Alliance Doctrinal Statement – A Critique

1. There is one God,(1) who is infinitely perfect,(2) existing eternally in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.(3) ([1] Deuteronomy 6:4, [2] Matthew 5:48, [3] Matthew 28:19)

**One God (agreed); Perfect being (I think this is a mis-quote about what Matt 5:48 says); existing in 3 persons (which by logic means 1 = 3 – and 2 of the 3 are Spirit beings). I am not totally sure about the Trinity idea (as of yet) – I have some questions about it – either way I agree – our focus needs to be at least 2-fold (Jesus’ teachings which point us towards God).

2. Jesus Christ is the true God & the true man. (4) He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. (5) He died upon the cross, the Just for the unjust, (6) as a substitutionary sacrifice, (7) and all who believe in Him are justified on the ground of His shed blood. (8) He arose from the dead according to the Scriptures. (9) He is now at the right hand of Majesty on high as our great High Priest. (10) He will come again to establish His kingdom, righteousness and peace. (11) ([4] Philippians 2:6–11, [5] Luke 1:34–38, [6] I Peter 3:18, [7] Hebrews 2:9, [8] Romans 5:9, [9] Acts 2:23–24, [10] Hebrews 8:1, [11] Matthew 26:64)

**This is a decent over-view of Jesus’ life – actually leaves out his whole ministry while on earth but I am sure that’s a simple mistake on their part – actually they go right from birth to death in this statement (just how important is the ‘now’ exactly? 0% devoted to it in Jesus’ life). True God and true man…hmmm…this makes little sense also and most Christians themselves cannot logically figure this out about Jesus (actually they use his god-ness as an excuse to not follow the teachings at times). If he was sharing God and human characteristics at the same time – he was not fully human then (by our standard anyways) – which isn’t all that bad and bothers me very little. But what if he was fully man empowered by God’s Spirit – thus making him fully man? Either way, this is inconsequential – what is important is the teachings.

3. The Holy Spirit is a divine person, (12) sent to dwell, guide, teach, empower the believer, (13) and convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. (14) ([12] John 14:15–18, [13] John 16:13, Acts 1:8, [14] John 16:7–11)

**This is a new twist for me even – spirit = person? So if the spirit dwells in someone that can mean they are 2 people? Why can’t they just be honest about this instead of trying to nail down a set belief – no one knows how the spirit truly works (John 3:8) or what it truly is? I am sure we have limited knowledge in this field of study and about God’s spirit.

4. The Old & New Testaments, inerrant as originally given, were verbally inspired by God and are a complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men. They constitute the divine and only rule of Christian faith and practice. (15) ([15] 2 Peter 1:20–21, 2 Timothy 3:15–16)

**I actually like the Alliance’s verbal wording here about inerrancy and inspiration – they seem to be saying they do not support the idea of ‘no errors’. I think I am fairly close to this stand in general and I see very little problem with this statement.

5. Man was originally created in the image and likeness of God:(16) he fell through disobedience, incurring thereby both physical and spiritual death. All men are born with a sinful nature,(17) are separated from the life of God, and can be saved only through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ.(18) The portion of the unrepentant and unbelieving is existence forever in conscious torment;(19) and that of the believer, in everlasting joy and bliss.(20) ([16] Genesis 1:27, [17] Romans 3:23, [18] 1 Corinthians15:20–23, [19] Revelation 21:8, [20] Revelation 21:1–4)

**Oh brother, where to start here. I think Romans 3:23 is mis-interpreted here to be honest. What does spiritual death mean anyways? The idea of hell is for the unbelieving (which chalks it up to ‘what you believe’ about Jesus and ‘not about living’ out his teachings). Man and woman are created by God in Genesis BTW (not just man). I love how the faithful ‘believers’ are totally rewarded while the ‘unbelievers’ are totally tormented – now that’s justice (lol)! This is long over-due for a re-write.

6. Salvation has been provided through Jesus Christ for all men; and those who repent and believe in Him are born again of the Holy Spirit, receive the gift of eternal life, and become the children of God.(21) ([21] Titus 3:4–7)

**It’s Jesus the Christ (Messiah) – this was not his last name. Why not use ‘follow him’ as the pattern instead of the idea of ‘believing’ (the idea of believing can be mis-interpretated so easily)? if salvation is ‘for all men’ (what about women?) – then isn’t it their right by birth to be a part of this kingdom and they have to choose to leave it? I am not in disagreeance with the statement so much as I am not sure about the theology.

