The Holy Scriptures
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 absolute and complete Word of God (1Corinthians 2:7-14; 2 Peter 1:20-21). From beginning to end, the Bible’s primary subject is Jesus Christ, the believer’s good its design and the glory of God its end.
The Bible is perfect, pure, true, and final. All Scripture is God breathed and inspired in every word. (Psalms 12:6; 19:7; 119:89, 140, 142, 151, 161; Proverbs 30:5; John 17:17; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Revelation 21:5)
The Bible constitutes the only infallible rule of faith and practice (Matthew 5:18; 24:35; John 6:67-69; 10:35; 16:12-13; 17:17; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
God spoke in His written Word by a process of dual authorship. The Holy Spirit so controlled and directed 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; Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16).
Whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation which may be understood with careful and prayerful study, enabled by the Holy Spirit (John 7:17; 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:7-15; 1 John 2:20).
The Bible should be understood plainly and literally unless there is reason in a given passage to believe that it was intended to be taken otherwise (e.g., figures of speech, prophetic language, etc.). Difficult passages are to be interpreted in the light of clearer ones (Scripture interprets Scripture) and where God’s attributes always hold true.
It is the responsibility of believers to ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture, recognizing that proper application is 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 worship and obedience.
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 Creator of all things (Genesis 1:1-31; Ephesians 3:9). As the only absolute and omnipotent (all powerful) Ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence (governs all things to accomplish His will), and redemption (Psalm 103:19; Romans 11:36). His fatherhood involves both His designation within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind. As 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 for His own glory all things that come to pass (Ephesians 1:11). He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events (1 Chronicles 29:11; Job 38:41; Isaiah 46:9-11). In His sovereignty He is neither author nor approver of sin (Habakkuk 1:13; John 8:38-47), nor does He diminish or lessen the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (1 Peter 1:17). He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Ephesians 1:4-6); He saves from sin all who come to Him through Jesus Christ; He adopts as His own all those who come to Him; and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own (John 1:12; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Hebrews 12:5-9).
God the Son. Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, possesses all the divine excellencies, and in these He is coequal, consubstantial, and coeternal with the Father (John 10:30; 14:9).
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).
In the incarnation (God becoming man) Christ surrendered only the prerogatives 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 represents humanity and deity in indivisible oneness (Micah 5:2; John 5:23; 14:9-10; Colossians 2:9).
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).
In the incarnation, the second person of the Trinity laid aside His right to the full prerogatives of coexistence with God, assumed the place of a Son, and took on an existence appropriate to a servant while never divesting Himself of His divine attributes (Philippians 2:5-8).
Our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross and that His death was voluntary, vicarious, substitutionary, propitiatory, and redemptive (John 10:15; Romans 3:24-25; 5:8; 1 Peter 2:24).
Our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead and that He is now ascended to the right hand of the Father, where He now mediates as our Advocate and High Priest (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).
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 is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all believers (John 5:26-29; 14:19; Romans 1:4; 4:25; 6:5-10; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23).
Jesus Christ will return to receive the church, which is His Body, unto Himself at the rapture, and returning with His church in glory, will establish His millennial kingdom on earth (Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 20).
The Lord Jesus Christ is the One through whom God will judge all mankind (John 5:22-23):
- Believers (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10)
- Living inhabitants of the earth at His glorious return (Matthew 25:31-46).
- Unbelieving dead at the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15).
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 will reign on the throne of David (Isaiah 9:6; Luke 1:31-33), He is the final Judge of all who fail to place their trust in Him as Lord and Savior (Matthew 25:14 46; Acts 17:3031). 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 adopted into the family of God (Romans 3:25; 5:8 9; 2 Corinthians 5:14 15; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18).
God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a divine Person, eternal, without origins, 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 (everywhere at once, Psalm 139:7-10), omniscience (all knowing, Isaiah 40:13-14), omnipotence (all powerful, 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).
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).
The work of the Holy Spirit in this age began at Pentecost when He came from the Father as promised 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).
