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It's always helpful to know the point of view of those we converse with in the Church. It either promotes understanding, or else it confirms our suspicions. Either way, we're better able to control our urge to convert others to our point of view: "Oh, he's one of those." So in keeping with our desire for peace if not unity, I embrace the five solas of the Reformation:

We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, for the glory of God alone, standing on Scripture alone.

I'm a reformed theologian. More than that, I'm a covenant theologian, not a dispensationalist. There's a difference. I subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith with few reservations (there is no biblical support for baptism and communion being administered only by a "lawfully ordained Minister of the Word"). I'm a systematic theologian. I use biblical theology (the context of the parts) to further my understanding of the whole. It would be  wrong to force Scripture into a system, and yet God's message of grace is completely logical and consistent; it is systematic. But the "system" is determined by Scripture, not the other way around.

I'm an amillennialist. I gladly recommend William Hendriksen's excellent work, More than Conquerors, as a reasonable explication of the book of Revelation. Even better is the Triumph of the Lamb, by Dennis E. Johnson.

I believe that the bible is the inerrant word of God in its original autographs, and it is the final source of authority in faith and practice. As such, I affirm the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. I also affirm the Chicago Statements on Biblical Hermeneutics and Biblical Application.

I believe that baptism is an outward sign of an inward change, a public demonstration of our identification with Christ. It acknowledges and confirms our covenant relationship with God. It does not save or cleanse. Christ does that. Therefore, whether the sign is given by dunking or sprinkling, it serves its purpose.  

I believe that I cannot truly know Christ apart from actively participating in a local church body, living life together. How can we love one another if we don't associate with each other in a gracious, loving, and ongoing relationship?

I am a firm believer in local ordination for elders. The laying on of hands in that regard is taking responsibility for what has been taught to the one being ordained; it carries with it the obligation to call that person to account should he depart from what was taught to him. Those who start a ministry ought to submit to the oversight of a local church body, and the local church body ought to be willing to oversee that ministry.

But that's me...

William H. Gross

 

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