A Voice in the
February 27, 1999
Re: Statements of Faith
"but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason of the hope in you, with meekness and fear" (1Pt3:15)
Periodically people e-mail in to VW asking for a "Statement of Faith" of this ministry. Although I used to offer one years ago when I was doing itinerate concerts in churches, a conscious decision was made -not- to for VW. Recently someone asked about the statement at another e-ministry. There was concern because that statement did not address a particular issue this person was looking for, wondering if the omission indicated a "problem" in that area.
A 'statement' is only a -partial- indication of what some entity may believe. It might help in "pigeon-holing" people or organizations. Those who look for certain buzz-words can proclaim or judge based on the inclusion or omission of things like "KJV-only", immersion water-baptism, tongues, ultra-spiritual 'gifts', etc. Pick your topic of interest, you can proclaim it, or nit-pick for it in others.
Trouble is, for the ultra nit-picker, they will -never- find any other 'statement' to their liking, except their own. Like in a recent query, if a statement condemns the "laughing revival" movement, but doesn't proclaim that the "gifts have ceased" for today, is there concern that they might be "charismatic"? If they proclaim "water-baptism" but don't specify "immersion" are they in error? What about "inerrancy" if they don't include reams of paragraphs about "Textus Receptus"?
Some statements will merely be -proclamations-, and fit neatly on a single page. Others are voluminous, including every Scripture proof text and cross-reference imaginable. And yet, -somebody- will nit-pick or question -something- in them both...even though they may both be OK statements...as-far-as-they-go. And, you see, that is the crux. "As far as they go." The only way to have a totally accurate and -complete- statement is to post the -whole- of Scripture. That is the only way to be sure nothing is omitted.
[Ed: I guess, in -that- sense VW -does- post a "statement" in that we offer the complete text of the Bible online. If you want to know what I believe, read that.]
The Scriptures are "..profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work." (2Tm3:16-17)
Jesus did not have a "Statement of Faith." When He was on trial, the high priest tried to pigeon-hole Him by asking His "teaching" and He responds, "I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in the synagogue and in the temple, where the Jews always resort, and I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask Me? Ask those who heard me..behold, they know what I said." (Jn18:19-21) You see... Jesus was/is "the Word". (Jn1:1) He was the total embodiment of God (Heb1:3), His Word and doctrine. How does one pigeon-hole -that- with a mere "statement"?
Many desire a 'statement' out of legitimate concerns and interest. Others, typically of the legalist pharisee class, do so out of the desire to pigeon-hole and condemn. It has also often been the basis for persecution. This is the context in which Peter exhorts, "..if you also suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. And do not fear their fear, nor be troubled, but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready..." to proclaim what you believe; the "hope" within you.
Sanctify the Lord in your hearts...
Be pure and separated to the Lord. Let not their accusations against you be just. (1Pt3:16) Live holy lives.
Be ready to give an answer...
Witnessing does not always involve standing on a street corner on a soap box. As they see your holy life, that you are different, they come at you with questions. Be 'ready' for them. How is one ready? By being in God's Word. Is it humanly possible to memorize all 66 books? I really doubt it. But as we continually feed on Him, we "hide God's Word" in our hearts. (Ps119:11) I'm no "super-saint" but I can tell you that -often- in my morning reading the Lord will impress something upon me; a passage which, in turn, is -the- answer to some person's need, or reply to some question, or that missing piece in something being written at that moment. Often, that answer is given before I know what the question is -going-to- be. The Lord prepares His own in such a manner.
"..I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food" (Job23:12b -nkjv)