Brief Doctrinal Statement
As we study God’s Word and as we encounter new challenges in life and ministry, the Holy Spirit adds more light to the same old Scriptures. God’s truth is absolute. But our understanding of it requires serious work and willingness to be led by the Holy Spirit. As long as we live, we should seek to be humble learners, recognizing our limited understanding of God’s mind and ways. Not everything fits into nice little doctrinal boxes! The Lord has chosen to make it difficult for those of us who would prefer the comfort of a Comprehensive Systematic Theology! This ensures that until we reach the Father’s house, we are forced to lean on the Holy Spirit to understand and apply the Scriptures.
Yet the fact that God has chosen to reveal His mind in written form – with verbs, nouns, figures of speech and using normal rules of grammar – ensures that revelation does not become something subjective.
In time, some Bible teachings – or doctrines – become clearer to us. We compare them with the rest of Scripture. We become fully persuaded. We act on them. We rest on them.
“But thou, abide in those things which thou hast learned,
and of which thou hast been fully persuaded…
thou hast known the sacred letters,
which are able to make thee wise unto salvation,
through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Every scripture is divinely inspired, and profitable…
that the man of God may be complete,
fully fitted to every good work.”
– 2 Timothy 3:14-17 DBY
What follows is a brief doctrinal statement. If you ask me for a comprehensive one, I must point you to your own Bible. This statement is placed here for those who naturally ask “where is this author coming from?” and “is he OK?” We all wish to avoid serious unpleasant surprises!
These form part of my convictions. I believe…
There is only one true, eternal, all-powerful God. The nature of God is revealed to us in the Bible: The Father is God; the Son [Jesus Christ] is God and is distinguishable from the Father; the Holy Spirit is God, He is a person, and is distinguishable from the Father and from the Son. This is in harmony with the fact that “The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” Some spiritual realities are difficult to adequately express in a language developed for the material world. The descriptions of some realities, like the nature of God, appear contradictory to us. I do not claim to understand, but freely accept by faith God’s self-revelation. This is commonly referred to as the Tri-unity or Trinity nature of the Godhead.
Man and woman were created by God in His image. Every human is equally valuable to God and deeply loved by Him. Life is sacred. Humanity was made perfect – without sin.
Sin is all that which is not in harmony with will of God. It is failure to live up to what God expects from us – in thought, in words, in actions and in being. Since sin entered the world, we are born with an inclination to sin. Every part of us is tainted by sin. Unless God takes the initiative, we are doomed.
Jesus Christ is God in human flesh – truly man and truly God. He should be worshiped as God. He was conceived by work of the Holy Spirit in the womb of virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life and was crucified and really died – bearing the punishment of our sin on His body on the cross. The Father resurrected Him on the third day, and He now lives and intercedes for us.
Jesus Christ is the only Savior. He died on the cross on behalf of the whole world. Those who repent and trust their life to Him (that is, believe) receive the benefit of His death – eternal salvation. Once a sinner has been saved, he will never be condemned. We cannot do anything to earn or sustain this gift of salvation. It is a free gift. Saving faith changes the way we live – there will be fruits. Since Jesus says He is “the way” and that “no-one comes to the Father except through me,” those who reject Him are lost. Eternal punishment awaits them.
The Holy Spirit
Through-out the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit displays characteristics of being Divine and being a Person. He is the particular Person in the Trinity through whom God works in us. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin, regenerates and guides the believer. A person receives the Holy Spirit when he is born again. From then on, each Christian has the responsibility to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to submit to His leading.
The entire Bible (not the apocrypha) is the inspired Word of God. It is the only basis of authority in all matters of Christian faith and practice. It should be read and studied using the normal rules of grammar, identifying figures of speech, taking into account its historic, geographic and cultural context. God’s dealings with the nation of Israel and the Church should be distinguished. The Word of God is living and active. The guidance of the Holy Spirit is necessary to understand and apply it correctly.
The Lord Jesus started a new entity: the church. He said “I will build my church.” This Church is made up of all true born-again Christians. Christ is the unique Head of this universal body of believers. Believers should meet together and form assemblies or local churches. Christ has delegated limited authority to its local leaders in order to care for the local flock. Christ is present where 2 or 3 Christians meet in His name. Every assembly or local church has a responsibility to filter those it receives into its fellowship – this requires a degree of Christian maturity and true dependence on the Lord.
Baptism & the Lord’s Supper
Water baptism should normally follow conversion. Celebration of the Lord’s Supper should be a regular collective practice.
There is much here which is still not clear to me. But some things are plain: After death there are only two destinations – with Christ in Glory and without Christ in eternal torment. Jesus promised to prepare a place for us in the Father’s house. The Lord himself will come down from heaven. The dead in Christ will rise first. Then, we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever. For this earth, Scriptures describe a future time of tribulation and a millennium of peace. In keeping with His promise, there will be a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him.”