Statement of Faith
- Scripture. The sixty-six books of the Protestant canon, in their original writings, comprise the verbally inspired, inerrant Word of God.
The thirty-nine books known as the Hebrew Old Testament are God-breathed, products of the Holy Spiritís inspiration, and thus free from error in all that they affirm (cf. Deuteronomy 18:18, 19; Psalms 19:7, 8; 119:89, 142, 151, 160; Matthew 5:17-19; John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20, 21).
Similarly, the twenty-seven books known as the Greek New Testament are the eternally abiding words of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:35), and are thus the words of God (John 7:16; 12:49). The Holy Spirit enabled the writers both to recall what the Lord said (John 14:26), and to continue to receive His revelation (John 16: 12-15). As a result, the writings of the New Testament are the commandment of the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:37), are Scripture (2 Peter 3:15, 16), and are God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16).
For this reason, the sinner finds the way of salvation through Scripture (Romans 10:17; 2 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 2: 1-3). The believer is made fruitful (Psalm 1:2, 3) and successful in the will of God (Joshua 1:8), warned and kept from sin (Psalms 19:11; 119:9,11), made holy (John 17:17), given wisdom (Psalm 19:7) and freeing knowledge of the truth (John 8: 31, 32), taught the fear of God (Psalm 119:38), counseled (Psalm 119:24), taught, reproved, corrected, and disciplined in the way righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16) by Scripture. Scripture is, in short, the fully adequate revelation of the person, ways, and will of God.
- God: Essence and Attributes. God is Spirit (John 4:24), eternal (Genesis 21:33) and immutable (Psalm 102:12, 25-27; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17), infinitely holy (Psalm 99:3, 5, 9; Isaiah 6:3, 57:15), righteous (Psalm 7:9, 11), omnipotent (Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17, 27; Revelation 1:8), omniscient (Job 21:22; Psalm 147:5; Proverbs 15:11; Isaiah 46:10), omnipresent (Psalm 139:7ff.), merciful (Exodus 34:6; Psalm 86:15; James 5:11), faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9; Lamentations 3:23; Hebrews 10:23; 1 John 1:9), true and truthful (Psalm 31:5; Isaiah 65:16; John 3:33; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18), loving (1 John 4:8), and sovereign (Psalm 115:3; Daniel 4:35; Ephesians 1:11).
- God: Trinity of Persons. God is one in essence (Deuteronomy 6:4), and three in persons (Matthew 28:19).
- The Father. All that has been said of God (Article II) is affirmed of the Father, to whom Jesus Christ is the eternal Son. In His essence, the Father is one with the Son and the Spirit (cf. Deuteronomy 6:4; John 10:30); in His person, the Father is distinguished from the Son and the Spirit (Mark 1:9-11). From Him are all things (1 Corinthians 8:6). Believers in Jesus Christ are the Fatherís adopted children (John 1:12, 13; Ephesians 1:5).
- The Son. All that has been said of God (Article II) is affirmed of the Son in His essence. He shares full deity with the Father (cf. John 1:1, 18; 20:28), is one with the Father and the Spirit in His essence (cf. Deuteronomy 6:4; John 10:30), and yet is distinct in His person (Mark 1:9-11). Through Him were all things created (John 1:3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16), and all things exist for His sake (Colossians 1:16). Though eternally and timelessly existent as God, the Son took on human flesh in the Incarnation (John 1:14), and was born through a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25). His humanity was literal (1 John 4:2), was free from sin (Hebrews 2:17, 18; 4:14,15), and was assumed that He might die for the redemption of lost sinners (Matthew 20:28), pouring out His blood to establish the New Covenant and secure forgiveness of the sins of many (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:14). After His death, He rose physically on the third day (Luke 24, especially vv. 38-43; John 20:27), and has been highly exalted to the right hand of the Father (Acts 1:9; Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 1:3; 12:2), from which one day He will return physically to earth (Acts 1:11).
