What I Believe: Positions

What I Believe: Positions

Section 1: Priorities

1.1. The scientific aspects of creation are important, but are secondary in importance to the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ as Sovereign, Creator, Redeemer, and Judge.

1.2. The doctrines of Creator and Creation cannot ultimately be separated from the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Section 2: Foundations

2.1. The books of the Bible are the written Word of God. The Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant throughout.  It is the supreme authority in everything it teaches. Its authority is not limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes but includes its assertions in such fields as history and science.

2.2. The final guide to the interpretation of Scripture is Scripture itself. The account of origins presented in Genesis is a simple but factual presentation of actual events and therefore provides a reliable framework for scientific research into the question of the origin and history of life, mankind, the earth and the universe.

2.3. The various original life forms (kinds), including mankind, were made by direct creative acts of God. The living descendants of any of the original kinds (apart from man) may represent more than one species today, reflecting the genetic potential within the original kind (variations within kind). Only limited biological changes (including mutational deterioration) have occurred naturally within each kind since creation.

2.4. The great Flood of Genesis was an actual historic event, worldwide (global) in its extent and effect.

2.5. The special creation of Adam (the first man) and Eve (the first woman), and their subsequent fall into sin, is the basis for the necessity of salvation for mankind.

2.6. Death (both physical and spiritual) and bloodshed entered into this world subsequent to and as a direct consequence of man’s sin.

Section 3: Theology

3.1. There is one God, the Godhead is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.

3.2. All mankind are sinners, inherently from Adam and individually (by choice), and are therefore subject to God’s wrath and condemnation.

3.3. Freedom from the penalty and power of sin is available to man only through the sacrificial death and shed blood of Jesus Christ and His complete and bodily resurrection from the dead.

3.4. The Holy Ghost reproves the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. (John 16:8)

3.5. The Holy Ghost lives and works in each believer to produce the fruits of righteousness.

3.6. Salvation is a gift received by faith alone in Christ alone and expressed in the individual’s repentance, recognition of the death of Christ as full payment for sin, and acceptance of the risen Christ as Savior, Lord, and God.

3.7. All things necessary for our salvation are expressly set down in Scripture.

3.8. Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the virgin Mary.

3.9. Jesus Christ rose bodily from the dead, ascended to heaven, and is currently seated at the right hand of God the Father, and shall return in person to this earth as Judge of the living and the dead.

3.10. Satan is the personal spiritual adversary of both God and mankind.

3.11. Those who do not believe in Christ are subject to everlasting conscious punishment, but believers enjoy eternal life with God.

3.12. The only legitimate marriage is the joining of one man and one woman. Any forms of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, incest, fornication, adultery, pornography, polyamory, etc., are sinful perversions of God’s gift of intimacy in the context of marriage.

3.13. It is the duty of Christians to share the Gospel with the lost and fellowship with other believers, as portrayed in the New Testament.

Section 4: General

4.1. Scripture teaches a recent origin for man and the whole creation, spanning approximately 4,000 years from creation to Christ.

4.2. The days in Genesis do not correspond to geologic ages, but are six [6] consecutive twenty-four [24] hour days of creation.

4.3. The Noachian Flood was a significant geological event and much (but not all) fossiliferous sediment originated at that time. The gap theory has no basis in Scripture.

4.4. The view, commonly used to evade the implications or the authority of biblical teaching, that knowledge and/or truth may be divided into secular and religious, is rejected.

4.5. By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.

Controversial Topics

1. Scripture – God’s word is so simple to understand, you have to have help to misunderstand it… (1Cor 1:27)

2. Baptism of the Holy Ghost

(a) The Holy Ghost indwells believers when the believer is born again in Jesus Christ. At salvation, He is that “well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).

(b) The Holy Ghost does not impose anything on the believer that they do not accept, trust, understand, or have faith for. The “Baptism of the Holy Ghost” is the point, after salvation, where a believer understands and receives who the Holy Ghost is, that the same power that raised Messiah from the dead now dwells in them, and what gifts, ministries, and fruits can now work in their lives due to the empowerment and influence of the Holy Ghost. It is now that “out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”. The difference is every once in a while dipping from a well of water versus being continually filled and having rivers of living water flowing.

(c) The Baptism of the Holy Ghost, according to Acts 2:4, is given to believers who ask for it. The Holy Ghost in a person’s life is evidenced by changes in his life, including a renewed love for God, and people, a commitment to the scriptures and holy living.  All believers are entitled to, and should ardently expect and earnestly seek, the promise of the Father, the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, according to the command of Jesus Messiah. With this comes the endowment of power for life and service, the bestowal of gifts and their uses in the work of the ministry: This experience is distinct from and subsequent to the experience of the new birth (Lk. 24:49; Acts 1:4-8, 2:38-39, 10:44-46, 11:14-16, 15:7-9; I Cor. 12:1-31).