7. It is the will of God that each believer should be filled with the Holy Spirit and be sanctified wholly,(22) being separated from sin and the world and fully dedicated to the will of God, thereby receiving power for holy living and effective service.(23) This is both a crisis and a progressive experience wrought in the life of the believer subsequent to conversion.24 ([22] 1 Thessalonians 5:23, [23] Acts 1:8, [24] Romans 6:1–14)

**So here’s the pattern: conversion, sanctification, and seperation – this can be so easily used in such a way as not to seek God’s will (namely how much seperation we talking here and how much in each area of our lives?). This is seen as a ‘crisis’? How so? Cause they don’t want to say salvation even after recieved is not altogether what it means (saved always)? The progressive idea I am all down with – I think as we go we grow in life – continually refining our faith – but if that’s a crisis – then isn’t growth a bad thing (wouldn’t accepting this statement be good enough and ask no questions about it)?

8. Provision is made in the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ for the healing of the mortal body.(25) Prayer for the sick and anointing with oil are taught in the Scriptures and are privileges for the Church in this present age.(26) ([25] Matthew 8:16–17, [26] James 5:13–16)

**Healing – now there’s a slippery issue. What if this is all done and someone does not get healed? Their bad or bad theology? Shouldn’t we be pointing people to the hospitals if they are sick 1st (we have this privelege also), then maybe prayer afterwards? I am all for healing but as for this being in the doctrinal statement – this can equal big mistake.

9. The Church consists of all those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, are redeemed through His blood, and are born again of the Holy Spirit. Christ is the Head of the Body, the Church, (27) which has been commissioned by Him to go into all the world as a witness, preaching the gospel to all nations.(28) The local church is a body of believers in Christ who are joined together for the worship of God, for edification through the Word of God, for prayer, fellowship, the proclamation of the gospel, and observance of the ordinances of Baptism & the Lord’s Supper.(29) ([27] Ephesians 1:22–23, [28] Matthew 28:19–20, [29] Acts 2:41–47)

**First off, the church in no way resembles that community from Acts and I can name a variety of things but firstly – they were communalists (vs.44 – 45) – not capitalist (tracking numbers and marketing – lol). Secondly, Jesus in Matthew (and even the Acts passage) mentions ‘observe all that I commanded you’ – and this is spreading the ‘gospel’. Oh we are witnesses alright – but why is preaching the main way of witnessing? Isn’t living the morals the best witness (which is clearly mentioned by Jesus and the Apostles)? Which church is Christ’s church? What if all the things in point #29 are being done but the people in no way represent the teachings they claim to follow…then what? Is that still a church?

10. There shall be a bodily resurrection of the just and of the unjust; for the former, a resurrection unto life;(30) for the latter, a resurrection unto judgment.(31) ([30] 1 Corinthians 15:20–23, [31] John 5:28–29)

**I agree (more or less).

11. The second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is imminent(32) and will be personal, visible, and premillennial.(33) This is the believer’s blessed hope and is a vital truth which is an incentive to holy living and faithful service.(34) ([32] Hebrews 10:37, [33] Luke 21:27, [34] Titus 2:11–14)

**Does imminent mean in the apostles lifetime or just ours? If so I can hardly define imminent as 1900 years of waiting. Why is this an incentive to ‘live a better life’? Isn’t the idea we are helping our fellow humanity to achieve a better life incentive enough?

This is the church I am a part of and I totally disagree with the scripture pasting they do to form a centralized belief system (isn’t that wrong to do?). I think their system is fairly decent but then imagine asking 1/2 the question I did and see what kind of re-writing they might need to do. This is part 1 of an on-going series.

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Alliance Doctrinal Statement – A Critique

  1. This is good. If we don’t question, how will we ever know? Besides, anytime we allow the church to step between us and God, then whatever we suffer is not the churches fault but our own. We simply must think about our own relationship with God and come to our own understanding of truth.

    I’ll hit on one point only. For me the statement all God and all man is simply a man who obeys God at all times, the teachings become flesh, so as to be the very instrument of God upon the earth. That man was only Jesus, the Second Adam, the prototype of what I am growing to be in Christ. Idiosyncratic? Maybe, but I know why I believe all that I believe and more than just knowing, I hope it is demonstrated in the way that I live. Living the teachings of Jesus is of more value than knowledge. One of my favorite verses, “Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.” None of it does any good if it doesn’t incite us to love.

