Statement of Faith

The Bible

1. The nature of the Bible and revelation in general

  1. The sixty-six historically accepted books of the Bible are the inspired Word of God, written by men as they were moved by the Holy Spirit to write exactly what was intended by God, while fully preserving each human author’s individual style. (1 Corinthians. 14:37; Ephesians 3:1-5; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21)
  2. The Scriptures are the very words of God with their perfection, authority, and sufficiency extending to the exact vocabulary, grammar, syntax, and literary context. (Exodus 24:3, 4, 8; Matthew 5:18; 1 Corinthians 14:37)
  3. The Bible is infallible; completely without error in the original manuscripts, and is rightly considered the Word of God to the degree that any translation preserves the meaning ofthe original text. (Psalms 19:7-9; John 10:35;1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Peter 1:20-21)
  4. The Bible is the supreme and final authority for faith and practice, fully addressing all issues of life either directly or in principle. (Matthew 4:4-10; 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  5. The apostles and prophets were unique messengers of God’s written revelation, being guided by the Holy Spirit through the process of inspiration. After the death of the last apostle, all revelation ceased, as its fullness and culmination are found in the person of Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:29-22; 2 Timothy. 3:16-17; Hebrews 1:2-4)
  6.  Biblical revelation is always objective truth in both source and content. (Genesis 6:15-22; Exodus 20:1-17; 2 Samuel 7:5-17; Acts 9:3-6; Revelation 1:10-3:22)
  7.  In contrast to Biblical revelation, contemplative spirituality and mystical practices are inherently and exclusively subjective. They depart from all biblical patterns, lacking objective content or an objective source. These approaches wrongly elevate subjective personal experiences, emotions, thoughts and perceptions to a level of authority that equals or exceeds that of the Bible.

2. The interpretation and use of the Scriptures

  1. The Bible is the revelation of the absolute truth necessary for man to understand the will of God and to live a life that is pleasing to Him. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  2. Scriptures can only be properly interpreted and understood by consistently applying a literal/normal, historical, grammatical hermeneutic which recognizes the author’s original intent, including the use of literal language, imagery and figures of speech. (Deuteronomy, 4:2, 2 Timothy 2:2, Revelation 22:18-19)
  3. The meaning of any given text is only that intended by the human author and conveyed exclusively by vocabulary, grammar, syntax and literary context. (Matthew19:18-19; Revelation 22:18-19)
  4. Spiritual maturity necessarily involves the Holy Spirit enabling the individual to fully comprehend and accept the Word of God. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

The Triune God

  1. There is exactly one, unique, infinite God who eternally exists as three distinct persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—who are in a perfect relationship with one another. These three persons are fully God and coequal in every way, each with a distinct role in God’s program. (Deuteronomy 6:4–6; Isaiah 61:3 Matthew3:16–17; John 10:30)
  2. Something of God’s general nature (i.e., His existence, His majesty, His power) can be discerned through the conscience and the observation of the Creation. This knowledge, however, is insufficient for someone to enter into a saving relationship with God because men naturally suppress this truth. (Romans 1:18–32; 2:12–16; 3:10–20)
  3. God’s specific nature and plan are uniquely revealed in the Bible alone. Therefore, He cannot be considered as the same god (simply known by other names) as proposed by other religions, nor equated with the various notions of god(s) that have developed in non-biblical religious traditions. (Exodus 20:1–3; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:39; Isaiah 45:5; 1 Corinthians 2:14–15)
  4. God is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent in every realm of existence. God’s knowledge and control of all events both potential and actual is absolute. Therefore His plan cannot be altered by any created being. (1 Kings 18:27; Isaiah 40:28; 57:15; Malachi 3:6; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 4:13; Revelation 11:17)

