Beliefs

NOTE: The following information is the “Doctrinal Statement” found at
http://gracedispensationalchurch.com/statementoffaith.html
and reflects 
my own statement of faith as well.   

Statement of Faith

The Bible

The Scripture was written by men who were selected by God and borne along by the Holy Spirit using their individual vocabulary and style to write the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments.1 All forms of verbal revelation have currently ceased. Every word of the original, autographed manuscripts was God-breathed, or inspired and is therefore infallible.2 This process is called verbal, plenary inspiration. The Bibles we have today are the Word of God in so far as they represent the original text. All Scripture is profitable for believers. The authority for a Christian’s life and practice is contained in the parts of the New Testament addressed to the Church.3 Illumination by the Divine teacher, the Holy Spirit, is necessary to understanding the Word of God.4 That means Scripture is for the family of God, not the unsaved.

The Scriptures are meant to be interpreted literally, historically and grammatically. There are no contradictions in the Word of God. There are inconsistencies in humans’ minds. The desire to ascertain what God intended to communicate with His progressive revelation results in Dispensationalism. A dispensation is a phase in the Divine program in which God imposes rules upon some or all of mankind by which he is to live. These rules are not to be confused with one’s means to salvation or object of faith.5 There are seven Dispensations in Scripture during which mankind always fails to obey God. All Dispensations end in judgment upon mankind’s unrighteousness. The majority of the Bible deals with the dispensations of Law, Grace (our present dispensation) and the Fullness of Time, or Millennial Kingdom. A dispensation is distinct from an age since an age may exist beyond time and reveals something about God either by example or contrast, while a dispensation reveals something about mankind and his foibles.6

The Doctrine of God

The Trinity

The doctrine of the Trinity is revealed in the New Testament and is consistent with the Old Testament truth. The Word of God clearly teaches that there is one God,7 who subsists as a Godhead of three distinct Persons with one essence.8 This relationship is called the Trinity. There are three Persons who share one nature and one essence. God’s essence, that is what God consists of, is a unified, immense, self-existent single spirit.9 The essence in action manifests the attributes which are omniscience, love, omnipotence, holiness, goodness, truth and righteousness.10 The nature of God (the sum total of the essence and attributes) is immutable, unchangeable in being, free, eternal and mobile.11 God is infinite and sovereign, but since these two characteristics are descriptions that are in relationship to creation, they are not eternal attributes. God then is an infinite, self-existent, eternal spirit who is unchangeable in being, nature and attributes. The three Persons of the Godhead are God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

The Council of God

In eternity past the Godhead determined what would bring them pleasure and the three Persons choice became a purpose of which they foreknew the outcome; this is called the decree. The limits of this agreement became Their plan. This plan included everything which God would and would not allow from that decision on through time.12

The Godhead in the decree decided to create Adam, permit the fall and subsequently choose some for salvation from the fallen of mankind; this is called election. God provided salvation for all of mankind, choosing those to whom He would apply it. God has accounted for individual man’s will in the decree.13

The decree is then the plan determined by the Trinity as a result of Their council in eternity past. This plan, dealing with the present universe until the age from the ages beginning in eternity future, is in keeping with the Divine desirous will. Included in this plan, as a means to an end, are all creatures and events. All these were and shall be brought to fruition by the activity of the Trinity overseeing that each act of the creature and each event occur as rendered certain by the plan.14

God the Father

The Word of God teaches that God the Father is the ultimate source of all things.15 He began a new relationship to the Son as Father in the council of the Godhead in eternity past.16 This relationship to the Divine Son shows Their equality of nature, as well as the subordination of the Son to the Father in the implementation of Their purpose.17 The Father, as creator, is also Father to spirit beings, showing His ultimate authority.18 He forgives the sins of New Testament believers becoming their Father by means of spiritual birth.19 He indwells New Testament believers making them partakers of the divine nature.10 The Father is the Divine Person whom Christians are to address in their communication to God. He answers those which parallel His will. He sent His Son into the world, and co-sent the Holy Spirit at the Day of Pentecost.21

God the Son

God the Son created spirit beings before He created the material universe.22 In the Old Testament time He appeared visibly and revealed truth to men before there was written revelation and from the New Testament we know that He was called Jehovah and Elohim in the Old Testament.23 At His incarnation He joined His eternal Divine Person to a human nature becoming the God-Man Jesus. The Holy Spirit caused the virgin Mary to miraculously conceive His humanity.24 The Son willingly came to earth out of obedience and love for the Father, remaining full deity; He lived an earthly sinless life.25 Christ died for the sins of all men, His body was buried for three days and nights, and then He rose bodily from the dead.26 After His resurrection He ascended bodily to the third heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father: Jesus Christ—the glorified and exalted One.27 He is currently our High Priest interceding for us and is our advocate with the Father.28 He indwells Church saints giving them the quality of eternal life.29 He will rapture, or forcibly seize, the Church to Him in the air before the Tribulation, or the 70th week of Daniel.30

