Things We Affirm and Teach
The following is adapted from the Things We Teach of Grace Community Church, L.A., California. We have copied it freely and have adapted it to our own understanding of the Scriptures. We have freely changed the original to reflect our New Covenant theology rather than their dispensational approach. We want to fully acknowledge our indebtedness to the fine work done by the elders there.
We teach that the Bible is God's written revelation to man, and thus the sixty six books of the Bible given to us by the Holy Spirit constitute the plenary (inspired equally in all parts) Word of God (1 Corinthians 2:7-14; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
We teach that the Word of God is an objective, propositional revelation (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Corinthians 2:13), verbally inspired in every word (2 Timothy 3:16), absolutely inerrant in the original documents, infallible, and God-breathed. They are fully self-authenticating, not relying on any external proof for their claims.
We teach that the Bible constitutes the only infallible rule of faith and practice (Matthew 5:18; 24:35; John 10:35; 16:12-13; 17:17; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20-21). The Scriptures are our complete sufficiency for life and godliness (1 Peter 1:2-11) and should not be adulterated by mixture with human schemes of thought.
We teach that God spoke in His written Word by a process of dual authorship. The Holy Spirit so superintended the human authors that, through their individual personalities and different styles of writing, they composed and recorded God's Word to man (2 Peter 1:20- 21) without error in the whole or in the part (Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16).
We teach that the Scriptures are to be interpreted in their natural, grammatical and historical sense recognizing their literary genre and their place in the unfolding of redemptive history. For example, therefore, the opening chapters of Genesis present a fiat creation in six literal days (Genesis 1:31; Exodus 31:17).
We teach that the meaning of a text of Scripture is also determined by the meaning given it by later texts. The redemptive-historical, grammatical, genre-aware interpretation will yield the meaning as understood by the original human author. In the progressive unfolding of revelation, later texts may explain, expound, and understand earlier texts. New Testament authors see Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the Old Testament (Luke 24:25-27, 44-49). The New Testament’s use, interpretation and understanding of the Old Testament is true, accurate, authoritative and illustrative of how to understand the unfolding meaning and application of the Old Testament texts.
We teach that the Scriptures may have several applications. The full meaning and application of Scripture also requires the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 7:17; 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:7-15; 1 John 2:20). It is the responsibility of all believers, and especially the elders, to ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture, making proper applications to the current generation. The precepts or commands of the New Testament are the will of God for Christians and binding on all generations. Yet the truth of Scripture stands in judgment of men; never do men stand in judgment of it.
We teach that there is but one living and true God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5-7; 1 Corinthians 8:4), an infinite, all-knowing Spirit (John 4:24), perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14)—each equally deserving holy and glad worship and obedience from the heart.
God the Father
We teach that God the Father, the first Person of the Trinity, orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and grace (Psalm 145:8-9; 1 Corinthians 8:6). He is the Architect and Creator of all things (Genesis 1:1-31; Ephesians 3:9). As the only absolute and omnipotent Ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Psalm 103:19; Romans 11:36). His fatherhood involves both His role within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind. As their Creator He is Father to all men (Ephesians 4:6), but He is spiritual Father only to believers (Romans 8:14; 2 Corinthians 6:18). He has decreed all things that come to pass will be for His own glory (Ephesians 1:11). He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events (1 Chronicles 29:11). In His sovereignty He is neither author nor approver of sin (Habakkuk 1:13; John 8:38-47), nor does He diminish the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (1 Peter 1:17). In love and grace, He has chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Ephesians 1:4-6); He saves them from sin's penalty, power and eventual presence, by grace causing them come to Him through Jesus Christ. He regenerates his chosen by imparting to them eternal life by the Holy Spirit so that they are born into His family; and they become, upon adoption, sons in full standing (John 1:12; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Hebrews 12:5-9).
God the Son
We teach that Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, possesses all the divine attributes, and in these He is coequal, consubstantial, and coeternal with the Father (John 10:30; 14:9).
We teach that God the Father created all things according to His own will, through His Son, Jesus Christ, by whom all things continue in existence and in operation (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2).
