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2017 Bible Guide

Doctrinal Statement of Fellowship Bible Church

Contents

Preface

  1. The Holy Scriptures
  2. The Godhead
  3. The Person and Work of Christ
  4. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
  5. The Total Depravity of Man
  6. Salvation Only Through Christ
  7. The Extent of Salvation
  8. Eternal Security
  9. Assurance
  10. Sanctification
  11. The Christian's Walk
  12. Separation
  13. Missions
  14. Christian Service
  15. The Church
  16. Ordinances
  17. Dispensationalism
  18. Angels, Fallen and Unfallen
  19. The Blessed Hope
  20. The Tribulation
  21. His Second Coming
  22. The Eternal State
  23. Creation
  24. Life and Marriage

Preface

This presentation of the doctrinal position of the Fellowship Bible Church is not an innovation. It represents, rather, a declaration of the stand which our fellowship has taken since its inception.

Those believers who first saw the need for the establishment of a Bible-believing ministry in Ann Arbor were aware of the failure of so many groups to "hold fast the form of sound words" (2 Tim. 1:13). Without flagging, those who have been the core of this assembly have always sought to maintain a Biblical form of doctrine to the glory of God.

There is an unchanging emphasis upon doctrine in the Bible. Indeed, it is referred to in the New Testament over forty (40) times. Of the first church assembly in Acts 2, it is recorded that their new converts "continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine..." (v. 42). Therefore, the primacy of what a man believes was given vital impetus right from the start in the church of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Today, unfortunately, there are great movements underway to thwart the emphasis upon strong doctrinal statements. Efforts are constantly being made to dilute specifics and strong appeals are made to soft-pedal any dogmatism. This is all a part of the modern trends toward pseudo-intellectuallism which pleads for an open mind and a relative approach to everything. It is our firm belief that this sort of situation is entirely divorced from the Word of God. We place a high premium on what a man believes and find support for this contention in the Scriptures.

Paul, for example, in writing to Timothy exhorted him again and again about the matter of knowable and specific doctrine. Consider the fact that he was left in Ephesus that he "might charge some that they teach no other doctrine." (1 Tim. 1:3). Again, "If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou has attained." (1 Tim. 4:6). Twice over Paul exhorts Timothy to devote himself to doctrine (1 Tim. 4:13, 16). Indeed, his final appeal, shortly before his own death, was to "preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears." (2 Tim. 4:2, 3).

We believe the days are upon us when men desire to "heap to themselves" teachers who will tickle the ears of their hearers with words of little substance. The need of the hour is for strong doctrine. The cry of the day is for clarity of statement. The yearning of the believing heart is for continuance with that which is explicit and implicit in the Word of the living God. We at Fellowship Bible affirm without equivocation what we believe to be the old fashion Gospel and the doctrine of the early church. Therefore, we take upon ourselves the responsibility to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." (Jude 3).

Section 1: The Holy Scriptures

A. Their Origin: We believe that "all scripture is given by inspiration of God," by which we understand the whole Bible is inspired in the sense that "holy men of God" "were moved by the Holy Spirit" to write the very words of Scripture wholly without error. We believe that this divine inspiration extends equally and fully to all parts of the writing - historical, poetical, doctrinal, and prophetical - as appeared in the original manuscripts. This belief is often referred to as verbal plenary inspiration of Scripture. (Mark 12:24, 13:11; Acts 1:16; Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 2:13; Gal. 3:16; 2 Tim. 3:16, 2 Pet. 1:20, 21; 3:16.)

B. Their Content: We believe that all the Scriptures center about the Lord Jesus in His person and work in His 1st and 2nd coming, and hence that no portion, even of the Old Testament, is properly read, or understood, until it leads to Him. We believe that all the Scriptures were design for our rule of faith and practice. (Mark 12:36; Luke 24:27, 44; John 5:39; Acts 17:2, 3; 18:28; 26:22, 23; 28:23; 1 Cor. 10:11; 2 Tim. 3:16.)

