I am an evangelical Christian. I am first and foremost a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that He is the Messiah whose coming was prophesied by the prophets of Israel, that He died on the cross to accomplish atonement for mankind’s sins so that God might give Him a Name above all names and save all mankind from perishing, and that God accepted His atoning sacrifice and resurrected Him as a sign of the seal on mankind’s redemption and as the first fruits of salvation. He is present now and available to all who call upon His name through the Holy Spirit that dwells within people.
I believe that the Bible is divinely inspired by God and that it is suitable for teaching and proofing of doctrine. That is not to say that God directly dictated the words of the Bible to its various authors or that God has not inspired other writings, but that God in His complete power wove the fabrics of history and the people in its threads such that the authors of the Bible wrote the words that He wished to communicate so that all men might know about His love, His goodness, and the marvelous salvation that He has accomplished. I believe that some of the prophets and apostles heard directly from the Lord and did write down direct words of God. Others, however, only acted on instinct. But through it all, God was directing their course as He weaves all events together to accomplish His purposes. Indeed, to those who raise objections about translations and the human nature of the authors, I say that these are inconsequential in the outcome of the finished product when one begins with the hypothesis that an all powerful God directed events to produce a communication from Himself to His creation. One might readily question this hypothesis, but to raise the prior objections requires one to accept the hypothesis and yet said hypothesis destroys these objections.
I believe that the Bible is only properly understood when all of its scriptures are read in context (both textwise and culturally) and with Jesus’s teachings taking precedence over any seemingly difficult passages.
I believe that the teachings of Jesus are just as important as His sacrifice on the cross and that Christians are called to live their lives in accord with His words.
I believe that Christians are called to a life of non-violent resistance against injustices and the system of this world. Through our lives, we bear witness to God’s Kingdom of Heaven within us that will one day be without when Christ is All in All.
I believe that there is no true authority but God alone and that Christians are called to follow only God. When our actions are not in accord with the human authorities that God has allowed to have power over us, we are called to imitate Christ and not return evil for evil, but to instead submit to the unjust suffering at the hands of those who have power over us knowing that God is with us through all things and that He works all things towards our good ultimately – even when others intend our harm.
The above stands in contrast to the historical position of the church as an institution where Christians were taught to obey the powers that God has placed over us and to recognize them as legitimate. This position derives from a failure to recognize that God ordains all things and that his allowing a Hitler or a Bush to have power does not at all imply that He approves of such a ruler or that His children should recognize them as legitimate. The misunderstanding is further compounded by a failure to read Romans 13 in context as a continuation of Romans 12 where Paul describes showing love to one’s enemies and thus uses as an example the emperor Nero and his officials who were surely among the worst enemies of the early Christians. Paul says that we are to love even these persecutors and submit to their persecutions, knowing that we will suffer nothing that God has not allowed. We can take comfort in this knowledge because we know that God loves us and will work all things to our good – even our own suffering or deaths.
I believe that God is a God of justice who repeatedly condemns the powerful and wealthy of the world for their corruption of justice and their mistreatment of the poor and down trodden. I believe that God calls His children to be a voice for the voiceless. God calls us to reach out in Love to the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed as our brothers and sisters in need.