I. The Holy Scriptures

The 39 Books of the Old Testament and the 27 Books of the New Testament is God’s written revelation of Himself to mankind and is infallible, inerrant, and verbal plenary inspired (θεόπνευστος, God-breathed) in the original autographs. It is wholly sufficient for every aspect of the life for both the individual believer and corporate body of Christ (2 Timothy 3:16; John 17:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13, 2 Peter 1:21).

Agreeing with the translators of the Authorized Version:

the very meanest translation of the Bible in English set forth by men of our profession (for we have seen none of theirs of the whole Bible as yet) containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God

The Translators to the Reader, The Cambridge Paragraph Bible: Of the Authorized English Version (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1873), cxiii.”

Holding to the Reformation principle of Sola Scriptura, the Bible is the sole infallible source of authority for Christian faith and practice.

II. Hermeneutics

There may be multiple applications of a given passage of Scripture, but there can only be one correct interpretation. Interpretations of various texts may be proposed, but if they contradict one another they cannot, obviously and logically, be true. The literal grammatical-historical hermeneutical approach to biblical interpretation intends to determine the intent of the author writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit rather than subjecting the passage to how it is perceived by the reader (See 2 Peter 1:20-21).

III. God

God is that only omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being whose reason for existence is within Himself.

There is only one living and true God (Deuteronomy 4:35; 39; 6:4; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6; 45:5-7; John 17:3; Romans 3:30; 1 Corinthians 8:4). He is perfect in all of His attributes and exists eternally in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14). Each Member of the Triune God is co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory and equally deserving of worship and obedience (John 1:14; Acts 5:3-4; Hebrews 1:1-3).

…God the Father, the first Person of the Trinity, is the omnipotent Ruler and Creator of the universe (Genesis 1:1-31; Psalm 146:6) and is sovereign in both creation and redemption (Romans 11:36). He does as He pleases (Psalm 115:3; 135:6) and is limited by no one. His sovereignty does not abrogate the responsibility of man (1 Peter 1:17).

…Jesus Christ, God the Son, is co-eternal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit and yet eternally begotten of the Father. He possesses all of the divine attributes and is coequal and consubstantial with the Father (John 10:30; 14:9). Jesus secured our redemption by voluntarily offering His life on the cross. His sacrifice was substitutionary, propitiatory[i], and redemptive (John 10:15; Romans 3:24-25; 5:8; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 2:2). After His crucifixion, Jesus was bodily (not merely spiritually or metaphorically) raised from the dead and thereby proved Himself to be God in human flesh (Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20-21; Acts 1; 9; 1 Corinthians 15).

…the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Triune God and, as is the Son, co-eternal and co-equal with the Father.  He is not an “it” and is not a “force;” He is a Person. He has intellect (1 Corinthians 2:9-11), emotions (Ephesians 4:30; Romans 15:30), volition (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). He speaks (Acts 8:26-29), He commands (John 14:26), He teaches and prays (Romans 8:26-28). He is lied to (Acts 5:1-3), He is blasphemed (Matthew 12:31-32), He is resisted (Acts 7:51) and is insulted (Hebrews 10:28-29). All of these are characteristics and qualities of a Person. Though not the same Person as God the Father, He is of the same essence and nature. He convicts men of sin, righteousness and the certainty of judgment unless they repent (John 16:7-11). He grants regeneration (John 3:1-5; Titus 3:5-6) and repentance (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:23-25) to the elect. He indwells every believer (Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20), intercedes for every believer (Romans 8:26) and seals every believer for eternity (Ephesians 1:13-14).

IV. Man

…man was directly handmade by God and created in His image and likeness (Genesis 2:7; 15-25) and, as such, stands unique among the created order to have the potential and capacity to know Him. Man was created free of sin and possessed intelligence, volition and moral responsibility before God. Adam and Eve’s willful sin resulted in immediate spiritual death and eventual physical death (Genesis 2:17) and incurred the righteous wrath of God (Psalm 7:11; Romans 6:23). His wrath is not malicious but is His rightful detestation of all evil and unrighteousness. All of creation is fallen along with man (Romans 8:18-22). Adam’s fallen state has been transmitted to all men. All men, therefore, are sinners both by nature and by choice (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 1:18; 3:23).

