Drinking Deeply

Friday, October 03, 2008 at 10:28 AM

Statement of faith

Hopefully I can flesh this out a little more (maybe post to defend various positions), but here's a starting point.

By God's grace, I am... (roughly in order of importance)

Trinitarian - I affirm that God, as revealed in Scripture consists of 3 distinct persons sharing the same essence, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Though they all share the same attributes of divinity, they have differing roles and relationships to one another.

Evangelical - I hold to the 5 solas (alones) of the Reformation, affirming that Scripture reveals that salvation is through faith, by grace, in Christ, and all for the glory of God.

Reformed - I hold to the 5 points of the Doctrines of Grace (also known as Calvinism), affirming that man is by nature utterly unable move towards God, but it is God who selects, dies for, regenerates, and preserves man holiness. I also hold to what I would like to call the zeroth point of Calvinism - God is completely and absolutely sovereign over every molecule, thought, and action in all of creation.

Inerrantist - I affirm that the entirity of Scripture is inspired by God and thus infallible and without error in all that it says, be it history or faith.

Covenantal - I affirm that the people of God are set apart by means of a covenant. Ethnic Israel under the Old Covenant, and the Christian church (true Israel) under the New Covenant. Baptism and the Lord's Supper have replaced circumcision and Passover as covenantal sacraments.

Paedobaptist - I affirm that not only are professing believers members of the New Covenant, but their children as well, and are worthy of the covenantal sign of baptism. (I'm also considering Douglas Wilson's position of covenant communion, but that's secondary)

Presbyterian - I affirm that the body of Christ requires formal organization and is led by a plurality of elders who are in charge of the spiritiual direction of the church. While I accept other forms of church government as within the bounds of Scripture, I feel like the call for Christian unity requires denominational accountability rather than independence.

Complementarian - I affirm that God created male and female to complement one another in different roles rather that co-equals. I affirm that the husband is to be the head of the wife and that a man should be in the pulpit of the church. I affirm that just like Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Father are all of the same worth but different in role, the husband and wife are of the same worth but different in role.

Continuationist (sort of) - I affirm that God continues to work miracles today, and actively gives gifts like prayer, healing, tongues and prophecy. I deny that what modern charismatics call tongues (private prayer language, babbling) and prophecy (leadings and hunches) are actually tongues and prophecy as described in the Bible.

Presuppositional - I affirm that when reasoning with unbelievers, a Christian ought not to affirm unbelief and try to reason to God, but rather must affirm God, and reason against unbelief.

Less convinced or maybe not as important, but still things that I believe:

Postmillenial (leaning) - I affirm that the promises of God for us today are better than the promises of God to Moses, with direct and clear ramifications for this age and the age to come. I affirm that when God tells Abraham that his sons will be like the stars and the sand God really means that it's going to be everywhere, and not just a remnant lasting for a very long time.

Young Earth Creationist - I affirm that a straightforward reading of Scripture leads one to conclude that the earth (and the universe) was created in 6 literal days.

Supralapsarian - I affirm that God has planned the end from the beginning. That creation happened with the intent that the fall would happen, and the fall happened with the intent that the resurrection would happen, all to the praise of His Name.

Not a teetoler - I couldn't think of a good word=p. I affirm that God gives wine for us to enjoy and while it is entirely possible for someone to mess up God's gift, that's no reason to not use it and thank Him for it.

Theonomist (in a limited sense) - I affirm that the government (as with all of creation) must also be subject to the law of Christ, and there are consequences for disobedience in their duty to reward good and punish evil. I actually do not know what the main tenants of theonomy is, but other people have described that position as theonomist, so I figure if it quacks like a duck...

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Anonymous Wendy said...

In terms of being complementarian, I would argue there is a huge difference in equal in worth and equal in role. This distinction has been trampled many a time by pretty staunch complementarians I know...  

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Anonymous theocentric522 said...

"...and can actually give gifts like prayer, healing, tongues and prophecy."

