BCS Ministries        - Biblical Care of Souls                THEOLOGY MATTERS
luther%2095%20theses tn
    "Dost thou wish to understand? Believe. For God has said by the prophet: "Except ye believe, ye shall not understand." To the same purpose what the Lord here also added as He went on "If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak from myself." What is the meaning of this, "If any man be willing to do His will"? But I had said, if any man believe; and I gave this counsel: If thou hast not understood, said I, believe. For understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore do not seek to understand in order to believe, but believe that thou mayest understand; since, "except ye believe, ye shall not understand." - Augustine (Tractate 29 on John 7.14-18):

       "I Believe, Therefore I Understand"   "Not only do we only know God through Jesus Christ,  but we only know ourselves through Jesus Christ; we only know life and death through Jesus Christ. Apart from Jesus Christ we cannot know the meaning of our  life, our death, of God or ourselves. Thus without  Scripture, whose only object is Christ, we know nothing, and can see nothing but obscurity and confusion in the nature of God and in nature itself." – Blaise Pascal from his book Pénseés.
  Article 1. Scripture
    The Canon of Scripture
The thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament form the canon of Scripture. The Canon of Scripture is now complete and therefore no new claims of canonical revelation is to be accepted. Hebrews 1:1-2
    The Inspiration of Scripture
The Bible has both human and divine authorship. Though written over many centuries by men of differing perspectives, experiences, styles, temperaments, and languages, it is entirely free of contradictions. This unity is explained by the fact that the Holy Spirit of God is the true author of Holy Scripture. He inspired, or more precisely breathed out, his message. He moved men to write what they wrote, incorporating their human personalities and literary styles into the text.2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21, Luke 1:1-4, John 14:26,John 16:13-15, 2 Peter 3:15-16
    The Inerrancy and Infallibility of Scripture
As the uniquely inspired Word of God, the Bible is the only infallible and inerrant writing that exists. By inerrancy is meant that the words themselves and the facts recorded are without error. By infallibility is meant that the Bible is incapable of error in what it teaches. The Bible is without error even when it touches on subjects of history and science. It provides the absolute answers for all men, concerning how we are to be saved, what we are to believe, and how we are to live in order to please our Creator. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, John 10:34-35
    The Clarity of Scripture
While all Scripture does not contain the same degree of clarity either by design or due to our limited understanding, the Bible is sufficiently clear in revealing what one needs to know in order to come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ and to grow in holiness and maturity.2 Timothy 3:15-17
    The Authority of Scripture
The Bible is to believed as the authoritative Word of God not based on the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author of Scripture. It is, therefore, to be received because it is the Word of God. Scripture alone is the final authority in all matters of doctrine and practice.2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews6:13; 2 Peter 1:19-21; 1 John 5:9
    The Ultimate Apologetic of Scripture
While we may be moved and persuaded by the testimony of men and the many evidences in support of Scripture such as: Supernatural predictions in prophecy that are precise, detailed, and accurate; Supernatural unity displayed in the diversity of authors, settings, and topics yet converging on a unity of testimony; Supernatural insight and answers to the big questions of life that is consistent with the way we experience and perceive the world and in a way that is internally cohesive; Supernatural accuracy and correspondence to archaeology and history along with unimpeachable testimony and tremendous manuscript evidence; Supernatural impact that transcends time and culture to radically transform sinners into saints; and supernatural survival through time and persecution. Ultimately, the deciding factor in someone coming to a full persuasion and assurance that the Bible is God’s Word is an inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts in a way that is immediate and unassailable. It is the reception of divine light to see the majesty of God manifest in the Scriptures themselves. Our belief that the Bible is from God rests ultimately on the testimony of God and not of man.John 16:13-14; 1 Corinthians2:10-12; 1 John 2:20, 27; 5:6-13
    The Autographs
All that has been said about the divine nature of the Bible applies strictly speaking to the original writings (the Autographs) and not to the translations. For all practical purposes we have today the actual and complete Word of God. Those few parts of the Bible (some phrases and a few verses) that are disputed by the existence of variant readings among some ancient manuscripts do not affect the essentials of the Christian faith.
