Foundational Beliefs: The Authority of Scripture
I have no idea who will end up reading this - possibly members of Antioch looking for some good stuff (whatsup guys!), or possibly folks who are trying to get a better idea of what Antioch is about (again, whatsup guys!), or possibly haters. Maybe you're none of those people.
But, whoever you are, I want you to understand a few things about Antioch - crucial pieces of our identity. I'll be writing on those things here in this space, and labeling them "Foundational Beliefs".
At Antioch we have what we call "open-handed" issues, and "closed-handed" issues. "Open-handed" means that we are willing to discuss and examine those things. These might include the pentecostal gifts of the Holy Spirit, the interpretation of the writings on the end times, and the Scriptural understanding of women in ministry. "Closed-handed" issues, as we'll discuss in this Foundational Beliefs blog, are issues that we are NOT willing to discuss - our minds are made up on these issues. These include the authority of Scripture, the deity of Christ, the necessity of the church community, and others. We'll get to them all in due time. Don't rush me, internet!
First, let's talk about the authority of scripture. We believe that the Bible is completely without error, given by the almighty God through ordinary men, and that every word of it useful for all teaching and training. Because of that, we value the word of Scripture more highly than we value manmade traditions or the teachings of men.
If you were to come to one of Antioch's house churches, or to a congregational service on a Saturday night, you would find that our method of teaching is extremely simple - we simply go through the Bible chapter by chapter, trying to learn whatever God might have for us in each chapter.
Some simple truths to consider:
- God is smarter than us. His word will be more valuable to your life than ours.
- If we try to teach by topic ("10 Weeks to a Better Marriage", etc), we could potentially fall into the trap of trying to take God's word out of context to support our pre-conceived theories. This is known as "proof texting", and we realllllly don't want to do that.
- If "every word" is useful for teaching and training, that even includes the words that I don't understand or don't agree with. By being intentional not to skip parts, we allow God to have his say through the Scripture. Our ongoing sanctification is dependent on our willingness to come face-to-face with the parts of God's word that challenge us, scare us, and make us think differently.
- God's word creates open doors for the Holy Spirit to walk through and transform people's lives. As much as we might want them to, our words don't do that.
More to come! Grace and peace,