19. April 2005 · Comments Off on FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH: JUST WHO ARE THE EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS PART #2 · Categories: Good God

OK, now we address the beliefs of evangelical Christians. I’m not going into deep doctrinal foundation, unless someone in “comments” requests some source or reference that requires such an excursion. First, I recognize that this is mostly a military blog, and the subject matter of this post may not appeal to some, so I ask you to forgive me, just skip over this if you’re not interested in what I say here.

Christian doctrines, evangelical as well as Catholic, are rooted together, and to be sure, Roman Catholic core doctrines are identical to the core beliefs of evangelicals. You can find a good synopsis of Catholic doctrine here, something I researched in preparation for this post. The areas where we Evangelicals differ from Roman Catholics are doctrines on Mary, saints, purgatory, and sacraments. However, those areas are secondary to me, I’d rather concentrate on where we agree than curse the areas where we don’t see eye to eye.

Here are our core beliefs:

1.The Bible is the only infallible and inspired Word of God and it is the authoritative basis of our faith, the sole source of our faith and practices.

2.There is one God, eternally existent in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

3. Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, and that He was born of a virgin; sinless in His life and atoning for our sins in His death. That Jesus bodily rose from the dead, and that He ascended to Heaven, and that He will return for His followers in glory at a time unknown.

4. The only means of being cleansed of sin is faith in the blood of Jesus which was shed for our redemption.

5. We believe in the resurrection of the dead, both saved and unsaved, for judgement, and that the saved shall live eternally in Heaven with God, while those who have rejected Him will be condemned to eternal hell.

There are other doctrines, such as baptism, the Lord’s Supper (eucharist), Gifts of the Spirit, etc, that some of us even within the evangelical fold have differences about, but those things that are unique to each denomination are secondary, and we all generally agree with some semantic statements that read a bit differently. Brotherly love is more important than strict doctrinal purity.

First, the Bible. My own study includes Greek, the language of the New Testament, and I have researched just how we received the several translations available to us today. Our english versions have been translated since the 16th century from a variety of ancient texts, such as the Latin brought down to us from the Vatican (Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus), and the various extant Greek texts. The most ancient Greek texts today are papyrii from as far back as the fourth century, some 320 years after Christ walked among us. Those and the Alexandrian Greek Texts from the 5th century with other texts comprise the Majority Texts, from which the latest english translations come. Worthy of note is the fact that the New Testament was written in the Koine (common) street language of the day, and that is a powerful indicator for the use of such common language in the versions we use today. For personal study and reading, I use the New Living Translation, which is, from my study of its origins, the very best adaptation to our common language in the United States today.

In Bible translations, there are two general methods or philosophies. First is called “formal equivalence,” or word-for-word translation, which can be difficult to read, and the second is known as “dynamic equivalence,” or thought-for-thought translation, which is what is used in the NIV (New International Version) and in the NLT, or New Living Translation. Certainly, any thought-for-thought translation requires that the thought in the original language be accurately interpreted and then be written in an understandable way. All this requires not only a group of highly capable scholars, but scholars who have a deep relationship with the Holy Spirit of God, attuned to His will in interpreting the Scriptures. For anyone who wants to go into depth regarding translations, I reccomend the introduction to the NLT, and the “Principles of Translation” in the front of the New American Standard Bible. Another excellent text on translations is found in the Preface to the Full Life Study Bible, which is published in KJV, NASB, and NIV.

If you include the Old Testament, which was written in Hebrew to begin with, we have a book which was written over some four thousand years by some 40 authors, with one thread running through it from one end to the other. That thread is that God wanted to provide redemption for sinful man, to provide a way for us to have fellowship with Him, which was His reason for creating us in the first place. Prophecy was a great part of the old testament, with the first prophecy of the coming of Jesus Christ as far back as Genesis 3:15. Generally, the purpose of the Old Testament, aside from being a history of Judaism, is the prophecies of the coming of Christ. It foretells the New Testament, and in the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. We have the Bible today because the Holy Spirit guided men to write, and to preserve that which was written.

Of course, to validate all this, we have to let God be God. He can do all this and more, or He is not God. Evangelical Christians have all this, and more, as the foundation of our faith. What makes us evangelical is the command of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16: 16-20, where He tells His followers to go into all the world and preach His gospel. Anyone who is interested in finding out the positions of evangelical Christians can go to the web page of the National Association of Evangelicals, here , and read the various articles on beliefs, values, and mission.

OK, the ramblings of a believer, a follower of Jesus Christ. I don’t claim to be so well educated, but I’ve given my best here, and the references will bring the interested reader to places where they will find more educated scholars to answer their questions. Thanks for reading!

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