I do not apologize for the length of this Statement of Faith. It is necessary because the more assaults there are against the faith, the more precise I need to be.
|The Bible||The 66 books (39 in the OT, 27 in the NT) of the Protestant Bible is the only Word of God, and its autographs are free from any errors and contradictions. It is the one and only inerrant, authoritative, sufficient and trustworthy rule for faith and life. (2 Pet. 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:16).|
|The Trinity||Within the one Being that is God, there exists eternally three coequal and coeternal persons, namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Is. 44:6, 8; 45:5; Gen. 1:26-27; 3:22; Matt. 3:17; 28:19; Lk. 10:35; 2 Cor. 13:14).|
|God||God is the only Supreme Being with no gods created before or after Him in all of existence, in all places, in all time, and in all possible worlds (Is. 43:10; 44:6; 44:8; 1 Tim. 1:17). He has always been God and was never anything else (Ps. 90:2). He is holy (Rev. 4:8), eternal (Is. 57:15), omnipotent (Jer. 32:17, 27), omnipresent (Ps. 137:12), and omniscient (1 Jn. 3:20). He is love (1 Jn. 4:8, 16), light (1 Jn. 1:5), spirit (Jn. 4:24), truth (Ps. 117:2), and Creator (Is. 40:12, 22, 26). He is to be worshiped (Gen. 24:26; Ex. 4:31; 2 Chron. 29:28; 1 Cor. 14:25; Rev. 7:11). He is to be served (Matt. 4:10; 1 Cor. 6:19; Phil. 3:7; 1 Thess. 1:9; Heb. 9:14). He is to be proclaimed (Matt. 28:19f; John 14:15f; Acts 1:8).|
|Jesus Christ||Jesus Christ is the Word (God) who became a man. He added human nature to His divine nature. He is both human and divine, and, therefore, has two natures. Yet, He is one person, not two. He is not part God and part man. He is presently a man, one person, with two natures where one nature is wholly God and the other wholly man. (Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 2:9; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 1:5-13; Jn. 1:1-3, 14). Jesus will eternally remain as a man and intercedes for us eternally as a high priest after the order of Melchezedek (Heb. 6:20; 7:25).|
|Holy Spirit||One of the three persons of the Trinity whose work it is to manifest the active presence of God in the world, and especially in the Church.|
|Virgin Birth||Jesus Christ was miraculously conceived and born of the virgin Mary, (Lk. 1:42). Mary ceased to be a virgin after the birth of Jesus (Matt. 1:25).|
|Resurrection||Jesus Christ rose from the dead in the same body He died after being in the grave for three days. He was raised in a glorified, physical body (still retaining his crucifixion wounds). He ascended bodily into heaven, sits at the right hand of the Father, and rules heaven and earth (Jn. 2:19; 1 Cor. 15; Lk. 24:39). Likewise, we Christians will be raised bodily from the dead and spend eternity with the Lord.|
|Substitutionary Penal Atonement||God the Father so loved us that He sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ. Jesus, the Word, became man, bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24), and died in our place, suffering the consequences of the breaking the Law (1 Jn. 3:4), which is physical death (Rom. 6:23) and spiritual death (Isa. 59:2), that was due us (Is. 53:4-6). He became sin on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21). His sacrifice was a legal substitution for us (1 Jn. 2:2; Jn. 19:30; 1 Pet. 2:24). It was legal since sin is breaking God's Law (1 Jn. 3:4) and substitutionary since Christ took our punishment (Is. 53:4-6) and tasted death for everyone (Heb. 2:9). As a result, God's justice was satisfied and Christian believers are released from eternal punishment (1 Pet. 3:18; Matt. 1:21; 25:46; Rom. 5; 1 Jn. 2:2).|
|Baptism||Baptism by total immersion under water is an important action of obedience for a Christian and signifies a person's identification with Christ. It is not necessary for salvation. It is an outward manifestation of an inward reality of trust in the sacrifice for Christ, of conversion, and of identification with Christ. The act of water baptism does not save anyone. We are made right before God by faith, not by faith and baptism (Rom. 3:28-30; 4:3, 5; 5:1; Gal. 2:16, 21; Phil. 3:9; Acts 10:44-48). Only those who have made a convincing confession of faith are to be baptized.|
|Man's Condition||Man is fallen, corrupt, wicked, and totally depraved. Man believes in God by God's grace through faith (Jn. 6:28-29; 15:5; Phil. 1:29), is unable to come close to God through his own efforts (Jn. 6:44; Rom. 3:10-12), nor can he understand the spiritual things of God on his own (1 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 8:7), nor can he earn salvation by his attempt at good works (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 4:1-6), nor once saved does he maintain his salvation by his works (Gal. 3:1-3). Eternal punishment in hell and separation from the blessed presence of God are the consequences of the unregenerate person's sinfulness who has not trusted in the redemptive sacrificial work of Christ on the cross (Eph. 2:1-3; Rom. 6:23).
