Lately I have been thinking about the many issues Christians seem to disagree about, often very passionately. While I have definite positions on many issues theologically, some I do not. I guess I have come to pick the ‘hills upon which I might die on.’
Just a little background on where I am coming from: I have many different friends who attend a variety of churches. I consider them to be brothers and sisters in Christ. Some are Calvinist, some Dispensationalist, some Charismatic and even a sprinkling of Pentecostals. They all claim to be Christians. Some stick to the KJV Bible and others read whatever may “float their boat.” Now I know there are some who might condemn me for such heretical associations and loose thinking. I wonder, in those cases, where they might have stood in the presence of Christ if they lived during His time on Earth?
I have struggled with how I fit into things theologically and I think that has robbed me of much time I might have better spent in service to Christ. This is not to say that doctrine is not very important, because I know with absolutely certainty that it is. But, I must be careful not to miss the forest through the trees.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV)
There are certain things I consider to be non-negotiable, such as the truth of the Trinity. I believe that God eternally exists as One God in three distinct Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I get it, this is a hard one to understand. Yet, I find this truth laid out clearly in His Word (see a recent post on this doctrine that enlists the aid of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith).
When it comes to Soteriology, I believe there is only one way to heaven, and that is Jesus Christ. I also believe that, once you have embraced Him as Lord and Savior, your salvation is eternally secure. I think the Bible is perfectly crystal clear on those points. Salvation comes through faith alone. I had to receive the regeneration that can only come from the Holy Spirit to be able to relate to God and receive the faith necessary to come to Him through Christ. Ephesians 2:1 says And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; I also refer the reader to Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (ESV) There is absolutely no way for me to make it to Heaven without the overwhelming, incomprehensible grace of God. I depend entirely upon the atoning sacrifice that Christ made upon the cross for my sin.
I also don’t think that all of the gifts mentioned in the New Testament have necessarily ceased. I do not believe that once you have been saved, the next step is always to be separately baptized in the Holy Spirit and start speaking in tongues as proof. However, I don’t break fellowship with those who do, just because they may. I just happen to disagree on that one.
I also believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. I believe it is perfect in the original autographs and that His Word has been sufficiently preserved to understand it in present day English through various (not just KJV) translations.
Titus 3:5-8 (KJV):
5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.