It is through revelation that God has disclosed Himself to the world. There are two ways in which He has accomplished this: naturally and supernaturally.
• Natural or general revelation is the disclosure of God through the natural world or nature around us (Psa 19:1-6; Acts 14:17; 17:22-31). Through natural revelation, God has made Himself known to man so that they are without excuse when they do not acknowledge God as God (Rom 1:18-23).
• Supernatural or special revelation is how God has revealed Himself in salvation history by word and deed recorded for us in the Bible, God’s Word, and in the Person, Word, and Work of Jesus Christ: the Living Word (John 6:63; Heb 1:1-3).
I believe the Bible, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, is the very Word of God. It is the full and complete verbal inspiration of God. It is inerrant (without error) and infallible (incapable of error), as given to man in the original autographs (II Tim 3:16-17; II Peter 1:21). It is authentic and trustworthy in all its parts. God’s Word is the ultimate authority and standard by which a Christian should measure their conduct, teaching, and faith (Isa 40:8; I Peter 1:23; Psa 119:9,11; Matt 4:4; John 17:17; Rom 10:17).
God set aside and prepared certain men to write the Scriptures. Through revelation God communicated to these men the truth concerning Himself and His plan for His creation. Revelation must always be from God to man; never the other direction. It is totally of God, and it is through revelation that God makes known that which would be otherwise hidden. For the Bible is the written Word of God.
Inspiration guarantees us the accuracy of the Word of God. Inspiration indicates that the Bible has come from the very heart and mind of God. The entirety of the Bible is God-breathed (II Tim 3:16). The process involved specially chosen men, by God, writing the message of God, under the superintending work of the Holy Spirit. Human authorship was respected to the extent that the writer's characteristics are preserved such as their style and vocabulary, but without the intrusion of error. This truth extends to every portion of the Bible so that it is in all its parts both infallible as to truth and final as to divine authority (II Peter 1:20-21; Matt 5:18).
Only the present sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments are part of the canon. Canonicity is the historical process by which the Spirit of God providentially led the people of Israel and the church to recognize those writings that were genuinely inspired. The canonizing process did not make the books inspired. Rather, they were inspired as they came from the pens of the authors. Inspiration gives the Bible authority; canonization tells how the Bible received its acceptance. Providentially led by the Holy Spirit, a careful, systematic study of the sixty-six books leads us to the conclusion that they are a unified, complete, systematic whole. I believe that the canon is now closed. (Deut. 4:1-4, Rev 22:18,).
Though the Word of God is generally clear, only believers are able to understand the significance of its truth through the Holy Spirit’s work of illumination. It is the Holy Spirit that enables believers to understand the significance of the Bible and to spiritually discern the things of God (John 14:26; I Cor. 2:4-16; I John 2:27).
The Bible should be interpreted using the standard laws of language, each passage being studied in its grammatical, historical, and theological context and interpreted based on authorial intent and the univocal use of language. Because God has given His revelation in different stages throughout history (Heb 1:1-2), the Bible should be interpreted from a dispensational perspective based on that progressive unfolding of revelation (John 4;21, 23).
THEOLOGY PROPER: DOCTRINE OF GOD
I believe in the one personal, (Deut 6:4) living God (Jer 10:10), who exists in the three persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Isa 61:1; John 14:16, 26). All three persons of the Godhead exist simultaneously in one divine being and have the same attributes. They are identical in essence, equal in power and glory, but exercise different functions in distinct offices. The subordination that exists within the Godhead is in rank only, not in position (Matt 28:19; John 10:30; John 14:16, 26; I Cor 2:11-12; 3:16; II Cor 13:14; Luke 3:22). The Triune God is to be honored and worshipped equally as God (John 5:23; Acts 5:3-4). The Son, however, voluntarily submits Himself to the will of the Father (John 5:30; 17:1-5), and the Holy Spirit voluntarily serves the Father and the Son (John 15:26; 16:14).
The Bible does not attempt to prove God’s existence. It states it as a fact, "In the beginning God." God's existence may be proved by rationalization, but from the standpoint of Scripture we take what is said as truth (Gen 1:1; John 1:1-2).
He is a personal God. He has intellect (I Sam 2:3; Prov 3:19-20), emotion (Deut 5:9; Psa 5:5; Isa 62:5; I John 4:8), and will (Isa 14:26-27; Eph 1:9; 3:11). He is a living God (Deut 5:26; I Tim 4:10), and the creator and supreme ruler of His entire creation (Gen 1:2; Dan 4:35; Co1 1:16-17; Rev 4:11).
The best way we have to know or understand the nature of God is by His attributes revealed in the Holy Scriptures. These attributes are characterized in two ways: imminent and transitive. Imminent attributes involve God's relationship to Himself.
• Spirit (John 4:24),I believe that the fundamental attribute of God is his holiness. It is that which governs all His other attributes and His actions (Psa 47:8; Psa 99; Isa 6:1-5; 57:15; I Peter 1:15-16).
• Self-existent (John 5:26; Exod 3:14),
• Immutable (Psa 33:11-12; Mal 3:6; Jas 1:17),
• Unity (Isa 44:6; Mark 12:29),
• Truth (John 14:6; 17:3),
• Love (Jer 31:3; I John 4:7-10; John 3:16; 17:24),
• Holy (Exod 15:11; Isa 6:3),
• Perfect (Deut 32:3-4; Matt 5:48).