*For more information, please see "Total Depravity" in this article.
|Election||An act of God before creation in which he chooses some people to be saved, not on account of any foreseen merit in them, but only because of his sovereign good pleasure. (2 Thess. 2:13; Eph. 1:4-5)
*For more information, please see "Unconditional Election" in this article.
|Salvation||Salvation is being saved from the righteous judgment of God upon the sinner. Salvation is obtained by grace alone, through faith alone, in the work of Christ alone (Jn. 3:16) and not by our good works (Rom. 3:20; Eph. 2:8-9). We are chosen for salvation by God (2 Thess. 2:13).|
|Justification||Justification is being declared legally righteous by God. This justification is received by faith alone (Rom. 4:1-6), in the work of Christ fulfilling the Law in his earthly ministry (1 Pet. 2:22), and his removing of sin by his sacrifice. Justification is a gift from God (Rom. 3:24) and is received apart from the works of the Law (Rom. 3:28; Gal. 2:21).|
|Regeneration||Upon belief a sinner is regenerated (born again); that is, he is changed into a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) and is then able to resist his sin and seek to increase in sanctification before the Lord. Those thus regenerated do not seek to abide in sin, though they do fall into it, but war against it and repent of sin before the Lord.|
|Perseverance||All those who are truly regenerated will be kept by God's power and will persevere as Christians until the end of their lives, and that only those who persevere until the end have been truly "born again." Christ has done all that is needed for our salvation and he says that those who have eternal life will never perish. Those who appeared to be Christian but fell away never were Christians to begin with (1 John 2:19). Eternal security does not mean that we have a license to sin (Rom. 5:21-6:2) and those who state thus do not understand God's ability to regenerate the sinner and turn his heart to repentance (John 10:27-28).
*For more information, please see "Perseverance of the Saints" in this article.
|Sanctification||Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit makes us more like Christ in all that we do, think, and desire and increases our ability to repent from sin - by God's grace (1 Thess. 4:7; Eph. 2:10; 1 Tim. 4:4; 1 Pet. 3:15; 2 Tim. 2:25). This process continues all of the Christian's life and is the result of salvation, not a cause of it, nor a contributing factor to it. Furthermore, the effort of sanctification does not maintain the believer's salvation.|
|The Church||God calls Christians to his Church where the Word of God is preached, where baptism and the Lord's Supper (communion) are administered, where believers are discipled and disciplined, and where believers serve to build up one another (Matt. 16:18). There is no one true earthly ecclesiastical body that is "the true church." Rather, the true Church consists of all true believers wherever they might be.|
|Church Government||God calls qualified Christians to be ordained and to serve Jesus Christ in special leadership capacities, i.e. Elders, Deacons, Ministers of the Word, and Evangelists. The office(s) of pastor and elder is limited to qualified men only who are called by God, recognized by the body, and who meet the biblical standard of eldership. Women are not to be pastors nor elders and are not to hold positions of authority in the Christian Church where that authority is exercised over men, (1 Tim. 2:11-15; 3:11-13; Titus 1).
