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Pastorpreneur and Creative Risk Taker for the Kingdom of God

This I believe (Personal Credo)

Credo (I Believe) (02/16)

© Dr. John Jackson

Prologue: During a time of recent reflection, I made 3 observations about my theological belief process: 

1) Over the course of my life, I have focused (albeit perhaps unknowingly) on the macro, the organizational and the cultural implications of belief generally rather than the singular, personal, micro implications and,

2) I’ve been oriented to being an observer of movements and how their respective histories have affected their contemporary behaviors and convictions and,

3) I have long been committed to John 17 and Unity in the Body; I was the recipient of this passion through my family and a host of other disparate influences too numerous to mention.

            All of this has led me to often dabble in the deep, rather than to jump in completely (in other words, I have been exposed to some amazing things, but have not really been “all in” for many of them).  Even when I was in a key position of denominational influence in a particular stream (American Baptist), I was actively engaged with other streams and never willing to fully embrace a singular perspective.  I have held strong convictions, passions, and have led with transformative and entrepreneurial boldness in a variety of settings.  However, I have sometimes felt like the proverbial “man without a country” as I have belonged to several movements (in addition to my early rich Baptist life, I have had significant relationships in the Calvary Chapel, Vineyard, Assembly of God, Foursquare, Promise Keepers, NAE, and the New Apostolic Reformation/Third Wave, just to name a few).

            So, at the ripe old age of 54, and likely due in no small measure to my role as a University President of a non-denominational school with close to 50 denominations and movements present and my regular teaching roles in a host of churches, I find myself needing to be very clear about my Credo, the “this I believe” that so many others in history have felt led to declare. 

One point of differentiation however, is that I have no need to “declare” as a preface to “divide”.  My hope is that my greater personal clarity will bring greater freedom to those who are influenced by my leadership. 

            I am a lover of God and people by nature, and I am a John 17 Christ follower by conviction and practice.  This Credo is fundamentally for me to declare where I am in my walk, where I am in my witness, and where I am in my role as an apostolic leader and teacher in the church. 

I BELIEVE….

…In the Sovereign God who is, is uncreated, who created, and who creates.  I believe in the eternal Father, eternal Son, and eternal Holy Spirit.  I believe in the God who has and does reveal Himself in the created order, in the Word of God, in the Living Word Jesus, and continues to reveal Himself in the world in which we live in.

…In the written Word of God (the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments) as the final, absolute, infallible, inerrant, and authoritative revelation of the will and character of God.  The Written word is the only normative, transcultural and trans-chronos (time) revelation applicable to all people at all times and in all places.

…In the ongoing work of revelation from the heart of God given to His people in their specific times, circumstances and culture.  These ongoing works of prophetic and teaching revelation must and will always be in alignment with the written Word.  When “words” are not in alignment with the Word, we must humble ourselves and submit either our understanding of the word received or receive counsel from within the Body as to our response to the word.  Receiving a word in isolation is fraught with danger, which is why God put us in families (households and churches).

…In the goodness of God.  This fundamental revelation of His character is consistent throughout history, throughout Scripture, and throughout the witness of the church.  This revelation changes everything.  When we pray, we pray from victory, not for victory.  He has already secured everything and we are living to manifest it here on earth.

…In the manifest presence of God.  We experience Father God and Jesus the Son, our Lord, and the Holy Spirit, our Comforter and Peace, when we are in prayer and worship, when we are walking with Him and with others in the family of God and in our everyday experience of the world.  I believe that when we experience His presence, we experience dependence upon Him, and that leads to abundance and peace.  We live from love and not from law.

…..I believe in the ongoing partnership of the Holy Spirit to live and work in and through the lives of followers of Jesus to manifest His love and grace and compassion and mercy in a life of freedom.  We are to live “on earth as it is in Heaven” and that is to be our daily experience of His grace and power.  We are body, soul, spirit in a distinct but integrated experience.  All of us can be yielded to the Holy Spirit so that our “vessel” can be possessed in honor.

….In the fivefold ministry (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher) to equip people for the work of ministry.  I believe the gospel brings people to salvation and to healing.  I am contending for the whole gospel for the whole world

….In the ongoing redemptive presence of the church in the world as we love Jesus and love the world.  The church is not in a hurry to get out of here through an escapist eschatology; we are in a redemptive assignment to see the world come to know and love the One who has bled for them.  While I am not positive about whether to expect a cataclysmic end of the ages or a consummated end of the ages, I know that every breath I breathe on the planet is on assignment. Our assignment is a warfare reality; we do not see the world as a fixed blueprint to be managed, we see it as an active battle zone with a redemptive mission.

….In the worth of every human life (including the pre-born and the elderly) because each person has the Imago Dei imprinted upon their soul.  Because each person is valuable, we look for the gold in their lives rather than the dirt. 

…In the assignment of every follower of Jesus in the Kingdom.  The first Reformation tried to set salvation truth right.  I am believing for a New Reformation that will actually see the priesthood of all believers experienced.  I am believing for every believer honor, equipped, activated, and released.

…In moving our motivation as followers of Jesus from doing things for God to doing things with God.….The Great Commission is about discipling nations, not just individual people (Matthew 28:19-20, Revelation 21:24-27).  When we take the Kingdom of God to places of darkness, Jesus will build His church.

….In the priority of Jesus, His Word, Family, Church.  I believe the family came before the church and that our culture is desperate for fathers and mothers.  Our current season is calling for fathers and mothers in homes and in churches to step into their assignment.

….In the declaration that this season is our greatest redemptive opportunity in perhaps many centuries.  If we live out Micah 6:8 (Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with our God), we will see the manifestation of the grace of God flowing in our lives, into our families, in our churches, and into our communities and nations.  The Bride of Christ (the church) is not a weak and sickly thing hoping to survive here until we get there.  We are a victorious, beautiful, and winsome Bride attractive to the world we live in as long as we are radiating the presence of Jesus, the Groom.

John

President of Jessup University (www.jessup.edu), speaker and author of books on leadership and transformation

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