What I believe about God’s word that we hold in our hands.
A. I believe that revelation is the act of God revealing Himself to us. I believe that here are two key types of divine revelation, general and special.
1. General revelation is God making Himself known to mankind . I believe that general revelation is given to all men of all ages. And is a product of the visible creation around us (Psalm 19:1), and the internal conscience of man. Though in itself, general revelation is not a sufficient means of bringing one to a saving knowledge of Christ (Romans 10:14).
2. I believe that special revelation is the direct communication from God given to chosen individuals at a divinely appointed time (1 Corinthians 2:10). I believe that the given revelations are equally as applicable to us today, and that we are currently not receiving special revelation from God through prophets. I believe that there are six biblical examples of special revelation from God.
a. Theophanies: Coming from the two greek words qeo;ß (“God’) and fanwÇ (“to make visible” or “to appear”). Therefore meaning an appearance of God. Genesis 12:7; 18:1-2; 32:24, 30; Exodus 3:2-4.
b. Dreams and visions: Though dreams did not play a vital role in recorded revelation, there are significant accounts in Genesis and Daniel where God used this ad a means of communication with His people. Genesis 28:12-16; 37:5-7; 1 Kings 3:5; Daniel 2:3, 31-35; Ezekiel 8:3; Amos 1:1; Matthew 1:20; 2:13, 19.
c. Direct Communication: It is clear that God spoke directly and audibly to people throughout scripture. The terms “thus said the Lord”, “God said”, and “the word of the Lord came unto me” are examples of such occasions. Acts 9:4, 1 Samuel 3:4 -14, Exodus 33:11; Numbers 12:6-8.
d. Angels: Angels are primarily used in bringing news from God. Luke 2:10-13; Daniel 9:20-21, 10:10-21.
e. The person of Christ: Christ is the final consummation of all God’s revelation, the climax. Hebrews 1:2; Colossians 2:3, 9; John 3:2, 5:39; 1 Peter 1:11; Revelation 19:10.
f. The Scriptures: The scriptures themselves contain all records of God’s revelation in all forms. And because all scripture is written by God (2 Timothy 3:16) it is therefore true and accurate.
A. I believe that God through the Holy Spirit, literally God breathed, directly inspired all scripture (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
B. I believe that the totality of the original autographs, through human authorship, were divinely inspired, and therefore without error. (Proverbs 30:5; Psalm 12:6)
A. I believe that the Bible we hold today is God’s word divinely preserved just as it was originally written. And because of this I believe that we can confidently preach, teach and establish doctrines from the copies of manuscripts we hold today (Luke 16:17; 2 Kings 22:3-11).
B. I believe that while we must remain critical of human revisions, keep as close to the original as possible; that we must also have faith that God will preserve His Word for us in all ages and languages.
a. I do not believe that there is only one divinely chosen translation of the Bible, in any age or language.
b. I believe that as time progresses, and language changes, that we should consistently strive to get a better understanding of what the original autographs contained. (Matthew 24:35)
A. I believe that God’s Word is the ultimate authority, and that human alterations would undermine its divinely inspired intent thus reducing its authority. (Matthew 22:29)
B. I believe that God’s Word, through the Holy Spirit, has the power to convict and bring knowledge of sin.
C. I believe that the Bible contains all the inspired work of God, and is a means by which the Holy Spirit brings us to a saving knowledge of Christ.
A. I believe that Scripture interpreting Scripture is the best hermeneutic, and that no doctrines should be established without verifying it with other scripture.
B. I believe that it is the personal responsibility of each believer to examine for oneself what translation is best for them.
A. I believe that because the Scriptures were divinely inspired in their totality, the natural result establishes inerrancy. (Psalm 33:4)
B. I believe that if one reads errors into the Scripture, they are allowing themselves to become the ultimate authority, and thus by saying that the Bible contains errors you demean God’s authoritativeness in His revelation.
What I believe regarding the church.
A. I believe that the Church is built on Jesus Christ Himself (Matt 16:18).
B. I believe that the church as we know it today started with the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:42-47), at which the Holy Spirit began to permanently indwell believers (Acts 2:4)
C. I believe that the Church as a physical organization will cease at the rapture, but that the church as the Body of Christ will exit eternally with Him (Revelation 22:4-5).
