A. The Author and Authority of the Scriptures
The Bible is the verbally inspired Word of God and is our only and final authority in all matters of faith, belief, and practice (Josh 1:8; II Tim 3:16). The author of the Scriptures is God himself who through the Holy Spirit used human instruments to pen the very “God-breathed” words that were recorded on the pages of the autographa (II Tim 3:16-17; II Pet 1:20-21). The canon of Scripture is perfect, pure and complete with the sixty-six books in our Bible today. The cannon of the inspired Word of God is closed; therefore, no more Scriptures through “continuing or progressive revelation” may be added to the Bible (Rev 22:18-19; Psa 119:89; I Cor 13:10)
B. The Inspiration, Inerrancy And Infallibility of the Scriptures
The Scriptures (autographa), both Old and New Testaments, in their original writings, were verbally, plenarily, and divinely inspired by God (II Tim 3:16-17; II Pet 1:20-21). The Bible is God’s Word and not man’s. The Scriptures do not simply “contain God’s Word” they ARE God’s Word (Psa 119:89, 160). Since God the Holy Spirit is the author of the Scriptures, they are absolute truth, inerrant, infallible, “God-breathed”, and without error or omission in whole or in part in the autographa (John 17:17; Titus 1:2; Psa 119:89; Matt 4:4; II Tim 3:16; II Pet 1:21)
C. The Preservation of the Scripture
The Holy Scriptures are eternal and will never pass away (Psa 119:89; Matt 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:32-33). I believe the providentially preserved text is the Textus Receptus for the New Testament and the Masoretic Text for the Old Testament. The Lord has preservedHis word in the King James (Authorized) Version (Isa 40:8; Matt 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33, 24:44; John 17:8, 17, 20:31; Heb 4:12). Therefore, the King James Bible is the only translation I will use or recommend.
A. The Godhead
I believe that there is one true and triune God and that He exists in and of Himself (Ex 3:14; Deut 6:4; Isa 44:6; Mark 12:29, 32). God is one in “nature” and existing in three persons (II Cor 13:14). The three distinct persons who make up the one Godhead are God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. They are known as the “Trinity” (though the word Trinity is nowhere found in the Bible) and considered a mystery (Matt 3:16-17, 28:19; Rom 8:9, 14-17; I Pet 1:2; Jude 20-21).
The name “Father” is often used as the equivalent to “God” (I John 2:15-17). The Son and the Holy Spirit came forth from the Father (John 16:28; 15:26). The distinction of the Father and the Son is demonstrated by such passages as Matt 27:46, John 5:32-37 and Galatians 4:4. The Father sent His Son to be the Savior of the world (John 3:16; 4:34). The Father exalts the Son, the Son Exalts the Father; the Holy Spirit exalts the Son and the Father.
The one true God reveals Himself to men by means of two types of revelation: general and special. In general revelation, God manifests “His eternal power and Godhead” to men through nature (Rom. 1:18-20). God manifests Himself more specifically to men by His special revelation – the Word of God (Heb 4:12; Rom 10). Even though man may be drawn to God through general revelation, it is through His special revelation of the Scriptures that all mankind comes to the knowledge of salvation through Christ.
B. Creation by the Godhead
I believe creation was a free act of the triune God for His glory and was wrought from nothing, ex nihilo, and was without any secondary causes (Gen 1:1-2; Psa 19:1; Col 1:17; Heb 11:3). I believe God created immediately and instantaneously all things in their entirety both visible and invisible (spiritual and physical) within six, literal 24-hour days (Gen 1, 2:18; Ex 20:11; Psa 19:1; Col 1:16). He also created man in His own image and after His own likeness (Gen 1:26-27; I Cor 11:7). God continues to uphold and sustain all of His creation through His Son Jesus Christ (Neh 9:6; Heb 1:3).
