STATEMENT OF FAITH on sound doctrine and beliefs:
Beliefs should never be based on opinion but rather on scripture i.e. "The Word." It is why there are so many divisions in the body of Christ: Erroneous interpretations and dangerous conclusions. Most believers are uninformed or misinformed...or sometimes, both.
First and foremost, God loves us. (All of us) He doesn't want to hurt us, He wants to save us. Jesus would not have died for someone whom He did not love, right? The Gospel mean "Good News" not bad news. He's done His part i.e. "It is finished," and now we have to respond to that loving act of sacrifice. If you need convincing, rent "The Passion of the Christ." (It is a uniquely anointed film) If you've seen it, rent it again.
Unfortunately, on the legalistic side of the church, there are some ministries that promote "You can run but you cannot hide" or supposedly "Sold out for Jesus" that either attempt to scare people into a relationship with Jesus (the wrong motive) or tries to inflict upon them the Old Testament law as their tool of evangelism. (wrong method) Those approaches are simply misguided and are not the Biblical precedent of being His witnesses. Again, the Gospel means "Good news." And that Good News means you can have God in your life (and more importantly in the life to come, John 3:16) and that you have un-surpassable worth in His eyes.
While it's true that some who are foolishly stubborn and prideful, will only come to the Lord through a confrontation‚€Ēperhaps a "This is your last chance" confrontation‚€Ēthe norm about sharing our faith i.e. Salt and Light, is that His goodness leads to repentance. (Romans 2:4)
Ministries who focus on hell (rather than heaven) or our sins (rather than Jesus' victory over them) are actually doing the opposite of the Great Commission i.e. promoting "bad news" not spreading the Good News. Their approach comes down to this: Pride and error. Promoting "law" not grace.
Anybody can rent air time, build a web site or have large meetings, right? Lots of self-appointed TV "preachers" out there. As any good reporter will tell you: "Consider the source."
.We believe that the Bible is God 's Word. It is Divinely inspired, infallible, without errors, authoritative and is completely practical to navigate thru life's storms. Storms will come but He'll walk you through those. The Bible is the only source of true power on Earth that has the capacity of changing us. Romans 12:2. "transformed by the renewing of your mind..." Transformed simply means changed.
.We believe that there is one God that is exists in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They are "one" but they are not the same i.e. one in unity, purpose and direction.
.We believe in the deity of Jesus. In other words, Jesus is God. We believe in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious (substitutionary) and redemptive death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father and in His personal return in power and glory.
In short, He's everything to us. (Know Jesus, know peace. No Jesus, no peace) That is the Real Deal.
.We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is essential. That truth is Bible 101. Jesus died for all mankind and any can receive the free gift. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
"Believe" means to surrender to Jesus then give your life to Him by turning your back on sin i.e. repent. (Repent is not a popular word today) It means to follow Him and don't look back. Jesus said, "No one can come to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)
.We believe that water baptism is for the believer. It is a public statement of one's declaration that they are saved and of their loyalty to Jesus.
Infant baptism is not scriptural. It is a false teaching & one more tradition of men that makes takes away from the Word of God. (Mark 7:13) It presupposes that infants (born and unborn) are sinful and hell-bound if not sprinkled which is of course, un-biblical. Certainly not the heart of Jesus.
*Many denominations adhere to this like Lutherans and Catholics*
However Jesus said in John 9:41 said this: "If you were blind, you would have no sin but because you say you see, your sin remains."
Those who are spiritually "blind" are not accountable thus are blameless, which of course includes babies, (born and unborn) as well as, those who are mentally incompetent.
"Blind" in the original Greek means physical or mental. (Tuphlos is the Greek) #5185 Strong's Conc.
Water baptism is for the disciple (Matthew 28:19) the believer, (Mark 16:16, Acts 18:18) and those who repent. (Acts 2:38)
Obviously a baby can't repent from any sins they have not committed. "Original sin" is a man-made doctrine. We are not born sinners (at some age only known to God), we become one. Infants are not yet believers nor disciples, obviously.
