I thought it might be useful to share some of my basic theological convictions so that those who read this could quickly get a better understanding of where I’m coming from. I grew up in a Christian home and was born again when I was about 8 years old. As I moved from one place to another over the years my family attended/experienced several different types of denominations. That being said most could fairly be characterized as “evangelical” experiences. First there was a charismatic church that was a part of the Vineyard movement, then several Baptist churches (most of them SBC) including one that was Reformed and then some Bible churches as well. It’s been interesting what the Lord has revealed to me over the years at different times and in different places and the themes that seem to be constant throughout my walk with Him and how that’s effected my convictions today. What’s interesting is how my experiences have effected my wife and I’s ability to find a church home. There’s not a whole lot of reformed congregations that are charismatic and there’s not a whole lot of charismatic congregations that hold to conservative orthodox theology and very few of them seem to understand what the gift of prophecy is and how it’s to be used and why, much less do they actually attempt to use it in a Biblical fashion. Basically, I don’t fit in anywhere.
That being said, these are my theological convictions, they don’t have to be yours. Romans 14 is clear, there should be great liberty within the Christian faith. Let us each live out our faith to our Lord as he directs us. So here are some of what I’d called my core theological convictions:
You’d think this would be a no brainer but the doctrine of the Trinity is so fundamental to knowing and understanding who God is and why it matters to us, his creation, that I think it’s worth noting here. There is one God, eternally existent in three persons: The Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. The Father is not the Son, nor the Spirit. The Son is not the Father, nor the Spirit. The Spirit is not the Father, nor the Son. The three persons of God are one and they are the uncreated reality of truth. All knowing, all powerful and perfect in love.
Over the years the Lord has continued to reveal to me deeper and deeper understanding of the Trinity. It is without question the most beautiful thing I’ve ever known.
I’m a monergist. What I mean by that is I believe that God alone (mono meaning “one”) saves. That he works independently of man to bring about the salvation of men according to the divine council of his will (Eph 1:3-14). Often this position is called Calvinism or Reformed Theology and while I do agree with most of the tenets of Calvinism I don’t agree with everything he taught, namely Limited Atonement. Monergism is kind of a more general term (in my opinion) that I think keeps one from getting into too many specifics that Scripture may or may not always support. I believe God alone saves and he alone is deserving of all glory and honor and worship.
I don’t believe this theological position is essential to salvation, so if you don’t agree with me on that, that’s perfectly fine, I’d encourage you to continue in your faith as the Lord leads you.
Gospel Focused (Son)
This is the issue I think may be more passionate about than any other as it is so inextricably linked to the doctrine of the Trinity. The term gospel is thrown around a lot these days but I’m not sure most of those who throw it around know what it actually even means. Briefly the gospel is “good news” and that good news is this: Jesus Christ crucified and risen for the remission of sin.
1 Corinthians 15 clearly and concisely lays out for us the gospel of Jesus Christ in it’s most explicit and distilled verbiage.
“3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,” – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
In this simple statement you cover everything. Now there are almost endless effects of this gospel in the restoration of all things but the restoration of those things in and of themselves is not the good news.
The good news is Jesus nailed to a cross and risen from the dead for the remitting of sin. By the remitting of sin through His death on the cross and His victory over death by his resurrection from the dead, ALL THINGS are being restored. This singular act is the seminal moment in all of God’s creative story. In the cross and resurrection God is most glorified as He clearly displays to all his creation his omniscience (infinite knowledge), omnipotence (infinite power) and most importantly his omnibenevolence (infinite love).
Anything that adds to or takes away from this good news creates a false gospel which is no gospel at all. Examples of false gospels are the social gospel, the prosperity gospel, the austerity gospel and a litany of others. Anything that tries to take away from, distract from, replace or substitute the glorious work of the cross of Christ is without question, a false gospel.
I have a Spirit birthed passion to proclaim and defend the eternal gospel of Jesus Christ and like Paul said,
“I have decided to know nothing, except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” – 1 Corinthians 2:2
Charismatic (Holy Spirit)
I’m charismatic or a continuist, meaning I believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including the miraculous gifts are still active and being used today and will continue to be dispensed by the Holy Spirit and used by the church until Christ comes in glory. Admittedly, I’m not a charismatic because of what I’ve experienced (meaning manifestations of the gifts) but rather because of what the Holy Spirit has revealed to me on the subject (perhaps a post I will share in the future) and what the Scriptures so clearly teach. Here’s the thing though, the gifts themselves aren’t what’s important about being a charismatic. What’s truly important is the Holy Spirit. That we simply acknowledge Him and his present ministry to the church, that we fellowship in Him and hear and obey that which he speaks. The important thing is that we acknowledge Him for who he is, God; what He has done, regenerated us and sealed us; and for what He is doing; speaking, teaching, training, edifying and sanctifying the body in Spirit and Truth.
