WHAT WE BELIEVE

OUR CONVICTIONS

 

·   We hold a high view of the Bible and openly embrace the application of its truth for our life and guidance. We also maintain the stance of God’s     sovereignty in salvation and all matters of life.

 

·   We believe all people without Jesus Christ are lost and that they are high in God’s priority and must be in ours.

 

·   We desire to reproduce ministers and ministries.

     - Being: on the cutting edge of ministry.

     - Balanced: in doctrine and conduct.

     - Blessing: other local churches and ministries by any means available.

 

·   We envision a bright future in the next millennium and desire the             empowerment  of the Holy Spirit to be trans-ethnic and trans-cultural in our    outreach and relationships.

 

·  We desire to experience the Lord Jesus as Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King by mobilizing community-focused congregations for active participation and involvement in Body life.

 

·  We prioritize the need for meaningful and substantial relationships of honesty and integrity.

 

·   We believe that the method ordained of God for the support andspread of His cause is by giving of tithes and free-will offerings. (Malachi 3:10; 2 Corinthians 9:7).

 

WHAT WE BELIEVE

SCRIPTURE

 

The Old and New Testaments, are without error (inerrant and infallible)as originally given, were verbally inspired by God and are a complete revelation of His will for the salvation of people. They constitute the divine and only rule of Christian faith and practice. (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21) The Bible is our guide and final authority in all matters regarding doctrine, church practice, counseling and individual behavior.

 

The Scriptures were written by divinely inspired humans and are God's revelation of Himself to everyone. (Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Ps. 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 36:1-32; Matt. 5:17-18; Luke 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Pet. 1:25; 2 Pet. 1:19-21).

 

Each book is to be interpreted according to its context and purpose and in reverent obedience to the Lord who speaks through it in living power. All believers are exhorted to study the Scriptures and diligently apply them to their lives. The Scriptures are the authoritative and normative rule and guide of all Christian life, practice and doctrine. They are totally sufficient and must not be added to, superseded or changed by later tradition, extra-biblical revelation or worldly wisdom. Every doctrinal formulation, whether of creed, confession or theology, must be put to the test of the full counsel of God in Holy Scripture. Limited abilities, traditional biases, personal sin, and cultural assumptions often obscure Biblical texts. Therefore the work of the Holy Spirit is essential for right understanding of the Bible, and prayer for His assistance belongs to a proper effort to understand and apply God’s Word. (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; 1 Corinthians 2:12-16; Psalm 119:12,18)[1]

 

Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the Books of the Old and New Testament, which are these:

 

     Of The Old Testament

Genesis

Exodus

Leviticus

Numbers

Deuteronomy   

Joshu

Judges

Rut

I Samue

II Samuel

 I Kings

II King

I Chronicles

II Chronicles

Ezra

Nehemiah

Esther

Job

Psalms

Proverbs

Ecclesiastes

The Song of Songs

Isaiah

Jeremiah

Lamentations

Ezekiel

Daniel

Hosea

Joel

Amos

Chadiah

Jonah

Micah

Nahum

Habakkuk

Zephaniah

Haggai

Zechariah

Malachi

 

 

           Of The New Testament

 

The Gospels according to: 

   Matthew

   Mark

   Luke

   John

  The Acts of the Apostles

 

Paul’s Epistles to the ...

   Romans

   1 Corinthians

   2 Corithians

  Galatians   

   Ephesians

   Philippians

  Colossians

1 Thessalonians

2 Thessalonians

1 Timothy

2 Timothy

Titus

Philemon

 

General Epistles:

Hebrews

James

1st and 2nd Peter

1st, 2nd, and 3rd John

Jude

 

Prophetic Epistle:

Revelation

 

 

GOD

There is one God who exists in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16-17; Matthew 28:19). The one true God has revealed Himself as the eternally self-existent "I AM," the creator of heaven and earth, and the Redeemer of mankind. He has further revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Deut. 6:4; Isa. 43:10, 11; Matt. 28:19; Luke 3:22)


The terms "Trinity" and "Persons" as related to the Godhead, while not found in the Scriptures, are words in harmony with Scripture, whereby we may convey to others our immediate understanding of the doctrine of Christ respecting the Being of God, as distinguished from "gods many and lords many." We therefore may speak with propriety of the Lord our God, who is One Lord, as a trinity or as one Being of Three persons, and still be absolutely scriptural. (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; John 14:16, 17)

 


Christ taught a distinction of Persons in the Godhead which He expressed in specific terms of relationship, as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but that this distinction and relationship, as to its mode is inscrutable and incomprehensible, because unexplained. (Luke 1:35; 1 Cor. 1:24; Matt. 11:25-27; 28:19; 1 Cor. 13:14; 1 John 1:3, 4)


 


Accordingly, therefore, there is that in the Son which constitutes Him the Son and not the Father; and there is that in the Holy Spirit which constitutes Him the Holy Spirit and not either the Father or the Son. Wherefore the Father is the Begetter, the Son is the Begotten, and the Holy Spirit is the one proceeding from the Father and the Son. Therefore, because these three persons in the Godhead are in a state of unity, there is but one Lord God Almighty and His name one. (John 1:18; 15:26; 17:11, 21; Zech. 14:9)

 

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are never identical as to Person; nor confused as to relation; nor divided in respect to the Godhead; nor opposed as to cooperation. The Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son as to relationship. The Son is with the Father and the Father is with the Son, as to fellowship. The Father is not from the Son, but the Son is from the Father, as to authority.

