(What I Believe)
I am a contemporary Calvinist.
I hold to the historic Reformed understanding
and seek to express that biblical faith through words, symbols
and actions that speak to people today.
I ground my faith in a serious and unqualified reliance on Scripture as God's Word.
Far from this making me narrow in my
theology and spiritual practices, I have found myself drawn to Christian traditions
across all spectrums and divisions, finding those gifts given in Jesus in all parts of the
church and church traditions. Taking seriously all of the Bible leads me rise above the
many historic theological divisions in the church. I believe that I can learn from and
minister in a wide variety of Christian churches.
My life is not my own.
I belong to Jesus Christ who purchased my life back from sin and guilt
with his life, death and resurrection.
Because of Jesus I entrust myself to the God of the Bible:
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God who is three persons
and three persons who are eternally and equally one God.
The Father created all through the regency of the Son
and the activity of the Holy Spirit.
Nothing outside of God exists that He has not created (visible and invisible)
including man and both angels and demons.
The creation exists because God graciously provides existence
to it moment by moment through Christ,
in whom all things hold together.
God created all things good, and man,
in his disobedience to God, brought sin, misery, guilt, shame and decay into the world.
The Son was sent by the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit
into the world and became a human person: Jesus Christ.
Being conceived in his mother Mary by the Holy Spirit
without the help of a man, Jesus took on our human existence,
setting aside his power and prerogatives as God.
Yet he remained completely God and completely a man,
one person with both natures.
He lived a human life, empowered by the Holy Spirit,
without sin and in perfect harmony with the Father.
From his conception and through his death at the hands
of the Jewish and Roman authorities he suffered the penalty
for my sins and the sins of the World.
He died on the cross and was buried.
On the third day he rose from the tomb,
a glorified savior, still God and a man,
never to perish or suffer again.
He appeared to the apostles (Gods envoys) over the next 40 days.
He ascended to heaven where he reigns as the Fathers regent
and intercedes for us.
He will return to judge all people, living and dead,
and to restore all creation to Gods original intended perfection.
The Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit
to speak through Gods prophets and apostles,
and to empower the church to serve Him.
The Spirit, because of Gods special love for us,
inspired the prophets, apostles and their followers to accurately
and completely set down in the Scriptures of the Bible
all that we need to know and do to faithfully live
in gratitude to God.
These Scriptures are the Word of God spoken in the words of men,
so inspired that they do not falsify or err in facts or fail
in their promises and yet reflect the individuality of the writer.
The Scriptures are to be read as they were inspired
(history as interpreted facts, poetry as crafted evocative imagery,
prophesy as God-directed dream, proverb as the intersection of experience
and Gods will, etc.).
The Spirit also moves people to believe God,
empowers them to serve God,
applies to them the goodness of Christ
and cooperates with them in transforming their lives
to bring them into Godly, Christ-like, Spiritual maturity.
In the course of maturing they increasingly love God
with all that they are and have, and love those around them
with the sacrificial love of Christ.
Indeed, those whom God calls he molds through the power of the Spirit
and the sacrifice of Jesus into the image of the Son,
ultimately glorifying them at their death or at Christs return.
The Spirit creates and molds one universal church,
gathering together the followers of Jesus to serve Him.
Gods will for the church is to make everyone
into apprentices of Jesus.
We are therefore to go to those around us and around the world,
tell them the Good News about Jesus,
embrace them in the church through baptism
in the power, presence, authority and reputation
of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
and teach them how to live a life that conforms to the life of Jesus.
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