What We Believe

Church Covenant

Each Member by becoming a Member or continuing to be a Member assents to the following agreement among the Members. This agreement shall be known as the Covenant …

We believe the Holy Spirit led each of us personally1 to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, 2 and we have declared our faith by word3 and baptism. 4 Because of this, we willingly enter into a covenant with all the members of Bethel Baptist Church, as one body in Christ. 5

We walk together in love6 without regard to national origin, gender, income, or social standing, 7 working together to serve our church with the power of the Holy Spirit. 8 We support one another through regular attendance and we support the pastor(s) who lead our church, increasing their joy as they work on our behalf. 9

We pray for an increase in spiritual knowledge, holy living, and wisdom, 10 worshipping God fervently while sustaining the church ordinances, discipline, and doctrines. 11 We cheerfully contribute regular offerings to support the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and communication of the gospel to Oskaloosa and all the world. 12

We have personal and family times of Bible study and prayer. 13 We who are parents responsibly teach our children to obey the commands of Christ in all of life. 14 We pray for the salvation of our families and friends while testifying of Christ in word and actions. 15 We guard our testimony in the community by living lives of example. 16 Demonstrating integrity in our business relationships and faithfulness at work.

We abstain from behaviors the Scriptures identify as corrupt and harmful to our bodies, minds, or spirits. 20 We will avoid anything that is a hindrance to our fellowship with the Lord, 21 or encourages believers to sin. 22

We will love and care for each person in the family of God, praying for and helping those who are sick or in need. 22 We will show this love by using courteous speech, 23 giving and receiving correction with meekness and affection. 24 We will be slow to take offense, 25 always ready to secure reconciliation as soon as possible. 26

We further promise that if we move from the Oskaloosa area, we will join another church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word. 27

1John 15:26, 1 Corinthians 12:3; 21saiah 12:2, John 1:12, 3:16; Acts 16:31, Ephesians 2:8, 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 3Matthew 10:32; 4Matthew 28:19, Acts 2:38, 8:36-38,10:48, 16:31-34, 5Romans 12:4-8, 1 Corinthians 12:13-27; 6Amos 3:3, Romans 15:5-6, 1 Corinthians 1:10; 7Exodus 23:3, 2 Corinthians 5:16, 1 Timothy 5:21; 8Galatians 5:13, Hebrews 10:24; 91 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:7, 17; 10Matthew 26:41, Colossians 1:9, James 1:5-6; 11Acts 2:42, 2 Thessalonians 2:15, 1 Timothy 4:6-16, Hebrews 10:1-39; 12Malachi 3:10, Acts 11:29-30, Romans 15:25-27,1 Corinthians 16:1-3, 2 Corinthians 8:2-4, 8:12-14, 9:7, Galatians 2:10, I Timothy 5:17-18; 13Matthew 6:6, Luke l8:1; 14Deuteronomy 6:7-12, Psalm 78:1-8, Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:4, 2 Timothy 3:15; 15Matthew 5:16, 28:19-20, Philippians 1:27; 16Ephesians 6:5-10, Philippians 3:16-18, Titus 2:9-10, 1 Peter 2:11-12; 20Romans 13:13-14, 211Corinthians 6:12-20, 22Romans 14:1-15:7, I Corinthians 8:1-13; 22Galatians 6:2, Ephesians 6:18, Philippians 4:16, 1 John 3: 17-18; 23Colossians 4:6; 24James 3:13 Romans 14:1; 25Proverbs 14:29, I Corinthians 6:1-8, James 1:19; 26Matthew 18:15, Romans 12:I8, 14:19; 27Acts 9: 19, 18:27, Romans 16: 1-2, Hebrews 10:25

 

Confession of Faith

ARTICLE I: THE BIBLE

” … THY WORD IS TRUTH.” JOHN 17:17

We believe the Bible is God’s Word, and in its entirety Divine revelation to man. As God’s Word, it is our final authority for faith and practice. We believe that the Bible is inspired of God, totally without error and infallible in the original manuscripts. Since the Bible is our final authority it is our responsibility to read it, study it, and live in accordance with its commands, guidelines and doctrine.

