Doctrinal Statement of Faith
The following statement of faith is what I, Colin Burgess, wholeheartedly affirm as a Christian. The following outlines the sine qua non articles of the Christian faith. In other words, without these components, one no longer is in possession of Christianity as their faith, but something else.
(SINE QUA NON = That which is NOT without).
1. There is only one God who is tri-personal, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit being distinct, divine persons.
2. Jesus Christ is truly God and truly human, the unique, sure, and sufficient revelation of the very being, character, and purposes of God, beside whom there is no other god, and beside whom there is no other name by which we must be saved.
3. The only ground for our acceptance by God is what Jesus Christ did on the cross and what he is now doing through his risen life, whereby he exposed and reversed the course of human sin and violence, died for our sins, redeemed us from the power of evil, reconciled us to God, and empowers us with his life “from above.” We therefore bring nothing to our salvation. We receive his redemption solely by grace through faith.
4. New life, given supernaturally through spiritual regeneration, is a necessity as well as a gift and that the lifelong conversion that results is the only pathway to a radically changed character and way of life. Thus the only sufficient power for a life of Christian faithfulness and moral integrity in this world is that of Christ’s resurrection and the power of the Holy Spirit.
5. Jesus’ own teaching and his attitude toward the total truthfulness and supreme authority of the Bible, God’s inspired Word, make the Scriptures our final rule for faith and practice.
6. Being disciples of Jesus means serving him as Lord in every sphere of our lives, secular as well as spiritual, public as well as private, in deeds as well as words, and in every moment of our days on earth, always reaching out as he did to those who are lost, as well as to the poor, the sick, the hungry, the oppressed, the socially despised, and being faithful stewards of creation and our fellow-creatures.
7. The blessed hope of the personal return of Jesus provides both strength and substance to what the Church is doing, just as what we are doing becomes a sign of the hope of where we are going; both together leading to a consummation of history and the fulfillment of an undying kingdom that comes only by the power of God.
8. All followers of Christ are called to know and love Christ through worship, love Christ’s family through fellowship, grow like Christ through discipleship, serve Christ by ministering to the needs of others in his name, and share Christ with those who do not yet know him, inviting people to the ends of the earth and to the end of time to join us as his disciples and followers of his way.
Articles 1-4 delineate what it means to be a Christian. Ones attitude towards Jesus Christ reflects the condition of their heart. It is therefore essential we acknowledge Him as Lord, and Saviour of our lives for there to be fellowship as Christians. Jesus simply did not leave it open to us to dismiss Him as a good teacher, but He had a self-understanding of Himself as being the unique Son of God when He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
Therefore one may dismiss Him as a liar, or a lunatic, but by doing so they exclude themselves from Christian fellowship. This motivates us to evangelism so that we may by the power of the Holy Spirit bring unbelievers into the community of faith.
It is essential for a healthy walk with Christ to deny any teaching that affirms all people are saved, and all religions are one. The condition of salvation is belief in the heart, and confession of the mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Romans 10:9). The nature of truth, which is ultimately found in Christ, is that there is one truth and the exclusive nature of truth disallows there to be a plurality of truths.
Article 5 affirms total Biblical inerrancy.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
– 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
Holding to Biblical inerrancy although not essential for ones salvation is necessary to promote growth as a Christian subsequent to the salvation event. A perfect God has given us a perfect word. While only the autographs (original manuscripts as written in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic) are inspired a perfect God would not allow His word to be distorted. Any error which we see in the text today is only because of our imperfect understanding, and this motivates us to study further God’s word so that we may learn to rightly divide the word of God. This comes by means of prayer, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
There are various Bible translations available. (NASB/KJV/NIV/ESV/NLT). These are all acceptable translations of the autographs.
One ought to reject other translations such as The New World Translation (NWT), and other alleged revelations such as the Book of Mormon, and the Qur’an. These are abominations, but may be useful for counter-cult studies.
Within the body of Christ there are many of us who differ on non-essential issues, therefore we ought to seek to be non-denominational. All are welcome (Baptist/Reformed/Pentecostal/Alliance). We all unite under the banner of the essential Christian doctrines for which the historic Christian church was martyred. Individual church teachings which are secondary issues (Eucharist, style of worship, eschatology, soteriology) are not how we identify ourselves as Christians, (Sine Qua Non) and may be debated vigorously within a healthy Christian setting for the purpose of coming to a conclusion of truth, or understanding, but must not cause division, or unnecessary quarrels.
Within each view we must acknowledge if taken to its far gone conclusion it can lead to heresy.
Therefore it is important we deny any teaching that says God is the author of evil, or does not know the future. Both are extreme, and equally heretical conclusions of two different views of soteriology.
There are various systematic theologies, philosophies, and creeds available for consumption, and study.
It is important to recognize these are not inspired documents, and that they play a ministerial role, and not a magisterial role in our understanding of scripture.
There are various beliefs regarding the age of the earth, and the understanding of the creation account in Genesis. All views are more than welcome. It is reasonable to say the more we learn about science the more we will learn about the God who created the nature we study. These differing views are beneficial to discuss within a healthy Christian setting so that we may arrive at a conclusion of truth, and better understanding.
It is therefore my goal as a lay-apologist to,
(i) Equip believers in understanding, and defending their faith.
(ii) Evangelize the lost.
(iii) Refute aberrant Christian teachings.
(iv) See Christ glorified as Lord until He returns.
In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity.
The apologetics mission statement, I aim to fulfill, by providing a meaningful definition for the word “Apologetics”.
Apologetics is the culmination of the various forms of epistemology(X), building into a cumulative case for a religion/worldview paradigm.
If the paradigm, in question, is true, X “belongs” to that religion and they are no longer brute facts, which exist independently of each other, but are concomitants of the paradigm being true.
Apologetics, then, is the utilization of science, history, mathematics, philosophy, and the apologist uses these forms of epistemology, not to defend their preferred paradigm but to defend truth. If the paradigm is a byproduct of these said truths, the apologist is left with truth, either way and they must be committed to it, no matter what and the resulting paradigm is the object of their defence.
In the interest of pursuing truth, the retention of embarrassing material is essential (In that evidence disfavourable to a hypothesis will be retained) and true propositions will be constructed, which correspond to the state of affairs.
* A “proposition” being a complex referential meaning, which affirms, or denies what a state of affairs obtains. Propositions exist, even if they are not thought about, or if no language (mathematical, or linguistic) is capable of expressing them. A proposition is true if, and only if, it corresponds to reality.
The locution “state of affairs” being any actual whole, which is governed by predication, or exemplification.
This position can be summarized as such:
Apologists are defenders of truth, concerning worldview/religion.
Various forms of epistemology(X) such as the sciences and philosophy, are utilized in an attempt to apprehend truth.
Therefore, apologetics is the defence /advocacy of truth, by utilization of X.