Doctrinal Statement

Doctrinal Statement

 

The following statement of beliefs is not given to cause division but to make clear our positions in order to avoid debate. It is asked that any who are interested in meeting with us respect our positions and not teach anything contrary to what is here listed while with us, just as we would do if meeting with believers with differing views

 

In essential beliefs -  Unity

“There is one Body and one Spirit…there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of us all…” 

 

Ephesians 4.4-6

 

In non-essential beliefs -  Liberty

“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgement on disputable matters. …Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. ..So then each of us will give an account of himself to God…So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.” 

 

Romans 14.1,4,12,22

 

In all our beliefs – Love

“…If I hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but also the very secrets of God, and if I have the faith that can move mountains – but have no love, I amount to nothing at all.”  

1 Corinthians 13.2 (Phillips)

 

I. The Scriptures

The Bible was written by men inspired by God and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and without contradiction and is the standard by which all human action, creeds, and opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of the divine Book.

II. God

There is only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing. The triune God exists in three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being. The scripture knows nothing of God apart from His unique attributes of immutability and sovereignty. He is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. There is nothing in all of history that has happened, nor can happen, apart from His explicit decree and in accordance with His secret desire.

  • We reject the teaching that God does not control and direct all things, big or small, for His glory.
  • We reject any teaching that implies inequality in the eternal personalities of the Godhead.

A. God the Father

God as Father controls all things with providential care over His universe and His creatures according to the purpose of His grace.  He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father only to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ according to His appointment, yet He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.

B. God the Son

Christ is the Son of God. In His incarnation He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, taking upon Himself complete, yet sinless, humanity while never ceasing to be God. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without a sin nature.  He redeemed from sin those who were elected unto salvation. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples. He ascended into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to rule over the world from Israel for one thousand years. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.

  • We reject the doctrine that would have us believe that Jesus lost or gave up any of His divine attributes at the time of His incarnation.

 

C. God the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He directed men to write the Scriptures, which are fully inspired by God. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Saviour, and effects regeneration. He baptises everyone that has chosen by the Father to be saved during this dispensation into the Body of Christ. He accomplishes Christian sanctification, comforts believers, and manifests himself through spiritual gifts by which believers serve God, when and if they are in submission to Him. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption of the inheritance. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ when they will enjoy sharing in the inheritance with Jesus the Son of Man.  He enlightens and empowers believers in worship, evangelism, and service.

  • We reject the teaching that the Holy Spirit regenerates a person in response to faith in Christ.

III. Mankind

Mankind is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation.  In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was given by his Creator the ability of choice. By his own choice man sinned against God and brought guilt and sin upon the human race. Through the temptation of Satan, Adam, the federal of natural man, transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby all of his posterity have been declared guilty; and his posterity inherit a sinful nature. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into fellowship with Himself and enable man to fulfil the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of every person is evident in that God created mankind in His own image; therefore, every person of every people group possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.

  • We reject any doctrine that denies the Federal Headship of Adam and allows for the idea that man is born innocent or in possession of free will.

IV. Salvation

Salvation is by appointment (election) of the Father and it involves the redemption of the whole man, and was accomplished by Jesus Christ, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for all of his people. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification.

A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby a person becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus. It is the impartation of a new nature, whereby the sinner is given new life, and the ability to believe unto justification.

Regeneration results in repentance unto God, which is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

  • We reject the doctrine that repentance and faith are required to experience regeneration.

B. Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who believe in the person of Jesus Christ having been regenerated by God, declaring them, yet not making them righteous. Justification brings the believer into a relationship of peace and favour with God. The sole condition for justification is faith alone in Christ alone and His ability to save.

  • We reject the teaching that knowledge of the cross work of Christ, or any other doctrine, is absolutely necessary for justification.
  • We reject that idea that man possesses faith apart from regeneration.

