Inerrancy: The Bible is the Word of God, and its original manuscripts are free from errors and contradictions. It is the one and only infallible, authoritative, and trustworthy rule for faith and life.
Inspiration: The entire Bible is inspired or “breathed out” by God. [II Tim 3:16] It is not the men but the product that is inspired by God. The men were born along or “carried by God” as they wrote the words but the final work is the product of God the Holy Spirit. [II Pet. 1:21]
Inscripturation: The Holy Spirit took the “thoughts of God” and expressed “spiritual truths in spiritual words”. This process is described in I Cor. 2:10-13
Illumination: Is the work of the Holy Spirit by which He reveals the truth of Scripture to us. This process is described in I Cor. 2:14-16.
Preservation:There have been numerous translations of the Scripture into hundreds of languages over the centuries. We believe that God has preserved His Word in all these translations and that no single translation is the only one that contains the inspired Word of God. We read and study translations that are faithful to the original manuscripts. Through these, the Word of God can be accurately taught and known.
The first English translations appeared about 625 years ago.
1384: John Wycliffe produced the first handwritten copy of the English Bible.
1525: William Tyndale New Testament was the first printed in English.
1525-1611: Seven more English versions appeared.
1611 to 1982: Eleven more English versions appeared.
1982 to Present: Technology has allowed the work of translation to abound. New Translations are appearing at an amazing rate at times. Some of these have a doctrinal or religious agenda. Many others, though, are seriously dedicated to knowing and understanding the original languages so they can capture their words and intent in our present day language. As long as the english language continues to change [and it will] there will always be new or revised translations attempting to render God’s Word into our mother tongue.
Practical Application of this doctrine: An understanding of the Bible in this way will give great assurance of faith. Knowing that the Bible is without error, brings God’s wisdom to us in times of distress. Knowing that God superintended over it’s writing gives conviction that we do have exactly what God knows we need for a successful Christian life. Finally, to know that The Holy Spirit is able to make the Scripture known to any of God’s children, of any race, and in any age or language, gives strong incentive to “study to show yourself approved of God”.
God the Father: God is the only Supreme Being. He is Holy [Rev. 4:8]; Eternal [Isaiah 57:15]; Omnipotent [Jer. 32:17,27]; Omnipresent [Psalm 139:7-12]; Omniscient [I John 1:20]: He is Love [I John 4:8, 16], Light [I John 1:5], Spirit [John 4:24], Truth [Psalm 117:2] and Creator [Isaiah 40:12,22,26] He is to be worshiped [Gen. 24:26; Ex. 4:31; II Chr. 29:28; I Cor. 14:25; Rev. 7:11]. He is to be served [Matt. 4:10; I Cor. 6:19; Phil. 3:7; I Thess. 1:9; Heb. 9:14]. He is to be proclaimed [Matt. 28:19; John 14:15; Acts 1:8]
Practical Application of this doctrine: To know the character and attributes of God leads us into a deeper worship. We are more able to assign the “worth” to God that He merits. To know God’s character is to deepen our relationship with him. When we know the most intimate character qualities of a person we anticipate their reaction before we actually experience it. To know God in an intimate way is the highest goal of the Christian Life.
God the Son: Jesus Christ is fully God and fully 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 wholly God and wholly man. (Phil 2:5-11; Col. 2:9; 1 Tim 3:16; Heb 1:5-13; John 1:1-3,14) We further believe in His:
Virgin Birth: Jesus Christ was miraculously conceived and born of the Virgin Mary. (Luke 1:42)
Resurrection: Jesus Christ rose again bodily on the third day after His death. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father. (John 2:19; 1 Cor. 15; Luke 24:39)
Substitutionary Atonement: Jesus Christ so loved us, that He took upon Himself the suffering, punishment, and death that man deserved. As a result, God’s justice was satisfied, and Christian believers are released from punishment. (Isaiah 53:4-12; 1 Pet. 3:18; Matt 1:21; Rom. 5; 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 John 2:2)
Trinity: There is one God in whom there are three persons — the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit. All three are God, yet there is only one God. (Isaiah 44:6,8; 45:5; Gen. 1:26-27; 3:22; Matt. 3:17; 28:18; Luke 10:35; 2 Cor 13:14)
Practical Application of this doctrine: To know the character and attributes of Jesus Christ is to more fully appreciate His great love for us. When we consider that Jesus would leave the side of His dear Father in order to suffer a cruel death for us we are moved to give Him our worship and our love. To realize how God orchestrated these events in order to provide a Savior, is one of the greatest concepts of the human mind.
His Special Creation: Man was created directly by God on the sixth literal day. We believe the account of this creation that is written in the first and second chapters of Genesis.