We teach that in the incarnation (God becoming man) Christ surrendered only the rights of deity but nothing of the divine essence, either in degree or kind. In His incarnation, the eternally existing second Person of the Trinity accepted all the essential characteristics of humanity and so became the God Man (Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 2:9).
We teach that Jesus Christ embodies humanity and deity in indivisible oneness forever (Micah 5:2; John 5:23; 14:9-10; Colossians 2:9).
We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ was virgin born (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23, 25; Luke 1:26-35); that He was God incarnate (John 1:1, 14); and that the purpose of the incarnation was to reveal God, redeem men, and rule over God's kingdom (Psalm 2:7-9; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:29; Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 7:25-26; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
We teach that, in the incarnation, the second person of the Trinity laid aside His right to the full prerogatives and free exercise of his divine power and authority. He took on an existence characterized by being a servant while never divesting Himself of His divine attributes (Philippians 2:5-8). The miraculous works of Jesus were done in the Father’s will and through the power of the Spirit (Acts 10:36-38; Matthew 12:28; Luke 4:18-21; John 1:32-33; 3:34) .
We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through the outpouring of His life in the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross and that His death was real, voluntary, vicarious, substitutionary, propitiatory, and redemptive (John 10:15; Romans 3:24-25; 5:8; 1 Peter 2:24).
We teach that on the basis of the efficacy of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the believing sinner is freed from the punishment, the penalty, the power, and one day the very presence of sin; and that he is declared righteous, given eternal life, and given the status as a son in the family of God (Romans 3:25; 5:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18).
We teach that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead. In His resurrected, glorified body, He is now ascended to the right hand of the Father, where He now mediates as our Advocate and High Priest and rules and reigns in His Kingdom (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:38-39; Acts 2:30-31; Romans 4:25; 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1).
We teach that in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave, God confirmed the deity of His Son and gave proof that God has accepted the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Jesus' bodily resurrection moves believers from the realm of the flesh into the realm of the spirit and guarantees a future bodily resurrection to life for all believers (John 5:26-29; 14:19; Romans 1:4; 4:25; 6:5-10; Ephesians 2:5-7; Colossians 1:13; 2:8-15; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23).
We teach that Jesus Christ will return to gather the church, which is His Body, unto Himself. His eternal kingdom will be brought to culmination in the new heavens and new earth (Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 20).
We teach that the new creation broke into this old creation through Jesus’ resurrection. Through the new birth by the Holy Spirit, the new creation is begun in those God has chosen and given the gifts of faith and repentance. We teach that this new creation life is both an already accomplished reality and a not yet completed in its fullness.
We teach that the Lord Jesus Christ is the One through whom God will judge all mankind (John 5:22-23):
- Believers as a reward (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10)
- Living inhabitants of the earth and the unbelieving dead at His glorious return and at the Great White Throne. (Matthew 25:31-46)
As the Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), the Head of His Body the church (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23; Colossians 1:18), and the coming universal King, who reigns on the throne of David (Isaiah 9:6; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 2:29-36), He is the final Judge of all who reject Him as Lord and Savior (Matthew 25:14-46; Acts 17:30-31).
God the Holy Spirit
We teach that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, eternal, underived, possessing all the attributes of personality and deity including intellect (1 Corinthians 2:10-13), emotions (Ephesians 4:30), will (1 Corinthians 12:11), eternality (Hebrews 9:14), omnipresence (Psalm 139:7-10), omniscience (Isaiah 40:13-14), omnipotence (Romans 15:13), and truthfulness (John 16:13). In all the divine attributes He is coequal and consubstantial with the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; 28:25-26; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; and Jeremiah 31:31-34 with Hebrews 10:15-17).
We teach that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to execute the divine will with relation to all mankind. We recognize His sovereign activity in creation (Genesis 1:2), the incarnation (Matthew 1:18), the written revelation (2 Peter 1:20-21), and the work of salvation (John 3:5-7).