Too many think they're saved because they were 'sprinkled' at a church service, which makes it an erroneous doctrine. "Dedication" is one thing and surely appropriate but that is not New Testament water baptism.
Water baptism does not save, as many teach trying to justify infant baptism. The thief on the cross was clearly NOT water baptized yet Jesus said that he would be with the Lord in paradise. No, we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8) which Luther and other reformers taught i.e. grace alone. Infants don't have saving faith yet. The only way we become saved is by "believing in our heart" and "confessing Jesus is Lord" (Romans 10:9)
.We believe that "Reformed Theology" i.e. Calvinism--though popular in some camps--is an egregious teaching that says that God has "predecided" who He is (and isn't) going to save. (It's a very short list‚€ĒCalvinists assert‚€Ēand only they're on it)
It is, however, in direct opposition to what the Bible teaches of God "desires all men to be saved," (I Tim.2:4) Jesus died for "the whole world", (I John 2:2) and "not willing that any should perish."
(II Peter 3:9)
Yes, we believe that we have been 'predestined' but we are predestined to be conformed to "the image of His Son". (Romans 8:29)* God is not limited to time, therefore He knew before the world began, who would be saved. (Most Calvinists we've met, unfortunately, lean towards legalistic, elistist, arrogant thinking i.e. "I'm saved but you're not," as well as, sectarianism i.e. splintered groups, which the Bible forbids. We are to be "one" according to Jesus prayer in John 17:17)
It's typical of human nature to isolate from others deemed "less." They separate because they assert that they know better than most and have "the greater revelation."
Paul says it this way: Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe‚€™s household, that there are contentions among you.
Now I say this, that each of you says, ‚€úI am of Paul,‚€Ě or ‚€úI am of Apollos,‚€Ě or ‚€úI am of Cephas,‚€Ě or ‚€úI am of Christ.‚€Ě Is Christ divided? I Corinthians 1: 10-13. (emphasis added)
This 'dividing' explains all the denominations out there. Denominations are not Biblical.
There are multiple scriptures that refute Calvinism. One of those is Romans 5:18-19: "Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (emphasis added)
Romans 3:23 states that all have sinned (once they know right from wrong) so really "many were made sinners" in Romans 5:18 isn't translated correctly and is misleading.
A more accurate translation of Romans 5:19 would be: For as by one man's disobedience all were made sinners, (by their own choice) so by the obedience of one (Jesus' sacrifice) shall all be made righteous. (Implying, if they choose to be righteous i.e. surrendering to Him. Unfortunately, many won't yield to the Spirit's conviction)
.We believe Jesus is returning again. True believers and disciples should: ‚€úBe ready.‚€Ě (Matt. 24:44)
"Ready" means you are not living a "lifestyle of sin." Those lifestyles are clearly in the New T.
He first comes for us, commonly called "The Rapture of the Church" (I Thess.4:16) and then He returns with us, commonly called, "The Second Coming of Christ," to establish His 1000 year reign. (Revelation 19:7-16) His return is our "blessed hope."
.We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling and empowerment, the Christian is enabled to live a Godly life and through whom the Spiritual gifts are operational in the Church today.
.We believe that God provides to desiring believers, Holy Spirit power for the evangelizing of the lost.
.We believe that we should follow Jesus because He saved us, not because of our "perks." Yes, He does bless financially and we thank Him for that. Yet there are times of challenge, as well. Today's economy is proof positive of that. Paul said, in essence whether we're up or down: We follow Him. We can do all things with Him. (Phil. 4:12-13) Its been often said that, 'God is more interested in our character than our comfort.'
The 30, 60, 100 fold return Jesus talked about is the Word of God sown in people's heart, not a multi-level, get rich quick lottery that so many TV preachers are promoting and selling.
Be a cheerful giver with pure intentions because He likes that. You'll reap what you sow.
