A work in progress and subject to change as the Holy Spirit leads.
I’m redoing this as of July 2010, not because of changes in my beliefs per se since the last update May 2008, but moreso to ditch the theological verbiage and copy paste text. A statement of faith needs to be fairly understandable… and not just by those in the ivory tower.
I’m also adding some stuff on Catholicism, as I’ve really come to view it as incredible cool, even though my underlying beliefs have changed very little. Its more so the incredible and amazing way they practice Christianity which is so cool. Well also the fact I’ve been really plowing through their Catechism.
Many have asked me about conversion to Catholicism… well, if you read through this, obviously there are some pretty major disconnects, but also likely some pretty major alignments too. Ultimately though, if I were to convert, I’d have to agree that what the Catholic church teaches is the correct and whole deal… and there are too many barriers to such. I do find it often a bit strange how many diverse beliefs are held in the pew for cradle Catholics… but then seeing the four spiritual laws on a Lutheran church website a few times… well, who are we Lutherans to talk about diversity of beliefs either.
The Bible is huge! It continually points to Christ! Its authority is from God, and is to be viewed not so much literally, but through a lens of Jesus.
Biblical interpretation as scholarly endeavor is very important to me. There is a danger of not looking at the whole of scripture and its meaning, when not viewed in a scholarly light. Otoh, there is also a danger of too much head knowledge and little heart knowledge, so care is needed.
I am not an infallible inerrant literalist… not even in the original texts… but this does not mean I view the Bible as not true, nor not of value, Its just much bigger than we can put a box around it.
I do not adhere to sola scriptura (yep, horrors for a Lutheran, and in all honesty I never did… and I dont think too many others do either). We all interpret scripture based upon its plain text of course, but also tradition… yes, even Lutherans and Martin himself held to tradition…
Yet, tradition, if its counter to a plain text read is another matter entirely. We also apply reasoning, but I think as Lutheran’s we are careful not to go too far with our own majorly flawable and errant reasoning, in some cases perhaps too much so. And of course, we apply our own as well as the church proper’s experience. Wesley I think nailed it with his quadralateral, of scripture, tradition, reason, and experience. The big deal of course, is where we weight each of those factors. I still weight scripture as the highest, bearing in mind cultural and other factors of history.
Historical is a very important tool. There of course is danger to start decannonization of certain scripture, and that should not occur.
Form was used extensively in my university coursework, and as such, I am very much a fan of it.
Redaction while used somewhat, can lead one to errant theology pretty quick, especially is one is trying to prove a specific pov, rather than determining what can scripture say in a given time and place.
Deuteral Cannonicals… I gotta study these more, I do think there is much value in them. Luther did too I believe, but he just didn’t hold them in as high a regard as the rest of scripture.
I’m going to leave the following cut and paste as is… The trinity is a massive mystery. Secondly, its a bear and a half to try and create an analogy of the trinity without going off into heresy land. As such… just see my writings. I’m a firm believer in the trinity, and I’m working towards apologetics in this area, but ultimately it is a mystery.
The Augsburg Confession Godhead Article 1
â€œWeâ€˜unanimously hold and teach, in accordance with the Council of Nicea, that there is one divine essence which is called and which is God, eternal, incorporated, indivisible, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the maker and preserver of all things, visible and invisible. Yet there are three persons, of the same essence and power, who are also co-eternal: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.â€
A theology of the cross is a radical thing in todays, incentive and reward based society. Likewise, a theology of glory is like a siren opposite a light house, calling folks away from God’s grace. While one cannot deny that Paul talks about rewards and crowns of glory, he was not talkng of works done under our own power aparrt from Christ. Likewise Paul was not talking about using our own power up to the point we get in a jam, and then calling out to God. . Luther nails this in the Heidelberg Disputation.
I see this as a Theology of the Cross, as God created everything out nothing. I see evolution as our current worldly model of understanding how God made it go. More so, I see evolution as a useful tool for purposes of helping the human condition through science. I see young earth creationism as a massive distraction from the Gospel, it can easily become a way away from Christ, rather than toward him. On the other hand, if one is going towards Christ, and believes in YEC, more power to them. The whole creation deal is not something I’m really interested in, nor something I feel is worth falling on a sword over, unlike the Gospel of Christ.