II. Composition (church membership)
A. I believe that as a called together assembly of believers we should practice church membership for two principle reasons.
i. For the purpose of preserving sound teaching doctrine within the church (I John 4:1-6).
ii. To allow for the proper practice of church discipline (I Corinthians 5:12-13).
A. I believe that the church is defined as a called together assembly; therefore each individual church body should be composed of only true believers in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9).
B. I do not believe that the church in its totality is limited to only those that hold membership within a church. I believe that the organization of the church as a whole is composed of all those who confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Romans 10:9-10) from the time of Christ’s death unto the end of the age.
A. I believe that there are only two Biblical ordinances that should be practiced with in the body.
a. I believe that baptism is only through full emersion, which pictures Christ’s death burial and resurrection (Romans 6:1-4)
ii. The Lords supper
a. I believe that the Lord’s Supper is a command memorial to Christ’s death (1 Corinthians 11:24-25)
b. I believe that we do not actually partake of Christ when we practice the Lords supper, rather that it too is an image and a remembrance of Christ’s death for our sins.
A. Bible our rule of faith and practice
i. I believe that the Bible should be the only means by which the church teaches and develops its doctrines (2 Timothy 3:15-17; Acts 17:11; 2 Peter 3:1-2)
ii. I believe that the church should not add nor subtract from the written word of God (Revelation 22:18-19).
i. I believe that each individual church should be autonomous, therefore not binding themselves by the ruling of other congregations and self-governing. (Matthew 18:15-17; I Corinthians 5:4-5; Acts 5:29; Acts 15:25-26)
C. Priesthood of the believer
i. I believe that each individual has a personal union with Christ, therefore able to understand scripture, pray, and confess sins to God on their own with no need of a hierarchy (I Peter 2:9; Hebrews 10:19-20)
i. I believe that the church as a body of believers should separate from the world in two distinct ways.
a. I believe that the church is a separate entity from the state government, and should not be influenced or controlled by any form of state run legislator. (Acts 5:29; Matthew 22:17-22)
b. I believe that the church is mandated to remain separate from this world ethically. (II Thessalonians 6:6,14; Ephesians 5:11; II Corinthians 6:17; Romans 16:17-18).
What I believe regarding angelic beings.
A. Their origin
I believe that God created angels (Nehemiah 9:6, Psalm 148:5), though the exact time of their creation is unsure, I believe they were created before the completion of creation (Genesis 2:1).
B. Their nature
I believe that angels are spirit beings, but that they can take on a physical appearance for a divinely appointed purpose (Hebrews 1:13-14, Genesis 18). I believe that angels were created perfect (Genesis 1:31, Ezekiel 28:15), but were given the same free will that God gave to man (Isaiah 14:13-14), thus they were capable of falling. I believe that angels do not currently have the ability to fall. Scripture gives us no indication of angels falling after the fall of Satan. God created a vast number of angels that is not fully comprehendible by humans (Revelation 5:11). I believe that this number will not change because angels do not procreate (Matthew 22:30), nor do they die.
C. Their relationship to man
I believe that Angels are currently in a higher order than man (Hebrews 2:7, 2nd Peter 2:11), but in our glorified state we will rise above the angels (1st Corinthians 6:3). Putting aside the ranking of humans and angels, I believe that both were created for the same purpose and have the same role in relation to God; this being to worship Him (Revelation 22:9). I do not believe that each individual human has a guardian angel, but that angels play a role in ministering and protecting humans as a whole on behalf of God (Hebrews 1:14).
D. Their relationship to God
I believe that angles were created subordinate to God; they were created by Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16). I believe they exist to serve God and to worship Him (Hebrews 1:6). Angels act as God’s messengers to humans, and carry out tasks as assigned by God. Angels will accompany Christ at His second coming (Matthew 25:31), and will assist in His judgment of sinners (Revelation 16, 20:1-3).
