What We Believe

We are Trinitarian, Christ-centered, new covenant, and “radical” grace-based in our beliefs, convictions, and emphases. We believe in the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed. We believe articles of faith that go beyond these are counterproductive to unity. Articles of faith are too often code for:

  • Why we are better and smarter than everyone else.
  • Why everyone else is wrong.
  • Why we can’t get along with anyone else.

They are also often used to “score one another,” to look for “chinks in the armor” of another. We are not interested in entertaining that spirit.

We also believe that if our belief systems do not transform our relationships and interactions with God, one-another (the family of God) and humanity, those belief systems while perhaps orthodox in creed, are in the end . . . useless, vain.

I have found that doctrinal conformity does not ensure love, respect, and mutual service and it will never be enough to keep brothers together when things get tough. Only love is the cement of perfection/maturity, not doctrinal conformity. I walk in rich relationships with many brothers and sisters within Protestantism with whom I have very little in common doctrinally. I also have rich relationships with Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic brothers and sisters.

I think the whole “articles of faith” idea is a left-over relic of Reformation thinking and modalities based on argument and counter-argument over who was the”rightest,” rather than manifesting the life of Christ and loving each other well (Something in which the Reformers failed miserably.). I think “articles of faith” is a concept that has out-lived its usefulness. Depending on the source data which one wants to refer, there are between 33,000-41,000 known Protestant denominations, each with their own “articles of faith.” That is not good fruit. Frankly, I am not interested in playing on that field.

It is not that other issues beyond what I have mentioned here are not important. They are. They just should not define the bandwidth of our love and relationship. We each get to walk in the light of our conscience in “lesser things” while maintaining the bond of peace in the greater things. We are free to disagree on many lesser things.

We believe that “Jesus is Lord”-raised from the dead, the authority of the scripture as the revealer of Jesus Christ, and the reality of the ministry of the Spirit, are the irreducible minimum of Truth-based koinonia. We believe in keeping the Person and work of Jesus Christ central to all we say or do. We  believe inordinate emphasis upon interesting, valuable, but lesser themes, usually results in unnecessary division and fragmentation of the body of Christ.  There is no shortage of opportunity for speculation and argumentation for “Christians”  who want to argue “the Bible.” We are not inclined to do so.

We endeavor to be inclusive and irenic in our interactions with other believers. We agree with the Westminster divines who said:

  • In essentials conformity
  • In non-essentials liberty
  • And in all things, charity (love/kindness/goodwill)

If what I have said here is not good enough for you, does not satisfy you as to my “orthodoxy,” or does not meet your approval for doctrinal purity, if I am not “evangelical” enough for you, or “conservative” enough for you, well, we are probably not meant for each other. Go in peace.

 

20 comments on “What We Believe

  1. Dear Stephen,

    I would appreciate a copy of your statement of faith. Like you, I am “Trinitarian, Christ-centered, new covenant, ‘finished-work.'” I would like to think that we mean the same thing when using the language of “radical grace-based in our beliefs, convictions, and emphases.”

    From what I’ve read on your site, I believe we are probably walking in the same direction and on the same path.

    Thank you for considering my request.
    Chris

    “Wheresoever this Doctrine of grace is received and retained in the love and power of it, it works these five things in the soul, viz. Faith, Love, Fear, Willingness and Chearfulness, and from these five things, as from five Springs, doth all obedience arise.” Robert Purnell, A Little Cabinet, (1657)

  2. Steve:

    After following your blog for about a year (h/t to Vince Coakley), I would like to know more about your statement of faith, views o church polity and thoughts about including “outsiders” in the family. I’m looking forward to learning more about your view of these and other issues that tend to separate believers who are brothers and sisters in Christ.

  3. Dr. Crosby, I was listening to fire on your head where I was introduced to this site. I am living in China where we started an international church where about 100 travel on buses from the University to where we have a free conference room in a hotel to gather and worship (church) Okay…………but only about 12 people attending church live where the hotel is (most leaders) and we have a hard time to know and love the people who travel to church by the rented buses. Most people are from Africa or Indonesia who come. How can we love them……We sit next to each other and worship and listen to the sermon then have lunch together and talk for a few minutes but…………we don’t really know or love them. They live about one hour away. Why don’t we move the church? Because the Government of C won’t let us. How can we stimulate love…? I would like to have a love meeting every couple of months….where we sing songs, short message and spend time doing games and activities together but “that isn’t church”. Thanks for any help. Karen “Dancing with the Father in China”

    • Hello Karen, thank you for a thoughtful post and inquiry. Anything I would say herein, is just my thoughts for you. God forbid I would come across with “answers” for you in what is clearly a unique and challenging situation in which I have no real life experience. With that caveat, here is my offering:

      You are indeed facing unique political and cultural challenges that are deep. I would suggest trying to shift from a meeting-sermon-worship centered focus to a something more conducive to what you are asking. I thought the spirit of the Lord said to me a while back, that I had been doing things backwards, by focusing on “meetings” and “teachings” with a “worship experience. If being rooted and ground in love is the foundation, with Jesus the cornerstone, I need to focus on love, not layers of Bible information every week. even in the natural, our bodies have to digest food to be able to metabolize content for benefit. If we ate, and ate, and ate, without metabolic processing, we would kill ourselves. In the spirit it is the same, just gathering for more information, week, after week, after week, does not even give people time to process and apply what they heard last week. Most people can;t even remember what was preached at them the previous week, and we are “on to the next lesson/sermon”, etc.

