- The basics: I believe in One God revealed in Three Persons eternally distinct; I believe God created the world by His word and sustains it by His power; I believe God the Father has planned all history and superintends it, and has a will and plans for all history; I believe Jesus is fully God and fully man, was born of a virgin in Israel around 1 CE (give or take a few years); I believe Jesus suffered and died on the cross as a substitutionary atonement (or expiation), paying for the sins of myself and all believers throughout history, both before and after the cross; I believe that on the third day He rose again and ascended into heaven; I believe the Holy Spirit is God and is given to all believers as a Seal and a Sign of salvation; I believe the church consists of all believers throughout history from the Garden of Eden through the end, and God saves each one of us in the same way (solely by His grace, solely through faith); I believe that only through personally repenting of our sins and exercising faith in Christ's atonement can we be saved, although the body of believers has a real part to play in not only the discipleship and growth of Christians but also their conversion itself (e.g., loving others, preaching the Gospel, teaching God's word, holy living);I believe Jesus is coming again in righteousness to judge the living and the dead and to usher in the fullness of His kingdom, and that He will create a new heaven and a new earth (though at present we cannot really imagine what that will be like). In short, I believe what historic orthodox Christianity teaches, because I think that's what the Bible teaches.
- As regards soteriology, I am a monergist (aka five-point Calvinist). I take the first point (man's total depravity due to the influence of sin) very seriously, and I believe that if you do take that point seriously, the only conclusion you can draw is the monergist one.
- As regards eschatology, I don't have any dogmatic position. I believe the Bible is (intentionally) unclear on eschatology, and I think we should not be any more dogmatic than the Bible gives us warrant to be. I think the Bible generally teaches pre-millenialism, but I generally lean toward a post-tribulational understanding rather than the popular pre-tribulationalism of the "Left Behind" series and the dispensationalists. It seems to me the pre-trib position is plausible, but neither required by nor does it explain best the Biblical text.
- As regards baptism, I believe the Bible indicates believer's baptism. I understand the arguments for paedobaptism but the lack of real examples or mandates for it in the Bible leans me toward credobaptism.
- As regards pneumatology, I certainly believe that every believer in Jesus is indwelled by the Holy Spirit and also believe that as believers we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to do God's will. I do not believe there is any specific "second blessing" (e.g. speaking in tongues as at Pentacost) but rather the daily empowering by the Holy Spirit to do what God wants us to do. I am not a cessationist in the strict sense, since I believe the spiritual gifts (including sign gifts) have a place today as in all church history. However, I do not believe certain people have specific sign gifts - tongues, healing, etc.; that sort of individual gifting ended with the apostles, the foundation of the church. Now, I believe God can (and does) endow certain people with certain sign gifts at certain times; yet I don't think that any person can say "I have these sign gifts, you don't." I've found that this middle-of-the-road position ends up putting me at odds with both cessationists and continualists.
In fact, I think it is a very interesting question exactly how much you must know to be a Christian or, to put it more properly, how much error God will allow you to hold to after He saves you. I have discussed this with my friends, but I do not pretend to have an answer; in fact, I think nobody does. That will have to be another blog posting. What I do know is that if we really realize our sinfulness, confess that sinfulness to God, and cry out to Him to be saved, then He will save us; this is why I believe so strongly in evangelistic methods like the Way of The Master and why friendship evangelism without conviction of sin is just friendship, not evangelism. That I believe the Bible teaches that at that point He has already saved us, and we are appropriating that salvation through our repentance and faith is rather less important. Important, but not That Important.