FAITH

1. The Trinity. There is only one eternal God: consisting of three distinct persons but connected together in one spiritual substance, equal in glory: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; we heartily affirm the mystery of the Trinity; and totally reject all forms of Sabellianism, including oneness Pentecostalism (Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; John 1:1, 14; 1 John 5:7).

2. Creation. God created all things in six literal days; and on the seventh day, He rested. We reject the idea of theistic evolution: which claims that each of the creation days stand for millions of years. While most scientists today will claim that there is evidence for evolution, we believe this is simply their own interpretation, influenced by the theories of Charles Darwin; and is not supported by the Biblical doctrine of creation. We also believe the Biblical timeline indicates the earth is about six thousand years old, not billions; and we affirm this was the consensus view among Biblical theologians in church history, from Martin Luther through the Puritans. We totally agree with young earth creationism (Genesis 1-11; Exodus 20:11; 1 Timothy 6:20).

3. Christ. There is only one mediator between God and man: the Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, born of the virgin Mary, fully God and fully man, who atoned for the sins of the world on the cross, rose from the dead, and ascended into Heaven; and because Christ is the only mediator, we totally reject the doctrine that Mary is a mediatrix (Colossians 2:9; John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:5; 1 John 2:2; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

4. Scripture. The Holy Bible is inspired by the Spirit of God and contains all things necessary for salvation; it contains the perfect law of the Lord that converts the soul, makes men wise, and trains them in righteousness. It is the supreme authority for the Christian; and it should guide all opinions and decisions about life in general. Though there may be difficult passages, and apparently serious contradictions in the Bible, we affirm there is a solution for every textual problem. We believe that Scripture not only sanctifies those who obey it in faith, but that it is entirely trustworthy. We do not, however, believe that Scripture is sufficient in the sense that cessationists understand the term, because noncanonical prophecy is encouraged in the New Testament (Psalm 19:7; 2 Timothy 3:15-16; John 17:17; 1 Corinthians 14).

5. Creeds. We identify with the Church of England’s Thirty-Nine Articles and the Assemblies of God’s Statement of Fundamental Truths. Flowing from these theological traditions, modern expressions would be the Wesleyan, Pentecostal, and charismatic churches (1 Corinthians 1:10; John 17:23; Romans 12:16).

6. Original Sin. All men, as the offspring of Adam, are naturally sinful in their flesh; and fallen from the state of holiness (Genesis 3; Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12, 14; 7:23).

7. Prevenient Grace. The Holy Spirit draws all men, regardless of their backgrounds, to come to faith in Christ (John 1:9; 12:32; Romans 2:14-15; Titus 2:11).

8. The Moral Law. The ceremonial law of Moses has been abolished by the Gospel; so now true Christians of all nations, Gentiles included, can obey the moral law by faith in Jesus, which comes from a heart filled with Christian love. This is what it means to live by the Bible (Ezekiel 36:27; Jeremiah 31:31-33; Colossians 2:16-17; Romans 3:31; 13:9-10).

9. Repentance. Turning away from sin, or repentance, is necessary when first coming to Christ by faith; and it must continue in the Christian life to keep a clean conscience toward God (Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30; 20:21; 24:16; 26:20; 2 Corinthians 7:9-11).

10. Salvation. By repenting and trusting in the cross, anyone may be saved from a conscious, eternal punishment in the fire of Hell, having their sins justly punished and forgiven by faith. The wrath of God at our sins is done away with by our faith in the blood of Jesus. Those who persevere in faith and holiness to the end of their lives will live eternally blessed in Heaven; but those who do not, will go to Hell after death. God will finally separate the righteous from the wicked on the Day of Judgment. We heartily affirm a Wesleyan Arminian view of lordship salvation and conditional security; and totally reject antinomianism and universalism (Isaiah 53:4-8; Romans 4:7; 5:1; John 3:18, 36; Matthew 24:13; 25:46; Hebrews 12:14).

