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Jonathan and Natalie's Statement of Faith (Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.)
- The Scriptures – The Holy Scriptures are able to make one “wise unto salvation,” and are the sole authority for doctrine, faith, and practice. They are also profitable for reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:15-16). The Scriptures were inspired by God, and are verbally and entirely infallible. They are complete, and God has preserved them for every generation (Ps. 12:6-8), in both the Old Testament (through the Masoretic text) and the New Testament (through the Textus Receptus), the King James (Authorized) version being the English version which we accept and use. The theme of the Scriptures is Jesus Christ and His mission of bringing salvation to a lost world. The Scriptures are indestructible and eternal. They are perfect and pure. They are also powerful and invaluable to the believer as He serves the Lord.
- God – There is only One Living and True God. He is Triune, and eternally existent in three Persons, being the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are all three One, all three eternal, and all three share the same nature, power, glory, attributes, and perfection. God is Almighty, Infinite, All-knowing, Most Holy, and never changing. He created the world and everything in it. He is both loving and just in His Mission of reconciling the world unto Himself.
- The Person and Work of Christ – Jesus Christ is the coexistent, eternally existent Son of God, Who, through the incarnation, became a man, born of a virgin, conceived of the Holy Ghost, and in doing so, was revealing and fulfilling the mission of God to redeem sinful men. He accomplished our redemption on the cross, through His finished work of dying as our sacrifice and substitute. He rose again, literally and physically, making our justification sure. Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven where He continues His work on our behalf. He is in His exalted state at the right hand of God, fulfilling His ministry as our High Priest, Intercessor, Advocate, and Representative.
- The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit – The Holy Spirit is a distinct Person of the Godhead who does the work and will of God in this world of reproving the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, and of convicting, pointing, and drawing men towards Jesus Christ. He also was at work at Creation, in the inspiration of Scripture, in Christ’s birth and resurrection, and was promised by Christ to come to the believers after His ascension. He regenerates those who trust in Christ (Jn. 3:5-6), baptizing them spiritually into the body of Christ. He then indwells believers (Rom. 8:9), and He seals them unto the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13-14). We believe that every believer has the Holy Spirit, but to be filled with the Holy Spirit means to be yielded to the Holy Spirit’s control. The sign gifts of Pentecost were temporary as a means of authentication (I Cor. 13:8). Speaking in tongues, therefore, is not the common sign of the baptism or filling of the Spirit. Biblical marks of a Spirit-filled person include spiritual wisdom, hope, boldness in soul-winning, etc, all of which are available to us in our work for the Lord.
- Salvation and the Security of the Believer – In the Bible, salvation refers to the free gift of redemption from sin that is available and offered to all people through the Lord Jesus Christ. Every person since Adam in every nation and generation is in need of God’s salvation from the holy punishment of sin. There is nothing man can do to earn the salvation of God; it is only by unmerited grace and favor, and through faith alone in Christ, and cannot be gained by mixing it with works or the Law. It is in Christ alone that we are accounted righteous before God and justified in His sight. Salvation is an eternal gift and blessing. Believers are secure in this salvation. Eternal life is a present possession of every believer, which cannot be lost. We can have assurance of our new standing in grace through the promises of God’s watch care over our souls found in His Word, and through the earnest of the Holy Spirit. Having been saved and forgiven, believers will desire to serve God with thankful hearts, not to be saved or to stay saved, but because they have been saved.
- The Church – A church (ekklesia) is an indigenous, autonomous, local body of baptized believers who have voluntarily joined themselves together to fellowship around the Scriptures and obey its commands, including that of sharing the Gospel with the world. The first church was started in seed form by Christ with His disciples, and was empowered after His resurrection at Pentecost. Christ is the Head of the church, and belief in Christ is the foundation upon which He Himself builds it. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth and is God’s divine institution for the assembling, training, and service of believers. God gave the Great Commission to the church to carry out until the end of the age. The church is therefore the agent of God’s worldwide mission. Believers should continue this ministry through proper organization and establishment of more local churches, according to the New Testament pattern set forth by Paul in 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus. The church’s earthly work will end when believers will be caught up in the clouds at the Lord’s return and the entire Body of Christ will appear in a heavenly assembly as the spiritual Bride of Christ.