 

The Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son proceeding, as to nature, relationship, cooperation and authority. Hence, neither Person in the Godhead either exists or works separately or independently of the others. (John 5:17-30, 32, 37; 8:17, 18)[2]

 

THE GLORY OF GOD (GOD’S ATTRIBUTES)

God’s glory is the display of God’s infinite worth and valuable perfections. By perfections we mean, all the beautiful characteristics that make up the reality of who God is. We understand that God is made up of a multitude of different characteristics or attributes, but is at the same time a unified being. He is not one part this, and one part that, but we mean that His whole being includes all of His attributes at the same time. For example God can never be loving without at the same time being holy, and vice a versa. Here is a list a God’s attributes that we embrace at AGM, though it may not be complete. God is: eternally self-existent, infinite yet personal, unchanging, all-knowing, ever present, invisible and spiritual, holy, good, sovereign, wise, faithful and true, loving, merciful, graceful, patient, peaceful, righteous/just, jealous, wrathful, and blessed forever. We do not pick and choose different aspects of God that are popular to the culture, but embrace the entirety of the Glorious God we know, love, and worship.    (Psalm 24; Heb 1:3; Isaiah 6:3; Exodus 34:6-7)

                                                                                   

GOD THE FATHER

God the Father is the fountain head of all being. He is the first among equals, and the leader of the Godhead. He is not first in time or better in nature than the Son and the Holy Spirit, but he is different in role, being greater as a Father is greater than a Son. The issue is not one of equality or time because the Father is the same in Deity and Eternality as the Son and the Spirit. However there is a distinction in role or function, as He is head over the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Father has always been and will forever be the One from whom the Son and the Holy Spirit proceeds forth from, as a ray proceeds forth from the sun. Together with the Son and Spirit, God the Father is the Creator of heaven and earth. By His word and for His glory, He freely and supernaturally created the world out of nothing. Through the same word, and through the agency of His Son, He daily sustains all His creatures. He rules over all and, together with the Son and the Spirit, is the Only Sovereign. His plans and purposes cannot be thwarted. He is faithful to every promise, works all things together for good to those who love Him and in His unfathomable grace gave His Son Jesus Christ for mankind's redemption. He made all things for the praise of His glory and intends for man, in particular, to live in fellowship with Himself.    (John 1:1,14; Hebrews 1:3; 1 Corinthians 11:3; 15:28, Gen 1:1-3; Revelation 4:11; Acts 17:24-25; 1 Timothy 6:15; Daniel 4:34-35; Psalm 33:4; Hebrews 6:17-18; Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1;3-12; Rev. 21:3,4)[3]   

 

JESUS CHRIST

Jesus Christ is true God and true man. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He died upon the cross, the Just for the unjust, as a substitutionary sacrifice, and all who believe in Him are justified on the ground of His shed blood. He arose from the dead according to the Scriptures. He is now at the right hand of the Majesty on high as our great High Priest. He will come again to establish His kingdom of righteousness and peace. (Philippians 2:6-11; Hebrews 2:14-18;  Colossians 2:9; Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:35; 1 Corinthians 15:3-5; 1 John 2:2; Acts 13:39; Hebrews 4:14-15; 9:24-28; Matthew 25:31-34; Acts 1:11)

 

THE DEITY OF JESUS CHRIST is declared from the following Scriptures:


The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. The Scriptures declare:


His virgin birth (Matt. 1:23; Luke 1:31, 35)


His sinless life (Heb. 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22)


His miracles (Acts 2:22; 10:38)


His substitutionary work on the cross (1 Cor. 15:3; 2 Cor. 5:21)


His bodily resurrection from the dead (Matt. 28:6; Luke 24:39; 1 Cor. 15:4)


His exaltation to the right hand of God (Acts 1:9, 11; 2:33; Phil. 2:9-11; Heb. 1-3)

 


The appellation, "Lord Jesus Christ," is a proper name. It is never applied, in the New Testament, either to the Father or to the Holy Spirit. It therefore belongs exclusively to the Son of God. (Rom. 1:1-3, 7; 2 John 3)

 

The Lord Jesus Christ, as to His divine and eternal nature, is the proper and only Begotten of the Father, but as to His human nature, He is the proper Son of Man. He is, therefore, acknowledged to be both God and man; who because He is God and man, is "Immanuel," God with us. (Matt. 1:23; 1 John 4:2, 10, 14; Rev. 1:13, 17)

Since the name "Immanuel" embraces both God and man in the one Person, our Lord Jesus Christ, it follows that the title, Son of God, describes His proper deity, and the title Son of Man, His proper humanity. Therefore, the title Son of God belongs to the order of eternity, and the title Son of Man, to the order of time. (Matt. 1:21-23; 2 John 3; 1 John 3:8; Heb. 1:1-13; 7:3).

