foreword to the tenets
Throughout history man has attempted and continues to attempt to find an answer to the manner in which believers are to grow in their faith. These solutions have ranged from more “church” attendance to practicing the all too common four spiritual laws, or so they are called. There are without question certain absolutes that without we would make little headway in our walk with the Lord. These would include some of the above, but just because we are willing to pray, meet with other believers, read the Bible and witness to others is not a guarantee of growth. Neither is a return to a New Testament style of gathering and fellowship. True growth as our Father desires must come by faith. It is not a mere belief in God but rather faith resting in and upon the specific truths of the Bible (those things that encompass Christ’s finished work) that allow the Holy Spirit to manifest to us the life of Christ in our lives. In this manner trying is exchanged for trust as He works and wills according to His own good pleasure. God alone brings the increase.
Many well intentioned believers have attempted to emphasize a specific aspect of truth in the Bible as the crux of how to live the Christian life. Sometimes the emphasis is upon one of the tenets we’ve listed (ie; Justification by Faith), other times an emphasis is placed upon certain supernatural gifts (speaking in tongues) or having a particular experience (what has been termed “baptism in the Holy Spirit). There are many problems associated with emphasizing a specific thing as the means of true growth, despite how good it might apparently seem in doing so. Here are just a few:
That particular thing (truth, practice or experience) becomes a rallying point thus overshadowing the true object of our affection- Christ. The result is often idolatry.
Those accepting the above emphasis become separated from other believers due to emphasizing something in particular. They find themselves predominately fellowshipping with those who believe or practice like things.
The emphasis becomes a methodology. It becomes “the way” in which believers should act, walk, pray, believe etc.
The emphasis becomes an end in itself. Once we’ve arrived, now what?
The emphasis separates believers into classes much like “clergy” and “laity,” but it’s usually “haves” and “have not’s.”
Faith, the very thing that God is after and pleases Him is now directed away from His promises and placed in and upon mans solutions (their ministries, their gifts, their doings).
As if the above isn’t distracting enough, there is never an end to those who think Christianity has to be changed to meet the needs of those in our day and age. Not willing to rest upon the sufficiency of God’s Word alone and relying upon God the Holy Spirit for power, these folks are constantly attempting to alter the way they reach out to saints and sinners alike. Instead of a simple emphasis on how to change the individual as above, these people are entirely attempting to revolutionize the entire Church and the manner it reaches out to their communities and in some cases the world. A few of the relatively recent trends in attempting to renew the Church are:
Latter rain movement
Church growth movement
Mega churches with their programs
Kansas City prophets
Word faith/health and wealth gospel
House church movement
Purpose Driven paradigm
A few of the older trends men are still trying to employ these days to renew the Church as a whole:
Erecting so-called Christian empires around individuals. No matter how big or popular or rich these people get, they keep asking you for more. Maybe when their tower reaches heaven we can forget all this other stuff and just climb our way to justification.
Producing untold items in print and audio of their great spiritual works and wisdom. Almost every one of these so-called leaders are still promoting the false unbiblical concept of “church” that is nowhere found in the Scriptures. I guess were not quite getting our monies worth of wisdom after all are we? Surely not in their version of what they call the Bible.
Becoming so like the world and its citizens that everybody alive wants to be a Christian- or at least like the new and improved kind.
I find it interesting that every one of the above efforts has entirely failed to accomplish what the founders of them had originally anticipated would happen. In fact, the sum total of all of the above is something like:
1) Many of the above pursuits and people have been proven heretical.
2) Hundreds of self proclaimed apostles and prophets.
3) They each have created “superstar” Christians- I guess being a professional Christian or minister isn’t good enough anymore.
4) The average professing believer having basically no ability to discern what is true or false according to Scripture.
5) Over 50% divorce rate among “church” goers.
6) Many if not most “churches” catering to sinners not saints.
7) Sectarianism and disunity is rampant among believers.
8 ) Almost 90% of church going teens abandoning Christ.
Add to the above the original six things listed and one thing should be plain obvious- all of mans efforts to renew individual Christians or the Church at large fail! You would think that men would eventually give up and finally accept the fact that only God can build His Ekklesia and that as a result of what he builds these other secondary issues would be resolved. Despite God promising that very thing, men ignore His words and promise, clenches his fist at heaven and redoubles his determination to do it his own way in rebellion.
What is common among all of mans efforts to change Christians or the Church? Answer: The solution is ALWAYS placed upon what man “does” instead of what God has “done.” That is why man can never come to “A” solution. If he could he would not have to start another ministry, build another church, start another revival, schedule another conference, or come up with ingenious ways in which to “do” ministry. This is getting far, far beyond old is it not?
Christianity has never been about what we do for Him but what He did for us- that is what makes the difference. In this manner our focus remains upon Christ and His grace working in me- not I but the grace of God in me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)
It is true that the following tenets could be considered a model of sorts but they are more importantly the Biblical revelation of Jesus Christ’s finished work. Focusing upon Biblical truth, indeed all Scripture is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness that the man of God might be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). This truth excludes nothing…the Word of God is adequate to reach others, build up the body and bring God’s purposes to fruition. No gimmicks, worldly methods, marketing tools or any other “thing” is necessary…God’s Word and grace are sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9) I either believe this or I don’t. There is no middle ground! I strongly suggest you relinquish your own efforts and return to Christ’s sufficiency!
It is true that the following tenets (beliefs) are merely a few of the many Biblical truths in the Scriptures. We believe that those listed are the primary truths for both the beginning stages of a Christian’s life as well as those necessary to lead them unto maturity. The order of the tenets may be helpful but not absolutely necessary. God teaches individuals in His own way, though the order seems beneficial for those seeking stability in their faith.
It is certainly not necessary to understand all spiritual truth to be a Christian, nor is it likely that all who participate in ministry will be led in the same fashion. The tenets are a guide to understanding truth and not the only means to grow as a Christian. We have as we believe to have been led, to document and highlight necessary growth truths that aid believers in their spiritual journey. We do believe a lack of understanding and appropriating any of the Biblical truths listed within the tenets will likely leave a believer lacking what they need to grow up into all aspects unto Him.
We believe that all Biblical truth is first apprehended intellectually and afterwards must be appropriated by faith in each individual Christian. The more an individual understands a truth, the more they will realize the necessity to embrace it by faith and as a result the more powerful the impact will be in their experience. The only possible delay is the time period Our Father chooses to work His truth into our lives and the methods he uses in doing so. Obviously this will vary from person to person as He sees and knows what is best for us.
Our Father has promised to start and bring to completion His spiritual development in our lives. We must be honest with ourselves as He takes us into and through this process. There is a dramatic difference between knowing certain truths and allowing those truths to take hold of us. The Holy Spirit desires to teach and impart truth but only as we take God at His Word. It is never those who in earnest after a “perfect” Christian life who overstate their personal claim to holiness in immaturity who God rejects, but those who refused to believe the plain declarations of Scripture who fell in their own wilderness of stubbornness and unbelief. It is our part as those who would join the ranks of those in the book of Hebrews to believe, and God’s part to bring about inward change that will lead to ever increasing changes in our outward behavior. God acts first as always, but we must cooperate with Him.