Article 2. General Revelation
    General or Natural Revelation is the knowledge of God that can be gained through his creation. This knowledge is limited and is not sufficient to bring someone to a saving faith. No one, as a result of Natural Revelation, will want to savingly know the true God. The knowledge of God revealed in creation is rejected by mankind and leaves all men without excuse before the judge of all heaven and earth. The knowledge of God in general revelation condemns but cannot save. Romans 1:18-20, Psalm 19:1-6
Article 3. God and the Trinity
    The Incomprehensibility of God
The God of Scripture, the only true God, is very different from man in his being. Man is like God, made in his image, in very limited ways. There is no way that man can fully grasp an infinite God with his limited capacity. There will always be incompleteness in our understanding of God. Some areas of incompleteness are the Incarnation, the Trinity, the relation between divine sovereignty and human responsibility, and the concept of the eternality of God, that is, the truth that God has always existed, among other doctrines.Deuteronomy 29:29, 1 Samuel 15:29, John 1:1, Romans 9:10-21
    The Trinity
The Scriptures clearly teach that there is one God who is an infinite being and who exists in three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each person is wholly God, equal in power and glory, and possesses precisely the same attributes and perfection. Though undivided in nature and being, they each have different roles, eternally functioning with perfect harmony. Deuteronomy 6:4, Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Corinthians1:3 , John 1:1-14, John 20:28, John 10:29-30, John 14:5-14, Acts5:3-4
    The Attributes of God
God is a spirit who is infinite in being and perfection. He is unchangeable. He is eternal, without beginning or end. He fully exists everywhere, yet he is separate from his creation. He knows all things because he decrees all things. He is all-powerful, absolutely holy, and most wise. He is self-sufficient and is in no way dependent on his creation. He is a God of love, who is compassionate and forgiving. Yet, he is also the judge who executes perfect judgment on all mankind according to his holiness revealed in his law. God can do anything that is consistent with his nature and his eternal purpose. He cannot deny himself, nor can he lie. John 4:24, Isaiah 6:1-3, 1 Samuel15:29, 1 John 1:5, Genesis 1:1, Psalm 139,Ephesians 1:11,Romans 16:25-27, 1 Timothy 1:17, Exodus 3:14, Acts 17:24-25, 1John 4:7-21, Psalm 86:15, Nahum 1:2-3, 2 Timothy 2:13, Titus1:2
Article 4. God's Decree
    Eternal Decree
God never has been, nor ever will be taken by surprise. Of his own free will, without obligation to any, in infinite wisdom and goodness, he has decreed, or determined, before the foundation of the world, everything that has already happened as well as everything that will come to pass. Ephesians 1:11, Romans 9:10-21, 1 John 1:5
God does know everything that is going to happen because he has determined everything that is going to happen. With regard to salvation, foreknowledge has the meaning of God making a loving choice in eternity past to save some. God has not determined the future by seeing what man will do and then decreeing it to come to pass. Romans 8:28-30, Amos 3:2, Deuteronomy 7:7-8, Romans 11:1-2, Ephesians 1:4-5, Romans9:10-13
    Man is Responsible
Since God, in his being, is not like man, he is able to determine everything that will happen without forcing man, against his will, to carry out his decrees. Yet, God can never be blamed for the evil that is committed by man. Man is always blamed for his own evil that he commits.Romans 9:19-21, 1 John 1:5, James 1:13-15, Acts 4:27-28
God, in his grace, has decreed that a fixed number of men and angels will inherit eternal life. The rest he has determined to leave in their sin to suffer their just condemnation, thereby revealing his perfect justice.Ephesians 1:4-5, 11, 1 Timothy5:21, Matthew 25:41, Romans 6:23
    Calling His Elect
God has, before the world began, predestined to eternal life all those who would believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. He chose them freely, according to the secret counsel of his own pleasure, to be in Christ and to share in his eternal glory. He did not choose them because he saw that they would believe, since saving faith is a gift of God. Neither did he choose them because he saw any goodness in them, because all men come into the world as God-haters and are incapable of performing any good work. The elect do not live perfect lives after their conversion, but they will struggle to obey their Lord and will give evidence of a changed life. Ephesians 1:4-5, 11, John 6:44, Romans 3:10-18, Ephesians 2:8-10, Romans 9:10-13, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Galatians 5:16-18, Romans 8:1-14, Revelation 2:7
Just as God has predestined the salvation of the elect, He has also determined the means of their salvation. They are redeemed from their fallen state in Adam through the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the cross. They are called to Christ, in due time, by the Holy Spirit through the hearing or reading of the gospel. They are justified, adopted into God's family, and are guaranteed sanctification. They are also kept by his power throughout their lives by a God-given faith. God has also decreed their glorification, which is the guarantee that they will be with him forever in a perfect state.John 6:44, John 3:16, Romans 10:1-15, Ephesians 2:8-10, Romans 5:12-21, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Romans 8:1-17, Romans8:28-30, Romans 3:21-26, Galatians 4:1-7, Ephesians 1:4-5, Philippians 1:6
Article 5. Creation
    The Creation of All Things
The book of Genesis, as well as other Scripture passages, presents a historically accurate account of God’s creation of the universe out of nothing in six literal, twenty-four hour days, as detailed in Genesis chapter one. The theory of evolution is false, God having created from nothing a fully mature universe as well as a fully mature man and woman. The cataclysmic flood of the earth (Genesis 7) accounts for much of the geologic formations that many scientists interpret to have been formed over millions of years, and this cataclysmic flood produced a great shift in the earth's environment. Genesis 1:1-2:25, Hebrews 1:2, John 1:1-3, Job33:4, Colossians 1:15-20