His Original Condition: God created both male and female in His Own Image, without sin, and therefore immortal. Both were placed into perfect fellowship with God and given everything necessary to sustain their lives. They were also created with freedom and when they did sin, they did so of their own free will.
Practical Application of this doctrine: We cannot profess belief while refusing to embrace what the Scripture says about the origin of man on the earth. Settled belief in God’s creating work is the sole source of the meaning to life humanity has always sought. Men and women are created as His Image Bearers for the purpose of revealing His Glory to His Creation.
Total Inability: Man, in his natural state, is so pervasively corrupt and wicked, that he is unable to believe in Jesus Christ or understand the spiritual things of God by himself. The Scripture teaches that no man can win salvation by his good works or religious ritual because all men are spiritually dead and consequently unable to respond to God. [Eph. 2:1-4] Eternal punishment in hell and separation from God are the consequences of the natural man’s fallen nature and sinful behavior, but God Himself “made us alive” because of “His great love for us.”. (John 6:44; 15:5; Rom. 8:7; 1 Cor. 2:14; 2 Cor. 3:5; Phil 2:13)
Practical Application of this doctrine: How the world arrived at its present state of despair is important. The sin and misery in this world is not the result of a God who does not care for His creature but the result of a deliberate rebellion against all that God offers to mankind. To know that death is not God’s original plan but the results of mankind’s sin and that God Himself has intervened to take away our deserved punishment gives great hope and assurance for eternity.
Justification by Grace Alone through Faith Alone: Men are brought to life solely by The Grace of God, [Eph. 2:4,5] at which time, they are also saved from damnation by Faith Alone in the finished Work of Christ Alone on the Cross. This saving faith, is itself a gift of God through Grace. [Eph.2:8-9] Salvation is therefore an undeserved and unearned mercy and kindness from God and is never based on any merit of the lost sinner or any of his works. (Eph. 1:1-11; 2:8, Rom 3:28; Gal. 2:21; Titus 3:5)
Sanctification: Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit sets us apart to be separate from the world and then to make us over in the image of Christ. It is accomplished fully at the time of salvation in that we are “set apart” and belong wholly to God at that time. BUT…it is also “ongoing” as the Holy Spirit does His work of restoring in God’s children the “image of God” that was lost in the fall. The process is fully completed at the resurrection [I John 3:1-4][I Cor. 15:51-57] cf. also (1 Thess. 4:7; Eph. 2:10; 1 Tim. 4:4; 1 Pet. 3:15).
Divine Election: Jesus stated that “we did not choose Him, but He chose us and ordained that we should go forth and produce fruit that would last” [John 15:16] Christ’s Elect were chosen even before the creation of the world. It is through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in each generation that The Elect are granted life and ability to believe in Jesus Christ…thus becoming children of The Living God. Men cannot choose God because they are spiritually dead in trespasses and sin.[Eph. 2:1-4] God Himself has declared that there are no men who seek Him….none! All believers are Chosen,[before the foundation of the world] Bought [at the Cross] and then Sought by God Himself[at our conversion].[Romans 3:11] (John 1:12-13; John 6:28-29; Acts 13:48; Phil. 1:29; Eph. 1:3-14; Rom 8:28-30)
The Lordship of Christ: Salvation is by Grace through Faith alone. But, that faith has an object. It is not faith in a points of doctrine or adherence to a plan. It is faith [trust] in Jesus Christ. True Faith is faith in the True Christ of Scripture. Bowing to Christ as Lord adds nothing to faith. It is faith! It is trust in the Lord Jesus Christ of The Bible. If men do not have faith in THE LORD JESUS CHRIST they have not believed in the only Savior of men, who is Lord. For More on Lordship, click here!
Practical Application of this doctrine: The understanding of how God saves us will keep us from the pride of self-righteousness. It will also encourage us to witness even when we feel inadequate because we know that salvation depends on the Lord and not on our ability to persuade men. To know that God sets us apart and then works Himself to perfect our character gives credible meaning to the trials we often face in this life.
The Holy Spirit
God the Spirit: The Holy Spirit is fully God. He is “another comforter”. [like Jesus in nature] He exhibits all the attributes of God. He convicts the world of sin. [John 16:7-11] He glorifies Jesus. [John 16:14] He inspired the written Word of God. [II Tim. 3:16] He illumines believers by teaching them His Word. [I Cor. 2:6-16] He indwells the believer. [I Cor. 3:16] He seals the believer until the day of redemption. [Eph. 4:30]
Spiritual Gifts: God gives special abilities [literally “graces”] to believers. These originally included leadership, mercy, giving, administration, tongues, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, prophecy and teaching). Certain sign gifts ceased with the completion of the Canon of Scripture. The gifts that remain are to be used in the church to build each other up and not for our own personal edification. All Christians have received a “grace” to serve Christ’s other children in The Church. All believers have the privilege and the responsibility of using their gift. (1 Cor 1:7; 12:27-31; 13:8-13; Eph 4:11-13)
Practical Application of this doctrine: Because Jesus sent the Holy Spirit we have a source of comfort and power in this world. We are not alone. What is more, the Spirit even enables us to serve the Church by giving supernatural spiritual abilities. Christians who do not possess this knowledge are often discouraged by the obstacles of life and feel unable to serve in the Church even though they desire to.