11. Sanctification. Holiness, or sanctification, is a growing process of faith and moral improvement in the Christian life. It is energized by the Holy Spirit in prayer, and expressed by loving God and mankind, through obeying the moral law in Scripture and fighting against temptation. We deny that it is possible for original sin to be annihilated in this life prior to death, because it is in the human body: so we totally reject the Wesleyan doctrine of entire sanctification (John 17:17; Romans 7-8; Hebrews 6:1; Philippians 3:12, 20-21).

12. Good Works. Prior to saving faith, all so-called good works are filthy rags in God’s sight; but in the Christian life, the commands of Christ and the apostles are duties to be performed, as signs of our love for God and mankind, and they will be rewarded (Isaiah 64:6; Matthew 5:16; Ephesians 2:10; Romans 6:22; James 2:22; Galatians 5:6; 1 John 2:3, 5; Luke 17:10; Hebrews 6:10; Matthew 25:23, 41-43).

13. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Distinguished from inward regeneration by faith in the Gospel, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is an additional clothing or filling, often received in focused Pentecostal worship, when the presence of God is felt, and speaking in tongues comes to express inexpressible praise to God. While there is historical evidence of people like John Wesley experiencing some miraculous gifts, without speaking in tongues, the New Testament is clear that speaking in tongues is a definite and unmistakable sign of being filled with the Holy Spirit. But neither Spirit baptism nor speaking in tongues are essential for salvation. Other physical manifestations, besides speaking in tongues, can come from the presence of the Holy Spirit, such as trembling, weeping, and apparent drunkenness or even falling down, caused by ecstatic prayer. But we totally reject the so-called “laughing revival” with its hysterical laughter and animal behavior, as that has too many parallels in the occult; and no support in Scripture (Luke 24:49; Acts 2:1-4; 10:45-46; 11:15-16; 19:6; 1 Peter 1:8; Ps. 119:120; Jer. 5:22; Isa. 66:2; Ezra 9:4; Neh. 8:9; 1 Sam. 1:12-17; Acts 2:15; 22:17-18).

14. Prophecy. The Holy Spirit speaks to Christians by means of visions, dreams, voices, interpretations of tongues, and signs, to convey messages of encouragement, warning, and comfort in agreement with Scripture. Such revelations may be shared or prophesied in a church service, but must be spoken with a kind, respectful attitude and remain subject to the godly judgment of church leaders. To increase our certainty about such words, we should expect signs from God or coincidences that provide several instances of confirmation; and we should observe the real life context in which such words are being received, and to consider if the word points us towards holiness or away from it. If a word seems to come from God, and is accompanied by signs, but the practical interpretation and outcome of following it leads to compromise and worldliness, then it is likely from the devil (Numbers 12:6; 1 Kings 19:12; Acts 2:17; 1 Corinthians 12-14; Mark 16:20; Deut. 19:15; Gal. 5:22-23; 2 Cor. 11:14).

15. Healing and Deliverance. It was the practice of the early Christians to pray for healing, by the laying on of hands, with words of knowledge producing miraculous faith. The Bible nowhere states that praying for sickness is meant to stop, before the return of Christ; on the contrary, there are many testimonies of miraculous healings in the lives of saints. We believe that Christians today should regularly pray for the sick, but this does not rule out the need for doctors and medicine. This includes casting out demons in Jesus’ name. We totally reject manifest sons of God and positive confession ideas, which are sometimes associated with healing ministry; and we reject the idea that God always answers the prayer of faith with a “yes” for physical healing (James 5:14-16; Matthew 8:16-17; Mark 16:17-18; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; 2 Corinthians 12:9; 1 Timothy 5:23; 2 Timothy 4:20).

