Instead of stating what I believe, I will state where I stand because our beliefs are often wrong, and I’m certain I am no exception.
I stand with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the pursuit of obtaining a better understanding of what the gospel means. I stand with my fellow Christians, particularly those who want to live more fully in the knowledge of the Lord and his righteous kingdom.
I oppose anything that kill, steal, and destroy the faith of those who pursue a life aligned with the teachings and gospel of Jesus Christ. This includes, but is not limited to:
There are many churches that support Christian growth. However the way they are often created foster business-model churches, modern-day money-changers, and others who use the name of Jesus for gain in earthly wealth while leading others into spiritual captivity with their lying traditions and hatefulness. Even so, within many will come to Christ. One day God will “stop winking” at church corruption and “there will not be left one stone upon another that has not been thrown down.” However, we do not know when this will be, so we need to remain patient as well as sympathetic to those who are confused and discouraged by the corruption. There is a fine-line balance here to walk, as far as I can tell, always keeping the most important matter in mind: we do not want to hinder the faith of others.
Those who set themselves up as judges of churches take matters of God into their own hands. Instead, it’s more profitable to support Christian growth so our brethren can avoid judgment rather than trying to tear down a system God has ordained and is currently showing patience towards. We can discern what is corrupt without passing judgments that place limits on the mercy of God. Forgetting this can kill, steal, and destroy the faith of many. Saying someone must worship in one way or the other is legalism and is not aligned with a spiritual life in Christ.
I oppose any legalistic approach to righteousness that declares one way is the only way to please God in manners related to dress, worship, food, and the like. The righteousness of the kingdom of God is in the Spirit, not the letter. There is some measure of liberty, and we each need to work out our own walk. If each seeks the righteousness of God and the kingdom with any measure of faith, they will be shown what God wants from them, and this can vary to larger and lesser degrees from person to person. Though we should seek holiness, failure to also remember the liberty we have in Christ ostracizes many, weakens the faith, and destroys the body of Christ. In relation:
- Judaizers: I oppose those who state that Christians must observe the Old Testament laws of Moses —particularly those who use the curses in Deuteronomy in order to manipulate others into fear or following their own brand of Christian cultism. Forgetting that the Christian walk is of the spirit and by the power of the Spirit and not man’s very limited ability of obedience leads people into unproductive fear and failure to thrive in actual righteousness that pleases God.
- Accusers of the Brethren: Any who claim to know who are real Christians and who are not, judge the intents of the heart of others, show disdain for sinners instead of patience, or generally fail to remember mercy, meekness, and the fact that judgment belongs to God are dangerous to the faith of my brothers and sisters. There is a difference between discernment and judgment. We can discern what is corrupt within Christian systems and what is sin, but we have no right to condemn anyone. “With what judgment we judge, we will be judged.”
These are the things that ye shall do: Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates: And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things I hate, saith the Lord. — Zechariah 8:16-17
We cannot pin down the Spirit, and we will have questions. Doubting the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit is one thing, but creating false manifestations are not acceptable. In addition, those who support, create, and promote other forms of the Holy Spirit other than he who is the spirit of the Father and the Son are effectively creating a demonic seed, leading people to commit spiritual adultery. This I will not tolerate in any measure or accept.
Ideas that Discourage Spiritual Growth
As Christians, we are called to a life of holiness through the power of the Spirit of Jesus living in us and changing our natures from corruptible to incorruptible. The notion that we can make a declaration of faith then continue on without any real change is not acceptable. The notion that the gifts of the Spirit have ceased causes many to forego blessings that could be made available, though perhaps not necessary for salvation. In any case, I oppose all ideas that discourage pursuits in the Spirit, baptism, or any other blessing we might receive as part of our salvation.
Matters of Doctrine
Secondary to these issues, I encourage sound doctrine. If we are in the position of ministry, we should seek to have a better understanding of the scriptures in order to help create a fuller-picture of God’s purpose of creation and the gospel of Jesus Christ. These are the basics of what I believe. Though legalism is not acceptable, there are some issues of doctrine we must accept to be a Christian. Those are in bold. The others, as far as I’m concerned, are up for some measure of debate and by no means bar anyone from Christendom if they hold an opposing view—though having better understanding can help our Christian walk immensely:
- Jesus is the Son of God and he is God.
- Jesus died and rose from the dead.
- Jesus is the atonement for the sins of mankind.
- Jesus is the bringer of the new covenant: “he will write the laws of God in our hearts.”
- Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith.
- Jesus is absolutely sovereign over the creation.
- Not everyone created is appointed to salvation.
- Those who are dead in Christ are currently asleep and will be raised at the first resurrection (an event confused by the false rapture doctrine). Those who are dead (not in Christ) are raised and judged at the second resurrection.
- The Kingdom of Heaven is a present spiritual state we seek during our lives through the power of the Spirit (a truth confused by traditional ideas about heaven).
- The Kingdom of Heaven will come to this earth when Jesus returns after overthrowing antichrist.
- Jesus will rule for 1000 years, during which time the whole earth is given chance to walk in the knowledge of the Lord. There is a rebellion that is quenched, after which the second resurrection and final judgment takes place and the New Heavens and New Earth are established under the lordship of Jesus forever. The faithful will live with him forever.
- Hell is a place of final destruction and death, not a place where people remain alive and are tortured forever.
When we stand on the truth of Jesus Christ, we have a sure foundation that will never waiver or buckle under the pressures of this world. Whatever comes, hold fast to his name and all he stands for. Give thanks in times of trouble. Call out to him with trust in his faithfulness. Allow no one to steal or choke the seed of Jesus and his gospel from your heart!