Jesus Christ

  1. The second Person of the Godhead, the eternal Son of God, is fully God, being coequal with the Father and the Spirit. (John 1:1; 20:28; 10:33-36; 14:26)
  2. The second Person of the Godhead came to this earth, was born of a virgin by the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, took on human flesh and nature, becoming fully man while continuing to be fully God and was named “Jesus.” (Matthew1:21-23; 2 Corinthians. 8:9; Hebrews 2:14-18)
  3. Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, perfectly fulfilling the Law of Moses and living in perfect accordance with all the eternal principles and laws of God. (John 8:46; Hebrews 4:15; I John 3:5)
  4. Jesus was crucified unto death at the hands of men, dying at the moment of His own choosing. His death was a substitutionary, atoning sacrifice for all mankind. His shed blood fully paid the penalty due for all the sins of every person against a holy God. However, only those who turn to Him in faith experience the salvation He offers on the basis of His sacrifice. (Matthew 27:50; John 1:29; 3:16–18; Philippians 2:6–11)
  5. Jesus died according to the Scriptures, was buried, physically arose from the grave according to the Scriptures, and was seen by many witnesses after His resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:3–4)
  6. Forty days after the resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven, where He is presently at the right hand of the Father interceding on behalf of believers as our High Priest, though not ruling from the throne of David as the Messianic King. (Psalms 110:4; Acts 1:9; Hebrews 1:3; 5:5–10; 1 John 2:1)
  7. Prior to the seven-year Tribulation (Daniel’s 70th week), Jesus will return in the clouds, at which time all the dead in Christ will be resurrected and all the living in Christ will be caught up (raptured) to be with Him forever. (Daniel 9:24–27; 1 Corinthians 15:50–54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18)
  8. After the Tribulation, Christ will physically return to the earth to establish His kingdom on the earth for 1000 literal years (the Millennium), ruling the nations from the throne of David in Jerusalem. (2 Samuel 7:8–16, Matthew 25:31; Revelation 20:1–6)

The Holy Spirit

  1. The third Person of the Godhead, the eternal Holy Spirit, is fully God, being co-equal with the Father and Son. (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14)
  2. At the moment of faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit permanently regenerates, indwells and baptizes ever believer into the Body of Christ (the Church), which includes all born-again believers in Christ from Pentecost to the Rapture. (Acts 2:1-4; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:11–14, 4:4-6)
  3. The indwelling Holy Spirit works in believers to enlighten, guide, convict of sin, and empower them to fulfill God’s will by living a life that is pleasing to Him. (John 14:16-17; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12; Ephesians 5:15-21)
  4. During the Church Age, the Holy Spirit distributes spiritual gifts of service to all believers according to His will for the building up of the Body of Christ. (Romans 12:4–7; 1 Corinthians 7:7; Ephesians 4:11–13)
  5. The Bible teaches, and history confirms, the distinction between spiritual service gifts and sign gifts. Sign gifts (such as tongues, words of knowledge, prophecy, healing the sick, resurrecting the dead) were limited to the early church, being associated with the apostles and those under their ministry for the purpose of establishing their authority and laying the foundation of the Church. (Romans 12:4–7; 1 Corinthians 12:1–11, 14:1–40; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 2:19–22)

