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Matthew's Statement of Faith

My beliefs fall within the general historical consensus of Evangelical theology. If you check out the statements of faith by other evangelical groups such as Cru or Navigators, you will get an accurate picture of my position on most doctrinal matters.

 

Given that my beliefs represent those of Christian tradition, many might wonder why we have held onto them for so long. As an added help, I have provided footnotes and links giving additional information for the “why” behind the “what.”

The Bible

I believe that the Bible, the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, is God’s message for all humankind. It is the only infallible, authoritative84Authority derives from the one speaking. Given the Bible as God’s message to all humankind, then God is the one speaking, and as God he is necessarily the one of ultimate authority. written85Not to be confused with the person of Jesus, who is also referred to as the Word of God (although there are some profound similarities to be made). Word of God,86The “Word of God” is sometimes used to refer to Scripture. Mark 7:13 is one example. fully inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is therefore used as the basis for all of the statements of faith to follow.

God

I believe in one God,87Dt. 4:35, 39; Isa. 43:10; 45:5; 44:6; 1 Cor. 8:4; 1 Tim. 2:5creator of all things,88Gen. 1:1; Neh. 9:6; Isa. 44:24, 45:18; John 1:3; Acts 14:15; Col. 1:16 eternally existing, perfectly holy, loving, merciful,89Ex. 34:6; Dt. 4:31, 1 Chron. 21:13; Luke 23:33-34; Eph. 2:4-5and just. He cares and is engaged with the affairs of people,90Ge. 29:33; Num 11:18; Dt. 26:7; 1 Kings 17:22 He hears our prayers,91Ezra 8:23; Ps. 6:9, 66:17-20; Jonah 2:7 and he desires all people to know Him in a real, personal way.92Isa. 29:13; John 17:1-3, Acts 17:26-27; 1 Tim. 2:3-4

I believe the Bible’s teaching that the Father is God,93Phil. 2:11; Col. 1:3; 2 Thes. 1:2; 2 John 1:3 the Son is God,94Gen. 1:1 is brought into Jesus in John 1:1; Jesus connects Ex. 3:13-14 to himself in John. 8:58; Rom. 9:5; Acts 20:28; 2 Pet. 1:1; John 14:9, 20:28-29 the Holy Spirit is God,95Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor. 3:16 (God is known to dwell in His temple); 2 Cor. 3:17-18 and that God is One.96Deut. 6:4-5; Rom. 3:30; 1 Cor. 8:4; Gal. 3:20 In this way, God is “one” in one sense, and “three” in a different sense. This rich theological concept of Scripture has been packaged into a term which Christians call the Trinity—One God and three persons,97The word “persons” is not a perfect word for this, but theologians have settled on it because there are no better alternatives in our language. The idea is that all three members of the Trinity are described in personal ways (including the Holy Spirit who has a mind, a desire, can be grieved and speak—Rom. 8:27, Rom. 8:4-5, Isa. 63:10, Acts 13:2, respectively). the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,98Notice also how Matthew 28:19 speaks of the “name” (singular. Note “names”) of the Father, Son, and Spirit. co-existing together at the same time99Throughout the gospels, Jesus is seen praying to the Father and being filled with the Holy Spirit. The baptism of Jesus includes the voice of the Father and the Spirit descending like a dove. We are not dealing with a deity who switches between three roles, but God who exists in all three Trinitarian expressions simultaneously. in perfect, eternal,100Refer back to the popup “Eternally Existing” in the previous paragraph. Also, Hebrews 9:14 gives us the eternal nature of the Spirit. loving101John 15:9 gives us a glimpse into the love of God in Himself. One may also refer to 1 John 4:7 which says that God is love. If God truly is love, who was God loving before He created people? The answer, it seems, is that God is loving in Himself, because of the Trinity harmony.

The Human Condition

I believe that all people were made in the image of God,102Gen. 1:26-27. cf. Gen. 5:1, Eph. 4:24, and Col. 3:10 to know God103John 17:3 and to be in a real, loving relationship with God. However, all people have sinned104Rom. 3:23, 1 John 1:8. Honestly though, just look at your own life. We all have made selfish decisions and hurt other people. If you think you’re fine because you are not as bad as the other guy, just take a hard look at Matthew 5:20 and James 2:10. and are born under Original Sin,105Original Sin is a term theologians use to summarize what Paul talks about in Romans 5:12-21. The idea is that as descendants of Adam, the first man who sinned, we “inherit” sinfulness. For those who receive Jesus, this gets flipped to righteousness because we are now under Christ and not Adam. separating themselves from God106Hab. 1:13; Col. 1:21 and making them subject to God’s righteous judgment.107Mt. 13:40-43, 25:31-46; Rom. 6:23 Therefore, all people need to be forgiven and restored.108Acts 4:12, 16:29-34; Rom. 4:4-8

