What I Believe About Faith and Patriotism
“Now when it was reported to…our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and that no breach remained in it, although at that time I had not set up the doors in the gates, [they] sent a message to me, saying, ‘Come, let us meet together…’ But they were planning to harm me. So I sent messengers to them, saying, ‘I am doing a great work, and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?’” (Nehemiah 6:1-3)
As you can imagine, I receive criticism at times regarding my stand for truth. I have made it my policy to never “take the bait” and become distracted by my critics, nor do I defend myself against lies and dishonest criticism; they simply are not worth my time. As with one recent attack, most are nothing but half-truths, misrepresentations, out-of-context quotes, and blatant lies. DSM has always maintained true accountability, operated at the highest level of integrity, and will continue to do so.
However, since there are those who periodically try to misdefine and distort my beliefs, I have considered for a while sharing a post stating what I do and do not believe about the Bible, government, America’s founding, other faiths, etc. This is not written for critics but for those who follow me; you’ll never have to wonder where I stand on key issues. Obviously, there is not space here for lengthy explanations, only brief statements, and this list is not complete.
Statement of Faith
(I espouse the teachings and beliefs of the Federation of Ministers and Churches International, of which I am a member. This is led by my spiritual father, Jim Hodges, with whom I’ve walked for over 40 years. Their statement of beliefs is shared below.)
The Five Ministry Gifts of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12)
I believe all five ministry gifts Christ gave to the church - apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers - are to be used today and until Christ returns.
(Regarding apostles, some are critical of and include me in an imaginary organization, NAR, which is an acronym standing for New Apostolic Reformation. In reality, this is not an organization or even an organized group. It was a phrase coined by Dr. C. Peter Wagner to describe what he believed would be the result of Holy Spirit’s restoration of apostles in the church. The true apostolic movement is led by no man, has no formal membership, and is not humanly organized in any way. However, may Dr. Wagner’s prediction prove true!)
I believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God and must be the final authority for ALL of life. In other words, I maintain a biblical worldview. The Bible defines God, life, humans, marriage, righteousness, morality, sin, the way to experience a relationship with God, and more. (For more on this, see the FMCI Statement of Faith at the end of today’s post.)
I believe that when Christ spoke of building His church (ekklesia) in Matthew 16:18-19, He was referring not to buildings, organizations, synagogues/congregations, or worship gatherings; He was referring to an Ekklesia, as the word was used in His day and culture: a legislative, governing body of people. Therefore, I believe the church is to govern spiritually through spiritual authority delegated by Christ. This spiritual governance dethrones/immobilizes satanic forces and frees the hearts and minds of people to understand and follow God‘s principles. I do NOT believe the church is to dictate naturally through force, coercion, or violence. Our weapons and warfare are spiritual, not physical, and violence should never be condoned, except to protect innocent people and in times of war.
I believe the church is also called to not only evangelize (Mark 16:15-18) but to disciple individuals and nations to Christ’s ways and principles (Matthew 28:18-19). (For more on this, see FMCI’s Statement of Faith below.)
I believe people of other faiths (that do not espouse violence, physical, mental, and emotional abuse, and follow the laws of America) have a right to exist in our nation and worship freely. They should never be harmed or treated prejudicially. However, I also believe Jesus Christ is the only way to experience salvation and a relationship with God as Father. Therefore, it is our responsibility/duty to peacefully evangelize unbelievers, according to Mark 16:15-18.
America’s Founding and Purpose
I believe America was founded on Judeo-Christian, biblical principles, and that these standards should be maintained. I believe God initiated the birth of America and did so for the purpose of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation. I believe this purpose is still valid and will be accomplished.
The Separation of Church and State
The phrase “separation of church and state” is not in America‘s Constitution. Our Founders were wise and careful to establish a Constitution that would not allow America to have a state religion, nor be ruled by one religious group. However, knowing that Jesus Christ is Creator and Lord over all the earth, they did so while also acknowledging God‘s sovereignty and imploring His continuous wisdom, protection, provision, and involvement.
I believe patriotism (“espousing the beliefs and vision of a father/s”) is appropriate and can be embraced without inappropriate emphases regarding one's nationality or birthplace.
