Church Affiliation and Theological TenetsEGP Blog post from October 27, 2013
This past week I had someone ask me about my church affiliation and my theological tenets. To be honest, I’ve never posted anything about that on the site because I’ve felt that sometimes those doctrinal “lines in the sand” can be divisive and can turn people off from what you have to say completely because they don’t agree with part of it. Regardless, people do want to know, and I am not ashamed of what I believe, nor am I ashamed to admit that I don’t have it all figured out. So, for what it’s worth, here’s my answer…
I don’t have a particular church affiliation (but I most often end up in Baptist or supposedly non-denominational ones). I think most (non-)denominations have certain doctrines or mindsets right that God preserves through them or He wouldn’t allow them to continue to exist. Unfortunately, however, they oftentimes will hold too fast to those beliefs or others and (purposely) segregate themselves, rather than living in diverse unity.
I think Paul put it best in 1 Corinthians 2:1–5 (NASB), “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”
As for my tenets, I could go on all day about what I believe and why it’s important to me, but I’d say that these are the very core. They are not fully developed, nor do I hope to ever say that I have it all figured out…
I’m not positive we can ever fully understand the inner workings of God this side of Glory. We can try to explain this as a “Trinity” or “Triune God”, but Scripture never explicitly does, so I don’t. Unless I’m quoting someone, you’ll only hear God/Father/Abba, Jesus/Christ/Messiah/Son, and Holy Spirit / Spirit of God / Helper, etc. from me (not that I hold anything against those who do use the other terms).
I believe that all are in need of salvation that can only come through Jesus Christ and is available to all because of His death on the cross for our sins (Acts 4:10–12). I believe that everyone has a chance to come to the Only True God (regardless of whether or not they have outright heard the Gospel from another person), but that their own sins often lead to a willful rejection of God in their hearts (Romans 1:20–32). There are those that hear this Word, declare that Jesus is Lord, and believe in their heart that He died for their sins and was raised from the dead (Romans 10:8–10). In the end, everyone will have to stand before Christ and will either have eternal life through Him (John 14:6), or death…eternal separation apart from His presence (2 Thessalonians 1:6–10).
I also believe that we are saved FOR good works (by grace through faith), not BY good works (Ephesians 2:8–10). God has individually and uniquely equipped us to excel in certain areas, Spiritually. While we are still on this earth, we are to utilize the Spirit-given grace-gifts (Ephesians 4:11–13, Romans 12:4–8, 1 Corinthians 12:7–11, etc.). So, while we should all tell people about what God has done in our lives, some excel at evangelism…while we should all pray, some excel as intercessors, etc. While these gifts are supposed to be “for the common good” and provide diversity and unity, people often prioritize their gifting above the others (i.e., “if you don’t _____ then you’re not a true Christian”) and cause divisions (1 Corinthians 12:14–27).
Lastly, one day God will restore all things in Heaven and on Earth to a pre-fall condition (2 Peter 3:10–13, Romans 8:19–25), believers will have new/renewed bodies that aren’t subject to age, death, or decay (1 Corinthians 15:42–44), and God will “dwell among His people” as in the first days following creation (Revelation 21:1–8).