- The Bible, as originally written, containing the books of the Old and New Testaments, is the verbally inspired Word of God. Being fully and verbally God-breathed, the Bible as a whole and in all its parts is true containing nothing erroneous, false, or misleading. The words of Scripture, as originally penned by the human writers are nevertheless the very words of God. These writers were prepared by the providence of God and guided by the Holy Spirit, without the suppression or subversion of their God-given skills, knowledge, or insight in the writing of the Scriptures. Therefore, as God's inscripturated speech, the Bible is true in all matters to which it speaks; in matters pertaining to salvation and ethics, etc., as well as in matters relating to cosmology, history, science, etc. The Bible remains the only trustworthy authority and guide for Christian faith and practice. 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; 2 Pet. 1:20, 21; Matt. 5:17-19
- The Bible is to be interpreted according to the plain and ordinary sense of the language used, paying careful attention to the variety of literary forms, which it contains. Every effort should be made to understand what the human writers intended their original readers to understand, as well as comparing Scripture with Scripture. Such effort to understand the Scripture should be exercised in humble dependence upon the Holy Spirit for illumination and insight as to its meaning. 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Tim. 4:16; 2 Pet. 3:14-16
- There is only one God, who is self-existent and self-sufficient having life in Himself. The true and living God, whose name is Yahweh, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth, does not change but is eternal, transcending both time and space and is perfect in His knowledge, wisdom, veracity, goodness, holiness, righteousness, will and power. God as Spirit is a personal being without bodily parts. Though transcendent and exalted above all creation, God is Himself the Creator and Sustainer of all things being present with and involved in creation. Deut. 6:4; Isa. 43:10; 40:13, 14; John 5:26; Exo. 3:4-6 Num. 23:19; Mal. 3:6; Ps. 93:2; 139:7-10; 147:5; Job 9:4; Heb, 6:18; Ps. 100:5; Isa. 6:3; Ps. 89:14; Dan. 9:14; Rev. 4:11; Eph. 1:11; Ps. 115:3; 33:11; Jer.32:17; 18:27; John 4:24; Deut. 4:15-19; Isa. 57:15
- The living and true God eternally exists in three different persons; each of whom is a distinct center of self-consciousness and who share personal fellowship and loving communion within the unity of the Godhead. Yet these three unique persons the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, are one God equal in essential nature, attributes, power, and glory, yet executing distinct and harmonious roles in the great work of redemption. Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 8:6; John 1:1-18; 17:5 14:16-17; Acts 5:3,4; Eph. 1:3-14
Man and woman were created in the image of God for fellowship with God. Through Adam’s one transgression that image was marred and fellowship with God was lost. Another consequence of Adam's sin is that all people are guilty of sin and inherit a corrupt and sinful nature. The moral corruption of sin extends to every part of our personalities; leaving everyone unable to produce any spiritual and lasting good; rather, in our corruption we manifest a continuous propensity toward sin; lacking any natural ability to change this preference for sin to love for God. Because of our sinful state and condition, we deserve the just wrath and punishment of God. Gen. 1:26-27; Jam. 3:9; Gen. 3:1-24; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10; Rom. 5:12-19; 1 Cor. 15: 21,22; Ps. 51:5; 58:3; Rom. 3:9-12; Eph. 2:1-3; 4:17-19; Rom. 1:18-32; 1.Cor. 2:14; 2 Cor. 4:3,4.
The plan of salvation has its origin in the eternal counsel of the Triune God. In sovereign and unconditional love, God elects and predestines in Jesus Christ those who will be saved from the guilt and power of sin to become His peculiar people. God's election of a people for His own possession is not conditioned upon any attractiveness or worthiness in themselves, nor is God’s election based on seeing who in his own strength would believe the Gospel. Even if God's election were based on His foreseeing faith, such faith is not the result of human freewill or strength but in itself is a gift of God. Eph. 1:4,5,1 1; 2 Tim. 1:9; Rom. 8:28-30; 9:1-26; John 15:16, Acts 5:3 1; 11: 18; 16:14; 18:27; Phil. 1:29; 2 Tim. 2:25,26.
- God's eternal plan of salvation was actually accomplished in history through the incarnation, obedience, death, and resurrection of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ who is fully God and fully man. From all eternity, the Son is equal in being with God the Father and through the miracle of the incarnation and virgin birth, God the Son became a man. The Son did not cease to be God or lose any of the attributes of God, but rather He assumed a human nature yet without the corruption or guilt of sin. The two natures of Christ are distinct yet united in His one person. John 1: 1, 18; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 1:3,8; Col. 1:22; Titus 2:13; Isa. 9:6; Rev. 21:6; John 1: 14; Gal 4:4; Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38; Rom. 1:2-4; Heb. 4:15; 1 John 3:5.