C. Our Approach: We also believe that all the Scriptures are to be interpreted literally - understanding that figurative passages bear a literal truth of the figure revealed - that there is one interpretation of Scripture but this one interpretation may have many applications, although the applications should not vitiate the literal interpretation. (Matt. 22:41-46; Mark 12:18-27; Luke 4:16-21; 24:44; John 10:6-10; 15:1-5; Gal. 4:22-31.)

Section 2: The Godhead

We believe that the Godhead eternally exists in three persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - and that these three are one God; having precisely the same nature, attributes, and perfections, and worthy of precisely the same homage, confidence, and obedience. (Matt. 28:18, 19: Mark 12:29; John 1:14, Acts 5:3, 4; 2 Cor. 13:14; Heb. 1:1-3; Rev. 1:4-6.)

Section 3: The Person and Work of Christ

We believe that, as provided and proposed by God and as preannounced in the prophecies of the Scriptures, the eternal Son of God came into this world that He might manifest God to men, fulfill prophecy, and become the Redeemer of a lost world. To this end He was born of the virgin, and received a human body and a sinless human nature. (Luke 1:30-35; John 1:18; 3:16; Heb. 4:15.)

We believe that, on the human side, He became and remained a perfect man, but sinless throughout His life; yet He retained His absolute deity, being at the same time very God and very man, and that His earth-lfe sometimes functioned within the sphere of that which was human and sometimes within the sphere of that which was divine. (Luke 2:40; John 1:1, 2; Phil. 2:5-8.)

We believe that in fulfillment of prophecy He came first to Israel as her Messiah-King, and that, being rejected of that nation He, according to the eternal counsels of God, gave His life as a ransom for all. (John 1:11; Acts 2:22-24; 1 Tim. 2:6.)

We believe that, in infinite love for the lost, He voluntarily accepted His Father's will and became the divinely provided sacrificial Lamb and took away the sin of the world; bearing the holy judgments against sin which the righteousness of God must impose. His death was, therefore, substitutionary in the most absolute sense - the just for the unjust - and by His death He became the Savior of the lost. (John 1:29; Rom. 3:25, 26; 2 Cor. 5:14; Heb. 10:5-14; 1 Pet. 3:18.)

We believe that, according to the Scriptures, He arose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He had lived and died, and that His resurrection body is the pattern of that body which ultimately will be given to all believers. (John 20:20; Phil. 3:20.)

We believe that, on departing from the earth, He was accepted of His Father and that His acceptance is a final assurance to us that His redeeming work was perfectly accomplished. (Heb. 1:3.)

We believe that He became Head over all things to the church which is His body, and in this ministry He ceases not to intercede and advocate for the saved. (Eph. 1:22, 23; Heb. 7:25; 1 John 2:1.)

Section 4: The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit

We believe that the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the blessed Trinity, though omnipresent from all eternity, took up His abode in the world in a special sense on the day of Pentecost according to the divine promise, dwells in every believer, and by His baptism unites all to Christ in one body, and that He, as the Indwelling One, is the source of all power and all acceptable worship and service. We believe that He never takes His departure from the church, nor from the feeblest of the saints, but is ever present to testify of Christ; seeking to occupy believers with Him and not with themselves nor with their experiences. We believe that His above in the world in this special sense will cease when Christ comes to receive His own at the completion of the church. (John 14:16, 17; 16:7-15; 1 Cor. 6:19; Eph. 2:22; 2 Thess. 2:7.)

We believe that, in this age, certain well-defined ministries are committed to the Holy Spirit, and that it is the duty of every Christian to understand them and to be adjusted to them in his own life and experience. These ministries are: The restraining of evil in the world to the measure of the divine will; the convicting of the world representing sin, righteousness, and judgment; the regenerating of all believers; the indwelling and anointing of all who are saved, thereby sealing them unto the day of redemption; the baptizing into the one body of Christ of all who are saved; and the continued filling for power, teaching, and service of those among the saved who are yielded to Him and who are subject to His will. (John 3:6; 16:7-11; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:30; 5:18; 2 Thess. 2:7; 1 John 2:20-27.)