Evolution is an attempt to undermine the trustworthiness of God’s Word and His sovereignty. I reject the major theories of evolution that state, “there is no God” (refuted in Psa 14:1) and that God “created simple life and allowed it to evolve” (refuted in Gen 1:31). I also reject attempts to reconcile theories of modern science to the Scriptures such as Theistic Evolution, The Gap Theory, etc. It is impossible to believe in creation and evolution at the same time. One or the other must be accepted by faith (Heb 11:3). Evolution is simply man’s attempt to forget God (Rom 1:20)
C. Nature and Attributes of God the Father
The first person of the Godhead is God the Father (I Cor 8:6). The Word of God reveals the “nature” of the one true God in His sovereignty over all things and in His natural and moral attributes which include: self-existence (Gen 1: 1; Ex 3:14; John 5:26), eternality (Gen 21:33; Psa 90:2), Spirit nature (John 4:24), immutability (Mal 3:6; Heb 13:8), omnipresence (Psa 139:7-10), omniscience (Prov 15:3), omnipotence (Luke 1:37; Rev 19:6), holiness (I Pet 1:15-16), faithfulness (I John 1:9), justice (I John 1:9), love (John 3:16), mercifulness (Psa 103:8), perfection (Matt 5:48) and many others. I believe in the existence of the one and only true God who has no beginning nor ending (Deut 6:4; Psa 90:2; Isa 44:6, 8). He is not bound by time or space. God is a Spirit which is immaterial and invisible (John 4:24).
A. The Person of the Lord Jesus Christ
The second person of the Godhead is God the Son. Because He is fully God, Jesus Christ has the same attributes as God the Father (John 10:30; Col 2:9; Titus 2:13; I John 5:7-8). I believe the Lord Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son (John 3:16), conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matt 1:20), born of a virgin (Isa 7:14; Luke 1:27-35), God manifested in the flesh (I Tim 3:16), and the “Lamb of God” as the Savior of the world (John 1:29). Christ’s birth in Bethlehem was not His origin, but His incarnation. He was pre-existent prior to His incarnation (Rev 1:8, 22:13). He knows neither beginning days nor end of life (Col 1:15-17). He is perfectly holy, born of a virgin (Matt 1:23) without a sin nature and lived a sinless life (1 Pet 2:22-23; Heb 4:15).
B. The Twofold Nature of the Lord Jesus Christ
I believe in Christ there exists both the complete nature of God and man. Jesus was truly God and equally man (John 1:1-4; 1 Tim 2:5; Phil 2:6-7). This is known as the “mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh” (I Tim 3:16). In the union of the two natures, the atonement becomes not only available, but also infinite. Apart from this twofold nature, Christ could not have become the mediator between God and man. His incarnation is eternal (Luke 24:39).
C. The Work of the Lord Jesus Christ
I believe our Lord was sent to Earth to fulfill God the Father’s plan of redemption and salvation for mankind. His preaching, teaching, healing and other miracles all pointed to who He was and why He came, to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). He came to give His life as a ransom for man, to make atonement for man’s sin, to pay our sin debt (Rom 5:8-10; 6:23). He gave His life on the cross of Calvary, was buried, and rose again the third day proclaiming victory over sin, death, and the grave (Isa 53:5; II Cor 5:21; I Pet 3:18; I John 3:16).
His resurrection proved God’s acceptance of the payment for sin (I Cor 15). Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is alive forevermore and is now sitting at the right hand of the Father ever making intercession for the redeemed (John 14:3; Heb 7:25). He is now our Intercessor, our Advocate and our Mediator (Heb 7:25; I John 2:1, I Tim 2:5)
The Holy Spirit exists eternally as the third person of the Trinity and is co-equal and co-existent with God the Father and God the Son (I John 5:7-8). He is a person who has a will, a mind, knowledge and speech ability (I Cor 12:11; Rom 8:27; John 14:26; Acts 28:25). He, too, has the same attributes of God the Father.
The Holy Spirit was active in creation, in the inspiration of the Scriptures and in Christ’s earthly ministry (Gen 1:2, 26; Matt 3:16; II Tim 3:16; II Pet 1:21). The Holy Spirit came upon, empowered, and temporarily indwelled individuals in the Old Testament (Psa 51:11). He is the “Comforter” to believers in the New Testament and separates men for service (John 14:16, 26; Acts 13:2). He can be blasphemed (Matt 12:31), lied to (Acts 5:3), tempted (Acts 5:9), resisted (Acts 7:51) and even insulted (Heb 10:29).