- The Lord Jesus Christ, being fully God and fully man is the perfect mediator between a Holy God and sinful men and women. His work as a mediator is fulfilled in the salvation, which Jesus Christ accomplished for sinners. He did this once and for all by perfectly obeying the Law of God; by suffering and dying as a perfect sacrificial substitute for His people, thereby making full atonement for sinners, providing propitiation for sins; and by His resurrection from the dead, in which He defeated the powers of death and the devil, thereby putting into effect the benefits of His obedience and sacrificial death. Christ's atonement is limited in its scope but not in its power or efficacy. He died for the elect by offering an effectual atonement that actually accomplished their salvation rather than simply making such salvation possible. Isa. 42: 11; 52:13; 53:12; John 6:38,39; 10: 17, 18; 17:4, 5; Matt. 5:17; Gal. 4:4; Rom. 5:12-19; Heb. 2:17,18; Rom. 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4: 10; Heb. 10:5-7; 12-14; 1 Pet. 2:24; Isa. 53:6; Matt. 20:28.
- Christ's work as the only mediator between God and man continues at the right hand of God, where exalted He continues to make intercession on behalf of all the saints. Col. 1: 15-20; Heb. 4:14-16; 10: 19-25; Rom. 5: 10; 8:34.
The Holy Spirit is fully God; equal in being with God the Father and God the Son. Because the Spirit is fully God, He is fully personal. The Holy Spirit is not a force, power or divine influence but a distinct person within the Godhead, who for the purpose of salvation is sent by the Father through the Son to apply the redemption accomplished by Christ to the lives of God's people. John 14:16,17,26; 15:26; 16:7-15; Rom. 8: 16,26; Eph. 4:30; 1 Cor. 12: 11; Luke 12:12; Acts 8:29; 5:3,4; 8:29; 1 Cor. 3:16; 12:11; Heb. 9:14; John 3:5,6; Titus 3:5; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14
Through the proclamation of the Gospel, God graciously and effectually calls people out of sin, causing them to be born again by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. Regeneration results in genuine conversion, which entails repentance of sins and faith in the person and work of Christ as Savior and Lord. 2 Thess. 2:14; Rom. 8:30; 9:24; Gal. 1: 16; Heb. 9:15; 1 Pet. 2:9; John 3:3-8; 1 Cor. 2:10-16; 1 John 4:2-7; 5: 1 -11; Heb. 10: 15, 16; John 1: 13; Ezk. 36:25, 26; 2 Cor. 5:17.
- By virtue of having been called by God into union with Christ and through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, the believer has not only been sealed for the day of redemption, but God guarantees the sanctification and perseverance of the believer unto the end. Eph. 1:13; 4:30, 1 Thess. 5:23; Phil. 1:16; Col. 1:10-12
- God has called the believer into union with Christ. That one has been united with Christ in the likeness of His death, burial, and resurrection and has thereby died to the tyrannical rule of sin. This reality for the believer is spoken of in Scripture as a transfer from one kingdom into another kingdom; from the rule and dominion of sin to the rule and dominion of God's Son. The Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Christ, also indwells the believer and the governing orientation of everyone united to Christ is toward holiness in thought and deed. It is by virtue of this faith/grace union with Jesus Christ that all the benefits that Christ won for his own become theirs. These benefits of grace include justification, reconciliation, adoption, sanctification, perseverance, and future glorification. 1 Cor. 1:9; Rom. 6:1-10; 1 Cor. 15:22; 2 Cor. 3:17, 18; Col. 1:13; 1 Cor. 2:14, 15; Rom 7:22
As the sinner hears the content and promise of the Gospel, accepting it as truth and putting trust in Christ for salvation from the wrath of God, that one is then justified by God, the Father. Justification by grace through faith is the very heart of the Gospel. The ground or basis of justification is the righteous obedience of Christ, which is given to the believer not because of what that one has done or merited but by grace. The means by which the sinner receives Christ's righteousness unto justification is faith alone in Christ alone. When the sinner puts faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, God the Father imputes Christ's righteousness to the believer. Thus the believer is judged and declared by God to be righteous in Christ once and for all, and stands no longer under the condemnation of God. Rom. 1:17; 3:21-30; 4:3-24; 5:1; 10:3,4; Gal. 2:16; 3:8,9; 5:4,5; Phil. 3:9; Rom. 5:17-19.
