My Theological Convictions

What is most central to Christianity?
The central aspect of Christianity is the identification of Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Messiah (or Christ) of God (Matthew 16:15-16) as attested in Scripture. This claim is the mark of unique distinction from all other world religions and philosophies.

How can we know about God?
God has made Himself known through His written Word. Though some attributes of God may be discerned through the natural created order (Psalm 19:1-6), this knowledge is merely enough to leave humankind without excuse for seeking to know Him and His will as He has revealed them in the Bible (Romans 1:18-23). Though written through the agency of human authors, Scripture is the revelation of God (II Peter 1:20-21), which makes it as completely unchanging, authoritative, and trustworthy as God Himself.

What is God like?
God is Trinity–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit eternally coexistent. God is Creator of everything spiritual and material (Genesis 1:1), which means that He is the rightful ruler of everything He has made. He is holy (Isaiah 6:3), and thus distinct from everything He has made. He is glorious (Exodus 40:34-35), and everything He has made owes Him exclusive worship and loyal obedience. He is perfectly just, and no rebellion against His rule will be overlooked. He is loving, so He has made a way to restore what has been lost (John 3:16-17).

What is man’s relationship to God?
Man (both male and female humans) is a created being comprised of material and spiritual components. Man is the sole created being that bears the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), representing God in his dominion over the rest of the created order. Through the sin of Adam, every person is in a state of rebellion against God, and thus suffers the due consequence of physical and spiritual death (Romans 5:12). No person can overcome his own sinful state by his own ability; at most, he can merely acknowledge his sin, such as when compared to the righteousness commanded through God’s law (Romans 5:20).

What is significant about Jesus?
God the Son humbled Himself from His heavenly position and took on human form, born Jesus of Nazareth to Mary, who at the time was a virgin. He preached that the kingdom of heaven was near (Matthew 4:17), which He would soon inaugurate. He performed miracles that displayed God’s approval of His kingship. He was rejected by the very people who should have worshiped Him, and He was crucified for the false charges of blasphemy against God and inciting political sedition. Jesus’ death on the cross was His voluntary substitution on mankind’s behalf as a sacrifice for sin. Yet God raised Him from the dead, ensuring a similar new life for all His followers.

How does a person become, and remain, a Christian?
God Himself is the One who calls people to Himself to become members of His heavenly kingdom (Romans 8:28-30). For the person who is so moved by the Holy Spirit, he must acknowledge Jesus as Lord and believe what the Bible says about Him (Romans 10:9), resulting in the rebirth of the person’s inner man (the aforementioned spiritual component). A genuine Christian remains a Christian through the sustaining power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. To show that one remains a Christian, this person must continue to believe that Jesus is the one true King, using this core conviction as the animating principle in his spiritual maturation (John 15:5). The evidences in a person’s life who truly believes the gospel inevitably will become outwardly apparent, like fruit from a tree (Galatians 5:22-23).

What is the purpose of the church?
The church in a worldwide sense is the collective of believers in Jesus who submit to His supreme authority (Ephesians 5:23-24). The church in a local sense offers tangible means for confessing and demonstrating Jesus’ lordship. These means facilitate the worship of God, the discipleship and edification of Christians, and the evangelization of non-Christians. Some of these means include: gathering on Sundays, listening to the preaching of God’s Word, singing songs of faith, partaking in communion, witnessing baptism, and praying together. Outside of Sunday services, members of the local church support one another to demonstrate their spiritual unity in Christ.

What is the culmination of history?
At some point in the future Jesus will return to claim His earthly kingdom. This cataclysmic appearance will end with His triumph over Satan and everyone who would reject His kingship; on them He will pass final judgment and sentence to eternal condemnation. To all who have acknowledged His lordship by faith (i.e. Christians), He will reward with glorified bodies that will never die and irrevocable citizenship in His eternal kingdom. Christians will spend eternity perfectly aware of how glorious God is and perfectly capable of obeying His will.

Anything else?
I also would generally affirm the following statements: