We are Reformed.
We affirm the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith. Read the entirety of the 1689 Second LBCFhere.
To teach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) in a manner that is engaging to a wide spectrum of audiences. The Lord Jesus Christ commanded the Church to study the doctrines of Scripture so that we will be unified in the Christian faith and the knowledge of Him and brought to maturity in Him (Matthew 28:20; Ephesians 4:13; Colossians 1:28; Hebrews 5:12-14). As a result of knowing the truth taught in Scripture, the believer can stand firm in the faith despite the rampant false teaching in the world (Ephesians 4:14; 1 Timothy 4:1; 6:3-5). Doctrine impacts how believers interact with those in authority (1 Tim 6:1), their lifestyle (1 Tim 6:3), and in speech (Titus 2:1). Most importantly, what we believe has a direct effect on how other people see God (Titus 2:8).
We recognize that this doctrinal statement is but a fallible human effort to summarize an infallible divine revelation. But this in no way detracts from the importance of such a statement. We do hold firmly to these truths as we see them and call on others to search the Scriptures to see if these things are so.
Not all matters contained in this statement are of equal weight, some are more essential than others. We do not believe that every part of this affirmation must be affirmed in order for one to be saved. Therefore, we desire to be charitable with those who may interpret secondary issues in a different manner.
This statement does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God, speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, and is the sole and final source of all that we believe.
Since the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession does not speak exhaustively to some theological matters and subjects found in Little Pilgrims Theology, our biblical understanding of further theological distinctives might prove helpful in some cases. The distinctives that follow are but a humble attempt at a complementary companion to the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession.
The Holy Scriptures
We teach that the Bible is God’s written revelation to man, and thus the 66 books of the Bible given to us by the Holy Spirit constitute the plenary (inspired equally in all parts) Word of God (1 Corinthians 2:7-14; 2 Peter 1:20-21). We teach that the Word of God is an objective, propositional revelation (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Corinthians 2:13), verbally inspired in every word, absolutely inerrant in the original documents, infallible, and God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). We teach the literal, grammatical-historical interpretation of Scripture which affirms the belief that the opening chapters of Genesis present creation in six literal days (Genesis 1:31; Exodus 31:17).
We teach that the Bible constitutes the only infallible rule of faith and practice (Matthew 5:18; 24:35; John 10:35; 16:12-13; 17:17; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20-21). We teach that God spoke in His written Word by a process of dual authorship. The Holy Spirit so superintended the human authors that, through their individual personalities and different styles of writing, they composed and recorded God’s Word to man (2 Peter 1:20-21) without error in the whole or in the part (Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16).
We teach that, whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation; authorial intent. Through proper hermeneutics and exegesis, the meaning of Scripture can be found as one prayerfully and diligently under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 7:17; 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:7-15; 1 John 2:20). It is the responsibility of believers to ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture, recognizing that proper application is binding on all generations. Yet the truth of Scripture stands in judgment of men; never do men stand in judgment of it.
We teach that there is but one living and true God; the only sovereign, thrice holy, who is indivisibly simple, infinite, ominiscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, transcendent yet immanent, exhaustively incomprehensible and ineffable, Spirit, perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, eternally subsisting a se in three Persons, blessed Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—each equally deserving worship and obedience (Deuteronomy 6:4; Job 42:2; Psalm 115:3; 139:4, 6; 1 Samuel 2:2; Isaiah 40:18; 45:5-7; Jeremiah 23:23-24; Matthew 28:19; John 4:24; 1 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 13:14).
God the Father
We teach that the Father is God; the first Person of the Trinity, and that He orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and grace (Psalm 145:8-9; 1 Corinthians 8:6). He is the creator of all things (Genesis 1:1-31; Ephesians 3:9). As the only absolute and omnipotent Ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Psalm 103:19; Romans 11:36). His fatherhood involves both His designation within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind. He is the spiritual Father only to believers (Ephesians 4:6; Romans 8:14; 2 Corinthians 6:18). He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass (Ephesians 1:11). He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events (1 Chronicles 29:11). In His sovereignty He is neither the author nor approver of sin, nor is God culpable for the sins of creatures that He created 'good' (Genesis 1:31; Habakkuk 1:13; John 8:38-47; Romans 9:14), nor does He abridge the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (1 Peter 1:17). He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Ephesians 1:4-6); He saves from sin all who come to Him through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone; He adopts as His own all those who come to Him; and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own (John 1:12; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Hebrews 12:5-9).
