I believe what most mainline Christians believe, (I think); I just believe more stuff, or at least the possibility of more stuff, that many aren’t aware of or haven’t considered. But let me start with a statement St. Augustine said about 1600 years ago: “In essentials, unity. In nonessentials, liberty. In all things, charity.” This is my personal motto.
So what do I consider the essentials?
For starters, I believe everything in the National Association of Evangelicals Statement of Faith, with a few of my edits. Here they are:
- I believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God. I probably don’t understand it all correctly, but that issue is with me, not the Word of God.
- I believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- I believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
- I believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
- I believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
- I believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost on Judgment Day; those who are saved, experience the resurrection of life in heaven; those who are not saved by that time, will be destroyed. What happens before Judgment Day, is where my views may differ from some Christians. I think that before Judgment Day, those who are lost are initially sent to Hades/Sheol (the underworld, which contains varying degrees of torment). During that time, I think there might be an extended opportunity to repent. I certainly don’t recommend anyone TEST this theory! I only consider it as a possibility. As for any souls that remain unrepentant until Judgment Day, even in spite of this extended period of grace if there is an extended grace period, they will eventually be destroyed in the second death, in the lake of fire. Now there is a debate about the eternal torment aspect of hell, and I currently lean in favor of the view known as annihilationism. Here is a website with a very good analysis of this view: (http://www.creation-science-prophecy.com/hell.htm). I beleve there is room in the interpretation of the Greek and Hebrew to account for the view of annhilationism. Some of the arguments in favor of this view, are as follows: 1. Scriptures regarding the eternal nature of hell, (one example being Matthew 25:46), could be made with respect to the eternal permanence of destruction; it will never be undone. 2. Concerning the fire that is not quenched, that may be a reference to putting it out before it has done its job of destruction. 3. Concerning the “worm not dying,” worms only consume dead corpses, not living people. The worms will remain, until a complete destruction has run its course. 4. An eternal torment doesn’t strike me as being consistent with the nature of God. I may be wrong, but in my humble opinion, keeping wicked entities alive just for the sake of tormenting them for all eternity, goes beyond justice. 5. Finally, when Jesus died on the cross, He paid the penalty of sin through His death on the cross, and not through an eternal torment in hell. That said, a PERMANENT death should therefore be sufficient to put an end to sin and evil once and for all. Allowing it to exist for all eternity, if even for the purpose of eternal torment, still allows it to exist, and Scripture indicates that God will put an end to sin and death once and for all, in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15).
- I believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
I also want to add a few other things to this list of my beliefs which I feel are important to mention because they are being brought into question this day and age. They are as follows:
- I believe God has certain immutable qualities that no other beings have, such as:
- He ALONE is the CREATOR, (Genesis 1, Colossians 1:15-20, etc.); not me, not you, not angels, not a race of advanced ETs, or anyone or anything else. He didn’t need any help, either. Just Him. Part of my mission is to defend this position.
- He, as creator, CREATED HUMANITY (Genesis 1:27); not me, not you, not angels, not a race of advanced ETs, or anyone or anything else. Angels might have been present when He created Adam and Eve, but they didn’t do any co-creating as some suggest. God is creator – end of story. Don’t even try to argue with me on this; I won’t budge.
- He is eternal; no beginning, and no end. All other beings are created and have beginnings, but God doesn’t. Incomprehensible? Yes, but still true. God always existed – end of story.
- I believe that GOD IS LOVE above all other character traits and qualities. He’s all powerful, all knowing, all wise – yes, but more than all that, He’s love. That’s what He revealed to me more than anything else, and that’s what I believe He wants me to tell the world. Some may ask, “How could a God of love create a place like hell?” My answer: Because He is love, He created hell. It’s simple: God is love, love requires free will in order to exist, and a side effect of free will is disobedience. That disobedience explains all the corruption in the Earth; it is the result of God’s boundless respect for freedom, and the authority to which He has placed on humanity to self-govern. Fortunately, our cursed world is only temporary. Now maybe those who refuse to repent in life, may be offered an extended grace in hell (Hades/Sheol), prior to Judgment Day – this is a debatable point. However, there is eventually a permanent destruction that I believe is reserved for those who use their grace period of time-space to demonstrate that they absolutely, unequivocally reject love in all its forms, even when they see and experience the vast assortment of pain spawn from selfishness, greed, lust, and every form of corruption. All corruption is in defiance of love, and the only reason God allows it to exist for a season, is for us to learn everything about it – so we can see and experience for ourselves, what living outside of love is all about. Now as I mentioned above, I lean in favor of the annihilationist view of hell. I think all unbelievers end up there, if unrepentant even until the point of death. In Hades/Sheol, there are varying degrees of torment. I think there may even be a possibility of repentance during this time; I think that, because God’s desire to redeem us is beyond what we can conceive. He went to the cross – that was A LOT of effort, so I wouldn’t be surprised if God uses whatever goings on in the underworld, to still try to reach those who die in their sins. Eventually, however, these deceased souls will be resurrected on Judgment Day. Throughout their entire existence, if all they can manage to do with their free will is use it to reject God with every fiber of their being, then they will end up getting destroyed in the Lake of Fire. God is Love, and love cannot allow the wicked to continue in their ways for all eternity; this makes sense to me.