I believe the Holy Spirit takes part in salvation as He convicts men of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8). He regenerates the unbeliever (I Cor 6:11) and indwells (Rom 8:9, 11; I Cor 6:19; II Cor 6:16) and seals (Rom 15:28; II Cor 1:22; Eph 4:30) the believer at the instant of salvation. He fills (Eph 5:18), teaches (John 16:12-15), empowers (Gal 5:22-23), leads (Gal 5:16, 25), illuminates (I Cor 2:10-16), and gives assurance (Rom 8:16) to the believer. He gives spiritual gifts to believers as He wills for the edification of the body of Christ (I Cor 12:7-11; 12:31; 14:12).
I believe God created man on the sixth day of creation out of the dust of the earth and with the breath of life from God man became a living soul (Gen 2:7). God made mankind in two forms, male and female, and in the likeness of Himself as a tripartite being having a body, soul, and spirit (Gen 1:26-27; Gen 2:7; Deut 6:5; Matt 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27; I Thess 5:23).
Man’s original state in the Garden of Eden included a physical, spiritual, and moral likeness, or image, similar to that of God with both a free will and the ability not to sin or disobey (Gen 1:26-27). I believe that Satan (the originator of sin – Isa 14:12-15; Ezek 28:15-18) deceived Eve and that Adam chose to sin and disobey God (Gen 3:8; 5:1). Adam’s sin ushered sin into the world, brought physical death upon mankind, and instilled a depraved nature upon all mankind (Rom 3:23, 5:12; I Cor 15:22). I believe the entire human race thereafter is descended from Adam with a common, depraved sin nature leaving all mankind born in the need of a Savior (Rom 6:23).
A. The Definition of Sin
Sin is defined in the Scriptures as “the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4). Therefore, I believe sin is any lack of conformity to the moral law of God whether it is an act, a disposition, a state, a thought, an intent, or an impulse and it comes from man’s depraved, selfish sin nature (Rom 3:23). There are sins of omission and sins of commission (Lev 5:5; James 4:17).
B. The Depravity of Sin
I believe Adam’s sin resulted in the fall of man and resulted in the depraved nature of man, which has been passed on to all mankind through Adam as the seminal head of the human race (Gen 6:5; Rom 5:12,19). Consequently, all men are sinners and totally depraved, completely lacking any holiness apart from God and are continually inclined to do evil (Gen 6:5; Jer 17:9). Mankind is completely destitute and unable of his own strength and devices to change his spiritual nature of having fallen short of the holiness of God (Isa 53:6; Rom 3: 10-23; I Cor 6:9-11). Unregenerate mankind does not have the ability to please God (Rom 3:23).
C. The Results of Sin
The penalty of sin is death (Rom 5:12; 6:23). Unregenerate man is physically and spiritually dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1) and under the condemnation and wrath of God (John 3:36). Unless the unregenerate receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, they will die physically, spiritually, and eternally receiving the righteous judgment of God for their sin by everlasting punishment in the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels (John 3:18-21; Rev 20:11-15).
D. The Cure For Sin
God requires a blood sacrifice for the atonement of sin (Ex 12:12-14; Heb 9:14, 22). God provided this sacrifice for sin in the death of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross of Calvary, His burial and subsequent resurrection in complete victory over sin, its results and its judgment (Matt 26:28; Mark 10:45; John 10:11). It is only by accepting the payment of the precious shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that man can be saved/redeemed and his relationship with God restored (Heb 9:12, 22; Acts 20:28; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14).
I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ made the full, unlimited, vicarious atonement for the sins of the world of on the cross in order that all mankind might be saved. The atonement is a ransom that involved the vicarious suffering of Christ and His substitutionary death on the cross (Rom 5:8; II Cor 5:21; Heb 2:9).