God's transitive attributes are those which involve his relationship to his creation.
In relation to time-space God is: eternal (Psa 90:1-2; 102:27; Isa 44:6; Deut 33:27; Heb 1:2), and infinite (Psa 147:5; I Kings 8:27; Jer 23:23-24).
In relation to creation God is: omnipresent (Psa 139:7-10; Isa 57:15; Jer 23:23-24), omniscient (Prov 15:3; I John 3:20; Isa 40:28; Psa 139:1-6; Heb 4:13), omnipotent (Matt 19:25-26; Rev 19:6; Job 42:2; Gen 18:14; Gen 17:1; Jer 32:17).
In relation to moral beings God is: incomprehensible (Psa 145:3; Rom 11:33), faithful (Deut 7:9; Isa 49:7; 25:1; I Cor 1:9; Psa 36: 5), merciful (Psa 103:8; Micah 7:18), good (Exod 33:19; Psa 27:13), righteous (Psa 145:17; Rev 16:4-7), and sovereign (Psa 135:6).
God as Father. When Jesus Christ taught people to pray, He instructed them to pray "Our Father" with all the intimacy we have with our earthly father. Because of the Spirit's work in the life of the believer, he can answer "Abba, Father" or "Daddy" (Rom 8:15: Gal 4:6) with intimacy and reverence. The only ones who can consider God their Father are those to whom Jesus Christ reveals the Father (Matt 11:25-27). God shows Himself as Father (to the Disciples) in mercy (Luke 6:36), goodness (Matt 5:45), love (Mark 11:25), and care (Matt 6:8). The Fatherhood of God for the church is based upon Christology and Soteriology (Eph 4:4-6; 5:18-21: Col 1:9-14). God as Father also disciplines His children (Heb 12:5-11). We are adopted by God as His children (Rom 8:15).
CHRISTOLOGY: DOCTRINE OF THE PERSON AND WORK OF JESUS CHRIST
I believe that Jesus Christ is God. He was virgin-born and is one person with two natures. Totally without sin, Christ freely bore the sins of mankind in order that He might redeem it. He lived a perfect life, died on the cross, rose again from the dead, and now lives in heaven as man’s Advocate before the Father.
I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the second person of the Godhead. He is the unique Son of God (John 3:16), and as such He possesses the same attributes as the Father (John 1:1; 17:5). He is eternally pre-existent having neither beginning nor end (Isa 9:6; Micah 5:2; John 8:58; I John 1:2). He is deity (Matt 1:23; John 1:1; 5:17-18; 10:30; 19:7; 20:28; Heb 1:8).
I believe that Jesus Christ, at the incarnation, became the God-man, both fully God and fully man, deity embodied in human flesh and form, thus to continue forever as true God and true man, one person with two natures (Col 2:9; Rev 22:16). His was not a multiple or split personality, but He was aware of the existence of both natures. He was the God-man (Rom 1:3-4). He took on human form and lived on earth to give us a visible tangible manifestation of God the Father (John 1:14,18; 14:9; Col 1:15), to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10; Titus 2:13-14), to die for sinful men (Heb 2:9; Isa 53:6; Matt 28:20; Gal 3:13), to make provision for eternal life (John 10:10), and to become a sympathetic High Priest (Heb 2:17-18; 4:15).
Christ's incarnation involved a voluntary humbling of Himself, still remaining fully God. He laid aside the independent use of His divine attributes for the purpose of taking on the form of a servant, becoming man, and possessing all the attributes of humanity, subjecting Himself to the will of the Father and the control of the Holy Spirit (Phil 2:5-8). There was no change in His divine personality (Heb 13:8). Because of the different theories (heresy) the council of Chalcedon set the orthodox standard by saying, the divine-human nature of Christ is without mixture, change, division, and separation (Rom 1:3-4: 9:5).
This union of the two natures occurred through the virgin conception and birth which was prophesied in the Old Testament (Isa 7:14) and recorded in the New Testament (Luke 1:35; Matt 1:18-23). He had no human father but was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matt 1:18; Luke 1:35). The virgin conception and birth was necessary; for without it a whole new person would have been produced. He would have been only the Son of David. Jesus Christ was a pre-existent person (John 1:1). The virgin conception and birth was necessary to prevent Jesus obtaining through natural procreation, the fallen human nature.
I believe in the sinless nature of the life of Christ. He was truly God in all points and was not able to sin. At the same time he was tempted in all points as we are and yet remained sinless (II Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; I Peter 2:21-22; John 8:46).
I believe in the literal death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Scriptures. Through His voluntary and substitutionary death, which was both physical (Matt 27:50; John 19:33-34) and spiritual (Matt 27:46; II Cor 5:21), the penalty for sin was paid, and through the shedding of His blood on the cross, atonement was provided for sin (Rom 5:8; II Cor 5:21; I Peter 1:18-19; 2:24). Christ, being the only perfectly righteous man, did not need to die for himself, but he willingly chose to die in the place of all those who should have died (II Cor 5:21). The Old Testament looked forward to the atonement (Lev 4:20, 26, 31, 35) and now the church looks back to Christ’s sacrificial death (Heb 1:3). In Jesus Christ's life, death, resurrection, and ascension, He totally defeated Satan, and accomplished the will of the Father by providing redemption for man (Heb 2:14-18).
