June 01, 2011

Doctrinal Statement Part 1

I read my pastors blog recently and enjoyed a post he shared regarding a few of his foundational beliefs regarding the Christian faith.  He began by asking what a doctrinal statement is good for.

In todays culture, many people know how to craft a great doctrinal statement, and for some, it even becomes a trophy.  Trophies can become idols.

I want to craft a good doctrinal statement; but not so that I can banter theology with fellow seminarians, or impress Church colleagues and lay-people with great insight and prose.  I want to craft a strong doctrinal statement because I want my friends and family, especially my sons, to know why I act the way I do and worship the way I do.  My doctrinal statement is my worldview.  It explains the foundation of my existence and the purpose underlying the way I steward that existence.

It's also the place I struggle to articulate and understand what it is I really do believe.

A long time ago, I was about to go off to flight school and learn to be a pilot.  One of my prospective instructors told me that many piolts know how to aim their plane on the runway approach for a landing, but they can't tell you the mechanics involved in what they are doing, they just know what to do from experience.

I don't want my life of worship to be simply a thing of developed habit or emotional muscle reflex.  I want to know why I believe what I believe.  And that can only be explained to me and by me through personal interaction with the Word of God.

So for what it is worth, I would like to share my Doctrinal Statement with you.  It is found in whole on the page link at the top of this page, but I am breaking it down with a few narrative interludes like this one tonight, and I will present them over the next few days.

With you for His Glory




Doctrinal Confession

Prologomena
In essential beliefs — there must be unity.
 “There is one Body and one Spirit...there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 
and one God and Father of us all...”  Eph. 4:4-6
•     In non-essential beliefs — there must be liberty.
 “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable 
matters...  Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?  To his own master 
he stands or falls...  So then each of us will give an account of himself to God...  
So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.”  
Romans 14:1, 4, 12, 22
•     In all beliefs — there must be charity.
 “...If I hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but also the very 
secrets of God, and if I have the faith that can move mountains — but have 
no love, I amount to nothing at all.”  1 Cor. 13:2  
•     In teaching and applying beliefs — there must be integrity
In as much as the ministry of the Word must be entrusted to men proven 
competent in lifestyle, circumstance, and study, for the teaching and 
application of holistic counsel of the Word into the whole of life for those 
belonging to the Lord, the overseers of the Body must seek to honor God 
above all men in the administration of that counsel to the best of their 
ability.  The Word must be proclaimed without compromise or priority of 
social agenda according to God's purposes for it. 
"But you must speak what is consistent with sound teaching...with integrity
and dignity in your teaching.  Your message is to be sound beyond reproach...
demonstrating utter faithfulness, so that they may adorn the teaching of God 
our Savior in everything.  For the grace of God has appeared with salvation 
for all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live 
in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age..."   "Proclaim the
message you originally received whether convenient or not...fulfill your 
ministry."  Titus 2:1, 7, 8, 10-12 also 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5.