As a Pastor I think it’s important to clearly state your position on issues, as a Pastor who is also a blogger, I believe it’s even more important to make your views known. There is so much misinformation out on the web, it is easy for the truth to get lost in the clutter. To that end, you can click on the “Positions” link at the top of my blog. from time to time I will add my thoughts on issues that come up often in ministry.
Even though there is a lot of “junk theology” on the Internet, the world wide web is a phenomenal tool for seeking the truth! To that end I want to post this “statement of faith” to let you know where I stand…
I was born the year that my dad graduated from seminary. I was raised in the home of a Minister of Evangelism at a Southern Baptist Church. on May 21, 1985 I was born again, and was baptized the following Sunday. I surrendered to full-time vocational service at that same church, was licensed to Gospel Ministry on Aug. 4, 1996, and was ordained by First Baptist Euless on March 2, 2005.
I’m very proud of all of this, but all these things don’t make me a Southern Baptist. What makes me a Southern Baptist is that I am a member of a church who is a part of the Southern Baptist Convention, and I’m part of that church because I had a somewhat lengthy period (9 months) of searching in college.
I set-aside my beliefs and I did a survey of many of the major options (Atheism, Mormonism, 7th Day Adventism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Islam, Judaism, Christian Science, Scientology, Buddhism, etc.). I came to the conclusion that Christianity best lines-up with… and that “brand” of Christianity that I believe best reflects my understanding of the Bible is the Southern Baptist Convention.
It’s not enough to have your Theology right, you must have your practice right too. One of the reasons why I think the SBC gets it right is because of our history of Evangelism/Missions to take the Great Commission seriously. Are we perfect? No, of course not, however, I believe we, more than anyone else, take that call, to “preach the gospel to every creature under heaven” (Mark 16), seriously. Evangelism has got to be number one. The most important thing we do is love God with all that we have, and we do that by loving others, and we love others best by verbally sharing the Gospel with them.
Creeds and concessions are designed to “divide” to a degree. They are statements that differentiate your beliefs from those of others. They define you and your “kind.” To that end, I have personally adopted the Baptist Faith & Message as my statement of faith. I like many of the ancient creeds, but they are, necessarily, more reactionary and occasional in nature. They tend to be too detailed and need too much explanation.
The BF&M is designed to speak to “essentials” in the sense that it defines those things that Southern Baptists believe are the clear unambiguous teachings of the Bible. Now, this is not to say there are not other issues that I could be more specific on (i.e. Calvinism, Eschatology, Creationism, women in ministry, church government, faith and politics, etc…), in fact, I could, but I don’t think these “lesser issues” are items to be divided over. Not only that, I’m open to changing my opinion on many of these sub-issues.
My only “creed” is the Bible. That’s why I like the BF&M. It’s not designed to be a “prescriptive” creed telling Southern Baptists how they should believe, rather, it is a “descriptive” statement of the beliefs that describe what Southern Baptists have agreed on. It is a unifying statement on the clear teachings of Scripture. After all, if Southern Baptists can agree on it, it must be clear 🙂
I would describe myself as a “conservative-evangelical,” and I define that not by a set of beliefs, but in that I believe the Bible is “inerrant.” I try to avoid “-isms” and theological categorizations, but I understand they are, to some degree, unavoidable. The biggest problem with “titles” is that the terms usually mean something different to each person who who uses them.
So, I’m fine to define myself with regard to my relationship to the Bible, and beyond, I try to live by the wise words of the 17th century German Theologian Rupertus Meldenius: “in essentials unity, in nonessentials diversity, but in all things charity.”