Approaching Doctrine - by Gavin Linderman

The question, “What do you believe?” is one to be navigated gently. We should not arrive at absolute conclusions swiftly or give a response to things we don’t yet know. After all, pretending is not a healthy practice of the With-Jesus-Life; we want to model the way Jesus lived. This involves not only identifying what we believe, but living out that reality as well. This is what praxis is about after all: believing and living in reality of truth embodied in real life. 

Before you is a confession of faith that is presented in a systematic way. It is a helpful reference to be examined for purposes of personal spiritual formation. The value here is not in systematic theology per se, as Jesus nor the Scriptures themselves ever presented truth in this manner. Rather, by pouring through the Scriptures in reference to the summary concise statements of the Confession of Faith, it is hoped that insight into the Word of God will be gained for it’s transforming effect upon our lives. 

Secondly, part of the great challenge of the question, “What do you believe?” in today’s society can often be asked with an agenda or even in manipulation; that kind of character we don’t find in Jesus either. Instead, we hope to ask this question to learn more about each other as we share in our With-Jesus-Life together; the intent is not to determine whether others are in or out of our set of beliefs. 

Lastly, as any good students, we hold our confession of faith loosely; we have not yet arrived as Disciples of Christ in conformity to His glory. We readily confess that though we know and love the Lord, we are still growing, have flaws, and are subject to get some things wrong along the way. It has served us well to not hold with absolute certainty the confessions of men, but instead, together and in wisdom, search for what the Spirit of God bears witness to. This Confession is not the Holy Bible…

Examine the Scriptures in prayer, context, and community. We hope that you discover the wonderful decrees of our Lord and take delight in them. 

Your decrees are my delight, and my counselors.” Psalms 119:24

The following shows the Confession of Faith of the US Mennonite Brethren Conference, Copyright 2014. It serves as a resource for Axiom Church. 

The leadership of Axiom has, as it’s heritage, an appreciative and beneficial association with the Mennonite Brethren family. Their statement of faith nicely summarizes aspects of life in Christ that have been helpful to this fellowship in it’s spiritual formation.

1.   God

We believe in the one true God, the source of all life, who reigns over all things as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and who lovingly cares for all creation.  God the Father planned the redemption of humanity and sent Jesus Christ the Son to be the Savior of the world. Jesus proclaimed the reign of God, bringing good news to the poor and triumphing over sin through His obedient life, death, and resurrection. God the Holy Spirit empowers believers with new life, indwells them, and unites them in one body.

Genesis 1; Exodus 15:2-3; Exodus 34:6-7; Deuteronomy 6:4-6; Psalm 8; Psalm 23; Psalm 139; Isaiah 55:8-9; Isaiah 66:12-13; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hosea 11:1-4; Matthew 1:18-25; Matthew 5-7; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 8:34-38; Luke 4:18-19; John 1:1-18; John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7-15; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-4; Romans 8:1-17; I Corinthians 12:4-7; I Corinthians 13; I Corinthians 15:3-8; II Corinthians 1:22; II Corinthians 5:16-21; II Corinthians 13:14; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 1:15-2:22; Ephesians 3:14-21; Philippians 2:6-11; Colossians 1:15-20; I Timothy 6:15-16; II Timothy 2:11-13; Hebrews 12:7-11; I Peter 2:21-25; I John 2:2; Revelation 5:5-6, 9-10. 

2.   Revelation of God

We believe God has made Himself known to all people. Beginning with creation and culminating in Jesus Christ, God has revealed Himself in the Old and New Testaments. All Scripture is inspired by God, and is the authoritative guide for faith and practice. We interpret the Scripture in the church community as guided by the Holy Spirit.

Genesis 9:1-17; Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 6:2-8; Psalm 19:1-11; Psalm 119; Matthew 5:17-18; Luke 24:27, 44-47; John 1:16-18; John 16:13; Acts 8:34- 35; Romans 1:18-21; Hebrews 1:1-2; Colossians 1:15-23; II Timothy 3:14-17; II Peter 1:16-21. 