Guess what… no progress here hardly at all. I still think angels are hover doods (from LOLCATS) who are terrifying looking massively huge creatures, but they change their form depending upon what God has them do so as not to blow our minds… or torch us etc.
Man is a major mystery, as a guy, women even more so. Likely the reverse is also true.
Sin is a big deal… and it gets downplayed a lot, and twiddled with too. I find fire and brimstone and the whole fire hell deal for the most part counterproductive imagery (to say nothing of being wrong). Yes, Hell exists, yes sin exists, and yes without Christ, we’d be well beyond a major world of hurt… but fables and emotionally generating human imagery I think is a major disservice to the Body of Christ, as well as the non-believer. Hell is a massive separation from God and everything good, but as far as fire… it doesnt jibe with the Greek text. (not that our works are not purified with fire, etc)
I ascribe to the belief of original sin, which means we get hosed at conception, and that we are totally depraved from a God point of view. Ie, we are stupid like sheep, and we go massively astray, even babies, children, albeit their is the question of ensoulment for the unborn (does it occur at conception, when blood appears, or on first breath) There are arguments for all… but I’d say as soon as ensoulment occurs, the consequences of original sin are there full bore. There is no age of accountability… but thankfully there is God’s grace.
I also ascribe to the fact that all are created in God’s image, and as such even though we screw up when measured with God’s standards, a remnant of good towards one another, a natural law aspect, sort of a part of the image of God’s original good creation remains. Thus unbelievers while falling short from God’s perfection, can also be incredibly moral and good from man’s point of view.
Unconscious sin is a huge deal… and it gets so little airplay. I’m not sure why this is, perhaps its just too much of an additional burden? I think as we age, we become more and more aware of sin as God illuminates the unconscious such that we become aware of it. Our inclination to sin, is fully sin, and as such also the consequences of such,
I also ascribe that while earthly consequences for sin vary widely, in God’s eyes, using an office stapler for personal documents is falling short of God’s perfection and without Christ, the consequences would be the same as what Osama Bin Laden would suffer (should he not come to Christ).
For believers however, Paul talks about crowns and rewards… I think those who follow Christ to the end will be rewarded more so, than those who become Christian, and then do nothing or worse backslide (to borrow a term from my Baptist friends). This reward aspect is vastly different than salvation. In some ways, while I dont agree with Catholicism’s view of purgatory, I’m not totally convinced its totally in error either. Purgatory is not salvation connected, but it is purification of our works driven… and that seems to align with Paul.
The unforgiveable sin… blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, alas this remains a mystery to me. The WELS and LCMS folks have some interesting, and possibly correct definitions, but I’m not convinced. I tend to think its a single sin of massive unbelief post conversion (yep, I dont ascribe to OSAS (once saved always saved… I tend to think one can walk away, and if one persists long enough, one could be hosed, but am not convinced 100% of that either). If its not a single sin, I sort of wonder if it ties into the sheep and goats separation that Jesus talks about… Ultimately though, I think blasphemy of the Holy Spirit has to be a majorly conscious deal. Ie, if we are concerned we did so… its a sign we have not.
Law and Gospel Dialectic
The Five Solas
Christ destroyed Satan and his works (the Christus Victor view) is my primary thinking. I also find Wesley’s governance view fascinating, as well as the early church fathers and ransom theory. Even the satisfaction theory makes sense.
I do seriously wonder about penal substitution though… yes it does have some scriptural support, and depending upon how one interprets all of scripture, perhaps a whole lot of support. I however am not convinced. I think God is much bigger than penal substitutionary atonement. I also find a sort of awesomeness about the ransom theory… its just comes across to me as God being uberly cool.
Modern theories of atonement seem major stretches… but I think each his own, and let the Holy Spirit illuminate. I dont see atonement theory as a fall on a sword deal, unless it detracts from Christ of course.
