Faith

My Statement of Faith

A work in progress and subject to change as the Holy Spirit leads.

Bibliology

  • The Bible is huge! It continually points to Christ! Its authority is from God, and is to be viewed not so much literally, but through a lens of Jesus.

  • Biblical interpretation as scholarly endeavor is very important to me. There is a danger of not looking at the whole of scripture and its meaning, when not viewed in a scholarly light. Granted, there is also a danger of too much head knowledge and little heart knowledge, so care is needed.

    I am not an infallible inerrant literalist… not even in the original texts… but this does not mean I view the Bible as not true, nor not of value, Its just  much bigger than I think anyone can honestly put a box around.

    I do not adhere to sola scriptura, but rather ascribe to Wesley’s quadralateral. Ie interpretation is a mix of scripture, tradition, reason, and experience as contrasted with scripture alone.

    Scripture alone sounds awesome, but how do you decouple it from tradition, from the reasoning of man, and from our own tendency for self deception? Even more so, how do you do this when we don’t have much to go on from 2000 years ago? Historical critical is a great tool… but it only goes so far.

    Tradition is helpful for sure… until it runs up against the scriptures themselves. What happens when there is no, or merely stretching support for a given set of doctrines within the scriptures? Do we hold that tradition out to color our interpretation of the rest of scriptures? Pretty much when someone says, “The Bible clearly says” they are likely embracing tradition and that can be an iffy spot to be in.

    Reason comes to bite us too… all one has to do is look to history. The Catholic church weighed reason very highly, and from there we get a ton of traditions. Luther cast reason to the wind and made some much needed corrections. Consider something like the immaculate conception, it came into being due to reason, as does the assumption of Mary within the Catholic church. Its not just the Catholic church though, Calvin cranked up reason in a huge way shortly there after, followed later by Arminus.. and today, egads, reason is back in spades and is huge in many sola scriptura churches of both the Calvin and Arminus varieties.

    Experience can also play havoc, not only from our tendency to self deception, but also how our windows are colored by it. Consider indulgences, they came out of the need for forgiven man to also forgive himself. I think we all run into scenarios where we know God has forgiven us, but find it really had to forgive ourselves. Confession to a priest and indulgences were a reasonable approach to help folks with this… until they became a tradition, and then became corrupted to the point of being a source of power and control which Luther took issue with.

    Translators more than a few times have made some really bad choices in Greek to English translation… The most contemporary  is the English word homosexual, which never occurred in a English Bible translation until 1950 or so. Consider how many gay Christian’s have suffered under this, and/or committed suicide… its very sad, especially since the Greek-English translation that way is really iffy, if not downright wrong. A similar translation error occurs in the Ephesians 5 text which has destroyed far too many women as well as marriages in an appeal to patriarchy.

    Bottom line, the Bible is huge, and is much too big to put a box around.

Theology proper

Models of the Trinity

I’m going to leave the following cut and paste as is… The trinity is a massive mystery. Secondly, its a bear and a half to try and create an analogy of the trinity without going off into heresy land. As such… just see my writings. I’m a firm believer in the trinity, and I’m working towards apologetics in this area, but ultimately it is a mystery.

The Augsburg Confession Godhead Article 1

We unanimously hold and teach, in accordance with the Council of Nicea, that there is one divine essence which is called and which is God, eternal, incorporated, indivisible, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the maker and preserver of all things, visible and invisible. Yet there are three persons, of the same essence and power, who are also co-eternal: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Theology of the Cross, not a theology of glory

A theology of the cross is a radical thing in today’s, incentive and reward based society. Likewise, a theology of glory is like a siren opposite a light house, calling folks away from God’s grace. While one cannot deny that Paul talks about rewards and crowns of glory, he was not talking of works done under our own power apart from Christ. Likewise Paul was not talking about using our own power up to the point we get in a jam, and then calling out to God. . Luther nails this in the Heidelberg Disputation.

Beginning of Life View

Theistic Evolution

I see this as a Theology of the Cross, as God created everything out nothing. I see evolution as our current worldly model of understanding how God made it go. More so, I see evolution as a useful tool for purposes of helping the human condition through science. I see young earth creationism as a massive distraction from the Gospel, it can easily become a way away from Christ, rather than toward him.  As time passes, I become more and more convinced that young earth creationism is wrong. Its like putting a blue card in front of someone and pounding on them to tell them its red, and only upon seeing it as red can they then follow Jesus.

I get that for the answers in Genesis crowd, if they don’t have a literal Genesis, that for some, the Bible falls apart, and then their whole faith falls apart… and thats a sad deal, and a needless situation to be in as its a result of man’s teaching.