We teach that the work of the Holy Spirit in this age began at Pentecost when He came from the Father as promised in the New Covenant (Ezekiel 36:26-27) and by Christ (John 14:16-17; 15:26) to initiate and complete the building of the Body of Christ, which is His church (1 Corinthians 12:13). The broad scope of His divine activity includes convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ and transforming believers into the image of Christ (John 16:7-9; Acts 1:5; 2:4; Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:22).
We teach that the Holy Spirit is the supernatural and sovereign Agent in regeneration, immersing or placing (baptizing) all believers into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption (Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13).
We teach that the Holy Spirit is the divine Teacher, who guided the apostles and prophets into all truth as they committed to writing God's revelation, the Bible. Every believer possesses the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation, and it is the duty of all those born of the Spirit to be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit (John 16:13; Romans 8:9; Ephesians 5:18; 2 Peter 1:19-21; 1 John 2:20, 27). We teach that the Holy Spirit dispenses and administers spiritual gifts to the church. The Holy Spirit glorifies neither Himself nor His gifts by ostentatious displays, but He does glorify Christ by implementing His work of redeeming the lost and building up believers in the faith (John 16:13-14; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 2 Corinthians 3:18). We teach, in this respect, that God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts for the perfecting of the saints today. We teach that spiritual gifts had both temporary and permanent activities. Though all gifts may still be active through the work of the Spirit, no gift is presently giving inspired, authoritative revelation nor is authenticating divine revelation or messengers. (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 13:8-10; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:7-12; Hebrews 2:1- 4).
We teach that man was directly and immediately created by God in His image and likeness. Man was created free of sin with a rational nature, intelligence, volition, self-determination, and moral responsibility to God (Genesis 2:7, 15-25; James 3:9).
We teach that God's intention in the creation of man was that man should glorify God, enjoy God's fellowship, live his life in the will of God, and by this accomplish God's purpose for man in the world (Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11).
We teach that in Adam's sin of disobedience to the revealed will and Word of God, man lost his innocence; incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death; became subject to the wrath of God; and became inherently corrupt and utterly incapable of choosing or doing that which is acceptable to God apart from divine grace. With no recuperative powers to enable him to recover himself, man is hopelessly lost. Man's salvation is thereby wholly of God's grace through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:1-19; John 3:36; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 Timothy 2:13-14; 1 John 1:8).
We teach that because all men were in Adam, a nature corrupted by Adam's sin has been transmitted to all men of all ages, Jesus Christ being the only exception. All men are thus sinners by nature, by choice, and by divine declaration (Psalm 14:1-3; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:9-18, 23; 5:10-12).
We teach that salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the completed work of redemption by Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not on the basis of human merit or works (John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
We teach that regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (John 5:24). It causes the sinner to be repentant, as enabled by the Holy Spirit, to respond by God's gift of faith to trust solely in the divine provision of salvation. Genuine regeneration is manifested by fruits worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct. Good works will be its proper evidence and fruit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:10), and will be experienced to the extent that the believer submits to the control of the Holy Spirit in his life through faithful obedience to the Word of God (Ephesians 5:17-21; Philippians 2:12b; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:4-10). This obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). Such conformity is climaxed in the believer's glorification at Christ's coming (Romans 8:17; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:2-3).
We teach that election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those for whom Christ would die as their substitute; these and these alone, He would sovereignly redeem, call, regenerate, quicken, reconcile, justify, save, sanctify and glorify (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2).
We teach that sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11; John 3:18-19, 36; 5:40; Romans 9:22-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Revelation 22:17). Nevertheless, since sovereign grace includes the means of receiving the gift of salvation as well as the gift itself, sovereign election will result in what God determines. All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith and all who come in faith the Father will receive (John 6:37-40, 44; Acts 13:48; James 4:8).
We teach that the unmerited favor and enabling power that God grants to totally depraved sinners is not related to any initiative of their own part nor to God's anticipation or prior knowledge of what they might do by their own will, but is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy (Ephesians 1:4-7; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 1:2).
