All too often entering a new place of worship can be an uneasy thing without knowing the basics of what a congregation believes. We want you to be at ease before you even enter the doors of Pursuing Truth Ministries for your first time visit. If you are a family in which Yahweh (God) has blessed and entrusted you to care for children in your home, we understand that it is your responsibility to protect and nurture their spiritual growth as the providers / guardians of your home. You are called to proactively inspect and investigate any place of worship as a good steward for those in whom have been entrusted to you by our LORD. We get that. In fact, we appreciate and respect that more than you may realize.
Below you will find a descriptive overview of our basic beliefs listed by categories along with Biblical references as to why we believe these things that we do. Please review them and feel free to contact us for clarification pertaining to any questions you may have even if your question or topic is not listed below. We strive to be an “open book” in which we welcome and even encourage you to ask us anything about our faith. We would love to share it with you. Before we get started into our Statement of Faith, please allow us to clarify a few things from the start.
In casual conversation we are often asked what is different about us than most of what is known as “Mainstream Christianity”. We will often reply by describing ourselves as having “left Churchianity” to strive to live more like our Savior. Many will often give us a look of confusion not really understanding what we truly mean by that statement, so please allow us to define the term “CHURCHIANITY” so you can have a crystal clear picture of both what we ARE and what we are NOT saying regarding this word.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary: a usually excessive or narrowly sectarian attachment to the practices and interests of a particular church.
YOURDICTIONARY.com: Any practices of Christianity that are viewed as placing a larger emphasis on the habits of church life or the institutional traditions of the church than on theology and spiritual teachings; The quality of being too church-focused.
URBANDICTIONARY.com: A term coined by Bible teacher Richard Pope during a sermon characterizing the condition of the modern-day Christian Church and how different it’s teachings are from the original ideas and message of the historical Jesus.
So, in short, when we use this term we are simply stating that we recognize that most mainstream churches and denominations labeled under the banner of “Christianity” have (mostly unknowingly) “disregarded the commandments of God in order to keep their traditions” (Mark 7:8-9) and in fact practice many things which are not found within the confines / pages of the Holy Bible. At the same time, many of these same organizations also negate commandments and instructions that are clearly laid out for us in Scripture by our Heavenly Father and Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah) that we are to observe and do.
False / Erroneous teachings, doctrines, and sin have crept into the churches due to the fact that we, at large, have failed to “test everything and hold on to that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21), “identify false teachers who bring in destructive heresy” (2 Peter 2:1), and “diligently study The Word of God in order to discern the differences in what is true and what if false” (2 Timothy 2:15).
The world of “Churchianity” by large has abandoned even the most basic tenets of Yahweh’s instructions as found in what we call the Ten Commandments and downplayed what the Bible clearly identifies as sin in favor of making pew occupants feel good about themselves with the use of selected Bible verses taken out of context coupled with ear tickling motivation speech. Please understand and hear our heart on this. We don’t say these things to disrespect or hurt anyone, but rather simply because they are true. The Bible instructs us, as followers of Yeshua (Jesus), that we are to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15) and we love you enough to tell you the truth.
Biblical Interpretation Principles
When discussing the Bible with others, there often times at some point arises a statement such as “that’s just your interpretation” or “that’s you opinion, not mine”. However, with diligent study of the Bible, we find passages like:
“But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation” 2 Peter 1:20 (NASB)
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (HCSB)
Passages such as these should serve as a warning to us when it comes to interpretation of Scripture. At P.T.M., we believe that we don’t have the authority to create our own personal interpretation of Scripture. We thoroughly believe that Scripture interprets Scripture (itself). There is very important and key thing to remember when it comes to striving to correctly understanding / interpreting The Bible.
As strange as this may sound at first we must come to grips with the reality that, contrary to what we may have always been told, the Bible was not written to us (you and me). Again, just to clarify that you read that correctly, the Bible was NOT written TO you. It was written FOR YOU. Knowing and understanding this makes a huge difference pertaining to Scripture Interpretation.
Why???? – We are glad you ask. The Bible was written to a particular person or group of people in a particular place, at a particular time, and for a particular purpose. It is crucial that we understand that when we read from the pages of the Bible we are reading it over the shoulder of the person(s) in which it was originally intended and written to. Whatever truth, principle, or correction that was being taught / conveyed to the original recipients is same thing that being taught to those of us who are reading it today. If there is one major thing that hinders our correct understanding of the Bible it is what we refer to as “Cultural Blindness”.
There are two terms that we should also become familiar with:
Exegesis and Eisegesis
Exegesis (defined) literally means “to lead out of” and is the process of drawing out the meaning from a text in accordance within the historical cultural context and discoverable meaning of its author.
Eisegesis (defined) literally means “to lead into” and occurs when a reader attempts to impose his or her interpretation into the text based from his or her own current personal beliefs and cultural setting in which the reader injects his own ideas into the text, making it mean whatever he wants.
Exegesis is good and does justice to the text by “extracting” the understanding and interpretation of the text by applying the correct cultural and circumstantial “lens” in which the said texts was written. Eisegesis, however, is a mishandling of a text by “injecting” the readers current cultural understanding which often leads to gross misinterpretation.
While the Bible is both timely and timeless we must keep in mind the cultural setting in which any particular Bible book or passage was written. This is why it is so vital that we become familiar with the Hebraic roots of our faith pertaining to the culture and customs of their day.
Humility and Moldability
Let’s all be completely honest and transparent with each other. Everyone gets something right and everyone gets something wrong.
We are all fallible humans that are not only capable of mistake but most certainly will make them in our lives. At Pursuing Truth, we strive to keep that reality in the forefront of our minds. This is ultimately why the name “Pursuing Truth” was chosen for our ministry rather than “Proclaiming Truth”. We openly admit that we don’t have it all figured out. We don’t claim to have all the answers.
In the words of David Baxter (one of our dear brothers at PTM) : “We reserve the right to be proven wrong and/or corrected at any time”. In fact, we have no problem with that. If we have erred and can be corrected by / through the Word of God, it simply brings truth to light and draws us closer to our Creator and Savior. We must remain moldable and teachable people allowing the Word to edify, convict, refute, and correct us as the Holy Spirit unveils our eyes to see His Truth. It’s not about us being right. It is simply about Truth. We are simply in diligent pursuit of the absolute truth contained in YHVH’s Word in order to live out a life of obedience out of love for God. While we understand, that though it is a lifelong process, we hold to the promise that “If we search for Yahweh with all of our heart and soul, we will find him” (Deut. 4:29; Jer. 29:13-14).