Pearl of Great Value - Matt. 13:45-46

Statement of Faith       

What I Believe    

                    

I believe that the Bible is the Word of God, inspired,  infallible, and the only sure source of divine truth for all believers. Since the Reformers made God's Word available in the vernacular of the people, many translations of the Bible have appeared in nearly all languages. In English we have an abundance of good translations, all of which may claim to be God's Word. I enjoy especially the English Standard Version, the New American Standard Version, the New International Version, and the New King James Version. The Authorized Version (King James Version) is stately and beautiful, but is hard to read and is based on a defective text. Other versions such as The Living Bible and New Living Translation are paraphrases, not translations, and are useful for study, but not to be used as one's only reference. I reject the Message, which distorts the original meaning of the holy text. I'm fortunate to have studied Koine Greek, so I can read the New Testament in its original language. In the Bible, Old and New Testaments, God has revealed to us how He wants us to understand Him. We are not at liberty to pick and choose which parts of the Bible we will believe. The Bible should form our view of things, not the "spirit of the age."

I believe in One God, Holy, Infinite, Almighty and All-knowing--existing eternally as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

I believe that Jesus Christ is the incarnation of the Eternal Son, God manifested in the flesh, born of a virgin, truly man and truly God.  He was crucified for our sins and has totally satisfied the just judgment of God against us sinner. He was buried, raised from the dead, taken up to heaven, and is seated now at the right hand of the Father, as the True and Living Way to God. He will come back to earth to judge the living and the dead, to reign on David's throne, and to establish His Eternal Kingdom.

I believe that man was created perfect, in the image of God, but that sin has so marred that image that no works of righteousness can return him to God's favor and to his original state. I believe that all sons of men are born children of wrath, are separated from God by their sinful nature, invariably violate God's law and become guilty before God, and that only through repentance and faith in Christ can one be "born again" and enter into favor with God. 

I believe God has called us to a holy life, to be lived by the power of His Spirit and nurtured by all 'means of grace'--prayer, fasting, the Word, fellowship, and worship. While I reject the notion of "sinless perfection" in this life, I believe in a fullness of the Spirit that exactly corresponds to the "second blessing" of  Wesley and his followers.  I believe that we can receive by consecration and faith such a fullness of the Holy Spirit that we can live in a "Beulah Land" of cloudless fellowship with Christ and the Father; we can pray without ceasing, rejoice evermore, in everything give thanks, enjoy that perfect love which casts out fear, and be "filled with all the fullness of God."

I believe that God watches over us, keeps us in grace, and receives us into

glory if we hold fast our confession firm unto the end. I do not believe the doctrine of "once-saved-always-saved" as it is often taught. Those who endure to the end in faith and obedience will be saved. The numerous warnings in the Bible against falling away, forsaking the faith, making a shipwreck of faith, departing from the living God, and coming short of the grace of God instruct us that the only guarantee of final perseverance is continuation in faith and obedience.

I believe in a literal Satan and his demonic forces. I believe that Satan has much power on earth, but no legitimate authority. Christ defeated him on the Cross and now possesses "all authority in heaven and on earth."  But at this time Satan's power, though usurped, is great. We overcome him by obeying God's commands and claiming the His promises by faith. Ultimately Satan, his demons, and his human slaves will be cast into the Lake of Fire. I believe that a Christian can be "demonized" though not "demon-possessed." Clearly demons cannot live in a regenerated spirit where the Spirit of Christ resides; but demons can and do afflict the souls and bodies of believers in many ways.  In my experience they must be cast out in the name of Jesus.

I believe in the literal return of Christ to the earth to judge His people, to destroy His enemies, and to reign among the nations from Jerusalem.  I do not believe that the Church has replaced Israel in prophecy, nor that Christ will return in the Church rather than for the Church. Neither do I believe that the Church will be "raptured" before the appearance of Antichrist and the Tribulation, but that those alive when Christ returns will meet Him in the air as He returns to pour out His Wrath on His enemies and so will forever be with Him.

I believe that the supernatural gifts and the ministries of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and shepherd-teacher have always been potentially present in the Church; and that they did not pass away after the first century. Similarly, the "age of miracles" never ceased; rather faith in miracles largely disappeared from the Church. Miracles are, as far as I'm concerned, "the children's bread," and should be a regular part of Church life. Having said that I consider many "Miracle Ministries" to be short on miracles and long on false promises. Furthermore, I do not expect a restoration of the ministries (which never ceased) in the form of latter-day "apostles and prophets" who will govern a united Church. One of the heavy, daunting duties of my life and this site is to warn against various end-time "movements," which I suspect may be part of the final apostasy.

I believe that the Church will go through the Tribulation, and not be taken out prior to the Tribulation. I do not believe that the Church will take dominion over the earth prior to Christ's return. The last-days Church may indeed be very pure and very powerful, but I believe it will be a greatly-reduced, Christ-filled remnant, persecuted by the Great Harlot Church that we see emerging.

For further details of my beliefs see the body of this website and the companion site Love the Truth.

"We believe that the Word contained in these books [of the Bible] has proceeded from God, and receives its authority from Him alone, and not from men; and inasmuch as it is the rule of all truth, containing all that is necessary for the service of God and for our salvation, it is not lawful for men, nor even for angels, to add to it, to take from it, or to change it. Whence it follows that no authority, whether of antiquity, or custom, or numbers, or human wisdom, or judgments, or proclamations, or edicts, or decrees, or councils, or visions, or miracles, should be opposed to these holy Scriptures; but, on the contrary, all things should be examined, regulated, and reformed according to them." French Reformed Confession of 1559