Authority and Authorship of Scripture

The Bible is authoritative and sufficient in all matters (Ps. 119:160). It is God’s special revelation of Himself to man, revealing His holiness, man’s sinfulness, the redemption of man and the world, and historicity of His people. It should be used for teaching, correction, preaching, and training (2 Tim. 3:16). The original manuscripts are without error and were inspired by the Holy Spirit as He provided exact words for the human author while allowing for that author’s particular writing style and personality to shine through. (Tit. 1:2; 2 Sam. 7:28; Prov. 30:52; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).

The Person of God

There is only one true God (Deu. 6:4; 1 Tim. 2:5), eternally existent in three persons who act in accordance with one divine will (John 5:19; 8:28; 12:49; 14:10). Each person of the Trinity has a distinct relationship and role (John 1:18; 3:16; 14:26; 16:7) and is equal in authority (1 Cor. 8:6; John 5:21-23; Matt. 12:31) with the other persons.


God the Father watches over His people (Ex. 4:22) and the one who sent Jesus as the savior into the world (1 Jn. 4:14). Through faith in Jesus, believers are adopted into the family of God (Eph. 1:5). The Father is the one who chose a people to give to His Son since before the foundation of the world (Jn. 17; Rm. 8:29-30).


God the Son, like the other persons of the Trinity, has existed eternally (John 1:1; Col. 1:17) and spoken of in Old Testament prophecy (Gen. 3:15). Jesus is fully man (Heb. 2:14) and fully God (Jn. 1:18; Lk. 3:22). He was born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23), lived a sinless life (Heb 4:15), died on the cross as the penal substitutionary atonement for man's sin (Matt. 6:12), rose from the dead (Lk. 24:6), ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:9), and is coming again in glory (1Co. 15).


God the Holy Spirit is the one whom Jesus sent as a helper that indwells all believers. He teaches (Jn. 14:26) and leads (Jn. 16:13) Christ followers (Jn. 14:16). The Spirit convicts (Jn. 16:8), intercedes for (Rom. 8:26) those who believe, and regenerates (Tit. 3:5) those whom the Father has chosen so that they will respond in faith and repentance, believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is in cooperation with the Holy Spirit that believers can better understand and study God's Word (Jn. 14:26). The Holy Spirit endows believers with specific gifts to serve God (1 Cor. 12:11) and serve the church (Eph. 4:11-13).

The Church

The universal church or body of Christ includes all who have faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior (1 Pet. 2:5; Eph. 2:19-22). Though all who put their faith in Jesus are united as one body, it is the local group of believers who constitute the local church or congregation (Acts 5:11-14). The local church is responsible for sound teaching (Acts 6:3-6), fellowship (Acts 2:42), evangelism (Mk. 16:15; Acts 13:47), discipleship (1 Pet. 5:1-4), and discipline (Matt. 18:15-20). This local church is responsible for administering two ordinances: the Lord's Supper (Matt. 26:26-30) and believer's Baptism (Matt. 28:19).

Church Government

Jesus is the head of the church (Col. 1:18) and has entrusted earthly responsibility to undershepherds in caring for His church. There are two church offices mentioned in the New Testament:


Elders care for the spiritual needs of the local church (Eph. 4:11; 1 Timothy 3:2; 5:17; Tit. 1:9). Elders can often be synonymous with Pastor, Shepherd, and Overseer. Though these are likely aspects or different parts of the role of Elder. The role of Elder is reserved for males only (1 Tim. 2:9-15; 3:1-7; Tit. 1:5-9).


Deacons are to care for the physical needs of the local church (Acts 6:1-6). Qualifications of this office are found in 1 Timothy 3 and allow for female and male occupancy.

The Nature of Man

Man came into existence in Gen. 1:26-2:25 and is made in the image of God as the manager of all creation. God's formula for man is dust and breath as found in Genesis 2:7. It is in these two parts that man becomes a soul or living being. Apart from breath man is only dust. Man was created as mortal though he had the opportunity to live in fellowship with God forever without death in the Garden of Eden. This privilege was lost at the rebellion (Gen. 3:6-7) through Adam’s sin, which brought the sentence of death (Gen. 2:17) for all of humanity. It is sin that severed the relationship between man and God (James 4:4) resulting in the need for a perfect sacrifice in Jesus to reconcile that relationship. Due to man needing two parts to exist as a living person, the breath given to man in Gen. 2:7 returns to God (Eccl. 12:7) until the resurrection, the body or dust returns to the Earth (Eccl. 12:7).

The Nature of Man

Man came into existence in Gen. 1:26-2:25 and is made in the image of God as the manager of all creation. God's formula for man is dust and breath as found in Genesis 2:7. It is in these two parts that man becomes a soul or living being. Apart from breath man is only dust. Man was created as mortal though he had the opportunity to live in fellowship with God forever without death in the Garden of Eden. This privilege was lost at the rebellion (Gen. 3:6-7) through Adam’s sin, which brought the sentence of death (Gen. 2:17) for all of humanity. It is sin that severed the relationship between man and God (James 4:4) resulting in the need for a perfect sacrifice in Jesus to reconcile that relationship. Due to man needing two parts to exist as a living person, the breath given to man in Gen. 2:7 returns to God (Eccl. 12:7) until the resurrection, the body or dust returns to the Earth (Eccl. 12:7).

Salvation

Union with Christ broadly encompasses all the work of God in our lives: election, calling, regeneration, faith, adoption, justification, and sanctification. These acts of God are only possible because of man’s union with Christ. Jesus had a people set aside for Him by the Father since “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). Jesus describes our unity with Him in John 17:23, “I in them and you in me”. As Christ and the Father are one and in each other, we are united with Christ.


Effectual Calling and Election is the choosing of God the Father prior to the foundation of the world. As found in Romans 8:30, “And those whom he predestined he also called”, God works all thing according to His own will, including those He has chosen for His purposes (Rom. 8:28). With this in mind, there are those who are called who have yet to be saved. As Ephesians 2:1 informs us, all even those who are elect are “dead in the trespasses of sins”. There are other aspects of salvation that require a response by an individual, however, the call on an individual to salvation comes solely from God. This effectual call is impossible to resist once one is regenerated and able to respond to God in faith and repentance.


Regeneration is the act of the Spirit in creating a new heart in an individual who has been called by the Father. We are spiritually dead prior to Regeneration (Eph. 2:1-3) but are born again by the Spirit (Jn. 3:7). Man is completely depraved prior to regeneration, unable to come to God on our own. As Jeremiah 17:9 indicates “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick”. Despite God instructing man to write His law on their hearts (Deut. 6:6), they are unable to do so. It is only God who is able to write the law on man’s heart through the work of the Spirit, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.” It is by God’s grace that the Spirit transforms the nature of an individual so that he is able to respond to God’s call in faith and repentance (Col.3:10).


Faith is man’s two-part response to God’s call and acceptance of His grace, which is referred to as conversion. It is through faith alone that man is saved not by any work of his own as Paul writes, “For by grace you have been saved through faith”. Saving faith in Jesus comes through knowledge of who He is, belief in the knowledge of Christ, and trusting in Him as Savior (Rom. 10:9). This faith is truly a gift from God, though it is man’s response to God, it is He who provides the faith for the believer to believe (Eph. 2:8-9). Faith is the instrument of salvation by which man is able to receive God’s grace.


Repentance is the second part to the two-part response of man to God’s call and acceptance of His grace. It is through faith alone that man is saved, but repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin. Repentance is sincere sorrow for sin, a turning away from sin, and seeking to walk in the ways of the Lord. If faith is turning to God, repentance is turning away from sin and forsaking it.


Justification is a legal term that speaks to the legal standing of one who is saved by God. Justification is the declaration of our righteous standing before God. Sanctification is the process in which God makes us righteous. As Paul indicates in Romans 4:5, God justifies the ungodly,through faith and not works. Therefore, one can be declared justified even though he was guilty of the crime (Rom. 3:28). The terms justify and condemn are declarative terms, which simply indicate guilt or innocence. One can be guilty yet declared just or innocent. It is Christ’s innocence that is imputed to those who are saved though inherently the saved still remain in a state of ungodliness (2Co. 5:21).


Adoption is the action and standing of one into God’s family. Through Christ’s work, one is adopted with Him as their brother and the Father as their father (Jn. 1:12). Man becomes “fellow heirs” with Christ as He becomes not only our Savior but brother (Gal. 4:28). This marks a transition as man moves into the Kingdom of God out from under the clutches of Satan as children of wrath (Eph. 2:2).


Sanctification is the process of one who is saved in being set apart and made holy by the work of God. There are two aspects to sanctification: definitive sanctification and progressive sanctification. Definitive sanctification is a one-time event similar to justification in that it is a work of God and is a once and forever event. It is the movement of a believer into the Kingdom of God from the kingdom of Satan, whereas God has set this person apart for His own purposes (Heb. 9:13-14). This is similar to how God set apart Israel to be His nation. They were to be set apart by the Law where now the Church is set apart by the blood of Christ.

Progressive Sanctification describes the process of one growing in holiness and righteousness as they have been set apart by God. There is a tension in salvation as one is saved by Christ and is set apart, they are still subject to sin in this fallen world until Christ returns (Phil. 3:12). The process of sanctification is God’s work in us, “may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely” (1Thes. 5:23). As faith and repentance are the response of the regenerate at conversion, sanctification is the continual response of the saved in faith and repentance.

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the Destiny of the Saved and Lost

Jesus' Second Coming is a promise that He will return to raise the dead and be among those who have life in Him (Jn. 14:3 Acts 1:11; 1 Cor. 15). It is at this time that Jesus will judge those according to their deeds and faith (Matt. 25:31-46). The Second Coming is something all believers should look forward to (1 Thes. 4:13-18) but not attempt to predict. Only God knows of the time in which Jesus will come back (Matt. 24:26).


The saved will enjoy eternal life with Jesus in Heaven (Matt. 25:31-46). Eternal refers to the length of time (forever) not quality. It is at this time that all believers will receive glorified bodies (2 Cor. 5:1-3) and live with God forever.


The Lost will also be raised at the Second Coming of Christ (Matt. 25:31-46). Those who are not in Christ will suffer eternal (forever) destruction (Matt. 25:46; 2 Thes. 1:8-9).