What I Believe

My thanks to The Gospel Coalition for this statement of faith. You may also like to check out a post entitled: Sam Storms’ Theology (and mine!)

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(1) The Tri-une God

We believe in one God, eternally existing in three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who know, love, and glorify one another. This one true and living God is infinitely perfect both in his love and in his holiness. He is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible, and is therefore worthy to receive all glory and adoration. Immortal and eternal, he perfectly and exhaustively knows the end from the beginning, sustains and sovereignly rules over all things, and providentially brings about his eternal good purposes to redeem a people for himself and restore his fallen creation, to the praise of his glorious grace.

(2) Revelation

God has graciously disclosed his existence and power in the created order, and has supremely revealed himself to fallen human beings in the person of his Son, the incarnate Word. Moreover, this God is a speaking God who by his Spirit has graciously disclosed himself in human words: we believe that God has inspired the words preserved in the Scriptures, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, which are both record and means of his saving work in the world. These writings alone constitute the verbally inspired Word of God, which is utterly authoritative and without error in the original writings, complete in its revelation of his will for salvation, sufficient for all that God requires us to believe and do, and final in its authority over every domain of knowledge to which it speaks. We confess that both our finitude and our sinfulness preclude the possibility of knowing God’s truth exhaustively, but we affirm that, enlightened by the Spirit of God, we can know God’s revealed truth truly. The Bible is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it teaches; obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; and trusted, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises. As God’s people hear, believe, and do the Word, they are equipped as disciples of Christ and witnesses to the gospel.

(3) Creation of Humanity

We believe that God created human beings, male and female, in his own image. Adam and Eve belonged to the created order that God himself declared to be very good, serving as God’s agents to care for, manage, and govern creation, living in holy and devoted fellowship with their Maker. Men and women, equally made in the image of God, enjoy equal access to God by faith in Christ Jesus and are both called to move beyond passive self-indulgence to significant private and public engagement in family, church, and civic life. Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union that establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations for men and women, such that marriage ultimately serves as a type of the union between Christ and his church. In God’s wise purposes, men and women are not simply interchangeable, but rather they complement each other in mutually enriching ways. God ordains that they assume distinctive roles which reflect the loving relationship between Christ and the church, the husband exercising headship in a way that displays the caring, sacrificial love of Christ, and the wife submitting to her husband in a way that models the love of the church for her Lord. In the ministry of the church, both men and women are encouraged to serve Christ and to be developed to their full potential in the manifold ministries of the people of God. The distinctive leadership role within the church given to qualified men is grounded in creation, fall, and redemption and must not be sidelined by appeals to cultural developments.

(4) The Fall

We believe that Adam, made in the image of God, distorted that image and forfeited his original blessedness—for himself and all his progeny—by falling into sin through Satan’s temptation. As a result, all human beings are alienated from God, corrupted in every aspect of their being (e.g., physically, mentally, volitionally, emotionally, spiritually) and condemned finally and irrevocably to death—apart from God’s own gracious intervention. The supreme need of all human beings is to be reconciled to the God under whose just and holy wrath we stand; the only hope of all human beings is the undeserved love of this same God, who alone can rescue us and restore us to himself.

(5) The Plan of God

We believe that from all eternity God determined in grace to save a great multitude of guilty sinners from every tribe and language and people and nation, and to this end foreknew them and chose them. We believe that God justifies and sanctifies those who by grace have faith in Jesus, and that he will one day glorify them—all to the praise of his glorious grace. In love God commands and implores all people to repent and believe, having set his saving love on those he has chosen and having ordained Christ to be their Redeemer.

(6) The Gospel

We believe that the gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ—God’s very wisdom. Utter folly to the world, even though it is the power of God to those who are being saved, this good news is christological, centering on the cross and resurrection: the gospel is not proclaimed if Christ is not proclaimed, and the authentic Christ has not been proclaimed if his death and resurrection are not central (the message is “Christ died for our sins . . . [and] was raised”). This good news is biblical (his death and resurrection are according to the Scriptures), theological and salvific (Christ died for our sins, to reconcile us to God), historical (if the saving events did not happen, our faith is worthless, we are still in our sins, and we are to be pitied more than all others), apostolic (the message was entrusted to and transmitted by the apostles, who were witnesses of these saving events), and intensely personal (where it is received, believed, and held firmly, individual persons are saved).