God the Son
We teach that Jesus Christ is God, the second Person of the Trinity, and that He possesses all the divine excellencies, and in these He is coequal, consubstantial, and coeternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; John 10:30;14:9; Acts 5:4; 2 Corinthians 13:14).
We teach that God the Father created according to His own will, through His Son, Jesus Christ, by whom all things continue in existence and in operation (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2).
We teach that in the incarnation (God becoming man) Christ emptied Himself, not of His divinity, and took on the form of a man. In His incarnation, the eternally subsisting second Person of the Trinity accepted all the essential characteristics of humanity and so became the God-Man (Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 2:9). We affirm the hypostatic union that Jesus Christ represents humanity and deity in indivisible oneness; being now both 100% God and 100% man in mysterious union (Micah 5:2; John 5:23; 14:9-10; Philippians 2:7-8; Colossians 2:9). We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ was virgin born (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23, 25; Luke 1:26-35); that He was God incarnate (John 1:1, 14); and that the purpose of the incarnation was to reveal God, redeem men, and rule over God’s kingdom (Psalm 2:7-9; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:29; Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 7:25-26; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished the redemption of His elect people by living a perfectly sinless life to fulfill the righteous requirement of the law the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross, and that His death was voluntary, vicarious, substitutionary, sufficient, propitiatory, and redemptive (John 10:15, 18; Romans 3:24-25; 5:8; 5:19; 1 Peter 2:24).
We teach that on the basis of the efficacy of the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the believing sinner is freed from the punishment, the penalty, the power, and one day the very presence of sin; and that he or she is forgiven of all sins--past, present, and future, declared righteous, given eternal life, and adopted into the family of God (Romans 3:25; 5:8-9; 8:1; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18).
We teach that our justification is made sure by the literal, physical resurrection of Christ Jesus from the dead, and that He is now ascended to the right hand of the Father where He reigns exalted and mediates as our Advocate and High Priest (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:38-39; Acts 2:30-31; Romans 4:25; 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1).
We teach that in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave, God confirmed the deity of His Son and gave proof that God has accepted the final and sufficient atoning work of Christ on the cross. Jesus’ bodily resurrection is also the guarantee of a future bodily for all believers (John 5:26-29; 14:19; Romans 1:4; 4:25; 6:5-10; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23).
We teach that the Lord Jesus Christ is the One through whom God will judge all mankind (John 5:22-23):
As the Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), the Head of His Body the church (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23; Colossians 1:18), and the universal King. He is the final Judge of all who have not trusted in Him as Lord and Savior (Matthew 25:14-46; Acts 17:30-31; 1 Corinthians 15:25).
God the Holy Spirit We teach that the Holy Spirit is God, the third Person of the Trinity, eternal, underived, possessing all the attributes of personality and deity, including intellect (1 Corinthians 2:10-13), emotions (Ephesians 4:30), will (1 Corinthians 12:11), eternality (Hebrews 9:14), omnipresence (Psalm 139:7-10), omniscience (Isaiah 40:13-14), omnipotence (Romans 15:13), and truthfulness (John 16:13). In all the divine attributes He is coequal and consubstantial with the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; 28:25-26; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Jeremiah 31:31-34 with Hebrews 10:15-17).
We teach that the Holy Spirit works to execute the divine will in a number of ways with relation to all mankind. We recognize His sovereign activity in creation (Genesis 1:2), the incarnation (Matthew 1:18), the written revelation (2 Peter 1:20-21), the work of salvation (John 3:5-7; Titus 3:5), and sanctification (Philippians 2:12-13).
We teach that the Holy Spirit proceeds forth from the Father and the Son as promised by Christ (John 14:16-17; 15:26) to build the Body of Christ, which is His church (1 Corinthians 12:13). The broad scope of His divine activity includes convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ and sanctifying believers into the image of Christ (John 16:7-9; Acts 1:5; 2:4; Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:22).
We teach that the Holy Spirit is the supernatural, monergistic, and sovereign Agent in regeneration, spiritually baptizing all believers into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; Titus 3:5). The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers for service, intercedes in prayer, and seals them unto the day of redemption (Romans 8:9, 26-27; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesian 1:13).
