If History Is Fun: My Ordination’s Doctrinal Statement

If you think history can be fun, I have an exciting something for you. If you may find yourself enthused with religious history in particular, hold onto your proverbial hat. And if you enjoy digging into the backgrounds of deconverted religious leaders, then oh my shit, prepare to lose yours. 

So I thought it would be fun to post the doctrinal statement I submitted for my ordination. I waited to begin the proceedings until seminary was completely out of the way in the Spring of 2009. My ordination’s doctrinal paper was to be a nine-point statement, outlining exactly what I believed on each of nine given theological topics, including a long list of subtopics I was to likewise address and incorporate. It was not to detail or exposit, but only to clearly present and affirm. And each of the nine statements was to be at least a full page in length. One full page outlining what I truly believed. And I’ll tell you right now that, yes, I did in fact truly believe everything that follows. Truly and for really. Right up to the very bitter end. 

So for the sake of history, enjoy! 


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“Credo: My Statement of Faith”

By Pastor Drew Bekius of West Hills Community Church

Submitted for Ordination with Converge MidAmerica

September 14, 2009

Truly one’s faith—that set of beliefs we hold most dear—forms the core of any individual. For this reason, we would each do well to carefully assess the content of those convictions in order that we may be all the more aware of how we view the world around us. But surely, such self-awareness is all the more essential for pastors. For this reason, what follows has been put together, firstly, as an exercise to more fully form my own faith into words, and secondly, to make these convictions all the more plainly visible to those around me.

Bibliology: The Study of Scripture

I BELIEVE THE BIBLE… that the Scriptures are the very Word of God, that both the Old and New Testaments are divine revelation. I believe in verbal-plenary inspiration, in the inerrancy of the original manuscripts, and that the Bible is the complete and final authority for all people. (2Ti. 3:16-17; 2Pe. 1:21; Mt. 5:17-18; Gal. 3:16; Jn. 14:26)

Revelation

The Bible tells its readers that God reveals himself to humanity. In what we call general revelation God shows aspects of his presence and attributes to all individuals through creation, providence, and conscience. General revelation, however, does not present all that is needed for one to stand right before God. Here we find the need for special revelation, which is found alone in Jesus Christ, who is God Incarnate, and in the Scriptures of the Hebrew Bible (OT) and the Christian New Testament (NT). (Ps. 19:1-6; Rom. 1:19-20; Ac. 14:17; Rom. 2:14-15; Jn. 1:18; 2Ti. 3:16-17)

Inspiration

The writing of the Bible’s original autographs took place under the process of inspiration, which speaks of the Holy Spirit’s superintending or supernatural influence over the authors of Scripture, divinely guaranteeing their accuracy, while utilizing the personalities of each author’s writing style and circumstances. (2Ti. 3:16; 2Pe. 1:21)

Verbal-Plenary Inspiration

Inspiration can be described as verbal-plenary. Inspiration is verbal in that the process includes not only concepts or phrases, but even the very words themselves to the slightest detail. Inspiration is plenary in that the process does not only apply to certain words or portions but rather to all of Scripture. (Mt. 5:18; Gal. 3:16; 2Ti. 3:16)

Inerrancy & Authority

Divine inspiration demands inerrancy. Since God speaks only truth and the Bible is his Word, the Bible must be equally free of errors. As such, the Bible is fully authoritative in all matters that it speaks to. (Num. 23:19; Heb. 6:18; 2Pe. 1:21).

Canonicity

Canonicity is the process of identifying particular documents as included in the Scriptures. Jesus both affirmed the canonicity of the Hebrew Bible and foretold his Spirit’s future work through the writings of the apostles in the New Testament. The writings of the apostles are later recognized to be Scripture just as much as the OT. All 39 books of the OT and 27 of the NT received virtually universal recognition by the fourth century. (Lk. 24:44-45; Jn. 10:35; 16:12-13; 2Pe. 3:16)

Illumination

The work of God’s Spirit in bringing accurate understanding of the Scriptures is what we call illumination, which is only possible with those indwelt by the Holy Spirit but by no means guarantees the accuracy of one’s interpretations. (1Co. 2:11,14; Lk. 24:45)