.We believe that you cannot 'hate' anyone as a Christian. If a church separates or divides over race (or even) political views, they are in direct opposition to the Lord's plan of "that they may be one." (John 17:20-21) *Church discipline, however, does include people who are refusing to repent and intent on living a lifestyle that is forbidden by Scripture.*
.Similarly we believe that no one should ever be denied communion, if they are a follow of Jesus, that they understand the need to "examine" themselves and that they are living their life for Jesus.
If a "denomination" states that you cannot take communion i.e. you're not worthy, you're less-than, not qualified, etc. Run, don't walk!
It's for all believers who've confessed their sins. They are now clean and worthy to partake.
(Communion video clip) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Y9qCsIPzNo
The bread symbolizes His sacrifice (beating, flogging, crucifixion) for our sins. The wine symbolizes His blood shed to remove sin, for all who will believe and receive it.
*Transubstantiation is error. This is a doctrine that asserts that the bread and wine mysteriously (and literally) become His body and blood. Drinking blood is forbidden in scripture. Communion is a "memorial." "My words are Spirit and life..." Spirit means communion is spiritural, not literal.
Some denominations teach that by taking "sacraments" that you are re-enacting Jesus' death on the cross YET scripture states that His sacrifice was done "once and for all." Hebrews 10:10.
Jesus said, "It is finished." (John 19:30) Peter stated, "Christ died once for sins..." I Peter 3:18. Any re-enactment i.e. re-crucifying Him is disrespectful.
.We believe in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman. It is the God-ordained template for family and society. The sexual union between husband and wife is holy. It is designed by our Creator for children, mutual pleasure & satisfaction, as well as, moral safety. ( I Corinthians 7)
The template according to Jesus is: "The two shall become One." Husband (man) & Wife (woman)
.We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost. Those that are saved unto the resurrection of life. Those that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
.We believe in the Spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. Unity of the Spirit, not doctrine. Doctrine's extremely important but not as important as family, and families disagree sometimes.
In essentials: Unity In non-essentials: Freedom In all things: Love
The number of "denominations" shows we're a long way from "unity." Sectarianism (sects, divisions, arguing, contentions, elite groups) is not Biblical. Remember, Paul askes the rhetorical question in
I Corinthians 1:13, "Is Christ divided?"
The word "proud" in I Peter 5:5...."God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble" means this: Appearing above others. It's why God is "resisting" i.e. opposing many "denominations." They tell people that "THEY" have the greater insight or that "THEY" are the true church. They are "appearing above others" to be sure.
As you study, a word of encouragement about sound doctrine and a caution regarding deception in the church:
While the Internet can be an amazing tool for information, you need to be careful and discerning about what you feed on. There are a number of false ministry sites that will try and mislead you. (Anyone can call themselves, 'Christian,' 'Child of God', or 'Minister' but remember Jesus talked a lot about "wolves in sheep's clothing." Besides, as previously stated, anyone can purchase a web domain name.)
Many sites--some associated with the Gospel of inclusion which is a false teaching that states everyone is saved no matter what you do or how you live--will try and mislead you with flowery language like "open and affirming," "welcoming," and "embracing" regarding alternative, forbidden lifestyles.
We are to love the sinner‚€Ēas Jesus told us to‚€Ēbut we are to speak the truth in love against the sin, as we're also instructed to do. The Lord will most certainly 'affirm, welcome and embrace' anyone yet at some point, we must surrender to Him and all that it involves. To follow Jesus, i.e. be a disciple, we must yield to Him and His Word, making Him not just Savior but Lord.
Many "denominations" have strayed from the truth, are in error on multiple essential Christian teachings and are in direct opposition to the New Testament, specifically:
United Church of Christ, Episcopal, ELCA, (Lutheran) United Methodist, Presbyterian and the *Roman Catholic church, to name a few. (*The sexual abuse in the Catholic church, and its cover up, is most egregious. God is bringing judgment to that sect thru people like attorney Jeff Anderson)
"Liberal" web sites can be misleading and Biblically unsound. Many of these sites are anti-marriage i.e. anti-husband and wife, with an "agenda." (There's definitely an assault on marriage today) It is deception, "in the church." Satan is tricky and extremely clever, so be careful what you listen to.