3.   Creation and Humanity

We believe God created the heavens and the earth, and they were good. Humans, God’s crowning act, were created in the image of God. Sin has alienated humanity from the Creator and creation, but God offers redemption and reconciliation through Jesus Christ.

Genesis 1-3; Psalm 8:6; Psalm 19:1-6; Psalm 24:1-2; Psalm 89:11; Psalm 95:5; Psalm 104; Proverbs 8:22-31; Isaiah 40:12-31; Isaiah 44:24; John 1:1- 4, 10; John 17:5; Romans 1:19-20; Romans 5:17, 21; Romans 6:4; Romans 8:18-25; I Corinthians 8:6; I Corinthians 15:20-27; II Corinthians 3:18; II Corinthians 4:6; II Corinthians 5:16-19; Galatians 3:28; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 1:4, 9-10; Ephesians 2:11-22; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 11:3; Revelation 4:8-11; Revelation 21:1-5; Revelation 22:13. 

4.   Sin and Evil

We believe sin is individual and corporate opposition to God’s good purposes and leads to physical and spiritual death.

Genesis 3; Genesis 6:11-12; Psalm 14:1-3; Psalm 36:1-4; Psalm 52:1-7; Psalm 58:1-5, 82; Isaiah 53:6; Ezekiel 16:49-50; Amos 2:4-8; Mark 7:20-23; John 8:34, 44; Romans 1:21-32; Romans 3:9-18, 23; Romans 5:12-14; Romans 18-19; Romans 6:23; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 2:1-3; Ephesians 6:12; I Peter 5:8-9; I John 1:8-10; Revelation 12:9. 

5.   Salvation

We believe God saves all people who put their faith in Jesus Christ. By His obedient life, sacrificial death and victorious resurrection, Christ delivers people from the  tyranny of sin and death and redeems them for eternal life in the age to come. All creation eagerly awaits its liberation from bondage into the freedom of the glory of God’s children.

Exodus 6:1-8; Exodus 15:2; Exodus 20:2; Psalm 68:19-20; Isaiah 43:1; Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 10:45; John 1:12; John 3:1-21; John 13:34-35; John 16:8-11; Romans 3:24-26; Romans 5:8; Romans 12-21; Romans 8:18-25; Romans 10:9-10; I Corinthians 1:18; II Corinthians 5:14-21; Ephesians 1:5- 10; Ephesians 1:13-14; Ephesians 2:8-9; Colosians 1:13-14; Colosians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14-18; Hebrews 4:12; Hebrews 5:7-9; Hebrews 9:15-28; Hebrews 11:6; I John 4:7-11; Revelation 5:9-10; Revelation 21:1-4. 

6.   Nature of the Church

We believe the church is the covenant community called by God through Jesus Christ to live a life of discipleship and witness as empowered by the Holy Spirit. The local church gathers regularly for worship, fellowship and accountability, and to discern, develop and exercise gifts for ministry.

Matthew 16:13-20; Matthew 18:15-20; John 13:1-20; John 17:1-26; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-4; Acts 37-47; Acts 11:1-18; Acts 15:1-35; Romans 12:3-8; I Corinthians 5:1-8; I Corinthians 12-14; II Corinthians 2:5-11; Galatians 3:26-28; Galatians 6:1-5; Ephesians 1:18-23; Ephesians 2:11-22; Ephesians 4:4-6; Ephesians 11-16; I Thessalonians 5:22-23; I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:7-9; I Peter 2:9-12; I Peter 5:1-4. 

7.   Mission of the Church

We believe the mission of the church is to make disciples of all nations by calling people to repent, to be baptized, and to love God and neighbor by sharing the good news and doing acts of love and compassion.

Matthew 5:13-16; Matthew 22:34-40; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 1:15; Mark 12:28-34; Luke 10:25-37; Luke 24:45-49; John 20:21-23; Acts 1:8; Romans 1:16-18; II Corinthians 5:18-20; Ephesians 3:10-11. 

8.  Christian Baptism

We believe baptism by water is a public sign that a person has repented of sin, received forgiveness, died with Christ and has been raised to new life through the power of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is also a public declaration of a believer’s incorporation into the body of Christ as expressed in the local church.