- I believe that GOD IS FORGIVING AND WILL FORGIVE ANYONE WHO ASKS. However, to those who refuse God with their dying breath after He sacrificed His Son in a brutal murder to save them, I’d say that God is also familiar with anger toward them, perhaps even a hurting, sorrowful hatred. Love can be angry unlike anything else. I’m convinced God has angry emotions BECAUSE He is love. But one thing GOD IS NOT, is SELFISH. Hate is not the opposite of love, selfishness is. (I won’t argue dogmatically over this issue; it’s deep and contemplative, but I will not yield over the fact that God is love. As for how much people actually understand what love is, I’ll leave that alone, because I may not be fully aware of all its facets myself, though God has given me a little taste of it. I’ve experienced God’s love in two visions of heaven and in a dream with Jesus, and His love is inexplicably intoxicating, but at the same time, overwhelming and intimidating because of His boundlessness.)
- I believe that JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN, just like He said in John 14:6. He didn’t lie, and He further didn’t want His death on the cross to be simply another alternative that people can choose from. Exactly how God evaluates the criteria for this, is beyond my comprehension. For those that have never heard of Jesus, I’m certain He has a plan for them that is full of mercy and grace, and again, beyond my comprehension. I know that we are evaluated by the truth we have received, and for those that respond to the truth when they hear it, God gives more. This leads to my next point.
- I believe GOD IS FAIR. Life may not seem fair, (at least in this temporal life which is a training ground in a cursed world), but GOD IS FAIR, and in heaven, everyone and everything will be FAIR, because God loves justice, and likes things to be fair. That’s why things that are not fair seem so unnatural; it’s because God created us with a hardwired sense of justice, and no matter how screwed up everything is, we still have a sense of right and wrong, at least at a young age before we are reprogrammed. As for God, He’s SO fair, He asked His Son to die on a cross to ensure that there was a punishment extracted for all the sins of the world. That’s how fair He is. Enough said…
And there are a few other minor things I believe in as well, but I won’t be dogmatic about them, such as:
- I’m either a Calviminian, or a Arminvinist. I think somehow, in some strange incomprehensible way, both freewill and predestination are true. It’s something on God’s level of contemplation, and trying to figure it out would be like trying to round off infinity. That’s why entire schools of thought that are both Scripturally sound have been founded on these two beliefs that seem to be in opposition, but in reality, from God’s perspective, they are not.
- I believe that people living in an unrepentant, actively sinful lifestyle shouldn’t be leaders in ministry. The “unrepentant, actively sinful lifestyle” isn’t perfection; no one would be leaders in ministry if that were the case, but at a minimum, I’d throw in some BIG sins, such as having a continuous adulterous affair, an active homosexual lifestyle, a concealed murder, or someone who molests children, just to name a few. I won’t make this list too big, because many leaders in ministry mentioned in scripture committed some BIG sins, but guess what? They all repented. All of the above are forgivable provided one repents. That’s why I said “Unrepentant.” I think this is common sense stuff that is clear in scripture, but in these dark days, many have taken it upon themselves to make excuses for their sins rather than fight them, and even design theologies to endorse them. Homosexuality is probably on the top of that list, which leads to my next bullet item.
- I believe that people living in sin should definitely be in CHURCH, fighting their flesh as much as possible. There should be a WAR going on there! If someone is struggling with a sinful addiction to an immoral lifestyle, or some huge sin like child molestation, he/she should be active church members – not to put on a mask of righteousness, but to get REAL with God, and cultivate some spiritual weapons to fight with. They need to tell someone, and get help! Their battle against their flesh and against the enemy is not a SOLO operation; that’s what the church is for! And if a church rejects those in need, get a clue; that’s a DEAD church – go to another one. There’s a LOT of them. We NEED each other! And real friends won’t make excuses for sin, but rather tackle it with LOVE first and foremost. This can be difficult stuff, true, but Christ came for those who need a healer. He ate with sinners, not to sin right along with them, but to come down to them and bless them, and show them by example that there is a better way. Then – give them strength to overcome their sin.
