Foundational Beliefs

Coming out of the "Second Great Awakening" in the early 1800s, the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement was founded on two basic ideals: the unity of all true Christians ("one body and one spirit"), and the return to pristine Christianity in both doctrine and practice. Both goals are essential for Christians to truly "worship God in spirit and in truth." At various times in the history of the movement these two goals have been in tension. Some in the movement focused almost exclusively on perceived purity of doctrine at the expense of unity, while others focused so much on unity that doctrine became unimportant. However, the movement has also been known for a series of slogans which were originally intended as guard-rails to keep equilibrium between both essential goals:

I. "No creed but Christ, no book but the Bible."
II. "We are Christians only, but not the only Christians."
III. "Do Bible things in Bible ways; call Bible things by Bible names."
IV. "Where the Scriptures speak we speak; where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent."
V. "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials liberty; in all things, charity."

Because of the inconsistent application of the above ideals, and arguments over what is "essential" and "non-essential," the Restoration Movement eventually fragmented into three branches which exist today. One became very exclusive over issues of doctrine and practice, sacrificing unity. One tended to be quite liberal, sacrificing adherance to Scripture. The middle branch of the movement, which has tried to maintain equalibrium between the two original goals, has in large part ceased to progress towards rediscovering and assimilating the pristine Christian Faith. In other words, they have settled on maintaining the past reforms and no longer seek progress towards further reforms. This may be in part because of not wanting to be too far removed from Evangelical Christianity.

4Winds Fellowships seeks to continue the original ideals of the Restoration Movement. We are committed to the ongoing PURSUIT OF TRUTH, rather than supposing that we have already arrived. Therefore we hold no doctrine as a "sacred cow" which cannot be challenged or reconsidered. Instead, we hold to a set of ten interpretive principles which we believe keep us from many of the accumulated errors that have entered Christianity over the last 2000 years. These are:

I. The original prophetic Scriptures are "God-breathed," entirely harmonious and accurate.
II. The Scriptures are God's entire preserved revelation, sufficient to fully equip the man of God. There is no other reliable source or foundation for truth.
III. The grammar of the original languages must not be violated, but it's nuances allowed to guide interpretation.
IV. Interpretation must be from within the historical setting and context; Scripture must not be used beyond its intent in that context.
V. Literal interpretation should take precedence by default whenever it makes sense. Non-literal interpretations must be obvious and self-explanitory in that context.
VI. The Apostles' explanations must always be followed to unlock and explain the mysteries concealed in the Old Testament.
VII. Interpretation must be progressive; newer revelation compliments and explains older revelation, but never contradicts it.
VIII. Since God created our brain to process logic, and language to convey ideas logically, we must interpret His Word logically.
IX. True doctrines are always consistent with God's revealed character and with all other true doctrines.
X. Whenever possible, trace doctrines back to their source to understand when, where, why, and how they originated.

These ten principles are intended to remove personal bias and faulty presuppositions derived from tradition or an unbiblical world view. They are similar to the objective principles used in empirical scientific investigations and in the courtroom. Paul wrote that we must "test all things, hold fast to that which is good." Yet this can only be done honestly when we are completely unbiased. Our goal is to discern, understand fully, then hold tightly to what Jesus and His Apostles actually taught, to avoid going beyond what Scripture explicitly teaches into speculations, then to live our lives in humble obedience to God's revealed will. We hope those who visit here will be convinced of the same goals, and will find the resources helpful in their own faith journey.

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