Many ask me about my theological convictions. “Where do you stand on . . .” Granted, those of you who have been through The Theology Program or are regular readers of this blog not only know where I stand, but how strongly I take a stand on most issues. But for those of you who ask, I will give you a brief synopsis of where I am at on many important and controversial theological issues. I will also give you a number of 1-10 letting you know my conviction level.
Please note: my conviction level is not based on the importance of the doctrine, but the clarity that God’s revelation affords to it.
A “1″ means that while I am convicted of the truthfulness of the doctrine, my conviction level is as low as it could be. This does not mean that I am unsure of something, just that I am less-sure of it than I could be.
A “10″ represents a very high conviction level (as high as it possible for a non-divine being!). (Please understand that I very rarely give a 10 to an issue. A 10 is reserved for those which I believe the Scripture leaves no room for honest debate such as the physical resurrection of Christ, Christ’s deity, that Christ is coming back, etc.)
I am a five-point Calvinist and don’t take shame in calling myself such. I am not equally convicted of all five points (as none should be), but I ascribe to all five nonetheless.
Perseverance of the Saints-7
As well, I am an infralapsarian Calvinist which means that I believe that God decreed to permit the fall before electing people. I don’t believe in double predestination as God’s active election of people to damnation. I believe that God, in his secret will, passed over those who were already damned. I am a 5 with regards to infralapsarian.
I am a Soft-Cessationist (2):
This means that I don’t believe that the supernatural sign gifts such as healing, tongues, workers of miracles, etc. continued past the death of the Apostles. I believe that they were used during the establishment of the church in order to authenticate the Gospel message.
Having said this, I find Scriptural support for my position to be moderate at best. The primary reason I am not a continuationist (believing that the sign-gifts are still operative today) is because I have never experienced them or seen any legitimate reason to believe that they are still practiced even though I am very open to it. Believe me, I am open to it!
I believe both natural revelation and Scripture teach that men and women are different. I believe that these differences show how God has designed each sex for a particular purpose. I believe that the Scriptures teach that man has ultimate responsibility in the family and in the Church, not ultimate importance. However, I might be described as a soft-complementarian as I don’t believe that these roles are absolute in all situations, just ideal.
I believe that the millennium is yet future. My conviction comes for many reasons, but primarily because I can’t see the two resurrections in Rev. 20 as different types of resurrection, one spiritual and one physical. I don’t think the context would allow it. A premillennial view fits much better.
I have to be honest here: the primary reason I am pretrib is because of Dan Wallace’s exegesis of the Thessalonian epistles. Even though this is not in print (yet!), I have had the pleasure of sitting down with him as he explained how Paul, because of the chronology in which the letter finds itself, must be talking about a rapture. I don’t see it as a “second second coming” as the “second coming” itself describes a series of events, not just one.
U2 is the best band that ever was, is, or ever will be (10):
Don’t argue. You will look like a fool.
Believer Baptism (7):
I believe that believers alone should be baptized. This means that I don’t not believe in padeo-baptism (infant baptism). While tradition is important to me and my formation of theology, Scripture has a place of primacy. I don’t see anything in Scripture that would suggest or allow for anything other than believers baptism.
I don’t believe that the Bible contains any errors when understood correctly. I am an advocate of what I call “reasoned inerrancy” as compared to the more meticulous variety. My position on inerrancy is closely tied to my belief in authorial-intent hermeneutics. This approach to interpreting Scripture says that we have to understand the intent of the author before we can understand what the Scripture means with any degree of certainty. This ties to inerrancy in that sometimes the author does not intend to give details in a modern scientific precision. All details are inherently tied to the authors intent, which allows for hyperbole, round numbers, summations, and even accommodations.
Eternal Hell (7):
In sum, I believe that Hell is a really, really bad place where people go who do not acknowledge God by trusting in Christ. As to the nature of Hell, I am agnostic. I don’t know if it is a fire, a physical torture chamber, or an eternal darkness. I simple believe it is bad and you don’t want to go there. My hopes tend in the direction of annihilation or universalism, but Scripture does not allow me such comforts.
Jesus was a Republican (10):
Reformed Protestant (8):
While I don’t believe that Protestantism has all the answers, I do believe that it presents the best answers to the most important questions concerning salvation and authority. While I respect and learn from other traditions, I find myself continually and increasingly persuaded that the Reformation was necessary and important in the preservation and purity of the Gospel message.
Homosexuality is Sin (9):
The Bible is clear on this even though I have seen some pretty snazzy exegetical acrobats who say otherwise. Sorry, I don’t see it.
I believe that human parents are the intermediary creators of the soul just as they are of the body. I believe that the alternative position—creationism (which believes that God creates the soul without the parents)—while popular, has many serious flaws and is fueled by our continued fascination with Gnostic dualism. I probably take a stand on this more than most, but it is worthy. I don’t have time to go into it all, but just walk toward the light. Renounce creationism.
Since there are so many misconceptions about dispensationalism, I am hesitant to even say this. In fact, I usually don’t call myself such any longer (I now use Progressive Covenentalist). Nevertheless, because of Romans chapter 11, I keep the Church and Israel separate, believing that redeemed Israel will be assumed into the Church. This way, I do believe that the Church inherits the promises of Abraham and that Israel does as well, through the Church.
Did I already put this? Well, refer to the earlier version. I have to go. It is late and my wife is getting really mad.
Let me reiterate, even though I put it in bold and italics above, some are going to misunderstand my numbering system. The numbers represent my level of conviction based upon the clarity of the issue, not the importance of the issue (although, they are many times closely tied).
Also, it is important to note that most of these issues are non-essentials, meaning that I would not break fellowship with someone who disagrees with me. Everyone has the right to be wrong, don’t they?
OK, done. Thanks for listening.