Wherefore, since the Father has delivered all judgment unto the Son, it is not only the express duty of all in heaven and on earth to bow the knee, but it is an unspeakable joy in the Holy Spirit to ascribe unto the son all the attributes of Deity, and to give Him all the honor and the glory contained in all the names and titles of the Godhead (except those which express relationship), and thus honor the Son even as we honor the Father. (John 5:22, 23; 1 Peter 1:8; Rev. 5:6-14; Phil. 2:8, 9; Rev. 7:9, 10; 4:8-11)[4].

 

SUBSTITUTIONARY ATONEMENT

“The Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, which he through the eternal Spirit once offered up unto God, has fully satisfied the justice of his Father; and purchased not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto him.”[5] 

The word "vicarious" comes from the Latin vicar, which literally means "in place of" or "a substitute." Isaiah 53 is a classic passage on the doctrine of the vicarious atonement: "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all" (vss. 4-6).

 

Isaiah repeatedly stresses the vicarious aspects of the messianic offering when he states, "For the transgression of my people he was stricken...he will bear their iniquities...he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors" (Isa. 53:8, 11, 12). Certainly, the vicarious atonement of the Messiah of Israel forms one of the great pillars upon which rests the entire structure of the Christian religion. The Old Testament points like a massive arrow to the consummation of all sacrifices, an event of immeasurable importance and worth.

 

In the New Testament, John the Baptist declares, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). And our Savior Himself declares His flesh and blood to be the sin offering for the whole world (John 6:51). When coupled with Paul's declaration that the church of God was "bought with his own blood" (Acts 20:28), such statements give an incontrovertible answer to the question, "Why did Jesus die?"

 

 A key Greek word pertinent to understanding the concept of substitutionary atonement -- the idea that Christ died in our place -- is the word anti. In speaking of His substitutionary sacrifice, Christ declared, "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for [anti] many" (Matt. 20:28). At the Last Supper, during which Christ emphasized the vicarious nature of Calvary, He said, "This is my body given for [anti] you" (Luke 22:19).

 

Another key Greek word is huper. In contexts dealing with the substitutionary atonement, this word means "in place of." We find this word used in 2 Corinthians 5:21: "Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for [huperemon] us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." We likewise read in 1 Peter 3:18, "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for [huper] the unrighteous, to bring you to God."[6]

Therefore, we believe that through living a perfect life and dying in our place, the just for the unjust, Christ absorbed our punishment, appeased the wrath of God against us, vindicated the righteousness of God in our justification, and removed the condemnation of the law against us.

We believe that the atonement of Christ for sin warrants and impels a universal offering of the gospel to all persons, so that to every person it may be truly said, “God gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have eternal life.” Whosoever will, may come for cleansing at this fountain, and whoever does come, Jesus will not cast out.(John 3:16; Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8; Revelation 22:17; John 4:14; 6:37)[7]

We believe, moreover, that the death of Christ did obtain more than the bona fide offer of the gospel for all; it also obtained the omnipotent New Covenant mercy of repentance and faith for God’s elect. Christ died for all, but not for all in the same way. In His death, Christ expressed a special covenant love to His friends, His sheep, His bride. For them He obtained the infallible and effectual working of the Spirit to triumph over their resistance and bring them to saving faith. (Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25; Hebrews 8:6; 9:15; Acts 13:20-21; John 15:13; 10:14-15; Ephesians 5:25; Revelation 5:9; John 17:6,9,19; John 11:51-52; Romans 8:32)[8]

 

HOLY SPIRIT

“In the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son”[9].

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the trinity, fully divine, equal with the Father and the Son, yet different in role. The main role of the Holy Spirit is to manifest the active presence of God in the world, and especially in the church, for he is the member of the Trinity whom Scripture most often represents as being present to do God’s work in the world.

 

 The Holy Spirit is a divine Person, sent to indwell, guide, teach, and empower the believer, and to convince the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. (John 14:16-17; John 16:7-11; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12)

 

The book of Acts, chapter thirteen, reveals that the Holy Spirit is a Person, because He possesses "personality." Luke records therein that the Holy Spirit as a Person has "personality" (13:2,4) and, furthermore, that He (not "it") prophesies to His servants and commissions them, as well (21:11). See also such verses as John 14:26, 15:26, Acts 8:29, 13:2, and Romans 5:5.

