Sound doctrine (in other words, correct teaching) is important. After all, truth is not subjective.
Janet and I have adopted the following Statement of Faith which spells out our basic beliefs (Note 1):
- In the essential beliefs we have unity. "There is one Body and one Spirit ... there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of us all..." (Eph. 4:4-6).
- In the non-essential beliefs we have diversity. "Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment 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." (Rom. 14:1-22).
- In all our beliefs we show charity. "... If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing." (I Cor. 13:2).
- The Written Word of God: the Bible (II Tim. 3:15-17; I Thess. 2:13; I Pt. 1:21) The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are given by divine inspiration, and are thus the written Word of God (without error in the original writings); They are the final authority for the lives of believers in every culture and age (showing how people can come to faith in Jesus and live God- pleasing lives), and the infallible rule of faith and practice. They are to be interpreted according to their context and purpose in reverent obedience to the living Lord who speaks through them in power by the Holy Spirit. The primary purpose of Scripture is to lead to faith in Jesus.
- One living and true God (Deut. 6:4; Is. 43:10-11; Matt. 28:19; Luke 3:22) God exists eternally in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - equal in power and glory. He has revealed himself to be perfect in love, holiness and righteousness. He created all, upholds all, and governs all.
- God the Father (Deut. 32:6; Ps. 103:13-15; Jer. 3:19; II Co. 6:18; John 14:9) God has revealed Himself as a Father who is an infinite, personal Spirit - perfect in holiness, wisdom, power, and love. He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men. He hears and answers prayer; And He saves from sin and death all who come to Him in faith through Jesus Christ.
- Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:23; Heb. 1-3; Acts 2:22; II Cor. 5:21; Col. 1:15-20; I Cor. 15:4) Jesus Christ is God's one and only Son, conceived by the HolySpirit, and both true God and true man. He was born of a virgin; lived a sinless life; fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah; performed miracles as evidence of his messiahship; died a substitutionary atoning death for our sins; rose bodily from the dead; ascended into heaven; and offers continual intercession for His people.
- The Holy Spirit (Jn 14:26; 16:5-15; Ro. 8:12-17;26-27; I Cor. 12; II Cor. 3:17; Gal. 3) The Holy Spirit came forth from the Father and Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, and to regenerate, sanctify, and empower for ministry all who believe in Christ. The Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Jesus Christ and is an abiding helper, teacher, gift-giver, and guide. The true believer receives the Holy Spirit and is baptised into the Body of Christ at conversion, but the Spirit's empowering for godly living, ministry, and mission must be sought and activated by faith. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit we can experience repeated fillings and a progressive liberation from the bondage of sin, Satan, and the world.
- God's plan to save man (Gen. 1:26- 27; 2:17; 3:6; Rom. 5:12-19; Eph. 2:1- 10;Ti 3:5-7) Man was created in God's image, tempted by Satan, and subsequently rebelled against God. Men and women became corrupted in their nature, expressing that in sinful deeds. They have come under God's just condemnation and sentence of death. God regenerates those who repent of their sins and confess Jesus Christ as Lord. He declares them righteous, forgives them of their sins, adopts them as His children, baptizes them with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of their future inheritance with Christ, incorporates them into His body, and empowers them for His service. No one can come to the Father except through Jesus.
- The Believer's Authority (Matt. 18:18-20; 28:18-20; Eph. 2:4-7; 6:16; I John 4:4) The believer possesses great authority, through Christ, over the powers of spiritual darkness, which are led by Satan, the ruler of this world. We actively exercise this authority as we pray, walk by faith, exercise spiritual gifts, and progress towards spiritual maturity in Christ. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit brings a present, though partial, reality of the Kingdom of God on earth as he acts in and through our lives with sovereign, supernatural power.
- The Church (Eph. 1:22-23; 2:22; Heb. 12:23; I Cor. 11:26; Matt. 28:19; Ro. 6:4) The Church is the living, spiritual Body of Christ, of which Jesus is the Head and all regenerated persons are members. The local church is the primary instrument of God for the extension of His Kingdom today. While the Lord Jesus Christ committed two ordinances to the Church, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, we believe neither of these are a means of salvation (we also respect the variations in practice of these ordinances). The Church, in addition to promoting worship and mutual edification, is to witness in word and deed to the reality of Christ as Savior and Lord, taking the gospel to all peoples, making disciples, baptising and teaching all that Christ has commanded.
- The visible, bodily return of Christ and God's fair judgement (I Thess. 4:16-17; Ro. 8:23; Tit. 2:13; I Cor. 15:51-52; II Pet. 3:13; Matt. 25:46; Mark 9:43-48; John 3:36; Rev. 20:11-15; 21:8;) Jesus Christ will return to the earth physically to raise the dead, judge the world, consummate His glorious Kingdom, and bestow eternal blessing on those declared righteous through faith in Jesus Christ - this is the hope of the Church. The wicked, rejecting Christ as Lord and Saviour, will be fairly judged for their sins and will be banned from God's presence forever, along with Satan and his angels.
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