God has chosen to reveal Himself to man in two ways: GENERAL REVELATION is God’s reveling certain aspects of His eternal Godhead, power, and will to man. This is accomplished through creation and conscience. SPECIAL REVELATION is God’s revealing specific truths, facts, and aspects of His will to man. Until the completion of the canon with Revelation, God used various means of communication. General revelation is sufficient to condemn man; special revelation is needed to tell man of salvation.

We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, or more literally it is “God-Breathed.” Inspiration is the work of the creative breath of God. This inspiration does not mean that the human authors were thoughtless puppets. God so guided them during the writing of the Bible that their personal distinctions were expressed without permitting their personal weaknesses to affect the text. Inspiration extends to every word, letter and stroke (Verbal) and equally to every text (Plenary). Inspiration results in Scripture that is completely without error, infallible and authoritative in every area with which it deals.

We also believe that no human being ever has or will ever declare a book to be part of the Word of God. Man, however, has recognized that the 66 books we know as the Bible (39 O.T. & 27 N.T.), are inspired and properly included. The Church used various tests as their “measuring rod” in recognizing these 66 books such as:

  1. The evidence of inspiration within the book.
  2. The authority of the writer.
  3. The witness of Christ.
  4. The verdict of the early Church.
  5. The credibility of the content.

The Apocrypha books do not qualify as canonical because they were not accepted in the Hebrew canon. They were in fact accepted very late and only by a part of the visible Church. The Apocrypha books contain errors in chronology, history, geography, and doctrine. We believe that the Bible we have is complete, any other “new” revelation being false. While we recognize that we no longer possess the original manuscripts, God has protected and preserved His word over the years as it has been passed down. Therefore we know that the Bible we have today is dependable and reliable.

We believe that God the Holy Spirit ministers to the believer by teaching the meaning of a passage as that person studies the Bible. It is not the giving of new truth, but the explanation of revealed truth. Illumination and serious, diligent personal study are partners, not foes. Because of the supernatural character of the Bible, our interpretation of its text must respect its special authorship, authority, and nature. Therefore certain basic principles must be followed which include approaching the passage: Contextually (immediate & General); Historically; Grammatically; Normally and Literally, in the light of other Scripture.

Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:20; Romans 2:15; 2 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:16; Matthew 5:18; Matthew 4:4; Revelation 22:18-19; Psalm 119:89; 1 Peter 1:25; John 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:10-14.

 

ARTICLE II: GOD THE FATHER

“No man hath seen God at any time.” John 1:18a

We believe that God is a living personality, self-existent, the source of all things, the sustenance of all things and the consummation of all things. God is spirit – He is not a physical being nor dependent on physical matter. God is infinite – He has no limits and cannot be contained by time or space. God is a trinity. There is but one God Who eternally exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three are distinct, persons, yet the same in essence, equal in power and glory.

We believe that God has many attributes. An attribute is a characteristic, quality, or property intrinsic to God. These attributes are a way of describing those essential qualities and characteristics of God. The attributes of God can be grouped in two categories. 1. Non-moral attributes (INCOMMUNICABLE). These attributes are those which are characteristics of God Himself, and are not communicated to His created beings. Immutable: God cannot and will not change. Omniscient: God knows everything past, present, future, actual or possible equally well and without effort. Omnipotence: God is all-powerful. He is able to do anything He chooses to do and everything which is in harmony with His will. OMNIPRESENT: God is not limited by space. He is present everywhere at the same time. 2. Moral attributes (COMMUNICABLE). These attributes are those characteristics of God which are expressed in infinite perfection in His person, and which are expressed in a limited degree by His created beings. Holiness: God is completely separate from all moral sin and evil. This is the primary attribute of God! Love: God seeks the highest good of His creation. Mercy: God seeks the temporal good and eternal salvation of His creatures. Truth: God is truth and the only source of truth.

We believe that the basis for the works of God is His divine purpose or decree. God’s decree is efficacious (He determines). God’s decree is permissive (He allows). The key to realizing the depth of God’s decree is to understand that He has based them on His own wise and holy counsel and they are for His own glory.