- The Holy Spirit. All that has been said of God (Article II) is affirmed of the Holy Spirit. He is a Person who is fully God (Acts 5:3, 4). He is one with the Father and Son in His essence (cf. Deuteronomy 6:4), and is distinguished from the Father and the Son in His person (Mark 1:9-11). He proceeds from the Father (John 15:26), is sent by the Father (John 14:26) and the Son John 15:26; 16:7; Acts 2:33), and comes of His own accord (John 16:13). His delight has ever been to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, both under the Old Covenant (1 Peter 1:10, 11), and under the New (John 16:14; 1 Peter 1:12). The conversion of sinners is a result of the Holy Spiritís convicting (John 16:7-11) and regenerating (John 3:3-8) work. At conversion, the Lord Jesus Christ baptizes (immerses) every believing sinner (without exception) with the Spirit into the body of Christ (Mark 1:7, 8; 1 Corinthians 12:13). The Spirit gives every believer at least one spiritual gift for service and for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:4, 7, 11), seals the believer for holy, Christian living (Romans 8:12-14; Galatians 5:16, 17, 25; Ephesians 5:18 ff.), and bears His fruit in the Christian (Galatians 5:22, 23). Some of the Spiritís gifts and manifestations are expressly declared to be temporary (1 Corinthians 13:8-10; cf. Hebrews 2:3, 4). The focus of the Spirit-filled Christian is glorifying Christ (cf. John 16:14) by a holy, Christ-like character (Galatians 5:22, 23), and by a worshipful, submissive, productive lifestyle (1 Corinthians 12:7; Ephesians 5:18ff.) that is bound in obedience to the written Word of God (1 Corinthians 14:37).
- Creation. Man was created in the image of God for the purpose of dominion over the earth to the glory of God (Genesis 1:26-31). We reject any explanation of manís origin that groups him with the animals as to his nature, or which see him as a result of a natural process rather than the special, creative act of God.
- Fall. Our first parents, the literal human individuals Adam and Eve, rebelled against Godís command (Genesis 3:1 ff.). In this act, they represented all of their natural descendants, and involved both themselves and all of their natural descendants in the guilt and ruin of sin (Genesis 3:16-20; Romans 5:12-21). As a result, all men are conceived in sin (Psalm 51:5), are involved in sin and in falling short of Godís glory (Romans 3:23), are spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-5), are alienated from and hostile towards the true revelation of God (Romans 1:18-32; 8:7; Ephesians 2:12; 4:17-19; Colossians 2:13), are deceitful and desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9), do not seek or fear God (Romans 3:11, 18), and are unable to produce any true righteousness (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:10). In short, man is incapable of generating any spiritual good, or producing anything in and of himself to help himself spiritually (Job 14:4; Romans 7:18). The depravity of sin touches every area of his life.
- Redemption. Out of sheer love and mercy, God sovereignly chose sinful men unto salvation (Romans 8:29, 30; Ephesians 1:3-11), giving them to Jesus Christ by sovereign grant that He might effect their redemption (John 17:2, 6, 9, 24). This Jesus did, saving His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21) by giving His life as a ransom-price for many (Matthew 20:28). The Father draws these ones to Jesus (John 6:39, 44), which involves granting them repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 11:18; 13:48; Philippians 1:29; 2 Timothy 2:25). The redeemed are made into new creations by the sovereign and supernatural power of God (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:24).
- Salvation. Salvation is the work of God (cf. Jonah 2:9), accomplished by the eternal plan of the Father (Isaiah 53:10; Ephesians 3:11), the mighty work of the Son (Matthew 1:21; 1 Timothy 1:15), and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8). The perfectly righteous Son of God bore the sin of men in His body on the cross (1 Peter 2:22-24), dying as a substitute (1 Peter 3:18), dying for us (Galatians 2:20), giving His soul as a ransom in the stead of many (Mark 10:45). In this way He was "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29), bearing Godís wrath and curse in our stead (Matthew 27:46; Galatians 3:13, 14), being made sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). When any man or woman repents and believes in Jesus Christ, he is fully saved ó and all of this is a sheer gift of Godís grace; human works do not enter into the salvation of a sinner in any way (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Jesus gives eternal life to believing sinners so that they shall never perish (John 10:28), so that He and the Father jointly keep them (John 10:29), and so that absolutely nothing can separate them from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus their Lord (Romans 8:35-39).