    Spirit Beings
God created an innumerable company of sinless spirit beings. One of these, though created holy by God, sinned through pride, thereby becoming Satan, the Devil, the enemy of his Creator, the author of sin, leading a host of angels (demons) in rebellion against God. He became the god of this age and the ruler of all the powers of darkness and is destined to the judgment of an eternal punishment in the lake of fire. Genesis 3:1-19; Job 1:6-7; Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 29:12-19; Matthew4:2-11, 25:41; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Ephesians 2:22; Colossians1:16; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 12:7-9, 20:10
    The Uniqueness of Man
After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasoning and immortal souls. Man was created in the image of God, a rational and moral being. Man was assigned to populate and have dominion over the earth. Genesis 1:1-28, Romans 1:28-31, Romans 2:12-16, Colossians 3:10, Ephesians 4:24
    Man was Created Good
Adam and Eve were created innocent and inclined to do good. They were not outwardly forced to obey God, but they obeyed willingly. God provided for their every need and pleasure. They were given only one restriction: they were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 1:26-2:25
Article 6. God's Providence
    Meaning of Providence
God, who makes every creature for his own good pleasure, did not merely decree what should be, and then retire to heaven to watch what inevitably must come to pass in his universe. Rather, in his infinite wisdom and power, he controls all second causes (cause and effect events), upholding and governing all creatures and circumstances, making all things work together for the accomplishing of his own eternal plan. This invisible governing hand of God in history is called his providence.Colossians 1:16, Daniel 4:28-35, Romans 8:28, Ephesians 1:11
    Second Causes
God's eternal decree, unchangeably decided before the world began, is the first cause of everything that happens in the universe. Nothing is left to chance, nor happens apart from his providence. His wise providence is brought about by the use of second causes (cause and effect events). The answer to the question, “What caused you to become a believer?” is two-fold. The first cause is God’s sovereign choice. The second cause is whatever he used in your experience to bring you to himself. Acts 4:27-28, Genesis 50:19-21, Ephesians 1:11
A miracle is an unusual and supernatural act of God as the direct agent or as mediated through a human agent. Miracles performed by a human agent are often for the purpose of authenticating the message or messenger of God as in the lives of Moses, Elijah, Jesus, and the Apostles.
    The Problem of Evil
God's providence is all-inclusive. His invisible hand is behind the rebellion of Satan, the temptation in the Garden of Eden, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and all other evil acts. He determined before the creation of the world to use everything, even the acts of evil men, in his eternal plan to manifest all of his divine attributes for his glory and for the happiness of the elect. The happiness of man consists in the knowledge of God and the knowledge of God is increased by the clear manifestation of all of God’s perfections. The entrance of sin and the continuing existence of evil serve to manifest God’s justice, mercy, patience, and other attributes that would have remained hidden without the reality of evil. Sinners remain fully responsible for what they do. God cannot be blamed for the free acts of the creature. Acts 4:27-28,Genesis 50:19-20, Proverbs 16:4, Romans 9:10-21, Romans 11:33-36, 1 John 1:5
Article 7. The Fall of Man
    The Temptation
The Lord God, in the Garden of Eden, gave Adam and Eve the command not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or they would die. The woman was deceived by Satan and ate the fruit of the forbidden tree. She then gave some of the fruit to Adam and he willingly ate it. This first sin of Adam and Eve was part of God's wise plan.Genesis 2:15-17, Genesis 3:1-7, Romans 5:12-21, 1 Corinthians 15:20-28
    The Consequences
As a result of eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve, our first parents, died spiritually and began to die physically. Adam was our representative. When he sinned we sinned, that is, we were blamed for his sin. As a result of Adam's sin all mankind is born spiritually dead. Spiritual death consists of two parts, guilt (a BAD RECORD), and corruption (a BAD HEART). All mankind inherits the guilt of Adam's sin. Therefore we all come into this world with a BAD RECORD. Even if it were possible to live a perfect life one would still have the guilt of Adam's sin on his record to condemn him. We also inherit a BAD HEART from Adam. We come into this world as God-haters. No one would ever naturally desire to know or please the true God. All of mankind would willingly choose eternal damnation rather than embrace the God of all creation. From the point of conception everyone stands under the wrath of God. Genesis 2:15-17, Genesis 3:1-24, Romans 5:12-21, Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:1-3, Romans 1:30
Article 8. The Doctrines of Grace
    Radical Depravity
Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature; therefore, he will not--indeed he cannot--choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit's assistance to bring a sinner to Christ--it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God's gift of salvation--it is God's gift to the sinner, not the sinner’s gift to God.Genesis 2:15-17, Romans5:12, Psalm 51:5, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Romans 3:10-18, Jeremiah 17:9, John 6:44, Ephesians 2:1-10
    Unconditional Election