We also believe that God created the universe in six literal, 24 hour days, using no preexisting matter. God is present, sustaining and preserving His creation. God is not an absentee-landlord. God directs the workings of His creation for the fulfillment of His eternal purpose.

Marriage & Family: We believe that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption. Marriage is the uniting of one naturally born man and one naturally born woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. Marriage pictures the relationship between Christ and His church and it is God’s gift to provide the framework for intimate companionship, the channel for sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.

Psalm 139:7-10; Jer. 32:17; Exodus 3:14; Revelation 1:8; Genesis 1:1; John 4:24; 1 Kings 8:27; Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; Mal. 3:6; Psalm 147:5; 1 John 4:8; Eph. 1:11; Phil. 2:13; Genesis 1:1; Acts 17:28; Rom. 8:28. Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; Proverbs 17:6; 18:22; 27; Malachi 2:14-16 Genesis 15:3; Exodus 2:10; Esther 2:7; Matthew 19:3-6; Mark 10:2-9; Romans 1:18-32; Ephesians 5:22-6:4; Proverbs 5:15-20; 31:10-11, 28; 1Corinthians 7: 1-16; Hebrews 13:4: Genesis 1:26-28; Malachi 2: 14-16

 

ARTICLE III: GOD THE SON

“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Matt. 16:16b

We believe that Jesus Christ is the second Person of the Godhead and is coequal and co-substantial with the Father and the Spirit. Jesus was also eternally existent with the Father before the foundation of the world. Jesus Christ in His incarnation was the perfect union of deity and humanity. This is also known as the “hypostatic union.” Jesus was truly God and truly man at the same time, yet a single personality, the God-man. The purpose of the incarnation was to reveal God to man, to provide a sufficient sacrifice for sin, and set an example for believers. The process of the incarnation shows that Jesus’ humanity was conceived of the Holy Spirit and that He was born of a virgin. The product of the incarnation is the divine and human natures of Christ being united in one Person forever and without sin.

We also believe that Jesus Christ has an active part in events past, present, and future. Jesus’ mission centers in the fact that He came to sacrifice Himself on the cross for the sins of the world, as the provision for eternal life. We believe that the very heart and soul of the gospel message is the fact that Jesus was crucified, buried and rose from the dead. Jesus did not die as an example, a martyr, or an accident. He was delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, in full personal surrender to the will of the Father. Christ’s death on the cross accomplished several benefits for mankind: Substitution – Jesus died in the place of sinners. Ransom – Jesus’ death paid the price for the penalty of sin, setting us free from the slave-market of sin. Justification – Jesus death is the basis for the sinner to be declared righteous by God, the holy judge. Propitiation – Jesus death satisfied God’s righteous demands so that He can look upon the Christian in Christ’s righteousness. Reconciliation – Jesus death removes the barrier between God & man. Victory – Jesus death conquered the power of fear and death.

We believe in the literal and physical resurrection of Christ from the dead on the third day. The resurrection of Christ was not one of spiritual appearances, but one of real physical occurrence. That this same Jesus, who was crucified, and who was resurrected, bodily ascended into heaven. Now in heaven, Jesus is glorified, seated at the right hand of the majesty on high, and acting as our great high priest. Jesus will come one day in the clouds of the air to catch away the Church His bride, from the earth in the rapture.

Isaiah 9:6; John 8:58; Col. 1:16; Col. 1:17; John 1:18; Heb. 10:10; 1 Peter 2:21; Matt. 1:20; Matt. 1:23; Phil. 2:6-7; Col. 2:9; 1 John 3:5; I Cor. 15:1-4; John 14:3; Heb. 9:26; 1 Peter 2:24; Luke 22:41-42; Is. 53:6; 1 Cor. 6:20; Rom. 3:24; 1 John 2:2; 1 Cor. 15:57; 1 Cor. 15:17; Rev. 1:18; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 4:1.

 

ARTICLE IV: GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT

“The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit … ” Romans 8:16

We believe the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Godhead and is coequal, coeternal, and co-substantial with the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is called God and possesses attributes that are unique to God. Omnipotence, Omnipresence, Omniscience.

We believe that the Holy Spirit performs and performed numerous works in the life of Christ, in the world, in relation to the believer and in the Church.

To Christ: The Holy Spirit was involved deeply in the life of our Lord … Jesus was conceived by, led by, anointed by and resurrected by the Holy Spirit.

To The World: The Holy Spirit was and is involved in the course of the world. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment. Bears witness of the truth, and restrains evil.

To The Believer: The Holy Spirit is intrinsically involved in the lives of believers. He performs a multitude of different activities. The Spirit is the agent of regeneration. He baptizes into the Body of Christ, permanently indwells, anoints and fills, leads, and walks with the believer.

To The Church: The Holy Spirit is a key because to the Church in that He is so important to the believer. We believe that as a believer is filled with the Holy Spirit, the results are to the glory of God through the Church. The Holy Spirit teaches, gives understanding and makes the believer more effective to the Body.

We also believe The Holy Spirit gives gifts to every believer. A good definition of a gift is “a God-given ability for service”(Ryrie). These gifts are given for the purpose of carrying on in ministry for Jesus Christ, and they are not just natural talents or abilities. The gifts of the Spirit can be divided into two groupings:

  1. Temporary Gifts: Some men were giving exceptional gifts before the completion of the canon of Scripture in order that the message of truth might be substantiated because it had not been completely written. The temporary gifts are as follows: Apostleship; Prophecy; Miracles; Tongues; Interpretation of Tongues; Discerning the Spirits.
  2. Permanent Gifts: The Scriptures clearly indicate that every present-day believer has been given spiritual gifts which are to be exercised. The permanent gifts are as follows: Pastors; Teaching; Evangelism; Ministering; Faith; Exhortation; Mercy; Giving; Administration; Helps.

We believe that the Holy Spirit brings forth fruit in the lives of believers. The fruit of the Spirit is the outgrowth of the Spirit filled life. It is the conformation that the believer is being conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ and during the Tribulation, the Holy Spirit will be present, however, He will not be restraining sin as He is now.

Matt. 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; Luke 1:35; Luke 4:1; Rom. 8:11; John 16:7-11; John 15:26; 2 Thess. 2:7; Genesis 6:3; Titus 3:5; Romans 89; 1 John 2:20.27 Eph. 5:18; Romans 8:14; Gal. 5:16; I Cor. 2:10; John 16:13; Romans 8:26; Gal. 5:22-23; 2 Thess. 2:7.

 

ARTICLE V: ANGELS

“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for

them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Heb. 1:14

We believe Angels are spirit beings who were created by God. Although the exact time of their creation is not given, the Scriptures do tell us that they were present at the creation of the physical universe. Angels are an innumerable company. We believe that the Scriptures teach that angels are personal beings because they possess personal attributes such as intellect, emotion, and will.

The Bible teaches that all angels were created good, but that some sinned and fell from their original state. Because of this, there are two general classifications of angels – good angels and evil angels. The Bible also teaches that there are different ranks and designations of angels.

  1. GOOD ANGELS & THEIR WORK

Good angels are those angels who did not rebel and were confirmed in holiness. They are “ministering spirits” and as such they ministered to Christ, and continue their ministry before God, to the believer and to the world in general. They are responsible to God and serve Him. Good angels worship God and do God’s will. They were instrumental in Christ’s birth, life, and resurrection. Good angels protect believers and care for believers at death. Finally, the good angels are active and will be active in judgment.

  1. EVIL ANGELS, THEIR WORK & DESTINY

Satan was created as a good angel, yet through the sin of pride, he fell from his original estate. He leads a program of sin in opposition to God, however, Satan only operates under the permissive will of God. Satan led a rebellion when he fell, taking many evil angels or demons with him who now work with him striving to disrupt the plan and program of God. The scriptures teach Satan and his demon forces have already been judged and found wanting. Their destiny is fixed and that the lake of fire was created for the Devil and his angels.

