Erik Swanson Martin was blessed to grow up in a pastor’s home and my mother homeschooled my seven younger siblings and I for the majority of our education. I was baptized in a Grace Brethren church before moving in a more reformed direction.
As an adult I was privileged to study church music under Paul Plew and Clayton Erb. While at The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, CA, (B.Mus., Church Music) I studied music, history, and biblical studies, later studying theology though The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY. I served vocationally as a worship pastor for three years in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Erik has two children, Jewell Elise and Creed Isaiah, now works for a bank and Shipt, while serving as a deacon and a volunteer worship leader at New City Church in Grand Rapids, MI.
Through this blog, we seek to learn holiness and to walk as faithful slaves of Christ through encouraging quotes, Christian poems/songs, and by highlighting thought-provoking posts. This website serves as my personal archive and hopefully it will be of benefit to you too.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”
I am not what I ought to be,
I am not what I wish to be,
I am not what I hope to be,
But by the cross of Christ,
I am not what I was.
My theology and spiritual practice would likely be characterized as being
2. Reformed (Calvinistic)
3. Amillennial (Progressive-covenantalism, I am no longer Dispensational. The church doesn’t replace Israel, but since Christ is the true-Israel, those in Him are grafted into the people of God. The secular state of Israel has no claim on the promises of God made to his people. Salvation is found in Christ Jesus and God has no future role for the ethnic Jewish people outside of their incorporation into the church individually as they look upon the one whom they have pierced and follow Jesus their Messiah thus being re-grafted back into the Vine.
4. Anti-violence (I hold to a qualified pacifism. Respectful protest is prophetic but rebellion is wickedness. We are called to submit to the governing authorities—even when inconvenient—as much as we can. We should be characterized by submission and should only resist authority when absolutely necessary. Caesar has the mandate to defend the helpless and avenge evil through military and law-enforcement power, but war is never good or desirable—even if necessary. Christians should be very cautious when performing military or law enforcement duties when employed by the state. Biblical justice is perfect and state officials often act in unjust ways east of Eden.
Believers should not be astonished or even outraged by persecution but should be thankful when counted worthy of suffering for the sake of the Name of Christ. The church should never fight against actual or perceived persecution by attempting to gain or control the levers of state power, lest we worship the beast and his power.
5. Anti-racist (God is glorified when we use our diverse cultural backgrounds to worship Him. We should celebrate cultural differences as we submit our own cultural practices to the principles and commands of Scripture. We should work to overcome the heresy of white-supremacy and the notion that white culture is or should be the norm).
6. Anti-nationalism (we are citizens of Christ’s kingdom and the church ultimately conquers the world through gospel proclamation and by loving our enemy not by physical force, although that mission of making disciples will only be completed by Christ at his coming.
As we criticize Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, the Muslim Conquests, the Cultural Revolution in China, the treatment of Christians in North Korea, etc., we should also acknowledge the severe injustices and crimes committed by the USA and its citizens (by de jure policy and de facto actions) against African-American image-bearers, the indigenous peoples of North America, Asian immigrants, etc. Victimhood will absolve no one at the Great White Throne, but if the OT prophets teach us anything it is that God holds governments, their citizens, and his own people accountable for the evil and injustice they commit.
America is not and never has been a Christian nation, nor are we specially anointed by God. We are only blessed and able to be a blessing insofar as we live and act according to Christ’s kingdom. One day our nation will fall—either when crushed by the Stone-cut-without-hands or by another nation at his bidding. We should support soul-freedom for everyone, be cautious when legislating morality, but lobby to limit evil and protect the vulnerable).
7. Pro-life (every death is a tragedy. Although Caesar bears the sword from God, grace mandates a desire for the death penalty as well as abortion to be extremely limited if not eliminated).
8. High-church inspired low-church (I personally practice a modified form of the daily office, my church uses the lectionary to guide our public reading of scripture, and I heavily use written prayers as an aid in developing my own spontaneous prayer life. Yet, the church where I serve would not be characterized as liturgical).
9. Contemporary musically (While I personally love excellent orchestral worship and spent much of my life studying classical music, I serve in a musically modern context. I find that “elevated styles” aren’t accessible for the average person in 2021 nor are they an affordable use of resources for the average church).
10. Ecumenical (some issues are worth dividing over and local churches should establish standards of orthodoxy and establish practices to orderly govern themselves and their spiritual practice. However, Christians of various denominational backgrounds should be able to be charitable towards each other and to partner with those who differ on many theological and philosophical issues that don’t compromise the gospel. This doesn’t mean we must embrace Mormons or Islam.
We are not in competition with like-minded churches in our communities, God the Lord the Holy Spirit and Christ the Lord our Savior are also present in their gathered assemblies each week as they worship God the Father and confess that Jesus is Lord. The Gospel Coalition, Together for the Gospel (T4G), and many informal pastoral associations are great examples of beneficial partnership).