Theology Proper: The Study of God

I BELIEVE IN YAHWEH… that he is the one and only true God, as revealed in the Scriptures, that he is the Creator of all things, that he is perfect in love and sovereignty, that he eternally exists in three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and that he is forever worthy of all glory and praise. (Jn. 17:3; Gen. 1:1; Rom. 5:8; 1Ti. 6:15; Ps. 86:9)

The Oneness of God

Though there may be many claims to deity, Yahweh is the only living and true God that has ever existed. Yahweh is not a pantheon of many deities, but rather, he is single in number. He is One. (Dt. 6:4; Jas. 2:19)

The Tri-Unity of God

Yahweh has revealed himself as a triunity of Three Persons, historically termed the Trinity. These Three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—are all united as One in regard to divine essence, and cannot, therefore, be accurately conceived or spoken of as individual gods. Rather they are a Unity of One in essence, substance, existence, and entity, each possessing all the fullness of God at all times. Further, Father, Son, and Spirit are each equal in authority. (Mt. 28:19; Is. 48:16; Jn. 5:21-23; Mt. 12:31)

Distinct in Person

Yet God is Three in Person. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct in Personhood. Each maintains certain aspects of personality, such as will and relationship, that the others do not. The Son proceeds from the Father, and the Spirit proceeds from both Father and Son. (Mk. 1:10-11; Ac. 5:3-4, 9; Mt. 26:39; 1Jn. 4:9; Jn. 14:26; 16:7)

Attributes of God

Yahweh has clearly revealed himself with certain characteristics, or attributes. Being one of communication and relationship, he is, of course, personal and not some mindless force. As spirit, God is omnipresent and not confined to a physical, earthen body, yet he maintains a special presence in specific places and ways. Being self-existent, he is dependent on nothing. Yahweh is also immutable, or unchanging, and not subject to the drives of any outside forces. He is in full control of all his creation and plan, truly sovereign, omnipotent, and omniscient. (Jn. 4:24; Ps. 139:7-12; 1Sa. 4:4; Jn. 5:26; Mal. 3:6; Pss. 115:3; 139:1-6; Mt. 24-25)

God the Father 

God our Heavenly Father is Head and Director over the Son and the Spirit. All things work according to his will and purpose, and he is worthy to receive all glory and honor. God the Father reconciles to himself all who trust in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. He receives the prayers of his people in the name of their Savior and by the intercession of the Spirit. (1Co. 11:3; 1Jn. 4:9; Jn. 14:26; Eph. 1:11; Rev. 4:11; 2Co. 5:18-19; Jn. 16:23; Rom. 8:26)

Christology: The Study of Jesus Christ

I BELIEVE IN JESUS… that he is the long awaited, greatly anticipated Messiah, that he is God Incarnate. Upon living a sinless life on earth, he died on the cross as the substitutionary sacrifice for the sin of the world. Then he rose from the dead with power, ascended into heaven, and is now at the right hand of the Father where he ministers as our interceding High Priest. (Phil. 2:5-11; 1Pe. 2:24; Heb. 4:14-15)

Jesus: True God

Conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, with all the fullness of God dwelling in him, the Bible is clear on the deity of Jesus Christ. Distinct from God the Father yet existing from eternity and not created, Jesus personally declared his unity with the Father and received worship as God. As God’s image, exact representation, and radiance, Jesus personally and physically reveals the fullness of God to all creation. God the Father even calls Jesus “God” and affirms the eternity of his throne. As such, Jesus is truly God Himself, creating, sustaining, and judging all things. Even the authority to forgive sins belongs to him. (Mt. 1:18, 23; Lk. 1:34-35; Col. 1:19; Jn. 1:1; 10:30; 20:28; Jn. 1:18; Heb. 1:3; Col. 1:15-19; Heb. 1:8; Tit. 2:13; Mt. 9:2-7; Col. 3:13)