16. Predestination and Election. In Scripture, predestination is always expressed generally to the body of Christ, and never to a particular individual: it was always God’s plan, before the foundation of the world, to make the Gospel a part of human experience. It is not sound to draw assurance of salvation from this doctrine. Scripture exhorts us to make our calling and election sure, because only God knows the elect. Election means that God foresees those particular saints who will persevere to the end of their lives with repentant faith in Christ; and it is these saints whom God will choose out of mankind for eternal salvation (Romans 8:29-30; 2 Peter 1:10; 3:9; Hebrews 12:14; Matthew 24:13).

17. The Sacraments. The Lord Jesus instituted the sacraments of baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper. These actions confirm our faith in Christ (Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 11:23-32; John 13:4-17).

18. The Church. The people of God, also called the church militant, the true church, and the body of Christ, consists of every repentant believer in Jesus, regardless of church membership. Only those who persevere to the end of their lives will enter Heaven and receive their full adoption as sons and daughters of God. For the present, every visible congregation should occupy its time doing the good works commanded by Jesus, who is the head of the church. However, very many churches are currently in a state of spiritual declension, opposed to revival principles, anti-theological, and filled with spiritual abuse. We would recommend exercising caution with all churches (2 Timothy 2:3-13; Ephesians 1:22; 3:15; 4:12-13).

19. The Ministry. Scripture indicates that pastors, deacons, teachers, and evangelists should be good family men; and that women of God can be deaconesses and teachers of women and children. A Spirit-led church board, also known as presbyterian church polity, is what we can see in the book of Acts. Prophets and prophetesses, according to 1 Corinthians 12-14, are at liberty to share dreams, visions, and voices presumed to be from the Holy Spirit; and should humbly submit these experiences to the church board for judgment. It is important that elements of spiritual abuse are kept out of ministry: namely, manipulation, rudeness, macho power trips, demanding unquestioning obedience, gossip, discouraging theological conversations, the neglect and abuse of the doctrine of Hell, selling products in church, and dishonoring spiritual people. While it is technically wrong for female pastors to exist and for them to preach sermons to grown men, several of these women in Wesleyan churches are really prophetesses and are speaking, as Wesley said, through “an extraordinary impulse of the Spirit.” However, it can be problematic for women to have spiritual authority over men, just as it would be problematic for a wife to have authority over her husband; and so, female pastoral ministry is not recommended. It is recommended that pastors be godly men of retirement age, unencumbered by the cares of the business world, so they can focus more on theology and personal holiness–it may be for this reason that such ministers were called “elders” in the pastoral epistles; and that a young pastor like Timothy was considered an exception to the rule. We totally reject the shepherding movement’s doctrines of coverings and covenant relationships. All Christians should have the freedom of conscience to choose which church they want to attend, without any pressure from controlling pastors (1 Timothy 2:12; 3:1-13; 4:12-14; 5:17-21; Ephesians 4:11; 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14-15; Titus 1:5-9; 2:3-5; 1 Corinthians 11:5, 15; 14:34, Wesley’s Notes; Romans 14:1; 16:1, RSV; Acts 13:1-3; 15:1-30; 16:4; 17:11).

20. The State. Christians are to pay their taxes, as Christ said to render unto Caesar what is his; and they are to respect and pray for the governing authorities, because they are established by God. However, Christians are at liberty to cry out against political sins in keeping with the First Amendment right to free speech, although this can be risky; and pastors should avoid being controlled by the government (Romans 13:1-7; Matthew 22:21; Daniel 3; Mark 6:14-29).

21. Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage. Scripture says it is not good for man to be alone; and that God created woman to be a friend and helper for man. Holy matrimony is to be held in high honor; husbands, just as Christ is head of the church, are heads of their wives, and should love, sanctify, nourish, and cherish them. Wives should love, respect, and submit to their Christian husbands. What God has joined together let no man separate. Divorce is only permissible on the grounds of adultery, desertion, and cruelty. Remarriage is only permissible after a lawful divorce or the death of a spouse (Genesis 2:18; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 7:39; Ephesians 5:22-33; 6:4; Titus 2:4-5; Genesis 1:28; Matthew 19:6, 8; 1 Corinthians 7:15; 1 Timothy 3:3, KJV).