Because the wrath of God no longer abides upon the believer in Christ, that one is said to be reconciled to God. This blessing means God no longer views the believer as an enemy but as an adopted child. With the peace of reconciliation and the bestowal of adoption, the believer is enabled to rejoice in tribulation because God shed His love abroad in that one’s heart by the Holy Spirit. 2 Cor. 5:18, 19; Col. 1:20; Rom. 5: 1, 10; John 1: 12; Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8:15-16; 1 John 3:1, 2; John 20:17; Heb. 2:13; Rom 5:3-5.
- Though the believer no longer lives under the rule and dominion of sin but under the rule and dominion of Christ, sin nevertheless still dwells within the believer. The Spirit's work of sanctification has in view the eradication of indwelling sin through the mortification of the believer's sinful thoughts and habits; thus bringing that one into greater and greater conformity to the image of Christ. The goal of sanctification is holiness. God has called the believer for this purpose, commanding holiness of His people. Rom. 7:14-25; Gal. 5:13-26; 1 Thess. 4:3, 7; 1 Pet. 1: 15, 16
- While God is the one who sanctifies the believer by the direct, yet mysterious work of the Holy Spirit, this does not mean that the believer is passive in the process of sanctification. Rather, that one is responsible to receive in faith the means of grace so there might be growth in holiness. Sanctification is a lifelong process, which involves the entire personality of the believer. Because God is working, the believer is to work in the power of the Holy Spirit, mortifying sinful thoughts and deeds and aspiring toward holiness in every area of life. 1 Thess. 5:23; 4:3, 7; 1 Pet. 1:2; 2 Thess. 2:13; Phil. 1:6; 2:12, 13; Luke 9:23; Heb. 12:14, 17; James 1: 19-27; 2:14-26; 3:13-18; 2 Pet. 2:5-11 3:14-18; 1 John 3:1-3.
- Those who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, called into union with Christ, born from above by the Holy Spirit, so they might repent of their sins and trust in Christ for their justification, will not only grow in holiness but will persevere as the saints of God until the day of Christ Jesus. Though genuine believers may stumble in sin and even grievously backslide, they cannot continue in sin to the extent that they deny their Lord who redeemed them from the power of guilt and sin. Rom. 8:28-30; Phil. 1:6; Eph. 1: 13; 4:30; John 10: 28, 29; 2 Tim. 2:19; 1 John 2:19.
- From a human perspective, many people appear to have true saving faith and the church must accept them, as brothers and sisters, who profess faith in Christ and produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Scripture teaches, however, that the hearing of the Gospel not only produces saving faith but also results in various kinds of temporary or counterfeit faith. The true test of whether a person has trusted in Christ is not one's profession, church membership or even good works rendered in Christ's name but whether one endures to the end, abides in Christ and continues in the Word of God. Matt. 13: 1-23; Luke 8:11-15; Acts 5: 1-10; 6:4-6; 2 Pet. 2:20, 21; Matt. 10:22; John 8:31, 32; 15: 1-17: Heb. 4:14.
- It is by the power of God that the saints are shielded until the coming of Christ. They are kept as they persevere in doing what pleases God and brings glory to His name. Yet believers are kept by the power of God through faith. Saving faith always leads to persevering faith. The believer is justified by faith alone but genuine faith never remains alone but enables one to grow in grace and persevere to the end. 1 Pet. 1:4, 5; Jude 24; John 6:39, 40; 2 Tim. 1:2.
- Though saving faith be different in degrees from believer to believer and may be weak or strong, yet it is different in nature from mere profession of faith or temporary faith. Though it may often be attacked and weakened, yet it gets the victory, growing up in many to the attainment of a full assurance of salvation through Christ, who is both the author and finisher of our faith. Heb. 5:13, 14; Matt. 6:30; Rom. 4:19, 20; 2 Pet. 1: 1; Eph. 6:16; 1 John 5:4, 5; Heb. 6:11, 12; Col. 2:2; Heb. 12:2.
- The saints must never view God's grace and keeping power as a license to live as they please. This would be to presume upon the grace of God. In motivating believers to persevere, Scripture not only encourages them by reminding them of what Christ has done to save them but also warns them against taking their sin lightly. "It is (indeed) a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.’ As believers are called to persevere, they do so out of gratitude and love for what God has first done for them in Christ, by faith in God’s promise of continued grace and also with holy fear and respect against offending the living God. Heb. 10:19-39; 11:24-27; 1 John 4:7-21.
- The doctrines of perseverance and sanctification do not mean that true believers cannot sin or fail God. Since no person is free from the entanglements of sin and ungodly habits, repentance is necessary for reconciliation with God and the maintenance of perseverance and assurance of salvation. Titus 3:2-5; Acts 17:30; 20:21; Joel 2:12; Mal. 3:7; James 4:7-10.
