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, which was set in motion by the theories of Charles Darwin, and is not supported by sound Biblical doctrine. 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 theologians throughout church history (Genesis 1-2; 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 Catholic 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 trust and 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 non-canonical 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 Thirty Nine Articles, Assemblies of God’s Statement of Fundamental Truths, and the Vineyard’s Statement of Faith (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 results with a joy unspeakable; but neither Spirit baptism nor speaking in tongues are essential for salvation (Luke 24:49; Acts 2:1-4; 10:45-46; 11:15-16; 19:6; 1 Peter 1:8).

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 shared with a kind, respectful attitude and remain subject to the godly judgment of church leaders (Numbers 12:6; 1 Kings 19:12; Acts 2:17; 1 Corinthians 12-14).

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 (James 5:14-16; Matthew 8:16-17; Mark 16:17-18; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10). 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 affirmatively to the prayer of faith (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, the Lord’s Supper, and feet washing. 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 (2 Timothy 2:3-13; Ephesians 1:22; 3:15; 4:12-13).

19. The Ministry. Scripture allows for only one man of God to be the senior pastor of a church, while other men may serve as deacons, teachers, and evangelists. Women of God may serve as deaconesses and teachers of women and children, but should respect the men in leadership roles. We believe that a charismatic Spirit-led presbyterian view of church government is what can be found in Scripture: that a godly male church council—a presbytery, at times guided by prophecies—should prayerfully vote on issues, ordain pastors, and hold pastors accountable for their faith and conduct.

Both men and women may prophesy in church services for a few minutes, but only if they feel led by the Holy Spirit to share a revelation. Deacons are responsible for judging prophecies, dreams, and visions that are shared in the church. They are to use the Bible and the church’s statement of faith to test any supposed revelations, even if they are prophesied by the pastor or another deacon. No church leader is above the Word of God when it comes either to prophesying or personal behavior. While it is important for the gifts of the Spirit to flow in the church, it is also important that authoritarianism is kept out. Sadly, many charismatic churches do not hold their pastors accountable when they prophesy, because they have an anti-hierarchical attitude. At first, such churches want to see more prophesying, and they feel that the best way to make this happen, is to remove bureaucratic church boards that despise prophesying and quench the Spirit. This concern is valid, but it often becomes unscriptural when a Spirit-filled presbytery is removed; and the church has only one domineering prophet-pastor whose utterances always go unquestioned. That kind of situation is cult-like and detrimental to the health of the church, because everyone has blind spots, even godly pastors with gifts of prophecy and healing. In this regard, we may follow the example of Catholic church leaders who subject private revelations to a process of judging for canonization; and if they pass the test, they receive an imprimatur, or permission to be printed in a book. But even if such revelations are approved, they do not carry the same universal, binding authority as the Bible and the church’s statement of faith. Each individual has the freedom to believe or disbelieve such things.

We believe it is contrary to Scripture to allow women to preach sermons to men, because that would go against the natural authority that God has given to men. Such authority must never be abused, nor twisted into an unreasonable authoritarianism; but rather, as a shepherd watches over his sheep, and as a father watches over his family with love, care, and concern, so also should men lead their churches. We totally reject covering theology (1 Timothy 2:12; 3:1-13; Ephesians 4:11; 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14-15; Titus 2:3-5; 1 Corinthians 11:5, 15; 14:34; Romans 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 sins in the government, although this can be dangerous; 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; 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 rid themselves of filthy language, because cuss words come from sexual innuendos and a loss of self-control; they are idle words, the vocabulary of the devil and his children. Their use 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. 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).

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