We teach that election should not be looked upon as based merely on abstract sovereignty. God is truly sovereign but He exercises this sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love (Romans 9:11-16). This sovereignty will always exalt the glory of God in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:25-28; 2 Timothy 1:9).
We teach that justification before God is an act of God (Romans 8:33) by which He declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ, repent of their sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Isaiah 55:6-7) and confess Him as sovereign Lord (Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Philippians 2:11). This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Romans 3:20; 4:6) and involves the imputation of our sins to Christ (Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24) and the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21). By this means God is enabled to "be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26).
We teach that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy and is therefore identified as a saint. This sanctification is positional and instantaneous and should not be confused with growth in holiness. This sanctification has to do with the believer's standing, not his present walk or condition (Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30; 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 2:11; 3:1; 10:10, 14; 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2).
We teach that there is also by the work of the Holy Spirit a progressive transformation by which the state of the believer is brought closer to the standing the believer positionally enjoys through justification. Through obedience to the Word of God and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:17,19; Romans 6:1-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 5:23).
In this respect, we teach that every saved person is involved in a daily conflict—the new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh—but full provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit operating in us by faith in God's promises (2 Peter 1:2-11). The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life and is never completely ended. Total sinlessness is not possible in the life of this flesh, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9).
We teach that all the redeemed once saved are kept by God's power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 5:24; 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Romans 5:9-10; 8:1, 31-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 7:25; 13:5; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24).
We teach that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God's Word, which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion for sinful living and carnality (Romans 6:15-22; 13:13-14; Galatians 5:13, 25-26; Titus 2:11-14).
We teach that believers should be separated unto our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; Hebrews 12:1-2), should be separated from sin (2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5) and affirm that the Christian life is a life of obedient righteousness that reflects the teaching of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2-12) and a continual pursuit of holiness (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14; Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 3:1-10). The practical holiness of the believer is a matter of grace enabled faith lived out in the world and in the community of the church (Galatians 6:1-10).
We teach that all who place their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual Body, the church (1 Corinthians 12:12-13), the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-32; Revelation 19:7-8), of which Christ is the Head (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; Colossians 1:18).
We teach that in fulfillment of the New Covenant the formation of the church, the Body of Christ, began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21, 38-47) and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
We teach that the church is thus a unique spiritual organism designed by Christ, made up of all born again believers in this present age (Ephesians 2:11–3:6). The church did not exist in the Old Covenant and is not ethnic Jews (1 Corinthians 10:32). She is a mystery foreshadowed in type by Israel but not revealed until this New Covenant eschatological age (Ephesians 3:1-6; 5:32) and that the church and Israel are formed into one new man in Christ.
We teach that the establishment and continuity of local gathered churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:23, 27; 20:17, 28; Galatians 1:2; Philippians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1) and that the members of the one spiritual Body are to form in a community together in local visible assemblies (1 Corinthians 11:18-20; Hebrews 10:25).
We teach that the one supreme authority for the church is Christ whose authority is mediated through the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18). Church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed through His sovereignty as found in the Scriptures. The biblically designated officers in the assembly are elders (also called overseers, bishops, pastors, shepherds, and pastor-teachers) (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11) and deacons (servants), both of whom must meet biblical qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5). We teach that the elders lead or govern as shepherds under Christ (1 Timothy 5:17-22) and, as a body, have His authority in directing the church. The congregation is to submit to their leadership (Hebrews 13:7, 17). We teach that the deacons are the servants in the church and that they are to serve in capacities delegated to them and authorized by the elders (Acts 6:1-7).
We teach the importance of discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Timothy 2:2), mutual accountability of all believers to each other (Matthew 18:5-14), joining together in the mission of the Kingdom, as well as the need for the discipline of sinning members of the congregation in accord with the standards of Scripture (Matthew 18:15-22; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 1 Timothy 1:19-20; Titus 1:10-16).