(7) The Redemption of Christ

We believe that, moved by love and in obedience to his Father, the eternal Son became human: the Word became flesh, fully God and fully human being, one Person in two natures. The man Jesus, the promised Messiah of Israel, was conceived through the miraculous agency of the Holy Spirit, and was born of the virgin Mary. He perfectly obeyed his heavenly Father, lived a sinless life, performed miraculous signs, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead on the third day, and ascended into heaven. As the mediatorial King, he is seated at the right hand of God the Father, exercising in heaven and on earth all of God’s sovereignty, and is our High Priest and righteous Advocate. We believe that by his incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus Christ acted as our representative and substitute. He did this so that in him we might become the righteousness of God: on the cross he canceled sin, propitiated God, and, by bearing the full penalty of our sins, reconciled to God all those who believe. By his resurrection Christ Jesus was vindicated by his Father, broke the power of death and defeated Satan who once had power over it, and brought everlasting life to all his people; by his ascension he has been forever exalted as Lord and has prepared a place for us to be with him. We believe that salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved. Because God chose the lowly things of this world, the despised things, the things that are not, to nullify the things that are, no human being can ever boast before him—Christ Jesus has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.

(8 ) The Justification of Sinners

We believe that Christ, by his obedience and death, fully discharged the debt of all those who are justified. By his sacrifice, he bore in our stead the punishment due us for our sins, making a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice on our behalf. By his perfect obedience he satisfied the just demands of God on our behalf, since by faith alone that perfect obedience is credited to all who trust in Christ alone for their acceptance with God. Inasmuch as Christ was given by the Father for us, and his obedience and punishment were accepted in place of our own, freely and not for anything in us, this justification is solely of free grace, in order that both the exact justice and the rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners. We believe that a zeal for personal and public obedience flows from this free justification.

(9) The Power of the Holy Spirit

We believe that this salvation, attested in all Scripture and secured by Jesus Christ, is applied to his people by the Holy Spirit. Sent by the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ, and, as the “other” Paraclete, is present with and in believers. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and by his powerful and mysterious work regenerates spiritually dead sinners, awakening them to repentance and faith, and in him they are baptized into union with the Lord Jesus, such that they are justified before God by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. By the Spirit’s agency, believers are renewed, sanctified, and adopted into God’s family; they participate in the divine nature and receive his sovereignly distributed gifts. The Holy Spirit is himself the down payment of the promised inheritance, and in this age indwells, guides, instructs, equips, revives, and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.

(10) The Kingdom of God

We believe that those who have been saved by the grace of God through union with Christ by faith and through regeneration by the Holy Spirit enter the kingdom of God and delight in the blessings of the new covenant: the forgiveness of sins, the inward transformation that awakens a desire to glorify, trust, and obey God, and the prospect of the glory yet to be revealed. Good works constitute indispensable evidence of saving grace. Living as salt in a world that is decaying and light in a world that is dark, believers should neither withdraw into seclusion from the world, nor become indistinguishable from it: rather, we are to do good to the city, for all the glory and honor of the nations is to be offered up to the living God. Recognizing whose created order this is, and because we are citizens of God’s kingdom, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, doing good to all, especially to those who belong to the household of God. The kingdom of God, already present but not fully realized, is the exercise of God’s sovereignty in the world toward the eventual redemption of all creation. The kingdom of God is an invasive power that plunders Satan’s dark kingdom and regenerates and renovates through repentance and faith the lives of individuals rescued from that kingdom. It therefore inevitably establishes a new community of human life together under God.

