Theology is the study of the Bible that seeks to discover what the biblical writers, under divine guidance, believed, described, and taught in the context of their own times.
Consider the following theological positions as plotted on continuums. When churches don’t pick one or the other end of a continuum, they are considered to be seeking to hold both in a healthy (dynamic, prayerful, studied, dialogical) tension.
It appears that, currently, Sunridge is solidly Evangelical (historically orthodox), with both Dispensationalists and Covenantalists, we are Non-Charismatic, Continuationists, living in a healthy tension of Calvinism and Arminianism, and we are historically Complementarian. What does all this mean?
Check out the following concise definitions of theological terms…
- Moralism– The anti-gospel; seeking to achieve growth, sanctification, or “Christian maturity” through self-effort. The basic structure comes down to the belief that the gospel can be reduced to improvements in behavior. It is as if salvation is by grace but that growth in Christ is due to maintaining a (NT) moral code.
- Fundamentalism– Baptist editor Curtis Lee Laws coined the term in 1920 to designate Christians who were ready “to do battle royal for the Fundamentals.” Laws borrowed the term from the title of a series of essays published between 1910 and 1915 called The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth, reacting to liberal theology and militantly asserting the inerrancy of the Bible. While the focus on the fundamentals is admirable, in the last 40 years Fundamentalism has come to be associated with moralism.
- Evangelical– The movements and denominations that sprung forth from a series of revivals that swept the North Atlantic Anglo-American world in the 18th and early 19th Key figures associated with these revivals included the itinerant English evangelist George Whitefield (1715-1770); the founder of Methodism, John Wesley (1703-1791); and American Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758). These revivals were particularly responsible for the rise of the Baptists and Methodists from obscure sects to prominent denominations.
- Liberal– The theology of liberal Christianity became prominent in the 19th and 20th The style of biblical hermeneutics is not considered a collection of factual statements, but instead an anthology that documents the human authors’ beliefs and feelings about God at the time of its writing—within a historical or cultural context.
- Dispensational– A 19th-century theological development that sees God as structuring His relationship with humankind through several stages (dispensations) of revelation. Dispensationalists believe that the nation of Israel is distinct from the Christian Church and that God has yet to fulfill His promises to national Israel. As a system, dispensationalism is rooted in the writings of John Nelson Darby (1800–1882) and propagated through works such as The Scofield Reference Bible. Additionally, the theology consists of a distinctive “end times” perspective, known as premillennialism and a “pretribulation rapture.” In other areas of theology, dispensationalists hold to a wide range of beliefs within the evangelical and fundamentalist spectrum.
- Covenantal– Belief that God has structured His relationship with humanity by covenants rather than dispensations. Old Covenants (OT) and the New Covenant (NT). These covenants are not new tests, but are rather differing administrations of the single, overarching covenant of grace. Adam sinned and broke the initial (old) covenant, and thereby subjected all humanity to the penalty for covenant-breaking, which is condemnation. God in His mercy instituted the “covenant of grace,” through Jesus Christ, which is the promise of redemption and eternal life to those who would believe in Him.
- Charismatic– Describes the 20th century and ongoing international, cross-denominational/non-denominational Christian movement in which individual, historically mainstream congregations adopted beliefs and practices similar to Pentecostals. Foundational to the movement is the belief that Christians may be “baptized in” the Holy Spirit as a second experience subsequent to salvation and that it will be evidenced by manifestations of the Holy Spirit including the “gift of tongues.”
- Non-Charismatic– The belief that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not a “second blessing” subsequent to conversion, but is inseparable from conversion and a once-for-all experience that involves one’s permanent identification with Jesus and His Church.
- Calvinism– The theological system associated with the Reformer John Calvin that emphasizes the sovereign rule of God over all things as reflected in its understanding of Scripture, God, humanity, salvation, and the Church. Calvinism refers to the Five Points of doctrine regarding salvation, which make up the acrostic T.U.L.I.P.
- Arminianism– A school of theology based on the teachings of Dutch theologian Jacob Arminius emphasizing free will, meaning our choices are free from God’s predetermination. “Free will theists” hold that libertarian freedom is essential for moral responsibility.
- Complementarian– The theological view that men and women have different yet complementary biblically prescribed roles and responsibilities in marriage, family life, and church leadership. Complementarians view women’s roles in church ministry as distinctive from men, holding to the “mystery” of mutual submission, male headship, and sacrificial love conveyed in Ephesians 5:19-33. This view is expressed through the practice of male lead pastors and elders.
- Egalitarian– The theological view that not only are all people equal before God in their personhood, but there are no gender-based limitations of what functions or roles each can fulfill in the home, church, or society – viewing Galatians 3:28 as a hinge-verse that changes the historical role of women in the Church.
 A range or a scale.
 The way or “lens” that is used to interpret the Bible.
 Premillennialism teaches that the Second Coming will occur before a literal thousand-year reign of Christ from Jerusalem upon the earth.
 The Church will be taken off the earth before the tribulation in preparation for Christ’s 2nd Coming.
 Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, Perseverance of the saints.