Approaches to Faith


Good Day. Please could you let me know what your belief structures are.

Kind Regards 

Response: Hello Ma’am! 

It’s great to hear from you. I am writing you from my phone so please excuse any typos I may overlook.

As to your question concerning our belief structure, that’s a very big topic. I guess I may not be completely clear as to what you’re exactly referring to. I don’t want to exhaust you by futilely trying to compile a list of everything I believe. It would be simpler to just point out that I believe the Bible in it’s entirety, that it is the inspired word of God. Since that kind of answer is probably not as specific as you’re looking for, and therefore would not be helpful, I’ll venture a more detailed explanation. 

Let me say first off that I don’t believe we have learned everything there is to know about God, the Scriptures or their truths. We are fallible and subject to mistakes just like everyone else. If we are sincere and determined in our efforts to pursue God, it is not because we think we’re better than others, but only because we personally feel so weak and inadequate without Him, and therefore are driven by the need to be as close to God as possible.

 I will try now to describe in general terms the basic overarching approach and thought structure in which my beliefs have context and meaning. 

 In scripture we find the truth saves people in two ways; imputation and impartation. Imputation occurs when someone, before they even know the specifics God will call them to obey, nonetheless believes God and begins to walk in all the truth they know. This is of course the story of the patriarch, Abraham. When he was still in Ur, still a wandering Aramaean, still failing and doing things that displeased God – even then, God’s righteousness was imputed (that is, credited) to Abraham because he was walking in faithful obedience to all the truth he then knew. This “imputation” is also a reality in the life of every sincere believer. When we’re doing our best and seeking with our whole hearts to obey God – even then all of us may be making mistakes or walking in some measure of error unknowingly. Yet God, will graciously credit to our account all that we DON’T know because of our faithful willingness to walk in all that we DO know. Again, this is called “imputation,” when God counts or credits our faith for righteousness. 

 Yet, impartation also occurs in a believers life. This happens when the revelation of truth is actually imparted to us. For example, Abraham learns that he should not call Sarah his sister, but his wife. He should not take Hagar as his wife, but believe and wait on the promises of God.  

Likewise, for all of us, imputation and impartation will be a reality in our walk with God. We will never know so much that we’ll no longer need God imputing his righteous character to us. Yet, throughout our relationship with God, he will progressively reveal more and more of his nature and truth to us. This is to say, he will progressively impart his Spirit, his love and grace and revelation to us that we can actually walk out and live in. So, our saving relationship with God is never a static thing but always an unfolding thing. As the apostle Paul put it, “the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith” and “the righteous man shall live by faith.” 

Ma’am, together with most evangelicals, we would understand that after the apostolic era, when the New Testament was written, the church fell into deep darkness. I’m referring to what is called “the Holy Roman Catholic Church.” Through this season, there were doubtless individuals whose error was in ignorance, and therefore God imputed to them —credited to them his righteousness, even though they walked in darkness. But the church, as a whole, lost the truth, the Spirit, the power and identity of Christ. In fact, it became – not the church at all – but merely an institution of man, of the world. 

In God’s gracious Providence, he sent reformers – people like Luther, Calvin and others. They began the process of restoration, the church’s journey out of deep darkness and back into the realized power and truth of the New Testament church. And yet, we would agree with the founding minister of the Baptist Church – Roger Williams – that the church would not be restored to its original reality until the spirit was poured out and the New Testament apostolic gifts were present among God’s people again. 

Around the same time as Martin Luther, there was another group of reformers. They saw that the church was not supposed to be married to the state, nor was it merely supposed to “reform” itself. Rather, this group – called the Anabaptists – believed that the church was supposed to be completely restored. They called themselves restorationists. Because they would not align themselves with any state or civil government, they became the targets of the other so-called “reformers”. They were persecuted and slaughtered in mass. Every Anabaptist minister in Germany was killed in the 1500s. And yet, historians tell us they were the only group that never resorted to violence or persecuted their fellow Christians throughout history. 

From this group – the Anabaptists – sprang the Mennonites, the Brethren and certainly the early Baptist shared these same Anabaptist roots. Our church also traces its roots to the early Anabaptists, as well as early Methodist movement.  

As a fellowship, we have people from every conceivable background – Catholic, Jewish, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Methodist, Mennonite, Baptist, Pentecostal and pretty much anything else you could name. And yet, as I’m sure you probably agree, Ma’am, the modern church of today is in dire straits. Though in many countries it is no longer persecuted so much from without, instead it is ravaged from within. In the church we see the rapid dissolution of every institution that separated the church from the world. We also see a loss of unity, a loss of power and certainly, a loss of truth. If the modern conventional church were a shining beacon of success, we might feel more worried when people pointed out how different we were. However, if conventional Christendom is losing every major battle it faces and it’s spiritual “house” is being left to it desolate, then we believe it is necessary and wonderful that God would call out a people for himself, uncompromising and united in their efforts to restore and realize the fullness of Christ’s body on the earth. 

The apostle Paul tells us that in our day Christians would hold to certain forms of godliness, even while denying the power that once filled those forms. We see this on every front. “Forms” that once defined the church, such as baptism and rebirth, communion, discipling relationships, marriages and so on–though these may still exist in name only, they have lost all their significance and power, so as to become largely meaningless except as rituals. It has been our desire to earnestly seek God that he might show us the original meaning and significance behind these forms that have lost their power. When something becomes merely a ritual, it is not useful for changing one’s life or conforming one to the image of Christ, but only for reaffirming our self-righteousness in our own eyes.  

Again, we respect the fact that we and many others operated in these old forms, in good faith. In this state, though we didn’t know what real baptism was, God imputed it to us because our error was in ignorance. He may have imputed so much and for that we are forever grateful. Yet, in this day and age when sin abounds so much, grace must much more abound still. We have got to rediscover the REALITY and substance to the things we’ve believed in name only.  

It is scary to contemplate that there may be changes God wants us to make, truth he may want to yet reveal to us or errors in belief he may want to make right. The risk of this path is only worth taking if we come to the conviction within ourselves that going with the flow, and all its failure, is absolutely not an option for us anymore. All of us are at different places on the path. All of us are in need of God’s gracious imputation, even while we’re seeking for His truth to actually be revealed and imparted to us. All of us are imperfect and make mistakes. But we cannot hide behind our rituals in our effort to avoid the risks of the true walk of faith and a vulnerable relationship with God. What will unite us is if we are 100% determined to set aside our defenses and seek after the truth of God until we be restored, until the church be restored. We will do it for our own soul sake, for the sake of our children, and for the sake of posterity, that God may still have a church of power on the earth, in the trying days of the future. 

Ma’am, I sincerely hope I have not become too complex or long-winded in this explanation. I have attempted here, not to catalog every belief I hold dear, but, in your words, to explain the broader understanding and “structures” in which our beliefs have meaning. 

We have been so blessed and grateful to have met you all and to consider you as dear brothers and sisters in Christ. It seems you are following the call of God to seek after more of His light and power in your fellowship. We know this is a trying and precarious path. We pray for you all daily. If there’s anything specific we can pray for or help with, please don’t hesitate to ask. Also, if there is any specific topic of belief that you’re interested in, please give me a chance to elaborate further.

I pray this letter may be in some small part useful to your inquiry and understanding about us, or at least the beginning of an unfolding conversation. 

Your brother

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