What I Believe… a Statement of Spiritual Foundations
What do I believe?
That is one of the most important questions a person can wrestle with. Unfortunately, far too many people do far too little wrestling with such questions.
In Christian circles, this becomes very important as groups try to determine if people and ministries are a part of their tribe. By looking at what is said and how it is said, people draw conclusions about the theology of others. Some conclusions are clearly stated while others are gained through the implication of the words used and the issues chosen to address.
For this reason, I’ve always resisted putting any sort of Statement of Faith on Faith on View. They can be really easily manipulated to appeal to particular groups. Also they, from my perspective, leave out the most important part. They state the conclusions but nothing about how those conclusions were reached or how they are applied.
Not Just a Statement of Faith
Several years back, I used a Spiritual Foundations Statement rather than a Statement of Faith in a project I was working on. This Foundations Statement has four parts beginning with a methodological statement and leading to a doctrinal statement. Honestly, I hold the conclusions in the doctrinal statement much more loosely than the first three parts of the statement. I believe every word of the Doctrinal Statement but I also know that as I learn and grow there can be evolution in that statement. What I embrace now isn’t what I embraced when I graduated High School. It isn’t even exactly the same as when I started this website. But, my core assumptions and how I get to my conclusions has remained consistent.
Why Add This?
So since I’ve resisting adding this…why add it? I don’t have a good reason other than I want to. Though, I do think it can be helpful to people to understand where I am coming from. I should say where we are coming from because I believe my wife would agree with the statement. But, I also want to add it because by having a Spiritual Foundations Statement rather than a Statement of Faith I am looking to demonstrate that we are not about just checking the appropriate Christian doctrinal boxes. We are about seeking to truly live and think Christianly.
It is also important though that the statement doesn’t just address our methodology and our conclusions. At the end of the statement, we include several articles that, on a foundational level, demonstrate how we apply our Spiritual Foundations Statement, our spiritual philosophy, to real issues.
Below is the complete Spiritual Foundations Statement. Hopefully, you will find it illuminating as to how we approach faith and our discussions on this website.
Spiritual Foundations Statement
Rather than simply providing a statement of faith. We at Faith on View believe a more full bodied and dynamic Spiritual Foundations Statement to be more useful. It is not important just what we believe but how we approach faith and those beliefs.
Statement of Methodological Commitment
We believe that truth exists and is knowable. Truth about both the mundane and the profound, the physical and the metaphysical are fixed realities that are able to be apprehended.
We believe that reason is a part of God’s natural revelation and that reason is a universal gift from God to humanity. It is our conviction that what is true is also rational. Therefore, what is decisively rational should be considered to be true and what is not decisively rational should be considered false.
We believe that through the processes of history God has provided an authoritative set of writings we call Scriptures. The Scriptures were providentially brought into being by God and purposed to serve as an authoritative source for teaching on ultimate realities. Scriptures are the only objective authority on ultimate realities.
We believe that our beliefs and teachings should be brought into accordance with the actual teaching of the Biblical text and that our beliefs need not be brought into accordance with any spiritual authority other than scripture.
We believe that our understanding of scripture’s teaching must be produced through sound Biblical exegesis. Sound Biblical exegesis must assume that the Biblical text communicates in the manner of ordinary human verbal communication. As such, the literary character of the text must be considered when seeking to exegete scripture.
Christian Worldview Statement
There are certain base elements which are necessary components of a Christian Worldview. The popular mode in recent years has been to propose an expansive conception of a Christian Worldview. Faith on View, however, believes in a modest conception of the Christian Worldview. We profess only those core elements that are truly necessary for Christian faith to be essentials of the Christian worldview.
Belief in the supernatural is an essential element of the Christian Worldview. The Christian perspective is not limited to naturalistic assumptions. In fact, the base Christian assumption is that there is something beyond our naturalistic reality. There is something beyond nature.
There are many ideas about the supernatural. The Christian assumption is not that of an impersonal deity or force or of a capricious deity. The Christian assumption is of a personal deity who is engaged with and cares for His creation.
The personal deity of the Christian faith has communicated with humanity through scripture. This communication is authoritative literature from the Creator to the Creature.
The Christian worldview requires two commitments from the faithful, which are not only religious but profoundly affect the living of one’s life. The first is a holistic love for God. Believers are to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. In short, we are to love Him in all ways possible with all that they are. Secondly, believers are to have a selfless love for others.
Statement on Thinking Christianly
A Christian worldview addresses very few of the problems faced in life. It does, however, provide the basic framework for tackling both questions about ultimate reality and humanity’s present reality. To find these answers requires each individual to undertake what C.S. Lewis called Thinking Christianly. One must work from a modest Christian worldview through a process engaging both reason and scripture until reaching conclusions as to the great and mundane questions of life. This process means that Christians of good faith may reach varying conclusions.
Through the methodological commitment, modest Christian worldview, and striving to Think Christianly, Faith on View has reached the following doctrinal positions:
The Bible, in the original language, is God’s only inspired and authoritative word. It is without error in all it teaches. The Bible is a completely sufficient guide to full salvation. There is one God who is infinite, eternal, and immutable. God has always and will always have a triune nature. Scripture has revealed that there is one God who exists in three co-equal personages. God is self-existent. He was neither created nor was there anything before Him. He is not a part of the universe; rather, the entirety of the universe was created by Him. All of the Godhead is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and sovereign.
The Father is spirit without physical form. His holy righteousness is not lax. In His perfect love, He sent His Son to provide for our salvation.
Jesus Christ is deity, God manifest in the flesh, both wholly man and wholly God. He was born of a virgin, lived a perfect sinless life in perfect submission to Old Testament law, performed miracles, died on the cross, was bodily resurrected from the dead on the third day, ascended to the right hand of the Father, and will personally return in power and glory.
The Holy Spirit is a personage of the Trinity, co-equal with the Father and the Son in all attributes of the Godhead. The Holy Spirit currently has a personal ministry indwelling those who believe, empowering them in their submission to live for the glory of God.
Humanity is created in God’s image. However, all are born with a sinful nature requiring spiritual rebirth. The condition of humanity is a tension between the embodiment of the Imago Dei and our reality of our brokenness.
Salvation from our sin is obtained by grace through faith. No good works, no matter how exemplary, will earn salvation. It is a free gift from God to those who are willing to accept it. As a result of true redemption, the redeemed will seek to live a life pleasing to a holy and loving God.
Those who are redeemed are the Church. The Church is not a building nor a denomination but the people who have dedicated their lives to our Lord and Savior. Salvation does not come through the church, but rather those who are already saved through Christ constitute the Church.
Spiritual Foundation Statement in Action
Below are some articles that we have written on Faith on View which give additional insight into how we approach faith and how we attempt to think Christianly. There are many faith related articles on Faith on View these are all foundational.
My Testimony…Hope Story…Why I believe.
An Eulogy for the Public Testimony of the Evangelical Church in America
Considering the idea of a Biblical Worldview
The Poverty of Systematic Theology
It’s the Logos not the Word
God for God’s Sake: Learning Theology from Aesthetics
Sin Avoidance or Doing Right?