We teach that the Holy Spirit is the divine Teacher, who guided the apostles and prophets into all truth as they committed to writing God’s revelation, the Bible (2 Peter 1:19-21). Every believer now possesses the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment of regeneration (John 16:13; Romans 8:9; 1 John 2:20, 27).
We teach that the Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts to the church. The Holy Spirit glorifies neither Himself nor His gifts by displays that are contrary to the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23, but He does glorify Christ by implementing His work of redeeming the lost and building up believers in the faith (John 16:13-14; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 2 Corinthians 3:18).
We teach that the miraculous gifts of the Spirit were temporary gifts, given to the early church for three purposes: (1) As a sign by which God authenticated His messengers during a time of transition (Matthew 10:1,7; Acts 2:22; 43; 8:6, 13; 14:3; Romans 15:18-19; 2 Corinthians 12:2; 14:21-22; Hebrews 2:3-4). Miraculous authentication was no longer necessary once the transition was complete and the New Testament church was firmly established. (2) As a means by which to give additional revelation to the church (2 Peter 1:20-21; Hebrews 1:1-2); which was promised by Jesus Himself (John 14:23-26; 16:12-15). Additional Revelation ceased to be necessary once the canon was completed. (3) As a means by which to edify others in the church (1 Corinthians 12:7; 14:3-5, 12, 17,26; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Peter 4:10-11; Hebrews 1:1-2). This is still a purpose of spiritual gifts, but it does not necessitate a normative pattern of the continuation of the miraculous sign gifts.
We teach that gift of tongues was the supernatural ability to speak in real human languages that were not previously learned (Isaiah 28:11; Acts 2; 1 Corinthians 14:9-11, 21). The gift of tongues was primarily as a sign for evangelism (Isaiah 28:11; 1 Corinthians 14:21-22). Secondarily, when the tongue was translated by the gift of interpretation it was for the edification of the church (1 Corinthians 14:1-5, 12, 26).
We teach that the gift of prophecy was the supernatural ability to give a fully accurate and fully authoritative declaration of divine revelation (1 Corinthians 12:10; Acts 11:27–28; 21:10; Revelation 1:3). We also teach that prophecy in the New Testament is to be held by the same standard as it was in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 13:1–5; 18:21-22; Jeremiah 23:14; 1 John 4:1-6).
We teach that the gift of healings was the supernatural ability to lay hands on a sick person and see that person immediately and fully recover (1 Corinthians 12:9). This is the same pattern of healing which was seen in Christ and the Apostles (Mark 1:42; 8:14-15; 12:24; John 11:47-48; Acts 4:16-17); and the healing was not based on the recipient's faith since some who were healed had no faith (Mark 8:5-11; Luke 17:11-19; John 5:1-16; Acts 16:18). We teach that no one possesses the gift of healing today, but that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith and will answer in accordance with His own perfect will for the sick, suffering, and afflicted (Luke 18:1-8; James 5:13-16; 1 John 5:14-15).
We teach that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to the church for the common good of all believers. Since each gift is given according to God’s sovereign will and discretion, the possession of any gift is of grace and does not constitute spiritual maturity. The proper use of the gifts are for the edification of the body; to promote united worship of God, giving preeminence and glory to Jesus Christ, and continually to facilitate the growth of each member of the body into maturity in Christ. (Isaiah 28:11; John 16:14; Acts 4:8, 31, Romans 8:23, 12:1-21; 1 Corinthians 12:11-13, 13:8, 14:21; Ephesians 1:13, 4:7-16).
We teach that man was directly, immediately, and maturely created by God in His image and likeness. Man was created free of sin with a rational nature, intelligence, volition, self-determination, and moral responsibility to God (Genesis 2:7, 15-25; James 3:9). Since creation, man is made up of two parts, a material (or physical) part and a non-material (or spiritual) part, which are mysteriously linked together by God at conception. In the Bible, the immaterial part of man is referred to as either a “soul” or a “spirit,” both being used interchangeably in Scripture (Genesis 2:7; Job 7:11; Ps 42:6; Isaiah 26:9; Matthew 10:28; Luke 1:46-47; James 2:26; 3 John 2).