*For more information on church membership, see this article as well as this article.
|The Rapture||The event where, upon Jesus' return, those who have died in Christ and those Christians who are then alive will be physically caught up to the clouds and meet the Lord Jesus in the air. We will then forever be with the Lord (1 Thess. 4:16-5:2). There are diverse opinions among Christians regarding the rapture, however, I am post-tribulational.|
|The Second Coming||Jesus Christ will bodily and visibly return from heaven with great glory and majesty.|
|The Millennium||There are diverse opinions among Christians regarding the millennium, however, I am a historic pre-millennial.|
|Spiritual Realm||There is a spiritual realm of angels and demons. Angels are messengers of God. Demons are fallen angels (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6) who war against God and who will ultimately face eternal punishment (Matt. 25:41; 2 Pet. 2:4). Christians cannot be demon possessed.|
|Judgment||All who are not justified by faith in Christ and the blood of Christ will face eternal, conscious, and agonizing judgment away from the presence of God (Matt. 8:12; Lk. 16:19-31; Rev. 20:14-15; 21:8).|
|Evangelism||Part of the life of a Christian is to carry out the work of evangelism. We must teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to all people, in every nation (Matt. 28:19-20). Also, we are to refute false doctrines, false religions, and whatever else might contradict the word of God but we are to do this without insult (1 Pet. 3:15) if per chance God would grant them repentance (2 Tim. 2:25).|
|Kingdom Work||Part of being a Christian means to particpate in expanding the Kingdom of God. Every Christian is to work for this end according to the giftings given him or her by the Lord (Matt. 28:18-20; Rom. 12). Not all are pastors, or evangelists, or teachers (Rom. 12), but each Christian is expected to do his or her part to promote the gospel whether it be by prayer and/or tithing, and/or teaching, and/or bearing and training children, and/or evangelism, etc.|
|Morality||Homosexuality, bisexuality, pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia, cross dressing, trans-genderism, lying, bearing false witness, adultery, wife-swapping, pornography, fornication, and coveting are all sinful and condemned practices, against scriptural revelation, are contrary to proper living, and are not acceptable as normal or approved behaviors.|
|Marriage||Marriage is between one man and one woman.|
|Heresy||Any doctrine that deviates from the historical, orthodox, and biblical position of the Christian Church, throughout Church history, as judged from a Protestant perspective. There are heresies that are damnable (denying the deity of Christ, denying Christ's physical resurrection, denying justification by grace through faith, etc.). There are heresies that are not damnable (advocating women pastors, practicing polygamy, divorce for convenience sake, etc.) There are also teachings within Christianity that are debatable where as differences of opinion are not heresy (eating or not eating meat, worship on Saturday or Sunday, etc.) See Rom. 14:1-15:13.
*For more information on what the criteria for an essential and a non-essential doctrine are, see this article.
*For more information on what doctrines I personally consider essential and non-essential, see this article.
|Christian Living||Where possible, Christians are to live in peace with all men, suffering wrongs, false accusations, and misrepresentations with charity. However, Christians are free to defend themselves (Lk. 22:36) and promote the truth of Christianity by correcting false teachings and refuting error (2 Tim. 2:25; 1 Pet. 3:15). They are free to use the political system and its laws in order to promote a more godly and moral society. Christians are to live in the world as examples of godliness and are not to participate in the sinful passions of the world.|
|Creation and Evolution||God created the universe and all that is in it by his creative effort. God brought the universe into existence by the exertion of his will. Within Christianity there is room for the interpretation of the six creation days (Genesis 1:1-31) to be literal 24 hour periods but also longer periods. I hold to a literal interpretation. Nevertheless, Adam and Eve were real people, created by God just as Genesis says.
I do not affirm macro-evolution (the formation of life on earth from a single cell that evolved via natural selection over millions of years into the species all over the earth) or theistic evolution (that God guided macro-evolution to bring humanity into existence). However, micro-evolution (the modification of existing species with existing genetic information that allows species to adapt to environments) is within the realm of Christian orthodoxy.