Friday, December 4, 2015

"Here I Stand I Can Do No Other, So Help Me God!"

Luther by most historical accounts said these famous words "Here I stand I can do no other, so help me God!" at his inquisition at the council of Worms. I am certainly no Martin Luther, however I would like to throw my hat in the ring in making a stand and stating a set of beliefs. I am even willing to stand and put my name to everything so here we go...

My name is Richard Moore and I believe in…

The Scriptures as the full, final, and authoritative word of God completely inerrant in the original transcription of them by faithful scribes from the original author’s, and the transcripts that we have in comparative analysis are proven to be inerrant.

I believe that God through Jesus Christ commanded the creation of the world in six literal days as described in detail throughout the Bible, but especially in the Genesis account. I believe that Jesus continues to sustain and hold all creation together by the power of His word (Col. 3).

I believe in a worldwide catastrophic Noahic flood in which God in his wrath destroyed the world.

I believe that the Law was given to Moses, by God on Mt. Sinai, after the Exodus of a Physical and Historic Israel from Egypt. They crossed the Red Sea on dry ground, also as described in the historic account of Exodus.

I believe that Israel occupied the Promised Land through the triumphs and conquests of Joshua. Through wonders and miracles God led His people from the wilderness into his land of Promise which He covenanted unto Abraham from long before.

I believe in the Historicity of the Old Testament from the time of the Judges on through the time of the Kings. I believe where Archeology, and other historical accounts do not confirm the Biblical account already, in time they will confirm, and with time literally unearth corroboration of the biblical accounts. Not that God’s word needs manmade systems of corroboration, but they in time will corroborate.

I believe that the prophets prophesied the word of God to Israel pre-exile and post-exile. Through the prophets God called his people back to the worship of YHWH.

I believe that Jesus the Messiah is revealed in the Gospels (but not limited to them). He was validated by miracles and wonders that God allowed Him to do through the power of the Holy Spirit. He died physically on a cross under Pontius Pilate, and was raised physically from the dead and ascended into Heaven from whence he will come to Judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the New Testament Church as described throughout the Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles. I believe that John the Revelator had a true revelation of the end times, and the rider on the white horse who is called King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Furthermore…

I believe that Christians should act as with a Faith that was described in the New Testament. With passion, and Holiness. With power and authority we can, will and are able to bear witness to the Resurrected Christ. The Normal Christian life is a person who will know Him and make Him Known. The Normal Christian life is a wholehearted dedication to making the glory of God in the gospel known in the nations. Every other posture than a focus on the nations is wholly unbiblical and an attitude that needs to be repented of.

I believe that sin in every form will be punished in eternity apart from repentance and faith in Jesus. The deeds of wickedness will be punished in ‘Lake of Fire’ for all eternity, and faith in Christ will be forgiven in that Christ took on himself the wrath of God on the cross for all who have placed their faith in Jesus’ atoning.

I believe that Marriage was created by God in the Garden of Eden, where he made them “Male and Female.” Jesus confirms creation and marriage between one man and one woman until death separates them.  When Jesus speaks of marriage as from the beginning, He is referring to the physical, and historical Adam and Eve united by God in marriage in the Garden. From His exegesis of the Creation account in scriptures we can be sure that God has from Adam and Eve sanctioned marriage between one man and one woman until death separates them.

I believe that all perversions of sex outside of that Created order of marriage are sin (Homosexuality, Bi-sexuality, fornication, adultery, pornography, etc.). God calls us to repent of these sins as he does all other sins, and find faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of these and all other sins as the Bible clearly describes (Hebrews 13:1-5; John 8:7-11; Romans 1:26-28; Jude 1:5-8; 1Timothy 1:8-11; Mark 10:6-9; 1Cor 7:2; Romans 13:8-10; 1Cor 6:9-11; Levitcus 18:22; 1 Cor 6:17-20 Leviticus 20:13; Genesis 19).

Thus I believe that man is no more born a homosexual than he is born a fornicator, or adulterer, or idolater. So in that sense we are all born into sin and we chose to disobey God’s law and thus have chosen to turn our backs away from Him and decided to walk in sin. “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6 describes a time yet to come when the Lord Jesus will take all our sin not because we deserved it, but the LORD in His mercy “laid on him (Jesus) the iniquity of us all.”

