in need of salvation. In this depraved condition, all humans are unable to seek God, nor to hear or understand spiritual things, nor to do anything toward salvation.
I believe that salvation is an act of God, through Christ's work, whereby man is brought into a right relationship with God, and is rescued from God's wrath against sin. Salvation is accomplished by the grace (undeserved favor) of God when he causes a person to be born again (regenerated) and gives a person faith (trust) in Jesus Christ and his shed blood and death on the cross, which provides the only satisfactory sacrifice to pay for our sins. God gives a born again person genuine faith in Christ's deity, his death for our sin, and his bodily resurrection. People are justified (cleared of guilt) by God's undeserved grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and not because anyone does anything righteous or good. God's sovereign choice to save a person is unconditional, without any foresight of faith or good works done by them. A saved person cannot be lost from salvation, because God keeps them forever. However, those who are being saved must live holy and changed lives, and should grow in sanctification and obedience to God's Word ...we are born again to a new life in Christ.
6. THE CHURCH
I believe that the Church (the "Body" of Christ) is comprised of all regenerate (born again) believers, wherever they may be found. They are worshiping, witnessing Christians who profess faith in Christ and submit to his authority. The supreme duty of the Church is to worship and serve God. The mission of the Church is primarily the evangelization of the lost through witness to the gospel by life and by word; and secondarily, to be salt and light to the world as we seek to alleviate the burdens and injustices of a suffering world. Scripture requires the defense of sound doctrine, the practice of church discipline, and a call for spiritual renewal. Although both men and women are gifted to serve in the church, the office of pastor (& elder) is limited to men as qualified by Scripture. We distance ourselves from any movement that seeks to establish a world church on the premise of a religious pluralism that denies normative biblical doctrines; Rather, we encourage true believers and faithful churches to move toward true biblical unity and fellowship with one another in the name of Christ, the Lord of the Church.
8. THE HOLY SPIRIT
I believe that the Holy Spirit is fully God --the third person of the Tri-une God. He is personal, and not a mere force. The Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus, convicts of sin, works regeneration and repentance, he indwells every believer, and continues to work in the believer to bring about sanctification. Jesus baptizes every new believer in the Holy Spirit at the instant of regeneration, which places that new Christian into the "Body of Christ" --the Church. The Spirit gives spiritual gift(s) to every believer. The Holy Spirit illuminates the mind of the believer and reveals the things of God to Him.
8. THE LAST THINGS
I believe that Jesus Christ will return bodily to the earth in power and glory, to bring full and eternal salvation to his people, to judge the world, to vindicate God's holiness and to subjugate all evil.
At his return, Christ will innaugurate a 1000-year earthly kingdom, commonly called the "Millennium."
Believers will be raised and glorified, and live with God forever, ...while all those unbelievers who persistently reject Jesus Christ in the present life, shall be raised from the dead to face judgment, and throughout eternity they will be separated from God, and will be punished in a state of conscious, endless torment and anguish.
These final destinations should accelerate our witness and mission in the world. Our ulitmate and blessed hope is in Christ, who will usher in God's final victory forever.
Other Good Doctrinal Statements with which We agree:
- From the Southern Baptist "Baptist Faith and Message".
I also agree with: "Evangelical Affirmations"
...as well as: "The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood"
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