I recently had the pleasure of going through Michael Reeves’ engaging history of the Reformation, a book entitled The Unquenchable Flame. I bring this up because he made a passing comment about Luther that struck me as being in the highest degree relevant to our times. He said in effect that when God’s appointed moment for real reformation came, Luther was the sluice gate that lifted, releasing a torrent of truth. He became a geyser of goodness. He wrote, and he wrote, and he preached, and he wrote.
And it seems to me that this is one of the distinctive characteristics of genuine reformation. This is because reformers have something to say, and they are hot to say it.
“Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
Acts 5:28 (KJV)
So you may have noticed this already, but an awful lot of content is coming out of Moscow these days, and we hope in the days to come that we might be enabled to step it up a bit. I say “step it up a bit,” but what I mean to say is that we hope to step it up “a lot.” This is because so many things have completely unraveled over the last few generations, and so many of these disasters were made possible through ill-advised compromises by the evangelicals, that is necessary to go back over everything. We need to revisit everything, and make sure that we are holding fast to the faith once delivered to the saints. This is something that the church is summoned to do. We must do it, or we perish.
“If the foundations be destroyed, What can the righteous do?”
Psalm 11:3 (KJV)
There are a number of things we believe here in Moscow that are not distinctive at all. In other words, these doctrines are part of our shared inheritance with all Christians. But please note, these are not just things we say or recite, but rather things we believe. Every Lord’s Day, we say the Apostles Creed together, the only exceptions being those occasional Sundays when we confess the Nicene Creed and the Definition of Chalcedon.
We are Trinitarian Christians, in other words. Hear, o Israel, the Lord our God is one, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The second person of the Trinity was sent into the world to take on human flesh, which He did. He lived a perfect, sinless life, which our human authorities found intolerable, so they crucified Him. He was buried in a grave, and rose from the dead on the third day. After instructing His disciples to wait for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, He ascended into Heaven, where He was crowned with glory and honor, and was given full and complete royal authority over the Pacific Northwest, along with everywhere else.
Because we are biblical absolutists, we want to live our lives as though we actually believe this to be true. The Bible is the Word of God, and we want to treat it like it is the Word of God.
Out of all the things we believe, these things are the most potent because they represent the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we are not ashamed of the gospel—it is the power of God for salvation, to everyone who believes. The important thing to note here is that we believe these things in our lives. We do not just believe them “on paper,” or “in the liturgy.” We believe them.
What We Reject
Actual belief in this gospel means that we reject certain debilitating compromises that some Christians have unfortunately made. We do not say that that those Christians who have made these compromises are unsaved, but we do say that these compromises are why the church today has been so inept and powerless in the face of the secular jihad that we are currently facing. While there are many who want to say “you can be a Christian and also believe thus and such,” when it comes to consistent Christian witness, we believe the following doctrines must be rejected, root and branch.
We reject Darwin, and all his works. The world is here because God made it, and put it here. This goes for the ground beneath our feet, and the stars above our heads. God spoke, and it was done. Over the course of six days it was done, and we rejoice in the goodness of His exquisite creation. If you can look at the beauty and intricate craftsmanship that goes into a slug, and believe that it came about as the end result of mindless mutations over millennia, then our prayer for you is that God would take away the spiritual cataracts on the eyes of your heart.
We reject every form of woke, and any kind of accommodation that tries to rhyme with woke. The diseased definitions of justice that emanate from the envious today are definitions straight from the Pit, and that is why they smell like sulfur. Justice is a beautiful lady, blindfolded, with scales in one hand, and a sword in the other. She does not need that descriptive adjective social, which transforms the whole thing into a rancid grievance-fest. The source of so much bitterness and rancor in the church today is the result of trying to define justice apart from the Word of God.