Atonement was taught throughout the Old Testament, specifically through the ordinances and sacrifices as seen in the Old Testament through the Tabernacle, its furnishings, and its function. Atonement is fulfilled in the New Testament by the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:29; I Cor 15:1-4; Heb 9 & 10; I John 2:2).
Repentance is necessary for salvation as it involves a turning from sin to the Lord Jesus Christ. This turning from sin involves a change of mind that includes a change in view with regard to one’s personal sinfulness and the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. Repentance affects the intellect, the emotions and the will (Acts 2:37-38; II Cor 7:9-10; I Thess 1:9). It is a change of one’s will, a turn from sin to God by a confession of sin in order to seek pardon and cleansing from God by faith. Furthermore, I believe repentance is a gift from God that is given through the preaching of the gospel, the teaching of the Word and the grace of God (Matt 9:13; Luke 24:47; Rom 2:4; II Tim 2:25; II Pet 3:9).
Faith is a total voluntary act that involves the trust and belief on the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ for our complete salvation (Eph 2:8-9; Rom 5:1). Faith is a gift from God given by the Holy Spirit that goes beyond intellect and the emotions to the will (Heb 11:1; John 1:12; Rom 3:28, 10:8-10). Saving faith is distinguished from dead faith by resulting works (James 2:26).
Justification is the judicial act of God whereby He declares sinners righteous by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness (Rom 3:24-26; II Cor 5:21). I believe that God justifies those who have received the Lord Jesus Christ by faith (Gal 2:16) based on the blood sacrifice of Christ on the cross (Rom 5:9). Justification is not the result of any works of righteousness that one may do, but one is declared righteous after having placed his faith in Christ alone (Eph 1:7; Titus 3:5-7). Justification by faith imputed on Old Testament believers is the same justification by faith imputed on believers in the New Testament (Rom 4). The just are saved and live by faith (Gal 3:6-12).
Regeneration is the supernatural impartation of the “new nature” that occurs instantaneously as an act of God when a person repents of his sin and receives Christ as his Savior (John 1:13; II Cor 5:17). I believe regeneration is one’s spiritual birth as they are quickened or made spiritually alive in Christ (I Pet 1:23; John 3:3-7). Regeneration is the process in which the Holy Spirit indwells the believer, thereby giving him a transformed spiritual life (Eph 4:22-24; II Pet 1:4). It is the proof of one’s salvation (John 3:5-7; Titus 3:5).
Adoption is the act of the Holy Spirit of God whereby the believer experiences a change in position before God from a lost sinner to a son (Gal 4:5-8; Eph 1:5). I believe at the time of salvation, the new believer is made a son of God, becomes joint-heir with Christ, is delivered from the law, becomes an object of God’s love and receives Fatherly chastisement (John 1:12-13, 17:13; Rom 8:14-17; I John 3:1; Heb 12:5-11). Adoption is consummated as we receive the “redemption of our body” at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 8:23).
G. Eternal Security
Salvation is solely by grace through faith in the blood sacrifice, death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and is totally the gift of God (I Cor 15:1-4; Eph 2:8-9). I believe that those who are saved can know that they are eternally secure (I John 5:13; II Tim 1:12). No man is ever able to take one of Christ’s sheep from Him; God will never leave or forsake the believer (John 10:27-30; Heb 13:5). The Holy Spirit eternally seals us until the day of our redemption (Eph 4:30).
Sanctification is the process whereby a believer is set apart from the world unto God’s service. I believe it is the work of the Holy Spirit in a man’s heart to make him holy as the believer yields to the will of God in his life (I Cor 6:11; I Thess 4:3, 5:23; II Thess 2:13-15). The believer is not to be conformed to the world, but transformed as he walks after the Spirit and not after the flesh (Rom 8:1, 4-5; 12:1-2).
