What We Believe

Article 1 -- The Scriptures:

Holy men who were moved by the Holy Spirit wrote the whole Bible (Mark 12:26, 36; 13:11; Acts 1:16; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Pet. 1:21). In this fashion, they were inspired. This inspiration extends to every part of Scripture in the original manuscripts. The original manuscripts do not error. The Bible is the supreme authority in all matters that It addresses (Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11; 2 Timothy 3:16).

Article 2 -- The Godhead:

The Trinity:

The single Godhead (Mark 12:29) eternally exists in three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14). Each Person has the same nature (Hebrews 1:3) and attributes (Matthew 28:18; John 1:14; Acts 5:3-4; Hebrews 1:2-3) and is worthy of the same worship and obedience (Acts 5:3-4; Revelation 1:5-7).

Foreknowledge:

God knows all things, past, present, and future (Psalm 139:1-4; 147:5; Matthew 11:21; Acts 2:23; 3:18; Ephesians 1:11).

Creation:

God created the world and the heavens and everything in them (Genesis 1:1; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17) from nothing (Hebrews 11:3). Humankind was present from the event of creation (Mark 10:6; Luke 11:50-51). Each day of Genesis 1:3-31 was a 24-hour day (see especially verses 14-19).

Article 3 -- Mankind:

Humankind was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) but sinned (Genesis 2:17; 3:6) and became spiritually dead (Genesis 2:17). Spiritual death has been passed along to the entire human race with the exception of the Lord Jesus Christ. It has resulted in mankind being born without divine life and unchangeably bad apart from grace (Genesis 6:5; Psalm 14:1-3; 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9; John 3:6; 5:40; 6:35; Romans 3:10-19, 23-24; 8:6-7; Ephesians 2:1-3, 8-9).

Article 4 -- Theological System:

Method of Interpretation:

Normal Method:

Scripture is interpreted by determining the meaning intended by the author. This is the normal or literal meaning that takes into consideration the plain meaning of symbols, types, and figures of speech. Philosophically this method also provides the best way for God to provide His revelations to humankind in an objective fashion.

Prophecy:

The normal method is to be applied consistently to all of Scripture including prophetic portions. This normal method best describes the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies of the first Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament like (1) the hardening of the Jewish understanding in Isaiah 6:9-10; 53:1 versus John 12:37-41; (2) the healing ministry of the Messiah in Isaiah 53:4 versus Matthew 8:16-17; and (3) the classification of Jesus as a criminal in Isaiah 53:12 versus Luke 22:37.

Progressive Revelation:

While later revelation in Scripture may expand and/or clarify the understanding of earlier revelation, it does not change earlier revelation. Otherwise, the earlier revelation would not be Truth (John. 17:17).

Dispensations:

Definition:

A dispensation is a responsibility given to man by God. God judges the degree to which man carries out the responsibility (Luke 16:1-13).

Identity of the Dispensations:

The current dispensation is called the “Dispensation of God’s Grace (Ephesians 3:2)” or the “Dispensation of This Mystery (Ephesians 3:9).” There was a period of “ages and generations” prior to the present (Colossians 1:25-26) perhaps indicating multiple dispensations. The most recent dispensation was a dispensation involving the Mosaic Law (Galatians 4:1-7). There will be a future millennial dispensation. Part of humankind’s responsibilities during it is described in Ezekiel 40-48.

Salvation in the Dispensations:

The requirement for salvation in each dispensation is trust. The object of trust in each dispensation is God. The content of trust may change. During the previous dispensations, there were various contents of trust (Leviticus 1:4; Hebrews 11:4, 7). During the present dispensation, trust is placed in Christ and His sacrifice (John 3:16).

Covenants:

The major covenants are listed below.