I’m in the middle of Calvin and Arminus… I see both points supported by scripture, but I do tend to lean towards Calvin perhaps more so by experience than scripture shooting a hole in Arminus. Ie, if God has you, or is going to convert you, you are not going to be able to subvert his work. You may fall away for a bit… but God will grab you back at some point. I’m not 100% convinced of this of course, but do lean this direction. If I were, I’d be in the OSAS camp.
We get in a jam sanctification wise, because we mess with the temporal and eternal time domains. Ie we are simul justice et peccatuer. Justified post baptism, and at the same time sinners. In God’s eyes in the eternal domain, we are fully sanctified at Baptism. In the temporal domain, we are very much sinners and remain so until death. I do not ascribe to progressive santification at all. By the same token, I am not suggesting by any means we are to crave sin and lawlessness either. The Holy Spirit will change our hearts as we walk with Christ. This can have a temporal appearance of progressive sanctification amongst fellow man… yet, in God’s standards, apart from Christ, our works are as rubbish, or more biblically correct as excrement. (I do not want to use the actual English translation of Skuballon so as not to offend more conservative readers).
I do not ascribe to once saved always saved, but am not convinced such is 100% in error either. The typical argument is that without OSAS, then Christ’s sacrifice is replaced by man’s works, and as such to not believe in OSAS means his sacrifice was of no value, as man could do such. To me, such an argument is circular… but more so, what about the unforgiveable sin, what about the sheep and goats deal. The thing is this… what about the close friend or relative that goes on a major backsliding deal and kicks the bucket. Without OSAS… it would seem there is no hope, nor comfort. Catholics hold OSAS out to be the sin of presumption, thus OSAS is contraindicated… yet, they also ascribe to faith, hope, and love, with love as the greatest. Their logic and its resultant hope seems to hold a whole lot more water than OSAS, but I do see both views.
Infant Baptism is the ideal… but alas if that doesnt happen, believers Baptism is ok too. The reason… in infant Baptism, it clearly is God making it happen, the infant has no control, and I think such is cool, and it really drives home it is God’s action, not mans.
Baptism for the remission of sins, yep, roger this… we are then justified and sanctified, bearing in mind the prior entry on sanctification.
On the Holy Spirit
On God parents
On the Congregation
I’m diverging from the traditional Lutheran in with and under view of Jesus real presence in the Eucharist. Jesus is really present, it is his body and blood literally. The body of Christ is also there symbolically, namely symbolically ALL believers are present. I also see the Lord’s supper as sort of a wormhole into the eternal domain, past present and future. I know the combination of the above doesnt jibe with Lutheran, Catholic, nor Baptist belief structures… yet it is a reflection of what I see the Lord’s supper as being, and it is sort of a melding of these differing belief structures in many ways.
Ultimately, I do not ascribe to receptionism and leave it as a mystery, but rather go back to the words of institution alone, which then opens a major can of worms as concerns Lutheran views on the reliqua and the requisit practical aspects after the Lord’s supper. To me, receptionism seems extra Biblical, and as far as my limited research indicates, it doesn’t appear tradition driven either. It seems more reactionary, albeit if one doesnt ascribe to it or something similar… then other belief structures start to play against one another so logically it makes sense, even though I dont ascribe to it.
On the Reliqua
On Adoration outside the celebration
Partaking in an unworthy manner
Remembrance Only Approach to the Lords Supper
On Good Order and the Priesthood of all Believers
On Bishops and Oil
Office of the Hours
On Loving ones Neighbor
The Keys and Apostolic Succession
On Corporate Confession and Absolution
The gifts are for today (the continuationist view)
â€œTongues shall ceaseâ€ (the cessationist view)
Torn between the two. Iâ€™m leaning towards the cessationist view, but I attened an AoG church for a few years, so not totally.
The irrelevance of gender for spiritual authority (the egalitarian view)
Gender-based authority was only cultural (the egalitarian view)
God works through the secular government and the church for different purposes
The symbolic Thousand-Year Conquest of Satan (The Amillennial View)
Baptism in the Holy Spirit
People are baptized with the Spirit when they believe (the classical Protestant view)