Recently I posted a portion of the biographical information I included in my statement of faith paper. The statement of faith was a requirement for my graduation from seminary as well as for my ordination through the North American Baptist Conference. Thankfully, much of the work I had to do for these two requirements overlapped, and I was able to use most of the work I did on this project for seminary throughout my ordination process.
Inasmuch as my statement of faith might benefit the church, I've decided to post portions of it here from time to time, starting with the "integrating motif" of my statement of faith. What is an integrating motif? An integrating motif is an overarching theme that unifies my theology. Or in other words, what is the big idea behind my theology? Find out below.
Having considered many of the great doctrines of the faith, and even those written about in subsequent posts, I have come to conclude that no doctrine has impacted my overall theology more than the doctrine of the sovereignty of God. Thus, I have endeavored to make this doctrine serve as the unifying thread throughout this statement of faith.
Sovereignty can generally be understood as referring to supreme power, and being free from any external control or influence. In reference to God, this means that God is the one who is ultimately sovereign, is the ultimate authority in the universe, possessing all power and control over the affairs of the universe, and is not swayed by any outside power to do other than he pleases. The assumption of this statement is that the identification of God as the sovereign of the universe is an essential, theologically unifying understanding.
In regards to theology, an understanding of the sovereignty of God aids the believer in understanding how and why God orders the affairs of the universe so as to bring about God's purposes in any and all realms of spiritual and physical life. And so the theology reflected in this statement of faith will follow those lines. All things in this statement assume that God is working and moving for his own purposes, to accomplish his own ends, according to his own will, for the sake of his own glory.
The goal of God's sovereignty is God's glory. That is, God so purposely ordains all matters to unchangeably come to pass for the sake of his glory, praise, and honor. God ordained the creation of the world for the sake of his glory (Isaiah 43.6-7); God created human kind and controls their affairs for the sake of his glory (Romans 9.17, 2 Kings 19.34); God maintains sovereignty over sin and its effects for his glory (Isaiah 43.25, Psalm 25.11, Romans 9.22-23, 1 Samuel 12.20-22); God sent his Son for the sins of the human race for the sake of his glory (John 7.18, 12.27-28, 17.1); God brings human beings to saving faith for the sake of his glory (Ephesians 2.5-8); God has revealed himself to human beings for the sake of his glory; God grows believers in holiness and spiritual maturity for his glory. The list goes on. Suffice it to say, all things that have been, are now, and will be, God has brought to pass so that he might take pleasure in all he has done.