I am new to the forum, at least in relation to being a poster. I am a Jew by nature, but more importantly, I am a Christian by God's grace. I am married to a Proverbs-31-wife -- one of the many of God's blessings that I do not deserve! I am an Information Systems Engineer by trade (four decades) and an Astronomer by training (four decades ago). However, since becoming a Christian, I have been continuously taking theology classes (Missouri Baptist University, Covenant Theological Seminary, etc.). I am confessional 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith and I am a member of a confessional Baptist church. Those doctrinal distinctives can be summarized as follows. (I have edited this list over the years, but I do not believe that this summarization is original. I have poor memory about some things.) REFORMATIONAL: Sola Scriptura -- The Bible is the complete, closed, clear authority in all matters of faith Solus Christus -- Our confidence is in Jesus Christ alone for salvation Sola Gratia -- Grace secured redemption without reference to works Sola Fide -- We are declared righteous by God through faith alone Soli Deo Gloria -- Goal of creation and redemption is God's praise CALVINISTIC: Total Depravity -- The fall of Adam affected the totality of man's person Unconditional Election -- Election is not based on foreseen faith or works Limited Atonement -- Redemption was accomplished by Christ for the elect Irresistible Grace -- Regeneration by the Holy Spirit is efficacious for the elect Perseverance of the Saints -- God will, by grace, complete what He began in regeneration PURITAN: Godliness in Worship -- Regulative Principle of Worship; Lord's day as Christian Sabbath Godliness in Preaching -- Primacy of preaching; Both exposition and application emphasized Godliness in Instruction -- Confessional, catholic; Publishing what we believe the Bible teaches Godliness in Family -- Parents are to instruct (catechize) and discipline their children in the Lord Godliness in Behavior -- Maintaining a good conscience before God and man COVENANTAL: Unity of the Bible -- Many parts yet one message Christ-centered interpretation -- Jesus' person, work and kingdom is theme of Bible Law/Gospel distinction -- Law commands and condemns, Gospel saves One way of salvation -- Christ has saved all the elect throughout all the ages Optimistic view of history -- Jesus Christ is King ruling over all; He will come again BAPTIST: Biblical Church Practice -- Ordinances for believers only; loving and restorative Church discipline Biblical Church Freedom -- The state is not to intrude into matters of conscience Biblical Church Polity -- Elders and deacons (the local congregation confirms its leaders) Biblical Church Growth -- Gospel proclamation to the lost world (repentance and faith demanded of all) Biblical Church Ministry -- Priesthood of all believers Life verse: "And Jesus said to them, 'Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.'" (Matthew 13:52 NASB) Note: If I hadn't had this already summarized elsewhere, I probably would not have written it all out here. But I was uncomfortable with the tone of the former threads in this category: it seemed sad to have that at the top of our Baptist Forum page. So, please excuse me for butting in and babbling about myself.