a brief Prodigal Paul doctrinal statement


As I am currently registering for my seminary classes, I thought I’d post this “theological statement” I had to write as part of my application materials. Some friends of mine had thought it would be interesting to read what I wrote, so here it is.

Seeing as I was writing to a seminary staff audience, there might be some references that aren’t commonly understood. I’ll link to times I’ve written about some items, but otherwise, any terminology or ideas that aren’t explained are a simple Wikipedia (or Theopedia–yes, it’s a real thing) search away.


Firstly, I hold the Gospel as articulated by the Resurrection of Christ and the Creeds primary, with most every other thing being secondary or tertiary.

At the most general level, I often tell people that I am a “Protesting Catholic”, and find great benefit in immersing myself in the history and tradition of the Church (especially pre-Reformation).

I (and my conscience) am so completely at home within the Dutch Reformed “accent” of the Christian faith, and I flourish spiritually, intellectually, and ecclesially in this tradition. I love the attention given to essentials, I’m completely of the same mind in the uniquely Dutch Reformed aspects, and I appreciate the radical freedom given in all other things.

Concerning those secondary issues, I lean stereotypically “liberal” on Old Testament critical scholarship and stereotypically “conservative” on the New.

I find myself more and more Barthian the more I grasp his thought. I believe the Bible is not the “passive” revelation of God so much as it is the primary place in which God “actively” reveals himself to people when united to faith and the Spirit.

I don’t think that “inerrancy” is the most helpful term when talking about the Bible, but I also don’t think there’s anything in there that surprised God (well, maybe the very end of Mark—kidding, kidding).

Also–I’m a paedo-baptist, I think something profoundly spiritual and “real” is actually going on at Communion, and I probably err on the side of an over-realized eschatology.

On the tertiary issues: I am a vocal defender of Women’s full role in the Church offices, and consider myself a full-on Charismatic (though I even find liturgy and tradition to be as soul-stirring as praying in tongues).

I’m a Calvinist, though not the crazy kind (I hope), and I love to ruffle the feathers (in love, of course) of Hyper-Calvinists. (Perhaps I’m a hypo-Calvinist?)

I think I’d qualify myself as a “pessimistic post-millennialist”, though I still flirt with a-millennialism. I try not to presume too much about Hell, though I love the Eastern Orthodox view of it.

I love the Heidelberg and Belgic Catechisms, but the Westminster leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I read the Catholic Catechism for my personal devotional reading (and cross out the parts I disagree with, like a good Reformed Protestant, don’t worry.)

I also read The Children’s Bible in darker seasons when I can’t seem to open my Bible.

Oh, and because these were the real things you wanted to know about: I study with the NRSV. I meditate with the NLT.

And I’m an infralapsarian.

(Those last ones were meant to be funny.)

So, what do you think? Where do you agree or disagree? Anything you’d like to have me write on or explain more fully? Let me know in the comments below.

[image credit: photo by my bestie David Schrott, who will have no problem with me using his photo without talking to him first (haha)]

7 thoughts on “a brief Prodigal Paul doctrinal statement

  1. All Calvinists are crazy. I know, because I was one once. Haha. But it was nice to read your thoughts. We definitely need to catch up. I’d love to hear some critiques from you on my current thinking. Peace, brother. “Jesus Christ has come to teach his church himself.” -George Fox


    • I thought it matched both the seriousness with which I hold the convictions, as well as my simple, maybe winsome, and hopefully humble acknowledgement that in the big scheme of things, they’re not that big of a deal. And I just like the picture. Phoenix rocks!


  2. haha, i love the “hypo-calvinist” bit

    i, like you, feel like there are the essentials and the non-essentials, and that the neo-reformed world (from which i come) puts too many things in the essential category


  3. Haha. I absolutely love the take of being “hypo-calvinist” rather than “hyper-calvinist”. Well articulated on your stance of faith, and I too find myself erring to the side OT liberalism and believe that scripture as a whole is nothing more than the revelation of God as himself in his nature and struggle to be reconciled to humanity…and I think that Jesus reveals that finality! Awesome stuff my friend.


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