We believe that some gifts of the Holy Spirit such as the speaking in tongues and miraculous healings were temporary and gradually ceased as the New Testament Scriptures were completed and their authority became established. We believe that speaking in tongues was never the common or necessary sign of the baptism nor of the filling of the Spirit, and that the deliverance of the body from sickness or death awaits the consummation of our salvation in the resurrection. (Acts 4:8, 31; Rom. 8:23; 1 Cor. 13:8.)

We believe that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith, in accord with His Own will, for the sick and afflicted. (John 15:7; 1 John 5:14, 15.)

Section 5: The Total Depravity of Man

We believe that man was originally and immediately created in the image and after the likeness of God, and that he fell through sin, and, as a consequence of his sin, lost his spiritual life, becoming dead in trespasses and sins, and that he became subject to the power of the devil. We also believe that this spiritual death, or total depravity of human nature, has been transmitted to the entire human race of man, the Man Christ Jesus along being excepted; and hence that every child of Adam is born into the world with a nature which not only possesses no spark of divine life, but is essentially and unchangeably bad apart from divine grace. (Gen. 1:26; 2:17; 6:5; Psa. 14:1-3; 51:5; Jer. 17:9; John 3:6; 5:40; 6:53; Rom. 3:10-19; 8:6, 7; Eph. 2:1-3; 1 Tim. 5:6; 1 John 3:8.)

Section 6: Salvation Only Through Christ

We believe that, owing to universal death through sin, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless born again; and that no degree of reformation however great, no attainments in morality however high, no culture however attractive, no baptism or other ordinance however administered, can help the sinner to take even one step toward heaven; but a new nature imparted from above, a new life implanted by the Holy Spirit through the Word, is absolutely essential to salvation, and only those thus saved are sons of God. We believe, also, that our redemption has been accomplished solely by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who was made to be sin and was made a curse for us, dying in our room and stead; and that no repentance, no feeling, no faith, no good resolutions, no sincere efforts, no submission to the rules and regulations of any church, nor all the churches that have existed since the days of the apostles, can add in the very least degree to the value of the blood, or to the merit of the finished work wrought for us by Him Who united in His person true and proper deity with perfect an sinless humanity. (Lev. 17:11; Isa. 64:6; Matt. 26:28; John 3:5, 18; Rom. 5:6-9; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; 6:15; Eph. 1:7; Phil. 3:4-9; Titus 3:5; James 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19, 23.)

We believe that the new birth of the believer comes only through faith in Christ and that repentance is a vital part of believing, and is in no way, in itself, a separate and independent condition of salvation; nor are any other acts, such as confession, baptism, prayer, or faithful service, to be added to believing as a condition of salvation. (John 1:12; 3:16, 18, 36; 5:24; 6:29; Acts 13:39; 16:31; Rom. 1:16, 17; 3:22, 26; 4:5; 10:4; Gal. 3:22.)

Section 7: The Extent of Salvation

We believe that when an unregenerate person exercises faith in Christ which is illustrated and described as such in the New Testament, he passes immediately out of spiritual death into spiritual life, and from the old creation into the new; being justified from all things, accepted before the Father according as Christ His Son is accepted, loved as Christ is loved, having his place and portion as linked to Him and one with Him forever. Though the saved one may have occasion to grow in the realization of his blessings and to know a fuller measure of divine power through the yielding of his life more fully to God, he is, as soon as he is saved, in possession of every spiritual blessing and absolutely complete in Christ, and is, therefore, in no way required by God to seek a so-called "second blessing", or a "second work of grace." (John 5:24; 17:23; Acts 13:39; Rom. 5:1; 1 Cor. 3:21, 23; Eph. 1:3; Col. 2:10; 1 John 4:17; 5:11, 12.)