God's choice of certain individuals for salvation before the foundation of the world rested solely in His own sovereign will. His choice of particular sinners was not based on any foreseen response or obedience on their part, such as faith, repentance, etc. On the contrary, God gives faith and repentance to each individual whom He selected. These acts are the result, not the cause of God's choice. Election therefore was not determined by or conditioned upon any virtuous quality or act foreseen in man. Those whom God sovereignly elected He brings through the power of the Spirit to a willing acceptance of Christ. Thus God's choice of the sinner, not the sinner’s choice of Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation. Romans 9:10-21, Ephesians 1:4-11, Ephesians 2:4-10, Romans8:29-30, Acts 11:18,Acts 13:48
    Definite Atonement
Christ's redeeming work was intended to save the elect only and actually secured salvation for them. His death was a substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in the place of certain specified sinners. In addition to putting away the sins of His people, Christ's redemption secured everything necessary for their salvation, including faith, which united them to Him. The gift of faith is infallibly applied by the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, thereby guaranteeing their salvation. Matthew 1:21, Romans 5:12-21, Romans 3:21-26, Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:5-6, Philippians 1:6, John 10:11-30, John 17:6-12, Romans 8:28-30, John 6:44, Acts 20:28
    Efficacious Grace
In addition to the outward general call to salvation, which is made to everyone who hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The external call (which is made to all without distinction) can be, and often is, rejected; whereas the internal call (which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected, it always results in conversion. By means of this special call the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man's will, nor is He dependent upon man's cooperation for success. The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ. God's grace, therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended. John 3:16, Matthew 22:14, Acts 17:29-31,Matthew 23:37-39, John 6:44, Romans8:28-30, John 1:12-13, John 3:1-8, Ephesians 2:8-10
    Persevering Grace
All who were chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in faith by the power of Almighty God and thus persevere to the end. John 3:16, John 6:35-40, John 6:44, Philippians 1:6, Philippians 2:12-13, Jude 24-25, Ephesians 1:13-14, Romans 8:28-30, Romans 8:35-39
Article 9. God's Covenants
    The Noahic Covenant
The Noahic Covenant is a covenant between God and all living creatures and it is a promise by God not to destroy the earth again by water. This is not a salvation covenant but rather a guarantee that the earth will continue until God's plan to save a people is accomplished. Genesis 9:8-17
    The Abrahamic Covenant
This is the agreement between God and Abraham and his descendants. It is a picture of God’s plan of salvation that was revealed through the physical descendants of Abraham. God promised to give Abraham many descendants, the land of Canaan, and to make him a blessing to others. Jesus Christ is the true seed of Abraham. All of those who were represented by Jesus Christ on the cross are the true children of Abraham. The fulfillment of the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant that were made to Abraham’s physical descendants functioned as a picture of the true fulfillment that only true believers experience. The spiritual descendants of Abraham are all the elect in Christ. The land is heaven. The promise that Abraham would be a blessing to all the earth is fulfilled in the Great Commission when the gospel is taken to the entire world to bring in the elect from every tribe nation and tongue. Genesis 12:1-3, Genesis 13:14-17, Genesis 15, Genesis 17,Genesis22:15-18, Galatians 3,Galatians 4:21-31, Hebrews 3:7-4:11, Revelation 5
    The Old Covenant
The Old Covenant is also called the Mosaic Covenant or the First Covenant. This was a legal agreement between God and the nation of Israel that was given to Moses on Mount Sinai. This covenant was not a gracious covenant. Although the Lord had a gracious purpose in giving this covenant, the covenant itself was a legal covenant that demanded perfect obedience. The failure to obey would result in the curse of God. This covenant was used to prepare the way for the Messiah. Israel, as a whole, was not a believing people. The Old Covenant caused the Israelites to sin all the more. It was never the means of anyone’s salvation. The Old Covenant functions as a physical picture of many spiritual truths that can be used to teach believers today. The Ten Commandments are the essence of the Mosaic Law or Mosaic Covenant. The pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost brought to a close the Old Covenant era. 2 Corinthians 3, Hebrews 7-10, 1 Corinthians10:1-13, Exodus 20:1-21, Deuteronomy 5, Deuteronomy 27-28, Hebrews 3:7-19, Romans 5:20, Romans 9:1-5, Galatians 3-4, Colossians 2:16-23, Acts 2
    The New Covenant
This is a description of the saving work of Jesus Christ. He purchased a people who will all be God-lovers. Each of those who are a part of the New Covenant will necessarily experience a changed life. Although all true believers are part of the New Covenant no matter when they lived. The New Covenant era as a unique historical period which began with the pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost. Hebrews 7-8,Hebrews10:1-18, Romans 5:15-19, Romans 6, Romans 4,Matthew 27:45-56, Acts 2
Article 10. Christ the Mediator
    The Eternal Mediator
It pleased God, in his eternal purpose, to choose the Lord Jesus, his one and only Son, to be the mediator between God and man. He was to be the Prophet, Priest, and King, the head and Savior of his church, the heir of all things and judge of the world. To the Lord Jesus the Father gave, from all eternity, a people to redeem, call, justify, sanctify, and glorify.1 Peter 1:17-21, 1 Timothy 2:1-7, Hebrews 1:1-4, Hebrews 5:1-10, Luke 1:26-33, Ephesians 1:15-23, Romans 8:28-30, John 5:16-30