Jesus Christ died as a propitiation- satisfying God’s Wrath (Rom 3:25).Here are the results of Jesus' death in relation to believers:
Jesus Christ died as our substitute, in our place (I Peter 2:24; 1sa 53:6).
Jesus Christ died as our reconciler, to bring us back into harmony with God (Rom 5:10).
• Redeemed us from the curse of the Law (Gal 3:13).Jesus Christ was resurrected: raised up from the dead (Acts 2:24; Psa 16:10; Luke 24:6).
• Loosed us from our sins (Rev 1:5).
• Purchased us for God (Rev 5:9).
• Made us near to God (Eph 2:13).
• Secured for us eternal life (John 3:14-15).
• Justified us (Rom 5:9).
• Sanctified us (Heb 10:10).
• Made us perfect in God's sight (Heb 10:14).
• Opened a way for us into the presence of God (Heb 10:19-20).
• Made it impossible to condemn us (Rom 8:33-34).
• Cleanses us constantly from all sin (I John 1:7).
• Made us fit to dwell with God in heaven (Rev 7:14).
I believe that Jesus rose from the dead in his new glorified body (John 20:25-28). He ascended to the Father and is now our High Priest, and our advocate (I John 2:1) before the Father, interceding day and night on our behalf (Heb 4:14-16; 5:1-10; 7:25-26; 8:1; 9:24-25). I believe that He is presently at the right hand of the Father (I Peter 3:22), and He is preparing a dwelling place for us in heaven (John 14:1-6).
I believe in the personal and physical return of Christ to the earth to set up His literal earthly Kingdom (Acts 1:11: Rev 19:16). Please refer to Eschatology: Doctrine of Last Things.
PNEUMATOLOGY: DOCTRINE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
I believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the triune God, possessing all the attributes of God. He is called God (Acts 5:1-4; I Cor 3:16; 6:19). He is equal with the other persons of the Godhead (Matt 28:19; I Cor 12:4-6). Divine attributes are ascribed to Him, as they are to the Father and the Son (Rom 8:2; John 16:13; Eph 4:30; Heb 9:14). He is holy (Acts 5:1-4; Eph 4:30), eternal (Heb 9:14), omnipotent (Luke 1:35), omniscient (John 14:26; 16:1; I Cor 2:10), and omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-12).
I believe that the Holy Spirit is a personal being (John 16:7-15). He possesses life (Rom 8:2: II Cor 3:3), intellect (Rom 8:26-27, I Cor 2:11), purpose and will (Acts 16:6-7; I Cor 12:11), emotion (Eph 4:30), and activity (Acts 2:1-4; 8:39; Rom 8:26). He is referred to as a person, as "he" by using the masculine personal pronoun (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13-14; Rom 8:16, 27).
The work of the Holy Spirit is quite extensive:
• In creation He helped create the world (Gen 1-2), and He is at work sustaining and maintaining life (Job 33:4; Psalm 104:29-30).
• With regards to the Holy Scriptures His involvement includes inspiration and illumination. The Holy Spirit is the Bible's author (II Peter 1:21) and interpreter ( I Cor 2:9-14).
• In the life and work of Christ, the Holy Spirit was active in the incarnation (Luke 1:35), baptism (Matt 3:16), crucifixion (Heb 9:14), and resurrection (Rom 8:11). The Holy Spirit also directed Christ (Matt 4:1) and empowered Him (Matt 12:28).
• In relationship to believers the Holy Spirit:
o regenerates: the giving of new life (Titus 3:5; John 3:5).• In relationship to unbelievers the Holy Spirit convicts in three areas: sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11).
o indwells (Rom 8:9; John 14:16-17; I Cor 3:16; 6:19) In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit came upon men or clothed them for special tasks. However, today the Holy Spirit indwells the believer who has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. This takes place instantaneously at the time of regeneration, and it is a permanent residence with the believer.
o baptizes In the age of the Church, the believer simultaneously with regeneration is baptized into the body of Christ (Rom 6:3-4; I Cor 12:13; Rom 8:9). This establishes unity with Christ and the rest of His body.
o fills (Luke 1:41,67; Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 6:3-5; 7:55; 8:17; 13:9; Eph 5:18; Col 3:12-17) The basic concept is that of control (Eph 5:18). Unlike the Holy Spirit's work of regeneration, indwelling, and baptizing which takes place in every true believer at the time of conversion and is a one-time occurrence, the filling, work of the Holy Spirit may occur many times and is not automatic at the time of conversion. This is available to all believers, contingent upon the meeting of necessary requirements: presentation of the entire self to God (Rom 12:1-2), prompt confession of sin (Eph 4:30; I John 1:9), and conscious dependence upon the Holy Spirit. The purpose is to empower us for Christian life and service (Eph 3:16; Acts 1:8; Gal 5:22-23).
o seals (Eph l:l3-l4; Eph 4:30), marked and kept for God.
o witnesses a believer’s adoption (Rom 8:16).
o sanctifies (Rom 8:4-6: Gal 5:16-25), works on making a believer holy – set apart for God.
o guides (Rom 8:14; ; II Cor 3:18; Gal 5:16, 25).
o empowers (Rom 8:13; Gal 5:17,22-23).
o helps believers pray (Rom 8:26).
o teaches the believer (John 16: 12-15; I Cor 2:12-15; I John 2:27).
o intercedes on behalf of the believer (Rom 8:26-27).
