My assumptions, in a nutshell, are as follows:
- Christ = Truth, or else Christianity is false
- The inspired teaching of Scripture (not my interpretation, but rather the intended meaning) on matters of faith and practice must supersede anything that comes from the human heart. For if Scripture is true, then the human heart cannot be completely trusted (Jer. 17:9; Matt. 15:17-20; Mark 7:14-23).
- A hermeneutic of faith is more reasonable than one of suspicion – that is, that it is more reasonable to assume that my physical senses tell me reliable (although fallible) information about a real, physical universe, than it is to assume that the universe is not real. I am a realist, in this sense.
- I hold it as self-evidently absurd that life should be about nothing.
- Having a certain doctrine regarding biblical inerrancy is not foundational to the Christian faith – in fact, not even the Bible is foundational to the Christian faith, since Christians were around for quite some time before the Bible. Rather, Jesus, the witness of the Holy Spirit, the love and mercy of the Father, and the message of the Gospel are foundational to the Christian faith. Ideas about what the Bible is, how it is that God has communicated to us, what sort of assumptions we can make about it, etc. are all less central than God Himself and the message the Gospel. Certainly we should never allow doctrines of inspiration to become any sort of obstacle to the Gospel; nor should we divide the Body of Christ over such things.
- I do not believe that God would be so divided, so “schizophrenic” as it were, to tell us that the the universe was created in six days for example, and then go out of His way to make everything look profoundly more ancient than that. I do not believe that He would require us to believe that humanity is only six thousand years old, and then go about placing all manner of genetic evidence to the contrary in us. Moreover, I do not believe that He would then say that people have no excuse for not believing in Him, on the basis of the things that have been made (Rom. 1:18-20). If God really did place pre-fossilized bones in the ground, and create light in-transit to describe events happening over 6000 light-years away – while at the same time requiring believers to believe that this evidence were false – then He would be giving non-believers an excuse not to believe in Him! He could not say that they should believe in Him on the basis of the things that have been made! So I think it is far more likely that we have simply read the first eleven chapters of Genesis in a way that they were never intended to be read in the first place.
- I can be wrong. I will always invite people to critique my ideas, to object to what I say, and correct me. And I am vehemently opposed to my own pride; I am determined not to invest my self-worth in my writings, so I will not become emotionally defensive if someone critiques me. Rather, my self-worth is in Christ.
- I don’t think that people can get truth about God unless God first gives it to us in some way, be it through general or special revelation. Put another way, I don’t think it is possible to be “orthodox by accident.” When we seem good themes in popular, secular culture, for example, we shouldn’t think, “Oh, that’s good, this movie/book/song/speaker/etc. is compatible with Christianity.” No, it is better to say that while all humans are capable of recognizing some truth – and are even capable of doing very good, admirable deeds – there is no one who truly seeks God without God drawing him or her in the first place (John 6:44; Rom. 3:10-18). You can stumble onto some truth, of course (it’s pretty tough to be wrong about everything!), but you cannot stumble, by accident, into a relationship with God. Everything that looks like it is on the side of Christ – and yet explicitly denies Christian doctrines about Christ – is not, in fact, on the side of Christ. To think that simply being “good” in a few ways should set us right with God is like thinking that being a model citizen alone makes one a good son or daughter; however, whether one is a good son/daughter depends on one’s relationship with one’s parents. In the same way, you cannot be a good creature in a vacuum: being a good creature means relating properly to your Creator. If you get that part wrong, it doesn’t matter what else you get right.
(I will add more as they occur to me.)