Signs and Wonders

  1. Signs, wonders and miracles are supernatural interventions by God in the natural realm whereby He locally and temporarily suspends the normal laws of nature in order to achieve His specific purposes. (Genesis 7:11–24; Joshua 10:12–14; Matthew 14:17–21; John 2:1–11; 6:19; Acts 2:1–12)
  2. Signs and wonders from God generally had a specific purpose and occurred according to a clear and consistent pattern. Though not necessarily limited to the following, signs and wonders were generally given . . .
    1. To accomplish a specific task or achieve a unique goal in God’s program. (Joshua 10:12–14; Acts 2:1–12; Jude 16:17–30)
    2. As a sign of impending judgment, or as the judgment itself, due to sin and unbelief. (Genesis 7:11–14; Exodus 7–12; Acts 2:14–21)
    3. As a demonstration of God’s power over the Creation, including death. (Joshua 10:12–14; Luke 8:24; John 2:1–11)
    4. To authenticate the authority and message of God and his messengers. (Exodus 7–12; 1 Kings 18:20–34; Mark 2:8–12; Acts 3:1–16)
    5. In the context of unbelief rather than in the context of faith / faithfulness. (Genesis 7:11–14; Exodus 7–12; 1 Kings 18:20–34)
    6. As a means of protection / provision for His people in unique situations. (Genesis 7:11–14; Exodus 14:19–31; 16:13–17)
  3. Jesus condemned those who seek signs as being part of a “wicked and perverse generation,”  indicating that God did not intend for signs and wonders to be characteristic of the normal life of  the believer.  (Matthew 12:39; 16:4; Luke 11:19)
  4. In the present age, God continues to providentially care for His creation in accordance with His will and in response to the prayers and needs of His people, but not in a way that would be considered miraculous in the biblical sense of the word. (Psalms 37:25; James 5: 13-15)

God's Program and Dispensationalism

Introductory notes

A consistent literal/normal, historical, grammatical hermeneutic leads to a classic dispensational understanding of the Scriptures and history. Therefore, dispensationalism is not a system of interpretation, but rather the necessary theological result of a consistently applied biblical hermeneutic.

As God advances His program through history, there are periods of time characterized by unique arrangements and responsibilities between God and man, with promises of blessing and judgment related to man’s faithfulness to God and His revelation. (This does not imply  different ways of salvation, as salvation is always by grace through faith alone.)

Distinctives of biblical dispensationalism include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  1. The God-centeredness of history and the centrality of God’s glory as He works to establish His kingdom of righteousness. (Isaiah 42:8; Ephesians 1:3–12; Revelation 11:15)
  2. The absolute nature of God’s foreknowledge such that He knows what will actually happen as well as all possible outcomes. (Romans 8:28–29)
  3. The absolute nature of God’s sovereignty, such that His program cannot be thwarted or altered by created beings. (Romans 8:28–29)
  4. A consistently literal hermeneutic that recognizes symbolism and figurative language, but only as it is required by the text.
  5. The strict limitation of allegorical interpretation to only that which is explicitly required by the text.
  6. The distinction between Israel and the Church throughout Scripture, with God’s promises to national Israel remaining in effect, meaning that the Church does not become “spiritual Israel” by replacing Israel in God’s program. (2 Samuel 7:8–17; Jeremiah 31:7)
  7. The Church Age began on Pentecost and will end with the Rapture. (Acts 2; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18; Revelation 1–3)
  8. The resurrection of Church-Age saints and the rapture of living born-again believers in Christ to be with Christ forever, prior to the seven-year Tribulation period. (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18)
  9. The glorious return of Christ to the earth at the end of the Tribulation, prior to His literal millennial reign over the earth from the throne of David in Jerusalem. (Revelation 19:11–21)
  10. Salvation in every dispensation is by God’s grace through faith in Him alone. (Romans 4:3–4; Ephesians 2:8–9)

The Creation

  1. The Genesis accounts of the creation, although given through narrative, are historically and scientific accurate, support “young-earth creationism,” and indicate that God did this in six 24- hour days. (Genesis 1–2; Exodus 20:11; John 5:46)
  2. All forms of evolutionary theory, both atheistic and theistic, are inherently false interpretations of all relevant evidence. (Genesis 1–2; Exodus 20:11, John 5:46)
  3. The nature of the Creation and the effects of the global flood in the days of Noah are sufficient to explain any evidence that some say point to evolution. (Genesis 1–2; 6–7; 2 Peter 3:1–9)