After the Tribulation Christ will return to earth and set up His Kingdom by force. This is called the Second Coming.31 He will judge the sheep and goats which are the living gentiles who made it through the Tribulation. After the millennial reign, He will be the judge at the Great White Throne Judgment where the unsaved of all time, who have not been previously interned, will be judged. Then He will turn the Kingdom over to the Father and in the Father’s Kingdom the authority of the Three Persons of the Godhead will be equal.32

God the Holy Spirit

The Word of God teaches that the Holy Spirit is an eternal Person and equal with the Persons of the Father and the Son.33 The Holy Spirit participated in the creation of the universe.34 He became resident on earth at the Day of Pentecost, having been sent by both the Father and the Son.35 The Holy Spirit came to convict the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment.36 This ministry is to elect unsaved individuals whom when convicted are given the gift of faith37 which enables the individual to believe the Gospel.38 At this point the believer is regenerated, baptized, indwelt, sealed and anointed by the Holy Spirit.39 The Holy Spirit is the New Testament believer’s earnest payment and the first fruit of things to come.40 The Holy Spirit is the Divine teacher for the believer who is rightly related to Him in the acquisition of spiritual knowledge by illuminating the believer to truth necessary to mature spiritually.41 The Holy Spirit also enables the believer by His filling ministry.42 The spiritual Christian produces the fruit from the Spirit.43

Mankind

The Word of God teaches that Adam was created in the image and likeness of God.44 The account recorded in Genesis is literal. Adam sinned and became a sinner;45 his nature was corrupted or bent—having the propensity to sin.46 This sin nature and depravity is procreated to all mankind by propagation. Thus every individual human is a sinner by nature, choice and practice—and is in the state of being guilty before God.47 Every human born is in need of a Savior. Humans are composed of three parts: body (the place of residence), soul (the seat of emotions) and spirit (the area of rationale).48

Salvation of Mankind

Scripture teaches that the salvation of a human is always by grace (unmerited favor) through faith and not of works.49 The object of saving faith and the contents of salvation, are different during different historical and prophetic periods;50 however, all saved persons believed God. From the Day of Pentecost till the Rapture of the Church saints, the Gospel is the only means of salvation: believing that Jesus Christ (the God-Man) died for your sins, was buried and physically rose again the third day. He now sits at the right hand of God the Father in heaven.51

The cross saves no one. It is upon the basis of the work of the cross that the Holy Spirit saves believers.52 Salvation is the result of the Holy Spirit’s application of Christ’s work on the cross. On the cross Christ was separated in the realm of His human spirit from the Father and thus paid the debt for mankind’s sin nature.53 Christ died physically, (His human soul and spirit were separated from His human body), paying the debt for our personal acts of sin.54 Thus the Father’s outraged holiness against mankind’s sin nature was propitiated or satisfied.55 Christ’s physical death was sufficient for all of mankind.56 And all mankind is positionally reconciled to God the Father.57

There are three tenses of salvation: 1. Initial, or past tense salvation—which is once and for all time;58 2. Present tense—a manner of living here on earth;59 3. Future tense—when church saints are glorified.60 The Holy Spirit applies the results of the propitiatory, redemptive and reconciliatory works of the cross. The believer is call to his initial salvation and is regenerated, forgiven all sin, justified, sanctified, eternally secure and endowed with every spiritual blessing and can enjoy experientially living his position in Christ. 61

The Christian Life

It is the desire of God that all Christians grow spiritually and mature in their ability to live a life which manifests God’s quality of life—eternal life.62 The believer has three spiritual enemies which tempt him to act contrary to God’s desires. The three enemies are the world, the flesh and the devil.63 A Christian who is overpowered by the desirers of the flesh is called carnal.64

When a Christian sins, acts lawlessly, it grieves the Holy Spirit.65 The Christian can restore his relationship within the family by confession.66 Confession is a Christian doctrine and is neither for the unsaved nor a means of salvation. The filling ministry of the Holy Spirit is necessary to resist the flesh, also called the sin nature.67 The Armor of God must be mentally put on at each satanic attack to successfully resist the temptations from the devil.68 A heavenly frame of mind is essential in keeping the appeals from the world system in proper perspective.69

The maturing of the Christian is dependent upon being spiritual, increasing in Scriptural knowledge, gaining greater ability in defeating the three enemies and performing good works.70

The Church

The English word church comes from the Middle English chirche, from Old English cirice, which may have been a transliteration from Late Greek kyriakon, meaning “of the lord.” The Koine Greek word throughout the New Testament is evkklhsi,a which means “called out assembly.” The term church has many modern connotations that are not consistent with Scripture. In regular use church can refer to anything from a building to a service at the building. Behind the word that is translated church in the New Testament hides a term that distinguishes God’s “called out ones”: called out from the world. (John 15:18-19 cf. Rom. cf. 1 Thes. 2:12) The term church is used here for convention sake; however always remember the meaning of the “called out” nature of New Testament saints.