God also expects the believer to be active in achieving his sanctification – to be separating himself unto God and from the things of the world (I Pet 1:16; Col 3: 1-2). In addition, with reference to time, sanctification has three aspects: past, present, and future. In the past, God sanctified the believer at the moment of salvation (Rom 1:7; I Cor 1:2, 6:11). In the present, the believer is to be continually sanctifying or separating himself throughout life (Rom 6:6, 19; I John 2:15; II Cor 6:14-7:1). Lastly, complete sanctification and glorification will occur in the future when the believer is in God’s presence for all eternity (I Thess 5:23).
I. Election and Predestination
I believe in the election of the believer by the fact that God in His omniscience knows who is and who is not going to be saved (I Pet 1:1-2). The elect are those who, as a being with a free will to choose, receive Christ as their Savior (II Pet 3:9). I believe that those who are saved are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ, for we will be like Him (Eph 1:4-5). God’s sovereignty and man’s free will in salvation is difficult to be comprehended in the human mind. As we enter the Gates of Heaven, we will see the sign – “WHOSOEVER WILL MAY COME” – as we enter into the Gates of Heaven and look back at the gate, we will see the sign – “GOD’S ELECT.”
A. The Nature of the Church
The church is composed of a self-governed local body of believers who are saved and minister to each other under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt 16:18; Eph 1:22). They are to be free from the interference of any individual, organization, or hierarchical structure of leadership, united together and meeting in a public place with a unified purpose of worshipping God, edifying the believers, fellowship, spiritual growth, and for service to God and to each other (Acts 2:41-47; I Cor 12:12-14; Eph 1:22-23; Col 1:18-19).
I believe God conceived the church before the foundation of the world (Eph 5:25; I Pet 1:18-20), that it was a mystery hidden in the Old Testament (Rom 16:25; Eph 5; Col 1:26-27), and that it was instituted by Christ during His ministry and confirmed at Pentecost (Matt 10:1-4; Acts 2:41-42). The head of the church is the Lord Jesus Christ who commissioned it to propagate the Gospel unto the uttermost parts of the earth (Matt 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; Eph 5:23). The church is to glorify and worship God (Acts 2:44-47), to evangelize the world in obedience to the great commission (Matt 28:19-20; Acts 1:8), to edify believers (I Thess 5:11), to educate its members (Eph 4:11-16) and to preach the Word of God (II Tim 4:2).
B. The Offices of the Church
There are only two offices of the local New Testament church, that of Pastor and that of Deacon (Acts 6; 20:28; I Tim 3; Titus 1). Both pastors and deacons are to be the husband of one wife (not one wife at a time) having never been divorced and/or remarried or the husband of a divorcee. They are to have their family under control as a spiritual leader who has both spiritual maturity and Godly wisdom (I Tim 3:2-7; Titus 1:5-9).
The office of Pastor is the same office referred to in the New Testament as Elder (1 Pet 5:1) or Bishop (1 Tim 3:2). The Pastor/Elder/Bishop then is to be the under-shepherd of God’s flock with the responsibility of providing God-directed leadership to the church of which the Lord Jesus Christ is the head. He is to feed the flock of God, lead, protect, guide, warn, and comfort the sheep (John 21:15-17; Heb 13:17). The Pastor is to be a Holy Spirit filled servant seeking to glorify God and not himself.
By the very nature of the word, a deacon is to be a servant within the local church ministering to those in need. Deacons are to be Spirit-filled servants whose primary ministry is to assist the pastor in the service of the local church so that the pastor can be given to prayer and to the ministry of the Word of God (Acts 6:1-3).
C. The Ordinances of the Church
I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ gave two ordinances to be observed by the local church. These are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Baptism is to be conducted by the immersion of believers under the water that is symbolic of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. This signifies the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old sinful life, and his resurrection to walk in newness of life in the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 6:1-6). It is an act of obedience following the example and command of Christ that places the believer into the fellowship and membership of a local New Testament church (Matt 3:13-17; Matt 28:19; Acts 2:41-42).