As for the nonessentials, those are endless, and I won’t bother to list them all, but I’ll mention a few. But before I do, I will say from personal experience that these nonessentials which have no bearing on one’s salvation have a way of stirring Christians up. There’s really no need for anyone to get emotional about them. I have received the following feedback from Christians about nonessentials:
- I’m manipulating Scripture
- I’m perverting the Word of God
- I’m lost or leading people to hell
- I’m a stupid phony
- I’m teaching doctrines of demons!
- I’m a deceiver! Blasphemy! Heretic!
- And the list goes on…
So much for charity in all things. Such ranting is not edifying and serves no purpose. The nonessentials have no bearing on salvation, so what’s the big deal? For those that haven’t figured it out yet, INTERPRETING THE BIBLE IS NOT AN EXACT SCIENCE! Most people agree that 2 + 2 = 4, but the moment ANYONE says ANYTHING about what they think something in the Bible means, there’s suddenly an emotional uproar about it. People – calm down.
I don’t claim to amend the Bible; I’m simply pondering and suggesting possibilities of interpretations that don’t make much difference one way or the other. Jesus gave us a charge to “Seek,” (Luke 11:9), and Scripture states that it is the honor of kings to seek out a matter, (Proverbs 25:2), but if we’re living in fear, too afraid to ask any questions out of the box, and ponder the various meanings of scripture, HOW are we suppose to SEEK? The seeking process is asking questions, and pondering possibilities, is it not?
In the future, if extraterrestrials show up in their UFOs and start appearing to Christians, and some of them say things about Jesus that are spot on, (as might be the case when looking at Revelation 14:6), there’s probably going to be some down right confused Christians! Sure, we have the fallen angels pegged; they’re easy. Listen to their deception about being our genetic progenitors, and judge them by their fruit – alien abductions are horrific. But what if they ALL aren’t acting the same way? Are we going to label ALL of them demonic, even if they’re in agreement with the Gospel, saying with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and Earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters”? And what if they aren’t even angels? What if they’re mortals just like us, afraid to die just like us? Are we going to burn them at the stake, or might we consider the possibility that Colossians 1:20 could be talking about them? What’s the big picture here, anyway? Might things be slightly more complicated than we imagined? I believe there is a distinct possibility that angels, the host of heaven, and the ‘heavens’ in general might not fit our current mold of reality, and the universe is far more colorful than we’ve imagined. Or wait – strike that, we’ve imagined most of it, (Independence Day, Star Wars, Star Trek, etc.), but we just didn’t realize our imaginations were so prophetic…
Revelation 14:6-7 (bold emphasis added)
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
Colossians 1:20 (Bold emphasis and underlining added)
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
Think about what happened to Jesus. He showed up, and who was it that wanted to crucify Him? ALL THE RELIGIOUS people of His day. They were terrified of Him because He didn’t fit the mold of their thinking. The Messiah can’t be a bastard son of an obscure carpenter from Nazareth! The Messiah can’t be hanging around with fishermen and a prostitute, and eating with sinners! What is the Messiah doing talking with a tax collector? Why is the Messiah chatting with a sleazy Samaritan woman? All these misconceptions eventually led them to believe that Jesus was filled with the power of Satan, (Matthew 12:24), and able to cast out devils because He was empowered by the prince of devils. They thought that the Messiah would be a religious wealthy person like them, rubbing elbows with politicians and people with clout, hailed as KING, victorious in battle against the oppressive Romans. Instead, He hung out with the common people, and rode on a donkey with annoying kids running around shouting hosanna — and on and on and on. EVERYTHING Jesus did broke every mold that anyone ever thought about Him before He came. Religious people are still the same today. “Demonic” is the patent answer to practically anything that is not understood or doesn’t fit with the mold of the common paradigm, but I’m not content with a label posted over a closed door that says “Do not enter, don’t ask, just leave this topic alone!” I’m a seeker, that’s how God wired me, SO I’m going to rip off the label and go through the stinking door and investigate! Sorry if that provokes some people, but oh well.
Every year, the United States funnels billions of dollars into NASA, and for what? Is it not to seek out extraterrestrial life? What if we find it, then what? Why would we even want to find extraterrestrial life, if at the same time, most of us would think it was demonic?
Personally, I think we already found it, or rather, it found us, and the government was doing everything it could to hide the truth from us, until now. Things are changing…
I predicted years ago, that the government has assessed that public disclosure will be easier to take if we’re the ones that discover life out there before it publicly announces itself to us. It’ll also be easier to take if we discover something innocuous, such as bacteria, before we warm up to the idea of advanced intelligent life that can compete with us. First get used to the idea that there’s life out there – then go to the next step. Make any sense?