22. Pornography. Whoever looks at a woman with lust has already committed either fornication or adultery in his heart. These sins are damnable if not resisted; and so, pornography is clearly sinful, because it stirs up lust, arouses jealousy, distrust, and anger in marriages, perverts the minds of men and addicts them to profane imaginations. In the Bible, it is linked with prostitution and idolatry (Matthew 5:28-29; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 2 Corinthians 10:5, KJV).

23. Profanity. Christians should try to rid themselves of all kinds of filthy language, because blasphemy, swearing, cursing, or cuss words come from a loss of self-control and sexual innuendos; they are idle words, the vocabulary of the devil and his children. They can come in the form of curses: which the Bible would consider as evil spells. In their common use, they have a secularizing effect on the mind, and cause people to turn away from holiness (Colossians 3:8; Ephesians 5:4; Matthew 12:36).

24. Abortion. In the majority of cases, abortion is a heinous sin to God and is seen as a form of murder. In the Old Testament, if someone committed an abortion, even by accident, that person was to be executed with the death penalty. While the New Testament does not refer to abortion, Scripture cannot be broken, and the sinfulness of it is still very real, even though the Gospel extends the grace of God to those who are responsible for this sin. While Scripture is silent about abortions that can prevent the death of the mother, church tradition has sided with abortions in that case alone, because the mother has responsibilities to her husband and children (Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:5; Lev. 18:21; Exodus 21:22-23; Ecclesiastes 11:5; John 10:35).

25. Homosexuality. Both the Old and New Testaments clearly teach that the gay lifestyle is sinful and detestable, but transformation is possible through repentant faith in Jesus. The church should be kind and helpful to those trying to forsake this lifestyle, but those who refuse to turn away from it will not inherit the kingdom of God. We totally reject the claims of psychiatrists who say that homosexual orientation and sex are healthy, natural things. While original sin inclines the human body to sinful desires, it does not mean that homosexual orientation is a part of God’s creation. Scripture even suggests that diseases such as HIV and AIDS are divine punishment for gay sex (Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:24-27; 7:14-25; 1 Timothy 1:8-10; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Jude 1:7; Galatians 6:1; 1 John 1:9).

26. Materialism. While we agree that it is Biblical to be diligent and hard working at our jobs, frugal when spending money, and generous to the poor: that we should, as Wesley said, “Gain all we can, save all we can, and give all we can,” we also acknowledge the temptation of greed and materialism in the life of business. That spirit of Mammon which suggests to us that business success and material possessions are of more value than the Word of God, theology, holiness, mystical experiences, Christian fellowship, and evangelism. We should be careful to resist such temptations as the work of the devil; and instead, try to keep ourselves focused on serving God (Deuteronomy 8:10-18; Matthew 6:24; 16:26; Luke 12:15; 16:19-31; 1 Timothy 6:9-10, 17-19; Proverbs 30:8-9; 1 John 3:17).

27. The Antichrist, the Rapture, and the Return of Christ. Scripture is clear that the rapture, or the believers being gathered together to Christ, will not happen until there will be a massive global apostasy from true lordship Christianity, and the man of lawlessness will be publicly revealed. He will oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God, and will set himself up in God’s temple, and proclaim himself to be God. Christ will return in virtually the same hour that believers are raptured up to him in the clouds; and then after being gathered to him with the resurrected saints, they will all descend to the earth, overthrow the kingdom of the Antichrist, and reign on earth for one thousand literal years in an era called the millennium. All of this will happen on what is called the day of the Lord. This was the orthodox teaching of the early church and we continue to affirm this view about the last days. We totally reject the popular doctrine of pre-tribulation rapture, which has its origins in apocryphal writings and was revived in the 19th century by dispensationalists (Rev. 13; Matt. 24:29-31; 1 Thess. 4-5; 2 Thess. 2; Rev. 20:1-6).