The Abrahamic Covenant:

The redemption promise of the Abrahamic Covenant flows to the Universal Church (Acts 3:25; Galatians 3:14) but all of its promises are for Abraham’s and Isaac’s descendants, the Jews (Genesis 17:4-8, 19, 21). The Land Covenant amplifies its promises concerning a national land (Genesis 12:1, 7; 13:14-15, 17; 17:7-8). Its promises concerning redemption (Genesis 12:3; 22:18; Galatians 3:16) are amplified by the New Covenant. In addition, its promises concerning numerous descendants (Genesis 12:2; 13:16; 17:2-6) are amplified in the Davidic Covenant. The promises of the Abrahamic Covenant are unconditional (Genesis 12:2-3; 15:9-17; Hebrews 6:13) and eternal (Genesis 13:15; 17:7, 19b; 1 Chronicles 16:16-17; Psalm 105:9-10; Hebrews 6:17).

The Land Covenant:

The Land Covenant assures that, after the Jewish nation is exiled because of its disobedience to the Mosaic Law (Deuteronomy 30:1), it will ultimately be restored to its land (Deuteronomy 30:2-10).

The New & Old Covenants:

The New Covenant Replaces the Old Covenant:

The New Covenant has replaced the Old Covenant (the Mosaic Law) as a Code for believers (Galatians 5:16-18; Hebrews 7:12).

However, the Old Covenant is still applicable to non-believers as it discloses their sin and need for salvation (Romans 3:20; Galatians 3:24-25; 1 Timothy 1:8-10).

Furthermore, there is value in the study of the Old Covenant (2 Timothy 3:16, which also has reference to the New Covenant). However, the Old Covenant must be used lawfully (1 Timothy 1:8; Hebrews 10:29-31). The Old Covenant provides the New Covenant believer with important insights into doctrines, with an understanding of history, with illustrations of New Covenant truths, and with the need for the Savior.

The New Covenant:

Benefits from the New Covenant flow to the Universal Church (1 Corinthians 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 9:14-15) but its ultimate fulfillment will be associated with a restored Jewish nation (Jeremiah 31:27-28, 31, 33, 35--40; Ezekiel 37:21-28).

The New Covenant provides a converted heart (Jeremiah 31:33), the forgiveness of sins (Jeremiah 31:34b), and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36:25-27) for its recipients.

The Davidic Covenant:

In this covenant, King David and his descendants are promised offspring for eternity, starting with Solomon, who will have the authority to rule over the Jewish nation though the exercise of the authority may be unrealized (2 Samuel 7:11b-16; Psalm 89:1-4, 15-37; Isaiah 9:7; Jeremiah 33:14-26). The Lord Jesus, as Christ, is one of these descendants (Jeremiah 33:15; Matthew 1:1-17) but His kingdom is yet future (Revelation 20:6). Scripture does not teach that the Lord Jesus Christ is now reigning as a Davidic king (Psalm 110:1-2).

The Levites are also promised priestly descendants for eternity (Jeremiah 33:18).

Israel and the Church:

While individual Jews and Gentiles occupy a privileged position at this time (Romans 11:17), the nation of Israel and the Universal Church are separate groups. The following are some of the evidences for this distinction:

Prophecies:

There are prophecies concerning a literal Israel that are yet to be fulfilled (e.g., Deuteronomy 30:1-10; Jeremiah 23:5-8; Romans 11:1-27).

Creation of the Church:

The Church was created hundreds of years after Israel was created (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:20-23).

Continued Existence of Israel:

Inspired writers spoke of the existence of Israel after the Church was organized (Acts 3:12; Romans 10:1).

God’s Purpose:

God’s purpose in history is to glorify Himself (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14).

Article 5 -- The First Advent:

Birth: The Son was born of a virgin and received a human body (Luke 1:30-35) and a sinless human nature (Hebrews 4:15) without loosing any attribute of God (John 1:1-3, 14; Philippians 2:5-7; Hebrews 1:3) and was named Jesus (Matthew 1:21).

Rejection and Sacrifice (Acts 3:13-16):

He offered Himself to the nation of Israel as its King but was rejected (Matthew 1:1, 6b-17; Luke 19:38-44; John 1:11; Acts 2:22-23). He then offered Himself as a sacrifice to provide forgiveness for all the inhabitants of the world (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:5-6).

Resurrection:

He was raised from the dead (Acts 2:24).

