Tuesday, 24 February 2009
My doctrinal basis....Ed. 4
After looking at a few peoples 'Doctrinal Basis' recently I've decided to have a look more closely at what should be in them and what shouldnt. For example one church (see here) decided that the first key point on thier doctrinal basis was "We believe that the King James Bible is the word of God without error."Obviously something important has been missed here. What is to follow then is what I believe should be in a doctrinal basis and why.
The First question to ask is "What is a doctrinal Basis and why bother?". A doctrinal basis [for our purpose] is a list of understood principles (doctrines)which sums up what a Christian believes. My aim here then to test what I believe is neccessary for one to be a christian with your keen eyes of course.
1) There is one God in three equal, eternal persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. (Deut 6:4; Matt 28:19)
I believe that the Trinity is a vital Christian doctrine. The bible is clear on this one and much of the Christian's understanding of God's nature and redemption of man rest upon this understanding of God.
2) God is sovereign: He is the creator and sustainer of all things and as such the rightful ruler. He created mankind in his image and as such have free will. (Isa 46: 8-11; Gen 1)
This tends to go too far one way or another. Either that God controls every single fasset of life (determinism) and therefore we are not accountable for our actions (supralapsarianism) or God gives up all his soverignty all together as the Gospel depnds wholly on mankind (pelagianism). Both of these are wrong. The Bible is clear that God is the rightful ruler of everything and that he has the power to do as he wishes. However, the Bible also states that we are responsible for our actions and therefore God must lay aside some of his severign power for the sake of our free will. Although this term gets used by different groups the principle is similar. God is Ruler had has the right to do as he wished with his creation.
3)Since the fall, the whole of humankind is sinful and guilty, so that everyone is subject to and deserves death. God's wrath and condemnation is rightly on us becuase of sin. We are spiritually blind because of this sin and refuse to seek God of our own accord. (Gen 3; Rom 3:23; 2 Cor 4:4)
As if often said "The Gospel is bad news before it is good news". Unless we state that God is just in condemning us what is the Good news? We need to know what state we are in before we can know why we need saving.
4)God chose a special people, the Israelites, to whom he made a covenants with Abraham and his descendants to Bless the world through them. It is by them that the Law was recieved and the relationship with God and Man was founded. It was through them the the final means of redemption would come: Jesus Christ.(Rom 9:4-5; Gen 26:4-5)
5) The Lord Jesus Christ,born of a virgin, is God's incarnate Son: fully God and fully man, yet without sin. He lived the perfect life, proclaimed the good news of the Kingdom, died on the cross as a once-for-all sacrifice to save the world of its sins, was raised bodily from death to defeat death once and for all, and is now sat at the right hand of God the Father and is the only mediator between God and man. (John 1:1-2,14; 1 Pet 2:22; Mk 1:14-15; Heb 10:10; Luke 24:46; Acts 2:32-33; 1 Tim 2:5)
Jesus as the God-man is vital as unless he is both then we cannot be fully redeemed and interceeded for. His perfection is also vital as it was necessary that the atoning sacrifice was unblemished if it was to the worthy. Is death is the propitiation of our sins and his physical resurrection the proof of defeat of sin and the Grave. It also proves that he has the power to remove ur sins and to raise us up on the last day. Due to this Jesus is the only way to God and thus explaining why all other means are futile.
6) The Holy Spirit alone makes the work of Christ available to individual sinners, enabling them to turn to God from their sin and to trust in Jesus Christ. (John 16:7-11)
As stated before man is spiritually blind and cannot seek God of his own accord. The spirit then opens our eyes to the Gospel so that we may respond.
7) Those who have faith in Christ are pardoned all their sins and accepted in God's sight only because of the righteousness of Christ and his vindication of us; this justification is God's act of Grace and undeserved mercy, received solely by trust in him and not by their own efforts. Baptism is the outward mark of this inward committment to Christ. (Eph 2:8-9)
We are justified by grace though faith, as Paul writes, and not of works so that no-one can boast. The preparation, will, practicalities and delivery of salvation is all a work of God and is made effectual to us wholly by faith in Jesus Christ with no addition or subtraction.
8) The Holy Spirit lives in all those he has regenerated. He enables them to increasingly become Christ-like in character and behaviour and gives them power for their witness in the world. A true believer is proved by his actions but not saved. To a believer the promises of full life and eternal life are given. (2 Corinthians 3:18; Gal 5: 16-26; John 10:10; John 3:16)
The spirit is the one who continues to reform us and is the mark of the promised things to come. Without the spirit we have no guarantee of the promise and no hope of living and becomeing Christ-like.
9) The Lord Jesus Christ will return in person. The dead will be bodily raised and He will judge everyone to execute God's just condemnation on those who have not repented and to receive the redeemed to eternal glory in the new creation. (Rev 19:11; Rev 20:12)
God will judge all. The Christian, because of Jesus' worth, to eternal life, and the rest to eternal death as just punishment for thier sins. The exact nature of this punishment is intentionally left vague as there a various 'orthodox' positions.
10) The Bible, as originally given, is the inspired Word of God. It supremely bears God's authority in all matters of belief and behaviour. (2 Tim 3: 16-17)
The Bible being the inspired word of God is a key concept as it is the eternal, solid reference in an ever changing world. It is indeed God breathed and is useful to the believer. Its infallibility is not mentioned here however as the Bible never openly makes such claims and there is more then one possible understanding of God breathed.
11) The one holy universal church is the Body of Christ, to which all true believers belong. This is marked by unity and the taking of the Lord's supper together. (Eph 4:4-6; 1 Cor 11:23-26)
The Church is not a building but the people of God. Therefore all who are saved are part of this body, with Christ at the head. A Christian is never a lone believer. If one serates themselves from the body then thier salvation is rightly opened to questioning
I believe that is all for now but as the title suggests it is open to reforms so I look forward to your CONSTRUCTIVE criticism.
Till next time!
N.B. I have used the UCCF Doctrinal Basis as my template. Please see here for the original.