The “called out ones,” or church, when used in reference to the Body of Christ is referring to all believers beginning at the Day of Pentecost until the Rapture. It identifies those who were baptized into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit.71 The exalted Christ is the Head of the church.72 The Body of Christ is already positionally completed in the mind of God73 although the individual members function in time and space. The position that the believer has in this positionally complete Body determines the individual’s spiritual gift, thus his function within the Body.
The local church is a group of water baptized professing believers who are organized to meet together and are meeting. The local church meets for the equipping of saints for their ministries; for provoking one another to love and good works; for exhortation; for the exercise of Spiritual gifts; and the observation of the ordinances.74

The two ordinances of the church are water baptism and the Lordian table.75 Water baptism is the obligation of every believer. It is immersion in water in the name, (that is the quality and character), of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. Water baptism does not save anyone. It is an act of obedience to show an identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.76 The Lordian table is a memorial of the Person of Christ, His body—the church and the new covenant by His blood.77

The Scriptural officers in the local church are pastor-teacher (the office is called bishop, maturity level is describes as elder and spiritual gift is pastor-teacher)78 and deacons.79 The pastor-teacher(s) is the spiritual leader and the deacons are delegated by the assembly the charge of the physical concerns of the church. The local church should be autonomous, independent and sovereign. The assembly has the authority to vote for its officers and set the time and place of meetings, accept and exclude members. This is called congregational church policy.80

Spiritual Gifts

At initial salvation every individual Christian is given one spiritual gift as a result of Spirit baptism.81 This spiritual gift is not an enhancement of a natural ability or talent. It is a new ability, divinely given by grace, and is for the edification of others in the church.82
At the inception of the church, before the written record of the New Testament was completed, some gifts were given which are not existent today.83 These non-remaining gifts were for the purpose of revelation and its vindication; they were: word of knowledge; word of wisdom; healings; miracles; discerning spirits, tongues or languages, interpretation of languages, prophecy and apostle.84

Eleven spiritual gifts remain for today; faith, teacher, helps, administration, organization, mercy, giving, exhortation, ministry, evangelist and pastor-teacher. Only the gift of evangelist is directed to the unsaved.85

