Sunday, January 6, 2013

Statement of faith

I have been meaning to do this for a while, since there’s a lot of material out in the internet supposedly about Christianity, and anybody can write anything they like online, but it may not be Scriptural. I can’t expect others to read what I’ve written, without stating the beliefs that I hold as foundations of my faith. I have divded these into two categories: the essentials, which for me are non-negotiable if you are to call yourself a Christian, and the less-essentials, which I would be willing to ‘agree to disagree’ on. (Each section will probably become a separate posting over the course of time.)

The essentials (non-negotiable)

I believe there is one God, who exists as three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Deut. 6:4, John 20:17, Rom. 9:5, Acts 5:3-4). All three are God, and all three are distinct from each other. God is eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present. He is not constrained by time or distance.

I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and God the Son (Mark 1:1, John 1:1). He has always existed (being God eternal), and became fully human, born of the virgin Mary (Isa. 7:14, Luke 1:34-35). He suffered and died on the cross for our sins, descended into hell, rose again after three days, and ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father (1 Cor. 15:3-4, Eph. 4:9, Mark 16:19).

I believe salvation is available to all through faith in Jesus Christ. Salvation is a free gift of God, obtained by grace, not works (Eph. 2:8-9). All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God – none of us are good enough to enter heaven by good works or keeping rules (Rom. 3:23). We are saved through faith in Jesus Christ: that He died on the cross in our place, taking the punishment that our sins deserve, and was resurrected from the dead, and was accepted by the Father as a substitute in our place so that our sins can now be forgiven. Faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved (John 14:6, Acts 4:12).

I believe the Bible is the Word of God and is without error in the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. It was inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16). There are no other writings on par with the 66 books we have as the Old and New Testament canon.

The less-essentials

I believe God created the world in six lieteral 24-hour days, exactly as recorded in the book of Genesis. I believe in a ‘young earth’. I reject the suggestion that God used Darwinian macro-evolutionary processes to create the world, and I reject the idea that the days of creation could refer to longer time periods.

I believe in heaven as the eternal dwelling-place of God and the destiny of all believers in Christ. I believe in hell as a place of eternal torment made for the devil and his angels and the unfortunate destiny of all who reject Christ as their Saviour (Matt. 25:41).

I believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ to execute God’s final judgement on the unbelieving world and to establish His literal, physical kingdom on the earth.

I believe in the Church as the unified body of Christ, consisting of all true believers, all over the world, all through time from Pentecost to the Rapture. It is this definition of the Church which Jesus said He would build, upon the confession of faith that Peter made in Jesus as the promised Messiah (Matt. 16:18).

I believe in the rapture of the Church: that all true believers will one day be taken to heaven in an instant without dying (1 Thess. 4:17). I believe this happens prior to the seven years of Tribulation.

I believe in angels as ministering spirits helping those on earth who believe (Heb. 1:14), and serving and giving worship to God in heaven (Rev. 5:11-12). I believe in demons as evil spirits under the control of Satan. These are real beings, not concepts or euphemisms.

I believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a separate event from conversion, given so that believers may have power for ministering to others, as Jesus promised (Acts 1:8). I believe the gifts of the Spirit are still active today, not limited to: healings, miracles, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy (in a specific sense, not on par with Scripture), words of wisdom, words of knowledge, etc. (1 Cor. 12:7-11, 1 Cor. 12:28, Rom. 12:6-8, 1 Pet. 4:10-11).

I do not believe water baptism is essential for salvation. While it is a powerful statement of a person’s faith, and something that all Christians should do, our salvation does not depend on being baptised in water.

I do not believe the communion elements (bread and wine) are transformed into the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ. While we are commanded by Jesus to take communion together in remembrance of His death until He comes, the elements are merely symbols and remain so as we eat them.

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