 

The Scriptures are clear that the Holy Spirit has a "will" (1 Cor. 12:11; Heb. 2:4), and since "will" denotes personality, as opposed to the neuter (animals), obviously the Spirit is a person. We have also seen from Peter's words that when Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit, he lied to Jehovah (Acts 5:4). Both the thirteenth chapter of Acts and Isaiah 48 add to the proof that the Holy Spirit is God, since He answers the prayers of the Apostles (Acts 13:1-4) and is designated Deity by the prophet Isaiah (48:16). Even the Watchtower admits that God alone answers prayer.

 

The Bible, then, does indeed teach that the Spirit is a Person and that He is called God. It is therefore apparent that there are three Persons mentioned in Scripture and that they are all identified as God: Yet there is only one true God (Isa. 45:22).

 

Works  like, creation, awakening faith in the remnant of God’s people, performing signs and wonders, giving triumphs in battle, empowering the preaching of prophets and inspiring the writing of Scripture. Yet, when Christ had made atonement for sin, and ascended to the right hand of the Father, He inaugurated a new era of the Spirit by pouring out the promise of the Father on His Church.   We believe that the newness of this era is marked by the unprecedented mission of the Spirit to glorify the crucified and risen Christ. This He does by giving the disciples of Jesus greater power to preach the gospel of the glory of Christ, by opening the hearts of hearers that they might see Christ and believe, by revealing the beauty of Christ in His Word and transforming His people from glory to glory, by manifesting Himself in spiritual gifts (being sovereignly free to dispense, as he wills, all the gifts of 1 Corinthians 12:8-10) for the upbuilding of the body of Christ and the confirmation of His Word, by calling all the nations into the sway of the gospel of Christ, and, in all this, thus fulfilling the New Covenant promise to create and preserve a purified people for the everlasting habitation of God. (Acts 5:3-4; Isaiah 44:3; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:14, Genesis 1:2; Psalm 104:30; Romans 8:7-9; Judges 14:6;  Judges 3:10; 1 Samuel 10:6; 2 Peter 1:21; Luke 24:49; Acts 2:33; John 16:13-14; John 7:39; Acts 1:8; Romans 15:18-19; Acts 16:14; John 3:8; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; Hebrews 2:3-4; Jeremiah 31:33-34; 32:40; 2 Corinthians 6:16[10]. 

 

The Holy Spirit empowers believers for Christian witness and service. The promise of the Father is freely available to all who believe in Jesus Christ, thereby enabling them to exercise the powers of the age to come in ministry and mission. The Holy Spirit desires to continually fill each believer with power to witness, and imparts His supernatural gifts for the edification of the Body and the work of ministry in the world. All the gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in the church of the first century are available today and are to be earnestly desired and practiced in an orderly manner. The gifts are essential in the mission of the Church in the world today.

 

CREATION OF THE WORLD AND MANKIND

We believe that God created the universe, and everything in it, out of nothing, by the Word of His power. Having no deficiency in Himself, nor moved by any incompleteness in His joyful self-sufficiency, God was pleased in creation to display His glory for the everlasting joy of the redeemed, from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 24:1-2; Hebrews 1:2; 11:3; Acts 17:24-25; Exodus 3:13-14; Isaiah 43:7; 35:10; Matthew 25:23; Rev. 5:9)[11]

We believe that God created human beings, male and female, in his own image. Adam and Eve belonged to the created order that God himself declared to be very good, serving as God’s agents to care for, manage, and govern creation, living in holy and devoted fellowship with their Maker. Men and women, equally made in the image of God, enjoy equal access to God by faith in Christ Jesus and are both called to move beyond passive self-indulgence to significant private and public engagement in family, church, and civic life. Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union that establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations for men and women, such that marriage ultimately serves as a type of the union between Christ and his church. In God’s wise purposes, men and women are not simply interchangeable, but rather they complement each other in mutually enriching ways. God ordains that they assume distinctive roles which reflect the loving relationship between Christ and the church, the husband exercising headship in a way that displays the caring, sacrificial love of Christ, and the wife submitting to her husband in a way that models the love of the church for her Lord. In the ministry of the church, both men and women are encouraged to serve Christ and to be developed to their full potential in the manifold ministries of the people of God. The distinctive leadership role within the church given to qualified men is grounded in creation, fall, and redemption and must not be sidelined by appeals to cultural developments. (Genesis 1:27; 2:18-25; Ephesians 5:30-31)[12] (We also recommend The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) 

 

THE FALL

“They being the root of mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by original generation. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions”[13].

Mankind, originally created in the image and likeness of God, fell through disobedience, and chose to take what was forbidden, and thus declare his independence from, distrust for, and disobedience toward his all-good and gracious Creator, incurring thereby both physical and spiritual death. Thus, our first parents, by this sin, fell from their original innocence and communion with God.

 

Although God created man morally upright, he was led astray from God’s Word and wisdom by the subtlety of Satan’s deceit, We believe that, as the head of the human race, Adam’s fall became the fall of all his posterity, in such a way that corruption, guilt, death, and condemnation belong properly to every person. All persons are thus corrupt by nature enslaved to sin, and morally unable to delight in God and overcome their own proud preference for the fleeting pleasures of self-rule[14].