Man & Woman

  1. The first man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve, were created as described in Genesis and are the progenitors of the entire human race. (Genesis 1:26–27; Matthew 19:4–6; Romans 5:12; 1 Timothy 2:13)
  2. God created Adam and Eve, in His image, as complete persons with material and immaterial aspects (body and soul/spirit), who were initially innocent, pure and righteous. (Genesis 1:26–27)
  3. Adam and Eve, after being tempted by Satan, disobeyed God and consequently acquired a sin nature. (Genesis 3:1–14)
  4. By virtue of being descendants of Adam, all are sinful by nature and by choice. (Romans 5:12–21)
  5. Being sinful, all are guilty before God and under His condemnation. Thus, all are spiritually dead and physically dying from the moment of conception. (Genesis 3:1-19; 5:3; Psalms 51:5; Ephesians 2:1–3)
  6. Through procreation, a fully human person, body and soul, comes into existence at conception. (Genesis 5:3; Psalms 51:5; Romans 5:12–13)
  7. Marriage, Sexual Morality and Gender Roles
    1. Marriage is a God-given institution, in which one man and one woman enter into the covenant of marriage for life according to God’s command. (Genesis 2:21–25; Matthew 19:15; 1 Corinthians 7:39–40)
    2. All sexual expressions, relations or activities which is not within a biblical, heterosexual marriage are sinful. (Exodus 20:14; Matthew 5:28; 19:19; Romans 1:24–27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 13:4)
    3. Men and women are designed to complement each other in life and ministry. (Genesis 2:25; Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:7)
    4. Men are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church, providing leadership, pastoral care and biblical instruction for their families. (Ephesians 5:25–31; 1 Timothy 2:11–15, 3:1–15)
    5. Wives are to submit to their husbands, and to teach and lead younger women, their families and one another. (Ephesians 5:23–24; 1 Timothy 5:1–4; Titus 2:1–5)
    6. Men alone are to be in pastoral and eldership roles in the church, as well as other positions that would include the teaching of the Scriptures to an audience that would include men. (1 Timothy 2:11–15; 3:1–15)
    7. God enables some to be single and celibate for life, while remaining pure in thought and deed, according to His perfect will and plan for their life. (Matthew 19:11–12)

Salvation

  1. God’s plan for salvation is explicitly, completely and exclusively revealed in the Word of God. (John 3:1–18, 14:6; Acts 4:12; Romans 10:9–15; 1 Corinthians 15:1–4)
  2. At the moment of salvation a person is accounted righteous before God forever on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ alone, completely apart from works. (Romans 4:22–25)
  3. The only condition for someone to be regenerated and justified before God is faith in Christ alone in response to hearing and understanding the gospel (faith precedes regeneration; regeneration is conditioned upon faith alone). (John 3:16; Romans 10:9–13; Ephesians 2:8–9)
  4. All who would place their faith in Christ are drawn to Him by the Father. (John 6:44)
  5. Without exception, there is no salvation apart from hearing, understanding and responding to the gospel by faith in Christ alone. (Romans 1:16–17; 10:9–15)
  6. Every believer in Christ is eternally saved and forever indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who enlightens, guides, and enables the believer in life, testimony, and service. (John 10:27–30; Acts 1:8; Romans 12:4–8; Ephesians 1:13–14, 2:6–9)
  7. The following basic truths of the gospel must be at least minimally communicated, understood, believed and accepted by faith for someone to be saved:
    1. Everyone is sinful before a holy God. (Psalms 51:5; Romans 3:10–23; 1 John 1:8–10)
    2. Because of man’s inherent sinfulness before God, all are under His condemnation, deserving judgment. (John 3:18; Romans 3:10–23; Revelation 20:11–15)
    3. Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, shed His blood as the perfect substitutionary sacrifice for our sins, taking our sin upon Himself as He experienced the Father’s wrath in our place on the cross. (Matthew 27:45–50; John 1:29; Philippians 2:5–11; 1 John 2:2)
    4. Jesus died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, was buried, bodily arose from the grave on the third day, according to the Scriptures, ascended into heaven, and was exalted to the Father’s right hand where He remains until His return at the time appointed by the Father. (1 Corinthians 15:3–4; Philippians 2:5–11)
    5. Because of God’s love and grace, eternal salvation is offered as a free gift to all who will turn to Christ by faith and receive Him as their Savior from sin. (Romans 3:21–30)
    6. All who receive Jesus Christ by faith, depending on Him alone for salvation, not upon their own works, are immediately born again of the Holy Spirit unto eternal life, becoming children of God forever. (John 1:13; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 10:11-12)
    7. All who have not received Christ remain under God’s wrath, facing eternal torment in the Lake of Fire. (John 3:18, 36; Romans 1:18; Revelation 20:11–15)

