Introduction

I am of the opinion that what a man is and what he does will be completely affected by what he believes. So, my ordination paper will focus heavily on what I believe; my systematic theology. My intention is to write this paper so that the core of my essential beliefs that would be affecting a life of pulpit ministry would be summarized. I want it to be subject to the scrutiny and refinement of other brothers in the Lord. Additionally, my intention is to so construct it, that the brothers and sisters I am privileged to serve at Reformed by Grace Baptist Church may also read it with benefit. Thus, it is written with this broad audience in mind.  Years ago, I reviewed dozens of faith statement of churches as I was (in concert with the two other elders I was serving with), looking for a statement that reflected our doctrinal distinctives: five point Calvinist, pre-millennial with a pre-tribulational rapture, cessationist, baptistic, with a high view of inerrancy and, of primary importance, a clear, accurate understanding of the Gospel-affirming sovereignty of God with the Lordship implications inherent in it. I found that the faith statement of Grace Community Church was the closest that I could find in articulating what I have come to believe. As such, with their permission, we posted it as our faith statement, with some minor alterations of wording, as we began a church planting work in the Vermilion area.  In writing this paper, I again found that the statement served as a core and framework for expressing what I believe. You will find my statement is essentially that document with minor changes and corroborative additions. So, from the beginning, I would like to acknowledge that major contribution of Grace Community Church. Additionally, I have benefited from various sermons from men like Dr. John MacArthur, Dr. John Piper, Dr. R.C. Sproul, reaching back to Jonathon Edwards, John Owen and many others. Segments of their teaching have made their way into my sermons and notes, often without footnote. I have also learned from systematic theologies and commentaries such as Grudem, Charnock, Culver, McCune, Ryrie and Adams. In this paper I have not utilized footnotes, but rather in advance acknowledge my debt to them as my instructors. Before I go on to affirm what I believe about God, salvation or angels, it is necessary for me to logically establish the truth presuppositions of the source of those beliefs. What a man believes about the Bible, and about truth as a concept will either pollute and spoil; or water and enrich every other area of human inquiry and study. So, I begin with what I believe about the Bible.

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Howard D. Brown :: March 13, 2014

Doctrinal Statement

Content

I. WHAT I BELIEVE ABOUT THE BIBLE

II. WHAT I BELIEVE ABOUT GOD

III. WHAT I BELIEVE ABOUT MAN

IV. WHAT I BELIEVE ABOUT SALVATION

WHAT I BELIEVE ABOUT THE CHURCH

VI. WHAT I BELIEVE ABOUT CHURCH LEADERSHIP

VII. WHAT I BELIEVE ABOUT CHURCH DISCIPLINE

VIII. WHAT I BELIEVE ABOUT CHURCH ORDINANCES

IX. WHAT I BELIEVE ABOUT SPIRITUAL GIFTS

X. WHAT I BELIEVE ABOUT ANGELS

WHAT I BELIEVE ABOUT DEATH

XII. WHAT I BELIEVE ABOUT THE FAITH THAT SAVES

XIII.  PERSONAL TESTIMONY AND MINISTRY