What I Don’t Believe

Because my ministry philosophy and person beliefs can be misunderstood and associated with other movements (or isms), I have found it helpful to clarify my beliefs by declaring what we do not believe.  In stating what I am not, I do not seek to attack those who disagree with me, but rather distinguish myself so that people considering calling me as a pastor, or others who are considering  joining my current church are aware of who I am, as well as who I am not.

  • I am not a liberal who embraces culture without discernment and compromise the essential distinctives of the gospel, but rather a Christian who believe the truths of the Bible are eternal and therefore fitting and authoritative for every time, place, and people.
  • I am not a fundamentalist who retreats from cultural involvement and transformation, but rather a missionary faithful both to the content of Scripture and context of ministry.
  • I am not an isolationist who separates himself from completely from the current culture.  Rather, I seek to partner with like-minded Christians from various churches, denominations and organizations in planting church-planting churches.
  • I am not a hyper-Calvinist who get mired down in secondary matters, but rather pray, evangelize, and do good works because I believe that the sovereign plan of God (including proclaiming the “well-meant” offer of the gospel to everyone worldwide) is accomplished through us, His people.
  • I am not an eschatological Theonomist or Classic Dispensationalist (e.g. Scofield) whare loyal to only their camp of believers in the way they see God’s plan unfolding in Scripture and “Second Coming.”  Rather, I believe that divisive and dogmatic certainty surrounding particular details of Jesus Second Coming are unprofitable speculation because the timing and exact details of His return are unclear to us.
  • I am not an egalitarian who sees no distinction in God’s design for man and women.  Rather, I do believe that men should head their homes and male elders should lead their churches with masculine love like Jesus Christ.
  • I am not an Open Theist who limits the scope of God foreknowledge.  Rather, I  believe in the sovereignty and foreknowledge of God in all things including the future decisions of God’s free creatures.
  • I am not a religious relativist and do believe that there is no salvation apart from faith in Jesus Christ alone.
  • I am not a secular relativist and do gladly embrace Scripture (including its propositional truth statements) as our preeminent authority above such things as culture, experience, human philosophy, and other forms of revelation because the Bible corresponds to reality (Creation)).
  • I am not a nationalist seeking to simply improve one nation, but instead, an ambassador of the King of Kings commissioned to proclaim and demonstrate the coming of His kingdom to all nations of the earth.
  • I am not a moralist seeking to help people live good lives, but instead an evangelist laboring that people would become new creations in Christ.
  • I am not a Universalist and do believe that many people will spend eternity in the torments of hell as the Bible teaches.
  • I am not a naturalist and do believe that Satan and demons are real enemies at work in this world and subject to God.
  • I am not a rationalist and do believe that not everything can be known but that God calls us to live by faith with mystery and partial knowledge regarding many things.
  • I am not a mere empiricist, mystic, or fideist and do believe in the central/formal reformation principle and Biblical truth of Sola Scriptura in that God’s revelation in Scripture must be preeminent in all our understanding and must take first position on the stage of truth.
  • I am not a Humanist, and do believe that God is the origin of truth, justice, morals, meaning and beauty.
  • I am not a natural theologian and do believe that Christianity is an uniquely revealed truth that is sufficient to provide the basis for what to believe and how to live.
  • I am not an autonomous secularist and do be believe that God (as revealed through His divine revelation) is the origin of truth, justice, morals, meaning, and beauty.
  • I am not a neo-evangelical and do believe in proclaiming a thick gospel that will not be acceptable to all men.  (In other words, in my efforts to get men to accept the gospel, I do not make the gospel acceptable to men.  A half-truth presented as the whole truth becomes a non-truth.)
  • I am not a “wider-grace” Evangelical and do believe that salvation comes only to those in who have faith in Christ alone.  The lost (those without Christ) will spend eternity in Hell as a just punishment for their sins.
  • I am not a reductionist and do believe in the use of reason, experience emotions, tradition, and general revelation under the authority of and subservient to God’s unique revelation in the Bible which takes first place as we understand the world starting with God’s understanding of creation and our understanding, experience, feelings, and faith.
  • I am not a mere pragmatist and do believe that expositional preaching, Biblical theology, biblical Ecclesiology, and Biblical Disciplemaking.
  • I am not a neo-orthodox and do believe that the whole bible is the revelation of God whether or not one has a existential experience with any passage.
  • I am not an evangelical feminist and do believe that God reveals Himself as a Father and is to be honored by the names He reveals to us without apology.
  • I am not embarrassed by the bloody death of Jesus Christ and do believe He died as a substitute for the sins of His people in selfless love.
  • I am not ashamed and do proclaim a loving gospel of grace which sounds like foolishness and offensiveness to the unrepentant while also saving multitudes with ears to hear good news.
  • I am not a polemicist who believes that it is my task is to combat every false teaching but am passionate about preserving the integrity of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I normally take an irenic approach.