The Lord’s Supper was instituted by Christ as a memorial to His shed blood and broken body for the sin of mankind (Matt 26:26-30). It should not be taken inadvisably, but each believer should examine himself or herself and his or her life before partaking of this memorial (I Cor 11:23-30). Leaven is a symbol of sin in the Bible; therefore, the bread used in this memorial service is unleavened bread emphasizing the sinless, broken body of Christ as He gave Himself to die upon the cross. Fermentation, too, is a symbol of sin in the Scriptures; therefore, the unfermented fruit of the vine, grape juice, used in this memorial service also emphasizes the sinless perfection of the blood of Christ shed upon the cross for the redemption of mankind. The Lord’s Supper is a requirement of the local church body to portray the Lord’s death until He comes again (Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22: 19-20).
Angels are heavenly, spiritual beings created by God at the time of creation to worship and serve Him (Gen 2:1; Neh 9:6; Col 1:16; Rev 5:11-12; 8:3-4). Angels are neither married, nor are given in marriage, nor do they die (Matt 22:30; Luke 20:35-36). Angels are stronger than men and are innumerable (II Sam 14:20; Matt 26:53, Heb 12:22; Rev 5:11). Angels can be divided into two classes, those who have retained their original God-appointed state (Rev 5:11-12, 8:3-4) and those who have fallen from that state (II Pet 2:4; Rev 12:3-4, 7).
I believe Angels are to act as messengers for God to mankind (Matt 1:20; 2:13; Luke 2:9-13). They have ranking and exist with other celestial beings including cherubim, seraphim and archangels (Jude 9; Gen 3:24; Ezek 10; Isa 6:1-3). They stand before God leading heaven’s occupants in worship and in proclaiming His holiness (Psa 18:10; 80:1; 90:1). They are spirits, yet are capable of appearing in human form (Heb 1:14; Gen 19; John 20:12). They are directed to administer the judgment of God upon the Earth (II Kings 19:35; Matt 13:41-42; Act 12:23; Rev 7:1-3), provide watch-care over the believers (Psa 34:7; Matt 18:10; Heb 1:14) and to receive believers at their death (Luke 16:22).
I believe Satan is a powerful angelic being created by God but willfully fallen in sinful pride and rebellion against God (Isa 14:11-14; Ezek 28:14-15). I believe he is an adversary of both the believer and the local church (Matt 13:25,36-43; I Pet 5:8). He is a slanderer and accuser of the believer (Rev 12:10) who actively attempts to destroy man through temptation to sin, deceitfulness and wickedness (Zech 3:1; Matt 4:3; Luke 22:31; I Cor 21:1; I Thes 3:5). He is the sponsor of all false religions and leads the fallen angels in a kingdom of evil (Matt 9:34; 12:26; Eph 2:2). He influences governments as ruler of this world system posing as an angel of light (II Cor 11:14). He controls unbelievers and turns men away from the gospel (Luke 22:3; John 13:27; II Cor 4:4).
Though Satan is powerful and has knowledge of what happens in the world, God will always be the victorious King (Job 1; Rev. 20:10). Satan is described by personal titles such as the “prince of the devils” (Matt. 2:24), “father” of sinners (John 8:44), the “prince of this world” (John 12:31), “the god of this world” (II Cor 4:4), the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2), “adversary” (I Pet 5:8), “the great dragon, that old serpent, the Devil and Satan” (Rev 12:9).
I believe Satan will be allowed free reign upon the earth after the rapture and will establish a kingdom of wickedness during the seven-year tribulation period (Dan 9:27; Rev 6-18). After this, he will be bound in a pit for 1000 years during the millennial reign of Christ upon the earth (Rev 19:1-3). He will then be loosed for a short period of time, will raise a rebellion against Christ among the unregenerate of the millennium and will then be defeated by Christ (Rev 19:7-9). He will finally be bound and cast into the lake of fire for all eternity with the antichrist, the false prophet, the fallen angels, and all unregenerate men and women of all ages of human history (Rev 19:10-15).
