Sometimes a description of a heart-belief is more revealing than a Statement of Faith.
When I find a Christian website or blog that looks interesting I always try to ascertain what the author believes concerning key doctrines. Sometimes I find Statements of Faith, but these tend to be rather bland and impersonal. From time to time people ask me what I believe concerning Jesus, the Bible, and the Church, and, quite frankly, a full answer would take a book to describe. So instead, I want to rather share my heart with you concerning what I consider to be matters central to the Christian Faith. I will post further heart-beliefs in the weeks to come, in between the regular Revelation Revisited posts.
The Lord Jesus saved me from certain death when I was a ten month old baby and then as a thirty year old he gave me spiritual life as well. I am so grateful to him; he is truly my saviour. Now for the last thirty-eight years I have been slowly getting to know him and I am wonder-struck. His grace astounds me, his power amazes me and his persistent love overwhelms me. He is the focus of my preaching and my interpretive key to unlocking the meaning of scripture. He is my plum line, my yardstick, and my corner stone. His life prescribes my life and his words guide and instruct all of what I do and who I aspire to be.
The local church
I pastored a local church for 27 years and yet I am not its longest standing member. People have come and gone but many have remained for decades. We are an extended family but I have never been the patriarch, for the Lord Jesus fulfills that role. I truly love this local church that Jesus has built around himself. Its highest good is my chief concern and in a very real sense its wellbeing is my wellbeing. Like all families it has some troublesome members and moments, but the difficult bits are far outweighed by the regular glimpses of glory. When we meet together we are noisily happy to be with each other, but when we worship as one the family becomes a temple and joy transforms into awe. I feel privileged to be a part of something so eternal and so precious to the Lord Jesus – he shed his blood so that churches like this could exist. I love the local church for it is the fullness of him who fills everything in every way – Jesus.
From the day I was born again of the Spirit of God I acquired a hunger for the written Word of God, the Bible. I still find it fascinating. I accept its divine inspiration and authority and rejoice in its trustworthiness. I appreciate its absolute honesty and I am constantly encouraged by how transparently it records human frailty. However, what fascinates me about the Bible is that, whilst being divinely inspired, it is also an obviously human production. God did not compel men to write exactly what he wanted penned. Rather, he allowed specially chosen people into a working partnership and together they produced the Holy Scriptures, to God’s specifications. The result is not a theological textbook, or a divine dictionary. It is not a mystical recipe book for proving all things, nor is it a user’s manual for living. Rather, it is paper-and-print forum for encountering God and discerning his purpose and plans. It reveals his character and nature and it also contains his values, principles and priorities. Most of all, the Bible reveals Jesus, the living Word of God.