God created all spirit beings. The Bible categorizes them this way:
Angels: This term describes the created beings who serve as messengers of God.
Cherubim: Associated with the presence of God. Lucifer [Satan or The Devil] was a Cherubim who was lifted up with pride and rebelled against God.
Seraphim: Associated with the worship of God [Is. 6]
Archangels: Michael is the only Archangel mentioned in Scripture. [Jude 9] He appears as a special messenger with extraordinary power. Gabriel is the only other angel named, but he is not called an archangel anywhere in Scripture.
Demons: These are fallen angels who chose to follow Lucifer in his prideful rebellion against God. They are are presently active in the world for the cause of Satan and evil. They are not however, sovereign. God ultimately determines what they will or will not be allowed to do on the earth. Some are even presently bound until the final judgment while others are free. They are not to be taken lightly nor are they to be feared by believers. Christ is our sole protector against all spiritual evil in this world.
Practical Application of this doctrine: Understanding the origin and nature of spirit beings helps the believer not to be naïve about the power such beings possess in this world. The spirit realm is a real and present help but those fallen demons and Satan himself are not to be taken lightly. They are to be exposed and dealt with according to the Holy Scripture.
Christian Church: Consists of all humans both living and dead who have received Jesus Christ as their Savior. The Church started with the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and will be complete at the rapture when Christ appears to meet us in the air. [I Thess. 4:17-20] God calls Christians to gather themselves together [Heb. 10:24,25], 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 each another for the purpose of building one another up in the Lord. (Matt 16:18)
Church Officers: God appoints qualified Christians to serve Jesus Christ by serving His church in special leadership capacities [Evangelists, Pastor/Teachers, Elders, Deacons, and Teachers of the Word. The Scripture describes a Council of Elders, who lead and direct Christ’s church. That Council is limited to qualified males (1 Tim 2:11-15; 3:11-13) and will be held accountable to Christ in the judgment for the care of His flock. [I Pet. 5]
Practical Application of this doctrine: If the church is what the Bible says it is then the believer needs to enter into a proper relationship with our fellow Christians. We are the body of Christ and God has set leadership in place for us. Certain ordinances have importance and are not to be shunned, neglected or abused. Christians can and must know that they are not to live apart from the church but in “community” with it.
Rapture: All Christians who have ever lived will be resurrected at the trumpet call of God and will be caught up to be with Him. Then we who are alive and have not died in the faith, will be physically caught up in clouds to meet the Lord Jesus in the air. We will then forever be with the Lord. This is an imminent event. (1 Thess. 4:16-5:2)
Tribulation: With the departure of the Church from the world God will then begin the fulfillment of Daniel’s 70th week. Also known as “The Great Tribulation” this will be 7 years of judgment on an unbelieving world and the final chapter of the age of law.
Second Coming: Jesus Christ will come bodily and visibly from heaven, with great glory and majesty, to destroy the world’s armies that are gathered against Jerusalem. [Rev. 19].
After these enemies are defeated Satan will be bound along with the Beast and the False Prophet.
Millennium: Christ then takes His place on the throne of David in Jerusalem and will rule and reign for a literal 1000 year period. At the end of the 1000 years Satan will be loosed to form a final rebellion against the rule of Christ. He will ultimately be defeated.
Final Judgment: All human beings who have lived from the beginning until the end of the world will appear in person before Him to be judged. The evil will receive everlasting torment. The faithful, everlasting life. Satan too, will receive his final judgment at this time.
Eternity: God will then recreate the heavens and the earth and we will enjoy eternity with God just as He planned in the Garden of Eden before sin entered the world. So we look forward to that great day with longing in order to enjoy fully the promises of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord. (Matt. 24, Rev. 19-21)
Practical Application of this doctrine: Unrest in the middle east, inflation, war and the destruction of the family all leave untrained Christians in a state of anxiety about the future. While God does not intend for us to know our individual destiny [fortune telling, astrology, etc.] He has revealed His plan for the end times. He has done this in the same way as He revealed other truth…by telling us plainly. The instructed believer can know that God revealed His plan for the end time in clear and literal teaching. The knowledge that God is not only in control but also orchestrating the affairs of men brings unspeakable comfort in times of world distress.
EVEN SO.. COME QUICKLY LORD JESUS!