I believe that the Holy Spirit also endows every believer with at least one spiritual gift (I Cor 12:7). He gives the gifts as He wills. These gifts are not to be confused or equated with "natural abilities" and are to be used within the framework of the local church with the purpose of building up or edifying the Body of Christ (Rom 12:6-8; I Cor 12-14; Eph 4:11-16). The major listings in Scripture concerning spiritual gifts are: Romans 12:6-8; Eph 4:11; I Peter 4:11; I Cor 12:6-10; I Cor 12:28-30.
ANTHROPOLOGY: DOCTRINE OF MAN
I believe in the literality of the inspired account of creation recorded in Genesis. The triune Godhead (Gen 1:2; I Cor 8:6; Heb 1:2) supernaturally created, out of nothing, the heavens and the earth in their entirety (John 1:3; Rom 11:36; Eph 3:9; Col 1:16-17) in six literal days (Gen 1; Exod 20:11). The purpose of creation was to be a visible, tangible revelation of God's existence, power, and glory (Psa 19:1; 96:5-6; Isa 43:7; Rev 4:11). The method of creation was by the spoken word (Gen 1; Psa 33:6,9; 148:5) and was in accordance to His wisdom (Jer 10:12) and will (Rev 4:11). I believe there is no biblical evidence to support evolutionary theories concerning origins. I believe God is also presently sustaining His creation (Psa 145:15-16; Col 1:17; Heb 1:3).
I believe that God brought man, his highest creation, into existence by a supreme creative act (Gen 1:26-27; 2:7, 21-25; 5:1-2; Isa 45:12). Man was created sinless, in the image of God, and though sin has corrupted and perverted this image, man has not lost that image (Gen 1:26-27; 5:1; 9:6; Jas 3:9). This image, or likeness, is not physical, for God is spirit (John 4:24), but rather is personal, moral, and spiritual (Rom 2:14-16; Eph 4:23-24). The entire human race is descended from the original pair by natural generation (Gen 1:27-28; 2:22-24; 9:10; Acts 17:26). God's purpose in creating man was to bring satisfaction and glory to Himself (Gen 1:31; Psa 19:1; 102:18; Isa 43:7; Rev 4:11).
I believe that man was created with both material and immaterial components; a body of material substance (Gen 2:7; 3:19; I Cor 6:12-20) and a spirit given by the creative breath of God His immaterial component (Gen 2:7; Job 33:4-5; Eccl 12:7). The terms "soul" and "spirit" throughout Scripture are used interchangeably for the immaterial component of man (Gen 35:18; Matt 10:28; John 19:30; I Cor 5:5; 7:34; Heb 12:23; Rev 6:9) . The word "soul" usually is used in reference to a person in a general sense (Gen 14:21), and to life (Exod 4:19). The word "spirit" always refers to the immaterial component of man, never the material (II Tim 2:14; Heb 12:23). Man's spirit comes into existence at the moment of conception (Gen 5:3; Acts 17:26).
Man is sustained by the breath of life from God, just like all living creatures (Gen 1:20-21,24,30; 6:17). Man was created both male and female. As male he is accountable to God for taking care of creation; as female, she is accountable to the male to help him achieve the purposes of God (Gen 2:15-25).
As a result of the fall, man is totally and completely depraved (Eph 4:17-19). Both man’s will and understanding are corrupt (Tit 1:5). All men are now sinners (Ps 51:5; Jer 17:9; 1 John 1:8; 2 Tim 3:2-4; Is 53:6), alienated from God, and spiritually dead (Eph 2:1-3). The natural man cannot do anything good (John 5:42; 8:34; Rom 7:18, 23), nor can he understand spiritual things (Rom 8:5-8, 1 Cor 2:14). He does not and cannot seek God, nor does he desire to do so (John 6:44; Rom 3:10-18).
HAMARTIOLOGY: DOCTRINE OF SIN
I believe Adam was created in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:26-27) and pronounced by God as good (Gen 1:31). He was morally upright (Eccl 7:29). Adam was given dominion over creation (Gen 1:28-31; Psa 8:6-8), a direct significance of being in the image of God. Adam, in this state, was sinless.
I believe that Adam was tested by God. This test, consisted of
1) a specific divine command (Gen 2:17),By disobeying God and choosing evil over good, Adam's moral, holy nature was transformed into a fallen, sinful nature, both in himself and all his descendants. Adam's fall consisted of inward disobedience and an outward act of transgression (Gen 3:6); Rom 5:14-15,19).
2) exposure to the deception and temptation of Satan (Gen 3:1),
3) seduction to sin by another human (Gen 3:6).