Col. 1:16; Job 38:6-7; Neh. 9:6; Heb. 12:22; 1 Peter 1:12; Luke 2:13; Jude 6; Heb. 1:14; Mark 12:25; Luke 20:36; 2 Peter 2:11; Rev. 5:11-12; Psalm 103:20; Luke 1:26; Matt. 4:11; Matt. 28:2; Acts 12:23; Rev. 8,9,16; Is. 14:12-14; John 3:8; Rev.12:7-9; 2 Cor. 4:4; Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10.

 

ARTICLE VI: MAN

“‘What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” Psalm 8:4a

We believe that man was created by the direct and deliberate act of God as opposed to any form of evolution. We also believe that the Scriptures teach that man is created in the image of God. This image is not a physical likeness, because God is spirit, it means that man was created with intellect, emotion, and will.

As created by God, man possesses both a material and an immaterial part. The material part of man is the body, that physical shell which returns to the ground at the time of death. The immaterial part of man is made up of several facets: Soul, Spirit, Heart, Conscience, Mind & Will.

We believe that man was created innocent of any sin, and enjoyed unhindered fellowship with God. Following an unstated period of innocence, man fell from his holy standing by disobeying the expressed will of God. At this time, Adam and Eve became sinners both in nature and in action. In his fall, Adam plunged the entire race into sin. This being true, all men are sinners by both nature and volition. The compensation of sin is death, both physical and spiritual, eternal separation from God.

We also believe that the unsaved, being condemned already, is headed for an eternity separated from God in the lake of fire, the second death. The saved man, however, looks toward that day when Jesus shall return. At that time, this body of sin, will be changed and transformed, made fit for heavenly dwelling. The saved look forward to a home in heaven and constant fellowship with our blessed Savior.

Gen. 1:2; Gen. 2:7; Intellect: Gem 2:20: Emotion: Gen. 4:5; Will: Gen. 3:6; 1 Cor. 6:19; 2 Cor. 4:7; Phil. 3:21; Gen. 2:17; Rom. 5:12; John 5:24; John 5:28-29; Heb. 9:27.

 

ARTICLE VII: SIN

“For all have sinned, and come short of the
Glory of God.” Rom. 3:23

We believe that sin is “anything contrary to the character of God”(Ryrie). It is missing the mark and by missing the mark thereby hitting the wrong mark. The bottom line is that sin is rebellion to God and His law, God did not cause sin because He can neither sin nor entice people to sin. God’s plan allowed sin to enter the world, the upside is that God also made provision for a Savior in His plan. Sin entered the universe through the fall of Lucifer, and Lucifer, in the form of a serpent, enticed man to sin, thus bringing sin into the realm of man. The extent of sin has affected all of humanity and all of creation.

The Scriptures teach and we believe that all men are sinners by nature and by choice. The bottom line is that man is totally depraved. Total depravity does not mean that man is as bad as he could be, or that he has committed every sin. Total depravity simply means that there is nothing in man or that man can do that can gain him any merit in God’s sight. All of this being true, when an individual reaches the age of accountability, he becomes eternally responsible for their sin. Victory over sin comes only through the redemption offered and provided by Jesus Christ.

Rom. 14:23; 1 John 3:4; James 1: 1; 1 John 3:4; Ezek. 28:15; Genesis 3: 1-6; Rom. 3:10; Rom. 8:19-22; Psalm 51:5; Rom. 718; Is. 64:6; Eph. 2:1.

 

ARTICLE VIII: SALVATION

“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt
be saved and thy house.” Acts 16:31

We believe that salvation is an act of God where by a guilty sinner is given a new nature and brought into a positive relationship with Himself. Through salvation, man, the enemy of God, receives a right standing and peace with God. Salvation is possible and is offered to man only upon the basis of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The perfect sacrifice of Christ was sufficient for the sins of the whole world, but it is only to those who exercise personal faith in Him and receive Him as their Savior.

There are a number of terms used to help describe the wonderful salvation God has given to man, and the key terms are listed here:

Election – God’s unconditional, eternal choosing of those whom He would save.