- The Ordinances of the Local Church – The Lord Jesus Christ gave two ordinances to the New Testament church. (1) Baptism was commanded by Christ in Matthew 28:18-20; it is a work of righteousness, and therefore is not a part of salvation (Titus 3:5). This is the first step of obedience for thankful believers. Baptism in the Bible is by immersion as a picture of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, and of our new life in Christ. It is a doorway to membership of a local church as a testimony of salvation. (2) The command of observing the Lord’s Supper also was given by Christ as a memorial to His Sacrifice for us. The blood He shed for us is symbolized by unleavened fruit of the vine (grape juice), and His broken body is symbolized by unleavened bread. These ordinances of the New Testament church are not “sacramental” channels of grace, but are beautiful memorials of obedience.
- The Personality of Satan – From the Scriptures we see that Satan is not merely an evil influence in the world but an actual evil person. He began as a created being and angel (Lucifer), who being lifted up with pride, sinned and became God’s enemy. He and his rebellious followers were banned to roam this earth. Satan and his demons are our sworn enemies, and they work to oppose God’s work and God’s people. His primary purpose is to hinder and corrupt the Gospel, blind men’s eyes, tempt men to sin, devise false religions and false teachings, accuse Christians, and destroy their usefulness for God. Satan, after his activity and initial defeat during the Great Tribulation, will be bound in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years, after which he will be cast into the Lake of Fire forever. Believers, through the power of the Holy Spirit, must resist the devil and defeat his attempt to work in their lives.
- The Eternal State – We know, through the Scriptures, that all men will be resurrected bodily, and will exist in an eternal state. Believers will be saved unto everlasting life. Unbelievers will be lost to everlasting punishment. Before the resurrection of the saved, believers who die are separated from their bodies, but their souls are with the Lord in Heaven. They are consciously comforted, but wait for their glorified bodies, in which they will live, praise, and serve God forever. Before the resurrection of the dead, unbelievers who die are in a conscious state of misery in hell, until they must appear before God at the Great White Throne judgment. After this judgment they will be cast into the Lake of Fire, where they will be punished together with the devil and his angels forever.
- The Second Coming of Christ – Jesus Christ Himself will return to the earth, first in the clouds to call home His saints, and second, to the earth to set up His Millennial Kingdom. The first part of Christ’s coming will be sudden; believers are to be ready at all times for His coming, yet no man knows the day or the hour. This "rapture" of the Church will be followed by a seven year tribulation period during which antichrist and his followers will attempt to destroy God’s chosen people Israel. Christ will return to the Mount of Olives with great glory, along with His angels and saints, to destroy the unbelievers who have gathered there to fight Him. He will bind Satan and set up His own perfect government on earth, where He will reign 1,000 years. The second coming of Christ is for believers a “blessed hope” for anticipated joy.
- The Millennium – Christ will set up His earthly kingdom upon His return after the Rapture and the Tribulation period. This 1,000-year reign will be followed by Christ’s eternal kingdom to which there shall be no end. Believers are promised to reign with Him.
- The Great Commission – The Great Commission was the command given by Jesus Christ to the church to preach the Gospel to the entire world. The Gospel is to be preached to every person, and believers are to be baptized. Followers are to be trained, resulting in the multiplication of churches for the Lord. As believers serve the Lord, Christ goes with them (Matthew 28:18-20), as well as His power (Mark 16:15-18). They are witnesses of the truth (Luke 24:44-48) with Christ’s authority (John 20:21) to reach all people worldwide with the Gospel (Acts 1:8).
- Ecclesiastical Separation – In the Bible, believers are to practice personal separation, which is to be separated from the world, sin, and error, and to the Lord, truth, and righteousness. Churches likewise are to obey the command to avoid false doctrine and apostasy. To protect the church believers must mark those who err (Rom. 16:17) and avoid bringing them into fellowship with them (2 Cor. 6:14). It is important for churches to have Bible discernment (1 Thess. 5:21), and to avoid yoking together with ministries or organizations that continue to reject any part of Scripture (2 Cor. 6:14-18). Believers must avoid their doctrine, but be willing to help them to understand the truth as well. Churches must obey these commands, all the while with a spiritual demeanor (James 3:13-18).