The beliefs behind the blog

Embedded links lead to blog posts or book chapters I’ve written that expand more on my beliefs.

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God: I believe that our mighty triune God is the Creator of the Universe and the Savior of the souls of those who come to Him in faith through Jesus Christ. (Genesis 1:1-31; Ephesians 2:8-9)

God’s revelation: I believe that God reveals Himself and His ways to His people by a variety of means—through creation, through dreams and visions, through miracles, through the still small voice of the Holy Spirit in the heart , and perhaps others—but the most reliable message from God that we have been given, and the message against which all other messages and revelations should be measured, is the Holy Scriptures, that is, the Bible, with the understanding that the New Covenant is superior to the Old (Psalm 19:1; Acts 2:17; Acts 10:11; John 9; Galatians 3:5; 1 Corinthians 12:6,10-11,22; John 16:13; Hebrews 8).

Understanding the Scriptures: I believe that in order to interpret the Bible aright I must understand that the Old Testament is to be interpreted in light of the New,  the pronouns in the epistles might not refer to me, and the entire Bible is ultimately about Jesus rather than rules (which is another way of saying that the New Covenant supersedes the Old). Above all, I must ask the Holy Spirit to open my eyes to His truth. (Hebrews 8; James 1:25; Psalm 119:18; Galatians 5:17-18; 2 Corinthians 3:6-11; 2 Corinthians 4:6)

Jesus Christ: I believe that Jesus Christ, who was God in flesh born without sin,  was the perfect Representation of God on earth and the perfect Communication of God to man. In providing salvation for those who would trust in Him, He accomplished five vital things: He lived a sinless life for us, keeping all the law we couldn’t keep. He died a sacrificial death for us, bearing our sins on the cross. He rose again from the dead, victorious over His own death and our eternal death, and also victorious for us over the power of sin in our lives. He ascended into heaven, not just to get back home, but to claim His rightful position as Victorious Conqueror. He was seated at the right hand of God the Father, who is delighted to offer salvation to us through His Son. (John 1:1; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Hebrews 1:1-3; Matthew 5:17-18; Matthew 3:16-17; Luke 9:34-35; John 8:29-55; 1 Peter 2:21-24; Hebrews 4:14-15; Hebrews 9:19-28; 1 Corinthians 15:12-22; Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:4-11; Ephesians 4:8-10; Hebrews 10:12; Hebrews 12:2; Romans 5:8)

Salvation: I believe that Jesus Christ sees the souls of all people as valuable and longs to rejoice in the rescue of lost sheep. When they repent and turn to Him and call out to Him, He delights to bring them to Himself, cleanse them from their sin, and free them from all shame associated with any evil that has been perpetrated on them. He desires to fully heal them and empower them for the good work He has called them to do. (Psalm 139:14;  Luke 15:4-7; Mark 1:15; Malachi 4:2; Acts 3:19; Acts 16:30-32; John 10:14-16; 1 John 1:9; Luke 4:17-19; Psalm 11; Psalm 34:4-7; Romans 15:13; 2 Corinthians 4:7; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 2 Corinthians 9:8; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5;  Ephesians 1:19-21; 1 Peter 2:24)

Holy Spirit: I believe that after Jesus ascended, the Holy Spirit came to  fill and empower His people, to receive the river of living water that God wants to pour into them and that God wants to pour out of them to others. (John 7:37-39)

How to please God: I believe that our salvation is found by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. This “salvation” encompasses both justification and sanctification; that is, I believe that just as no amount of striving or works will accomplish our justification, just so, no amount of striving or works will accomplish our sanctification, our in-this-life holiness or godliness. I believe that the only way to be pleasing to God in our day-by-day Christian lives is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Not by any works. As a result, I believe our Lord Jesus Christ offers to those who trust in Him a life of victory and joy rather than continual defeat. (Romans 5:1-2; Ephesians 3:17-19; Philippians 3:8-10; 1 Galatians 3:1-3; John 5:4; 1 Corinthians 15:57; John 15:11; Ephesians 2:8-9)

Evil: I believe that evil, both as a very real spiritual presence, and through people who have given themselves over to evil for power or pleasure, is rampant in our cultured and civilized societies today, and in our churches, even conservative evangelical churches (even though many Christians seem inexplicably to believe that this kind of evil is only theoretical or is far away and long ago). But in spite of the evil that permeates so many seemingly Christian homes and churches, I believe that Jesus Christ is far more powerful than the evil and can overcome its effects in the lives of those who come to Him in faith. (Psalm 73; Matthew 7:15-23; Acts 20:29; Hebrews 12:15-16; Jude 1:4; Matthew 23:23-35; 2 Timothy 3:1-7; 1 John 2:14; 1 John 4:4)

Righteousness and sin:  I believe all righteousness is accomplished through Jesus Christ, and anyone who desires to can appropriate that righteousness through faith in Him, and can live and walk in the love for God and others which that righteousness engenders, through faith in Him. I believe the Holy Spirit is present and powerful to deliver His people from sin. I believe that as we abide in Jesus Christ, the fruit of the Spirit will be evident in our lives.  (Romans 8:1-16; Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 2:9)

I believe that though suffering in this life is inevitable and is often part of living the Christ life, suffering does not sanctify us (give us more holiness or right standing with God), because we are sanctified only by Jesus Christ and His redeeming work.  (Romans 5:1-11)

I believe that though all sin is turning away from God, all sins are not equal, and that as those who have given themselves to evil secretly invade our churches, true Christians who live as if all sins are equal and tell others to be silent lest they be “gossiping” or “bearing false witness,” telling us to focus on our own “idolatries” or thinking that each of us needs to be proclaiming that we are “the worst sinner we know,” are allowing the innocent ones to be overtaken by this evil while turning a blind eye. (Romans 1; Luke 10:1-15; Psalm 82:3-4; Proverbs 31:8-9)

I believe that we as Christians are to be as harmless as doves but as wise as serpents. I believe that against the fierce attacks of the enemy all Christians are called to stand firm, be filled with prayer, and wear the armor of God. I believe that in our work to call out wickedness and proclaim the truth, the words and works of Jesus and his New Testament followers stand as our examples. (Matthew 10:16; Philippians 2:14-15; Ephesians 6:10-16; Matthew 3:7-8)

The sufficiency of Scripture: I believe that the Bible is fully sufficient for us to understand who God is, our Christian faith, how we can be saved, and what the Lord wants of us as His people. I believe the Bible is not sufficient for full spiritual healing and godliness—that must be found in Jesus Christ alone, through the power of the Holy Spirit, and the Scriptures point us to Him. I believe the Bible was never intended to be the final word on understanding all the ways evil can be perpetrated on the innocent, or the various ways that the brain/mind/soul can be shattered, or how the brain works in order to achieve healing. (Psalm 19; 2 Timothy 3:15-17)

The calling of believers: I believe that the highest calling of anyone who is a child of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, is to be a living sacrifice in the true sense, in love helping to rescue lost souls from darkness and in love helping those who have been rescued to find their full life in Jesus Christ. Though many institutional churches have become unsafe places for those who have been greatly harmed, that is still our calling as the believers who compose the true church of Jesus Christ. It is our joy to tell others of the great hope we have in Him(Romans 12:1-2; 1 John 4:11-12; 1 John 3:16-18; 2 Corinthians 3:12-18; 2 Corinthians 4:5-7; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20)