Trinitarian and Covenantal: I adhere to and am in agreement with the essential theological tenets and the doctrinal distinctives of historic and trinitarian Christianity as summarized by the great creeds and confessions of the faith; in particular the ecumenical creeds of the early Church; i.e., The Apostle's Creed, The Athanasian Creed, The Nicene Creed, and The Chalcedonian Definition.
God is. He is the sheer act of to be itself (ipsum esse subsistens); i.e., God is existence itself. God is Triune: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is holy love (I John 4:8), eternally existing in interpenetrating, self-giving communion. All of His attributes flow out of this immeasurable love and nothing else that the Bible reveals about God can be radically separated from this essence of Who He is.
Scripture only and Scripture totally: I believe the Bible, consisting of the Old Testament, 39 books, and New Testament, 27 books, to be the final and unchangeable standard of truth, the one authoritative rule for faith and practice (Romans 3:4; I Corinthians 2:5, 12-13; Matthew 4:4; II Timothy 3:16-17). This does not mean that we ignore history, i.e., the development of interpretation and dogma, as we seek to understand the message of Scripture as guided and illumined by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13).
The Bible, although man-oriented in the way it addresses man's need of redemption from sin, is not man-centered. The Bible proclaims first and foremost the person, the glory, and the purposes of God, purposes that both include and transcend the individual. The Bible reveals God as Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, including all points in between. The Bible is therefore ultimately God-centered in the thrust of its message (Isaiah 44:6, Revelation 1:8; Revelation 22:13).
The Bible is not to be viewed as either straightforward history or nonsense. The option is not a binary one: it is vital that we pay attention to the genre of Scripture in our interpretation of it.
The Gospel is Good News: The Scriptures proclaim the wonderful news that God in Christ Jesus saves the lost by drawing all men to Him by His prevenient action of grace (Matthew 11:27; John 1:12-13; 3:5-8; 6:35-44; 12:32). It is God who seeks and saves the lost. It is God who pursues the lost intent on running away from Him, who pound on the door of perdition. It is God by His Holy Spirit who awakens fallen men and women to their lost condition and who gives them the grace to respond in trust to His loving initiative. In this trust, God not only declares the lost sinner righteous but makes the lost sinner alive in Him (Ephesians 2:1-10). Nothing will or can finally stand in the way of God's salvific design for the world and the lost therein (John 3:16-18; I John 2:1-2) because God is the Lord of all that exists, and His plan will be accomplished. There is no power of evil that can finally prevail against the press of God's intent and scope of salvation.
All believers are entrusted with the message of reconciliation, the Word of Truth that originates with a holy, loving, and good God who does all things for His own glory by reconciling the world to Himself in the Cross of our Lord (II Corinthians 5:17-21).
The Gospel is Good News in that by it God not only transforms individuals, He transforms families, communities, cultures and nations using His Church, the community of the transformed who, being empowered by God's Holy Spirit, serve the world as agents of transformation (Matthew 5:13-16).
Presuppositional: I believe that the best defense of the Christian faith and life system is engaged by recognizing that each person’s understanding and interpretation of “facts” is determined by his precommitment to an underlying world view. Since God has made foolish the unbelieving wisdom of this world (I Corinthians 1:20; Romans 1:18-25), I hold that only a world view founded in God’s self-revelation can make sense of human personality, dignity and freedom, laws of logic, science, history, beauty, and ethical absolutes (Colossians 2:3, 8; I Timothy 6:20).
The whole of Scripture to the whole of life: I believe that Christians are to submit their lives to the authority of Scripture for it is profitable for instruction in righteousness (II Timothy 3:16-17; Matthew 5:17-20). As disciples of Christ, believers are called upon to demonstrate holiness in all manner of living (I Peter 1:15). This includes our personal walk with God, our familial and ecclesiastical relationships, our vocational calling, and our commitment to establish righteousness in our culture. Where we fail to live up to these standards (and, indeed, we shall fail), God calls us to repentance by His gracious hand of discipline (I John 1:9; Hebrews 12:3-11). To accomplish this holy manner of living, every believer has access to the fellowship of a local body of believers in conjunction with the resources and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Optimistic and Transformational: I believe that Christians should engage in their work for the Lord knowing that it is not in vain because Christ reigns as King of heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18). In spite of the opposition, He is building His Church worldwide and the gates of hell will not prevail against the onward march of the Church in carrying out the Great Commission (Matthew 16:18; 28:19-20). The Bible teaches us to expect all opposition to be made subject to King Jesus (Psalm 2; Psalm 110: I Corinthians 15:25; Hebrews 10:12-13) by the regenerating and sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. The Great Commission of Matthew 28:18 shall be fulfilled in time and on earth and this will be evidenced by the fact that the glory of the Lord will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:1-9; Habakkuk 2:14; Ezekiel 47:1-12; Romans 15:12).
Charity: One of the greatest tragedies in the history of the Christianity has been its division into competing churches; i.e, denominations. One of the relatively few immediately hopeful signs for the orthodox Christian in today's post-modern and anti-Christian culture is the decline, in some quarters, of the internal bitterness and dissension among believing Christians as they discover the magnitude of their common ground and common interest in the face of an apostate civilization. True ecumenism does not mean the abandonment of doctrinal distinctives for the sake of a superficial, meaningless agreement. True ecumenism means building solidly on real convictions and truths that are found to be shared (see John 17; Ephesians 4:1-6).
Christ has His sheep, purchased by His blood and thereby members of His body. Many believers will not agree with me, or with each other, on many fine points of doctrine and practice, but they are nevertheless Christ's sheep. Many believers who do not agree with me in some of my specific doctrinal distinctives have and are serving Christ well, indeed, better, much better, than I. Therefore, I commend the universal body of Christ to practice a charitable spirit in all of her dealings for it is only in that spirit that we can gracefully learn from each other, serve each other, and appreciate each other's unique gifts of the Holy Spirit.Church Creeds