That’s what happened. Microbes on Mars was announced years ago, and now news reports about UFOs are much more common, with the Navy actually talking about this stuff!
Something is happening.
So the government was staving off public disclosure to avoid widespread panic for years, (my theory). And they were asking, “What will religious people think?” That’s why in May 2005, a nationwide survey funded by the government (The National Institute of Discovery Science), was sent specifically to people of religious affiliations all over the United States. They put their feelers out there. The results of the survey revealed that we are a little more ready than we were back in the forties, (since the broadcast of War of the Worlds), but not by much – at least with Christians. Christians are the ones they’re really worried about. Most Christians still see things in very simplistic terms of black and white, and most things out of the box are labeled as “Demonic.” It might be a bit hostile for extraterrestrials to announce themselves to us, with a quarter of the planet thinking they’re demons.
As for me, I don’t see things in terms of black and white, because reality is rarely black and white. Why do we constantly make the mistake of stereotyping everything? The difference between Satan and God is crystal clear, but practically everything else in between is some shade of gray, at least in my opinion.
Don’t get me wrong; I believe there is absolute truth, but truth is rarely shallow. Instead, it’s deep, wide, and frequently spans beyond our perception, knowledge, wisdom, and just about everything else.
If public disclosure happens in the near future, Christians will have to reassess their interpretations of Scripture, and adjust their ‘mold of reality.’ If I’m wrong about my theories, really – SO WHAT! But if I’m right, then my research into this possibility will be very useful. I’m still standing firm with my conviction in all the basic Christian essentials listed above, (unlike many who research extraterrestrial information in the Bible). I don’t claim to be 100% correct in all my doctrine or ponderings; all I’m doing is asking the same questions that Christians will be forced to ask in the future when their backs are against the wall. And I’m doing this while still standing firm on the essentials, and refusing to compromise with theories like evolution, or us being star children. We were created by God from the dust of the Earth, just like Scripture says. But I can see how the doctrine of evolution will instantly be catapulted into the spotlight with the advent of public disclosure, and then depending on what extraterrestrials are telling us, there stands to be a great deal of deception on the way. This deception is coming, regardless of what kind of life forms we find out there – whether they’re fallen angels, or beings just as lost and confused about God as many of us are. The only exception to this is the members of the Host of Heaven that are faithful to God, and many there are. Scripture says they will be spreading the Gospel as well (Revelation 14:6), but many Christians might be so paranoid about them, they will categorize ALL of them as demonic, as I previously mentioned.
So what am I saying? I’m saying that because the big picture is probably really complicated, we shouldn’t jump the gun and label everything demonic. At the same time, we need to hold our ground in the essentials, but be willing to flex with the nonessentials. We could all use a little flexibility.
Now that all that is said, I must reiterate that I think St. Augustine hit the nail on the head with his statement above, and the church has a big lesson to learn there. Lighten up folks! This is nonessential stuff. I’m trying to do a good thing here! And even without me looking into these things now, it could be that in the near future, practically everyone is going to be doing exactly what I have already done.
Here’s a few nonessentials:
- I believe that the Rapture of the Church will occur in the near future, and this could be the impetus that opens up the Earth up to vast array of life out in the heavens. Maybe not, but it could be. I believe the Rapture of the Church because of what it says in the Bible, and not because I want to escape the great tribulation, despite the fact that Jesus said we should live to be worthy enough to escape these things that are coming (Luke 21:36). I’ve asked God to leave me behind to experience His mighty miracles in those troubling times, and then eventually end up being a martyr for the faith. I’ve dreamed about it – experienced it when I was 12 years old. The glory I will receive from being a martyr is what I’ve been longing for ever since that vision. Life is somewhat of a hazy dream for me; I’m just biding my time. I want to be like the Christians in Hebrews 11, (at least now – that I’m safe at home contemplating this abstractly). I have a hope for a better resurrection, and to give glory and honor to God in those days ahead, and if there’s a time to leap before you look, leaping for God is the way to go. I hope my family is safe in heaven after the rapture, but as for me, I would be honored to give my life for my Lord who gave His for me. For now, with my family here depending on me, I’m bound with them, but if the Lord takes them away before He takes me away, I have a desire to be wholly undivided for the Lord, ready to disburse Bibles in China or carry a wooden cross across the Middle East if He asks me to. For anyone that believes in the rapture of the church because they are afraid of torture, etc., that’s understandable. I’m not going to beat a Bible over their head and tell them they should want to die for Christ. Some people that argue the post-tribulation or mid-tribulation theories think that. They’re angry because the church is asleep and not wanting to sacrifice anything for God. As for me, where people are at in their love affair with God is their business, not mine. But I know how God feels about me, and I feel the same way about Him, at least as much as I’m humanly capable of feeling. As for how much importance I attribute to the “Rapture” doctrine, it doesn’t really matter much to me. Naturally I don’t want my family to suffer, but if they do, I’ll just have to trust Christ in the midst of it. All in all, like my commander at work says, I could also say I believe in a pan-tribulation; it’ll all pan out in the end.