(11) God’s New People

We believe that God’s new covenant people have already come to the heavenly Jerusalem; they are already seated with Christ in the heavenlies. This universal church is manifest in local churches of which Christ is the only Head; thus each “local church” is, in fact, the church, the household of God, the assembly of the living God, and the pillar and foundation of the truth. The church is the body of Christ, the apple of his eye, graven on his hands, and he has pledged himself to her forever. The church is distinguished by her gospel message, her sacred ordinances, her discipline, her great mission, and, above all, by her love for God, and by her members’ love for one another and for the world. Crucially, this gospel we cherish has both personal and corporate dimensions, neither of which may properly be overlooked. Christ Jesus is our peace: he has not only brought about peace with God, but also peace between alienated peoples. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both Jew and Gentile to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. The church serves as a sign of God’s future new world when its members live for the service of one another and their neighbors, rather than for self-focus. The church is the corporate dwelling place of God’s Spirit, and the continuing witness to God in the world.

(12) Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

We believe that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordained by the Lord Jesus himself. The former is connected with entrance into the new covenant community, the latter with ongoing covenant renewal. Together they are simultaneously God’s pledge to us, divinely ordained means of grace, our public vows of submission to the once crucified and now resurrected Christ, and anticipations of his return and of the consummation of all things.

(13) The Restoration of All Things

We believe in the personal, glorious, and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ with his holy angels, when he will exercise his role as final Judge, and his kingdom will be consummated. We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the just and the unjust—the unjust to judgment and eternal conscious punishment in hell, as our Lord himself taught, and the just to eternal blessedness in the presence of him who sits on the throne and of the Lamb, in the new heaven and the new earth, the home of righteousness. On that day the church will be presented faultless before God by the obedience, suffering and triumph of Christ, all sin purged and its wretched effects forever banished. God will be all in all and his people will be enthralled by the immediacy of his ineffable holiness, and everything will be to the praise of his glorious grace.

23 thoughts on “What I Believe

  1. Even though my eyesight is limited, I could not stop reading this message. Your message is precisely what I have been taught from childhood. So many churches now forget the true messages/commands that the Word contains, only dealing with “feelings”.

  2. I have had such misgivings and misconceptions about the Plan of God . You are saying that He foreknew His people.
    Does this put your creed into the Calvinistic viewpoint?. I can understand this Plan but have some difficulty understanding true Calvinism.

  3. Abby can you elaborate on what you mean by misgivings and misconceptions about the plan of God?
    What do you think about these verses–
    “I have summoned you by name; you are Mine” says the Lord.” Isa. 43:1
    “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your Book!” Ps. 139:16

  4. So I understand that the Bible says that Adam fell from grace, but why does that affect modern humanity? I suppose that it could be compared to a murderer who gets the death penalty, but then his three year old son does as well. That isn’t right, is it?

  5. Your item number 5. The last sentence I find problematic. I don’t see where God implores people everywhere to repent. Repentance in scripture is only for those God chooses, isn’t it? Also,( number 8… ‘Justification of sinnners’ ) I’m thinking that Christ didn’t pay the price as that would be eternity in Hell and for each and every sinner. Just my thoughts……
    For His Glory,
    Jim Moorhouse

  6. Thank You so very very much.
    I have been blessed by this, and hope it is ok to keep it, and to agree, that it is what I too, believe

    thank you

  7. I think I read through all of your ‘what I believe’ and I don’t believe I found out whether or not you believe you can lose your salvation? What’s your take on this, please?

    • This goes back to 2008 and a question posed by “glorybound” about whether salvation is permanent or one can “lose” his salvation. I am simply another reader, now in March 2011, not the originator of the blog site. In my own ministry as a teaching pastor, I have found the best way to approach and answer the question (for the sincere enquirer) is to personalize the query. I usually ask, “Whose salvation are we talking about?” Then, with a smile, “Are you concerned about losing yours? I am not concerned about losing mine. I do not plan to ‘give it up’ and I continue to press in to follow holiness and to know God better and better. I love Jesus Christ too much to leave Him, and I know He will never leave me . . . so I am perfectly secure in Him.” Usually, that helps the questioner and makes salvation real, not theoretical.

  8. I believe that our belief is profound and anyone who is willing to believe what the Lord says is blessed and anyone who has a relationship with the lord knows that Christ went and took the keys from the enemy in Hell and has all power and if we study the word and ask God for Wisdom we don’t have to wonder why he’s not paying for our sins by spending eternity in Hell, God is a God of forgiveness, grace and full of mercy! thank you for your belief man of God!

