A Voice in the
"Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning the common salvation, it was necessary for me to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." (Judas 1:3)
Periodically people will e-mail, asking where (at the website) they can find VW's "statement of faith" or a posting of my "basis of beliefs". We've addressed this some time in the past ("Statements of Faith") why VW does not post one. 'Not going to re-address that now. But recently somebody asked the same question, and I sent them to the (above) link at the website; whereupon they replied with a few paragraphs they had written on the subject, and had submitted to some on-line chat forum. Apparently this was a 'hot' topic they were addressing at the moment. And in his reply, included the comment, speaking of...
"...a site that espoused the Essential Doctrines of the Historic Christian Faith (got that from Hank Hanegraaf, Bible Answer Man)..."
First of all, let me say that this commentary is NOT about the "Bible Answer Man". I don't know him, have only briefly scanned his site some time ago, and don't really even remember right now what I saw at his site back then. People do e-mail periodically, asking about 'this' or 'that' teaching he proclaims; and fortunately for this commentary, I don't now remember those questions. However, based on this little portion of a quote attributed to him, perhaps we may understand why so many questions arise from his teachings. This part that says...
"Essential Doctrines of the Historic Christian Faith"
The reason I say this is NOT 'about' the "Bible Answer Man" is because variations of this comment are said by -MANY- people today. This one little phrase likely is the primary definition of modern conservative theological thinking. It is likely the 'foundation' upon which seminaries are built, and the motivation for their existence. When any 'famous' teachers meet together to collectively make denominational decisions and statements, this little phrase is likely at the very core and underpinning of the mind-set that goes into those pronouncements.
OK... so... from that last paragraph, for you who have come to know me, are you getting a little hint that this phrase is about to be picked apart and trashed? Indeed! Let us address this phrase in two segments: the first two words, and then the last three.
First of all, what, pray tell, are the "essential" doctrines? We asked this not long ago in the 1Timothy series about the "wranglings of men", how man loves to take God's Word and dissect it, argue and 'dialogue' over it, agreeing on the so-called "basics", and "AGREEING-to-DISAGREE on the NON-ESSENTIALS".
If God proclaims that "-EVERY- Word of God is pure..." (Pr30:5) and that man lives "..by -EVERY- Word of God" (Lk4:4); who is it that has set themselves up as judges of -which- of those words (of which God said "every") is supposedly "non-essential"? Jesus proclaimed about God's Word: "For truly I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law till all is fulfilled." (Mt5:18) And Jesus did not give a 'list' of the so-called "important" laws, compared to the so-called "less-important" ones; in context, the less-important ones being, perhaps, "optional"? So, I guess if there are 'now' such lists, presumably the men who devised them have elevated themselves above even Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
I did say, "picked apart and trashed", didn't I! Are you ready for the next one? The so-called "Historic" faith.
Question: -WHICH- ONE/S...???
Calvinism? Armenianism? The edicts from Trent, from Nicea, from Worms? The Reformation doctrine called "sola-fide" (sans "repentance")? Once Saved Always Saved? KJ-onlyism? Baptismal Regeneration?
Traditions from Rome? Reformation? Mennonitism? Brethren? Anabaptist? Congregational? Presbyterian? Nazarene? Lutheranism?
"History" has many so-called "great men of God"; also called, "church fathers". Who are you going to follow? Luther? Calvin? Knox? Huss? Zwingli? Edwards? Tozer? Graham? Swindol? Tyndale? Sunday? MacArthur? Moody? And the list could go on endlessly...
"History" has produced many false doctrines. Sola Fide (sans repentance); "following the Lord in the waters of baptism (that is to say, "because Jesus was baptized, that's why we are, too"); Jesus' blood was shed for only 'some' people but not others (limited atonement); in the end 'all' will be restored/saved (ultimate restorationism); all are 'already' saved, they just need to be informed of that fact (universalism); all the end-time prophecies were already fulfilled in 70AD (preterism) and there will not be a "millennium"; etc.etc.
Is there any question as to 'why' there is such confusion? Is there any question as to 'why' people can't figure out 'what' to agree on? Their theologies and beliefs have the wrong foundation.
The Foundation that was laid is "Jesus Christ". (1Cor3:11) The Foundation is "..the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone.." (Eph2:20) "apostles and prophets"... another way of saying, "the Scriptures". (2Tim3:14-17)
If you are following a "Historic" faith, you are following the teachings of many men who, themselves, were not saved. If you call yourself a "protestant", its foundation was merely an offshoot of Rome. If you follow the "fathers" of the Reformation, understand that most of them retained most of Rome's traditions and rituals, and they persecuted God's elect (Jews), and the underground Church of Jesus Christ, just as Rome did. They were no-more-saved than the Roman papacy! They merely had a more-clever disguise, because they carried the 'perception' that they had rebelled against Rome. If you follow "Historic" faith, this is the legacy you inherit. -Which- 'history' would you choose to embrace?
In a nutshell, isn't that what Christians believe? Is that not a 'synopsis' of the Christian Faith?
What do you wish to see, a document listing one's beliefs as they stack up next to some perception of "historicity"? Or do you wish to see teaching from God's Word? when Jesus was grilled as to His 'doctrinal statement' He refused to give one. He said, "Why do you question Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Behold, they know what I said." (Jn18:21)