- There is no one who is truly without sin. Believers often through the power and deceitfulness of their corrupt desires and the power of temptation fall into sins. Yet God has mercifully promised that believers who sin and fall be renewed through repentance and confession of sins. Eph. 4:22; Luke 22:31, 32; Hos. 14:12; Acts 3:19; 2 Chr. 7:14; Joel 2:13; 2 Cor. 7: 10; I John 1:8-10.
- This saving and restoring repentance is an evangelical grace, whereby a person, being made aware by the Holy Spirit of the seriousness of sin, is by faith in Christ humbled with godly sorrow and hatred of the sin. Turning to God in prayer that one confesses the sin, seeking God's grace and the help of the Holy Spirit to walk again before God so as to please Him in all things. Zech. 12:10; Acts 11:18; Ezek. 36:31; 2Cor. 7:11; Ps. 119:6,128.
- Although repentance is not to be rested in as any satisfaction for sin or any cause for its pardon, which is an act of God's free grace in Christ, yet is so necessary that no one can expect reconciliation to God or assurance of salvation without it. Ezek. 36:31,32; 16:61-63; Hos. 14:2,4; Rom. 3:24; Eph. 1:7; Luke 13:3-5; Acts 17:30,31.
- Good works done in obedience to God's commands and from a heart of gratitude for His grace in Christ are the fruit and evidence of a true and living faith. By them believers show their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify fellow believers, adorn the profession of the Gospel, stop the mouths of adversaries, and glorify God. In this way, believers give evidence that they are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for them to do. James 2:18, 22; Ps. 1 16:12, 13; 1 John 2:2, 5; 2 Pet. 1: 5-11; Matt. 5:16; 1 Tim. 6: 1; 1 Pet. 2:15; Phil. 1:2; Eph. 2:10; Rom. 6:22.
- A believer's ability to do good works is not due to one's own strength or moral power but wholly attributed to the Spirit of Christ. A believer is strengthened to perform good works by the grace one has already received, as well as by the actual influence of the Holy Spirit working in that one to do and to will in keeping with what pleased God. Yet one must not grow negligent as if one was not bound to any duty unless there was a special prompting by the Holy Spirit. Rather the believer ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in one. John 15:4, 5; 2 Cor. 3:5; Phil. 2:12; Heb. 6:11, 12; Isa. 65:7.
- We cannot by our own best works merit God's favor. For there ever remains a great disproportion between the good works we actually do and the perfection God requires. So that by our good works we can never satisfy the debt of our former sins. When we have done all we can, we have done only our duty and are unprofitable servants. To the extent that our works are good, they proceed from the Spirit and as they are wrought in us, they are defiled and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection that they cannot endure the severity of God's judgment. However, since a believer is accepted in Christ, that one's good works are also accepted in Him, because God looking on them in His Son is pleased to accept and reward the sincere works of the believer. Rom. 3:20; Eph. 2:8,9; Rom. 4:16; Luke 17:10; Gal. 5:22,23; Isa. 64:6; Ps. 143:2; Eph. 1:6; 1 Pet. 2:5; Matt. 25:21-23; Heb. 6:10.
- The church of Jesus Christ is comprised of all people who have been effectually called of God out of the darkness and the bondage of sin being born anew by the Holy Spirit to trust in Christ as Savior and Lord. In this sense, the church is invisible for her true members are known only to God. The church is the assembly of God's people, the communion of the saints, the household of God, which is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone. He is the Head of the church, her sole authority who exerts His rule and care over her by the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the Word. Eph. 1:23; 2:19-22; 4:15; 5:23-32; Col. 1: 18; I Tim. 3:5, 15; 1 Cor. 3: 18; I Pet. 2:5,9; 4:17.
- As God's household, the church is an organized community with spiritual structure and order, cared for by the stewards and under shepherds who submit to Jesus Christ. The officers of the church are responsible before God to see that the church's ministry is being carried out. As the body of Christ, the church is an organism with her various parts operating for the good of the whole. Each member is to exercise its appropriate function or gift so the entire body is able to grow in the unity of the Spirit. I Pet. 5:1-4; Heb. 13:17; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Eph. 4:11, 12; Acts 2:42; 20:28; Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12:12-31; 1 Pet. 4:10, 11.