The Holy Spirit is the supernatural and sovereign Agent in regeneration, 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 1:13-14).
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).
The Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts to the church. The Holy Spirit glorifies neither Himself nor His gifts by showy or brash displays, but He does glorify Christ by implementing His work of redeeming the lost and building up believers in the most holy faith (John 16:13-14; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 2 Corinthians 3:18).
God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts for the perfecting of the saints today. Speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles in the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of pointing to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and were never intended to be mandatory in the lives of believers today as proof of salvation or a sign of maturity in believers (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 13:8-10; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:7-12; Hebrews 2:1-4).
In the Beginning. Man was directly and immediately created by God in His image and likeness. Man was created free of sin with a rational nature, intelligence, will, self determination, and moral responsibility to God (Genesis 2:7, 15-25; James 3:9).
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).
The Fall and Its Consequences. 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 power 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).
Because all men were in Adam (descended from), 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).
Distinct Roles of Men and Women. In His own image, God created men and women equal in dignity, value, essence and human nature but distinct in roles. Man was given the role and responsibility of authority over the woman and the woman was to be a help mate who complements the man in a submissive role (Genesis 1:26-27; 2; 3:16; 1 Corinthians 11:1-16; 14:34-36; Galatians 3:28; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; 1 Peter 3:1-7).
The curse due to the original sin introduced disruption in the relationship where there would be mutual enmity between male and female. The woman would desire to usurp the authority given to man. Man would struggle with being in authority and abuse and/or neglect the responsibility (Genesis 3:16).
In Christ, the roles are restored such that the husband is to provide loving leadership and authority at home and in the church. Wives are to submit to their husbands in the model of the Church's submission to Christ and are not to exercise authoritative roles (church leadership) of teaching in the Church (Ephesians 5:22-23; Colossians 3:18-20; 1 Timothy 2:8-15).
Salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redemption of 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).
Election and Man’s Responsibility. Election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2).
Sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord – man is commanded to believe to be saved (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).
Sovereign grace includes both the gift of salvation and the Holy Spirit enabled ability to receive it – 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).
The unmerited favor that God grants to totally depraved sinners is not related to any initiative of their own part nor to God's anticipation 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).
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 will 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).
Regeneration. 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 means of the Word of God (John 5:24), when the repentant sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit, responds in faith to 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 a conformity is climaxed in the believer's glorification at Christ's coming (Romans 8:17; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:2-3).
Justification. 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 (charging to one’s account) 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).
Sanctification. 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 is positional sanctification which is instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification. 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).
There is also by the work of the Holy Spirit a progressive sanctification 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, every saved person is involved in a daily conflict—the new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh—but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life and is never completely ended. All claims to the eradication of sin in this life are unscriptural. Eradication of sin is not possible, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Galatians 5:16-25; Romans 7:14-20; Ephesians 4:22-24; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9).
The final aspect of sanctification is glorification when at Christ's second coming we are with Jesus and like Him in that we are completely sinless and in our resurrected bodies (Rom 8:29; 1 Cor 15:42, 43; Phil 3:20-21; 1 John 3:2).
Security. 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).
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).
Separation. Separation from sin is clearly called for throughout the Old and New Testaments, and that the Scriptures clearly indicate that in the last days apostasy (abandoning one’s belief) and worldliness shall increase (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).
Out of deep gratitude for the undeserved grace of God granted to us and because our glorious God is so worthy of our total consecration, all the saved should live in such a manner as to demonstrate our adoring love to God and so as not to bring reproach upon our Lord and Savior. We also teach that separation from all religious apostasy and worldly and sinful practices is commanded of us by God (Romans 12:1-2, 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11).
Believers should be separated unto our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; Hebrews 12:12) 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).
Purpose. 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 baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38-42) and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8; 2:42).
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 at the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51,52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Membership. 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).
The church is 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 is distinct from Israel (1 Corinthians 10:32), a mystery not revealed until this age (Ephesians 3:1-6; 5:32).
Discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Timothy 2:2), mutual accountability of all believers to each other (Matthew 18:15-17), as well as the need for 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) is important.
Authority. The one supreme authority for the church is Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18) and that church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed through His sovereignty as found in the Scriptures. The biblically designated leaders serving under Christ and over the assembly are elders (also called bishops, pastors, and pastor teachers; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11) and deacons, both of whom must meet biblical qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5). These leaders lead or rule as servants of Christ (1 Timothy 5:17-22) and have His authority in directing the church. The congregation is to submit to their leadership (Hebrews 13:7,17).
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) is found in God’s Word. True churches cooperate with each other for the presentation and propagation of the faith. 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).
The establishment and continuity of local 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 directed to associate themselves together in local assemblies (1 Corinthians 11:18-20; Hebrews 10:25).
Gifts to minister. All saints are called to the work of service (1 Corinthians 15:58; Ephesians 4:12; Revelation 22:12).
The church is to cooperate with God as He accomplishes His purpose in the world. To that end, He gives the church spiritual gifts (Ephesians 4:7-16). First, He gives a gift of ‘called men’ consisting of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers whose purpose is to equip other saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11). Second, He gives to each member of the Body of Christ unique and special spiritual abilities to minister and serve (Romans 12:5-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31; 1 Peter 4:10,11; Ephesians 2:10).
There were two kinds of gifts given to the early church: miraculous gifts and ministering gifts. The miraculous gifts of divine revelation and healing were given to the early church for the purpose of confirming the authenticity of the apostles’ message (Hebrews 2:3,4; 2 Corinthians 12:12). The ministering gifts were given to equip believers for edifying one another (Romans 12:6-8). Today, there is no new revelation after the completion and canon of the New Testament (Hebrews 1:1, 2; 2:1-4; John 17:17-20; 2 Timothy 3:15-17). Scripture is now the sole test of the authenticity of a man's message and the only gifts known to be in operation today are the equipping gifts given for edification.
Ordinances. Two ordinances (official decrees) 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 showing forth his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and His 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). (Click here for more.)
The Lord's Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes, and should be always preceded by solemn self examination (1 Corinthians 11:23-32). 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). (Click here for more.)
Holy Angels. 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, to worship Him, and to minister to believers (Luke 2:9-14; Hebrews 1:6-7, 14; 2:6-7; Revelation 5:11-14; 19:10; 22:9).
Fallen Angels. Satan is a created angel and the author of sin. He incurred the judgment of God by rebelling against his Creator (Isaiah 14:13-14), by taking numerous angels with him in his fall (Matthew 25:41; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 12:1-14), and by introducing sin into the human race by his temptation of Eve (Genesis 3:1-15).
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 14:15; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).
Last Things (Eschatology)
Death. At death there is a separation of the soul and physical body (Philippians 1:21-24). Believers do not lose their consciousness (Revelation 6:9 11) and are immediately in the presence of Christ (Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8). Here the souls of the redeemed in Christ remain in joyful fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8). Their souls and physical bodies are reunited at the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17) which is the first resurrection (Revelation 20:4-6). The souls and resurrected body will be reunited to be glorified forever with our Lord and enjoy eternal life (Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:35-44, 50-54; John 6:39; Romans 8:10-11, 19-23; 2 Corinthians 4:14).
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 resurrected body will be united (John 5:28-29). 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 God forever (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:41-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9), and under judgment and everlasting punishment (Daniel 12:2; John 5:29; Revelation 20:13-15).
Generally, we hold to and teach a Pre-tribulation Premillennialism view of last things. Pre-tribulation refers to where the church is raptured prior to the Tribulation period such that the Church is spared from God’s wrath that is poured out on the earth. Premillennialism refers to Christ’s Second Coming occurring at the end of the Tribulation Period and prior to the Millennial Kingdom.
We acknowledge a certain mystery in Scripture about the timing of these
events. Therefore, we do not desire to be divisive and are not dogmatic on
the Pre-tribulation Premillennial view of last things.