We teach the autonomy of the local church, free from any external authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Titus 1:5). We teach that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other, sharing in the mission of the church. Each local church, however, through its elders and their interpretation and application of Scripture, should be the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation. The elders should determine all other matters of membership, policy, discipline, benevolence, and government as well (Acts 15:19-31; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 5:4-7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
We teach that the purpose of the church is to glorify God (Ephesians 3:21) by building itself up in the faith (Ephesians 4:13-16), by instruction of the Word (2 Timothy 2:2, 15; 3:16-17), by fellowship (Acts 2:47; 1 John 1:3), by keeping the ordinances (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38-42) and by advancing and communicating the gospel to all the people groups (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8; 2:42).
We teach the calling of all believers to the work of service (1 Corinthians 15:58; Ephesians 4:12; Revelation 22:12).
We teach the need of the church to cooperate with God as He accomplishes His purpose in the world. To that end, He gives the church spiritual gifts. First, He gives people chosen for the purpose of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:7-12), and He also gives unique and special spiritual abilities to each member of the Body of Christ (Romans 12:5-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31; 1 Peter 4:10-11).
We teach that the gifts of the Spirit are given to the church to empower the people of God to accomplish the mission of the church. Some gifts were used in the revelatory giving of the Word of God (2 Corinthians 12:12). Some gifts also functioned to confirm the authenticity of the apostles’ message (Hebrews 2:3-4). After the completion of the canon, this aspect or use of some gifts stopped while the gift itself continues to function (1 Corinthians 14). Now, the Scriptures are the sole test of a man’s message. We teach that the present Charismatic use of the gifts of knowledge, tongues, interpretation of tongues never were and are not the true expression of those gifts. We also teach that there is no gift of being able to heal, only receiving the healing of afflictions (1 Corinthians 12, 14). Satan also counterfeits the miraculous gifts so as to deceive even believers (Revelation 13:13-14).
We teach that no one possesses a miraculous power to heal but that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith and will answer in accordance with His own perfect will for the sick, suffering, and afflicted (Luke 18:1-6; John 5:7-9; 2 Corinthians 12:6-10; James 5:13-16; 1 John 5:14-15).
We teach that the focus of the Spirit’s gifts in the church is on the speaking and serving gifts (1 Peter 4:10-11).
We teach that two ordinances have been committed to the local church: baptism and the Lord's Supper (Acts 2:38-42). Christian baptism by immersion (Acts 8:36-39) is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a believer publicly professing faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life (Romans 6:1-11). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible Body of Christ (Acts 2:41-42).
We teach that the Lord's Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes, (1 Corinthians 11:28-32). We also teach that whereas the elements of Communion are only representative of the flesh and blood of Christ, the Lord's Supper is nevertheless an actual communion with the risen Christ who is present in a unique way, fellowshipping with His people (1 Corinthians 10:16).
We teach that the Scriptures describe and differentiate between at least three types of heavenly beings created by God. There are cherubim who are particularly related to the throne and presence of God (Genesis 3:24; Exodus 37:7-9; Isaiah 37:6; Ezekiel 10; Hebrews 9:5) and the seraphim (Isaiah 6:2, 6) and the angels.
We teach that angels are created beings and are therefore not to be worshiped. Although they are a higher order of creation than man, they are created to serve God and to worship Him (Luke 2:9-14; Hebrews 1:6-7, 14; 2:6-7; Revelation 5:11-14; 19:10; 22:9).
Fallen Spiritual Beings
We teach that Satan is a cherub (Ezekiel 28:11-19), a created being and the originator of sin. He incurred the judgment of God by rebelling against his Creator (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19), by taking numerous angels with him in his fall (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:1-14), and by introducing sin into the human race by his temptation of Eve (Genesis 3:1-15).
We teach that Satan is the open and declared enemy of God and man (Isaiah 14:13-14; Matthew 4:1-11; Revelation 12:9-10); the prince of this world, who has been defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 16:20); and that he shall be eternally punished in the lake of fire (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).
We teach that a Biblical Eschatology is essential to life of the church (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; 2:19-20; 3:11-13; 4:13-17; 5:23-24). The church’s present existence, ministry priorities, and self-expression are the outworking of one’s eschatology. Eschatology is more than just “future things.” It is the articulated understanding of God’s purpose and program throughout redemptive history, from the creation to the consummation.