We teach that God’s intention in the creation of man was that man should glorify God and delight in Him forever (Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11). We teach that in God‘s love and wisdom, men and women are created equal in dignity, value, and worth, and while not obligated to marry in all cases, God has appointed differing and complementary roles in marriage as a picture of Christ and the church and in a fashion suitable to man's God given tasks (Ephesians 5:22-33; Genesis 1:26-27; 2:18; 1 Corinthians 7:1-40).
We teach that in Adam’s sin of disobedience to the revealed will and Word of God, man lost his innocence, incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death, became subject to the wrath of God. Because of Adam’s sin man also became inherently corrupt, totally depraved, a slave to sin, and utterly incapable of choosing or doing that which is acceptable to God apart from divine grace (Gen 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21-23; John 8:34; Romans 1:18-32; 3:9-18; 6:6; 8:8; Ephesians 4:17-18, Psalm 14:3, Psalm 53:3, Isaiah 64:6).
With no recuperative powers to enable him to recover himself, man is hopelessly lost. Therefore, the entirety of Man’s salvation, from predestination to glorification is thereby wholly of God’s grace through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:1-19; John 3:36; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 Timothy 2:13-14; 1 John 1:8).
We teach that, because all men were in Adam, a nature corrupted by Adam’s sin has been transmitted to all men of all ages, Jesus Christ being the only exception. All men are thus sinners by nature, by choice, and by divine declaration (Psalm 14:1-3; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:23; 5:10-12).
We teach that salvation is wholly of God by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to scripture alone, for the Glory of God alone; and on the basis of the redemption of Jesus Christ, the merit of His life of perfect righteousness and His shed blood, and not at all on the basis of any human merit, action, deed, or work (John 1:12; Ephesians 1:3-14; 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Galatians 2:16,21).
We teach that election is the sovereign act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He unconditionally chose in Christ all those whom He would ever graciously draw, call, regenerate, justify, sanctify, and glorify (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2).
We teach that God's sovereign election does not contradict or negate man's responsibility for his sins, and man's requirement to repent and trust Christ Jesus alone as Savior and Lord (Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11; John 3:18-19, 36; 5:40; Romans 9:19-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Revelation 22:17). Nevertheless, since sovereign grace includes the very means of receiving the gift of salvation as well as the gift itself, sovereign election will always result in what God determines. All whom the Father has elected He will effectually call to Himself. All whom the Father effectually calls to Himself will come in faith, and all who come in faith the Father will receive (John 6:37-40, 44; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:30).
We teach that God’s election of totally depraved sinners is unconditional and is according to the sovereign freedom of God’s own will. Election is not related to any initiative of the sinner’s own part, or to God’s anticipation of what they might do by their own will, or even in response to their foreseen faith. Rather, election is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy (Romans 9:11, 16; Ephesians 1:4-7; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 1:2).
We teach that election should not be looked upon as based merely on abstract sovereignty. God is truly sovereign, but He exercises this sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, mercy, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love (Romans 9:11-16). This sovereignty will always exalt the will of God in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:25-28; 2 Timothy 1:9).
Redemption We teach that redemption was fully and efficaciously accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ. Through His perfect life of active obedience to God and His suffering and death, Christ purchased forgiveness of sins for, and credits His perfect righteousness to, all those who would ever bear the fruit of repentance by trusting in Him alone for salvation (Romans 5:18–19; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Peter 3:18; Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21). In His atoning death, Christ bore in their place the punishment due to them because of their sin (Isaiah 53:4–6; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24), thereby satisfying the demands of divine justice and fully propitiating the wrath of God against them once and for all (Romans 3:21–26; 5:9; Hebrews 2:17; 10:12; 1 John 4:10). Thus it can be truly said that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1; Colossians 2:13–14).
We teach that all three Persons of the Trinity are entirely unified in the work of redemption (Romans 8:1-11; Galatians 4:4-6; Titus 3:4-6). We teach that redemption of the elect was decreed by the Father in eternity past (Ephesians 1:4; John 6:37-40; 10:29; 17:6, 9, 19–21), was entirely and actually accomplished by the Son in the fullness of time, and is applied to the sinner by the Holy Spirit in His work of regeneration. Thus, by His atoning work, Christ rendered the salvation of the elect definite, such that none for whom Christ died will ever perish (John 10:14–15; 27–30). And by His regenerating work, the Holy Spirit renders the salvation of the elect actual, applying the benefits of Christ’s efficacious work to all whom the Father has chosen. Thus, the Lord laid down His life for His sheep (John 10:14–15, 26–30), for His friends (John 15:13), purchasing the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28; Hebrews 9:11-12, 15; Revelation 5:9); giving Himself up for His bride, the church (Ephesians 5:25).
