What I Believe
Every so often, I get comments or emails that show me I’m not accurately communicating what I mean to some of my readers. Addressing this by email is fairly effective, but inefficient. Addressing it in the comments usually ends up in arguments. A couple of times I have resorted to making a clarifying post. A post is a better option, but then the same thing comes up again a few months later.
Suddenly it was clear to me; I need a “What I Believe” page. I will add to it as needed, and point to it when questions arise. This is a far better way to deal with this, and it should avoid claims that I am changing what I am saying. The post below will be my starting place. Feel free to ask questions or ask what I think about something in the comments; this will help me find other things I need to add. I will work on adding some references, but that will take time. I also reserve the right to change my mind as I continue to grow and learn. If I make significant changes, I will cross out what was there, and add my new thinking. I will not do this for simple clarifications that are not changes of what I believe.
What I Believe
- We are all sinners. On our own merit we would all end in hell, but Jesus died for our sins and rose again, defeating death. By accepting His sacrifice and confessing Him as Lord, we can have eternal life.
- Why someone does something never frees them from guilt, consequences, or the need to repent; however, understanding why someone does something can show ways to help them change.
- We are always to look at ourselves first – to remove the log from our eye before we attempt to remove the speck from the eye of another.
- We are to prefer others – especially our spouse.
- God’s forgiveness and grace to us can be limited by our unwillingness to offer the same to other people.
Men & Women
- God made men and women co-heirs, equal in worth and value.
- God gave men and women different abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. These vary some from person to person, but many things fall along gender lines to lesser or greater extent.
- Neither men nor women are inherently better or worse than the other is.
- Neither men nor women are inherently godlier than the other is. I do believe women are more open to spiritual things (see here), both those of God and counterfeits. This means women as a whole are more likely to be spiritually involved and connected to something. [NOTE: Some recent studies bring this into question, more study needed.]
- Women, as a whole, have more of their brain devoted to communication than men do. Women also have more of their brain devoted to empathy. This makes relationship more important to most women. This does not make them better at relationship, especially cross gender relationships.
- Women are more likely to bring up relationship problems, and more likely to press for the problems to be resolved. (Need to add a reference from Gottman here.)
- God created us with a need to have a spouse. Some have the “gift of celibacy” and don’t need a spouse, but they’re the minority.
- Marriage is a covenant, not a contract. Most in the West have no idea what covenant really is, and this cripples our ability to understand marriage as God intended it.
- God places great importance on marriage. Many in the church today neither understand nor live this.
- God’s plan for marriage is one man, with one woman, married for life.
- While God hates divorce, there are a few allowances for it. Sexual sin allows divorce and remarriage. Abandonment allows for divorce, and depending on how you read it may or may not allow for remarriage.
- In the Old Testament God made allowances due to the hardness of men’s hearts. This is why divorce for any cause and multiples wives were allowed.
- God made husbands servant leaders, with Jesus as our example. Men lead for the benefit of their wives, not for their own benefit.
- Leadership always carries a heavier responsibility and price than following.
- God did not create women with significantly less sexual interest than men.
- Male and female sexuality are different. Women have a greater sexual capacity than men do, but they are much more easily distracted or put off sex. Most men can separate sex and emotion, while most women cannot.
- Life begins when egg and sperm join. This means it is acceptable to prevent egg and sperm from joining, while preventing a fertilized egg from implanting is murder. [NOTE: I base this on what I see as the only logical point for life to start from a scientific standpoint – I can’t back it with scripture. While I do not agree with those who believe life begins when a fertilized egg implants I can’t make an ironclad scriptural case that they are wrong. Once implanted, aborting the foetus is murder – period.]
- I think masturbation in marriage should be limited, and only done if the other spouse is unavailable, unable, or unwilling. However, I can’t find any way to make masturbation sin without doing harm to the integrity of God’s Word, and if it isn’t sin I’m not qualified to say it is wrong.
- I see all porn use to be a violation of the marriage covenant.
- I find nothing in the Bible that would prevent a couple from engaging in manual or oral sex.
- I have health concerns about anal sex, but can’t find a prohibition in the Bible.
- Sexual refusal, meaning often refusing to have sex without a compelling reason (pain, illness, total exhaustion), is contrary to scripture thus and sin.
- Church as we practice it has very little similarity to what was practiced in the first century This doesn’t make what we do evil, but it does make it tricky to apply what the Bible says about church to what most Westerners think when they hear the word “church”.
- Our family is our first “mission field”. If we don’t have our marriage in good shape, we are prohibited from any form of ministry.
- The church is supposed to be “in each other’s business”. Accountability and discipling are not optional according to the Bible.
- I’ve lived long enough to see things I lived through become “history” and I know that much of what is said is skewed, while some is flat-out wrong. I assume that much of what I’m told about “how things use to be” is less than perfectly accurate. When people talk about how things use to be, or “The good old days” they are usually describing an idealised version that may have much to do with reality.
- In the past, Christians used the Bible to defend slavery and the crusades. “Good Christians” in the past were convinced the world was flat, or that the sun revolved around the earth, and they managed to twist scriptures to “prove” such things. The fact that something was commonly accepted by Christians in the past does not mean it was or is correct.