Jesus: True Human

The Bible is equally clear on the full humanity of Jesus Christ. Born naturally of a woman, Jesus developed mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially. His humanity is evidenced by his hunger, fatigue, pain, and emotion. He experienced all temptation, yet he remained sinless. Before God the Father, Jesus is true perfection in the fullness of his humanity and in the purity of his sinlessness. (Lk. 2:5-7; 2:52; Mt. 4:2; Mk. 4:38; 15:34, 37; Lk. 22:44; Jn. 11:35; Mt. 9:36; Heb. 2:18; 4:15; 7:28)

Jesus: The Mediator

Jesus’ hypostatic union of full deity and full humanity allows for the mediation between God and people. As God-Man, Jesus possesses the unique ability to make sinful humanity right with God. Jesus’ ability to represent all humanity and die substitutionally required his full humanity, yet his ability to make infinite value of his death and provide eternal atonement required his full deity. Jesus now intercedes for them at the right hand of his Father in heaven. (1Ti. 2:5; Heb. 2:17; 5:1; 7:24-25, 28; 9:26; Rom. 8:34)

The Kenosis Question

The kenosis of Jesus Christ, best understood by its context, does not mean Jesus became less God at the Incarnation. Rather it speaks of his act of humility in taking on full humanity and then serving all his creation in dying on the cross. (Phil. 2:7-8)

Pneumatology: The Study of the Holy Spirit

I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT… that he is not merely some impersonal force, but that he is personal in Being and that he is God Himself. The Spirit of God is at work in this world and within the Church, carrying out the will and work of the Father and Son. (Jn. 16:8-11; Tit. 3:5; 1Co. 6:19; Jn. 14:16)

The Holy Spirit: Personal God

As he whom history has titled the “Third Person of the Trinity,” the Holy Spirit is truly and fully God Himself, equal in essence and substance to God the Father and God the Son. Rather than a mere extension of God’s power, the Holy Spirit is indeed a Person in the truest sense. The Spirit’s personality is seen as he thinks and understands, grieves, wills, teaches, testifies, convicts, guides, and intercedes. (1Co. 2:10-11; Eph. 4:30; 1Co. 12:11; Jn. 14:26; 15:26; 16:8, 13; Rom. 8:26)

The Holy Spirit: Distinct in Person

Though the Holy Spirit is the “Spirit of God” and “Spirit of Christ,” he is not merely another name for the Father and Son. Rather the Spirit is distinct in Person from the other two, acting individually and apart from, though in step with, the Father and Son. (Rom. 8:9; Mk. 1:10-11; Ac. 5:3-4; 1Co. 6:19; Rom. 8:27)

The Work of Regenerating

Regeneration speaks of the act by which one is born by the Holy Spirit into the new life that is found in Jesus Christ. (Tit. 3:5; Jn. 3:3-8; 5:21)

The Work of Indwelling

The Spirit of God indwells all believers without condition, effective immediately and irrevocably upon salvation, given of the Father as a gift, making believers, both individually and corporately, a temple of the Holy Spirit. (1Jn. 4:13; 1Co. 3:16; 6:19)

The Work of Baptizing

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is his act of bringing each believer into union with Christ and the rest of the Church, taking place immediately upon regeneration, rather than as a later work. This baptism is unique to the Church Age and is distinct from a physical or experiential baptism. (1Cor. 12:13; Rom. 6:3-5; Gal. 3:27-28; Ac. 1:5; 11:15)

The Work of Sealing

The Holy Spirit seals all believers, marking them as God’s and guaranteeing them as His possession on the Day of Redemption. Similarly, he is given to believers as a deposit, guaranteeing their full inheritance. (2Co. 1:22; Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30)

The Work of Gifting

God’s Spirit gifts every believer with a spiritual empowerment towards particular work within the Church. These gifts are diverse and create an interdependency within the church, just as a body’s appendages and organs depend upon one another for proper function. All gifts are intended for the building up of the community, are to be exercised in self-control, and to be driven by love. (1Co. 12:7, 11, 12, 26; Rom. 12:4-5; Eph 4:12; 1Co. 14:12, 32, 40; 1Co. 13)