- Though the church is universal in that it knows no geographical, ethnic, or racial boundaries, it is nevertheless a concrete reality, not a vague abstraction. The biblical teaching concerning the invisible and universal church applies to the local and visible church as an independent and organized body of believers. The church is under the care of elders and the deacons, who are responsible in seeing that the ministry of the church continues in an orderly and effective manner and that the saints are equipped in ministering and using their gifts for the edification of the church and the proclamation of the Gospel. The entire church is given the task of ministry, though some by virtue of their calling and gifts minister in a more public way. All members are priests and ministers before God, one another and a lost and dying world. Rom. 16:4; Cor. 16: 1; Gal. 1:2; 1 Thess. 2:14; Acts 5: 11; 11:26; 1 Cor. 11:8; 14:19,28,35; Rom. 16:5, 23; 1 Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:15; Philem. 2; Eph. 1:22; 3: 10; 5:23-32; Col. 1: 18,24; Eph. 4:12; 1 Tim. 5:14-17; Gal. 6: 1-10; Heb. 10:24,25; 1 Tim. 4:14; Titus 1:5; 1 Pet. 2:9; Ex. 19:6.
- In order for an assembly of believers to be constituted as a local church, there must exist both biblical order and life; the structure of the household and the vitality of the body resting upon the foundation and drawing sustenance from her Head, even Jesus Christ. Several marks should observably be in place before any assembly of believers can be considered a church. There must be the regular preaching and teaching of the Word of God in humble dependence upon the Holy Spirit. This is how Christ exercises His lordship over the church. The biblical ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper must be faithfully administered. This is how Christ visibly seals those who are his and brings comfort, strength, and hope to the faithful. The ministry of biblical discipline and care should be dutifully exercised in admonishing, nurturing, instructing, and governing the church. This is how Christ leads His people in wisdom and holiness, so that the church might grow into the full measure of Christ. There must also exist a serious concern and effort to fulfill the church's mission to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to a world lost in sin. This is how Christ's kingdom power advances to the glory of the Triune God. John 8:31, 32, 47; 14: 23; Acts 2:42; 17: 11; 20:20, 27, 28; Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 3:2; Col. 3:16; 2 Tim. 2:15; 4:2; Heb. 5:12; 1 Pet. 2:2; 2 John 9; Matt. 28:18-20; 1 Cor. 10:16, 17; 11:23-30; Matt. 18:15-20; Acts 20: 28-30; 1 Cor. 5:1-5, 13; 14:33, 40; 2 Cor. 2: 5-10; Gal. 6: 1-10; I Thess. 5:12- 15; 2 Thess. 3:6,14; 2 Tim. 5: 1; 6:2; 2:22-26; Titus 3:9-1 1; Heb. 13:17; 2 John 10; Rev. 2:2.
- Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament ordained by Jesus Christ to be to the person baptized a sign of one's fellowship with Him in His death, burial and resurrection; of one's being engrafted into Him; of the remission of sins and of the new life that one is now living for God. Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12; Gal. 3:27; Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:4.
- Those who actually profess repentance towards God, faith in and obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ are the only proper subjects of water baptism. Acts 8:36, 37; 2:41; 8:12; 18:8.
- The outward element to be used in this ordinance is water, wherein the person is to be baptized by immersion in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, as the initial public profession of faith in Christ Jesus. The only exception to this would be due to health reasons, in which case the Elders of the church will determine the best mode of baptism. Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 8:38.
- Although it is a great sin to show contempt for or neglect this ordinance, Yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably connected to it that no person can be regenerated or saved without it, or that all who are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated. Luke 7:30; Ex. 4:24-26; Rom. 4:1 1; Acts 10:2, 4, 22, 31, 45, 47; Acts 8:13, 23.
- The supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by Him on the same night He was betrayed to be observed in His churches until the end of the world as a perpetual reminder and visible proclamation of His sacrificial death. Participation in the supper confirms the faith of believers in all the benefits of their union with Christ and their spiritual nourishment and growth in Him. Participation in the supper also reminds them of the debt of love they owe the Lord and the bond and pledge of their communion with one another in Christ. I Cor. 11:23, 26; 10:16, 17, 21.
- The outward elements in this ordinance as they are duly set apart for the use ordained by Christ have such a relation to Him they may be said to be the body and blood of Christ. Yet the bread and the cup are only symbols or figures, which represent the once and for all sacrifice of Christ. In substance and nature, they truly remain only bread and wine. I Cor. 11:27; I Cor. 11:26-28.
- Those believers who come to the supper in a worthy manner, partaking of the visible elements do inwardly by faith really and indeed, yet not carnally or corporally but spiritually, receive and feed upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of His death. It may be said that the body and blood of Christ while not physically present is spiritually present to the faith of believers as the elements are present to the outward senses. 2 Cor. 6:14, 15; 1 Cor. 11:27-32; Matt. 5:23, 24; 1 Cor. 10: 17.