I believe in Miracles. We see them throughout scripture, I believe in scientific miracles (Sun standing still, ax head floating, turning five loaves of bread and two fish into food for 5,000 people, the dead rising, etc.). I believe in spiritual miracles (Darkened hearts turning to Christ, salvation as an act of God). I believe in the supernatural wherein the heavenly forces are embattled for the glory of God, and the salvation of souls.

I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to transform hearts from darkness to light. I believe that God has the power to save, to heal, to break every chain of bondage to sin, and free hearts to worship and obey Christ.

I believe in the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. I believe that an eternal soul begins at conception. "The only newly originating life in the universe that comes in the image of God is man. The only newly originating life in the universe that lasts forever is man." (John Piper)

I believe therefore that Abortion is the taking of innocent life, and should be opposed in every form. Not just should it be opposed, but also Jesus loving people should offer justice ministries that help women make the just decision to keep, adopt, or in any other way deliver their babies to term. Christians should fight for life in all stages, because all men are made in the Image of God, and are therefore image bearers. I believe any manmade interruption of life in any stage would be the destroying of “God’s fearful and reverent needlework (Psalm 139:13).”

I adhere to and believe in the Apostles Creed which reads...

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

I also believe in the Nicene Creed…

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth, of things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the begotten of God the Father, the Only-begotten, that is of the essence of the Father.
God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten and not made; of the very same nature of the Father, by Whom all things came into being, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.
Who for us humanity and for our salvation came down from heaven, was incarnate, was made human, was born perfectly of the holy virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit.
By whom He took body, soul, and mind, and everything that is in man, truly and not in semblance.
He suffered, was crucified, was buried, rose again on the third day, ascended into heaven with the same body, [and] sat at the right hand of the Father.
He is to come with the same body and with the glory of the Father, to judge the living and the dead; of His kingdom there is no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, in the uncreated and the perfect; Who spoke through the Law, prophets, and Gospels; Who came down upon the Jordan, preached through the apostles, and lived in the saints.
We believe also in only One, Universal, Apostolic, and [Holy] Church; in one baptism in repentance, for the remission, and forgiveness of sins; and in the resurrection of the dead, in the everlasting judgement of souls and bodies, and the Kingdom of Heaven and in the everlasting life.

It is also really cool Auf Deutsch…

Wir glauben an den einen Gott,
den Vater,
den Allmächtigen,
der alles geschaffen hat,
Himmel und Erde,
die sichtbare und die unsichtbare Welt.
Und an den einen Herrn Jesus Christus,
Gottes eingeborenen Sohn,
aus dem Vater geboren vor aller Zeit:
Gott von Gott,
Licht vom Licht,
wahrer Gott vom wahren Gott,
gezeugt, nicht geschaffen,
eines Wesens mit dem Vater;
durch ihn ist alles geschaffen.
Für uns Menschen und zu unserm Heil ist er vom Himmel gekommen,
hat Fleisch angenommen durch den Heiligen Geist
von der Jungfrau Maria und ist Mensch geworden.
Er wurde für uns gekreuzigt unter Pontius Pilatus,
hat gelitten und ist begraben worden,
ist am dritten Tage auferstanden nach der Schrift
und aufgefahren in den Himmel.
Er sitzt zur Rechten des Vaters
und wird wiederkommen in Herrlichkeit,
zu richten die Lebenden und die Toten;
seiner Herrschaft wird kein Ende sein.
Wir glauben an den Heiligen Geist,
der Herr ist und lebendig macht,
der aus dem Vater und dem Sohn hervorgeht,
der mit dem Vater und dem Sohn angebetet und verherrlicht wird,
der gesprochen hat durch die Propheten,
und die eine, heilige, christliche und apostolische Kirche.
Wir bekennen die eine Taufe zur Vergebung der Sünden.
Wir erwarten die Auferstehung der Toten
und das Leben der kommenden Welt.
Amen.

I believe these statements are not just mental ascent, but rather a deeply held heart acknowledgement. I believe that these statements as I have explained, develop and clarify a high view of a sovereign and holy God. I also further believe that any other more liberal or truth denying statements diminish the power of God and if said views exist in a person they should seek the Holy Spirit to change their hearts to believe in a high, sovereign, powerfully creative, and sustaining God. For instance what kind of God is not even able to create a world without the need for an evolutionary process to “get it right”. As the great Dutch reformer Abraham Kuyper said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”

I do also believe in the Moravian Creed in which I will seek “Unity in Essentials, Liberty in Non-essentials, and in all things seek Charity.” These things as I have stated them are not what I would call “essentials”, however I do believe that a growing view of God will end up in many of these beliefs.