The Work of Filling

Unlike his other work, the filling of the Holy Spirit is not guaranteed, nor is it permanent. Though always indwelt by the Spirit, filling takes place as believers walk in step with the Spirit of God, allowing him to fill them with his fruit. (Eph. 5:18; Gal. 5:16, 22-23)

Angelology: The Study of Angels

I BELIEVE IN THE EXISTENCE OF ANGELS… that they are spirit beings of a higher order than humanity, created prior to the fall and of an innumerable number. Exhibiting high intellect and power, yet limited in attributes, angels minister in a variety of ways, including the deliverance of divine proclamations. (Ps. 148:2; Col. 1:16; Heb. 12:22; Dan. 9:21-22; Mt. 28:2; Mt. 24:36; Heb. 1:14; Lk 2:9-14)

Worshipers Not to Be Worshiped

As created beings, angels are not to receive acts of worship, including prayer, as such acts are reserved for God alone. Christ alone is mediator between humanity and God, and as such, any position of angels as mediator is flawed. The role of angels is to put focus and glory on God. (Col. 2:18; Rev. 19:10; 1Ti. 2:5)

The Fall of Satan and His Followers

Prior to his fall, an angel named Satan was exalted in perfection, wisdom, and beauty as a guardian cherub. Wickedness, violence, and pride then corrupted his perfection, and as a result the Lord threw Satan and his angelic followers to the earth where he was instrumental to humanity’s fall. (Ezk. 28:11-19; Rev. 12:4, 9; Gen. 3:1-15)

The Ploys of Satan

Satan is the ultimate Evil One, deceiving, stealing, and murdering. As the god and ruler of this world, Satan seeks to lead it astray in condemnation with accusations and temptations. However, as believers trust in Christ and stand in light of the realities of Satan’s defeat, the devil and his demons have no authority in their lives. (Jn. 17:15; Gen. 3:1-5; 2Co. 4:4; Jn. 12:31; 1Pe. 5:8; Rev. 12:10; Mt. 4:3; Eph 1:19-23; 6:11-18)

Anthropology: The Study of Humanity

I BELIEVE IN THE HUMAN PREDICAMENT… that men and women were created in the image of God, but that upon falling into sin, humanity became forever lost and unable to enter the kingdom of God apart from his direct intervention. (Gen. 1:26-27; Rom. 3:10, 23)

The Creation and Dignity of All Humanity

Human beings, both female and male, were intentionally and directly created by God and are not the products of coincidence or random circumstance. Created in God’s image and likeness, all people bear an inherent dignity. (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7, 21, 25; Pss. 8:4-6; 139:13-18)

The Composition of Humanity

Human beings are a dichotomous composition of material and immaterial. The material person speaks of the visible and physical body. The immaterial person concerns of all that is inner and unseen, including often over-lapping terms such as soul, heart, spirit, and mind. (Mk. 12:30; Heb. 12:23 with Rev. 6:9; Heb. 4:12; Rom. 10:9-10; 12:2)

The Brokenness of Humanity

Shortly after creation, the first man and woman sinned against God, resulting in a brokenness, which has infected all of creation onward. Sin is the inherent orientation toward self-elevation in rebellion against God, imputed to all humanity and resulting in acts that transgress God’s commands, bringing eternal separation from God. Only by the work of God can such a state find hope. (Gen. 3:6-7; Rom. 1:21-23; 8:20-21; Jas. 1:15; 4:17; Rom. 3:23; 14:23; Lk. 13:27-28; Rom. 5:12-13)

Soteriology: The Study of Salvation

I BELIEVE IN ETERNAL SALVATION… the full rescue from sin and death, provided by God the Father out of the generosity of his grace, purchased in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, and received through faith in this unique work. (Ac. 4:12; Col. 2:13-14; Eph. 2:8; Rom. 3:25)

Salvation History

Before eternity past, God has predestined the elect according to his own sovereign will and purely by his grace, without any human effort. Predestined unto christlikeness, justification, and glorification, the elect, as believers in Jesus Christ, find salvation in their Lord unto the glory and praise of God. (Eph. 1:4-12; Rom. 8:29-30; 9:11)