The consequences for Adam’s sin and our sin nature are as follows:
• loss of fellowship and communion with God, separation from God (Gen 3:8-13; Eph 2:1); consciousness of guilt (Gen 3:7; Rom 7:19);I believe that, as a result of the fall, man is totally depraved. He is in a state of complete hopelessness and helplessness. All men are blinded (II Cor 4:3-6). He hates the light (John 3:19-21), and therefore, he is in darkness (Col 1:1). All men are lost (Luke 19:10), condemned (John 3:18), and are headed for eternal destruction (II Thess 1:9). They are under the wrath of God (John 3:36b), are without hope (Eph 2:12), and are totally unable to save themselves (Rom 7:18; Eph 2:8-9, 12).
• every person would have to live in a divinely cursed environment (Gen 3:17-18; Rom 8:19-22);
• every person is a sinner by nature (Gen 5:3; 8:21; Psa 14:3; 51:5; Isa 53:6; Rom 3:10, 12; 5:12; Eph 2:3);
• every person is condemned (Rom 5:16-18; Eph 2:3) to spiritual and physical death (Gen 2:17; 3:19; Rom 5:12, 17, 21; I Cor 15:21-22; Eph 2:1,5; Heb 9:27).
I believe that the nature of sin is moral failure (I Sam 12:23; Rom 3:23). It is iniquity (Gen 15:16; Psa 32:2; John 3:19), transgression or rebellion (Isa 1:2; Matt 15:2-3, perversity (Lev 19:15), and lawlessness (I John 3:4). It is any personal lack of conformity to the moral character and standards of God. This is manifested in four general forms:
• Sin is a state of the heart (Jer 17:9).The entire nature of man is affected by sin: his understanding (Eph 4:18), his heart (Jer 17:9-10), his mind and conscience (Titus 1:15), his flesh and spirit (II Cor 7:5), and his will (Rom 7:18).
• Sin is a thought or intent (Exod 20:17; Matt 5:27-28).
• Sin is an act (John 3:19; Rom 7:19).
• Sin is a failure or an omission (I Sam 12:23; Jas 4:17).
Sin not only manifests itself in four forms, but it is regarded as an offense against three parties:
• Against God (Gen 20:6; Psa 51:4).
• Against man (Matt 18:21).
• Against the sinner himself (Prov 6:32; 8:36).
SOTERIOLOGY: DOCTRINE OF SALVATION
I believe that salvation is totally of God (I Cor 1:30), the need resulting from man's total depravity (John 3:18; Eph 2:12; 2:8-9). The provision of salvation was needed for man, because man is unable to redeem himself (Rom 3:10-18). I believe in the redemptive death of Christ. Christ died as our substitute (Matt 20:28; Mark 10:45; II Cor 5:21; Gal 3:13). Salvation defined in a phrase is "the deliverance of man from sin, self, and death."
Christ's death was atonement for our sins. It is present in Scripture in three different aspects:
1. Christ's death was a ransom or payment for our sin. His death provided redemption (Matt 20:28; Mark 10:45; Luke 1:68; I Cor 6:20).I believe this salvation, which is provided by Christ, is based on His shed blood and is received through personal faith in Christ (John 1:12; 3:16; Acts 16:31; Eph 2:8-9; Heb 9:14; I Peter 1:18-19). Before we believe, God by grace (Rom 3:24; 11:5-6; Eph 2:7; 4:7; Titus 2:11), chose those who would be saved (Acts 13:48; Rom 8:28-30; Eph 1:4-5,11; I Peter 1:2). This election is not based on the will of man (John 1:13) or on the works of man (II Tim 1:9; Rom 11:5-6; Eph 2:9), or by the choice of man (John 15:16), but rather according to the good pleasure and purpose of a sovereign God (Eph 1:5, 11), and the foreknowledge of God (I Peter 1:2; Rom 8:29-30).
2. Christ's death was a satisfaction or propitiation for our sin. By this, God's holiness and justice, which demand punishment for sin, were satisfied (Rom 3:25; Heb 2:17; 9:26).
3. Christ's death provided reconciliation between God and man. This is a removal of the alienation between God and man, a changed relationship, a restoration to favor and fellowship. It is man reconciled to God (Rom 5:10-11; 11:15; II Cor 5:18-20).
Having chosen us, God calls us (Rom 8:29). There are two aspects of God's call to salvation:
1. General Call. This is a genuine offer of salvation to all who hear the Gospel. This call is not limited to the elect, and may be resisted and rejected (Matt 11:28; 23:37; John 7:37-38; Acts 7:51; 13:46; II Thess 1:7-9; Heb 4:6-7; Rev 22:17).
2. Special Call. This call not only invites, but actually brings sinners to salvation (Rom 8:28-30; I Cor 1:23-24, I Thess 5:23-24), but it does not relieve those called of their personal responsibility (I Tim 6:12; II Peter 1:10, Rev 17:14). The instrument is the Gospel (II Thess 2:14) and the power is the Holy Spirit (I Thess 1:5).
I believe that acceptance of salvation is described in Scripture by the terms repentance, faith, and conversion. These terms are nearly synonymous, but each has a distinct emphasis.
• Repentance emphasizes the change of mind and heart. This change is in direction. It is a turning away from sin (Heb 6:1; Rev 9:21), and a turning toward God (Acts 20:21; Isa 55:7). This change results from God's work (Acts 5:31; 11:18; II Tim 2:25), You must see yourself as God sees you. You cannot have true repentance without faith. Repentance is turning from, and faith is turning to.