The Church

  1. The Church in General
    1. The universal Church (the “Body of Christ,” the “Bride of Christ”) began on the day of Pentecost and is made up of all born-again believers in Christ from Pentecost to the Rapture. (Matthew 16:18; Acts 1:4–8; 2:1–4, 46–47; Ephesians 2:19–22; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–17)
    2.  The Church does not replace national Israel in God’s program; nor is it “spiritual Israel;” nor does it receive the promises specifically made to national Israel in the Old Testament. (2 Samuel 7:12–16; Psalms 89:28–37; Jeremiah 33:25–26; Romans 11:1–32)
    3. Christians are not under the Mosaic Law, although they are responsible to follow the moral principles that form the basis of the Law as confirmed in the New Testament. (Romans 3:20; 4:3; 6:1–4; Ephesians 2:8–9)
    4. The Church is represented by local churches made up of born-again believers who regularly gather for fellowship, mutual edification, instruction, prayer and worship. (Acts 2:46–47; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Philemon 1–2, Hebrews 10:25)
  2. The roles of men and women in the Church
    1. Men are exclusively responsible to fulfill the roles of leadership and teaching in the church,  particularly in matters of Bible exposition, theology or other matters that would include
      exercising spiritual authority over other men.  (1 Timothy 2:11–15; 3:1–15)
    2.  Women have a vital and privileged role in ministry to their families, to younger women, and to children. (1 Timothy 2:15, 5:14)
  3. The Lord’s Table
    1. The Lord’s Table is a symbolic memorial to the death of Christ for our sins, that also looks forward to His return, but it does not have a spiritual effect or confer grace in any sense (Matthew 26:26–29; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26)
    2.  The only condition for participation in the Lord’s Table is that a person be a born-again believer who is walking in fellowship with both God and man. (1 Corinthians 11:27–24)
  4. Baptism
    1. Water baptism by immersion is a step of obedience to the Lord, expected of all believers subsequent to salvation. It is not a condition for salvation, nor does it have a spiritual effect. Neither does it confer grace in any sense. (Acts 2:36–38; 16:14–15; 16:31–32; 19:1–5)
    2.  Water baptism identifies the believer with Christ, symbolizes Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, and pictures the baptism of the believer by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ. (Romans 6:3–4; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27)
  5. The next prophetic event in God’s program is the resurrection of New Testament saints and the Rapture of the Church, meaning that these events are imminent, with no other prophecies that must be fulfilled. (Daniel 9:24–27; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18)
  6. At the moment of death, believers in Christ directly go into the Lord’s presence, consciously experiencing joy, awaiting the resurrection bodies they will receive at the Rapture. (2 Corinthians 5:6–9; Philippians 1:21–24)
  7.  After the Rapture, all believers in Christ will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, to receive or be denied rewards on the basis of their works as believers. (1 Corinthians 3:10–17; 2 Corinthians 5:10–13)