- I believe that the Earth is really old. Most Christians believe that the Earth is really young, and that the account of creation from Genesis 1:2 through Genesis 2:25 is an original creation. I USED TO BELIEVE THIS as well. Then I read Finnis Dake’s God’s Plan for Man, an overwhelmingly exhaustive study exceeding 1000 pages, and it took over thirty years to complete. After reading it, I changed my position. Like Finnis Dake, I DO NOT BELIEVE IN EVOLUTION, (though there is variation within species), but I still believe the Earth is very old, and the Bible actually documents Earth’s history predating Adam and Eve. Trust me, there is a very sound scriptural explanation for how the Earth can be extremely old, (at least in my opinion), but it takes an entire book to explain it with scriptural support. If anyone is curious, read Aliens and the Antichrist. It contains the cliff notes version of God’s Plan for Man in this matter.
- I believe the definition of heaven includes the geographical locations of the sky, outer space, and the location of God’s throne, (all of which can be referenced directly from Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon). Where I take this further is my belief that the third and highest heaven where God’s actual throne is, is a planet in the Northern hemisphere of the universe, because of numerous verses speaking of the physical location of north as being associated with God’s throne, and also EVERY SINGLE DESCRIPTION of heaven being that of a real, tangible world. How can a non-tangible city be transported to Earth in the future if this is not the case? How can people with real physical bodies be resurrected again to live in a non-tangible world? It’s simply dimensionally shifted, but every bit as real and physical as Earth, that’s all. Science is getting to the point of understanding this with concepts like string theory. All three places (realms of heaven) can be referenced by pointing upward toward the sky. All three exist within our multidimensional universe. This understanding of heaven comes DIRECTLY from scripture, and NOWHERE else.
- I believe that angels, faithful and fallen, are synonymous with aliens. Some are good; some are bad. Since scripture says that Satan is the prince of the power of the air, and the ‘god’ of this world, (little ‘g’), probably the majority of those we encounter on Earth are bad. Not all, but most.
- I believe that the host of heaven (found 18 times in the OT and 1 time in the NT), are synonymous with aliens. Some are good; some are bad. By the way, the host of heaven might not be angels, either, but could be just like us. The term “host” in scripture refers to mortals and immortals alike.
- Given the above two items, obviously aliens that are abducting people and performing torturous experiments on them are fallen angels, or deceived members of the host of heaven. As for good angels, they do things for us all the time, but they’re very discreet; much more so than those who are abducting people.
- I believe that in the near future, first contact (a public arrival) will be a catalyst to start many end times events. This is the last item on the list of things that need to happen before our world looks like it did in the days of Noah, (Genesis 6), as Jesus said it would in Matthew 24:37.
Most of my writing ministry, (if that’s what it is), is NOT based on the actual essentials listed on top of this page. Those are not debatable in my opinion, but much of my material IS debatable. In fact, I’m open to debate most of it. If anyone reading any of my material feels I’m wrong, please LET ME KNOW, cordially of course, and supply scripture as well. I retain all such information in a research file. I will change my views if effectively convinced. Finnis Dake actually changed my mind to believe that the Earth is very old, because his scriptural support is far more sound than anything I have ever read, and answers every question I ever had about the age of the Earth. In any case, don’t just email curses on me, and spout off that I’m wrong and I’m a heretic, etc., and leave it at that. That won’t help. Would it be correcting me in love, anyway?
Furthermore, I’m a writer, so those who invest a little time to convince me I’m wrong with some scriptural support, can be a return on that investment, because I’ll make sure to publicize that information if the arguments are sound and convincing. This is not all to say that what I write about isn’t valid or isn’t having any effect. I’m just saying that those who have a genuine saving faith in Jesus will be just fine without believing that the Earth is old, or that angels and aliens are the same things, etc. The future might be a bit confusing at first if I’m right, but they’ll eventually come around. The bottom line is, however, that most of my theories are nonessential and not worth dividing over, that’s for sure.