V. Salvation

…salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone as recorded in Scripture alone for the glory of God alone. Sinners are totally depraved, meaning, that left to his own fallen nature man has no inherent ability to save himself or even to seek after God (Romans 3:10-11). Salvation, then, is instigated and completed solely by the convicting and regenerative power of His Holy Spirit (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5) Who grants both genuine faith (Hebrews 12:2) and genuine repentance (Acts 5:31; 2 Timothy 2:23-25). He accomplishes this through the instrumentality of the Word of God (John 5:24) as it is read and preached. Though works are wholly unmeritorious for salvation (Isaiah 64:6; Ephesians 2:8-9), when regeneration has been wrought in a person he will exhibit works, or, fruit, of that regeneration (Acts 26:20; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:10).

VI. Baptism of the Holy Spirit

…one receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit at conversion. When the Holy Spirit regenerates the lost person He baptizes him into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not, as some suppose, an experiential “Second Blessing” post-conversion which happens to only “elite” Christians resulting in their ability to speak in tongues. It is not an experiential event but a positional event. It is a fact, not a feeling. The Bible never commands us to be baptized by the Holy Spirit.

The Bible does, however, command believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). The Greek construct in this text permits a rendering of “be filled with the Holy Spirit” or “be filled by the Holy Spirit.” In the former rendering, the Holy Spirit is the content of the filling whereas in the latter He is the agent of the filling. It is our position that the latter is the correct view. If He is the agent, then what is the content? We believe that the proper context points to the proper content. Ephesians repeatedly emphasizes that we are to be filled with the “fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 1:22-23; 3:17-19; 4:10-13). Jesus Himself said that the Holy Spirit would point us to Christ (John 16:13-15). The Apostle Paul in Colossians 3:16 instructs “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” We are being filled by the Holy Spirit when we read, learn and obey the Word of God. When we are filled and being filled by the Holy Spirit the results will be evidenced by: ministry to others, worship, thanksgiving, and humility (Ephesians 5:19-21).

VII. Election

…election is the gracious act of God by which He chooses to redeem some of mankind for Himself and as a gift to the Son (John 6:37; 10:29; 17:6; Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-11; 2 Timothy 2:10). God’s sovereign election does not negate man’s accountability before God (John 3:18-19, 36; 5:40; Romans 9:22-23).

Many erroneously see election as harsh and unfair. People often view the doctrine of election as God keeping people out of Heaven whereas the biblical reality is that all of mankind is willingly running to Hell and God, in His mercy, plucks some from their ruinous but justly deserved end. When people ask me if I am a Calvinist, I must ask “What do you mean by that?”  I have found that few really understand the term. Firstly, I am not a “Calvinist” in that, though I admire much of his body of work, I am not a disciple of John Calvin. However, if you were to ask me if I believe in the Doctrines of Grace, or, election, I would confidently reply “Yes” because it is clearly and unmistakably taught in Scripture.

Contrary to what many suppose, the doctrine of election in no way should hinder evangelistic efforts and/or appeals to people to repent and trust Christ. Some of Christianity’s most fervent preachers who were very evangelistic were also devoted adherents to the Doctrines of Grace, or, election. Notable examples include George Whitfield, Charles Spurgeon, John Foxe, Martin Luther and William Carey. It is unfortunate that some who oppose the biblical doctrine of election unfairly portray “Calvinists” as people who do not care about or are even antagonistic to the fulfilling of the Great Commission. To the contrary, it is a right understanding of the doctrine of election that gives confidence to our public preaching and personal evangelism knowing that it is God and God alone who convicts and regenerates men’s hearts.  Conversions are not dependent upon our eloquence of speech or creative marketing techniques.  God uses the proclamation of His Gospel to save those who are His from the foundation of the world.

VIII. Justification

…justification is an act of God in the lives of His elect by which He judicially declares them as righteous. This justification is evidenced by repentance from sin, faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross and ongoing progressive sanctification (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 1 Corinthians 6:11). The righteousness of God is imputed, not infused as taught by the Roman Catholic church. Our sins are imputed to Christ (1 Peter 2:24) and His righteousness is imputed to us (2 Corinthians 5:21). Infused “righteousness” gained by penance or taking communion and must be continually repeated is no righteousness at all.