Present Work:

He then ascended to heaven (Acts 1:9-11) where He resides at the right hand of the Father directing the affairs of the Church (Ephesians 1:18-23) and interceding for it (Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1).

Article 6 -- Salvation:

Exclusive Source:

Redemption is exclusively based on Christ’s work on the cross and is not conditioned on anything we have done in the past or will do in the future (John 20:31; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15; Ephesians 2:8-10).

Extent:

Christ’s work on the cross was designed to be valuable enough for the redemption of all humankind, but it becomes effective only for those who trust in Him (John 3:16; 2 Peter 2:1).

Exclusive Condition:

The only condition placed on a person to receive redemption is trust in Christ and His work on the cross (John 20:31; 3:18; 5:24; 6:47; Ephesians 2:8-9).

Eternal Security:

Nothing can keep one who has trusted in Christ from having eternal life with God (John 10:28-29; Romans 8:28-39; 1 John 5:11-12).

Situation at Death:

When a redeemed person dies, he will immediately be ushered into eternal bliss and fellowship with God (Luke 16:19-26; 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:1, 8; Philippians 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:17).

Article 7 -- The Godly Life:

Ability:

All who trust in Christ have the responsibility to live a godly life (Romans 6:11-13; 1 Peter 5;5-9). The ability to live it comes through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:12-14; Galatians 5:16-25).

Growth:

Success in living a godly life is progressive (Ephesians 4:15; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Peter 3:18). Success will not be complete until believers are in the presence of the Father (1 John 3:1-3).

Motivation:

God achieves progress in the godly life of believers through the exercise of their will, church discipline (2 Corinthians 2:6-11; Galatians 6:1; 1 Timothy 1:20; 5:20; Titus 1:13) and His chastising (Hebrews 12:5-11; Revelation 3:19) and bringing on of trials (James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-7).

Good Works:

Though living a godly life is neither a condition nor a proof of the redemption of those who profess to trust in Christ, the extent of reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ is dependent on it (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Ephesians 2:8-9).

Article 8 -- The Church:

The Universal Church:

Baptism of the Holy Spirit:

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit places each redeemed person into the Universal Church, the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). The baptism first took place on the Day of Pentecost marking the beginning of the Universal Church (Acts 1:5; 2:41, 47; 5:11; 11:15-16).

Spiritual Gifts:

See Article 9, below.

Priesthood of Believers:

Each believer is a priest so that the entire Universal Church can be called a nation of priests (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 5:9-10). This priesthood is especially practiced during the Lord’s Supper service.

Evangelism:

It is a responsibility of the Universal Church to preach the message of God’s reconciliation to the world (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).

The Local Church:

Leadership:

The leadership of the local church is male (1 Timothy 2:12) and normally consists of a plurality of elders (Acts 20:28; 1 Thessalonians 5:12) and deacons (Acts 6:3). Candidates must habitually meet qualifications to become leaders and to remain in office (Acts 6:3; 1 Timothy 3:2-12; Titus 1:6-9). The congregation recognizes them (Acts 6:3-7). Leaders may resign (1 Peter 5:2) or be removed by the church (1 Timothy 5:19-21). Leaders must not lead as lords but as servants (Mark 9:33-35) and examples (1 Peter 5:3). The local church must support leaders who work so hard that they cannot otherwise support themselves (1 Timothy 5:17-18). Deacons should relieve elders of their secondary responsibilities so that the elders may focus on their primary responsibilities, ministry of the Word and prayer (Acts 6:2, 4).

Baptism:

Water baptism is reserved for those who trust in Christ and is normally performed by the evangelist (Acts 8:36-38, 40; 21:8). Biblical baptism is via immersion (Acts 8:38-39).

Lord’s Supper:

Originally, the Lord’s Supper may have been observed daily (Acts 2:42, 46). Later, Paul and his associates observed it once a week (Acts 20:7). Participants should, themselves, make sure they participate in a worthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:28-32).

Denominationalism:

There are no examples or doctrines in Scripture of local churches formally placed under the authority of a denomination. However, there are Biblical examples in which local churches work with each other and in which they share ministry (Acts 11:19-30; 15:1-32).