 

Therefore, all people are born with a sinful nature, are separated from the life of God, and can be saved only through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The destiny of the impenitent and unbelieving is existence forever in conscious torment, but that of the believer is everlasting joy and bliss. (Genesis 1:27; Romans 8:8; 1 John 2:2; Matthew 25:41-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10)

 

We believe God has subjected the creation to futility, and the entire human family is made justly liable to untold miseries of sickness, decay, calamity, and loss. Thus all the adversity and suffering in the world is an echo and a witness of the exceedingly great evil of moral depravity in the heart of mankind; and every new day of life is a God-given, merciful reprieve from imminent judgment, pointing to repentance[15].

 

THE DECREE OF ELECTION

Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of his free grace and love alone, without any foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving him thereunto; and all to the praise of his glorious grace.

 

As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath he, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore they who are elected being fallen in Adam are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season; are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power through faith unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only[16].

 

Union between Christ and his people was planned already in eternity, in the sovereign pre-temporal decision whereby God the Father selected certain sinners as His own. Christ himself was chosen to be our Savior before the creation of the world (1 Pet. 1:20); When the Father chose Christ, he also chose us (Ephesians 1:4). We are initially united with Christ in regeneration; next we appropriate and continue to live out of this union through faith. Third, we are justified in union with Christ. Fourth, we are sanctified through union with Christ. Fifth, we persevere in the life of faith in union with Christ. Finally, we shall be eternally glorified with Christ.

 

This pre-temporal choice was not based on the fact that God knew which persons would believe of their own free will, for there is no person who fits that description. This decision was based upon God's sovereign good pleasure alone. It is God's gracious decision, from eternity past, to save fallen souls of His own choosing. Therefore, God will infallibly bring all of His elect to final perseverance and eternal life (Phil 1:6; John 10:29; Rom 8:30; John 6:37, 39). The Persons of the Trinity work in harmony to accomplish and apply salvation. The Father, from eternity, elects a particular people (Ephesians 1:4, 5; Rom 8:29, 30) Christ redeems those the Father has "given Him" (John 6:37, 39; 10:29) and the Holy Spirit likewise applies the redemptive benefits of the atonement to the same. (John 1:13; James 1:18, 1 Peter 1:23,25)[17]

 

GOD’S COVENANTS

In spite of humanity's rebellion against God, His great love was revealed in His purpose to bless humanity, which was made known in His post-fall redemptive promise to crush the head of the the serpent with the seed of the woman (Gen 3:15). God then began to implement this plan of redemption, through the means of covenants, in order to mercifully bring humanity back into the fellowship of the the divine life and glory that He originally intended for us. The essence of the covenant between God and man is "I will be your God, and you will be My people"(Rev 21:3). The progressive unfolding nature of the covenants with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David laid the covenantal groundwork for the culmination of God's redemptive work in His new covenant in Christ (Heb 8:6). These successive covenants of Scripture form a unity. The probationary covenant of life by which man was to keep God's commandments perfectly was ultimately and consummately fulfilled by Christ, God in the flesh (Rom 5:12-21). That covenant of grace is where God's elect are attributed Christ's satisfaction by faith. Thus, the nation of Israel shares a primary role in God's self-revelation in redemptive history. It is the revelation unfolding through the Old Testament that provides the crucial framework for understanding God's complete self-revelation through Jesus Christ (Heb 11:39-40; 1 Peter 1:10-12; 1 Corinthians 10:11).[18]

 

THE GOSPEL

We believe that the Gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ is the central message of the Christian faith. It is the wisdom and power of God for those who are being saved, and apart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, it is seen as foolishness to a spiritually dead world. The good new about Jesus Christ is also interchangeably used with the phrase, the Gospel of the Kingdom because it is a message about a king and His kingdom, of which believers enter through new birth. The Gospel is first, the Biblical message of how Jesus Christ entered history in order to offer up himself as an acceptable sacrifice on behalf of and in order to redeem the children of Abraham. His substitutionary work consists of His life of perfect obedience to the Law of Moses, His sin-bearing and wrath absorbing work on the cross, His resurrection to new life, and ascension to the throne of God to reign as our Savior King. Secondly, our Lord’s substitutionary work purchased for all believers’ reconciliation to God, forgiveness of sins, justification and adoption as children, sanctification and all many other blessings that come along with eternal life. The third aspect of the gospel is that it is a free offer to all and is in now way based upon ethnicity, sex, economic status, intellectual capacity, or any other classification. Fourthly, the gospel and all its spiritual blessings is applied personally into an individual’s life, not on the basis of any good works or character traits, but on the basis of faith alone. Finally, the gospel is radically God centered in all of its fruits. There is no sweetness or real joy in forgiveness, justification or any other blessing of the gospel apart from an intimate communion with God Himself. God is the prized possession and ultimate blessing of this wonderful gospel. (1 Corinthians 2:2; 1:18; Matthew 24:14; John 3:5; Hebrews 2:14-16; Matthew 3:15; Romans 3:25; Galatians 3:13-14; 1 Corinthians 15:50-57; Ephesians 2:6-7; 1:7; Romans 5:1; 8:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; John 7:37; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 5:11; Psalm 63)[19] 

 

REGENERATION, REPENTANCE, FAITH

Those whom God effectually calls, he also freely justifies: not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they and resting on him and his righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God[20].