We teach that the death of Christ establishes the Christian’s duty to proclaim the gospel to all, confidently announcing that whoever savingly believes will be forgiven, declared righteous, adopted, and inherit eternal life with God (Matthew 28:18–20; John 3:16; 6:37; Revelation 22:17).
Regeneration We teach that regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which new spiritual life is given (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5). It is instantaneous and is accomplished monergistically, solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (John 5:24; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23).
We teach that in the natural state, the unrepentant sinner cannot understand the glory of Christ and His gospel, and thus refuses Him who is most precious because he is blind to His reality (2 Corinthians 4:4). Yet through the sovereign miracle of regeneration, God is revealed in the heart of His elect to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6). The eyes of man's heart being thus enlightened, for the first time the sinner properly esteems the worthlessness criminality of sin and the infinite worthiness of Christ. As a result of this divine quickening, being so enabled by the Holy Spirit, the regenerated sinner is granted faith, and exercises that faith through fruitful repentance. Therefore, we teach that regenerating grace is irresistible because the glory of God in the face of Christ, properly grasped, is irresistible, and that no sovereign act of God can be thwarted. What God wills to happen will happen (Job 42:2; Psalm 115:3; Psalm 139:6).
Justification We teach that justification before God is the act of God (Romans 8:33) in which He declares righteous those who, by His irresistible grace, are regenerated and granted faith in Christ alone (Acts 16:31; 20:21; Romans 1:16; 3:22, 26; Galatians 3:22), which is evidenced by the fruit of repentance of their sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Isaiah 55:6-7), confessing Him as sovereign Lord (Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Philippians 2:11), and resting in full assurance of His finished work on the cross (John 19:30).
We teach that the sole basis of the believer’s justification is the righteous life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Christ’s righteousness consists in His perfect active obedience to all of God’s commandments, thus attaining as a man to the perfect standard of God’s righteousness in thought, word, and deed (Isaiah 53:9, 11; Matthew 3:15; Romans 3:21–22; 8:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 4:15). This includes His obedience unto death on the cross in order to pay the penalty for sin (Philippians 2:8), as well as His resurrection from the dead by which His righteousness is vindicated (Romans 4:25). It is this perfect righteousness, both in His life and death, with which believers are clothed in union with Christ and which is the sole ground of our acceptance with God (Romans 3:24, 8:21; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:27; Philippians 3:8-9).
In justification, righteousness is not infused into the believer, nor is it attained by any virtue or work of man (Romans 3:20; 4:6; 5:18-19). Rather, the perfect righteousness of Christ is counted, reckoned, or imputed to the believer through the instrumentality of faith (Romans 3:28; 4:4–5; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9). Neither the possession of faith nor the act of believing is that which is imputed; rather, faith is the instrument through which Christ’s righteousness is imputed.
We teach that along with the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the believer, God also imputes the believer’s sin to Christ, such that through His suffering and death, Christ paid the penalty of the believer’s sin by bearing the wrath of God in his place (Galatians 3:13; Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24). By this double imputation, God declares sinners righteous by faith alone in Christ alone, while never setting aside the demands of His holy justice (Matthew 5:17; Romans 3:31; 10:4). In this way, He is vindicated as both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).
We teach that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy and is therefore identified as a saint. This sanctification is positional and instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification. This sanctification has to do with the believer’s present legal standing before, not his present walk, condition, or present degree of maturity in the faith (Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30; 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 2:11; 3:1; 10:10, 14; 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2).
We teach that there is also, by the monergistic work of the Holy Spirit, a progressive sanctification by which the state of the believer is brought into greater conformity with the standing the believer positionally enjoys through justification. Now desiring obedience to the Word of God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to and concurrently with the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:17, 19; Romans 6:1-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 5:23; Philippians 2:12-13).