(Christian Nationalism is a phrase sometimes used to intimidate Christian patriots who become active governmentally. “Nationalism” is a word defined in dictionaries by both positive and negative definitions, most of them actually being positive, such as “loyalty or devotion to one's country; patriotism.” Negative meanings of the word generally speak of excessive or irrational patriotism, at the exclusion of other people and nations. Therefore, Christian Nationalism can be arrogant exclusivism on the part of Christians, or it can simply be born-again patriots. Since it can be defined both ways, it has become a meaningless phrase, used by deceptive and dishonest individuals to make ignorant, confusing, self-serving, and inaccurate accusations. Therefore, I reject the label.
Biblically-based Christians and patriots understand that God loves all people and nations equally. Jesus died for the entire world. Though I believe He raised up America for world evangelization, as mentioned above, I do not believe this is an exclusive calling; all believers are called to this purpose.)
I believe both faith and patriotism demand prayer for and involvement in government, at whatever level a nation allows. The freedoms we enjoy in America make it irresponsible to not be diligently involved in governmental policies and elections.
We want to remind everyone about the September 12 deadline regarding Title Nine submissions. For more information regarding this, I refer you to our August 24th post entitled One of the Most Egregious Governmental Actions Yet. It’s important that we respond.
Pray with me:
Father, You told us that there would be persecution and false accusations as we represent You. You taught us to love, forgive, and pray for our enemies. We do so now, asking for their salvation. We know that our battle is with spiritual forces, not people. We continue to ask You for the exposure of evil in our nation, and the turning of America back to You.
We also continue to pray against the assault on our children. We ask that they be delivered from indoctrination regarding their gender, and from evil attempts to transform their bodies. We stand in faith that You are sending a powerful revival that will break all confusion off of them, transform our schools, and bring millions into Your family. Please motivate many to respond to Congress before September 12 regarding the redefining of Title 9.
Finally, we ask for the turning of America back to You through a great spiritual awakening. And we ask for a worldwide revival, nothing less than a billion soul harvest. All of this we ask for in Christ’s mighty name. Amen.
We declare that no weapon formed against us will prosper, and every tongue that rises against us in judgment will be condemned.
FMCI’s Statement of Faith
SECTION 1: THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
The Bible is the very word of God; it is inerrant, infallible. inspired, and the final revelation of God to man.
Both the Old and New Testaments have been inspired by God through plenary and verbal inspiration, thus securing for man an infallible record of truth.
The Bible is fully authoritative providing the terms by which all the created universe must be interpreted, granting man an infallible rule of faith and practice, and revealing God’s will to man.
The Bible has, by God’s providential care, been kept pure in all ages.
Note: For a fuller expression of our faith in the Bible, we recommend and affirm the following document: The Chicago Statement On Biblical Inerrancy. This is available from the Federation.
SECTION 2: THE DOCTRINE OF GOD
There is only one living and true God, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, Who is self-existent, eternal, supreme, incomprehensible, almighty. God is Spirit in Whom all divine attributes or perfections inhere and from Whom they cannot be separated.
God’s attributes are both incommunicable and communicable. These incommunicable attributes, of which man cannot partake and which emphasize God’s transcendence, are the independence or aseity* of God (God is sufficient unto Himself, dependent upon nothing besides His own being); the immutability of God (God does not and cannot change); the infinity of God (in relation to time, God is eternal, in relation to space, God is omnipresent); and the unity of God (God is singularly one and in no sense composed of parts or aspects that existed prior to Himself).
The communicable attributes of God stress God’s immanence. God is light; God’s knowledge of Himself is self-contained, self-referential, and absolute. God is holy, internally and externally perfect. God is sovereign, omnipotent, working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and righteous will.
God exists as a tri-personality, the Trinity, co-substantial without subordination, co-eternal, and co-equal; three distinct persons in unity whose diversity and unity are underived.
SECTION 3: THE DOCTRINE OF MAN
Man is created in God’s image, originally with moral attributes of true knowledge, true righteousness, and true holiness while, at the same time, possessing none of God’s incommunicable attributes. Man is like God, but on a creaturely scale. God is infinite, and man is finite.