• Faith emphasizes the belief (I Cor 15:1-5; I John 5:1), appropriation (John 1:12; 6:35, 54), and commitment (II Tim 1:12) of one's salvation. Salvation is through faith (John 3:36; Acts 16:31; Eph 2:8; Rom 10:9-10). Faith is a gift of God (Eph•2:8-10). It is also the response of the total person to the grace of God (Heb 11:1,6). In the Old Testament it meant faithfulness to the Law. In the New Testament it is a devoted, believing trust, a firm reliance of things unseen. It must be present at conversion.
• Conversion emphasizes the change of life. This change is closely related to repentance (I Thess 1:9). A life that is truly saved will live differently than the life lived before salvation. True conversion will produce life and fruit.
I believe that as a result of salvation man is justified, regenerated, adopted, sanctified, and eternally secure.
• Man is justified in Christ: declared righteous (Rom 3:24,26,28; 5:1,9; I Tim 3:16). Justification is a legal act of God by which He declares a sinner to be righteous because of the imputation of his sin to Christ and of Christ's righteousness to the sinner (Acts 13:38-39: Rom 5:9).
• Man is regenerated and becomes a new creation (II Cor 5:17) with a new nature (II Peter 1:4). Regeneration is the Holy Spirit changing a man from death to life (Eph 2:1, 5). Justification and regeneration are simultaneous. Regeneration gives life; justification makes it effective.
• Man is brought into the family of God by adoption (Rom 8:14-17, 23; 9:4; Gal 4:5; Eph 1:5). Adoption is the act of God's free grace whereby we are received into the family of God and have a right to all the privileges of the Children of God. Adoption cannot be realized without regeneration. It will culminate when God resurrects believers and they enter into their inheritance and are glorified (Rom 8.23).
• Man is sanctified (John 17:17; Rom 12:1-2: I Cor 1:2; II Cor 3:18; Phil 1:6: I Thess 4:2-7; 5:23-24; Heb 4:12-13; I John 3:2). It is a separation from evil and setting apart for God in complete dedication and service. In justification we are declared righteous in order that, in sanctification, we may become righteous. Sanctification is what God does in us. It is a process of dying more and more to self and increasing in God's holiness. It occurs in three phases of one continuous work of the Holy Spirit in a lifetime. (Rom 7:15-24; 8:1-11; Gal 5:17-26; Eph 4:21-31). The three phases of sanctification are as follows:
o Instantaneous. This is at the moment of salvation (I Cor 6:11; Heb 10:10).• Man is preserved; eternally secure because of God's sovereign purpose and power (John 10:27-30; 17:10-11; Rom 8:38-39; Eph 1:11-12; Phil 1:6).
o Progressive. This is Christian growth through one's lifetime (II Peter 3:18; II Cor 3:18).
o Complete or final. We shall be like Him (I Thess 5.23; 3:13)
ECCLESIOLOGY: DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH
I believe every believer in this age is a member of the church, which is the body of Christ. A body distinct from Israel, the church is formed by the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit that began on the Day of Pentecost and continues until the return of Jesus Christ our Lord. The local church is the visible representation of this body, whose mission is to worship God, edify believers, and accomplish the Great Commission.
The universal true church is the body and bride of Christ (Eph 1:22-23; 5:23-32) which is composed of all true believers in the present age possessing a unity and oneness (1 Cor 12:12-13). This spiritual organism began on the day Pentecost (Matt 16:18; Acts 1:4-5; 11:15-17; Eph 2:19-22) and will be complete at the time Christ’s return, when the universal true church is removed from this earth (Matt 16:18; 1 Thess 4:13-18). I believe that everyone who accepts Christ as personal Savior is immediately, upon his conversion, immersed and placed into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:12-13).
I believe in the centrality of the local church in this age. The universal true church is manifested through the organization of the local church. Unlike the universal true church, which is one body, the local churches are many (Acts 9:3l; Eph 2:l9-22; 1 Cor 1:2; 12:27; Col 4:16). The local church is an organized congregation of immersed believers (Acts 2:41) in a given geographical area, who covenant together in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel (Acts 2:42; Phil 1:5). Its purpose is to glorify God (Rom 15:6, 9; Eph 1:6, 12) by the ministries of evangelization and outreach (Acts 1:8) and building up and growing the saints (Eph 4:11-16), through the program outlined in Acts 2:41-47, which is carried out by holding regular services (Acts 2:42; 20:7; Heb 10:25) which are to promote worship, discipleship, fellowship, service and evangelism (Col 3:15-17).
I believe that the local church, in its organizational structure, has Christ as its head (Eph 1:22-23; 5:23-24), a membership actively pursuing relationship with God through Jesus Christ (Acts 2:41), with the offices of elder, pastor, deacon, and/or trustees who are elected by the church (Acts 6:1-7; 20:17,28; Eph 4:11-13; 1 Tim 3:1-16; Titus 1:5-11; 1 Peter 5:1-4). The qualifications for deacon and elder are presented in I Tim 3:8-13 and Titus 1:5-9. The church today should be independent and self-governed. Complete authority is given to the local church, and this authority comes from God.
There are two ordinances to be observed by the church. Baptism and the Lord's Supper are to be performed to symbolize and remember the acts of our Lord.