 

Repentance unto life is an evangelical grace, the doctrine whereof is to be preached by every minister of the gospel, as well as that of faith in Christ.

By it a sinner, out of the sight and sense, not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins, as contrary to the holy nature and righteous law of God, and upon the apprehension of his mercy in Christ to such as are penitent, so grieves for, and hates his sins, as to turn from them all unto God, purposing and endeavoring to walk with him in all the ways of his commandments.

 

Although repentance be not to be rested in as any satisfaction for sin, or any cause of the pardon thereof, which is the act of God’s free grace in Christ; yet is it of such necessity to all sinners, that none may expect pardon without it[21].

The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts; and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word: by which also, and by the administration of the sacraments, and prayer, it is increased and strengthened[22].

 Our union with Christ has its roots in divine election, its basis in the redemptive work of Christ, and its actual establishment with God's people by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. All of God's elect will be regenerated by the Holy Spirit during their life, at a time of God's choosing. This regeneration is a spiritual resurrection given to sinners who are spiritually dead. It infallibly results in faith, repentance and obedience. This regeneration is accomplished by the irresistible power of the Holy Spirit (Jn.6:37,44; Eph.2:4-5; Ps.110:3).

The gospel declares that repentance and faith (commands of God) are themselves God's working in us both to will and to do (2 Tim 2:25, Eph 2:5, 8) and not something that the sinner himself contributes towards the price of His salvation. Repentance and faith can only be exercised by a soul after, and in immediate consequence of, its regeneration by the Holy Spirit (1 John 5:1; Acts 16:14b; Acts 13:48; John 10:24-26; Ezekiel 36:26-27; John 6:37; John 1:13; 1 Cor. 4:7; 1 Cor. 15:10; Jas. 1:17; John 3:27). God regenerates, and we, in the exercise of the new gracious ability given, repent. God disarms the opposition of the human heart, subduing the hostility of the carnal mind, and with irresistible power (John 6:37), draws His chosen ones to Christ. The gospel confesses "We love him because He first loved us." Whereas before we had no desire for God, God's regenerating grace gives us desire, willingness and delight in His person and commands. Faith and works are the evidence of new birth, not the cause of it[23].

 

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

We believe that those who have been saved by the grace of God through union with Christ by faith and through regeneration by the Holy Spirit enter the kingdom of God and delight in the blessings of the new covenant: the forgiveness of sins, the inward transformation that awakens a desire to glorify, trust, and obey God, and the prospect of the glory yet to be revealed. Good works constitute indispensable evidence of saving grace. Living as salt in a world that is decaying and light in a world that is dark, believers should neither withdraw into seclusion from the world, nor become indistinguishable from it: rather, we are to do good to the city, for all the glory and honor of the nations is to be offered up to the living God. Recognizing whose created order this is, and because we are citizens of God’s kingdom, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, doing good to all, especially to those who belong to the household of God. The kingdom of God, already present but not fully realized, is the exercise of God’s sovereignty in the world toward the eventual redemption of all creation. The kingdom of God is an invasive power that plunders Satan’s dark kingdom and regenerates and renovates through repentance and faith the lives of individuals rescued from that kingdom. It therefore inevitably establishes a new community of human life together under God. (Ephesians 2:8-10; Hebrews 8:6; Matthew 5:13-16; Galatians 6:10; Matthew 11:12; 25:31-34; Daniel 2:44; Revelation 12:1-12; Colossians 1:13-14; Ephesians 2:14-22)[24]                                                         

Practically speaking, the kingdom is double-edged and is connected to two frames of time. First, God through Jesus Christ is currently recovering man from a double loss – relationship with God and rulership under God. It is being realized presently, in personal ways by the power of Holy Spirit in the church. Currently, we define the Kingdom as God’s rule of grace in the world and involves the ministry of blessedness.

Secondly, the kingdom will be realized finally in comprehensive ways at the return of Jesus Christ where His triumph is fully manifested.

 

CHRIST’S CHURCH AND HER ORDINANCES

The catholic or universal Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.

 

The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion, together with their children; and is the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ; the house and family of God, through which men are ordinarily saved and union with which is essential to their best growth and service.

 

 Unto this catholic and visible Church, Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world; and doth by his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise, make them effectual thereunto[25].