    Fully God and Fully Man
Jesus Christ, the Son of God and second person of the Trinity, is God. He is of the same essence as the Father and equal to him. At just the right time, according to the predestined plan of God, the eternal Son became a man. He was made like us in every way, except for his sinlessness. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary. This union of the divine and human made Jesus forever both God and man in one person. He is fully God and fully man. His divine and human natures are neither altered, blended, nor confused. Jesus Christ, the only mediator between God and man, was, and is, fully God and fully man.John 1:1-14, Romans 1:1-4, John 3:16, Matthew 28:18-20, John 14:5-14, John 10:22-39, Galatians 4:1-7, Hebrews 4:14-16, Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 1:18-24, 1 Timothy 2:1-7, Hebrews 2:5-18
    His Humiliation and Exaltation
The Lord Jesus willingly accepted his appointment as mediator and perfectly fulfilled that office. He endured the most severe tortures of soul and body, was crucified, buried, and remained under the power of death for three days, without seeing corruption. He rose from the dead on the third day. He ascended into heaven, where he sat down at the Father's right hand and intercedes for his people. From the Father's right hand he shall physically return at the end of the world to judge all men and angels. John 10:14-18, Galatians3:10-14, Isaiah 53,1 Corinthians 15:1-8, Acts 1:1-11, Acts 13:34-37, Romans 8:31-34, 2 Timothy 4:1-5
    He Perfectly Satisfied the Justice of God
By his perfect obedience (active obedience) to God’s Law, Jesus qualified as our substitute and perfect sacrifice. By his death on the cross (passive obedience) he satisfied the justice of God and purchased for his people their complete salvation.Romans 3:21-26, Hebrews 9:11-15,Hebrews 10:1-18, Hebrews 2:14-18, Hebrews4:15
    He is the Redeemer of Those Saved in the Old Testament
The price of redemption was not paid by Jesus Christ until after his coming in human flesh. But the benefits of his finished work were applied retroactively to God's elect living before the cross, as well as to those of us who have followed. By means of promises, types, sacrifices, and ceremonies, the Messiah is progressively revealed to be the woman's "offspring" who would crush the head of the serpent. He is "the lamb that was slain from the creation of the world." He is the Savior for all the elect. Galatians 4:1-7, Romans 3:21-26, Romans 4:1-8, John 3:16, Genesis 3,Hebrews 10:1-18, Colossians 2:13-23, Revelation 5, Revelation 13:1-10, Hebrews13:1-8
    Jesus Christ, as our Prophet, Priest, and King
The three offices of Jesus Christ, our Messiah, are necessary for us. Because of our ignorance we need him to be our Prophet. Because of our separation from God we need him to be our Priest so that we can be made to be acceptable to him. Because we have rebelled against him and have become God-haters there is absolutely no way for us to return to him, therefore we need him to be our King to convince, draw, deliver, and preserve us for his heavenly kingdom.1 Timothy2:1-7, John 1:15-18, Colossians 1:21-22, Romans 5:9-11, Ephesians 2:1-10, John 6:44
Article. 11 The Holy Spirit
    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).
    The Holy Spirit exalts Christ. He convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior, and effects regeneration and sanctification, baptizing all believers at the moment of salvation into the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption (John 16:8-11; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30).
The Holy Spirit inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16).
    He is the Divine Teacher who assists believers to understand and appropriate the Scriptures and it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled (controlled) with the Spirit which results in the fruit of the Spirit manifesting in the believer's life (1 Corinthians 2:9-16; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesus 1:17-18, 5:18; 1 John 2:20,27).
    He is sovereign in the bestowal of spiritual gifts to every believer for the work of ministry and the edifying of the body of Christ (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 28; Ephesians 4:7-16).
    He comforts, enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service (John 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Galatians 4:6; Philippians 3:3)
Article 12. The Will of Man
    The Freedom of the Will
All men have been created with freedom of choice. They are free to do whatever they want to do. God never forces men to do anything against their will, yet he is in complete control of their will. Genesis 1:26-27, Genesis 2:15-17, John 3:16, Acts 4:27-28, Romans 9:10-21, Romans 3:9-20, Ephesians 1:11
    The Bondage of the Will
As a result of the Fall, man not only lost eternal life, but also his power to choose God or good. This is not to say that fallen man does not have the ability to choose; he does. But because of the Fall man is now a God-hater and is in bondage to his nature. He will on his own never choose to trust in Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord. He will as an exercise of his freedom of choice freely choose eternal damnation rather than eternal life.Ephesians 2:1-10, John 6:44, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Romans 1:30,Romans 8:5-7
    The Will of the Believer in This Life
When God saves us he causes us to want to repent of our sins and receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. As a believer God makes us willing to choose that which pleases him, and gives us the power to do it. God works in such a way as to make us want what he wants without forcing us to do it. Nevertheless, in this life, the believer will never be able to live perfectly for his Lord.John 1:12-13, Romans 6:15-18, Acts 11:18, Acts 16:11-15,Ephesians 2:1-10,Galatians 5:16-18
    The Will of the Believer after Death