Remember there are tares next to the wheat. The ELCA recent vote is proof positive, we're in the latter days and while God loves everyone equally, His requirements and conditions are clearly spelled out. It's only when we share the truth--maybe thru cautions--that we are really loving people.
I Timothy 4:1 states: Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry...(emphasis ours)
verse 6 "If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ."
In His own words: (John 14:6) Jesus said to him, ‚€úI am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (there's no ambiguity there) Jesus is God and He's always right.
Again, on the topic of marriage, sex and covenant, Jesus said: (Mark 10:6) ‚€úFrom the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.‚€Ě (that's the God-ordained template of marriage between husband and wife)
We encourage you to read the New Testament yourself to be familiar with winds of doctrine that deceive, entice and play off your emotions disguising themselves as "Christian."
We also believe that as Jesus acted and loved people unconditionally, we should too. With regard to "the gay community," He loves them, as should we. "Love the sinner, hate the sin." No ambiguity.
"Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted." (Galatians 6:1) This is both inclusive of that lifestyle, as well as, any other forbidden one.
For video clips on sexual issues, brokenness and testimonies, click here:
"No one is born gay" article: http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/in-the-line-of-fire/45308-no-one-is-born-gay?utm_medium=MostPopularArticles_RightColBottom
Many TV preachers have taken cheap shots like "Ellen De-generate" or attacking people like Jodie Foster, which only further alienates, hurts and/or irritates the very ones that the Holy Spirit is wooing.
As we have received forgiveness, grace, mercy, and patience....we should extend that as well. It's "speak the truth in love," not speak the truth, only. Nor speak in love, only. It's both.
One particular sexual sin is no worse that another.
The greatest gift you can give someone running or opposing God's drawing power is: Kindness.
If you have "judgment stones" in your hand, God says drop them. When the woman caught in adultery was exposed, Jesus drew in the dirt--which most scholars believe that He was writing the names of those who were also sexually guilty, directly or indirectly, namely: Everyone.
Click here for a reminder of grace in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFyymEvM6Dw&feature=related
.We believe in being effective witnesses, not 'going witnessing.' Again, there are legitimate ministries‚€Ēthough their intentions are good‚€Ēthat alienate "seekers" with messages of God's going to get you.
As we've said: God doesn't want to hurt us, He wants to save us. Would you die for someone you didn't love? No, most likely. The Good News is Jesus died for all. (Romans 5:18) Preach that and that alone. "We are saved by grace thru faith..." Grace is Good News. It's "amazing" grace.
Remember this: God loves everyone equally and desires them all to obtain salvation, so don't repel those He's trying to reach. Again, it's the goodness of God that leads people to repent, not His wrath.
Despite what some teach, God doesn't want to hurt anyone:
Ezekiel 33:11 (New International Version)
Say to them, 'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.
.We believe that while all Christians are called to be witnesses, only some are called‚€Ēand qualified‚€Ēto be in ministry. (I Timothy 3:2) Pastors who are accountable to no one aren't called: they're self-appointed. If they resist "testing" of their teachings or behavior: mark them i.e. note them and don't endorse them. If they divorce at will, then marry quickly again: Do not follow them!
Carnal Christian men (especially "church leaders") usually re-marry younger women and won't embrace counsel. Consider their ways, as being fleshly and not spiritual, for your own moral safety.
Pastors should be happily married men, solid doctrinally, have their house in order, not greedy i.e. not always talking about (and looking for) money plus they should be must be approachable. Anything other than that, be aware of and do not support them.
Finally this...an admonition to any Christian: Proverbs 6:16-19 (New King James Version) "These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him":
1¬∑ A proud look,
2¬∑ A lying tongue,
3¬∑ Hands that shed innocent blood,
4¬∑ A heart that devises wicked plans,
5¬∑ Feet that are swift in running to evil,
6¬∑ A false witness who speaks lies,
7¬∑ And one who sows discord among brethren.