 

We believe in the one universal Church, composed of all those, in every time and place, who are chosen in Christ and united to Him through faith by the Spirit in one Body, with Christ Himself as the all-supplying, all-sustaining, all-supreme, and all-authoritative Head. We believe that the ultimate purpose of the Church is to glorify God in the everlasting and ever-increasing gladness of worship.

We believe it is God’s will that the universal Church find expression in local churches in which believers agree together to hear the Word of God proclaimed, to engage in corporate worship, to practice the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, to build each other’s faith through the manifold ministries of love, to hold each other accountable in the obedience of faith through Biblical discipline, and to engage in local and world evangelization. The Church is a body in which each member should find a suitable ministry for His gifts; it is the household of God in which the Spirit dwells; it is the pillar and bulwark of God’s truth in a truth-denying world; and it is a city set on a hill so that men may see the light of its good deeds – especially to the poor – and give glory to the Father in heaven.

 

We believe that baptism is an ordinance of the Lord by which those who have repented and come to faith express their union with Christ in His death and resurrection, by being immersed in water in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is a sign of belonging to the new people of God, the true Israel, and an emblem of burial and cleansing, signifying death to the old life of unbelief, and purification from the pollution of sin.

 

We believe that the Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of the Lord in which gathered believers eat bread, signifying Christ’s body given for His people, and drink the cup of the Lord, signifying the New Covenant in Christ’s blood. We do this in remembrance of the Lord, and thus proclaim His death until He comes. Those who eat and drink in a worthy manner partake of Christ’s body and blood, not physically, but spiritually, in that, by faith, they are nourished with the benefits He obtained through His death, and thus grow in grace.

 

We believe that each local church should recognize and affirm the divine calling of spiritually qualified men to give leadership to the church through the role of pastor-elder in the ministry of the Word and prayer. Women are not to fill the role of pastor-elder in the local church, but are encouraged to use their gifts in appropriate roles that edify the body of Christ and spread the gospel (Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Timothy 5:17; Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5; Acts 6:4; 1 Timothy 2:12).[26]

 

CHRIST’S COMMISSION TO MAKE DISCIPLES

We believe that the commission given by the Lord Jesus to make disciples of all nations is binding on His Church to the end of the age. This task is to proclaim the Gospel to every tribe and tongue and people and nation, baptizing them, teaching them the words and ways of the Lord, and gathering them into churches able to fulfill their Christian calling among their own people. The ultimate aim of world missions is that God would create, by His Word, worshippers who glorify His name through glad-hearted faith and obedience. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. When the time of ingathering is over, and the countless

 millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever. Worship, therefore, is the fuel and the goal of missions. (Matthew 28:18-20; Revelation 5:9; Romans 1:5; John 4:23; Romans 15:8-11)[27]

 

SANCTIFICATION

They who are effectually called and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them; the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified, and they more and more quickened and strengthened, in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord[28].

 

The Holy Spirit is the active agent in our sanctification and seeks to produce His fruit in us as our minds are renewed and we are conformed to the image of Christ. Though indwelling sin remains a reality, as we are led by the Spirit, we grow in the knowledge of the Lord, freely keeping His commandments and endeavoring to so live in the world that all people may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven. All believers are exhorted to persevere in the faith knowing they will have to give an account to God for their every thought, word and deed. The spiritual disciplines, especially Bible study, prayer, worship and confession, are a vital means of grace in this regard. Nevertheless, the believer's ultimate confidence to persevere is based in the sure promise of God to preserve His people until the end, which is most certain. (2 Thessalonians 2:13; Galatians 5:22; Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 7:18-20;Romans 8:4; Matthew 5:16; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Timothy 4:7-8; Phil. 1:6)[29]

 

LIVING BY GOD’S WORD BY MEDITATION & PRAYER

We believe that faith is awakened and sustained by God’s Spirit through His Word and prayer. The good fight of faith is fought mainly by meditating on the Scripture and praying that God would apply them to our souls. (Acts 16:14; Ephesians 2:8-10; Romans 10:17; Ephesians 1:18-19; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; Eph 6:17-18; Heb. 4:12; Psalm 1:1-3; 119:18, 36; Ps. 86:11)

Therefore, reading, understanding pondering, memorizing and savoring the promises of all that God will be for us in Jesus are primary means of the Holy Spirit to break the power of sin’s deceitful promises in our lives. Therefore it is needful that we give ourselves to such meditation day and night(1 Peter 1:3-4; Hebrews 10:34; 11:24-26; 13:13-14; Ephesians 3:4; 5:17; 2 Tim. 5:17; Ps. 119:11; 37:4; 34:8; Ps. 1:2)

 

We believe that God has ordained to bless and use His people for His glory through the means of prayer, offered in Jesus name by faith. All prayer should seek ultimately that God’s name be hallowed, and that His kingdom come, and that His will be done on earth as it is done in heaven. God’s sovereignty over all things is not a hindrance to prayer, but a reason for hope that our prayers will succeed. (Philippians 4:6-7; Matthew 7:7-11; Ephesians 6:19; Matthew 9:38; John 14:13; James 1:5-8; Matthew 6:9-10; Ezekiel 36:37-38)