(d) The Holy Ghost is continuing the work He started at Pentecost, empowering believers to live a godly life and continue in all the works of Jesus. Can be and often is accompanied by speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance (Acts 1:8, 2:4, 10:44-46, 19:2,6).  The spirit filled believer has the gift of speaking with new tongues whether or not he or she chooses to exercise this gifting.  However tongues or emotional experiences should not be construed as “proof” of the Holy Ghost. Instead we know the Holy Ghost indwells us the same way we know we are saved, because scripture says so, and by the subsequent manifestation of spiritual power in public testimony and service, and we can recognize the source from its fruit (Matt 7:16)

(e) The Holy Ghost will not contradict Himself. Supposed “new” revelations or prophecies that contradict, add to, or “reinterpret” scripture are doctrines of demons or traditions of men and are NOT from the Holy Ghost.

(f) Everything is to be done “decently and in order”, to the glory of God, to bring attention to Jesus and NOT to bring attention to self.

(g) The gifts, ministries, and fruits of the Holy Ghost are spiritual and supernatural. While the gifts may at times complement and cooperate with your natural talents, interests, and abilities; the gifts of the Holy Ghost should not be confused with natural talents. Which gift is exercised and when it is to be exercised is directed by the Holy Ghost for the purpose glorifying God and edification of fellow believers (the church). It is not for our convenience or to bring attention to ourselves. (Note that really the “gift” is for the one who benefits from the gift, not the one through whom the Holy Ghost works through to “deliver” the gift).

3. Israel – Israel is still God’s chosen people.  Neither the church, America, or any other nation replaces the children of Israel as recipients of God’s covenant with Abraham.  Gentile believers are spiritually reborn, grafted, and adopted into sharing the inheritance of Abraham. That being said, salvation is still only in Jesus. No-one can be saved by their relationship to Abraham, only their relationship with Jesus the Messiah. The best and highest way to show your love for Jews is to let them know that their Messiah has come and is coming again.

4. Body, Soul, Spirit – The Bible clearly teaches that man is a unified being. However, this unity is divisible into at least two aspects, material and immaterial. In the Bible these aspects are variously termed, body and soul (Matt 10:28), body and mind (Rom 12:1-2), body and spirit (1 Cor 7:34; James 2:26), flesh and spirit (1 Cor 5:5; 2 Cor 7:1), flesh and heart (Rom 2:28-29), and the outer man and inner man (2 Cor 4:16). Human beings, though they were created to live in the physical world, are also capable of existing in the spiritual realm as a soul/spirit without the physical body (Heb. 12:23; Rev. 6:9-11). While at times the bible uses spirit and soul interchangeably (when referring to the human spirit, not the Holy Ghost), the bible also makes a distinction between the soul and spirit (Heb. 4:12; 1 Cor. 14:14). The doctrine of body, soul, spirit is known as “Trichotomy” or “Tripartite” and can be substantiated — however, conclusions about the distinctions between soul and spirit and what it signifies cannot go any farther what is actually in Scripture.

5. Healing – The bible instructs us to pray for and anoint the sick and expect them to get well (James 5:14). Healing is part of the Atonement.  Jesus bore the curse of sin, sickness, and death on the cross (Isa 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24).  Does this mean we don’t go to the doctor or don’t take medication?  No, we should pray before, during, and after going to the doctor and/or taking medication.  If I’m not healed, is that because I don’t have enough faith?  It is NOT the “power of faith” that heals you, it is the power of God and you put your trust in God.  God heals for His glory and purposes (which ultimately is in your best interest) and not for your immediate convenience.  The work on the cross was complete and eternal, however any healing we experience currently in this body is still incomplete and temporary as this body was born under the curse and still grows old and dies. In the future we will have a new body that is created free of the curse, this new body was purchased as part of the atonement as well.  We will finally have the manifestation of complete and eternal regenerative healing in the resurrection body being prepared for us.

6. Free Will – God reveals in scripture that, in His Sovereignty and according to His Design, He gave man free will to choose who he would serve.  The gift of free will does not limit God, in fact it demonstrates that God is so Great that His Sovereignty is not challenged or compromised by our having free will.

7. “Once saved, always saved” – No, you don’t have to get re-saved again after every sin you commit and live in worry about dying suddenly with an unconfessed sin and losing your salvation. Jesus died once for your sin and you cannot re-crucify Him. (1Peter 3:18; Heb 6:4-6)

This, however, is not a license to sin.  The Bible does speak of “falling away” and “he that endureth to the end shall be saved”.  While God will not reject one of His children and no man can pluck you of out of His hand (John 10:29), you can walk away from Him. If someone is habitually living in blatant sin and never comes under conviction to change their ways, then that is a sign that they either have willfully and knowingly rejected the Gospel or never really received salvation to begin with.

Probably the most pervasive problem among so-called Christians is false-conversion.  There are “false converts” who may mentally ascend (agree with in their mind) to the gospel, but do not truly receive it (Mat 7:21-23). For a time or in some areas of life they may appear to be christian in their works, but their secret sins will eventually bear fruit and be brought out into the light.