- Jesus Christ's redemptive work not only accomplished the salvation of His people from the judgment of God but also from the horror and power of death. This does not mean that believers do not experience death, for death, prior to Christ's appearing is the lot of all people, except those who are living at the time of Christ’s appearing. However, the physical death of the saint does not cause us to grieve as those who have no hope. The believer's hope is in the Second Coming of Christ, at which time the dead in Christ will be raised from death to put on immortality and share in the eternal kingdom of Christ on an earth made new. John 5:21-24; 1 John 5:11, 12; 1Cor. 15:53, 54; 2 Cor. 4:11; Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:1, 5; Col. 2:13; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Titus 2:13.
- Death results in the eventual decomposition of the body and the rest of a believer's spiritual entity or personality (soul/spirit) with Christ. They are those who, even in death, belong to Christ. Death cannot separate them from the love of God in Christ Jesus. His resurrection guarantees theirs. They will be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye. So while all die only those who die in the Lord are likened to a seed that is sown as perishable but will be raised imperishable through the power of the resurrection. Gen. 3:19; Job 34:15; Eccles. 3:20; Matt. 10:28; Ps. 116:15; Rev. 14:13; Rom. 8:38; Phil. 1:20-21; 2 Cor. 5:1-10; 1 Thess. 4:13-17; 1 Cor. 15:12-55.
- At Christ's Second Coming, the end of human history will occur with the destruction of the heavens and the earth, ushering in God's eternal Kingdom. Christ's coming will be unexpected and sudden. His coming will not be in secret but will be visible and accompanied with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God. The dead in Christ will be raised and together with the believers living at that time will be transformed by the glory of Christ's appearing and made ready to share in the inheritance which has been prepared for them. Also at this time, the dead outside Christ will be raised to undergo the judgment of God. God will vindicate His purposes and the honor of His Son before all the wicked; causing all who refused to love, serve and worship Him to bow down before the awful splendor of His majesty and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. I Thess. 4:3-17; 5: 10; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; 2 Pet. 3:7, 10; I John 3:2; Isa. 2:10-22; Phil. 2:9-1
- Unbelievers will then experience the just wrath of God, which will lead to their utter destruction, banishment from God’s gracious presence and consignment to eternal punishment. Mal. 4:1-3; Matt. 8:12; 10:28; 25:1-46; Rom. 2:8-9; 2 Thess. 5-9; Hebrews 9:27; 10:27; Jude 7; Rev. 14:9-11; 20:11-15; 21:8
- At the end of the age, God will also destroy the present heavens and earth and make them anew. The specific eternal dwelling of the saints will be on the earth made new. Here is the eternal home of the saints, where they will perfectly, joyfully, and willingly submit to God's rule, serving Him and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, world without end. Ps. 37:11, 22; 115:16; Isa. 65:17; Matt. 5:5; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1-5, 10; 22:1-5.
Concerning matters that pertain to the Bible’s teaching on last things (eschatology) it will be our church’s policy to extend liberty of conscience to one another concerning the interpretation of the Bible’s teaching on the nature of physical death for believers and unbelievers and the exact nature of God’s final judgment of the unrepentant. However, that liberty of conscience needs to remain within the boundary of understanding that the Gospel without the wrath of God is not the Gospel, for it is the Gospel that saves from God’s wrath by Christ bearing that wrath in our place (the vicarious propitiatory expiation of Christ’s sacrifice upon the cross) and hence His eternal wrath is real. Therefore, we deny that there are further opportunities for repentance after physical death (post-mortem conversions), or there exists any state or condition of purgatory. Concerning God’s judgment of the unrepentant we affirm that God’s judgment will be in keeping with his holy justice and that even now all human beings apart from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are under his wrath and we have an obligation to warn them to flee from the wrath to come by repenting of their sins and their self-reliant autonomy and trust in Jesus Christ as the promised redeemer from sin and God’s wrath. Further we affirm that God’s wrath is real and final and that hell is in no way morally remedial so as to eventually lead to the universal salvation of those justly banished there. God’s wrath is eternally punitive and for that reason, it is indeed a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. Further, God’s wrath in its own way, like his grace, magnifies his glory and must not be denied by the follower of Jesus Christ.
Type the content for this accordion section here. This is just example text to show you what it will look like when you enter text content into this accordion section. Your unique, authentic, and appropriate text will be filled into this section.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven; and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
I believe in one God the Father Almighty; Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; who spoke by the Prophets. And one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable soul and body; consubstantial with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the prophets from the beginning have declared concerning him, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.