• Baptism (Rom 6:3-5). Baptism plays no part in conversion. It is an outward profession of one's relationship and identification with Christ. Baptism is a symbol of our death, burial, and resurrection. I believe that Baptism must be by immersion if we are to obey Scripture and is a product and outward expression of ones membership in the universal true church. (Matt 28:19).
• Lord's Supper (I Cor 11:20-34). This is a memorial of the Lord's death. The bread symbolizing His broken body and the cup symbolizing His blood. It is to be done "in remembrance of Me”(Jesus) (Luke 22:19). The Lord's Supper is to be observed by the church only to commemorate together the atoning and redeeming love of the Lord Jesus Christ. I reject as false that the Lord's Supper has any sacramental value.
ANGELOLOGY: DOCTRINE OF ANGELS, DEMONS AND SATAN
I believe in the personal existence of angels (Psa 68:17; Matt 18:10; John 1:51) who were created by God (Psa 148:2,5; Col l:16). They are spirit beings and normally invisible (II Kings 6:17; Heb 1:13-14), but can become visible (Gen 18-19; John 20:12; Acts 1:10). They do not marry (Mark 12:25; Luke 20: 35-36). They are genuine personalities in every sense (Luke 2:13-14; 15:10; I Peter 1:12; II Peter 2:4; Jude 9), and they excel in wisdom (II Sam 14:17), strength (Psa 103:20), and speed (Dan 9:21). They have rank or order (Col 1:16; II Peter 2:11).
I believe that angels were created holy (Gen 1:31), but after creation some fell (II Peter 2:4) and are confirmed in their evil (Matt 25:41; I Tim 5:21). Both good and evil angels are responsible for their actions (Job 1:6; 2:1; Matt 25:41; I Cor 6:3; Jude 6). Angels have been, and are still, active in the world (Gen 19:1, 12; Dan 4:17; 9:21-23; Matt 4:11; Acts 27:23-24; II Thess 1:7-9; Heb 1:14; Rev 16; 19:17-18).
Angels are ministering servants (Heb 1:14). They defend, and protect God's servants and deliver God’s message to people (Acts 5:19; 12:8-11).
There are two states of angels: holy and fallen. The holy angels serve in obedience to God in glorifying Him (Psa 148:2; Rev 4:8) and ministering to His people (Heb 1:14).
I believe in the personal existence of demons (Deut 32:17; Matt 8:16; 10:1; 12:27-28; Mark 1:34; Luke 8:2). The Bible identifies them as fallen angels, therefore making them created beings that have Satan as their head (Matt 12:24; 25:41; Rev 9:1-11; 12:3-4). As to their nature, they are evil (Luke 8:2), in which they are confirmed (Matt 25:41: II Peter 2:4), malicious (Matt 8:28), seductive (I Tim 4:1), and unclean in God's sight (Mark 5:2; 9:25).
I believe that demons are active and accountable to God (Job l:5-10; Matt 10:1; 12:22; Mark 1:23-27; 5:4-5,8-14; Acts 5:16; Eph 6:12; I Tim 4:1). Though demons can and do indwell the unsaved, their powers are limited to influence only in relation to the believer. The true believer cannot be indwelt, because he is sealed with the Holy Spirit who indwells those who are truly a child of God. Believers also can defend themselves against the influence of demons (II Cor 10:4-5: Eph 6:13-18; Jas 4:7; I Peter 5:8-9; I John 5:18-19). The destiny of Demons has been pre-determined and reserved for them (Matt 25:41; II Peter 2:4; Rev 20:10), and they have no hope for redemption.
I believe in the personal existence of Satan (Gen 3; Job 1-2; Matt 4:1-11; 13:39; Luke 10:18; 11:18).
I believe that Satan was created by God, thus bearing all the characteristics of an angel. He fell (I Tim 3:6) because of sin and evil. He was judged (Gen 3:14-15; John 12:31; 16:11), and has become depraved in nature (John 8:44; I John 3:8). He is the leader of other fallen angels (Matt 12:24, 26), the prince of this world (John 14:30; II Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2). At the cross, he was ultimately defeated and judged, and is destined to eternal judgment in the lake of fire (Matt 25:41: Rev 20:10).
As to Satan's character, Scripture paints a vivid picture by the terms used to describe him.
• Satan - adversary or opposer (Matt 16:23).I believe that, although Satan is exceedingly powerful and active, he is limited because he is a created being, and is limited by the permissive will of God (Job 1:7,10-12; II Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2; I Peter 5:8; Rev 12:7-8). Satan, along with other created beings, is accountable to God (Job 1:6; 2:1; Matt 25:41). He has access both to the presence of God (Job 1; Eph 6:11-12; Rev 12:10) and to the earth (I Peter 5:8; Rev 12-13). His program has always been to distract, destroy and replace God and His plans with himself and his own plans (Gen 3:1-5; Matt 4:1-11: II Cor 4:4: 11:14-15). His activities have brought on divine judgments (Gen 3:14-15: John 12:31; I Tim 3:6, Ezek 28:15; Rev 12:9; 20:1-3,10). He was defeated and judged at the Cross, and therefore his final doom is certain (John 12:31-32: 16:11: Rev 10:10). We are able to resist him only in the armor of God and by the blood of the Lamb (Eph 6:12-18).