The Rapture of the Church. The Lord Jesus Christ will personally and physically return before the tribulation period for His church and take them from this earth (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-5:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Titus 2:13). Between this event and His Second Coming when He brings the saints with Him, believers will be rewarded in Heaven according to their works (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
The Tribulation Period and Second Coming. Following the rapture of the church from the earth, righteous judgments of God will be poured out upon an unbelieving world over seven years (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:24-27; 12:1; Matthew 24:15-31, 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12; Revelation 6-19). These judgments will be climaxed by the Second Coming of Christ to the earth at the battle of Armageddon where the Antichrist and the False Prophet are overthrown and thrown into the lake of fire (Daniel 7:17-27; Matthew 24:27-31, 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12; Revelation 19:17-21).
At that time believers from the Old Testament and tribulation will be raised and the living will be judged (Daniel 12:2-3; Revelation 20:4-6). Satan is removed from the world and cast into the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:1-3).
The Millennial Reign. Christ will then occupy the throne of David (Matthew 25:31; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 1:10-11; 2:29-30) and establish His messianic kingdom for a literal thousand years on the earth – this is the Millennial Kingdom (Revelation 20:1-7). During this time the resurrected saints will reign with Him over Israel and all the nations of the earth (Ezekiel 37:21-28; Daniel 7:17-22; Revelation 19:11-16).
The kingdom itself will be the fulfillment of God's promise to Israel (Isaiah 65:17-25; Ezekiel 37:21-28; Zechariah 8:1-17) to restore them to the land which they forfeited through their disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:15-68). The result of their disobedience and rejection of Christ was that Israel was temporarily set aside (Matthew 21:43; Romans 11:1-26) but will again be awakened through repentance to enter into the land of blessing (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:22-32; Romans 11:25-29).
The time of our Lord's reign will be characterized by harmony, justice, peace, righteousness, and long life (Isaiah 11; 65:17-25; Ezekiel 36:33-38), and will be brought to an end with the release of Satan (Revelation 20:7).
The Judgment of the Lost. Following the release of Satan after the end of the thousand year millennial reign of Christ (Revelation 20:7), Satan will deceive the nations of the earth and gather them to battle against the saints and Jerusalem. Satan’s army will be devoured by fire from heaven (Revelation 20:9). Following this, 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 resurrect and judge all unbelievers at the Great White Throne judgment according to their works (Revelation 20:11-15).
This resurrection of the unsaved dead to judgment will be a physical (bodily) resurrection. It is the second resurrection. Upon receiving their judgment (Romans 14:10-13), they will be committed to an eternal conscious punishment in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:11-15).
Eternity. After the closing of the millennium, the temporary release of Satan, and 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 heaven and earth are to be dissolved by fire (2 Peter 3:10) and replaced with a new earth wherein only righteousness dwells (Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 20:15, 21-22). Following this, the heavenly city (New Jerusalem) will come down out of heaven (Revelation 21:2) and will be the dwelling place of the saints. Here 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).
*Our church family is a diverse group of people from many different denominational and faith backgrounds. Our elders all agreed that God was leading us to work through what we teach as a local body of Christ. ACC’s servant leaders take this responsibility very seriously. In an effort to protect our church family from misleading or even false teaching we needed to have a common, baseline theology. We researched the faith statements of several different churches we trust in the effort to find a starting point from which to work. Over the course of a year and a half we prayerfully examined the statements of one such document. We met weekly and worked through each line of that document, many times word by word, in an effort to faithfully communicate what we believe God’s word teaches about Himself. The statement of faith above will give you a good picture of what our church family teaches. Being sinful men who are trying to describe a perfect and eternal God, we recognize that it is an imperfect and incomplete document. We do believe, however, that it can give an accurate picture of who God is and what Antioch Christian Church teaches in His name. We humbly submit it as a starting point, knowing that it will grow and change over the years as we continue to faithfully seek Christ. Please feel free to approach any or all of ACC’s elders (who are our elders?) with any questions or concerns. We want to continue this conversation, knowing that God has a way of showing us more of Himself as we focus on Him together.