It is not until the believer dies and enters into heaven that he will be made perfectly and unchangeably free to will only what is good. He will want to do good and good alone for all eternity. Revelation 21, 22
Article 13. God's Irresistible Call
The General Call
    The general or external call of God is the free offer of the gospel to all without exception. In God’s preceptive or revealed will he desires all to come to faith in Jesus Christ, yet he has not elected all to salvation in his decretive or secret will. This outward call can be, and is, resisted by the reprobate. The reprobate are the non-elect. They will never believe the gospel. John 3:16, Acts 17:29-31,Matthew 22:1-14, Matthew 23:37-39, 1 Timothy 2:3-7, 2 Peter 3:1-9, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Romans 9:10-24
The Effective Call
    Only the elect receive the effective or internal call of God. At a time appointed by God, those whom he has predestined to eternal life are irresistibly drawn, by his Word and Spirit, out of the state of spiritual death which they are in by nature, to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our God enables them to understand the things of God, convicts them of their sin and danger, moves them to genuine sorrow and repentance, changes their hearts in regeneration making them willing to believe and obey the gospel. In his irresistible call he does not force anyone to come against their will. They come because they want to come. They want to come because God has given them a new nature in regeneration.Romans 8:28-30, John 6:35-40, Matthew 11:25-26, John 6:44, John 3:1-8, Romans 9:10-21, Romans 10:14-15, Ephesians 2:1-10, Acts 11:18, Romans 6
God Alone Gets the Credit
    The irresistible call of God is not based on anything man has done, is doing, or will do. For anyone to respond and embrace the free offer of the gospel he must first be empowered by the Spirit of God. This is the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead.Romans 9:10-21, John 6:44, John 1:12-13, John 3:1-8, Romans 8:5-11, Titus 3:3-8
Infants, the Mentally Disabled, and Those Without the Knowledge of Christ
Infants, pre-born or newly born, the mentally disabled, and people who have never heard about Jesus Christ (as well as everyone else) are guilty of Adam's sin and deserve eternal damnation. If God so desired he could elect and save all of them in Jesus Christ. But, the Bible is silent concerning this matter. Though we don't know the fate of these individuals we can entrust them to our God who will do what is right. Romans 5:12-21; 6:23; 10:9-15
Those not Chosen
    Those not chosen by our God, the non-elect, are called the reprobate. They will never respond to the outward call of the gospel. Their end is eternal damnation. Everyone who goes to hell goes as a God-hater. They do not want to go to heaven.Matthew 7:13-23, Revelation 20:11-15, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Romans 3:10-18
Article 14. Justification
    Justification through Faith
God freely justifies, that is he declares righteous, all those he calls to himself. He does not justify anyone on the basis of their performance (infused righteousness). God imputes, or grants to the believer, the complete forgiveness of sins and full acceptance by God (the righteousness of Jesus Christ). Because of his sacrificial death on the cross as the perfect payment for sin, righteousness is secured for all those who believe. Justification is received by trusting in the work of Jesus Christ alone to save us from our sins. This justifying faith is a gift of God and is not something that we are able to produce or attain on our own.Romans 3:21-31, John 6:44, Romans 4:1-25, Romans 5:12-21,Ephesians 2:4-10, Romans 10:3-4
    The Payment for Justification
Jesus Christ, through his obedient death on the cross, completely paid the debt for sin that was owed by those who were to believe and be justified. He fully satisfied all the claims which God's justice had upon them. The justification of the elect is a work of God's grace, for no one deserves to be saved.Hebrews 10:1-14, Romans3:19-31, Isaiah 53,Ephesians 2:1-10, Romans 5:18-19
    When Are the Elect Justified?
From eternity past God decreed the justification of his elect. At just the right time Jesus Christ died for their sins and was resurrected for their justification. The elect are not personally justified until the Holy Spirit, at the appointed time, applies the saving work of Jesus Christ to them, then they believe and are justified. Ephesians 1,2, Titus 3:3-7, Romans 5:6-11, Romans 4:1-8, Romans 10:9-15
    Justification in the Old Testament
Believers in the Old Testament were justified in the same way as believers in the New Testament. Romans 4, Galatians 3
Article 15. Adoption
    God adopts all those he justifies into his eternal family. When they are adopted they become children of God and inherit rights and privileges, which include receiving the Holy Spirit, by whom they cry "Abba" or "Father," access in prayer to the throne of grace, and the Father's provision, protection, and loving concern. They also receive the discipline of the Father so that they will become more and more like him in holiness. Once someone has been adopted by the Father he will never be rejected or lost. As joint-heirs with Jesus Christ they inherit eternal life.Ephesians 1:1-14, Romans8:5-39, Hebrews 12:1-13
Article 16. Sanctification
    The New Heart
Those who have received Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord have been regenerated and have received a new heart. This new heart consists of a new desire created by God the Holy Spirit to make Jesus Christ the Lord of their life. Before someone becomes a believer he is a God-hater. He is in bondage to his sin. This means that he is unable to do, and doesn't want to do, anything that pleases the true God. As a result of conversion he now is a God-lover who desires to please the God of Scripture. Romans 6, Hebrews 8:7-13, Romans 8:1-17, Ephesians 2:1-10, Romans 1:30
    Struggling with Sin
It is God's good pleasure that believers struggle with evil desires throughout their entire Christian life. Perfection will never be experienced by the believer in this life. There will never be a time, this side of heaven, when the child of God will be able to do anything that is perfectly good.Romans 7:14-25,Galatians 5:16-18