    I appreciate, more than you probably know, your simple stance on the teachings of Jesus. It edifies me.:0)

    Pam

  2. You have guts, brother. To question what is basically the accepted doctrine of the Christian church will put you at odds with just about every church out their. oh well, come to think of it Jesus was at odds too…..hmmm….

  3. I think for the biggest most galring weakness of this Alliance belief structure is it does not make you a better/nicer person at all – not does it really mention a single one of Jesus’ teachings (ex: love your neighbor).

    This belief system – which you have to ‘believe’ to be an Alliance minister – is all about ‘what you believe’ as opposed to ‘what you do’ – which in essenece is a huge fall-away for the gospel teachings. It’s the problem Heather points out about Christianity becomes a religion of ‘we are as good as we believe’ and ‘not as we do’. This is a huge problem in the faith and it needs to be given some serious address. I actually think the 11 points of th Alliance say nothing to what they actually ‘stand for’ – what it does say is what theology they follow (in some senses) but says nothing about their value system.

    Check the 11 points – is believing them going to make you a better person? No.

  4. I don’t think we will be a better person unless Christ is revealed to us and we have a reason to want to be ‘better’. There has to be a change in us, a spiritual awakening to God. (I define spiritual death as being dead to God or asleep concerning Him). However, we can become so entwined with our questions that we far remove ourselves from the real world regarding our faith and it can become a kind of virtual world where we find emotional escape but it lacks the kind of rubber meets the road impact that I find to be the reality of Jesus Christ. On the other hand, we can be so comsumed with our own good works that we’ve no time for the development of our own relationship with God through Christ. Both can become relgion that takes the place of Christ in our life. There is balance in maintaining an apropriate and useful walk with Christ and I’m soooo thankful for the forgiveness I have in Him for all of the times that I stumble at it.

    Lately, my conviction is…from the ivory tower, I must come down.

    Pam

  5. **Check the 11 points – is believing them going to make you a better person? No. **

    Gregory Boyd recently wrote a book where he said that heretics are those with the “wrong beliefs” and it’s interesting that no one ever calls a Christian a heretic because the Christian loved too little. And yet that should be the worse kind of heresy, because part of following Jesus, however one defines Jesus, is loving as he loves. And that’s a lot harder than holding to any sort of belief system.

    I guess my biggest problem with any sort of creeds laid out is that they tell, they don’t show. All of those on the list aren’t really something you can see action. There are people who upon meeting them I knew they were Christians because of their actions (and there were others who were just really good people). And I’ve meet people who would hold to this list exactly, and yet be as non-Christlike as possible.

    **The portion of the unrepentant and unbelieving is existence forever in conscious torment;(19) and that of the believer, in everlasting joy and bliss**

    My biggest problem with this statement is that it reduces Christianity to a rewards system: “Believe as we do and you, too, can have everlasting joy and bliss!” It’s like handing out party favors, and Christianity should be so much more than that (and is, for a lot of people).

    **This is the church I am a part of and I totally disagree with the scripture pasting they do to form a centralized belief system (isn’t that wrong to do?). **

    I would disagree with the Bible-pasting as well. Many say that the portions non-Christians have problems with (and even Christians themselves) are because the texts are taken out of context, and make sense as a whole. Yet to form this statement, they pretty much just took one verse out of many. So you can’t do it when saying something “bad” but it’s perfectly okay when doing something like this.

    I mean, Romans 3:23 ties back to all the Tanakh that Paul quotes, and yet you’d never get a sense of that here. And those verses are important to the 3:23 statement. Plus, it doesn’t say all are born with a sinful nature, it says that all have sinned and fallen short.

    I could pretty much do that with all the verses. 🙂

  6. Hi Heather,

    I always think of heresy as ‘hear say’, just ideas and probably many of my own. I’m an old bird and I’m not strubbling at understanding too much of the Bible these days but I still struggle at bringing myself into submission to God and just loving people as I should. It is better when I don’t struggle to do it and just let Jesus in me love them and Christ has been formed in me by a confluence of all that I’ve leanred in scripture and experienced in my life but either without Him is meaninless. I guess, without Him, I could do whatever I liked with scripture and it would matter but because of Him, I somehow find myself growing into them. I may begin by trying to fit them to my understanding but I end up being fitted to them.

    I still question though, and God is patient in showing me the answers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s