Section 8: Eternal Security

We believe that, because of the eternal purpose of God toward the objects of His love, because of His freedom to exercise grace toward the meritless on the ground of the propitiatory blood of Christ, because of the very nature of the divine gift of eternal life, because of the present and unending intercession and advocacy of Christ in heaven, because of the immutability of the unchangeable covenants of God, because of the regenerating, abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of all who are saved, we and all true believers everywhere, once saved shall be kept saved forever. We believe, however, that God is a holy and righteous Father and that since He cannot overlook the sin of His children, He will when they persistently sin, chasten them and correct them in infinite love; but having undertaken to save them and keep them forever, apart from all human merit, He, Who cannot fail, will in the end present every one of them faultless before the presence of His glory and conformed to the image of His Son. (John 5:24; 10:28; 13:1; 14:16, 17; 17:11; Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 6:19; Heb. 7:25; 1 John 2:1, 2; 5:13; Jude 1:25.)

Section 9: Assurance

We believe it is the privilege, not only of some, but of all who are born again by the Spirit through faith in Christ as revealed in the Scriptures, to be assured of their salvation from the very day they take Him to be their Savior; and that this assurance is not founded upon any fancied discovery of their own worthiness or fitness, but wholly upon the testimony of God in His written Word, exciting within His children filial love, gratitude, and obedience. (Luke 10:20; 21:32; 2 Cor. 5:1, 6-8; 2 Tim. 1:12; Heb. 10:22; 1 John 5:13.)

Section 10: Sanctification

We believe that sanctification, which is a setting-apart unto God, is threefold; (a) It is already complete for every saved person because his position toward God is the same as Christ's position. Since the believer is in Christ, he is set apart unto God in the measure in which Christ is set apart unto God. This is called positional sanctification. (b) We believe, however, that he retains his sin nature, which cannot be eradicated in this life. Therefore, while the standing of the Christian in Christ is perfect, his present state is no more perfect than his experience in daily life. This is what is called progressive sanctification wherein the Christian is to "grow in grace" and to "be changed" by the unhindered power of the Spirit. (c) We believe, also, that the child of God will yet be fully sanctified in his state as he is now sanctified in his standing in Christ when he shall see his Lord and shall be "like Him." This is called ultimate sanctification. (John 17:17; 2 Cor. 3:18; 7:1; Eph. 4:24; 5:25-27; 1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 10:10, 14; 12:10.)

Section 11: The Christian's Walk

We believe that we are called with an holy calling, to walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, and so to live in the power of the indwelling Spirit that we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. But the flesh with its fallen, Adamic nature, which in this life is never eradicated, being with us to the end of our earthly pilgrimage, needs to be kept by the Spirit constantly in subjection to Christ, or it will surely manifest its presence in our lives to the dishonor of our Lord. (Rom. 6:11-13; 8:2, 4, 12, 13; Gal. 5:16-23; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 2:1-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 1:4-7; 3:5-9.)

Section 12: Separation

We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon our blessed Lord. That separation from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices, and associations is forthrightly commanded by God. (Rom. 12:1, 2; 14:13; 2 Cor. 6:14; 7:1; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11.)

Section 13: Missions

We believe that it is the explicit message of our Lord Jesus Christ to those whom He has saved that they are sent forth by Him into the world even as He was sent forth of His Father into the world. We believe that, after they are saved, they are divinely reckoned to be related to this world as strangers and pilgrims, ambassadors, and witnesses, and that their primary purpose in life should be to make Christ known to the whole world. (Matt. 28:18, 19; Mark 16:15; John 17:18; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:18-20; 1 Peter 1:17; 2:11.)