Predestination – God’s preplanning the position and destiny of the elect God’s working with the elect to bring them to himself.

Foreknowledge – This shows the loving relationship of God with the elect. God set His love on those He would save only on the basis of His mercy, and not on the fact that He knew that they would respond.

Substitution – Christ died in the sinners place.

Redemption – The death of Christ pail the ransom price to purchase the sinner from the slave-market of sin.

Reconciliation – Christ died to provide peace between sinners and God.

Imputation – At the cross, the sinner’s debt of sin was placed upon Jesus and at salvation, His righteousness is placed upon the sinner.

Propitiation – The death of Jesus Christ satisfied the righteous demands of our Holy God by paying the penalty.

Universal – Christ died for all men.

Conviction – The Spirit’s revelation of truth essential to salvation.

Called – God’s invitation to salvation. The invitation is open to all and the invitation is responded to by God’s elect.

Faith – Faith is the condition of salvation. It is the acceptance of the plan of salvation provided by God.

Repentance – True Biblical repentance involves a change of heart and purpose and its inevitable result in a change of behavior. Repentance is not just a change of mind or merely behavior reform, but repentance has intellectual, emotional, and volitional ramifications.

Conversion – Faith and repentance are simultaneous and can be thought of as two sides of one coin called conversion. Conversion means to turn from one thing to another.

Regeneration – To be “born-again”, the new birth which results in a new nature, as a new creation.

Justification– God judicially declaring a believing sinner righteous.

Adoption – When a person accepts Jesus Christ, he is given the standing of an adult son in the family of God with all the privileges and responsibilities.

Sanctification – Literally, sanctification means to be “set-apart.” This is a threefold in the believer’s life. He is set-apart positionally, at salvation, for God. He is set-apart progressively in the Christian walk. Ultimately, he will be set-apart perfectly, when we will be like Him.

Preservation(Security) – The Scriptures promise that all who are saved, are saved eternally, and cannot lose their salvation in any way!

Glorification – The Christian enjoys the promise that he will be glorified, receiving a perfected body suited for living in heaven.

Acts 13:48; Eph. 1:4; Rom. 8:30; Rom. 8:29; 1 Peter 1:2; Rom. 5:8; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 John 2:2; Heb. 2:9; John 16:8; Matt. 2:14; 1 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 2:8; Acts 17:30; Acts 3:19; John 3:3,7; Rom. 3:24; Gal. 4:5-7; Rom. 12:1-2; 1 John 3:1-3; John 10:27-29; Phil. 3:20-21

 

ARTICLE IX: THE CHURCH

“Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell
shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18b

The word “church” occurs more than 115 times in the New Testament. The word church has two basic meanings. It is used to describe the universal body of believers, the Bride of Christ. The universal church consists of all peoples, which have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, from the day of Pentecost to the Rapture of the Church. The word is also used of the local assembly, the visible representation of the Body of Christ, in different locations around the earth. A good definition of a local church is as follows: “a local church is an assembly of professing Christians who have been baptized and organized for the purpose of fellowship and service.” We believe the true mission of the church is the faithful witnessing of Christ to all men as we have opportunity.

We believe that Baptist have historically held to Biblically-based doctrine. The “Baptist Distinctives” are an excellent summary of the doctrine of the church.

Biblical Authority: The Bible is the final authority for faith and practice. The final authority in the local church is God’s Word and not some denomination, association, council or individual.

Autonomy of the Local Church: Every church is totally independent. Not to be controlled by any other church, group, or denomination

Priesthood of Believers: Every believer has the privilege and right to approach God through the finished work of Jesus Christ. Also, every believer is to live a consecrated and holy life.

Transformed Membership: The pattern set forth in Scripture is salvation first, then baptism by immersion, then church membership.

Individual Soul Liberty: This is the right of every person to do as he believes is right before God. God is the final judge of the individual.

Separation of Church and State: The believer has a responsibility to obey the God-ordained government, provided they do not overstep the boundaries of Scripture, but the church is to be separate. The church should not have authority over the state, nor should the state have authority over the church.

