MY BELIEFS CONCERNING THE KEY DOCTRINES OF SCRIPTURE
1. THE SCRIPTURES
The Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is the written Word of God and the supreme authority in all matters of faith and practice. The Scriptures were originally given through the Holy Spirit by plenary, verbal inspiration and are infallibly true and free of error in doctrine and all else it touches upon, including history, geology, and cosmology. No other writings, experiences, or traditions of any kind are inspired in this sense, nor should any others be accepted as divinely inspired or authoritative. Furthermore, since the Bible was written to be understood by all, it is to be interpreted in a straightforward, literal manner. The historical, dispensational interpretation of Scripture is vital to its understanding, especially as Israel is in view. Where symbols and figures of speech are used, these are made obvious from the context and are to be interpreted in a manner consistent with their use throughout the Bible. All of Scripture centers about the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ in His first and second comings; therefore, no portion, even of the Old Testament is properly read or understood until it leads to Him. The preferred English version for preaching and teaching is the King James Version.
2. THE NATURE OF GOD
The only true and living God is a Triune God, eternally existing in three persons-- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The three are equally God, in every divine perfection, each having precisely the same nature and attributes, and each worthy of worship, confidence, and obedience. God the Father has been revealed to man through the Son, the Word made flesh. The Lord Jesus Christ is God the Son, equally divine and eternal with the Father, and is the Son of Man, truly human but without sin. The Holy Spirit is a Person, one with the Father and Son, whose work is to glorify God in Christ by convicting men of sin and transforming believers into the likeness of Christ. This work in believers involves that of regeneration, baptism into the body of Christ, indwelling, sanctifying, instructing, empowering for service, and securing the believer for heaven.
3. DIRECT CREATION AND THE NATURE OF MAN
The book of Genesis, along with its literal six-day account of creation spoken into existence ex nihilo by the Word of God, provides the only true and authoritative history of cosmology and reveals that man was created in the image of God, by the direct act of God, and not by any process of evolution. The two records of a recent creation and a universal (worldwide) flood are foundational in the understanding of every scientific fact and phenomenon in the created universe.
Man willfully sinned in the Garden of Eden and fell from God, bringing sin and death into the world. He lost his spiritual life, becoming dead in trespasses and sins and became subject to the power of the Devil. Through Adam all men have inherited the sin nature, this being organically transmitted to every child of Adam. Man is born into this world with a nature which not only possesses no "spark of divine life," but one which is inherently corrupt and incapable of choosing or doing that which is acceptable to God apart from divine grace. Thus all men are hopelessly lost apart from the salvation which is in the Lord Jesus Christ.
4. THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST
The eternal Son of God became flesh in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was born of Mary by miraculous conception and virgin birth. He remained a man, perfect and sinless throughout His life; yet He retained His absolute deity, being at the same time very God and very man. He at times functioned within the sphere of that which was fully human, and at other times within the sphere of that which was fully divine. Therefore, He is perfect humanity and undiminished deity united in one Person forever.
In infinite love He voluntarily accepted the Father's will and became the divinely provided sacrificial Lamb for sin, bearing the holy judgments against sin, which the righteousness of God must impose. His death was, therefore, substitutionary in the most absolute sense—the just for the unjust—and by His death He became the Savior, thereby providing what is theologically termed a “non-limited atonement.”
On the third day after His death, He arose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He had lived and died. With His bodily ascension into heaven He is presently at the right hand of the Father. His acceptance by the Father is our final assurance that His redeeming work was perfectly accomplished and that He was victorious over the curse and its universal law of decay and death. Furthermore, Christ's resurrection assures that not only will the souls of individuals be redeemed, but ultimately their bodies shall, like His, be resurrected and glorified. His resurrection secures the deliverance of even the creation itself from its bondage of corruption. Our resurrected Lord became head over all things to the church which is His body, and in this ministry He continues to intercede and to be an advocate for the Christian.