Section 14: Christian Service

We believe that divine, enabling gifts for service are bestowed by the Spirit upon all who are saved. While there is a diversity of gifts, each believer is energized by the same Spirit, and each is called to his own divinely appointed service as the Spirit may will. In the apostolic church there were certain gifted men - apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers - who were appointed by God for perfecting of the saints unto their work of the ministry. We believe also that today some men are especially called of God to be evangelists, pastors and teachers, and that it is to the fulfilling of His will and to His eternal glory that they shall be sustained and encouraged in their service for God. (Rom. 12:16; 1 Cor. 12:4-11; Eph. 4:11.)

We believe that, wholly apart from salvation benefits which are bestowed equally upon all who believe, rewards are promised according to the faithfulness of each believer in his service with his Lord, and that these rewards will be bestowed at the judgment seat of Christ after He comes to receive His own to Himself. (1 Cor. 3:9-15; 9:18-27; 2 Cor. 5:10.)

Section 15: The Church

A. The True and Invisible Church: We believe that all who are united to the risen and ascended Son of God are members of the church which is the body and bride of Christ, which began at Pentecost and is completely distinct from Israel. Its members are constituted as such regardless of membership or nonmembership in the organized churches of the earth. We believe that by the same Spirit all believers in this age are baptized into, and thus become, one body that is Christ's, whether Jews or Gentiles, and having become members one of another, are under solemn duty to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, rising above all sectarian differences, and loving one another with a pure heart fervently. (Matt. 16:16-18; Acts 2:42-47; Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 1:20-23; 4:3-10; Col. 3:14-24.)

B. The Local Organized Church: We believe that the New Testament teaches the establishment and continuance of a local body of believers known as the local assembly or local church of born again believers. Nowhere do the Scriptures teach that the local church is to be characterized by present day sectarian distinctions. It is to be outwardly characterized by that same unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace as is found in the true church, the body and bride of Christ.

The basic responsibility of the local body of believers is to do the will of God which broadly speaking is threefold: (1) Seeking by the guidance, leading, and power of the Spirit of God, the salvation of all men from all nations and kindreds and people and tongues. (2) The edification of the saints, and (3) The assembling of the believers for worship, praise, fellowship, and mutual exhortation and encouragement unto good works in love. (Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 11:26; 14:23; Eph. 2:10; 4:3, 11-16; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; Heb. 10:24, 25.)

Section 16: Ordinances

We believe that water baptism and the Lord's Supper are the only ordinances of the church and that they are a Scriptural means of testimony for the church in this age. (Matt. 28:19; Luke 22:19, 20; Acts 10:47, 48; 16:32, 33; 18:7, 8; 1 Cor. 11:17-33.) While holding to the importance and practice of the ordinance of baptism, we neither include it as a part nor hold it on the same plane of importance as the gospel of redeeming grace in Christ, and we repudiate its carnal sectarian practice. (1 Cor. 1:10-17.) We believe in the immersion as the mode of baptism and the memorial significance of the Lord's Supper.

Section 17: Dispensationalism

We believe in the dispensational view of Bible interpretation. We believe that the dispensations are stewardships by which God administers His purpose on the earth through man under varying responsibilities. We believe that three of these dispensations or rules of life are the subject of extended revelation in the Scripture, viz: the dispensation of the Mosaic Law, the present dispensation of grace, and the future dispensation of the millennial kingdom. We believe that these are distinct and are not to be intermingled or confused, as they are chronologically successive.

We believe that dispensations are not ways of salvation, that according to the "eternal purpose" of God, salvation in the divine reckoning is always "by grace, through faith," and rests upon the basis of the shed blood of Christ. We believe that God has always been gracious, regardless of the ruling dispensation, but that man has not at all times been under an administration or stewardship of grace as is true in the present dispensation. (Eph. 3:11; 1 Cor. 9:17; Eph. 3:2, A.S.V.; Col. 1:25; 1 Tim. 1:4; Eph. 3:9 A.S.V.)