The Future

  1. The Culmination of History
    1. The purpose of history is to demonstrate God’s glory and bring glory to God. (Psalms 72:19, 113:4; Isaiah 6:3; Proverbs 16:4; Ephesians 1:12, 3:21)
    2.  After the Great White Throne Judgment, God will destroy the present heavens and earth and create the New Heavens and New Earth, where He will rule and receive worship forever. (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:10–13; Revelation 21:2–22:5)
    3. All sin will be absent from the eternal Kingdom of God as believers from all ages will experience their full redemption to sinless perfection in the presence of God. (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18; Revelation 20:11–15)
    4. Satan, the other fallen angels and unregenerate humans will be separated from God, eternally condemned to conscious torment and punishment in the Lake of Fire. (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:4–15)
  2. The Rapture and the Tribulation
    1. Prior to the Tribulation, Jesus Christ will catch up (rapture) all Christians, both living and dead, to meet them in the air and they will be in His presence forever. (John 14:3; 1 Corinthians 15:51–54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18; 1 John 3:2–3)
    2. The premillennial, pretribulational rapture of the Church is imminent and can happen at any moment. (1 Corinthians 15:52; Philippians 3:20–21; Revelation 3:11)
    3. The seven-year Tribulation (Daniel’s 70th week) will be the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the judgment aspects of the Day of the Lord when God pours out His wrath upon the earth through a series of catastrophic judgments.
    4. During the Tribulation, a great number of Jewish people will believe that Jesus Christ is their Messiah and will turn to God in repentance and faith. (Isaiah 10:20; Jeremiah 31:7–14; 31:30–34; Revelation 7:1–8)
    5. During the seven-year Tribulation period, the Antichrist will rise to power, deceiving many, establishing a world-wide political, military, economic and religious system, and falsely establishing as God to receive worship in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem. All who worship the Beast, the Antichrist, will receive his mark and thereby seal their eternal fate of condemnation and judgment. (Daniel 9:24–27; Matthew 24:4–28; 2 Thessalonians 2:3–12; Revelation 6:1–19:10)
  3. The Millennial Reign of Christ
    1. At the end of the Tribulation, Jesus Christ will return to the earth, to the Mount of Olives, along with the Church-age saints. At His glorious appearing (the Second Coming), Christ will judge the nations which have assembled against Him and His chosen people, Israel. (Revelation 19:11–21)
    2.  Christ will then establish His kingdom for a literal 1000 years on this earth, ruling the world from the Davidic Throne in Jerusalem. (Isaiah 9:7; 11:4; Daniel 7:21, 27; Zechariah 14:3–5; Matthew 24:30; Revelation 19:11–21; 20:4–6)
    3. The Millennium will be a time of peace, blessing, and restoration, as the earth is returned to its original condition prior to Fall. (Isaiah 4b–11, 65:20–25; Acts 3:19–21, 28)
    4.  During this 1000-year period, Satan will be bound. At the end of this time he will be briefly loosed and he will rally the nations against Christ. After this rebellion, Satan and those joining him will be defeated and cast into the Lake of Fire forever. (Revelation 20:1–3, 7–10)
  4. The Resurrections and Judgments
    1. During the present Church Age at the moment of death:
      1. The souls of unbelievers (the lost) go directly to Hades, experiencing conscious torment until their resurrection to judgment. (Luke 16:22–24; Revelation 20:11–15)
      2. The souls of believers go directly into the presence of the Lord, experiencing bliss forever. (Luke 16:22–24; 1 Corinthians3:9–15; 2 Corinthians 5:6–10; Philippians 1:21–23; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18)
    2. Following the Rapture, all Church Age saints will appear at the Judgment Seat of Christ to  receive their just reward. (Romans 14:10–12)
    3.  At the First Resurrection believers will be bodily resurrected to experience the full blessedness of eternal life in the presence of God forever.  At the Second Resurrection unbelievers (the lost) will be resurrected bodily to be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment according to their works, and then experience the suffering of eternal death in the Lake of Fire. (Daniel 12:2; John 5:28–30; 1 Corinthians 15:20–23; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18; Revelation 20:4–6, 11–15)
  5. The Eternal State
    1. The Lake of Fire is a literal place of conscious eternal torment into which Satan and the rebellious angels will be cast, along with unbelieving humans of all times. (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:11–15).
    2. The New Heavens, New Earth and New Jerusalem are literal places that will be the eternal abode of conscious bliss for the believers of all time (the participants in the First Resurrection). (Revelation 20:4–6; 21:1–22:5)

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