Usually this is a page that’s included on religious websites that generally isn’t terribly informative given that it usually contains one or more creeds, reprinted there for your information. I do believe in certain creeds as statements of faith, but since they’re rooted in history and aren’t really that illuminating for someone who has never studied them, they’re usually more informative to theologians than to regular people.
Therefore, the following list is a summary not of what I believe specifically so much as how I approach belief and come to theological conclusions:
- Evidentialist – I tend towards evidentialist approaches to determining spiritual truths, which means I come to conclusions based on the evidence available. Though I’m hardly as famous or knowledgeable, examples of other evidentialists include Lee Stroebel (author) and Jim (blogger) at the Please Convince Me podcast and blog.
- Methodist – Though I do attend a Methodist church, I mean this in more of a “specific method for studying the Bible” sense than in a “denominational agreement” sense. There’s a great deal of diversity of belief in this congregation, but the core Methodist philosophy is actually a method of coming to theological conclusions by way of using the Bible as ultimate authority, and using Tradition, Experience, and Reason to understand the Bible. This is called the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. I’ll post more entries about it later.
- Linguistic Understanding – I believe that no translation of the Bible is going to be 100% accurate based only on the fact that not all languages are identical.
- Cultural Understanding – Not every difficult passage in the Bible can be chalked up to “cultural differences” and though I believe some wave this around a little too freely, I nonetheless believe that we cannot know the full meaning of the Bible without also understanding the cultures present within it. God spoke to us through these cultures, and it would be highly arrogant and prideful to assume we need not understand them.
- Historical & Archeological Understanding – Just as culture is important, the history of the time is also important to understand, and for me, archeology tends to reaffirm my faith and strengthen it.
- Christian Diversity – The first Christians were a diverse bunch. Eventually the arguments of their day were settled and the conclusions they reached were passed on to us (our Apostles’ Creed and Nicene Creeds are examples of this). I believe that just as the ancient Christians didn’t have all the answers, neither do we. My faith is first in God, and because of him, I participate in and love his church, which is full of flawed, fallen human beings like myself.