We believe that it has always been true that "without faith it is impossible to please God," and that the principle of faith was prevalent in the lives of all the Old Testament saints. However, we believe that was historically impossible that they should have had as the conscious object of their faith the incarnate, crucified Son, the Lamb of God, and that it is evident that they did not comprehend as we do that the sacrifices depicted the person and work of Christ. We believe also that they did not understand the redemptive significance of the prophecies or types concerning the sufferings of Christ; therefore, we believe that their faith thus manifested was counted unto them for righteousness. (Heb. 11:6; John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:10-12; cf. Rom. 4:3 with Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:5-8; Heb. 11:7.) We reject the extreme teaching known as "Hyper-Dispensationalism," such as that which opposes either the Lord's Table or water baptism as a Scriptural means of testimony for the church in the present dispensation. (Acts 2:41, 42; 18:8; 1 Cor. 11:23-26.)

Section 18: Angels, Fallen and Unfallen

We believe that God created an innumerable company of sinless, spiritual beings known as angels; that one, "Lucifer, son of the morning" - the highest in rank - sinned through pride, thereby becoming Satan; that a great company of the angels followed him in his moral fall, some of whom became demons and are active as his agents and associates in the prosecution of his unholy purposes, while others who fell are "reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto judgment of the great day." (Isa. 14:12-17; Ezek. 28:11-19; 1 Tim. 3:6; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6.)

We believe that Satan is the originator of sin, and that, under the permission of God, he, through subtlety, led our first parents into transgression, thereby accomplishing their moral fall and subjecting them and their posterity to his own power; that he is the enemy of God and the people of God, opposing and exalting himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped; and that he who in the beginning said, "I will be like the most High," in his warfare appears as an angel of light, even counterfeiting the works of God by fostering religious movements and systems of doctrine, which systems in every case are characterized by a denial of the efficacy of the blood of Christ and of salvation by grace alone. (Gen. 3:1-19; Rom. 5:12-14; 2 Cor. 4:3, 4; 11:13-15; Eph. 6:10-12; 2 Thess. 2:4; 1 Tim. 4:1-3.)

We believe that Satan was judged at the cross, though not then executed, and that he, a usurper, now rules as the "god of this world;" that, at the second coming of Christ, Satan will be bound and cast into the abyss for a thousand years, and after the thousand years he will be loosed for a little season and then "cast into the lake of fire and brimstone," where he "shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." (Col. 2:15; Rev. 20:1-3, 10.)

We believe that a great company of angels kept their holy estate and are before the throne of God, from whence they are sent forth as ministering spirits to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation. (Luke 15:10; Eph. 1:21; Heb. 1:14; Rev. 7:12.)

We believe that man was made lower than the angels; and that, in His incarnation, Christ took for a little time this lower place that He might lift the believer to His own sphere above the angels. (Heb. 2:6-10.)

Section 19: The Blessed Hope

We believe that, according to the Word of God, the next great event in the fulfillment of prophecy will be the coming of the Lord in the air to receive to Himself into heaven both His Own who are alive and remain unto His coming, and also all who have fallen asleep in Jesus, and that this event is the blessed hope set before us in Scripture, and for this we should be constantly looking. (John 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:51, 52; Phil. 3:20; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Titus 2:11-14.)

Section 20: The Tribulation

We believe that the translation of the church will be followed by the fulfillment of Israel's seventieth week during which the church, the body of Christ, will be in heaven. The whole period of Israel's seventieth week will be a time of judgment on the whole earth, at the end of which the times of the Gentiles will be brought to a close. This period will be the time of Jacob's trouble and is called the great tribulation. We believe that universal righteousness will not be realized previous to the second coming of Christ, but that the world is day by day ripening for judgment and that the present age will end with a fearful apostasy. (Dan. 9:27; Rev. 6:1-19, 21; Jer. 30:7; Matt. 24:15-21; Rev. 7:14.)

