Composing a Doctrinal Statement [section 9 — Moral Issues]

Composing a doctrinal statement (or any other essential documents) can be one of the most arduous (but crucial) projects undertaken by a church. In this series, I’m sharing my own doctrinal statement in an attempt to provide a helpful example of a detailed statement that is worded positively, but articulated precisely enough to exclude certain theological positions for the protection and unity of the church.


Section 9 — Moral Issues [1]

Euthanasia: We believe that the direct taking of an innocent human life is a moral evil regardless of the motivation. Life is a gift of God and must be respected from fertilization until natural death. An act or omission which causes death merely in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder contrary to the will of God. However, discontinuing medical procedures that merely prolong death, rather than prolong life, can be a legitimate refusal of over-zealous treatment.

(Exodus 20:13; 23:7; Matthew 5:21; Acts 17:28)

Abortion: We believe that human life begins at fertilization [2], and that the unborn child is a living human being. All human life is sacred, because we are created in the image of God. Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of God-given human life, and, therefore, is murder contrary to the will of God.

(Genesis 9:6; Exodus 21:22–25; Psalm 51:5; 139:13–16; Isaiah 49:1, 5; Jeremiah 1:5; 20:15–18; Luke 1:41–44)


Notes:

1] Remember from the explanation of my philosophy of doctrinal statements that I believe one of the components of a doctrinal statement should be to include those topics that have become hot-button issues in the surrounding culture, which includes moral issues like abortion, euthanasia, sexuality, marriage, and divorce.

2] The word “fertilization” is probably a better choice today than “conception,” because conception is generally meant to refer specifically to natural fertilization in the womb, whereas the more general term “fertilization” can include what is done in a laboratory.

Composing a Doctrinal Statement [sections 4&5 — on Angels and Mankind]

Composing a doctrinal statement (or any other essential documents) can be one of the most arduous (but crucial) projects undertaken by a church. In this series, I’m sharing my own doctrinal statement, a section (or two) at a time, in an attempt to provide a helpful example of a detailed statement that is worded positively, but articulated precisely enough to exclude certain theological positions for the protection and unity of the church.


Section 4 — Angels

We believe that God created an innumerable company of spirit-beings commonly called angels. Although they are a higher order of creation than humanity, angels were created within space and time, and are not to be worshiped themselves, but are created to serve God and to worship Him.

(Exodus 20:11; Nehemiah 9:6; Daniel 9:20–23; 10:1–14; Luke 2:9–14; Hebrews 1:6–7, 14; 2:6–7; Revelation 5:11–14; 19:10; 22:8–9)

Fallen Angels: We believe that Satan is a created angel, and the author of sin. He incurred the judgment of God by rebelling against his Creator, and introducing sin into the human race by his temptation of Eve. He is the open and declared enemy of God and mankind. He is the prince of this world, who was defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and he will be eternally punished in the lake of fire. Numerous angels (also called demons or unclean spirits) followed Satan in his original rebellion against God, and will share in his eternal judgement.

(Genesis 3:1–5; Isaiah 14:12–17; Ezekiel 28:11–19; Matthew 4:1–11; 25:41; 2 Corinthians 4:3–4; Revelation 12:1–14; 20:10)

Section 5 — Mankind

We believe that Adam and Eve were created in the image of God, unfallen, and to enjoy fellowship with their Creator. By voluntary transgression, man fell from his sinless estate. All humanity sinned in Adam. As a result, all men and women are born spiritually separated from God and share in Adam’s fallen nature. All people are sinners by nature (inherently from Adam), and by choice (by individual thought and conduct), and, therefore, are under just condemnation without defense or excuse, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition by any strength or will of his own accord.

(Genesis 1:26–28; 3:1–6, 16–24; Psalm 51:5; Romans 1:18–32; 3:10–19; 5:12, 19)