Remember for the first 1500 yrs+ of Christianity, folks didn’t have access to Bibles. Its great that we do today, but to base ones faith on the Bible rather than Jesus, egads. And even if one does base ones faith on the Bible, why not consider Genesis a metaphorical story, or do as the dispensationalists do, consider the huge swatch of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.

Beyond that, I truly have little interest in creation / evolution narratives.

Angelology

Guess what… no progress here hardly at all. I still think angels are hover doods (from LOLCATS) who are terrifying looking massively huge creatures, but they change their form depending upon what God has them do so as not to blow our minds… or torch us etc.

Anthropology

Man is a major mystery, as a guy, women even more so. Likely the reverse is also true.

I tend to think free will is mostly man’s hubris. Time and time again throughout the scriptures, we see God acting on man, hardening hearts, moving this way, moving that way. To think we can go our own way apart from God is crazy making. I realize this has other implications… if we have no free will, then how does God love us, how do we truly love Him? My answer to this: its far above my paygrade. I can’t reason my way around this or see the scriptures in such a way as to how it would work.

Beyond that, we are a bag of water and cellular material running a crazy complicated mess of chemical equations… to think there isn’t some level of predictable results from those chemical equations doesn’t pass the smell test. Neuroscience has a very long way to go though… plus there is so much in the universe, and even on the earth, we just don’t understand.

Ultimately though, God’s sovereignty rules and I’m cool with that.

Harmatiology

Sin is a big deal… and it gets downplayed a lot, and twiddled with too. I find fire and brimstone and the whole fire hell deal for the most part counterproductive imagery (to say nothing of being wrong). Yes, Hell exists, yes sin exists, and yes without Christ, we’d be well beyond a major world of hurt… but fables and emotionally generating human imagery I think is a major disservice to the Body of Christ, as well as the non-believer. Hell is a massive separation from God and everything good, but as far as fire… it doesnt jibe with the Greek text. (not that our works are not purified with fire, etc)

I ascribe to the belief of original sin, which means we get hosed at conception, and that we are totally depraved from a God point of view. Ie, we are stupid like sheep, and we go massively astray, even babies, children, albeit their is the question of ensoulment for the unborn (does it occur at conception, when blood appears, or on first breath) There are arguments for all… but I’d say as soon as ensoulment occurs, the consequences of original sin are there full bore. There is no age of accountability… but thankfully there is God’s grace.

I also ascribe to the fact that all are created in God’s image, and as such even though we screw up when measured with God’s standards, a remnant of good towards one another, a natural law aspect, sort of a part of the image of God’s original good creation remains. Thus unbelievers while falling short from God’s perfection, can also be incredibly moral and good from man’s point of view.

Unconscious sin is a huge deal… and it gets so little airplay. I’m not sure why this is, perhaps its just too much of an additional burden? I think as we age, we become more and more aware of sin as God illuminates the unconscious such that we become aware of it. Our inclination to sin, is fully sin, and as such also the consequences of such,

I also ascribe that while earthly consequences for sin vary widely, in God’s eyes, using an office stapler for personal documents is falling short of God’s perfection and without Christ, the consequences would be the same as what Osama Bin Laden would suffer (should he not come to Christ).

For believers however, Paul talks about crowns and rewards… I think those who follow Christ to the end will be rewarded more so, than those who become Christian, and then do nothing or worse backslide (to borrow a term from my Baptist friends). This reward aspect is vastly different than salvation. In some ways, while I dont agree with Catholicism’s view of purgatory, I’m not totally convinced its totally in error either. Purgatory is not salvation connected, but it is purification of our works driven… and that seems to align with Paul.

The unforgiveable sin… blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, alas this remains a mystery to me. The WELS and LCMS folks have some interesting, and possibly correct definitions, but I’m not convinced. I tend to think its a single sin of massive unbelief post conversion (yep, I dont ascribe to OSAS (once saved always saved… I tend to think one can walk away, and if one persists long enough, one could be hosed, but  am not convinced 100% of that either). If its not a single sin, I sort of wonder if it ties into the sheep and goats separation that Jesus talks about… Ultimately though, I think blasphemy of the Holy Spirit has to be a majorly conscious deal. Ie, if we are concerned we did so… its a sign we have not.

Soteriology

Law and Gospel Dialectic

The Five Solas

The atonement

Christ destroyed Satan and his works (the Christus Victor view) is my primary thinking. I also find Wesley’s governance view fascinating, as well as the early church fathers and ransom theory.  Even the satisfaction theory makes sense.