- Whosoever will be saved: before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic Faith:
- Which Faith except every one does keep whole and undefiled: without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
- And the catholic Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;
- Neither confounding the Persons: nor dividing the Substance.
- For there is one Person of the Father: another of the Son: and another of the Holy Spirit.
- But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is all one: the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal.
- Such as the Father is: such is the Son: and such is the Holy Spirit.
- The Father uncreated: the Son uncreated: and the Holy Spirit uncreated.
- The Father incomprehensible: the Son incomprehensible: and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.
- The Father eternal: the Son eternal: and the Holy Spirit eternal.
- And yet they are not three eternals: but one eternal.
- And also there are not three uncreated: nor three incomprehensibles, but one uncreated: and one incomprehensible.
- So likewise, the Father is Almighty: the Son Almighty: and the Holy Spirit Almighty.
- And yet they are not three Almighties: but one Almighty.
- So the Father is God: the Son is God: and the Holy Spirit is God.
- And yet they are not three Gods: but one God.
- So likewise the Father is Lord: the Son Lord: and the Holy Spirit Lord.
- And yet not three lords: but one Lord.
- For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity: to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord:
- So are we forbidden by the catholic Religion: to say, there be three Gods, or three Lords.
- The Father is made of none: neither created, nor begotten.
- The Son is of the Father alone: not made, nor created: but begotten.
- The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son: neither made, nor created, nor begotten: but proceeding.
- So there is one Father, not three Fathers: one Son, not three Sons: one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.
- And in this Trinity none is before, or after another: none is greater, or less than another.
- But the whole three Persons are co-eternal and coequal.
- So that in all things, as aforesaid: the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped.
- He therefore that will be saved, think of the Trinity.
- Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation: that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess: that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man;
- God, of the Substance of the Father; begotten before the worlds: and Man, of the Substance of his Mother, born in the world.
- Perfect God: and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.
- Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead: and inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood.
- Who although he be God and Man; yet he is not two, but one Christ.
- One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh: but by taking of the Manhood into God.
- One altogether; not by confusion of Substance: but by unity of Person.
- For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man; so God and Man is one Christ;
- Who suffered for our salvation: descended into hell rose again the third day from the dead.
- He ascended into heaven, he sits on the right hand of the Father God Almighty.
- From whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
- At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies;
- And shall give account for their own works.
- And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting: and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire.
- This is the catholic Faith: which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.
Evangelical churches today are increasingly dominated by the spirit of this age rather than by the Spirit of Christ. As evangelicals, we call ourselves to repent of this sin and to recover the historic Christian faith.
In the course of history, words change. In our day, this has happened to the word "evangelical.” In the past, it served as a bond of unity between Christians from a wide diversity of church traditions. Historic evangelicalism was confessional. It embraced the essential truths of Christianity as those were defined by the great ecumenical councils of the church. In addition, evangelicals also shared a common heritage in the "solas" of the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation.
Today the light of the Reformation has been significantly dimmed. The consequence is that the word "evangelical" has become so inclusive as to have lost its meaning. We face the peril of losing the unity it has taken centuries to achieve. Because of this crisis and because of our love of Christ, his gospel and his church, we endeavor to assert anew our commitment to the central truths of the Reformation and of historic evangelicalism. These truths we affirm not because of their role in our traditions, but because we believe they are central to the Bible.
SOLA SCRIPTURA: The Erosion of Authority
Scripture alone is the inerrant rule of the church's life, but the evangelical church today has separated Scripture from its authoritative function. In practice, the church is guided, far too often, by the culture. Therapeutic technique, marketing strategies, and the beat of the entertainment world often have far more to say about what the church wants, how it functions, and what it offers, than does the Word of God. Pastors have neglected their rightful oversight of worship, including the doctrinal content of the music. As biblical authority has been abandoned in practice, as its truths have faded from Christian consciousness, and as its doctrines have lost their saliency, the church has been increasingly emptied of its integrity, moral authority, and direction.
Rather than adapting Christian faith to satisfy the felt needs of consumers, we must proclaim the law as the only measure of true righteousness and the gospel as the only announcement of saving truth. Biblical truth is indispensable to the church's understanding, nurture, and discipline.
Scripture must take us beyond our perceived needs to our real needs and liberate us from seeing ourselves through the seductive images, clichés, promises, and priorities of mass culture. It is only in the light of God's truth that we understand ourselves aright and see God's provision for our need. The Bible, therefore, must be taught and preached in the church. Sermons must be expositions of the Bible and its teachings, not expressions of the preacher's opinions or the ideas of the age. We must settle for nothing less than what God has given.