Section 21: His Second Coming

We believe that the period of great tribulation in the earth will be climaxed by the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth as He went, in person on the clouds of heaven, and with power and great glory to introduce the millennial age, to bind Satan and place him in the abyss, to lift the curse which now rests upon the whole creation, to restore Israel to her own land and to give her the realization of God's covenant promises, and to bring the whole world to the knowledge of God. (Deut. 30:1-10; Isa. 11:9; Ezek. 37:21-28; Matt. 24:15-25, 45; Acts 15:16, 17; Rom. 8:19-23; 11:25-27; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; Rev. 20:1-3.)

Section 22: The Eternal State

A. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment. (Matt. 25:46; John 5:28, 29; 11:25, 26; Acts 24:15; Rev. 20:5, 6, 12-15.)

B. We believe that at death the spirits and souls of those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation pass immediately into His presence and there remain in conscious bliss until the resurrection of the glorified body when Christ comes for His own, whereupon soul and body reunited shall be associated with Him forever in glory. (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:6-8; Phil. 1:23; 3:21; 1 Thess. 4:13-17.)

C. We believe the spirits and souls of the unbelieving remain after death conscious of condemnation and in misery until the final judgment of the great white throne at the close of the millennium, when soul and body reunited shall be cast into the lake of fire, not to be annihilated but to be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power. (Matt. 25:41-46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-26; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Jude vv. 6, 7; Rev. 20:11-15.)

Section 23: Creation

We believe that God directly created the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them, in six literal, successive, 24-hour days. We reject all forms of the evolutionary hypothesis of origins, whether theistic or atheistic. (Gen. 1-2, Exo. 20:11, 31:17; Psalm 19:1, 33:6, 9, 90:2; Isa. 40:28; John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 11:3; Rev. 4:11).

Section 24: Life and Marriage

We believe that children are a heritage from the Lord, and that human life begins at conception, and that the unborn child is a living human being. Embryo destruction and abortion constitute the unjustified, sinful taking of unborn human life. We reject any teaching that states abortion is acceptable in cases of rape or incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, selective reduction, or personal comfort or convenience. We recognize that there are rare conditions that endanger the life of the mother. In such cases, every effort should be made to save life. (Exodus 21:22-25; Psalm 127:3; 139:14-16; Isaiah 44:24; 49:1, 5; Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:44.)

We believe that suicide, assisted suicide, and euthanasia constitute the unjustified, sinful taking of a human life (Exodus 20:13).

We believe that God ordained marriage and the family as the foundational institution of human society, and that the only legitimate marriage is a sacred and permanent covenant relationship between one man and one woman, symbolizing the union of Christ and His Church. We believe men and women are spiritually equal in position before God (Galatians 3:28); yet God has ordained distinct and separate functions for each in the home and church. The husband is to be the servant leader in the home and is to love his wife as Christ loves the church, and the wife is to submit herself to the Scriptural leadership of her husband as the church submits to the headship of Christ. Men are ordained by God to be the spiritual leaders in the church. (Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:22-33, 1 Tim. 2:12-14.)

We believe that God intends a marriage to last until the death of one spouse (Mark 10:6-12). Divorced persons and those who are divorced and remarried may hold positions of service in the church, but are ineligible for the offices of pastor and deacon (1 Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6).

We believe that God has commanded that no sexual activity is to be engaged in outside of the marriage of a man and a woman. Any form of child molestation, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality, incest, pedophilia, rape, sodomy, pornography, or similar activities is a sinful perversion of God's gift of sex. We believe God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one's gender by surgery or appearance. (Genesis 2:22-24; 19:5, 13; Leviticus 18:1-30; Deuteronomy 22:5; Matthew 19:4-6; Romans 1:26-29, 7:2; 1 Corinthians 5:1, 6:9; Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4.)

Revision History

Original July, 1981

Revised January 30, 2008 (section 23 added)

Revised March 25, 2012 (section 24 added)

Revised January 30, 2013 (error fixed in section 24)

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