Jesus

I believe that Jesus Christ is fully God. He took on flesh,109John 1:14; Phil. 2:7; Heb. 2:14 being born of a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit,110John 1:18; Luke 1:34-35 possessing a fully divine nature111See “Jesus Christ is fully God” above and a fully human nature.112Acts 2:22; Rom. 5:17; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 2:14-18 Having lived a sinless life,113Hebrews 4:15 is probably the clearest verse on this, but we also see the purity of Jesus as a common theme in the Gospels, and an important theological piece to the logic of atonement presented by Paul and others. Jesus died on the cross as payment114Rom. 3:25, Heb. 2:17, and 1 John 2:2, 4:10 talk about Jesus in this way. The technical term for the payment of sin is propitiation, which is like an appeasement. for our sin so that we can be forgiven of our sins and restored to God. On the third day,115Mt. 17:23; Lk. 24:7; Acts 10:40. Note: when we speak of the “third day,” we are including the day that Jesus died. Jesus physically116This was not just a spiritual resurrection. After the resurrection, Jesus invited his disciples to touch him and to watch him eat physical food. See Luke 24:36-43 resurrected back from the dead. He ascended back to Heaven117John 20:17; Luke 24:50-51; Eph. 4:7-10; Heb. 4:14 and he is coming again.118Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thes. 4:16-18; Heb. 4:28

Salvation

I believe that people are forgiven and restored back to a relationship with God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It is a free gift and cannot be attained by our own pious efforts,119Jesus talks about this in Luke 18:9-14. good deeds120Acts 15:10-11; Gal. 3:1-3; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5 or religious rituals.121Col. 2:16-17 In view of God’s amazing grace, we are called to honor and obey Him, reflecting His love to the rest of the world in real, tangible ways.122Mt. 25:31-46; James 1:27

The Holy Spirit

I believe that the Holy Spirit, who Himself is God123Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor 3:16 (God is known to dwell in His temple); 2 Cor. 3:17-18, is given to all Christians at the moment they are forgiven and restored.124Acts 2:36-38; John 7:37-39; 2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13 As we continue through life, the Holy Spirit unites the church,1251 Cor. 12:4, 12:13; Eph. 4:3-4; Phil. 1:27 guides us through life,126Eze. 36:27; Rom. 8:6; Rom. 8; Gal. 5:16 empowers us for Christian service,127Rom. 7:6, 15:18-19; 1 Cor. 12 and transforms us to become more like the perfect model of Jesus.128John 14:23-26; Gal. 5:22-23; 1 Peter 1:2

The Church Family

I believe that all Christians are a part of God’s family, unified by the Holy Spirit1291 Cor. 12:4, 13; Eph. 4:3-4; Phil. 1:27 irrespective or race, gender, ethnicity, or social status.130Christians should be at the front of racial equality. God made all races, and the throne of God is celebrated as the place where every nation, tribe, people, and language come together crying out in praise! (Rev. 7:9-10) Acts 10 and Romans 3 are glaringly obvious that God breaks down these barriers. They are brothers and sisters who grow and mature in becoming more like Jesus together.131Ps. 34:3; Rom. 15:5-7; Eph. 4:13; Phil. 1:27; Heb. 10:24-25 We need one another.

As a church, we are to make disciples of Jesus,132Mt. 28:18-19 sending133Acts 13:1-3; 2 Tim. 4:12; 3 John 5-8 and supporting134The church should support those who are sent by prayer and material support. See Mt. 10:10, 1 Cor. 9:7-14, and 3 John 5-8. Keep in mind that Paul was wise not to demand this from others (1 Cor. 9:12), but encouraged the blessing that flows from generosity (Phil. 4:17). one another to render evangelism to the world.135Mt. 28:18-19; Acts 20:24; 2 Cor. 5:11, 18-20

Life after Death

I believe that this life is the only life we have on earth.136Luke 16:19-31; Heb. 9:27 When we die, those who have been forgiven and restored by grace through faith in Jesus Christ will spend eternity with God in paradise.137Luke 23:39-43; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:21-24; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; Rev. 14:13 Those who have rejected God will be eternally separated from God’s presence in judgement.

Tolerance

I believe that any person can verbally express religious disagreement with someone else, encouraging him or her to consider certain points of view in such a way that loves and honors the other person and the other person’s culture. Because of this, the message of Jesus Christ can be offered to others in genuine love, as it ought to be,1381 Thes. 2:1-12; 1 Peter 3:15-16 without expressing bigotry or hate.139To read more about why I believe this, go here.