Matthew 3:13-17; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:2-6; I Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 2:12-13; Galatians 3:26-27; Ephesians 4:4-6. 

9.   Lords Supper

We believe that in obedience to Christ, the church observes the Lord’s Supper as a remembrance of His atoning death and to celebrate forgiveness, new life, and the fellowship and unity of all believers.

Matthew 26:26-30; Acts 2:41-42; I Corinthians 10:16-17; I Corinthians 11:23-32. 

10.  Discipleship

We believe Jesus calls people who have experienced the new birth to follow Him in a costly life of service to God. The power of the Holy Spirit transforms believers from the unrighteous pattern of the present age into a life of joyful obedience with God’s people.

Psalm 1; Psalm 119; Amos 5:24; Matthew 5-7; Matthew 18:15-20; Mark 8:34-38; John 8:31-32; John 13:34-35; John 15:14-15; Acts 2:41-47; Romans 1:24-32; Romans 8:1-30; Romans 12; I Corinthians 6:9-11; I Corinthians 11:1; I Corinthians 12:1-13; II Corinthians 8-9; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 5:16- 26; Galatians 6:1-2; Ephesians 4:11-12, 15-16; Ephesians 5:1, 18; Philippians 2:6-8; Colossians 3:1-17; I Thessalonians 4:3-8; I Thessalonians 5:17; I Timothy 1:9-11; I Timothy 2:1-8; I Timothy 4:6-8; II Timothy 3:14-17; Hebrews 12:1-3; Hebrews 13:4-5; James 1:22-27; James 4:7; I Peter 2:20-25; I Peter 3:15; I Peter 5:8-9; I John 1:3; I John 6-9; I John 2:15-17. 

11. Marriage, Singleness and Family

We believe that singleness and marriage are honored by God and should be blessed by the church. God instituted marriage as a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman for the purpose of companionship, encouragement, sexual intimacy, and procreation. Children are a gift from God and should be nurtured by parents in the ways of God.

Genesis 1:26-31; Genesis 2:18-24; Genesis 5:1-2; Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 22:16-17; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Deuteronomy 6:4; Deuteronomy 24:1-4; Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 31; Matthew 5:32; Matthew 10:34-39; Matthew 19:3-12; Matthew 22:23-33; Mark 3:31-35; Mark 7:9-13; Mark 10:6-11; Luke 16:18; Romans 7:2-3; Romans 14:12; I Corinthians 7:8-40; II Corinthians 6:14-15; Ephesians 5:21-33; Ephesians 6:1-4; I Timothy 3:1-13; I Timothy 5:3-16; Hebrews 13:4; I Peter 3:1-7. 

12.   Society and State

We believe that God instituted the state to promote justice and to maintain law and order. Christians’ primary allegiance is to Christ’s kingdom.  Believers are called to witness against injustice, exercise social responsibility, and obey all laws that do not conflict with the Word of God.

Exodus 20:13, 16; Leviticus 19:11; Psalm 82:3-4; Jeremiah 29:7; Daniel 2:21; Daniel 3:17-18; Daniel 4:17; Matthew 5:13-16, 33-37; Matthew 6:33; Matthew 17:24-27; Matthew 22:17-21; John 15:19; John 17:14-18; Acts 5:29; Romans 13:1-7; I Corinthians 5:9-13; II Corinthians 6:14-18; Ephesians 5:6-13; Philippians 1:27; Philippians 3:20; I Timothy 2:1-4; Titus 3:1-2; James 5:12; I Peter 2:13-17. 

13.   Love, Peacemaking and Reconciliation

We believe that God in Christ reconciles people to Himself and to one another, making peace through the cross. As peacemakers we alleviate suffering, reduce strife, promote justice, and work to end violence and war, that others may see a demonstration of Christ’s love. As in other Peace Churches many of us choose not to participate in the military, but rather in alternative forms of service.