IX. Eternal Security

…once a person is regenerated by God’s Holy Spirit he is eternally secure.  Salvation is a gift that is given by God and will never be revoked (John 10:28). Those who are in Christ will remain in Christ positionally and relationally for all of eternity (Hebrews 7:25; 13:5; Jude 24). Some object to this doctrine because, they claim, it leads to an “easy believism.” Rightly understood, this is not true. For all of those people – and there are many – who make a “profession of faith” at some point in life but later walk away from Christ and show no evidence of genuine conversion, then it is our position that they were never genuinely saved in the first place. They were false converts (1 John 2:19).

X. The Church

…the church is comprised of those who have repented of sins and placed their trust in Christ and have, therefore, been placed by the Holy Spirit into the spiritual Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). The church is the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23; Revelation 19:7-8) and He is her Head (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; Colossians 1:18). The church has as its members those from every tribe, tongue, people and nation (Revelation 5:9; 7:9) and is distinct from Israel (1 Corinthians 10:32). Believers are to associate themselves into local assemblies on a regular basis (1 Corinthians 11:18-20; Hebrews 10:25).

A church should have and practice the two ordinances of believers’ baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:38-42) as well as practice church discipline (Matthew 18:15-20). Any church that does not have these three disciplines is not a true biblical church. The chief purpose of the church, just as the chief purpose of man, is to glorify God (Ephesians 3:21).

XI. Creation

…in keeping with proper hermeneutics, the Bible clearly teaches that God created the world in 6 literal 24 hour days. Adam and Eve were two literal, historical people handmade by God. We completely reject the fallacious arguments of both Darwinistic macro-evolution and theistic evolution, the latter of which is a woefully misguided attempt to make the Bible fit within the parameters of predominant scientific theories. True science always supports the biblical narrative and never contradicts it.

XII. Spiritual Gifts

…every person who is regenerated by God’s Holy Spirit is given gifts by the Same. The Holy Spirit distributes the gifts among each local body as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11; 18) for the purpose of edifying the local body (Ephesians 4:12; 1 Peter 4:10). There are, broadly speaking, two kinds of gifts: 1. the miraculous (Apostolic) gifts of tongues, interpretation of tongues, divine revelation and physical healing and 2. the ministering gifts of prophecy (forth-telling, not foretelling), service, teaching, leading, exhortation, giving, mercy and helps.

The Apostolic gifts are no longer in operation today as evidenced by both the Bible (1 Corinthians 13:8, 12; Galatians 4:13; 1 Timothy 5:23) and the vast majority of the testimony of church history. The function of the Apostolic gifts has already been fulfilled and they are, therefore, unnecessary. The Bible is completely sufficient for the individual believer and corporate body of Christ to know God’s will and obey it. The ministering gifts are still in operation today.

XIII. Last Things (Eschatology)

  1. Rapture – Christ will bodily return before the seven-year Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4:16) to remove believers from the earth (1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-5:11).
  2. Tribulation – Immediately following the removal of believers from the earth, God will judge it in righteous wrath (Daniel 9:27; 12:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:7; 12).  At the end of this seven-year period, Christ will return to the earth in glory (Matthew 24:27; 31; 25:31; 46; 2 Thessalonians 2:7; 12).
  3. Second Coming – After the seven-year Tribulation, Christ will return to occupy the throne of David (Matthew 25:31; Acts 1:11; 2:29-30).  He will then establish His literal messianic kingdom to reign for a literal thousand years on the earth (Revelation 20:1; 7) which will be the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel (Isaiah 65:17; 25; Ezekiel 37:21; 28; Zechariah 8:1; 17) to restore them to the land which they forfeited through their disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:15; 68).  This thousand year millennial kingdom will brought to its culmination with the release of Satan (Revelation 20:7).
  4. Judgment – Once released, Satan will deceive the nations and lead them into battle against the saints of God and Christ.  Satan and all those who follow him will be destroyed and cast into the lake of fire, specifically, Hell (Revelation 20: 9-10) and will consciously suffer God’s active judgment for all of eternity.

Those who are positionally and relationally in Christ will be eternally in the presence of the Triune God in a new earth upon which the new heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, will descend (Isaiah 52:1; Revelation 21:2). This is the eternal state. There will be no sin, no sickness, no disease, no sorrow, no pain. As the redeemed of God we will no longer know in part but in full.  We will no longer see dimly but will see face to face.  We will worship God fully and enjoy Him forever.

[i] Propitiation is translated from the Greek word hilasterion and denotes the satisfaction of the just demands and righteous wrath of God.