    Growth is Guaranteed
Because of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross spiritual growth is guaranteed to the believer. Jesus purchased on the cross a transformed life for everyone who believes. Though the rate and amount of growth will be different for each believer, all Christians will experience a changed life and will bear the fruit of the Spirit. Believers may get caught in sin for a season, but they will eventually repent and be restored to fellowship with the Father. Romans 6,Romans 8:1-17,Philippians 1:3-6, 1 John 3:9-11, Matthew 13:1-23, Hebrews10:14, Revelation 2:7
    Ultimate Victory is Guaranteed
It is promised to the believer that he will be preserved till the end. Jesus not only purchased a saving faith and a changed life for his people, he also purchased a guarantee that they will persevere in their faith and enter into heaven. Philippians 1:3-6, Romans 8:28-39, Jude 24-25
Article 17. Saving Faith
    Saving Faith is a Gift
Saving faith is a gift of God given to his elect at the appointed time by the Holy Spirit. This gift causes the elect to believe the gospel and enter into the family of God. This faith does not originate with man, nor does it come from any other source; it is a gift of God. Ephesians 2:4-10, Acts 11:18, Acts 13:48, John 1:12-13,Titus 3:4-7, John 3:1-8, 1 Corinthians 2:6-16
    The Effects of Saving Faith
By this saving faith a Christian believes the Bible to be the authoritative Word of God. He is enabled to believe the Scriptures in all that they teach. The first and primary effect of saving faith is to cause one of the elect to receive Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord, to rest upon him alone for his salvation and to embrace him for all that Scripture says he is. Saving faith will result in a life characterized by good works.2Timothy 3:16-17, 1 John 2:3-6, Ephesians 2:8-10, Romans 4
Article 18. Repentance
    Definition of Repentance
At the appointed time the Holy Spirit grants to each of the elect repentance that causes him to understand his rebellion against God and his guilt, which made the death of Jesus Christ necessary for his salvation. Repentance moves everyone who receives it to be genuinely sorry for having wronged his God and enables him to turn from his state of self-centeredness to a state of God-centeredness with Jesus Christ as his Lord.Luke 3:1-20, Acts 2:37-41, Acts 20:21, Acts 11:18, 2 Corinthians 7:2-12, Romans 6:15-18
    The Necessity of Repentance
The message of the Gospel is: “Turn from your sins (repent), trust in Jesus Christ alone to save you from your sins by His death on the cross, and follow Him as your Lord.” Although repentance is not to be trusted as payment for sins, or as a means of earning pardon (that comes through embracing the cross-work of Jesus Christ alone), there can be no real salvation without repentance.Acts 2:37-41, Matthew 24:14, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8
    Continuing Repentance
Besides that initial act of repentance, without which no one can be saved, repentance is a lifelong concern for the believer. Since the believer continues to struggle with sin until he dies and enters into God's presence, it is his responsibility to repent of all known sin. All true believers will exhibit a life marked by repentance.1 John1:5-2:2, Romans 6:14, Matthew 5:1-12, 1 John 3:9-10
Article 19. Good Works
    Definition of Good Works
Good works are only those works that are in agreement with the Word of God and motivated by a desire to please the God of Scripture. Only believers are capable of doing good works. 1 Corinthians 10:31, 2 Timothy 3:16-17,Romans 3:9-20, Ephesians 2:8-10
    Good Works Are Proof of Saving Faith
Good works are the evidence of a true saving faith. Although you are not saved because of your works, no one will be saved without them. Good works are part of that salvation that Jesus purchased on the cross for the elect. You cannot receive one part of salvation, such as faith, without also receiving a changed life marked by good works.Ephesians 2:8-10, James2:14-26, Romans 8:5-17, 1 John 2:3-6
    The Source of Good Works
The motivation and ability to do good works does not come from the believer, but from the work of the Holy Spirit who is working in him. All credit for good works must go to God alone. Ephesians 2:8-10, John 15:1-4, Hebrews 8:7-13, Titus 3:4-7, Philippians 1:6
    Salvation is Not Earned
The believer's good works cannot earn him eternal life. Everything the believer does is tainted with sin. The only reason the believer's good works are accepted as good works is because he is unconditionally accepted by God because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.Ephesians 2:8-10, Romans 4,Galatians 3:1-14, Galatians 5:16-18, Philippians 3:12-14, Ephesians 1:11-14
    The Works of the Unsaved
The only works that are acceptable to God and bring him pleasure are those works that come from a believer, done according to his Word, and done for the purpose of pleasing him. Religious or humanitarian works done by unbelievers may be called great in the eyes of the world, and helpful to themselves and others, yet they cannot please God. Romans 3:9-20, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Philippians 3:7-8
Article 20. Assurance of Salvation
    Definition of Assurance
Assurance is the conviction that the promises of the gospel apply to you. The Holy Spirit gives assurance to all believers at conversion. Therefore, all who have saving faith will also have assurance of salvation.Romans 8:5-17, John 10:22-30, Acts 13:48
    Struggles with Assurance
A true believer will never completely lose his assurance of salvation. He may struggle with his assurance for a period of time, but he will eventually regain his full assurance. The objective promises of the gospel and evidence of a changed life are used by the Holy Spirit to aid the believer in recovering his full assurance. Romans 8:5-17, 2 Peter 1:10-11, John 3:16, 1 John 3:9-10
Article 21. The Law of God
