Some believe it best to keep personal doctrine close to the chest believing doctrine divides. Conversely, I’d like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and hospitably invite everyone into a dialogue where we can engage openly, in love, and help each other grow towards Truth in Christ. Surely, being fallible, we can all find something we don’t agree on. But just as surely, as believers, we should be able to agree on the majority of things, and lock arms in communion in the essential doctrines of our faith. As brothers and sisters, our study and debate should be edifying in each person’s growth toward knowledge of Truth. With this hope, below I have outlined my interpretation of what the scripture teaches.
My core theological principles were not developed through experience in a church, tradition, denomination or under a teacher. I came to a saving faith in Christ by first reading the Bible independently and, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, developing a basic doctrinal understanding of Scripture. I have since sought extensive teaching from many sources to clarify my theology in more granular issues, but my original high-level understanding of God’s Word remains. I believe man’s justification to God comes by faith in Jesus Christ alone. I am Baptist in my view towards baptism (by submersion upon the believer’s profession of faith) and missiology (cooperative urgency in fulfilling the Great Commission Mandate). I affirm, in full, The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 – the confession agreed upon by the Southern Baptist Convention.
I am a Master of Divinity student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY, an intern at Sojourn Church (Louisville), and a former student of the ASPIRE Leadership Development Program (Redeemer Church) and Porterbrook Network theological training network. My pastors are Mitch Maher (Th.M., Dallas Theological Seminary), Redeemer Community Church in Katy, TX, and Daniel Montgomery (M. Div., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), Sojourn Church in Louisville, KY.
I believe the Holy Bible is the inerrant Word of God. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction breathed out by God and recorded by men divinely inspired by God’s revelation of Himself to them. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ – scripture either points forward to the coming of the Jewish Messiah Christ, is specifically about Christ, or reflects back on the teachings and works of Christ. I believe scripture alone is the source of God’s instruction and stands over every other book, church, or conception of man. I believe the Bible contains all instruction necessary for salvation and pertaining to instruction in life and godliness.
I believe all things exist and are being worked according to the triune God’s passion, pleasure, and plan as a demonstration of His glory. God creates, calls, redeems, saves, justifies, restrains, grants and glorifies all for His namesake so that He will be praised (Ephesians 1:11, Psalm 23:3).
I believe all of the Essential Doctrines of Protestant Christian Faith and affirm the historic creeds, including the Apostles Creed:
I believe in God the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord:
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick (living) and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Holy Christian* Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
I believe it is important that we closely guard the doctrine of the faith entrusted to us (1 Timothy 4:16), while also remaining faithfully open to correction (Proverbs 12:1) – to be faithful to reform when it can be shown from the Bible that we have ventured from Scripture. I will not disregard the input of a Christian brother or sister (anyone who agrees that there is no salvation without a crucified and resurrected Jesus Christ and holds to the other Essential Doctrines of Christian Faith) over a disagreement over secondary doctrinal issues or opinions. Paul says we must never quench the Spirit. It is our personal responsibility to stay hungry for wisdom, to discern what is good and hold on to it, and to reject what is bad. I believe that an improper doctrine, or a misunderstanding of scripture, does not fully disqualify a brother from having knowledge to share. However, we always strive to discern and adhere to God’s truth. I am secure in my own doctrine (above), and am resolved to teach from the foundation stated.