Statement of Faith
I — Ron Kirk — align myself essentially with the historic Reformed Faith as identified in the great Creeds such as the Westminster Confession of Faith and others in every major point, except perhaps forms of relational government, in which he adopts the view of the American Pilgrim. This view differs significantly from a present-day Reformed view, in that it is essentially active in the world. The early American tradition uniquely refines many aspects of the Reformed faith with respect to relational government, particularly with respect to reciprocal authority, self-restraint, brotherly love and Christian care, Christian liberty, and the application of all life’s resources and spheres of activity to the Great Commission.
I believe the Bible to be inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God, uniquely capable as man’s rule of faith and practice.
The Holy Trinity
The Creator is One God manifest in the Three Persons of the Godhead, transcendent, immanent, omnipotent, omniscient, eternally self-existent, and completely just and good.
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father left His eternal throne to become man. He retained His Deity without intermixing the two natures, yet in perfect union. He died a vicarious death for the sins of those men called to receive the grace of Salvation and resurrection. He now rules and reigns at the right hand of the Father until His enemies are made His footstool and He returns for the final Resurrection. Jesus was miraculously born of a virgin through the Holy Spirit, lived a sinless life, performed miracles and preached the truth of salvation as related in the New Testament.
The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Godhead, whose role is the convicting of sin and the empowering of men by His might to believe, act and persevere in Christ. The power of the Holy Spirit is the means by which the Law of the Gospel is fulfilled in our hearts to be freed from the bondage of sin and to govern ourselves among men. Without Him, men are essentially powerless to resist sin or to practice overcoming faith.
Creation, Humanity, and Salvation
As a reflection of the Holy Trinity, everything in the created universe displays God’s infinity, God’s diversity, and God’s individuality. God created distinct individualities and, at once, maintains the identity and purpose of, and relationships between each, while He relates all into one purposeful whole. God created man in His own image.
Man rejected God’s original provision for man’s wholeness predicated upon a total and self-conscious dependence upon Him. This rejection through self-conscious disobedience led to the exceeding sinfulness of man’s nature and his fallen state. Thus, men all naturally live according to our deluded pride that personal judgment and self-will are supreme. Thus by nature, we all live in slavery to sin and death.
God has provided for man’s salvation, making man fit (justified) for restored relationship with the Father and mankind through Jesus Christ. I believe in the necessity of regeneration by the Holy Spirit for salvation and that men are justified on the single ground of faith in the shed blood of Christ, and only by God’s grace, through faith, are we saved and made new creatures by the Spirit.
Those not saved will fill their cup of wickedness in this life and, upon the just judgment of God, finally receive the absolute separation from God they always sought — a living death of torment, being eternally separated from God, which is to say, from everything good. We cannot understand God’s judgments, but we accept them, as both just and merciful.
Upon the work of the cross (“It is finished”), Christ has established His Kingdom among men. “All power and authority in heaven and on the earth are given to the Son.” This Kingdom reveals itself through the children of faith as a cumulative effect among believers (Psalm 110:1-3). The power of God into the salvation of many mutually increases understanding of grace and our mutual purpose. Thus, we come to an evermore and true knowledge of the truth of the Word of God in spirit and practice. Nonetheless, the struggle against sin will never be complete until He restores all things. This is the doctrine of Providence in history — a single story with definite purpose.
Called and saved by grace, men continue in grace as God sanctifies, prepares for eternity and gives works to walk in. Man’s role, upon the empowering of God is to act and to persevere in faith, a fruit of Salvation.
The Gospel planted in men’s hearts is the seed of every good work of God through men. The purpose of this work is both for the further spreading of the Gospel and, for building Christian character. The influence of Christian character is God’s means of conserving the human institutions which facilitate the continuing ability to spread the Gospel — stewardship of our resources is an essential part of the plan of God.
Knowledge and Correctibility
One extremely important aspect of my faith is the understanding of the need for the balance and self-correction through a systematic approach to repentance — a willingness to abide in fellowship with Jesus and learn from Him, and a willingness to stick to the narrow path that leads to life. As to balance, for example, we labor in faith, but God brings the increase. We have liberty in Christ, but we restrain it so as not to sin presumptuously. The Law is good, if used lawfully — the Law is for the lawless. Thus, we discipline ourselves and children (undertake practice under the right level of government) in anticipation of Christian liberty and mastery, but never discipline for control’s sake. Every human endeavor ought self-consciously spring from the Two Commandments of Christ in both philosophy and practice, leading to wholeness, liberty and grace.
Covenants, the Church and Civil Society
Covenants, which are essentially commitments based in love before and with God, represent the essential principle of relationship among men. The highest expression of the faith is love — that is the voluntary and sacrificial union of the saints one to another. This expression finds itself mainstreamed and normalized, as the Lord’s ways become practice, practice habit, and habit institution.
The church — the organic body of Christ — is both the objective of God and His primary means to accomplish His purposes toward eternity. The local, organized church is the primary educational institution of the greater church and is of central importance (Ephesians 4:11-12).
Condemnation of lack of justice in Israel and the nations constitutes one of the most consistent themes the Old Testament prophets (e.g., Psalm 82; Isaiah 1:21; Micah 6:8). One word in each of the Old and Testaments is variously translated justice or righteousness but means both justice and righteousness. Righteousness in English suggests personal holiness, an internal quality of the soul. Justice in English suggests the right treatment of one’s neighbor — action. Confusion over, or undue preference regarding, the dual meaning in Hebrew and Greek for the words meaning justice and righteousness has caused Christians to prefer internal holiness against the outworking responsibility given to man through Noah (Genesis 9:6) for justice in the world. Thus, increasingly Christians have given over society to evil doers. We must return, in this regard, to our Biblical responsibility. This does not mean revolution or grasping for power which the Bible condemns, but merely exercising the power of the Holy Spirit to be salt and light in society. The purpose of civil government, according to Moses is to “put away evil from among you” (Deuteronomy 17:7), so as to limit its destructive influence.