We believe that prayer is the indispensable handmaid of meditation, as we cry out to God for the inclination to turn from the world to the Word, and for the spiritual ability to see the glory of God in His testimonies, and for a soul-satisfying sight of the love of God, and for strength in the inner man to do the will of God. By prayer God sanctifies His people, sends gospel laborers into the world, and causes the Word of God to spread and triumph over Satan and unbelief.(Psalm 119:36; Psalm 119:18; Ephesians 1:18; Psalm 90:14; Ephesians 3:14-16; Colossians 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13; Matthew 9:38; 2 Thess. 3:1)[30]

 

PERSEVERANCE

Although hypocrites, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions: of being in the favor of God and estate of salvation; which hope of theirs shall perish: yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavoring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in a state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God: which hope shall never make them ashamed[31].

 

We teach that all those who believe are justified and are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise unto the ultimate day of redemption. Therefore, if a person has been effectually called and drawn to Christ, he will never lose that salvation since it was based wholly on the finished work of Christ and God's election, not on the strength of the believers commitment or obedience. (Jn.10:27-30; Rom.8:28-30). The person whose affections and dispositions have been changed by the Holy Spirit in regeneration will not reject eternal life once they are saved because they do not want to reject eternal life. God causes His people to continue wanting to believe in Him once we are saved (Jeremiah 32:40; Ezekiel 36:27). This is not based on how perfect we are, but solely on the promise and finished work of Christ (John 3:16; John 10:29)[32].

 

THE RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS

We believe in the personal, glorious, and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ with his holy angels, when he will exercise his role as final Judge, and his kingdom will be consummated. We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the just and the unjust—the unjust to judgment and eternal conscious punishment in hell, as our Lord himself taught, and the just to eternal blessedness in the presence of him who sits on the throne and of the Lamb, in the new heaven and the new earth, the home of righteousness. On that day the church will be presented faultless before God by the obedience, suffering and triumph of Christ, all sin purged and its wretched effects forever banished. God will be all in all and his people will be enthralled by the immediacy of his ineffable holiness, and everything will be to the praise of his glorious grace. (Philippians 3:20; Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; Revelation 19:11-16; 1 Corinthians 15:23-28; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; Matthew 13:49-50; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54; Revelation 21:5; 2 Peter 3:10-13; Ephesians 5:27; Revelation 22:1-5)[33]

 

[1] Adapted - The Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith

[2] Adapted – Dr. Walter Martin http://www.waltermartin.com/index.html

[3] Adapted - Statement of Faith, The Village Church

[4] Adapted – Dr. Walter Martin http://www.waltermartin.com/index.html

[5] Westminster Confession Of Faith (1646) VIII – Sec. V

[6] “Christ Died For Us” – Dr. Walter Martin (1994)

[7] The Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith

[8] The Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith

[9] Westminster Confession Of Faith (1646) II – Sec. 3

[10] The Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith

[11] The Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith

[12] Westminster Confession Of Faith (1646) VI – Sec. 3-4

[13] Adapted - The Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith

[14] Confessional Statement - The Gospel Coalition

[15] Adapted - The Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith

[16] Westminster Confession Of Faith (1646) III – Sec. 5-6

[17] Distinctives - Monergism

[18] Distinctives - Monergism

[19] Adapted- “God is the Gospel”, John Piper

[20] Westminster Confession Of Faith (1646) XI – Sec. I

[21] Westminster Confession Of Faith (1646) XV – Sec. I-III

[22] Westminster Confession Of Faith (1646) XIV – Sec. I

[23] Distinctives - Monergism

[24] Confessional Statement - Gospel Coalition

[25] Westminster Confession Of Faith (1646) XXV – Sec. I-III

[26] The Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith

        (previous 5  paragraphs)

[27]Adapted - The Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith

[28] Westminster Confession Of Faith (1646) XIII – Sec. I

[29] Statement of Faith- The Village Church

 

[30] The Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith

        (4 previous paragraphs)

[31] Westminster Confession Of Faith (1646) XVIII – Sec. I

[32] Distinctives - Monergism

[33] Confessional Statement - The Gospel Coalition

SERVICE TIMES

Sunday:  9:00 AM STP Classes

Sunday:  10:00 AM

Tuesday:   7:00 PM Internship (2nd & 4th Tues.)

Wednesday:  10:00 AM Women's Study (2nd & 4th Wed.)

Thursday:  7:00 PM  Thursday Night Bible Study

Friday:  7:00 PM  Ed & Linda Moon-Holy Spirit Study (1st Friday of the month)

Abundant Grace Ministries

 11776 Cleveland Ave. NW

 Uniontown, OH 44685

(330)-966-5779