I believe that demons are angels created by God who have sinned and were cast out of heaven with Satan (Matt 25:41). They number one third of the original host of angels and some are in chains awaiting judgment because they “kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation” and have sinned (Rev 12:4; Jude 6; II Pet. 2:4). The demons are servants or ministers of Satan who can be transformed to be as “ministers of righteousness” in order to deceive men (II Cor 11:15). The demons are able to afflict people and some have names as “Legion” (Mark 5:1-10). However, their future eternal judgment is certain (Matt 25:41).
I believe that the next event on God’s calendar of events is the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 1:9). His second coming will be in two phases, the Rapture or the “Blessed Hope” where he comes for His saints to bring them to Heaven (I Thess 4:14-17) and His revelation, or advent, where he comes with His saints to the Earth (Rev 19) separated by the time period called the “Beginning of Sorrows” followed by the Great Tribulation (Matt 24:8,21).
A. The Rapture
The Rapture is the pre-tribulation, pre-millennial return of the Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds of the air for all New Testament saints (I Cor 15:52; I Thess 4:14). The dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive and remain will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord (I Thess 4:14-17). Following the rapture, all believers will be present first at the Judgment Seat of Christ and then at the Marriage Feast or Supper of the Lamb (Rom 14:10; II Cor 5:10; I Cor 3:10-15; Rev 19:9).
B. The Tribulation Period
A seven-year tribulation period will occur immediately following the Rapture to begin the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy. It is a period of time when God will pour out His judgmental wrath upon unbelievers. Satan’s work will be culminated in the person of the antichrist in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy concerning a time of judgment upon the earth followed by a time of blessing (Dan 9:27; Isa 63:6; Rev 6:15-17). The antichrist will appear at the beginning of the Tribulation period and will sign a peace covenant with Israel; however, after three and a half years, antichrist will break the peace covenant and will persecute the Israelites (Dan 9:24-27). Israel will be made to worship the antichrist or face death (Rev 13:15).
C. The Second Advent – The Revelation of Christ
At the end of the tribulation period, the Lord Jesus Christ will come in power and great glory with ten thousands of His saints to establish His Millennial Kingdom upon the earth (Dan 2:44; 7:9-13; Matt 24:27-31; Rev 19:11-16). Following the battle, or series of battles of Armageddon, Satan will be defeated and the wicked destroyed (Rev 19:15-21). After this battle the beast, the false prophet, and those that worshipped the beast will be cast alive into the lake of fire and Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit for a 1000 years as the Lord Jesus Christ establishes His Millennial Kingdom. (Dan 11:40-45; Jude 14; Rev 16:12-16; 19:19-21)
D. The Millennium
The Millennial Reign will be a time when the Lord Jesus Christ will rule as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords over the whole of creation with His saints (Rev 20:4). It will be a time of peace as the Prince of Peace rules. Mankind will experience the blessings of God as intended at the creation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Rev 20:3-6). At the end of the Millennium Reign, Satan will be loosed for a short period of time and he will deceive many that have been born during the Millennium into rebelling against Christ. Satan and all those that rebelled will then be defeated for eternity and cast into the lake of fire prepared for Satan and his angels. (Rev 20:7-10)
E. The Great White Throne Judgment
After Satan is cast into the lake of fire, the final judgment called Great White Throne judgment of the unredeemed will occur. All the lost, whose names are not recorded in the Lamb’s book of life, both great and small will be judged out of “the books” and then will be cast into the lake of fire for eternity (Rev 20:11-15). After this final judgment, God will establish a new Heaven, a new Earth, and a New Jerusalem. Time will be no more and God Himself will dwell with His people for all eternity (Rev 21; 22).
I believe that Heaven is a literal place where God, His throne and His angels abide (Matt 6:9, 24:36; Psa 11:4; Mark 13:32). Jesus Christ our Savior is in Heaven sitting at the right hand of God the Father preparing a place for believers (Heb 9:24; John 14:2-3). Only the saved will enter into Heaven (John 3:16; I Thess 4:17; I Pet 1:4-5). The believer’s hope, inheritance, reward and treasure are in heaven (Col 1:5; I Pet 1:4; Matt 5:12; Mark 10:21). Believers are to be laying up treasures in Heaven (Matt 6:19-20). One day, God will create a new Heaven and a new Earth in which there will be no more sin, sorrow, pain, sickness, death, curse, night, sun (Rev 21-22); it will be paradise (Luke 23:43; I Cor 2:9-10). Believers shall spend all eternity in Heaven in the service of our God (Rev 22:3).