The Cross of Salvation

In Christ’s work the cross, God put Jesus forward as the propitiation for humanity’s sin—as that which satisfies God’s holy wrath, thereby providing justice while also keeping those in Christ from the punishment that justice requires. The removal of sin brings cleansing and forgiveness from sin, producing peace between God and those in Christ. (Isa. 59:1-2; Rom. 3:25; Col. 2:13-14; 1Jn. 1:7, 9; 2Co. 5:18-19)

Redemption Purchased

Purchased with the priceless blood of Jesus Christ, believers have found redemption from sin and have become slaves to God, no longer obligated to carry out the desires of the flesh but those of God. The redeemed have been removed from the slave market to the law and are no longer judged according to it. Furthermore, believers have been counted dead to sin and death, no longer enslaved to their former master. (1Co. 6:20; 1Pe. 1:18-19; Tit. 2:14; Gal. 3:13; 4:5; Rom. 6:6-11, 14, 18)

Faith in Christ Alone

It is by faith in Jesus Christ’s unique ability to make them right with God that individuals discover personal reconciliation with God. Faith itself is a gift from God that he alone grants to those he has chosen. (Eph. 2:8; Jn. 14:6; Rom. 10:8-11)

New Life in Christ

Upon faith in Christ, believers are made new, regenerated by the Spirit of God and indwelt by him from that point forward. This regeneration always results in a transformed life unto the likeness of our Lord, displaying the fruit and gifting of the Spirit, and one day finding full union with Jesus in his glory and righteousness. (Rom. 8:9-11; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:3-4, 9-10; Mt. 5:16-23; Heb. 3:6, 14; Rom. 8:17, 29-30)

The Irreversible Nature of God’s Work

The sovereignly effective nature of the Father’s plan, of the Son’s atonement, and of the Spirit’s regeneration and sealing means that absolutely nothing can stand in the way of the completion of the salvation of a believer. (Rom. 8:28-30; Col. 2:13-14; Heb. 7:25; Tit. 3:5; Eph. 4:30)

Ecclesiology: The Study of Church

I BELIEVE IN THE CHURCH… that community of Christ-followers that bear his name before a watching world, given the responsibilities of proclaiming his Gospel and making disciples of all nations. (Ac. 2:41-47; Mt. 28:18-20)

Church: Universal and Local

The Church of Jesus Christ is the community of those who follow him in faith, truth, and action. The universal, catholic Church is comprised of all Christians around the globe, throughout all of history’s past and future. Yet Christians meet in local manifestations of the universal whole. Though the universal Church speaks exclusively of true believers in Christ, the local church includes all apparent Christians, without the ability to see the true state of one’s heart and faith. (Universal: Eph. 5:25; 1Co. 12:28; Mt. 13:24-30; Local: Ac. 8:1; 1Co. 1:2; 1Th 1:1)

The Church and Israel

Israel and the church are two distinct peoples of God. The church is not a redefined Israel. Rather, the term “Jewish” remains to be used for ethnic Israel, as does “Gentile” for those who are not. With the “church,” however, all distinctions of race and ethnicity are merged together. (Ac. 3:12; 5:21; Rom. 10:19, 21; Phil. 3:5; Ac. 21:19; Gal. 3:28)

Function of the Church

The church is called to function as a people redeemed by and belonging to God, featuring a public devotion to Scripture, fellowship, prayer, sacrificial giving, evangelism, service, and demonstrations of worship. (Ac. 2:42-47; 5:28; 2Ti. 2:2; Rom. 15:26; 2Co. 9:13; Col. 3:16)

Discipline within the Church

Discipline is to be carried out within the church in a way that includes the smallest and most directly affected group possible. Discipline includes the exclusion from fellowship and is always done in the best interest of unrepentant person. (Mt. 18:15-17; 1Co. 5:11; 2Th. 3:6, 14-15; 2Ti. 5:19-20)