Two Ordinances & Two Offices:

  1. Two Ordinances: Baptism and Communion – The church, in obedience to the direction of the Lord, is to carry out these two ordinances. These are symbolic and commemorative, and hold NO saving power.

Baptism – An outward expression of an inward change. Believers’ baptism by immersion shows the believers identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

Communion – Communion or the Lord’s Supper is a memorial observed in remembrance of Christ and His death, till He Comes again.

  1. Two Offices: Pastor and Deacons – The Bible teaches that only these two offices in the local church. Many more offices may by added of necessity, but only two are required according to the Biblical pattern.

Pastor – The pastor’s office is described in the name given to him in the Bible. “Pastor” shows the responsibility of feeding and caring. “Bishop” shows the responsibility of administration. “Elder” shows the responsibility of maturity and wisdom.

Deacons – The deacons are men chosen from the local church by the local church, to provide assistance and minister to the needs of the people and assist the pastor.

Eph. 1:222-23; Col. 1:2; Acts 2:41-42; Acts 2:46-47; 2 Timothy 3:16; Matt. 18:15- 17; 1 Peter 2:1-10; Rom. 12:1; Acts 2:41; Rom. 14:5,12; Mark 12:17; Rom. 13:1-7; Col. 2:12; Rom. 6:1-6; 1 Cor. 11:23-29; Mark 14:22-26; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 1 Peter 5:1-2; Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:8-13; Acts 6:2-7.

 

ARTICLE X: LAST THINGS

“Come up here, and I will show you things which must be thereafter.”

Revelation 4:1b

We believe that the Bible has a great deal to say about future events, both the Old and New Testament. Part of the prophecy was fulfilled at the time of Christ’s earthly ministry, but many of them are yet to come. God’s eternal plan for man will reach its climax through the culmination of several predetermine events and periods involving the Church, Israel, the nations of the world, and His Son, Jesus Christ.

We believe that the next event on the prophetic calendar is the any-moment pre-tribulation return of Christ for His Bride. The Scriptures tell us that the dead “in Christ” shall rise first and then those who are alive will be “caught up” to meet the Lord in the air and be with Him for all of eternity. After the rapture, believers will appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ to have our works judged, NOT our sins. The marriage of Lamb also takes place at this time.

The rapture will mark the beginning of the seven-year period known as the tribulation, also known as Daniel’s 70th week. The first half of the tribulation will be marked by a time of “peace and security” for Israel, brought on by a covenant between Antichrist and Israel. At the midpoint of the tribulation, that covenant will be broken and severe persecution will begin. This is referred to as the “great tribulation” The period known as the tribulation will come to an end when the nations of the world come together for the battle of Armageddon the return of Christ.

In the midst of the battle of Armageddon, the Lord Jesus Christ will return to earth with the armies of heaven to defeat the armies of the world. The Beast and the False Prophet will be cast into the lake of fire at this time and Satan will be bound for 1,000 years.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, will set up His kingdom and rule for 1,000 years with a rod of iron, yet in righteousness and justice. According to the Scriptures, Satan will be loosed for a “little season” At this time he will lead in a final rebellion against Christ. Satan will be defeated and cast into the lake of fire for all eternity. After the judgment of Satan, the unsaved will come before the great white throne to be judged by Christ. The books will be opened and each person will be judged according to their works. This is not to determine a final destination, rather degree of punishment in the lake of fire. This being cast into the lake of fire is referred to as the second death, although, there is no hope of either escape or annihilation.

The judgment of the unbelievers finished, God will destroy the old heaven and earth with fire and will create a new heaven and a new earth. Believers of all ages will dwell forever in God’s presence.

1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-58; Rom. 14:10; Rev. 19:7-9; Rev. 3:10; Rom. 5:9; Matt. 24:21; Rev. 6-10& 16; Dan. 9:26-27; Dan. 111:40-45; Rev. 19:11-20:3; Rev. 20:4-6; Rev. 20:7-10; Matt. 23:14; Rev. 20:1-15; 2 Peter 3:10; Rev. 21:1-5.