Okay. So far I've been questioning you guys on what you believe, and why I think the Scripture does or does not support it, etc. Now, I'm going to do the unthinkable
, I'm gonna give you ammo to use on me.
Okay, well, not exactly.
I thought I'd share some various distinct views I personally hold and/or believe (which may or may not be the norm in Evangelical circles).
Also, I'm open to any questions you have concerning protestant beliefs, etc. I can't speak with great authority on all the various views. But I can do my best. Personally I was reared in the Holiness-Pentecostal movement. That's what I know the most about.
Okay, so here is some of the distinctives I hold:
1. Salvation is, on the human side, by faith alone in Christ alone. Not by works.
2. Believers baptism, by immersion. No formula required.
3. Believers are called and enabled to live a life of holiness and godliness. These include complementary works that validate faith. Known sin, not repented for, separates a believer from fellowship with God (which is salvation). If he should die that way, he dies outside of Christ, in his sins, and must face the wrath of God and His punishment. Thus all believers are called and enabled to perfect holiness, to be conformed more fully to the image of Christ, to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord, and to live without sin in this present world.
4. I believe that salvation is received and initiated at the moment of conversion -- which consists of repenting of one's sins, turning from them to follow after God by faith in the life, person, and atoning work of His Son. Thus one who has repented and believed on Christ is a convert, a disciple, born again.
5. Upon the sinner's repentance and trust in Christ He is justified, sanctified, and regenerated through the agency of the Spirit of God. Thus he is forgiven of his sins, has his standing before God made acceptable, is cleansed of his sins and set apart to a life of devotion to God, and is made a partaker of the nature of God receiving new spiritual life.
6. The lord's Supper as a transcendent and fulfilled form of the Passover celebration. Thus a sacred memorial meal in remembrance of the sacrificial offering of Christ once for all. I believe it should be kept at least once per year in accord with the Jewish passover festivities and feasts.That it's elements are unleavened bread and wine(sufficiently diluted)/grape juice.
7. I believe that washing the saint's feet was a practice among the NT believers. I do not hold that it was an ordinance. But it does seem to have been practiced as a special experience among the community of believers. Therefore believers today can and may choose to use such a method as a form of worship or Christian service.
8. I believe in the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit in the church. Besides the more general functions of the Spirit this means I believe in the present and continued operation of the spiritual gifts, the miraculous, etc. I also believe that one may receive the baptism of the Spirit, and that it is post conversion.
9. I do not believe in tithing as a NT teaching or practice. Though I do not see such forbidden under the NT, if a willing gift to God and His church. But I do not see such compelled by the NT. Yet, giving of one's means to the service and glory of God, to the church,m to one' neighbors, and the needy, as we are able is certainly endorsed, taught, and expected of the believer via the NT.
10. I believe each local church should ideally be overseen by a plurality of elders, assisted by deacons when or as needed.
11. I believe all believers are one in Christ, and thus should be one in corporeal/organizational fellowship. I believe we will be prior to the return of the Lord.
12. I believe in the rapture of the church prior to the Second coming proper. I have my opinions concerning just, when and how all that will play out. But the important thing is that Christ will personally, bodily, return in power and glory.
13. I believe in a literal 1000 year reign of Christ over all the world.
14. I believe in the national restoration and salvation of Israel.
15. I believe in a literal state and place called hell. All those who die in their sins are confined there until the resurrection and last judgment. I believe they will be raised, face God in judgment, be confined to the lake of fire where they will forever be separated from fellowship with God and in torment.
16. I believe the disembodied spirit's of believers go to be in the presence of Christ in heaven upon death, where they also await the resurrection, and their bodily glorification at the coming of Christ. That they will in habit the new earth, in perfect fellowship with Christ throughout eternity future.
17. I believe marriage is a lifelong state that is not severed except by death. I believe that God dislikes, but permits on some occasions (i.e. in the case of fornication, abandonment, etc.) divorce. Albeit remarriage, besides to one's proper living spouse, is never permitted.
That doesn't cover eveything, obviously. BUt it at least gives us some issues to kick around.
Oh yeah, some you already know...
18. I believe the bible (both the OT and NT), especially the NT, is the ultimate authority and rule in all matters of Christian belief and practice.
19. I believe in original sin, whereby man became subject to death, physical and spiritual. Thereby man is mortal and separated from physical life by death. Also man is sinful and separated from fellowship with God by inbred corruption and death. Man is not sick in sin and trespasses, he is dead in them.
Have fun! and be nice.