The work of the Holy Spirit in personal experience cannot be disengaged from Scripture. The Spirit does not speak in ways that are independent of Scripture. Apart from Scripture, we would never have known of God's grace in Christ. The biblical Word, rather than spiritual experience, is the test of truth.
THESIS ONE: SOLA SCRIPTURA
We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.
We deny that any creed, council, or individual may bind a Christian's conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.
SOLUS CHRISTUS: The Erosion of Christ-Centered Faith
As evangelical faith becomes secularized, its interests have been blurred with those of the culture. The result is a loss of absolute values, permissive individualism, and a substitution of wholeness for holiness, recovery for repentance, intuition for truth, feeling for belief, chance for providence, and immediate gratification for enduring hope. Christ and his cross have moved from the center of our vision.
THESIS TWO: SOLUS CHRISTUS
We reaffirm that our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father.
We deny that the gospel is preached if Christ's substitutionary work is not declared and faith in Christ and his work is not solicited.
SOLA GRATIA: The Erosion of The Gospel
Unwarranted confidence in human ability is a product of fallen human nature. This false confidence now fills the evangelical world; from the self-esteem gospel, to the health and wealth gospel, from those who have transformed the gospel into a product to be sold and sinners into consumers who want to buy, to others who treat Christian faith as being true simply because it works. This silences the doctrine of justification regardless of the official commitments of our churches.
God's grace in Christ is not merely necessary but is the sole efficient cause of salvation. We confess that human beings are born spiritually dead and are incapable even of cooperating with regenerating grace.
THESIS THREE: SOLA GRATIA
We reaffirm that in salvation we are rescued from God's wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.
We deny that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques, or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation. Faith is not produced by our unregenerate human nature.
SOLA FIDE: The Erosion of The Chief Article
Justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. This is the article by which the church stands or falls. Today this article is often ignored, distorted, or sometimes even denied by leaders, scholars, and pastors who claim to be evangelical. Although fallen human nature has always recoiled from recognizing its need for Christ's imputed righteousness, modernity greatly fuels the fires of this discontent with the biblical Gospel. We have allowed this discontent to dictate the nature of our ministry and what it is we are preaching.
Many in the church growth movement believe that sociological understanding of those in the pew is as important to the success of the gospel as is the biblical truth which is proclaimed. As a result, theological convictions are frequently divorced from the work of the ministry. The marketing orientation in many churches takes this even further, erasing the distinction between the biblical Word and the world, robbing Christ's cross of its offense, and reducing Christian faith to the principles and methods which bring success to secular corporations.
While the theology of the cross may be believed, these movements are actually emptying it of its meaning. There is no gospel except that of Christ's substitution in our place whereby God imputed to him our sin and imputed to us his righteousness. Because he bore our judgment, we now walk in his grace as those who are forever pardoned, accepted and adopted as God's children.
There is no basis for our acceptance before God except in Christ's saving work, not in our patriotism, churchly devotion, or moral decency. The gospel declares what God has done for us in Christ. It is not about what we can do to reach him.
THESIS FOUR: SOLA FIDE
We reaffirm that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. In justification, Christ's righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God's perfect justice.
We deny that justification rests on any merit to be found in us, or upon the grounds of an infusion of Christ's righteousness in us, or that an institution claiming to be a church that denies or condemns sola fide can be recognized as a legitimate church.
SOLI DEO GLORIA: The Erosion of God-Centered Worship
Wherever in the church biblical authority has been lost, Christ has been displaced, the gospel has been distorted, or faith has been perverted, it has always been for one reason: our interests have displaced God's and we are doing his work in our way. The loss of God's centrality in the life of today's church is common and lamentable. It is this loss that allows us to transform worship into entertainment, gospel preaching into marketing, believing into technique, being good into feeling good about ourselves, and faithfulness into being successful. As a result, God, Christ, and the Bible have come to mean too little to us and rest too inconsequentially upon us.
God does not exist to satisfy human ambitions, cravings, the appetite for consumption, or our own private spiritual interests. We must focus on God in our worship, rather than the satisfaction of our personal needs. God is sovereign in worship; we are not. Our concern must be for God's kingdom, not our own empires, popularity, or success.
THESIS FIVE: SOLI DEO GLORIA
We reaffirm that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God's glory, and that we must glorify him always. We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone.
We deny that we can properly glorify God if our worship is confused with entertainment, if we neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-esteem, or self-fulfillment are allowed to become alternatives to the gospel.