Ordinances for the Church

Christ instituted two ordinances for church observance. Baptism is a one-time act of public identification with Christ and his church, signifying the unseen baptism of the Spirit. The Lord’s Supper is regularly shared among believers in remembrance of Christ’s work on the cross and in anticipation of the coming supper in his Father’s kingdom. (Mt. 28:19; Ac. 2:38; Mk. 14:22-26; 1Co. 11:23-26)

Church Leadership

Church leadership in the New Testament must be above reproach and is structured with two offices. Elders, or overseers, shepherd the church and focus specifically on teaching, while deacons assist elders in caring for people’s needs. (1Ti. 3:1-13; Tit. 1:6-9; Ac. 20:17, 28; 1Pe. 5:1-2; Ac. 6:1-6)

Eschatology: The Study of Last Things

I BELIEVE THE FUTURE IS CERTAIN… that Jesus Christ will return to the earth with an imminent and premillennial second coming, that the Church will be caught with him in the air in a pretribulation rapture, that she will return with Him to establish the millennial kingdom, and that upon resurrection of the dead, believers will spend eternity with the Lord and unbelievers will go to everlasting conscious torment. (1Th. 4:16-17; 5:9; Mt. 25:31-46)

The Rapture of Jesus’ Church

We anticipate Jesus’ return from heaven for his Church to be personal, visible, and bodily. The rapture refers to the event where Jesus will gather up his Church in the air, both deceased and living believers, and will return to heaven with them. (Jn. 14:1-3; 1Th. 4:13-18; 1Co. 15:51-55)

Time of Tribulation

The tribulation, outlined as Daniel’s seventieth week, is the coming period where God will pour out his wrath upon the world and its inhabitants, to purge Israel of her sin in preparation for her King and his millennial reign. God’s promise to never pour out his wrath on the Church leads to the conclusion that she cannot be present on earth at the time, and that the tribulation must fall after the rapture and before the Second Coming of the Christ. (Dan. 9:27; Isa. 24:1-3; Ezk. 36:18-33; Mal. 4:5-6; Rev. 6:16-17; 11:18; 14:19; 15:1; 16:1, 19; Rom. 5:9; 1Th. 5:9; 2Th. 2:13)

Jesus’ Second Coming and Millennial Reign

Upon his Second Coming, Christ will take his place on David’s throne in Jerusalem. All Covenant promises made to Israel will find completion with a 1000-year kingdom of peace and righteousness. (Lk. 1:32-33; Isa. 9:6-7; Gen. 12:1-3; Ps. 24:3-4; Isa. 32:17-18; Mic. 4:2-4; Rev. 20:1-5)

Final Judgment

After the millennial kingdom, God will judge Satan, his demons, and all the world, where those found guilty of rebellion against God will be condemned to eternal separation from God and those found in the righteousness of Christ will spend all eternity in the presence of their Lord. (2Ti. 4:1; Mt. 25:31-46; Rev. 20:9-15; 21:3-6)

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9 comments

  1. So many claims, so little evidence. . .

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well, to be fair to the medium, its purpose wasn’t to defend but to simply state.

      That said, umm yeah, what’s that old proverb about hindsight? haha

      Like

      1. And yet, even when the purpose is to defend, the amount of evidence doesn’t change much. ;)

        Like

  2. good for a laugh, but at whom?

    Like

  3. actually still laughing! especially at that inerrancy part. yeah i know it’s all supposed to be true, but if you have a theology degree one assumes that you did crack open that inerrant bibble at some time, at least once, and actually read it and perhaps try to comprehend it. what did you pay for those glasses that allowed you to ignore or otherwise explain away all those contradictions?

    Like

    1. Hahaha… Yes, laughing indeed. I had actually read, studied, and synthesized pretty much every verse in the Bible and was comfortable explaining every element. But a bubble, it is. Thankfully, I’m out!

      Like

      1. matthew 5:18 christ himself says not one jot or tittle of the law will disappear, that would be the 600 some laws, but peter says oops never mind. that didn’t strike you as a little weird?

        Like

  4. peter’s not playing a little fast and loose after the head honcho is gone?

    Like

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