Man is utterly unable to save himself from the power and penalty of sin. Each man must be saved wholly on the work Christ has done in dying for man’s sins and rising for his justification. This salvation is received instantly and appropriated by simple faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and personal Savior apart from any virtue or work of man. If Christ’s work of salvation is rejected, man remains dead in sin and becomes irretrievably lost. Our redemption has been particularly performed by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and no other merit can add in the very least degree to the blood provided by God. The salvation of man consists of the satisfaction of divine justice, the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation to God, the imputation of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, the gift of eternal life, every spiritual resource needed for life and godliness, and the guarantee that those thus saved shall never perish. The reality of this experience, as well as one's personal assurance of salvation, will be evidenced by a new life implanted by the Holy Spirit. That new life will be characterized by a genuine love for Christ and His return to this earth, a love for His Word and Christ-like motives and standards.
6. THE ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER
All true believers everywhere once saved shall be saved and kept forever. As God is a holy Father, He cannot overlook the sin of His children. When they persistently sin, He will chasten and correct them in love. However, having undertaken to save them and keep them forever, apart from all human merit, He who cannot fail will in the end present every one of them faultless before the presence of His glory and conformed to the image of His Son.
The angels were all created simultaneously by God as a great host of sinless spirit-beings, most of who kept their first estate of holiness and presently worship God and serve His purposes. One of the angels, Lucifer—of the highest rank—sinned through pride and influenced a large company of angels to follow him; these thereby became demons. The work of Satan and the demons is the attempted subversion of the work of God. By a subtle suggestion, Satan accomplished the moral fall of the human race, subjecting their posterity to his own power. Satan was judged at the cross, though his sentence was not then executed. At the second coming of Christ Satan will be bound and cast into the abyss for a thousand years, after which time he will be loosed for a little season and then be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, the place prepared primarily for the devil and his angels.
8. THE CHURCH
The Church of Jesus Christ is composed of all who have been saved from Pentecost until the Rapture. A local church, therefore, should likewise be composed only of members who are genuinely saved, trusting only in the Lord Jesus Christ and His atoning death for their salvation, and immersed upon a credible statement of faith in Christ. Each local church should be organized for the purpose of effective witness to the unsaved, including world-wide missions; for baptizing, teaching, exhorting, giving, and edifying those who are saved; for observance of the Lord's Supper; for Christian fellowship among the brethren; and for united praise and worship of God.
It is the local church, which is charged by the Lord with the responsibility of carrying out the Great Commission. Any other Christian organization, therefore, exists only as an extension of the local church to assist it in carrying out the Commission. These para-church agencies, such as missionary agencies, Bible schools, campus ministries, etc., as specialists, are given certain latitudes and freedoms by the local church to serve the church. These organizations are answerable to the church and must not by-pass or usurp the position or authority of the church or its meetings. Christ is head only of the Church.
As a self-governing, independent body, the local church is free from the dictates of any organization and is to be separate from all earthly governments of men. Therefore, all matters, such as policy, discipline and membership, are to be governed by the individual church. Furthermore, the local church and individuals within that church should lend their support only to those churches, movements, crusades, organizations, and fellowships whose leaders, sponsors, and ministries are in no way connected with apostasy, compromise, or neo-evangelicalism.
9. THE PROMISED IMMINENT RETURN OF CHRIST AND LAST THINGS
The next great event in the fulfillment of prophecy will be the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in the air to receive to Himself and into heaven His own, both those who are alive and those who have died in the Lord. This event is set forth in Scripture as the blessed hope of the Christian. His coming is imminent and may be expected momentarily. Because wrath is foreign to the entire nature and concept of the bride of Christ, the Church will not go through the Tribulation, which will be a time of Jacob’s trouble and the outpouring of the wrath of God upon rebellious men. After the removal of the Church from the earth, the righteous judgments of God will be poured out upon the unbelieving world and Israel during the seven years of Tribulation, known as the Seventieth Week of Daniel. These judgments will be climaxed by the return of Christ in glory to the earth, at which time the Old Testament and Tribulation saints will also be raised and the Judgment of the Nations will occur. After these judgments Christ will establish His Messianic Kingdom in which the saints will reign with Him over all the nations of the earth. At the close of the millennial reign the unsaved of all time will stand before the Great White Throne to be judged and will be committed to eternal punishment in a literal lake of fire, and the saved of all time will enter the eternal state of glory with God in heaven.