  9. ‘glorybound’,
    Salvation is a gift from God and sustained by God. Election is from eternity to eternity. But this does not in the slightest diminish the believer’s responsibility to persevere in faith for the glory of Christ. The trouble today is that ‘easy believeism’ pronounces many to be save that are in fact not saved. Therefore those that fall away have not lost their salvation, they never had it in the first place.
    Pete

    • I say Amen to this. I would
      liked to have seen what the belief about communion and Baptism beliefs are. Jesus commanded us to be baptized. He was babptized in the River Jordan by John The Baptist, for the remission of sins. Not because he was a sinner, He was sinless, but to serve as an example for us. Also, He Commanded us to take the cup and bread in Communion.

  10. James,
    The first words of public ministry from the mouth of Jesus was “repent and believe the gospel” Mark 1:15. Likewise, Acts 17:30, “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent”.
    Pete

  11. Trevor,
    Check out this text, 1Cor.15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” Adam (the first), as the head/representative of the human race fell/sinned, and thus all humanity fell in him. But Christ (the second Adam) is the head of a new humanity (Christians) who by faith in his death and resurrection enjoy the benefits of his perfect obedience to God the Father.
    Pete

  12. My family and I totally subscribe to the statements. We believe in God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and the Bible as the Word of God.

  13. I would enjoy having this sent to me all the time.
    I’m a Calvinist, probably a few people agree with me in 2008.

    I need more teaching in my life – this is exciting reading.

  14. Calvinist or Armenian what we should remember that we need to stick as close to the Bible as possible. I may not be Calvinist but that does not stop me from enjoying the reformation writings in fact they are my favorites. I believe that God is not limited b y time and therefore his “predestination” is in fact for-knowledge, also predestination taken as it is will mean that God did predestine some to hell. This is contrary to John 3:16-17, I did my Theology degree with all the professors being Calvinists however I have yet to find convincing argument that God of Love is God of damnation without giving people option to repent. However I completely subscribe to 1 Sola scriptura (“by Scripture alone”); 2 Sola fide (“by faith alone”); 3 Sola gratia (“by grace alone”); 4 Solus Christus (“Christ alone”).

    Your brother in Christ Jesus

    Defend the word

  15. I just found your blog but really appreciate the substance and tone of it. I’m especially interested in the intersection of Reformed and charismatic thought and practice, and already have planned a series of posts on the subject.

    I’ve added you to my reader. Grace and peace to you in Christ.

  16. great to find other reformed believers who are seeking everything the Holy Spirit has to offer God bless from US, North Carolina. prayer for Scotland and Ireland the lands of my ancestry. May the fires of revival find themselves burning the hearts and minds and spirits from within. Praise Praise to the Son and the the Father who sits on His throne send us the Spirit and may signs and wonders follow all those who proclaim the Gospel. Peace not as the worldl gives it but the Peace of Christ be with each one of you. God bless

  17. Again, I believe there is too much emphasis on verbatim interpretation, I’m a reformed theologian myself but I avoid Confesions, because they are based on conclusions that are based on literal interpretation of the bible. there is no critical method present on the process. we cant ignore things like; historical context, linguistical implications, writers intention, cronological distance, posterior textual insertions among many other points that will affect interpretation. for me the message is always much more important and practical than the text. authority is based on the message, if is liberating, if is restoring, if is healing, if it represent the values of the Kingdom, peace, justice, equality, hope, inclusion.

  18. defendtheword,

    I am inclined to agree with you.

    Peter,

    I find the idea of a convergence of Reformed theology and Charismatic experience interesting. I have never heard of that before. I have read a little about reformed theology ( A book by Douglass Wilson), and listened to some sermons by some who teach it such as John Piper and Lasserre Bradley (He is Primitive Baptist; I am not sure if they are considered reformed, but they are 5 point Calvinists). I have recently been attending an Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Although I still have not been able to embrace all 5 points, I really enjoy worshiping with them am learning a lot in their Sunday school class.

    I read your “About” page and I am looking forward to coming back and reading more.

  19. people change when they believe they do different things eg. being helpful and hearing truth there ears are open 1 Jn.4 v6

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