      The spirit of the Lord said this to me:
      1. Invite them to your table (share a meal), NOT, invite them to your meeting.
      2. Invite them into your heart, NOT to experience a sermon.
      3. Let life and love, and the establishment of a bond of love DEMAND a meeting.

      We do meetings trying to produce life and love. Meetings should be the overflow demand of life and love.

      In a university atmosphere, and in that particular culture, even among the international students, there will be strong pressure toward a spirit of intellectualism and philosophy. If you are not careful, in trying to serve and facilitate these folks, you will be playing into these spirits that are not of God. Thinking we are “standing for Jesus and preaching the gospel,” we become “information disseminators” and NO BOND OF LOVE ever occurs, but the “attraction” of “New information” keeps them coming.

      What if you went to them instead of them coming to you? think of the impact it could have on folks. You go to THEIR homes or dorms, or whatever. You do meals with them. You sit across the table with them. You listen to THEIR story FIRST before you tell them the story you are carrying from God. You identify with them. You enter into their world, you feel their pains and anxieties. You allow your heart to be knit to theirs over a meal and over time, and THEN you unfold the gospel to them in incarnate life and power rather than “meeting and lecture” with some “singing.”

      You see, just having dinner with a couple of friends also avoids all the problems with the government. So much of our woes are self-inflicted by the modalities of operation we choose to do ministry by. Well, if “meetings” are a problem, who says we have to do meetings. I mean, “Come down Nicodemus, this day I am going to eat at your house,” doesn’t require a hotel and a meeting room. It requires love and sacrifice, and since in our culture and your culture, simply sharing a meal with someone will not get government attention . . . why not go the easy route? And the route that stands a chance of letting love develop.

      What I am suggesting is SLOW, not easy. But real love does not require reciprocation. It is nice when it happens, but god’s love does not require anyone to “come to our meetings”, etc. in order to be loved. What if you invested in people one on one, for a long, long time, and NEVER had a meeting per se, would you be satisfied with that? I think you need to be. Love means investing into people ONE heart at a time instead of spending so much time, money and human resource on doing “meetings” that in your own admission, are not producing desirable kingdom outcome. doing what I am recommending will not gain you an acclaim or favor with those who value “Seats in the pews” and “cash in the treasury.” Since I do not know you personal circumstance, I do not know how you are operating. But if you are being measured or critiqued by these or “How many are coming to your meetings” . . . well, what I am saying to you will never produce those kinds of results.

      If the bond of love develops with a few and life and love are surging, impelling, the need to get together on a large scale, I would say . . . cross that brige when you get there, but in the mean time . . . establish the foundation FIRST . . . ROOTED and GROUNDED . . . in love.

      It is a slow and costly decision but it may produce love in relationship. It may produce bonds of affection that translate time and distance forever . . .

      Best Regards to you

      Steve C.

      • This was an awesome response … one that could be applied many places. And probably should be. Thanks.

    • Santi, recommending books is like recommending art and music. Tastes vary. It would come across as boasting to recommend my own material, but what else am I to do? The other articles on this blog would be very helpful, as many of the resources at http://www.stevecrosby.com, especially the Silent Killers of Faith and Authority, Accountability and the apostolic movement. These deal with New Covenant themes. I have a free sermon series on this blog that would be very helpful. There are other titles that might be helpful. Grace Works by Dudley Hall is a good beginners text.

  4. HI Steve….Do you believe in a Woman ‘pastoring’ Gods Ekklesia? your comments is always appreciated.

    God bless….Darryl

    • Hi Darryl, yes I do, but much hinges on definition of what a pastor is and what a church is. I do not believe in the standard western definition or expression of either term. A pastor is someone supernaturally endowed to be a carer of souls. Not someone administratively in charge of an organization. The gift of a pastor-teacher is one facet of the overflow of the spirit of Christ in resurrection, and there is no gender limit on that. We get all hung up on one verse from Paul, where he was dealing with a limited and local situation in one church, and we use terms like “pastor” and “church” and we think government and ruling instead of love and service. So, I have no problem with women pastoring. The problem is erroneous foundational definitions and expressions.

    • darryl – I would highly recommend the book “10 lies the church tells women”. A real eye-opener for my wife and I about this issue. Women have been silenced, oppressed, and relegated to the sidelines for too long.

  5. I really would love to have a detailed copy of the articles of faith, I would deeply appreciate it may The Lord Bless You.

    • Hello Willie, I only provide the detailed articles of faith to those with whom I have personal relationship. Why? Because I do not believe in defining and labeling people by their belief systems. What typically happens with “articles of faith,” is if someone sees a few points they don’t agree with, they become either points of argumentation, or dismissing a person as being worth knowing, or, breaking off whatever existing relationship exists. I believe that is part of the endemic sickness that we have been carrying in the body of Christ since the Reformation. I choose not to facilitate that spirit. However, if over the weeks and months we begin to develop a relationship and we get to know each other first as human beings, and secondly as who we each are in Christ, then I would be glad to share them. Other than that, what I have on the web page is all that matters to me.

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