The gospel of Jesus Christ is, in one sentence, the good news that although we have rebelled against the God who made us in His image and thus deserve his just judgment and condemnation, in his mercy God has worked in human history to provide salvation through Jesus Christ, who died a substitutionary death on the cross and then rose from the dead, providing forgiveness, reconciliation to God, and eternal life for all who would repent of their sin and believe in Him. This gospel is my deepest identity and hope, and the ground for my fellowship with other Christians.
I affirm the early ecumenical councils, the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds, and the fundamental tenets of the orthodox Christian faith that are, to quote C.S. Lewis, “common to nearly all Christians at all times” (his definition of mere Christianity). The reformed stream of the 16th century Protestant reformation is also a part of my theological heritage and identity. I affirm the five solas of the Reformation, God’s sovereign initiative in salvation, a covenantal approach to Scripture, and God’s kingly rule over all of creation. I am also an evangelical. That is to say, my roots are in that tradition that defines itself in opposition to liberalism on the one side and fundamentalism on the other, and I affirm doctrines like the divine authority of Scripture, the necessity of new birth and conversion, and the centrality of Christ and his death and resurrection.
The seven C’s
Further theological distinctives would include what I call the “seven C’s.” These are less important than what is above, but still important (some more than others). They are not the only other theological convictions that I have, but I list them because they are all things I’ve had to wrestle my way towards with struggle and study, and because they make a difference in my own walk with Christ and in my partnership with other evangelicals.
(1) Calvinism. I affirm that God is sovereign from first to last in salvation, and that his sovereignty does not nullify, but rather is the ground of, human responsibility.
(2) Complementarianism. I believe God created men and women with equal dignity and worth as they together bear His image, but with different roles in the church and home. Specifically, I believe the office of elder (pastor/overseer/bishop) should be for men. For a brief statement as to why I’m complementarian, see here; for an appeal to a winsome and gracious complementarianism, see here.
(3) Continuationism. I affirm all of the spiritual gifts listed in the New Testament for the current ministry of the church. For how continuationism fits together with reformed theology, see here. For how it fits with the cessation of apostles, see here.
(4) Credo-baptism. I believe that only those who make a credible profession of faith in Christ should be baptized. See a brief statement as to why I changed my mind on this issue, see here.
(5) Congregationalism. I believe that the highest court of appeal for authority in a local church on issues of doctrine, dispute, discipline, and membership should be the membership of that church under the leadership of a plurality of qualified elders.
(6) Covenantal eschatology. I believe in the organic unity of Scripture as the story of God’s one great plan to redeem his fallen creation, with the church as the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel. Within this more general framework, I affirm amillennialism and partial preterism.
(7) Creationism (old-earth). I affirm God’s creative activity throughout history and a historical Adam and Eve. For brief responses to young-earth creationism, see here and here. On pre-human natural evil, see here. On Noah’s flood, see here.