Satan and Demons:
A. Their reality
I believe that Satan and his demons are real spirit beings that were created by God (Ezekiel 28:15). I believe that Christians should be aware of their present activity in opposition to God’s children. We are commanded to be watchful of Satan’s enticements and should not underestimate his abilities (1st Peter 5:8).
B. Their nature
I believe that at the time of creation, Satan was perfect in the eyes of God. Due to the honor that Satan possessed (Ezekiel 28:12-14), he thought he deserved equality with God. I believe this desire to be as God is (Isaiah 14:13-14) resulted in Satan and his followers being cast down from heaven (Isaiah 14:12).
C. Their work and destiny
I believe that Satan and his demons are presently active in this world, actively seeking the souls of men (1st Peter 5:8). I believe that Satan has access to heaven (Job 1:7-12), but mainly resides on earth. I believe that Satan has the ability to tempt believers (Matthew 4:1), but cannot control them due to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. According to Isaiah 14, I believe that Satan’s ultimate goal in all his actions is to be Higher than God, and to receive God’s glory and worship from the angels and from humans. Satan will be confined for thousand years in the abyss, then he will be temporarily returned to earth to once again to deceive men (Revelation 20:7-9). I believe by authority of Revelation 20:10 that after this, Satan and his angels will spend an eternity in the lake of fire as punishment.
What I believe regarding the last days.
I. The rapture
I believe that the rapture will happen at the beginning of the tribulation (1 Thessalonians 1:10), and that according to scripture, it will be a miraculous and instant event (1 Corinthians 15:52). I do not believe that it is possible for human or angel to know when the rapture will take place (Matthew 24:36).
II. The tribulation
I believe that the tribulation is a literal seven years (Daniel 9:24-27), and that during this time God will pour out His wrath on sinful man by way of a series of judgments (Revelation 11:18). I believe that at the end of the seven years, the second coming will take place; this is where Christ will return to earth to defeat the enemy (Revelation 19:11-16).
I believe that there are three main categories of judgments, the Judgment of Christians, the Judgment at the close of the seven years tribulation and the great white throne judgment. Within these categories, there are many subsequent events that take place.
A. The judgment of Christians
I believe this judgment will take place in heaven immediately following the rapture and during the tribulation. This is called the bema seat judgment where all church age believers will be judged and rewarded according to their faithfulness and service Christ (Matthew 25:14-30). I do not believe that this judgment is one of condemnation, rather one of evaluation.
B. The judgment at the end of the tribulation
I believe this judgment is at the second coming of Christ in the close of the tribulation (Revelation 19:11-16). I believe this is the time where the beast and the false prophet will be judged then cast into the lake of fire. This is also the time when the human survivors of the tribulation will be judged. I believe at this time God’s wrath will be heavily poured out, further leading into the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19:17-19).
C. The great white throne judgment
I believe this is God’s Final judgment of sin, taking place at the end of the millennium after the battle of Gog and Magog (Revelation 20:7-9). I believe that there will only be unbelievers present at this judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). I also believe that all unbelievers will ultimately be judged by their (sin) works, and cast into the eternal lake of fire (Revelation 20:12-13).
IV. The millennium
I believe that scripture teaches the millennium as a literal one thousand years. This is where Christ will be physically present, and ruling on the throne of David (Isaiah 9:7). I believe that Satan will be bound in the pit during this time, but will be released to compile a rebellion against God at the close of the millennium (Revelation 20:2,7). I believe that saints whom survived the tribulation will enter into the millennium and co inhabit with the resurrected saints (Matthew 24:13).
V. The intermediate state
I believe that when believers die, they are immediately present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). I also believe that unbelievers upon death go to a location with similar conditions to (hell) the lake of fire (Luke 16:24). Although I believe that unbelievers are only placed there temporarily, awaiting their final and eternal sentence at the great white throne judgment.
VI. The eternal state
I believe that the eternal state is where believers have personal and eternal fellowship with God (Revelation 21:3). All unbelievers, Satan and his demons will spend this time in the lake of fire undergoing eternal punishment and separation from God (Revelation 20:14). I believe that this is the new heaven and the new earth (Revelation 21:1).