I believe that you don’t have to be a non-intellectual to adhere to these views as I have explained them. One can hold to a high level of scholarship, and hold these views. There is plenty of evidence, historical, scientific, literary, archeological, theological, biblical and many other fields of study to support these views. Many of these views have been long held Christian positions until recently. For instance views on six-day creationism, and emerging “generous” theology. Views on sexuality have also mutated into dangerous places as seen in the rise of Neo-Orthodoxy. One of the main reasons that these theologies giving generous ground is dangerous is when we say that people are born “gay”. If people are born gay, then we will excuse the sin of Homosexuality. In the message of the gospel God calls man to repent of sin to receive forgiveness. If there is no repentance, then there will be no forgiveness. So when we give too much ground in our seeking a generous orthodoxy we could actually be excusing people’s sin into a Christ-less eternity. So if you are drawn to any of these views as I have explained them, please know three things. First, they are not un-scholarly. Secondly, they will grow your high view of God, and thirdly, they will see people delivered from sin, and salvation will be a result. Do not take the cowardly route in excusing sin, take the route of Jesus, and the Apostles, who said, “repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” God bless you as you seek to work through your own beliefs.

As an addendum to this statement of belief I have been working on a Theoligical Statement for the mission organization that I work for. Here is what I have come up with. I am proud of it, and we are continuing to refine it to reflect the broad Evangelical spectrum of our mission community. I hope this puts words to your faith and belief.

Scriptural Authority (added to above: “1. Authority”): We believe that the Bible, the Old and New Testaments, are the fully inspired Word of God and is the only perfect authority and guide for Christian faith, doctrine and practice. We believe that the Scriptures in its entirety originated with God, was inerrant in its original form, and that it was delivered through God's inspiration by chosen men. The Scriptures are the unique, full and final authority on all matters of faith and practice, and there are no other writings similarly inspired by God.  Hermeneutics and Exegesis are the methodologies we employ to interpret the Scriptural texts. In so doing we hope to be faithful to the original authors intended meaning, and find applications for our everyday lives. Furthermore, we hope to engage differing Hermeneutical processes with humility and reverence.

Jesus Christ (added to above: “6. Christocentric”): We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Second Person of the Trinity who was united forever with a true human nature by miraculous conception and virgin birth. He lived a life of perfect obedience to His Father. He voluntarily atoned for the sins of those who would believe and receive Him, by dying on the cross as our substitute. Thus He accomplished salvation for all who trust in Him alone. He rose from the dead in the same body, although in a glorified state.  He ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Father, where He, the only Mediator between God and man, continually makes intercession for His own. He shall come again to earth, personally and visibly, to consummate history and the eternal plan of God. We believe in the everlasting, authoritative, and sovereign reign of Christ over all creation as Lord. We echo the cry of the Missional Movement which is, “Jesus is Lord.”

The Gospel (added to above: “2. Gospel”): We believe in the gospel as God’s Good News extended to man in His grace. We believe that all men are in need of the saving grace of God as extended in the gospel, and thus we seek to plant the gospel in every context in which we plant Missional communities. The gospel is not limited to penal substitutionary atonement (Imputed guilt laid on Christ for all sinners who repent), but that is the beginning and foundation for expressing the plenary good news of the gospel. We will build Good News cultures that are searching to find and apply the truly good that stems from the gospel, and extend it to all peoples and cultures.

The Church (added to above: “5. Church”): We believe in one true universal Church (Ekklesia), comprised of all those who follow and have believed in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. The Bible shows us that believers should regularly unite for worship, prayer, fellowship, encouragement from the Scriptures, the observance of baptism and communion, mutual ministry through the development of spiritual gifts, and living incarnationally with each other in the world. When God's people meet regularly, there where they meet, the local expression of the Church exists. We will seek to plant the church through Missional work in all its various forms, and new expressions that the Lord, and Scripture will allow.

The Trinity: We believe that God is a triune, holy, eternally existent God. He has revealed Himself in three co-equal and co-eternal Persons the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The trinity consists of three distinct persons, yet are one in substance, essence, or nature. We believe that the Trinitarian relationship is essential to the Missional way, in that God is a relational being, and thus the message of the gospel should also be relational in nature.


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