We are dedicated to a rejection of every aspect of the sexual revolution. This obviously includes sexual behavior, including all the alphabet nonsense, along with whatever that + business is supposed to mean, but not forgetting to reject any old school heterosexual fornication. But an essential part of this means a return to a biblical view of sex roles. Men were created by God to do certain things for their wives and children—fundamentally, in order to protect them and provide for them. The woman’s role is to glorify what he gives to her. It is not possible for us to abandon our assigned sexual roles in marriage and at the same time to maintain God’s standards for our sexual behavior. If the fire is not kept in the fireplace, it will burn the house down, as we are seeing.
We are opposed to every form of dualism, by which we mean the sort of workarounds that enable Christians to affirm the lordship of Christ in theory while denying it in certain roped-off realms that are held in reserve for the devil. But Christ is Lord of both Heaven and earth. He is not the Lord of the upper story alone. Neither is He Lord in the church, while the world can go on its merry way. No. He is the Desire of Nations.
It naturally follows that we hold that secularism is a dishonest pretense. It is not possible for human societies to function apart from a transcendental grounding. Idols which pretend to transcendence can hold things together for a brief time, and the unique contribution of secularism was that it managed to hold things together, for a time, without any appeal to the transcendent. This was therefore thought to be a new era. This venture only succeeded for as long as it did because of the residual moral capital that still existed in the societies attempting it, a moral capital inherited from more faithful Christian times. But like the prodigal son, who eventually ran out of money, our secular societies in the West are now officially bankrupt. It is time we acknowledged this frankly, and call for our leaders to return to the Father, submitting to the lordship of Jesus Christ. We say this because we are servants of the one of whom it is said “of the increase of His government there will be no end.”
What Is Distinctive
One of the nicknames for us is kirkers. Kirk is the Scottish word for church, and once upon a time domain names were limited in the number of characters allowed. Christ Church was too long, and so we shortened it to Christ Kirk, and at some point I thought we should call our people kirkers, which caught on. So what do kirkers, as kirkers, hold?
There are a few things that are distinctive about what we are teaching, but these distinctions are all within the mainstream of orthodox Christianity. Not all orthodox Christians hold to these doctrines, but all of us who hold to them here are orthodox Christians.
If you want to place us on an ecclesiastical map, we are more or less Presbyterians. Our church’s statement of faith is the original Westminster Confession. But when I tell people we are Presbyterians, I hasten to add that we are the kind who believe the Bible. Presbyterians, not Lesbyterians. There are a goodly number of Reformed Baptists who have joined us here, and they are most welcome—as our church has worked out a baptismal cooperation arrangement. But they do have to put up with our very regular practice of baptizing babies, which, in addition to being solidly biblical, is pretty darn cute.
We hold to an optimistic postmillennial eschatology. This means that we believe that the kingdom of this world have become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever. The earth will be as full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. The Lord has spoken it, and He will do it. He is doing it. It is happening as we speak. The fact that the wheels are coming off the great secular experiment does not dismay us. That part was anticipated.
We are Calvinists, believing that absolutely everything that happens to us comes to us from the loving hand of our Father in Heaven. We are the children of the one who freely and unalterably ordains whatsoever comes to pass. But, it is important to add, a right understanding of these doctrines of grace means that we must be what we call Chestertonian Calvinists. This is good news, not severe news. Well, it is severe news for our sins, but apart from that, it is liberation into gladness and joy.
This is obviously the kind of thing where I could keep writing for a while—like I said earlier, there is a lot of content coming—but let me finish with this. We are also exuberantly Kuyperian. This means we believe there is no aspect or sphere of life that is outside the authority of Jesus Christ. He is not only the Lord of nations, but also the Lord of barbecue, the Lord of blues, the Lord of oil painting, the Lord of auto mechanics, the Lord of dance, the Lord of public policy, the Lord of worship, the Lord of lawn mowing, the Lord of brewing beer, the Lord of novel writing, the Lord of public health, the Lord of presidents, the Lord of county commissioners, and, not to be tiresome, the Lord of everything else.
If you read through all of the above carefully, you should have a pretty good framework for organizing all the content that we hope to be generating. Did I mention that we want to produce a lot more content?. As we used to say in the Navy, stand by for heavy rolls.