Hi to my Forum Friends,
In the discussion I began titled "'The Late, Great Planet Earth' -- Setting A Date?" -- my Friend, Contendah, tells me, "Bill, I have explained in detail and with precision my beliefs on many, many issues discussed on this forum. In doing so, I have cited many Scriptural sources and have explained my beliefs in terms of those sources.
If you are unable to approach any of the issues I have discussed without further information concerning what "camp" I am in, then that is your problem. But I will say this -- In describing religious matters, I prefer not to rely on labels like "conservative" and "liberal." I prefer "Biblical" and "Scriptural," since I rely upon on these qualifiers to build my case when I discuss spiritual matters."
Okay, Contendah, I agree we can lay aside labels such as liberal and conservative -- and speak of our beliefs as Biblical and Scriptural. I agree this is better. But, quite honestly, I do not recall just what you have said you believe. So, why don't we just level the playing field and both declare exactly what we believe.
I will begin:
I believe these are Essential Biblical Doctrines which define a Christian person or church. To the degree that one varies from these Essential Beliefs; to that degree this person or church varies from the Christian faith:
1. The Deity of Jesus Christ -- God incarnate -- fully man; yet, fully God.
2. The Trinity -- God eternally existing; manifested (revealed) in three persons: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
3. The Bible -- Is the inspired Written Word of God and is the sole authority for Christian faith, salvation, and our Christian life.
4. Salvation by Grace -- By grace you are saved, through faith in Jesus Christ -- plus nothing else.
5. The Resurrection of Christ -- He rose from the dead, that we may also be resurrected into eternal life.
6. The Gospel -- The birth, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ according to Scripture.
7. Heaven and Hell -- Both are real places and are the only two eternal destinations available to all mankind.
Beyond these, I do believe a number of Non-Essential Biblical Doctrines:
I believe in a PreTribulation Rapture of the church, the body of believers worldwide.
I believe in a PreMillennial Second Coming of Jesus Christ to establish His 1000 year Millennial Reign upon earth, from the throne of David in Jerusalem.
I believe that Israel is still the chosen people of God -- and that the seven year Tribulation, as defined in Daniel, Revelation, and many other books of the Bible, is for the specific purpose of refining His chosen people, Israel, and bringing a remnant of Israel to faith in their Messiah, Jesus Christ.
I believe that Jesus Christ left two ordinances for all Christian believers to do in remembrance of Him until He returns: Baptism and Communion. Our salvation is, in no way, based upon us doing these ordinances; but, in doing these we grow spiritually in our daily Christian walk and in our daily Christian lives. These, combined with daily prayer and daily Scripture study, give us spiritual strength to overcome the world -- one day at a time.
I believe that the entire Bible is God's full revelation to man -- and that none of it can be excluded. Any theology which is not based upon the entire Bible -- is a flawed theology.
And, I believe that all of these Essential and Non-Essential Doctrines are accurately based upon Scripture.
Contendah, these are my specific Biblical beliefs. Will you share your specific Biblical beliefs with us -- or will you dance around the issue by telling me, "I have told you before -- and I will not repeat myself!"
Personally, it is my strong belief that any Christian should be happy, actually overjoyed, to tell folks what he/she believes, based upon the Bible. The apostle Paul tells us, "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16).
Personally, I can, like the apostle Paul, declare that "I am not ashamed of the Gospel" and, therefore, will share it with anyone who asks.
How about you, Contendah? Are you ashamed of the Gospel -- or will you tell us, specifically and clearly, what you believe?
God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day,