The Future

The Rapture is the next event revealed in God’s prophetic calendar. The Rapture occurs when Christ appears in the air and calls the church, all saints from Pentecost to the Rapture, unto Himself. The Rapture is imminent, individual, Pre-Tribulational, and Pre-Millennial.86 After the church is gone, the man of sin will make a covenant which begins the 70th week of Daniel, or Tribulation.87 The Tribulation is a time when God will righteously judge the world.88 The Tribulation culminates in the physical Second Coming of Christ to earth, when He forcibly sets up the Davidic Kingdom.89 Following the Millennial Kingdom, Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire, along with all unbelievers who were not previously cast there; they will remain there throughout Eternity.90 After this universe is destroyed, new heavens and a new earth will be created for the various abodes of saints.
1. 2 Pet. 1:18-21; Acts 1:16; 1 Cor. 2:9-13
2. 2 Tim. 3:16
3. 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Cor. 10; 6-12; 1 Tim. 3:14, 15; Rom. 15:4; Gal. 3:10-12; 1 Tim. 1:4
4. 1 Jn. 2: 20, 27
5. Eph. 1:10; 3:21; Heb. 1:2; 11:3
6. Eph. 2:7; 3:21; Heb. 1:2; 11:3
7. Deut. 6:4; Mk 12:29, Jn. 17:3; 10:30; 1 Tim. 2:5
8. Eph. 1:3-14; 4:4-6; Ex. 3:14; Jn.8:24, 58:10:28-30
9. Jn. 10:30; 14:16; Eph. 4:6; Ex. 3:14; Jn. 8:34, 58; 10:28-30
10. Rom. 11:32-33; 1 Jn. 4:8, 16; Eph. 1:9; 2 Cor. 6:18; 1 Pet. 1:15-16; 1 Tim. 1:11; 1 Thes. 1:9; Jn. 17:25
11. Psa. 51:12; Rom. 11:34; Eph. 1:11; Rom. 16:26; Psa. 145:3; 139:5-8
12. Eph. 1:1-9; 2:10; Acts 2:23; Rom. 8:28-29. Isa. 46:9-11
13. Rev. 7:14; 1 Cor. 6:11
14. Acts 20:26-27; Eph. 1:4-9; 2:7; Lu. 12:6-7
15. 1 Cor. 8:6; Psa. 2
16. Psa. 2:7-10
17. Jn. 1:1-2; 5:18; Phil. 2:6-8
18. Job 1:6; Heb. 12:9
19. Tit. 3:5
20. Eph. 4:6; 2 Pet. 1:4; 1 Jn. 3:9
21. Heb. 10:8-9; Jn. 14:26; 15:26
22. Col. 1:16-18; Job 38:4-7
23. Ex. 3:2-14; Jn. 1:18
24. Lu. 1:35; Jn. 1:1
25. Phil. 2: 6-8; Jn. 1:14; Heb. 4:15
26. 1 Cor. 15:1-4
27. Phil. 2:9; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1
28. Rom. 8:34; 1 Jn. 2:1; Heb. 4:15
29. Col. 1:27; 1 Jn. 5:11-12
30. Rev. 3:10; 1 Thes. 5:1-9
31. Psa. 2; Rev. 19:11-16
32. Mat. 25:31-46; 1 Cor. 15:24-28; Rev. 11:15; 20:11-15
33. Acts 5:3-4; Mat. 28:19
34. Job 26:13
35. Jn. 16: 7; Acts 2:3-5; Jn. 14:26; 15:26
36. Jn 16:7-11
37. Phil. 1:27-29; Eph. 2:8
38. 1 Cor. 15:1-4
39. Ti. 3:5; 1 Cor. 12:13; Rom. 8:9; Eph. 4:30; 1 Jn. 2:20, 27
40. Eph. 1:14; Rom. 8: 23
41. 1 Jn. 2: 20, 27; cf., 1 Cor. 3:1
42. Eph. 5:18; Col. 3:1-5; Gal. 5:24; Rom. 6:11
43. Gal. 5:22-23
44. Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7
45. Gen. 3:5-7
46. 2 Cor. 4: 3-4; Eph. 2:2-3
47. Rom. 3:9-12; 5:19; 8:1; Isa. 64:9; Rom. 3:23
48. 1 Thes. 5:23; Heb. 4:12
49. Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 4:3-5
50. Gen. 3:21; 50:24-25; Isa. 40:31; Rev. 12;17
51. 1 Cor. 15: 1-4; Eph. 1:20
52. Tit. 3:5
53. Rom. 6:11; 5:12-13
54. 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 Cor. 15:1-4
55. Rom. 6:11; 1 Jn. 2:2; Isa. 53:10
56. 1 Jn. 2:2
57. 2 Cor. 5:18-19
58. Eph. 4:30
59. 1 Pet. 1:15; 2 Pet. 3:11
60. 1 Pet. 1:9; 1 Jn. 3:2
61. 1 Pet. 5:10; Eph. 1:18; 2 Tim. 1:9; 2 Pet. 1:10; Tit. 3:5; Col. 1:14; Rom. 8:1; Eph. 1:3
62. Eph. 4:13; 2 Tim. 3:17; 1 Tim. 3:16
63. Jam. 4:13; 4:4; Tit. 2:12; Eph. 2:2; 6:12; Jn. 14:30; Gal. 5:19-21; Rom. :17-18
64. 1 Cor. 3:1
65. Eph. 4:30; 1 Jn. 3:4
66. 1 Jn. 1:9
67. Eph. 5:18; Col. 3:1-5; Gal. 5:17
68. Eph. 6:12-18
69. 1 Jn. 2:15-17; 1 Cor. 7:26-33; Tit. 2:12-13
70. Eph. 2:10; 1 Tim. 3:16; 1 Pet. 3:18; Tit. 2:14
71. Eph. 1:22-23; 2:20; 1 Cor. 12:12-13
72. Eph. 1:22; 4:15; 5:23-24
73. Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 2:10-12
74. Eph. 4:11-12; Heb. 10:24-25
75. Mt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-34
76. Mt. 28:19; Acts 8:35-39; 2:41; Rom. 6: 1-4
77. 1 Cor. 10:16-22; 11:23-34
78. 1 Pet. 5:1-4
79. Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Tit. 1:6-9
80. Acts 6:5; 1 Cor. 5:4; 11:26
81. 1 Cor. 12:12-13; 1 Pet. 4:10; Eph. 4:7, 12-16
82. Eph. 4:12
83. 1 Cor. 13:8-12
84. 1 Cor. 14:22-25; Heb. 2:2-3; 1 Cor. 12; 8-10, 28
85. 1 Cor. 12: 9, 28; Rom. 12: 7-8; Eph. 4:11
86. 1 Thes. 1:10; 4:14-17; 2 Thes. 2:13; 1 Cor. 15:51-57; Rev. 2:10
87. Dan. 9:27
88. Rev. chapters 6-19
89. Rev. 20:10-15; 19:20
90. 2 Pet. 3: 10-13; Mat. 25:41, 46

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