I believe that Hell (Sheol in the Old Testament Hebrew, Hades or Gehenna in the New Testament Greek) is a literal place referred in general terms as the place where the unsaved souls go when they die and remain until the Great White Throne judgment (Luke 16:22-23). It is a place of torment and eternal punishment for the unsaved (Luke 16:23; Rev 20:10,15). Originally it was prepared for the devil and his demons (Matt 25:41). However, since man has also rebelled against God, many people will be in Hell. Hell is described as “everlasting punishment” (Matt 25:46), “torment” (Rev 14:11), the “lake of fire” (Rev 20:15), the “second death” (Rev 21:8). There are degrees of punishment in Hell (Luke 12:47-48). The worst punishment in Hell is the fact of eternal separation from God (Rev 20:15; Luke 16:26).
A. Personal Separation
I believe that God commands Christians to earnestly contend for the faith, to rightly divide the word of God, to abstain from all appearance of evil, and to live a blameless personal life and ministry before God, family, friends, and community. We are to be holy for God is holy (Lev 11:44; I Pet 1:16). We are to seek the things of God (Col 3:1-2). We are to guard against the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life (I John 2:15-17). The obedient Christians will not become “yoked together” with unbelievers to include bonds of marriage or business ventures (I Cor 6:14-7:1). Separation is not “isolation” from the world; Christians are not to participate in the sinful ways of the world, but are to be “salt and light” always-seeking opportunities to win the lost (Matt 5:13-16). We are also to separate from disobedient brethren and pray for their repentance (II Thess 3:6, 14-15) as well as separate from the false teacher (II John 9-11).
B. Ecclesiastical Separation
The Church of Jesus Christ must keep herself holy, pure and separated from evil. Christians are to separate from all forms of beliefs that would destroy or undermine the truths of the Bible and faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, i.e., Romanism, Protestantism, Islam, New Age beliefs, and cults (Gal 1:8,9). It requires believers to separate from false teachers that do not rightly divide the Word of Truth, i.e., agnosticism, liberalism, neo-orthodoxy, modernism, ecumenism, neo-evangelicalism, and pseudo-fundamentalism (Rev 2:14-16). Doctrinal integrity must be maintained (I Tim 4:6) as well as avoiding a worldly attitude (Eph 5:11). The sheep must be protected from error (II Pet 2:1-2). The disobedient must be disciplined for the good of the believer and the edification of the church (Matt 18:17; Gal 6:1; II Cor 13:10).
C. The Charismatic Movement
The Charismatic movement is not of God and is unbiblical in word and deed. Charismatics put a greater stress on experience and emotions than on faith and the Word of God. They lack Holy Spirit discernment; they interpret the Scriptures based on their experiences and false beliefs, not in the light of the Word of Truth (Psa 138:2; Matt 24:35; John 17:17; Luke 4:4). Charismatics put a much greater emphasis on the ministry of the Holy Spirit (sign gifts and baptism of the Spirit) than on the work of Jesus Christ who is to be preeminent (Col 1:18). They also promote ecumenism, recruiting religious people from all churches and camps from Catholics to liberals.
I believe that the Bible is the sole authority for faith and practice for believers.
· I believe in a regenerate, immersed church membership.
· I believe in the complete autonomy of the local New Testament assembly.
· I believe in the individual priesthood of the believer before God.
· I believe there are two ordinances given to the local New Testament assembly: Baptism by immersion and The Lord’s Supper.
· I believe that there are two offices of the local New Testament assembly: Pastor and Deacon.
· I believe in the complete separation of the government from the local New Testament assembly.
· I believe in the separation of the local New Testament assembly from ethical and ecclesiastical error, unbelief, and compromise.
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”~ Hebrews 4:12