Remember, the Gospel applies to all. Don't wear this t shirt:
Re: Healing. The question of divine healing in theological circles and church leaders is this: ‚€úIs healing in the atonement?‚€Ě The answer is, of course. I Peter says ‚€úby whose stripes we were healed.‚€Ě
So... better questions that are more precise and definitive would be:
‚€úIs physical healing guaranteed as a Christian?‚€Ě
‚€úDid Jesus die for our sins and sicknesses?‚€Ě
‚€úDoes ‚€úhealing‚€Ě in the Greek and Hebrew always mean physical?‚€Ě
I‚€™ve heard some preachers use the verse in I Peter 2 to say conclusively that physical healing is ‚€úyour covenant right‚€Ě as opposed to a blessing and a generous gift from the Lord of grace. They quote verse 24 of I Peter 2 to support this view: I Peter 2:24‚€¶by whose stripes you were healed.
Some teach that not only were we forgiven of our sins at the cross but were also physically healed and are ‚€úassured‚€Ě perfect health. I Peter 2:24 in context, however, is addressing forgiveness of sins not ‚€úguaranteed health.‚€Ě
Jesus eradicated the sin issue at Calvary, on the cross. Were we ‚€úhealed by his stripes?‚€Ě You bet.
The healing is ‚€úspiritual,‚€Ě however, i.e we can be ‚€úwhole.‚€Ě Vines Expository Dictionary concurs with this truth. ‚€úHealed‚€Ě is the Greek word, iaomai, which is used in this scripture, as ‚€úspiritual healing‚€Ě not physical. In Matthew 13:15, the word ‚€úheal‚€Ě is the same word that is translated ‚€úhealed‚€Ě in I Peter 2:24.
Matthew 13:15 For this people‚€™s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
This is talking about the condition of your heart not your body. When examining scripture, you always need to back up far enough to get a running start at the fl ow and then keep reading several verses to get the full meaning of what‚€™s being addressed. So, look at the first part of I Peter 2:24 and then verse 25, that is too often omitted:
I Peter 2:24 He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might
live for righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.
I Pet 2:25 For you were as sheep going astray; but are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
The Holy Spirit wrote that the Lord Jesus bore our ‚€úsins‚€Ě not sicknesses and diseases. (Sickness and
disease don‚€™t separate you from the Lord: sin does) He certainly could have included sicknesses and
diseases in this text. He didn‚€™t, by choice. You don‚€™t ‚€úgo astray‚€Ě by being sick. (I Cor. 15:3 says, ‚€úChrist
died for our sins according to the scriptures.‚€Ě)
Another interpretation is that the ‚€ústripes‚€Ě mentioned in I Peter 2:24 is talking about the scourging Jesus
received before being crucified.
However, the word ‚€ústripes‚€Ě in I Peter 2:24 is not the same Greek word that ‚€úscourging‚€Ě is referred to in
all the other texts in the New Testament, like when Paul was ‚€úflogged/scourged‚€Ě for example.
2 Cor 11:24 Of the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.
Stripes‚€Ē4127. plege, play-gay‚€™; a stroke; by impl. a wound; fi g. a calamity:‚€Ēplague, stripe, wound (-
ed). (‚€úScourging‚€Ě noted 8 times)
I Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins,
should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.
Stripes‚€Ē3468. molops, mo‚€™-lopes; bruise or blow-mark:‚€Ēstripe. (Other words for ‚€úscourging‚€Ě are
phragelloo and mastigoo NOT molops)
Vine‚€™s Expository Dictionary explains this ‚€úspiritual healing‚€Ě or ‚€úAtonement‚€Ě issue in I Peter 2:24 and
‚€ústripes‚€Ě this way: ‚€ú‚€¶literally, in the original, ‚€úby whose bruise,‚€Ě not referring to Christ‚€™s scourging,
but figurative of the stroke of divine judgment administered vicariously (in place of someone else) to
Him on the cross‚€¶‚€Ě
Jesus is our Savior + Healer. The Earth, however, is a fallen planet & Paradise restored awaits us.