• Devil - slanderer (I Peter 5:8).
• Abaddon, Apollyon - destroyer (Rev 9:11).
• Belial - worthless (II Cor 6:15).
• Wicked one - (Matt 13:19).
• Tempter - (I Thess 3:5).
• Accuser of believers - (Rev 12:10).
• Deceiver - (II Cor 11:14-15; Rev 12:9).
• Father of lies - (John 8:44).
• Murderer - (John 8:44).
• He is a confirmed sinner - (I John 3:8).
• Prince of the power of the air - (Eph 2:2).
• Beelzebub - (Matt 12:24).
• Old Serpent - (Rev 12:9).
• Dragon - (Rev 12:7).
• Evil One - (John 17:15).
ESCHATOLOGY: DOCTRINE OF LAST THINGS
I believe in the literal, personal, bodily, imminent return of Christ. We do not know when, but we do know how. (Matt 24:44; Acts 1:9, 11; I Thes. 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; I John 3:2; Rev l:7). This return will be in fulfillment of the Lord's own words (John 14:1-3). Christ's second coming is actually laid forth in Scripture as consisting of two stages:
• Christ’s Return for the saints, which will be a gathering of all saints, both living and dead (I Cor 15:51-52; I Thess 4:13-18). This event is imminent and will come unexpectedly, and (Acts 1:6-7: I Thess 4:13-18; Titus 2:11-13) will remove the universal true church from the earth before the time of the wrath of God to come which is called the Tribulation (Rom 5:9; I Thess 1:9-10; 5:9). Following Christ’s return, the final "week" of Israel's prophesied history (Daniel's 70th week) will begin (Dan 9:25-27).
• The Revelation of Christ, which will follow the tribulation period, at which time Christ will come in glory with His Bride to set up His literal kingdom; when He will rule with a rod of iron as King on the throne of David for a 1,000 years called the Millennium. (Isa 9:6-7, 32; Zech 14-:3-4; Matt 24:27-31; I Thess 3:13; II Thes 1:7-8, 10; 2:8; II Tim 4:1; Rev 19:11-21; 20:4-6).
Chronology of Future Events in Universal Eschatology:
• The Return of Christ and the gathering of the universal true church (see above).
• The resurrection of the dead in Christ (I Cor 15:35-52; I Thess 4:13-16).
• The translation of living believers (I Cor 15:51-52; I Thess 4:17-18).
The events in heaven.
• Bema seat judgment of the gathered believers (Rom 14-:10; I Cor 3:9-15; II Cor 5:10; Rev 22:12).The events on earth.
• Marriage supper of the Lamb (II Cor 11:2; Rev 19:7-9).
• The revelation of the man of sin, the antichrist (II Thess 2:3-8; Rev 13:1-10).
• The seven year tribulation period (Jer 30:7; Dan 9:27; Matt 24:1-29; Rev 13:1-10).
• In the middle of the tribulation period Satan will be cast out of heaven (Rev 12:7-9).
• This will trigger the beginning of the Great Tribulation, the time of Jacob's trouble (Jer 30:6-7; Rev 12:13-17).
• Battle of Gog and Magog (Ezek 38-39).
• Battle of Armageddon (Zech 12:1-9; Rev 14:14-20; 16:13-16; 19:11-21).
• The Revelation of Christ with His saints to establish His Kingdom and defeat antichrist and the armies of Satan (see above).
• Tribulation saints resurrected and com¬pletion of the first resurrection; resurrection unto life (Dan 12:1-3; Rev 20:4-5).
• Re-gathering and judgment of Israel (Ezek 20:33-44, 35-57; Matt 24).
• Judgment of the nations (Matt 25:31-46).
• Satan bound for 1,000 years (Rev 20:1-4).
• Christ sets up His Millennial Kingdom (Isa 9:6-7; Rev 20:4-6).
• Satan released to lead final rebellion at the end of the millennium (Rev 20:7-9).
• Satan cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:10).
• Second resurrection, includes all unbelievers of all ages; resurrection unto death (Rev 20:5, 11-15).
• Great White Throne judgment for unbelievers (Rev 20:11-15); unbelievers cast into lake of fire for eternal punishment (second death). .
• Destruction of heaven and earth (II Peter 3:10; Rev 20:11; 21:1).
• Creation of new heaven and new earth (II Peter 3:13; Rev 21:1).
• Establishment of eternal state (Isa 65:17-25; Rev 21:1-22:6).
I believe also in a personal eschatology. Man is subject to physical death, which is a temporary separation of body from the soul/spirit (Gen 35:18; Eccl 12:7; Luke 16:19-23; 23:46; II Cor 5:1-8; Jas 2:26; Rev 6:9-10). It is an inescapable experience of every person (Eccl 3:19; Heb 9:27) except those believers alive at Christ’s return (I Thess 4:15-18). Every person is subject to judgment with regard to his own conduct (Heb 9:27).
I believe in a literal eternal existence for all people.
• Believers will spend eternity with Christ in the new heaven and new earth (John 14:1-3; II Cor 5:8; I Thess 5:10; Rev 21-22).
• Unbelievers will spend eternity in a literal eternal pun¬ishment and separation from God in the lake of fire (Rev 20:10, 14-15; 21:8).