It occurred to me that as a Christian blogger, posting the doctrine I adhere to would be a good starting point. I am no theologian. This blog is nothing more than a record of how God is working in my life, and my thoughts on various matters. I am not called to preach or teach. So this doctrine is copied verbatim from my church website, because at any time when my beliefs are not in accordance with this doctrine, the adjustment needs to be made on my side.
DISCLAIMER: Anything posted not in accordance with this doctrine is my fault, not my church’s. Anything I post here that is incorrect, offensive, whatever, is my fault, not my church’s. Neither my church nor its pastors are responsible for what is written in this blog. (Although they do get credit for anything good written as a result of my growth as a Christian, which they greatly facilitate.)
The illustration is intended to express our desire to focus our emphasis as a local church on the cross of Christ.
All that we share and practice flows out of
the work of God’s grace, God’s wisdom and God’s power that is clearly displayed through the cross. For that reason, we will make our boast in the cross of Christ and seek through our practice as church to display its wondrous glory. The four points around the cross are arranged to show our desire to be both full and balanced in our practice and experience. All of us are tempted to live an imbalanced Christian life, where we emphasize one aspect of Christianity to the neglect of another. Some Christians may have experiences but not much understanding of Biblical teachings. Others may embrace the concept of grace but not be walking in holiness. Still others may emphasize the importance of the written Word but not be very concerned about whether that Word is being experienced.
It is our desire to have both fullness and balance in our emphasis as a local church. You may click on each of these points around the cross to get a fuller explanation.
Grounded in the Word
We believe the Bible to be God’s all-sufficient revelation to man as it pertains to the doctrines and practices of the kingdom of God. We seek to model the local church after the example given in the New Testament as well as the revelation contained in the Old Testament. Our emphasis is on encouraging our people to fully embrace the doctrines, wisdom and experiences that are shown to us in scripture.
The local church is given to teach the truth and to protect the truth, which is of vital importance since it is God’s truth that sets us free from sin and God’s eventual judgment of sin.
” I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.” 1 Tim 3:15
” If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?” Ps 11:3
Throughout the New Testament, the most common threat to the church is that of heresies and false teachers. The Bible warns us about keeping a number of different things from polluting the truth. When we consider a few of these examples, we can see how necessary these warnings are for us today:
* Philosophy (Col 2:8)
* Traditions of Men (Col 2:8)
* Subjective Revelations & Experiences (Col 2:18)
* Demonstrations of Power (2Thes 2:9-10)
* Convincing Arguments (Rom 16:18, 1Tim 4:1)
Being “grounded in the Word” means that we want to embrace only those doctrines and practices that are in agreement with the Scriptures, but it also means that we want to embrace all of the doctrines and practices that are supported by the Scriptures. We would agree with the thoughts expressed by author and pastor Terry Virgo when he says,
“It has been a source of great sadness to me to see two schools of thought within the evangelical church over many decades now. Those who come glorying in manifestations of power sometimes seem dismissive of those whom they regard as “cold theologians’”. I heard a man speaking at a large conference saying that theology was the enemy of the church and that if only we could abandon doctrinal perspectives the church would be a happier place. What tragic nonsense!
We also see and hear those who love theological insight and savour the doctrines of Scripture expressing equally dismissive remarks about Christians who are enjoying God’s power as though they were mere children preoccupied with experience. How I long for a recovery of true biblical Christianity where the apostle Paul, who wrote the book of Romans, also raised the dead!”
Desiring the Fullness of the Spirit
And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 1 Cor 2:4
…while Thou dost extend Thy hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Thy holy servant Jesus. Acts 4:30
Then he said to Him, “If Thy presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. 16 For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Thy sight, I and Thy people? Is it not by Thy going with us, so that we, I and Thy people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”
A distinguishing mark of God’s people is the supernatural. We believe that the supernatural experiences of the New Testament are still for the church today and that we should be open and desiring to experience the fullness of the Spirit. An example of Biblical experiences include:
* Salvation & Sanctification (Jn 1:12-13, Rom 12:2)
* Filling by the Holy Spirit for the Empowerment of Service and Transformation (Acts 1:8, 4:31, Eph 5:8)
* The Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23)
* The Gifts of the Spirit (Rom 12, Eph 4:11, 1Co 12)
* Miracles (Jn 14:12, Acts 2:43)
* Awe & Proper Fear of God (Ex 20:18-20, Acts 5:11)
* Conviction & Revelation of God’s Holiness (Is 6:1-5, 1Co 14:24-25, Heb 4:12-13)
Motivated by Grace
Understanding that we are saved and maintained by God’s grace releases us from works for the sake of gaining God’s acceptance into works as an act of worship and gratitude. We don’t work in order to be saved; we work because we are saved, and the new life in us now compels us to live in agreement with God’s nature. Our confidence is completely in the finished work of the cross. Being motivated by grace means avoiding the tendency toward legalism which occurs when we confuse our own effort or righteousness as part of justification rather than the result of our having been justified.
When biblically understood, grace should not release us into a “freedom to sin,” but rather it should release us into the power of God to be transformed into the image of His Son. If your salvation experience is not making you more and more like God (HOLY), then you probably haven’t really experienced salvation. The New Testament Christian is called to aggressively pursue the mortification of sin and the putting on of Godly attitudes and actions.
“In justification our own works have no place at all and simple faith in Christ is the one thing needful. In sanctification our own works are of vast importance, and God bids us fight and watch and pray and strive and take pains and labour.” J.C. Ryle
It is out of our pursuit of holiness that comes our emphasis on application of truth and not mere knowledge of truth. The schedule and variety of ministries of the church are designed to create the opportunity to both learn and apply the truths of God. Our goal is not merely to attend meetings and acquire knowledge but to place our lives in a context where genuine transformation can be experienced and the character of holiness can emerge.