BCBSR Theology

The following are the basic Theological positions held by Steve Amato, the primary author of the BCBSR, based upon his own personal Bible study. His theology is "Berean" (Acts 17:11), holding no allegiance to any denomination nor any post-Biblical theologian.
 
 
Issue
The BCBSR Position 
Original Sin 
We physically die because Adam sinned and we inherit the propensity to sin. (Rom 5,7) But God does not hold people responsible for things they have no control over.
Imputed Guilt In particular, God does not impute guilt to the innocent - meaning that God does not reckon guilty those who haven't done anything wrong. Guilt is imputed to the guilty. 

Jesus in particular was not imputed to be guilty but rather was the innocent sacrificial lamb of God "a lamb without blemish and without spot" 1Pet 1:19 who died for the sins of the guilty. 

"For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself." Heb 7:26,27

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust 1Peter 3:18 

Imputed Righteousness Though it is unjust, and therefore not in the nature of God, to impute guilt to the innocent, it is the nature of grace and forgiveness to impute righteousness to the wicked (Romans 4:5-8) It is a logical fallacy - a non sequitur argument - to say that if God imputes righteousness to the guilty then He must also logically impute guilt to the innocent. God is righteousness and does not do such a wicked thing.
Human Will 
Semi-autonomous from God, being influenced by the Holy Spirit, but also influenced by the sinful nature, which itself is influenced by external factors, as the devil and other sinful people and the environment. 

Our freedom is implied by commands and responsibility resulting in judgment. (as opposed to a "puppet" model)
Grace of God 
Synergism (Cooperation with the Holy Spirit) is involved to be saved. (Acts 2:40) Grace is resistable for those not born of God. But once born of God, saving grace is permanent. (1John 3:9,10; 1John 2:19)
Predestination 
On a Categorical basis according to God's decree. 

(If you fit in the category of "believers") (Eph 1:5-11) 
But on an Individual basis rooted in God's foreknowledge. (1Pet 1:2) 
(Whether He foresees you will enter that category of "believers" at some time in your life)  (Rom 8:29)
Faith
Faith is developed synergistically (in cooperation with the Holy Spirit) before regeneration (being born of God). This is, along with a number of other points is contrary to Calvinistic (Augustinian) theoogy
Regeneration 
The term "regeneration" I apply as meaning "the process of being born of God". This is monergistic. Having believed, the Holy Spirit accomplishes regeneration apart from human effort. (John 1:12, Eph 1:13,14, Eph 2:10)
Atonement 
Christ's death is a substitutionary sacrifice that God graciously provided and judiciously accepted in place of a penalty being paid by the sinner. (Rom 3:25)
Extent of the Atonement 
Intended for all (1John 2:2)
Application of the Atonement 
To all who believe. The atonement deals with the forgiveness of sins. The Holy Spirit does not apply the atonement, but rather one is automatically reckoned righteous in the sense of being forgiven of sin, having believed in Christ with salvific faith. (Rom 3:22-24)
Order of Salvation 
Hearing the message, believing & repenting (turning and putting faith in Christ go hand in hand as do accepting Christ both as Savior and Lord), justification (forgiveness of sins), regeneration (being born of God), sanctification (developing righteous behavior), glorification. (Ephesian 1:13, John 1:12)
Sanctification 
Inevitable for those born of God but not perfected until after death. (Meaning the removal of the sinful nature is not accomplished in this life time, but automatic after death for children of God) 

In this life time, those born of God are incapable of living a lifestyle of sin or of hating other children of God in any lifestyle manner because of the transforming nature of the regeneration.  (1John 3:9,10)
Perseverance  
Those who have been born of God, never lose their salvation status, but continue (as in lifestyle or professional sense) in faith and in a living consistent with that faith to the end. (Heb 3:14; 1John 2:19; 1John 3:9,10; 1John 5:3-5)
Covenant Theology Throughout history God has established two categories of covenants with mankind - Grace and Law. These were both present throughout history, but were revealed to different degrees and in different manners as history progressed.

The basic principle behind the covenant of grace is that one is graciously reckoned righteous by faith.
The basic principle behind the covenant of law is that one is reckoned righteous through obedience to a set of commands.