In this respect, we teach that every saved person is involved in a daily conflict—the new creation in Christ doing battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil—but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and provision of escape from temptation. The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life. All claims to the eradication of sin in this life are unscriptural. Eradication of sin in this life is not possible, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9; 1 Corinthians 10:13).
We teach that the child of God will ultimately be fully sanctified in Christ when he shall see the Lord and be “like Him” in his resurrected, glorified body (John 17:17; Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18, 7:1; Ephesians 4:24, 5:25-27; Colossians 1:22; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; Hebrews 10:10, 14, 12:10).
Security and Assurance We teach that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 5:24; 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Romans 5:9-10; 8:1, 31-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 7:25; 13:5; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24). Those who once professed faith and subsequently deny the authority of Jesus Christ demonstrate by their going out from us that they were never truly saved (1 John 2:19).
We teach that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion for sinful living and carnality (Romans 6:15-22; 13:13-14; Galatians 5:13, 25-26; Titus 2:11-14).
Genuine salvation is generally manifested by fruits worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct. Good works are the proper evidence and fruit of regeneration (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:10), and as the Holy Spirit works in his life through faithful godly desires and conformity to the Word of God (Ephesians 5:17-21; Philippians 2:12b; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:4-10). This conformity causes the believer to be increasingly like the perfect example of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). Such a conformity is climaxed in the believer’s glorification at Christ’s coming (Romans 8:17; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:2-3).
Separation We teach that separation from sin is clearly called for throughout the Old and New Testaments, and that the Scriptures clearly indicate that in the last days apostasy and worldliness shall increase (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).
We teach that, out of deep gratitude for the undeserved grace of God granted to us, and because our glorious God is so worthy of our total consecration, all the saved desire to live in such a manner as to demonstrate our adoring love to God and so as not to bring reproach upon our Lord and Savior. We also teach that separation from all religious apostasy and worldly and sinful practices is commanded of us by God (Romans 12:1-2, 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11).
We teach that believers should be separated unto our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; Hebrews 12:1-2) and affirm that the Christian life is a life of desiring righteousness that reflects the teaching of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2-12) and a continual pursuit of holiness in concurrence with God's will (Romans 12:1-2; Philippians 2:12-13; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14; Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 3:1-10).
We teach that all who have been granted faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual Body, the church (1 Corinthians 12:12-13), the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-32; Revelation 19:7-8), of which Christ is the Head (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; Colossians 1:18).
We teach that the formation of the New Testament church began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21, 38-47) and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
We teach that the church is made up of all born-again believers (Ephesians 2:11-3:6). The New Testament church was a mystery that was not yet revealed until Christ's first coming (Ephesians 3:1-6; 5:32).
We teach that the establishment and continuity of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:23, 27; 20:17, 28; Galatians 1:2; Philippians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1) and that the members of the one spiritual Body are directed to associate themselves together in local assemblies (1 Corinthians 11:18-20; Hebrews 10:25).
We teach that the one supreme authority for the church is Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18) and that church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed through His sovereignty as found in the Scriptures. The biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the assembly are elders (also called bishops, pastors, overseers, and shepherds; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Peter 5:1-2) and deacons, both of whom must meet biblical qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5).
We teach that these leaders lead or rule as servants of Christ (1 Timothy 5:17-22) and have His authority in directing the church. The congregation is to submit to their leadership (Hebrews 13:7, 17).
We teach the importance of discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Timothy 2:2), mutual accountability of all believers to each other (Matthew 18:5-14), as well as the need for discipline of sinning members of the congregation in accord with the standards of Scripture (Matthew 18:15-22; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 1 Timothy 1:19-20; Titus 1:10-16).
We teach the autonomy of the local church, free from any external authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Titus 1:5). We teach that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other for the presentation and propagation of the faith. Each local church is tasked with interpreting and applying Scripture, and should be the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation. Each local church should determine all other matters of membership, policy, discipline, benevolence, and government as well (Acts 15:19-31; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 5:4-7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
We teach that the purpose of the church is to glorify God (Ephesians 3:21) by building itself up in the faith (Ephesians 4:13-16), by instruction of the Word (2 Timothy 2:2, 15; 3:16-17), by fellowship (Acts 2:47; 1 John 1:3), by keeping the ordinances (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38-42) and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8; 2:42).