The Bible, or the Scriptures as I frequently call them (as the Bible itself does), are God’s own testimony concerning himself and his creation. They are primarily the story of God’s work in God’s creation for God’s glory.
The Bible is not God. See Trinitarianism above. The Bible is the testimony of God, what God has said, and it is profitable for training in righteousness.
2 Timothy 3 says that,
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
And 2 Peter 1 says,
“knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” – 2 Peter 1:20-21
The Scriptures are essential in the life of anyone who would be a disciple of Jesus Christ. If you do not believe what the Scriptures say, you will not believe Jesus’ words (John 5:47).
I’m generally conservative in my theology. Most would call me a fundamentalist as a pejorative. What I mean by that is I hold to traditional orthodox teaching on most subjects. Some examples: young earth creationism (not dogmatically, but it’s where I’m at on creation), the authority of Scripture, male only Elder and Deacon leadership in the churches, complimentarianism, the full humanity and deity of Christ, the virgin birth, salvation by grace through faith alone, once saved always saved. Areas where I’d say I disagree with conservatives but maintain the Biblical basis of my theology are, the rejection of compulsory church covenant memberships, the rejection of old covenant systems like tithing which have no place in the church (giving should happen, but as the Spirit leads, not by compulsion), the existence of special revelation in the life of a Spirit filled believer and a wide liberty of faith and conscience in the life of an individual believer.
The bottom line is that my theology is the result of being taught by the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures about what is and is not sound doctrine. If there’s not the witness of the Spirit or agreement with Scripture in an example of the position being espoused then it’s not sound doctrine.
I hold to the pre-wrath position of eschatology (last things). This is the theological distinctive that I’m least dogmatic about as I feel like the Holy Spirit has pressed on me the importance of faith over perfect doctrine in this particular area. If you don’t agree with this position, please don’t feel compelled by me or my faith that you should adopt this theology because some guy online made a good argument for it. The most important thing for you or anyone else to do is to speak to the Lord about it and then walk by the faith he’s given you on the subject.
As far as what the Lord has revealed to me on the subject it makes the most Biblical sense of any eschatological “system” that I’ve seen. Further, I feel like it really explains a lot of what the Holy Spirit has revealed to me over the years about what’s happening in his church and why it matters so much and frankly, how my personal prophetic ministry plays into what He is doing.
In short the pre-wrath position is a theology of “last things” and attempts to make sense of what Jesus explained to his disciples in Matthew 24 about what will be the sign of his coming and the close of the age. Just so you know, it works from a theology of pre-millenialism, meaning that when Christ comes he will consummate his kingdom on earth and will reign for a literal 1000 year reign. But before this happens there will be a great 7 year tribulation in the world, a time referred to in the book of Daniel as “the time of Jacob’s trouble”. This tribulation will be a terrible time for all.
The pre-wrath position really hinges on the timing of the rapture of the church. While there are many positions on the timing of the rapture the pre-wrath position holds that the rapture of the church will take place on the “Day of the Lord”. What that means is that the position asserts that the church will be here on earth for a large portion of the 7 year tribulation, at least half, if not more of that time and that the church will endure severe persecution under the reign of the Son of Perdition (The Anti-Christ) but not being appointed to the wrath of the Lamb (Jesus Christ) the Lord will himself come for them at a day and time unknown to any but the Father and he will gather his elect to himself before the Lamb pours out his righteous wrath on the ungodly.
So why does this matter? Well my faith is that the Lord is preparing his bride for the hour of trial that she is about to endure. It will be a significant trial and her faith will be essential to her survival. Romans 10:17 teaches us, “So faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word (rhema, “that which is or has been uttered by the living voice, thing spoken, word”) of Christ. Therefore it’s absolutely essential that the sheep learn to hear and heed to the voice of their Shepard.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” – John 10:1-5
I don’t dogmatically hold to any systematic theologies, like Covenant or Dispensationalism, because I see where they all have short comings and they all have a lot of valid positions as well. Therefore I’m “a (meaning none) systematic”. I’m dogmatic where I feel like I can be dogmatic. Where I can’t be dogmatic, I just have opinions and that’s kind of where I’m at with systematic theologies. That could change but for right now that’s my faith on the matter.