It is also possible for someone to knowingly and willfully reject the Holy Ghost (reprobate).  You cannot accidentally “lose” your salvation, but you can reject your salvation. This article actually says it better than I can: http://www.crivoice.org/security.html

How do you know if you are reprobate or have committed the unforgivable sin?  If it concerns you, then you can still be saved.  A reprobate is no longer concerned about salvation because their hearts have been seared and can no longer respond to the Holy Ghost.

Believers cannot preserve themselves in their own strength.  It is God who preserves the believer.  The part for the believer is to continue in the faith (act of  will) and God does the preserving by His strength.

Jesus is our Ark, just as Noah and his family were saved from the flood by abiding in the Ark, so we are saved from judgement as we abide in Jesus.

Who is preserved?  Those who endure to the end.

How do you endure? Abide in Christ (don’t get out of the boat!).

8. Dispensationalism

It is true that while all scripture is “for” us, not all scripture is “to” us.  For example the command to build an Ark was to Noah, however the lessons and type and shadow of abiding in the Ark as picturing how we abide in Jesus is for us.   That and God has dealt with individuals, families, nations, and mankind in differing ways over time as appropriate to the generation.

However, this should be extended to making hard dividing lines where scripture is wrongfully divided up so that we pick and choose what does and does not apply to us.

God’s dealing with individuals, families, nations, and mankind as a whole over time is more of building of one generation off the other.  It is similar to the way a parent treats a child differently as he/she matures: a six month old baby is treated different than a toddler, a six year old, a teen, young adult, older adult, etc. The nature of the parent does not change, but the way the parent treats the child changes as the child matures.

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  From cover to cover, scripture is a consistent and unveiling revelation of God’s nature and Jesus.

All scripture if profitable and the only right division is the scriptural distinction between old and new testament.  Salvation has always been and continues to be salvation by faith through grace.  The law never saved anyone. Before the cross it was about looking forward to Messiah’s coming (old testament).  After the cross, it is about looking back to Jesus’s completed work on the cross and Resurrection (new testament).

9. Laying of Hands – Biblically based “laying on of hands” is still valid today.  However, Satan is a deceiver and seeks to pervert everything of God. Keep in mind that Satan has a false, perverted version of most every work of the Holy Ghost.  False religions such as Reiki also use laying of hands to impart a demon spirit that imparts a form of “healing”. This does not mean that all healing or laying of hands is “of the devil” — it is just doubly important that you know and follow the Bible when it comes to these things and not get duped into a false practice.

10. Canon and Bible Versions – If we are to be held accountable to a standard, it is imperative that we have that standard available to test against.  God promised to preserve His Word through the ages for this purpose. I spent over two years researching before I came to the conclusion that the canon of 66 books in what we call the Bible can be reliably trusted as scripture.  I then spent another two years learning about bible versions before coming to the conclusion that the Holy Bible, 1611 Authorized Version (commonly known as King James Bible) is God’s preserved word in English. I continue to look into it, though the more I learn the more convinced I am as a King James Bible Believer.

As far as material not considered cannon, here are three categories:

a) Gnostic books – there are hundreds of these “so-called” books written by other apostles, but they all appeared well after the first century church, these are clearly heretical as many of the epistles directly warn against gnosticism

b) Apocrypha – the apocrypha has some historical background information for the 400 silent years of the inter-testamental period between the time of the prophet Malachi and John the Baptist.  These were not preserved with the same rigor and reliability of the canon.

c) Extra-Biblical Texts – the books of Enoch, Jubilees, and Jasher are referenced and quoted in the Bible.  Their trace-ability and text has not been preserved with the same rigor and reliability as with the canon, so one must be careful about anything in these books that is not mentioned in the Bible or seems to go contrary to something in the Bible.  These books may give additional information and color relevant to events described in the Bible; however, doctrine should not be based on them.

11.  Ordinances -vs- Sacraments

There are many who confuse the meanings of the terms ordinance and sacrament.  When I use the terms I differentiate between them as follows:

a) A sacrament is a work that is believed to contribute to or be necessary for salvation.  If an institution portrays a religious activity as a requirement for salvation, then it is a sacrament regardless of what they call it otherwise.

b) An ordinance is merely an outward expression of something that has already taken place internally and spiritually.  The two ordinances identified in scripture as continued practices of believers include baptism (immersion) and the “Lord’s supper”.

John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins (Mark 1:4).  Jesus was baptized to fulfill all righteousness (Mt 3:15) and believers throughout the gospels, the book of Acts and the first century church were baptized (Acts 8:36-39) as an outward testimony of their belief. They weren’t saved by baptism, but baptism was an expression and testimony to others of their salvation.

The same with perceiving the body and blood of Messiah represented by the unleavened bread and wine used in the Passover meal.  Jesus instructed “this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me” (Lk 22:19; 1 Cor 11:24-25) and Paul goes on to say that we should not partake of it unless we understand this representation (1 Cor 11:23-27).

Other commonly practiced ordinances may not be a bad thing, however they do not have the same combination of instruction and evidence of continuance as baptism and the Lord’s supper.