- Sanctification. Salvation, in whole and in its parts, is a free gift of God, and is not effected to any degree by the works of men (Ephesians 2:8, 9). It is also important to know that true repentance produces fruit in the life (Matthew 3:8), and that the man saved by grace is "created in Christ Jesus for good works" (Ephesians 2:10). Christ came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8), which involved in part purifying for Himself a people zealous for good deeds (Titus 2:14). Our sanctification (holiness) is based on the work of Christ (John 17:19; Hebrews 10:10, 14), is effected by the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts (Galatians 5:16-25), and involves our obedience to the written Word of God (John 14:15; 1 John 5:3). At conversion, a sinner is spiritually given everything he needs for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3); he then begins to learn how to work out in practice what God has already put within him at regeneration (vv. 4-10). Sanctification does not in any way effect our salvation, but is itself an effect of our salvation (cf. Philippians 2:12, 13; James 2:17).
- Christian Liberty. Jesus Christ has set the believer free to obey the Word of God (Romans 6). Godís Word details everything the believer needs to know for living a life that is pleasing to God (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). In areas not clearly treated by Godís Word, the believer is to be sensitive to others with weaker consciences (Romans 14:13b-22; 1 Corinthians 8:9-13), but is not enslaved to the consciences (1 Corinthians 10:29-31). No believer is to judge another in areas not clearly treated by Godís Word (Romans 14:1, 3-13a; 15:1, 7). All believers should extend the greatest amount of love and grace possible, and give others the greatest possible benefit of a doubt (Proverbs 18:13; Romans 14:17-19; 15:7; 1 Corinthians 13:7).
- The Church.
- Universal. The universal church is built by Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:18), founded on Him (1 Corinthians 3:11), and includes all who have received Jesus Christ (cf. John 1: 12, 13), who thus have been baptized (immersed) with the Holy Spirit into the spiritual body (1 Corinthians 12:13), of which Christ is the Head (Ephesians 1:22, 23).
- Local. The local church is a visible expression of the universal body of Christ. It administers the ordinances (Acts 2:41, 46; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34), preaches the Word of God (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 20:32; 2 Timothy 4:2), and is led by men appointed by the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28) according to the sovereign gift of Christ (Ephesians 4:11). It is the believerís training center for service of God (Ephesians 4:11ff.). The church is responsible for the discipling (instruction; Matthew 28:19; 1 Timothy 4:13) and discipline (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13) of believers. Attendance at such an assembly is mandatory for believers (Hebrews 10:25).
- Its ordinances. Defining an ordinance as a symbolic, external practice explicitly commanded by the Lord Jesus for observance by believers in His assembly, we recognize two ordinances. The first is known as baptism, which is immersion in water as a symbolic representation of the believerís prior, by-faith union with Christ in His death and resurrection (Matthew 28:19; cf. Romans 6:1-11; Colossians 2:12). The second is known as communion, which is a symbolic partaking of bread and the cup as commanded by Christ to commemorate Him in His death for sinner (Matthew 26:26-29; Luke 22:17-22; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34). Although the ordinances are neither necessary for salvation nor magical in any way, it is the believerís responsibility to obey Christ in observing them, and he does enjoy the blessing which Christ bestows on informed, believing obedience (cf. John 13:17).
- Future Things.
- Millennial Kingdom. Scripture promises a future period of one thousand years following the physical return of Christ to earth to establish His eternal kingdom, during which time Satan will be bound, and Christ will be physically present to reign with His saints on the earth (Revelation 20:1-6).
- The resurrection.
- Of the elect. Scripture refers to a "first resurrection" (Revelation 20:6), which is that of the elect to physical glorification and enjoyment of the presence of Christ. This resurrection seems subdivided into two main stages: the first involving the resurrection of the dead in Christ and the catching away to the presence of Christ of saints who are alive at Christís coming (1Thessalonians 4:13-17). The second stage involves the resurrection of believers who die subsequent to this time (Revelation 20:4).
- Of the lost. All unbelievers (except the Beast and the False Prophet, who are thrown into the Lake of Fire at Christís return to earth; Revelation 19:20) will be physically resurrected and judged according to their works at the end of the Millennium (John 5:29; Revelation 20:11-15). Having no second chance after death, these will share the eternal, hopeless, conscious, physical torment prepared for and endured also by the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41; Mark 9:43-48; Romans 2:8, 9; Revelation 20:10, 15).
Copyright © 1997, 2000, 2003, 2011, 2013 by Daniel J. Phillips; All Rights Reserved
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