We teach that a general understanding of Eschatology is required of all believers (in fact, all believers actually have some implicit eschatology); specific agreement over schemas and details should not be tests of fellowship, but subjects of on-going openness in study and discussion.
Theology of Fulfillment
We teach that God has been working through redemptive history to bring about the fulfillment of His purposes to glorify Christ in the church (Ephesians 1:9-10; 3:21; Romans 16:25-27). The Old Covenant was fulfilled and finished by the coming and sacrificial death of Jesus, the Messiah (Galatians 3:1–4:7 [note esp. 3:23-29] Hebrews 8:1–11:25). In His Incarnation, the Kingdom of God was begun among men as Jesus was the new Israel (Matthew 11:13; Luke 16:16-17). In His death and resurrection, the New Covenant was inaugurated (Jeremiah 31:27-37; Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3:1-11; Hebrews 8:8-13). The Messianic Age has begun to unfold with the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and the formation of Body of Christ, the church (Acts 1:3-11; 2:15-39; 3:13-26; 4:23-31; 5:29-32). In this one Body, God has brought Jew and Gentile together (Ephesians 2:11-15) so that both together are fellow-citizens, God’s household (Ephesians 2:16-22), joint-heirs, one Body, partakers of the promise (Ephesians 3:4-12), a holy Temple, a holy nation, a people, a new race of humanity, (1 Peter 2:9-10; Colossians 1:25-29). What God has begun with Christ in the church will reach its consummation in the New Heavens and New Earth (Revelation 21:1–22:17) when God will tabernacle among men amid all things made new (Revelation 21:1-6a) and it is done.
Things to Come
We teach that Daniel’s 70th week is yet future, a period through which God brings to culmination His wrath upon the world who has followed Satan in the person of the Anti-Christ. At the end of that period, the Lord will come in great glory, gather His people from whole earth when they will receive their glorified bodies. The Lord Jesus Christ crushes Satan’s final rebellion against the Lord. After defeating and casting Satan into hell, the final judgement, the great White Throne judgement takes place where the lost of all ages receive the sentence of their eternal punishment in the lake of fire.
We teach that physical death involves no loss of our immaterial consciousness (Revelation 6:9-11), that the soul of the redeemed passes immediately into the presence of Christ (Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8), that there is a separation of soul and body (Philippians 1:21-24), and that, for the redeemed, such separation will continue until the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17), which initiates the first resurrection (Revelation 20:4-6), when our soul and body will be reunited to be glorified forever with our Lord (Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:35-44, 50-54). Until that time, the souls of the redeemed in Christ remain in joyful fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8).
We teach the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life (John 6:39; Romans 8:10-11, 19-23; 2 Corinthians 4:14), and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Daniel 12:2; John 5:29; Revelation 20:13-15).
We teach that the souls of the unsaved at death are kept under punishment until the second resurrection (Luke 16:19-26; Revelation 20:13-15), when the soul and the resurrection body will be united (John 5:28-29). Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10) whereupon Christ, who is the Judge of all men (John 5:22), will judge the great and small at the Great White Throne judgment. They shall then appear at the Great White Throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) and shall be cast into hell, the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41-46), cut off from the life of God forever (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:41-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9) in an eternal conscious punishment.
We teach that this resurrection of the unsaved dead to judgment will be a physical resurrection, whereupon receiving their judgment (Romans 14:10-13), they will be committed to the lake of fire for eternal, conscious punishment away from the presence of God.
We teach that after the judgment of unbelievers (2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 20:7-15), the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God, the elements of this earth having been dissolved (2 Peter 3:10) and replaced with a new earth wherein only righteousness dwells (Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 20:15, 21-22). The heavenly city having come down out of heaven (Revelation 21:2) will be the dwelling place of the saints, where they will enjoy forever fellowship with God and one another (John 17:3; Revelation 21–22). Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28) that in all spheres the triune God may reign forever and ever (1 Corinthians 15:28).