Article 9 -- Gifts of the Holy Spirit:

Definition:

They are empowerments given by the Holy Spirit. Each person who trusts in Christ receives at least one gift. Their purpose is to build up the church both numerically and qualitatively (Dave Glock). The gifts are listed in Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-11, 28-31a; 14:1, 37; Ephesians 4:2-16; and 1 Peter 4:11. Some are described below:

Apostle:

An apostle is a person acting with the full authority of another (Matthew 10:2, 20; 2 Corinthians 11:10a; Galatians 1:11-12) to build up believers to minister (Ephesians 4:11-14). This gift is not available today because no one is qualified (Acts 1:21-22; 1 Corinthians 9:1). No one performs the authenticating miracles (2 Corinthians 12:12). The gift was used to establish the church, not to maintain it (Romans 15:20; 1 Corinthians 3:9-11; Ephesians 2:19-20).

Prophet:

A true prophet receives revelation from God (2 Peter 1:20-21; Revelation 1:1-3, 19; 19:10; 22:6) that ministers to men (1 Corinthians 14:3, 24, 31) and builds up believers to minister (Ephesians 4:11-12). To be a true prophet, his prophecies must fall within the bounds of apostolic teaching (1 Corinthians 14:29, 37). The gift is not available today because the gift was used to establish the church, not to maintain it (1 Corinthians 13:8-10; Ephesians 2:19-20).

Evangelist:

An evangelist is a person who presents Jesus’ person and work to those who have not trusted in Christ and baptizes converts (Acts 8:5-40; 21:8) and who prepares them to minister (Ephesians 4:11-12). To be a true evangelist, his message must conform to apostolic doctrine (Galatians 1:8-9).

Pastor-Teacher:

Pastors observe their charges, noting advances made by false teachers (Acts 20:28-31). Using Scripture teachers educate others so that the students will be equipped for good works (2 Timothy 3:16-17) including ministry to others (Ephesians 4:11-12). To be a true teacher, the gifted person must teach apostolic doctrine (Acts 2:42; 2 Timothy 2:2). This gift is associated with elders (Acts 20:28; Peter 5:2) though those who are not elders may have the gift of teaching (1 Corinthians 12:28).

Tongues:

“Speaking in tongues” is neither a requirement of becoming a child of God (1 Corinthians 12:30) nor an indication of greater spiritual maturity (1 Corinthians 12:28, 31).

Tongues are speaking in a language for which the one exercising the gift has never received training (Acts 2:5-11).

Miracle Gifts:

Miraculous gifts were given to selected members of the first generation of Christians so that their ministry of the Word would be authenticated (Hebrews 2:3-4). Though God may work miracles today, men gifted to work miracles are not present.

Article 10 -- Future Events:

The Rapture:

The next great event in the fulfillment of prophecy is the Rapture of the Universal Church. Believers, live and dead, will meet the Lord in the air (John 14:3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:13). It could happen at any time (Revelation 3:3).

The Tribulation:

Following the Rapture, a seven-year period of judgments will occur (Daniel 9:27a; Matthew 24:9-21; Revelation 6:1-18:24). The judgments will be especially severe during the last half of the period (Daniel 9:27b; Matthew 24:15-22).

The Second Coming of Christ and the Millennium:

The Second Coming of Christ will follow the Tribulation. He will descend to the earth and then reign for one thousand years (Deuteronomy 30:1-10; Matthew 24: 27-31; Revelation 19:1-20:6).

The Eternal State:

The Eternal State follows the Millennium. Those who trusted in God will experience eternal bliss in fellowship with God. Those who did not will experience eternal judgment outside the fellowship of God (2 Thessalonians 1:7b-9; Revelation 20:7-22:5).

Article 11 -- Affirmations and Denials:

Abortion:

Abortion destroys human life (Exodus 21:22-25; Psalm 51:5; 139:13; Jeremiah 1:5; Matthew 5:21; Luke 1:41).

Sodomy:

Homosexuality is sin (Romans 1:24, 26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:9-10).

Marriage:

Marriage involves the union of one man and one woman (Genesis 2:20-24; 1 Timothy 3:2). 

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