Exodus 20:1-17; Jeremiah 29:7; Matthew 5:9, 17-26, 38-48; Romans 12:9-21; 13:8-10; II Corinthians 5:15-20; Ephesians 2:14-18; I Peter 2:19-23

14.  The Sanctity of Human Life

We believe that God is creator and giver of life, and highly values each person. Procedures designed to take human life are wrong. We oppose all attitudes which devalue human life, especially the defenseless lives of the unborn, disabled, poor, aging and dying.

Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 2:7; Exodus 20:13; Job 31:15; Psalm 139:13-16; Amos 1-2; Matthew 6:25-27; Matthew 25:31-46; John 10:11. 

15.  Stewardship

We believe the universe and everything in it belong to God the Creator and that we have been entrusted by God to manage its resources. All God’s gifts, including money, time, abilities and influence, are to be received with thanksgiving, used responsibly, and shared generously.

Genesis 1:28; Leviticus 25; Deuteronomy 15:7-11; Psalm 24:1; Psalm 115:16; Proverbs 14:31; Amos 6:4-7; Malachi 3:6-10; Matthew 6:19-34; Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 6:38; Luke 12:13-21; Acts 2:42-47; Acts 4:32-37; I Corinthians 4:7; I Corinthians 16:2; II Corinthians 8-9; Galatians 6:7; Ephesians 4:28; I Timothy 6:6-10; I Timothy 17-19; James 2:1-7, 15-16; James 5:1-6; I John 3:16-18; Jude 11

16.  The Lords Day, Work and Rest

We believe God’s act of creation provides the model for work and rest. In work, we use our abilities to glorify God and serve others. In rest, we express thanks for God’s provision and trust in God’s sustaining grace. In worship, we gather to commemorate the resurrection through worship, instruction, fellowship, and service.

Genesis 1:26-2:3; Genesis 2:15; Genesis 3:14-19; Exodus 20:8-11; Leviticus 25:1-7; Deuteronomy 5:12-15; Psalm 46:10; Psalm 95:6-11; Ecclesiastes 3:13; Mark 2:23-3:6; Luke 24:1-36; Acts 2:42-47; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5-10; I Corinthians 16:2; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 2:16-17; Colossians 3:22-4:1; II Thessalonians 3:6-10; Hebrews 4:1-10; Hebrews 10:23-25; Revelation 1:10. 

17.  Christianity and Other Faiths

We believe God’s atoning work in Jesus is the only means of reconciling people with God. God has not left any without a witness to the Creator’s goodness and power. Christians treat people of other faiths with respect, but urgently proclaim Christ as the only way of salvation.

Genesis 18:25; Psalm 19:2-4; Ecclesiastes 3:11; Isaiah 46:1-10; Isaiah 55:8-9; Ezekiel 33:1-20; Jonah 1-4; Matthew 8:5-13; Matthew 25:31-46; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 7:24-30; Luke 9:51-56; Luke 12:47-48; John 1:12; John 3:16, 36; John 4:8-42; John 12:12-26; John 14:6; Acts 1:8; Acts 4:12; Acts 10:1-8; Acts 34-36; Acts 14:16-17; Acts 17:22-31; Romans 1:18-24; Romans 2:1-16; Romans 10:9-21; Romans 11:33-35; I Corinthians 3:11; I Corinthians 12:3; I Timothy 2:4-5; II Peter 3:9; Revelation 20:15. 

18.  Christs Final Triumph

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ will return triumphantly at the end of this age to destroy all evil powers, condemn all who have rejected Christ to eternal punishment, and unite believers with Christ to reign forever with God in glory

Matthew 24:29-31; Matthew 25:13; Mark 13:32-37; Luke 16:9; Luke 23:43; John 14:1-3; Acts 2:17; Romans 8:18-22; I Corinthians 3:13-15; I Corinthians 15:26; II Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 1:23; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Thessalonians 5:1-11; II Thessalonians 1:5-12; II Thessalonians 2:1- 12; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:2; Hebrews 9:26-28; I Peter 1:20; I Peter 4:7; I John 2:18; I John 3:2-3; Revelation 19:17-21; Revelation 20:7-15; Revelation 21-22.