We teach the calling of all saints to the work of service (1 Corinthians 15:58; Ephesians 4:12; Revelation 22:12).
We teach that the church demonstrates God's sovereign purpose in the world. To that end, He gives the church spiritual gifts. He gives elders and teachers for the purpose of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:7-12), and He also gives unique and special spiritual abilities to each member of the Body of Christ (Romans 12:5-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31; 1 Peter 4:10-11).
We teach that two ordinances have been committed to the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:38-42). Christian baptism by immersion (Acts 8:36-39) is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a believer demonstrating faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life (Romans 6:1-11). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the church (Acts 2:41-42). There is nothing supernatural about the water of baptism, and in no way does baptism bring about or prevent regeneration, nor does not yet having been baptized prevent a new faithful believer in Christ from participating in the Lord's supper.
We teach that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes, and should be always preceded by solemn self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:28-32). We also teach that, whereas the elements of Communion are only representative of the flesh and blood of Christ, participation in the Lord’s Supper is nevertheless an actual communion with the risen Christ, who indwells every believer, and so is present, fellowshipping with His people (1 Corinthians 10:16).
We teach that angels are created spirit beings and are therefore not to be worshipped. Although they are a higher order of creation than man, they are created to serve God, minister to the elect people, and to worship God (Luke 2:9-14; Hebrews 1:6-7, 14; 2:6-7; Revelation 5:11-14; 19:10; 22:9).
We teach that Satan is a created angel and the author of sin. He incurred the judgment of God by rebelling against his Creator (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19), by taking numerous angels with him in his fall (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:1-14), and by introducing sin into the human race by his temptation in the garden (Genesis 3:1-15).
We teach that Satan is the open and declared enemy of God and man (Isaiah 14:13-14; Matthew 4:1-11; Revelation 12:9-10); that he is the prince of this world, who has been defeated through the perfectly sinless life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 16:20); and that he shall be eternally punished in the lake of fire (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).
We teach that physical death involves no loss of our immaterial consciousness (Revelation 6:9-11), that the soul of the redeemed passes immediately into the presence of Christ (Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8), that there is a separation of soul and body (Philippians 1:21-24), and that, for the redeemed, such separation will continue until Christ's return (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17), when our soul and resurrected body will be reunited to be glorified forever with our Lord (Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:35-44, 50-54). Until that time, the souls of the redeemed in Christ remain in joyful fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8).
We teach the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life (John 6:39; Romans 8:10-11, 19-23; 2 Corinthians 4:14), and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Daniel 12:2; John 5:29; Revelation 20:13-15).
We teach that the souls of the unsaved at death are kept under punishment in Hades until final Judgment (John 5:28-29; Luke 16:19-26; Revelation 20:13-15, Revelation 20:11-15). All the unbelieving shall be cast into hell, the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41-46), cut off from the life of God forever (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:41-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9), and will suffer under the wrath of God eternally.
The MillenniumWe teach that a millennial reign is mentioned in scripture. We explain that the millennial reign is a secondary matter of the faith, and that there are four common understandings: Postmillennial, Amillennial, Historic Premillennial, and Futuristic Premillennial. Further, we teach the tragedy of the division that has occurred in the church surrounding this subject, and that we are called to both excel in the study of last things while simultaneously being charitable in secondary matters of the faith. (Revelation 20:1-15; Ephesians 4:32)
The Judgment of the LostWe teach that, in the end, Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10), whereupon Christ, who is the Judge of all men (John 5:22), will judge and condemn resurrected unbelievers. We teach that the resurrection of the unbelieving dead to judgment will be a physical resurrection, whereupon receiving their judgment (John 5:28-29), they will be committed to an eternal conscious punishment in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:11-15).
Eternity We teach that after judgment, the elements of this earth are to be dissolved (2 Peter 3:10) and restored to a new earth, wherein only righteousness dwells (Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 20:15; 21:1-27; 22:1-21). Following this, the heavenly city will come down out of heaven (Revelation 21:2) and will be the dwelling place of the saints in the presence of God, where they will enjoy eternal fellowship with God and one another (John 17:3; Revelation 21-22). Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28), that in all spheres the triune God may reign forever and ever (1 Corinthians 15:28).
"Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth." John 17:17
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright ©1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org