I think penal substitution atonement is hosed it… yes it does have some scriptural support, and depending upon how one interprets all of scripture, maybe scriptures can be bent to foster a whole lot of support. I however am not convinced. I think God is much bigger than penal substitutionary atonement. I also find a sort of awesomeness about the ransom theory… its just comes across to me as God being uberly cool.

Election

I’m in the middle of Calvin and Arminus… I see both points supported by scripture, but I do tend to lean towards Calvin perhaps more so by experience than scripture shooting a hole in Arminus. Ie, if God has you, or is going to convert you, you are not going to be able to subvert his work. You may fall away for a bit… but God will grab you back at some point.

Sanctification

  • We get in a jam sanctification wise, because we mess with the temporal and eternal time domains. Ie we are simul justice et peccatuer. 100% saints and 100% sinners. In God’s eyes in the eternal domain, we are fully sanctified and white as snow. In the temporal domain, we are very much sinners and remain so until death. I do not ascribe to progressive sanctification at all. By the same token, I am not suggesting by any means we are to crave sin and lawlessness. The Holy Spirit will change our hearts as we walk with Christ. This can have a temporal appearance of progressive sanctification among fellow man… yet, in God’s standards, apart from Christ, our works are as rubbish, or more Biblically correct as shit

Eternal security

  • I do not ascribe to once saved always saved, but am not convinced such is 100% in error either. The typical argument is that without OSAS, then Christ’s sacrifice is replaced by man’s works, and as such to not believe in OSAS means his sacrifice was of no value, as man could do such. To me, such an argument is circular… but more so, what about the unforgiveable sin, what about the sheep and goats deal. The thing is this… what about the close friend or relative that goes on a major backsliding deal and kicks the bucket. Without OSAS… it would seem there is no hope, nor comfort. Catholics hold OSAS out to be the sin of presumption, thus OSAS is contraindicated… yet, they also ascribe to faith, hope, and love, with love as the greatest. Their logic and its resultant hope seems to hold a whole lot more water than OSAS, but I do see both views.

     

Ecclesiology

Baptism

  • Infant Baptism is the ideal… but alas if that doesn’t happen, believers Baptism is ok too. The reason… in infant Baptism, it clearly is God making it happen, the infant has no control, and I think such is cool, and it really drives home it is an act of God’s not one of man.

    Baptism for the remission of sins, yep, roger this… we are then justified and sanctified, bearing in mind the prior entry on sanctification.

    On the Holy Spirit

    On God parents

    On the Congregation

The Lords Supper

  • I’m diverging from the traditional Lutheran in with and under view of Jesus real presence in the Eucharist. Jesus is really present, it is his body and blood literally. The body of Christ is also there symbolically, namely symbolically ALL believers are present. I also see the Lord’s supper as sort of a wormhole into the eternal domain, past present and future. I know the combination of the above doesnt jibe with Lutheran, Catholic, nor Baptist belief structures… yet it is a reflection of what I see the Lord’s supper as being, and it is sort of a melding of these differing belief structures in many ways.

    Ultimately, I do not ascribe to receptionism and leave it as a mystery, but rather go back to the words of institution alone, which then opens a major can of worms as concerns Lutheran views on the reliqua and the requisit practical aspects after the Lord’s supper. To me, receptionism seems extra Biblical, and as far as my limited research indicates, it doesn’t appear tradition driven either. It seems more reactionary, albeit if one doesnt ascribe to it or something similar… then other belief structures start to play against one another so logically it makes sense, even though I dont ascribe to it.

    On the Reliqua

    On Adoration outside the celebration

    Partaking in an unworthy manner

    Closed Communion

    Remembrance Only Approach to the Lords Supper

    On Good Order and the Priesthood of all Believers

    Confirmation

    Marriage

    Ordination

    On Bishops and Oil

    Confession

    Office of the Hours

    On Sermons

    On Loving ones Neighbor

    The Keys and Apostolic Succession

    On Corporate Confession and Absolution

The charismatic gifts

  • The gifts are for today (the continuationist view)

  • “Tongues shall cease” (the cessationist view)

  • Torn between the two. I’m leaning towards the cessationist view, but I attened an AoG church for a few years, so not totally.

Women in ministry

  • The irrelevance of gender for spiritual authority (the egalitarian view)

Submission in marriage

  • Gender-based authority was only cultural (the egalitarian view)

Christians and politics

  • God works through the secular government and the church for different purposes

Eschatology

  • The symbolic Thousand-Year Conquest of Satan (The Amillennial View)

Christology

Pneumatology

Baptism in the Holy Spirit

  • People are baptized with the Spirit when they believe (the classical Protestant view)

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