The covenant of law never actually justified anyone, but God used it to bring conviction of sin and by doing so directed people to the covenant of grace. For this reason the covenant of law is often presented beside the covenant of grace. For example in the early chapters of Romans Paul speaks of the covenant of law so as to bring conviction of sin so as to prepare his readers to hear the covenant of grace. And Jesus does the same, as in responding to the rich man of Luke 18:18+. And this resolves many supposed contradictions that some dispensationalists read into such texts.

More precisely I hold more or less to New Covenant Theology. In accordance with Hebrews 10:16,17 the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:33,34 is for Christians.

Dispensational Theology God revealed his covenants of grace and law in different ways to different degrees at different times but they always maintained their essential nature
Law of Moses A covenant of Law which justified no one, but from which Christians can derive applications as one walks according to the Spirit.
Baptism and Communion Ordinances rather than Sacraments. These ordinances are to be carried out in obedience to Christ's command and are symbolic of our relationship with Christ, but do not of themselves confer sanctifying grace. These are affirmations and proclamations of one's faith, not occultic magical rituals. Baptismal regeneration is not consistent with a proper understanding of scripture. Infant baptism is also unscriptural. Justification is by faith and not by genetics. 

Compare to Calvinism & Arminianism

Compare to Arminian & Lutheranism on the 5 points of Calvinism


Theology 
Pre-Salvation
Post-Salvation
Eternal Security
Calvinism
Monergism 
Monergism 
Yes 
Lutheranism
Monergism 
Synergism 
No 
Arminianism
Synergism 
Synergism 
No 
BCBSR (the rest of us)
Synergism 
Monergism 
Yes 

Notes:

1. My main objection to the presalvation concepts of Calvinism and Lutheranism is that they believe that God will hold people responsible for things they have no control over.

2. Under Calvinism there is no pre or post salvation. One is not spoken of as being saved, but rather being "elect". And since Calvinists believe that individual election occurs even before one is born (based on some unknown standard), then it is not a matter of "being saved", but rather a matter of discovering whether one has been "elected".

3. Lutherans believe salvation is only rejectable by choice (And therefore since "choice" and cooperation is involved, this is Synergism). However, such a choice can only be made after one has salvation. They believe you can lose your salvation. Or to say it another way, one maintains his salvation status by choice. But they tend to hold with the Calvinists on the issue during pre-regeneration. (My theology is diametrically opposed to that of the Lutherans on these particular issues) They do believe in the eternal security of the "elect". But such elect are only revealed as elect by their cooperation. They don't believe that once one believes and has been born of God, that salvation is secure. For they believe that that non-elect can even believe and be born of God. (A similar position as Charles Finney)

4. Because of their theology of pre-salvation monergism, both the Calvinists and Lutherans presume the election of infants born to Christian parents and thus practice infant baptism, whereby infants are reckoned saved apart from faith in Christ. The Biblical evidence of this is scanty. But John Calvin tried to defend this idea zealously, and many "Ana-baptists" (those who didn't believe in infant baptism) were even put to death by such Calvinists. Though many "Calvinists" today could be classified as ana-baptists, having rejected infant baptism (such as "Baptists"). Calvin tried to make some allegorical connection with circumcision, but fall into the very trap that Paul rebuked the Galatians for on the matter of circumision. However, the idea is that since choice is not involved in becoming born of God, from their perspective, therefore "faith" can be eliminated as necessary and we'll just presume that God choses those babies who get baptized. Of course you could easily counter by proposing any other arbitrary standard - like God choses all babies born with blue eyes, or who have a certain skin color. (Compare to the development of racism in the history of "Christian" Europe)

5. Arminians also believe you can lose your salvation. Thus Lutherans and Arminians don't believe in Eternal Security, while Calvinists and the rest of us do. I recommend post-Salvation synergists to study the book of 1st John as it explicitly reveals the inevitable correlation between a person's behavior and his having been born of God.


Comparison with Popular Evangelicalism

Popular Evangelicalism BCBSR
Free Grace Theology No
Young-Earth Creationism No
Evangelical Feminism No
Pre-Trib Rapture No

Comparison with Reformed Theology

Reformed Theology BCBSR
Infant Baptism No
Imputed guilt upon the innocent No
Fatalistic Puppet Theology No
Perseverance of the Saints Yes

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources
Wednesday, 29-Jul-2015 17:23:11 EDT