Man was created from the earth to have dominion over the earth. As a prophet, man was to interpret the world; as a priest, man was to guard the world and consecrate it to God’s glory; and as a king, man was to rule over the world as God’s vice-regent.
As a creature, man was to live in accordance with the laws which God had placed in His creation, being both responsible and accountable to God. Adam and Eve, being tempted by Satan, sought to interpret the universe without reference to God. By this sin, they fell from their original communion with God.
Defiled in all parts and faculties, man now inherits the guilt of sin, the corrupted nature, and the death of sin which passed to all Adam’s posterity.
SECTION 4: THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST
Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, the second person in the Trinity (Godhead), existing from all eternity with the Father, fully equal with the Father; Who in the incarnation assumed a human nature. In Christ, the human and divine natures are so related that they are two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation. (Creed of Chalcedon).
God, in His eternal purpose, chose His Son to be the mediator between God and man. Christ, as true Prophet, did reveal to man the will and word of God; as true Priest, did reconcile this world unto God by offering up Himself as the propitiatory sacrifice; and, as true King, did subdue, restrain, and conquer His people and all His enemies.
Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, was made under the law, did perfectly fulfill the law, suffered, was crucified, and died. He was buried, yet saw no corruption; and on the third day, He arose from the dead. He ascended into heaven where He lives to make intercession and from where He rules from the throne of David until all His enemies are made His footstool.
SECTION 5: THE DOCTRINE OF SALVATION
By his fall, Adam not only corrupted himself and all his posterity, but also made necessary the infliction of the prescribed penalty of death. Man was morally polluted, guilty, and incapable of paying the incurred debt.
God chose to accept the unmerited sufferings of Christ as just equivalent for the suffering due to sinners. Jesus, discharging the penalty due man through His vicarious suffering and death, has fully satisfied the justice of His Father and has purchased reconciliation and an everlasting inheritance for His people.
Jesus restores man to holiness and life through His perfect obedience; the merits of Christ’s obedience are imputed to His people as their righteousness.
Salvation is by grace; is wholly the gift of God received by faith. Good works are not meritorious ground but rather the fruit and proof of salvation.
Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, Who proceeded from the Father and The Son and Who is co-equal with the Father and The Son, does apply to us the redemption Christ purchased for us. The Spirit, working conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and revealing the person and work of Jesus Christ, is the Agent of regeneration, sanctification, and preservation.
SECTION 6: THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH
The universal church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of God’s people, from all ages, gathered into one body under Christ’s headship.
Endued with the power of the Holy Spirit, and commissioned to make disciples of all nations (ethnic groupings), the Church, God’s holy nation, is the steward of the Kingdom of God, proclaiming the Word, administering the sacraments (baptism and communion), and exercising discipline in terms of the Scripture.
The local church, which is also the body of Christ, is called to represent and embody God’s will and purpose in a community and minister Christ’s life to all who will respond to the proclamation of the Kingdom of God.
SECTION 7: THE DOCTRINE OF LAST THINGS
God has appointed a day wherein He will judge all men by His Son and destroy the last enemy, i.e., death, at the return of His Son.
The Bible teaches an optimistic eschatology. We believe that the Triune God has reigned sovereignly as King of all creation throughout all time and that Jesus is the present King of kings and Lord of lords. We affirm that God’s active reign through Christ will increase until it is consummated at the actual, physical, and bodily second coming of Christ.
Millennial views will not be used as a test for orthodoxy.
SECTION 8: SOME DOCTRINAL EMPHASES AND DISTINCTIVES
We emphasize a covenantal approach to Biblical interpretation rather than a dispensational approach.
We affirm the validity of spiritual (charismatic) gifts continuing until the consummation of the age.
We believe that the Ascension gifts of Christ listed in Ephesians 4:11 continue until the church is glorified at the second coming. We also believe that these “Ascension Apostolic Teams” minister in, through, and beyond the local church.
We believe that the Kingdom of God is present and eternal. We affirm that the Kingdom has come definitively in the Christ-Event (His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension); we believe that the Kingdom is coming progressively in history (like leaven in the lump and seed growing in the ground); and we believe that the Kingdom will come consummatively at the return of Christ.
We believe marriage is between a man and a woman.
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