Cessationists would also hold that God CAN very well do these things. =)  

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Blogger mxu said...

Wendy -

Agreed, that statement is modified.

Theocentric -

I'm not entirely clear on what exactly has ceased then. Is it only the "gift of tongues" and "the gift of prophecy" that has ceased, but tongues and prophecy has not?  

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Anonymous theocentric522 said...

i only meant that whether or not God can still give the miraculous gifts is not the issue. Ability of God is not in question. Therefore, your statement, as it stands, can be held by cessationists and continuationists alike (at least I sure do).

Are the "gifts" we see today the same as the supernatural gifts we see God giving in Acts & 1 Cor.,? If there is some discontinuity, you must affirm some level of cessationism. From your denials, you sound more like a cessationist (sort of). So I guess I just don't understand what you mean by continuationism. =) Anyways...I almost agree with you on everything. =)

Good to see you updating again. I appreciate all your entries. I'll visit more often.  

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Blogger mxu said...

Ah, understood.

I agree that the "gifts" we see today are not the gifts that we see God giving in Acts and 1 Cor. But I would go on to say that it is entirely possible (and He does) for God to actually give those gifts said in Acts and 1 Cor. Thus, I would deny that I am cessationist in that traditional sense.

I do also affirm that I am in a sense cessationist because I believe that Scripture is not continuing to be written.  

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Anonymous theocentric522 said...

"the gifts we see today are not the gifts that we see God giving in Acts and 1 Cor."

"But I would go on to say He does actually give those gifts said in Acts and 1 Cor."

I fail to see how above two statements are consistent.  

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Blogger mxu said...

This comment has been removed by the author.  

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Blogger mxu said...

Ah, sorry. You missed the quote marks.

I would say that what is claimed by most modern day charismatics as the 'gift' of prophecy or a 'gift' of tongues is NOT a gift in the biblical sense. This means that the "private prayer language" is really just babbling unless it is intended to be spoken as English but somehow comes out in a foreign language which is understandable to an outsider. This means that when someone says that the Lord gave them a leading to pray for sick people, that's really not prophecy. A good test of this would be, "are you willing to be stoned to death if it does not pass or the Lord really has not spoken thus?"

But I would continue to affirm that it is entirely possible (though I am unaware of a real example apart from Scripture) that God still does give one person the miraculous ability to speak a language in a foreign tongue so that the surrounding culture hears the Gospel in their own tongue, without the speaker having any knowledge/training. It is entirely possible for God's word to come to a person so that that person is authoritatively able to say, "The Lord says that a famine will come to this region two years hence. "  

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Anonymous tiffany said...

Sorry, micks. Sounds like you are a cessationist of the Poythress-stripe.

http://www.frame-poythress.org/poythress_articles/1996Modern.htm

(iknowiknow, it's more hip to be a continuationist these days. :)

In anycase, I'm not such a fan of people holding card-carrying cessationist-continuationist stuff. My inclination is to slide it under the minor issues, as long as one understands that the canon is complete as the only authoritative Word of God. (a la Poythress). Actually, if you haven't, you should read his stuff on mathematics too. :)  

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Blogger mxu said...

Tiffany -

Thanks for that link. I had read his article a long time ago and didn't really understand much of it. Upon rereading, I think you're absolutely right. Everything that Poythrees speaks of resonated closely with my thinking (I wouldn't be surprised if I had actually been drawing from his former article without a conscious effort).

I don't know if you're able to answer this, and maybe this goes back to your remark about the "card-carrying" distinctions, but here's a few questions -

1) In what sense is Poythrees a cessationist? Is affirming closure of cannon all you need to be a cessationist? I always thought cessationists were those who argued that based upon Scripture, the gift of prophecy and tongues is no longer in effect.

2) Is it necessary true that if something was infallible, it must be canonized? That seems to be a jump in my mind. aka - There are examples of prophets in the OT as well as the NT whose explicit words were not recorded. Were they fallible prophets (like Poythrees would say exists today)?

Thanks for stopping by =p  

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