C. Sanctification began in eternity when God set apart persons for salvation and is experienced in regeneration.   In sanctification the individual is set apart to God’s eternal purpose, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him and teaching him of the deeper truths of the cross work of Christ. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life, although it is not guaranteed to be the experience of every believer. Sanctification requires submission to the Lordship of Christ, which is not a condition to justification. The Bible does not teach that submission and obedience will be manifested in all believers. If a believer does not submit to the ministry of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, his experience in life will be characterized by failure, evidenced by disobedience and sinful acts which may continue throughout their lives, yet will not affect their eternal salvation.

  • We reject any doctrine that puts works before sanctification or would allow for true sanctification to take place with a faulty view of the cross.

D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed. In God’s eternal purpose for His elect, this is seen by Him as an accomplished fact even now. Christians can have assurance of this fact because it is an act of God, apart from our works, either good or bad, and is based upon faith which is not of ourselves; it is a gift of God.

  • We reject the idea that the glorification of God’s elect can be altered in any way, even by a life of unfaithfulness and disobedience.

V. God’s Purpose of Grace

Unconditional Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners, for no other reason than His own wise, just and holy purpose, apart from any conditions or merit present or foreseen in them. It is the glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.

All of God’s elect are preserved to the end. All those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, can never fall away from being positionally in the state of grace, but shall be preserved to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whether by moments or by years, whereby they grieve the Spirit and bring reproach on the name of Christ and bring correction on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Reprobation concerns those whom He did not choose unto salvation. God decreed from eternity that He would permit such ones to follow their own sinful desires, to remain under His just judgment and finally to condemn them in Hell, not only for their unbelief, but for their other sins as well, to the praise of His justice. This in no way makes God the author of sin but a fearful avenger and just judge.

  • We reject the teaching that God elected individuals having foreseen their faith in Christ, making God’s election conditional upon man’s response instead of man’s response a result of God’s electing purposes.

VI. The Church

The New Testament speaks of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed during this period commonly referred to as the Dispensation of Grace, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation. This dispensation is referred to by Paul as a mystery, which was hid in God until revealed through the Apostle Paul. This dispensation began with Paul before he wrote his first Epistle.

The Local Church is made up of persons belonging to the one body of Christ, who gather in their locality for the purpose of encouraging one another unto good works.  Ideally, all believers in each community would be walking together in unity under the Headship of Christ Jesus.

A New Testament gathering of the Lord Jesus Christ is autonomous, but not independent of other believers.  Although each individual believer is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord, we are also responsible and accountable to one another as brethren. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes, led by the example of spiritually mature men exercising servant leadership. The purpose of local church gatherings is for fellowship and exhortation promoted by a common meal and the teaching of the scriptures.

  • We reject any teaching or practice that would cause the local Church to function as a business or organization instead of an extended family.

VII. The Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the body of Christ, through partaking of a full meal, including the bread and the fruit of the vine, in order to both memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming, and eternal fellowship with Him and the saints. The theme of the Lord’s Supper is fellowship and is not to be considered and ordinance.

VIII. One Baptism

 

 Each saved person in this dispensation has been made a member of the Body of Christ by one divine baptism by which he is identified with Christ, the Head of the body.  In the light of the Scriptures, we conclude that neither water baptism nor any other ceremonies or ordinances have any place in God’s spiritual program for the Body of Christ.

 

 

 IX. Last Things

According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth to rule and to reign as its King for a period of one thousand years. Prior to this the Church which is His body will have been taken up to be with Him into heaven where they will be judged at the Bema seat of Christ and will receive rewards for living lives of obedience, and will suffer lose for acts of disobedience. The remainder of the world’s population will suffer judgment from God during a tribulation period of seven years. After the Millennial reign of Christ, the dead will be raised and Christ will judge the unredeemed in righteousness where they will be consigned to the Lake of Fire, the place of everlasting punishment.

  • We completely reject any theology that allegorizes Christ’s earthly reign or rids of it all together.

 

 

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