    The Essence of All Law
The essence of all Law is summed up in these two commandments, "Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”Matthew 22:37-40, Romans 13:10, Galatians 5:14
    The First Law
God, the Creator and Lawgiver, gave Adam the commandment that he must not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The penalty for disobedience to this commandment was death, while the promise for obedience was life. There is no record in Scripture of God making a Covenant of Works with Adam. Genesis 2:15-17, 1 John 3:4, Romans 6:23
    Unrecorded Law
These are the laws that were given to mankind prior to the Mosaic Law that are not specifically recorded in Scripture. One can only assume that these laws were passed down to each succeeding generation. This is sometimes referred to as “Oral Law”. Genesis 4:1-16
    The Law of the Conscience
This describes that sense of right and wrong that everyone experiences but no one is able to live up to. This law is the result of man being made in the image of God. Even with the sin of Adam and the resulting distortion of God’s image in man there is still some part of that image remaining. This law is not exact and can be distorted. The law of the conscience condemns all men for no one is able to live up to its expectations.Romans 1:26-32, Romans 2:12-16
    The Mosaic Law
This is the body of law that was given by the Lord to Moses on Mount Sinai for the nation of Israel. The Ten Commandments are the essence of the Mosaic Law. The Mosaic Law was binding on the Israelites during the period of time from the giving of the law at Mount Sinai to the ushering in of the New Covenant Era at Pentecost. Exodus 19, 20,Exodus 34:27-28, Deuteronomy 4:12-14, Deuteronomy 9:7-10, Galatians 3:15-25, Hebrews 7:11-19, Hebrews 8:7-13, Galatians 4:21-31, Acts 2:1-21
    The Law of Christ
All the ceremonial and social orientations of the Mosaic Law were temporary until the sacrifice of Christ and it itself—as a whole—points to Christ (Romans 3:21; Galatians 3:23-25). The moral standards of the law are still in effect though interpreted and applied by our Lord and his apostles in light of the new covenant (Matthew 5:18-20; Romans 8:3-4; 13:8-10). This is referred to the “Law of Christ” in the New Testament and is directly applicable to believers today.1 Corinthians 9:19-23, Galatians 6:1-5, Ephesians 4:25-32
Article 22. Worship
    The Object of our Worship
True worship is to be given to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to Him alone. Worship is not to be offered to angels, saints, Mary the mother of Jesus, or any other creature. Since the fall of man into sin, worship cannot be offered to God without the mediation of Jesus Christ, our great High Priest. The mediation of the priests in the Old Testament era served only to foreshadow the true Redeemer, Jesus Christ, who is the only mediator between God and man.Matthew 22:34-40, Matthew 28:18-20, Matthew 4:8-11, Hebrews 9:1-10:18, 1 Timothy 2:1-7
    The Place of Worship
The "House of the Lord" is an Old Covenant concept that referred first to the Tabernacle, and then to the Temple. True worship, in the New Covenant era, is not confined to any particular location or building. Believers, both individually and corporately, are now the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Exodus 23:19, 1 Kings 8:41-43,John 4:1-26, Hebrews 10:24-25, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, Ephesians 2:22,1 Peter 2:5
    The Day of Worship
Although the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week, believers are not commanded to meet together on this day. Sunday is not the Christian Sabbath. The Sabbath was a picture of our salvation and has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The commandment requiring the keeping of the Sabbath day came to an end at the close of the Old Covenant era. In the New Covenant era believers are commanded to gather together with the people of God, the church. Believers are free to gather together on any day of the week. Matthew 28:1-10, Acts 20:27, Colossians 2:6-23, Hebrews 4:1-11, Hebrews 10:24-25
    Worship in the New Covenant Era
In the New Covenant era, all of life is worship and every day is holy for the believer.Romans 12:1-2, 1 Corinthians 10:31.
Article 23. Civil Government
    Ordained by God
All governing authorities have been appointed by God. Therefore, to rebel against any of these authorities is to rebel against God. Romans 13:1-7
    Governing Authorities have Limited Authority
The believer is bound to obey the governing authorities as long as he is not required to do something that the Word of God prohibits, or is prohibited from doing something that the Word of God commands.Romans 13:1-7, Acts 4:1-22
    Participation in Civil Government
Since civil government is ordained by God, it is proper for the believer to participate in it in any capacity. In his participation he must not violate his conscience as it is held captive to the Word of God. Romans 13:1-7, Luke 3:1-14, Acts 10:1-8
    Giving Civil Authorities Their Due
Believers are commanded in Scripture to pray for those in authority, to treat them with respect, to pay taxes, and to obey their commands. Whether or not those in authority are believers is irrelevant. 1 Timothy 2:1-7,Romans 13:1-7
Article 24. Religious Liberty
    God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and State should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.
    Regarding individual religious liberty, we believe in individual soul freedom. Individuals have the right to choose their own beliefs. Christians are under compulsion by God to preach the gospel to all men, but Christians are to endeavor to win men by persuasion through the power of the gospel and the Holy Spirit, not through coercion of any kind Genesis 1:27, 2:7; Matthew 6:6-7, 24, 16:26, 22:21; John 8:36; Acts 4:19-20; Romans 6:1-2, 13:1-7; Galatians 5:1, 13; Philippians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; James 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12-17, 3:11-17, 4:12-19
Article 25. Marriage and Divorce
    Definition of Marriage
Marriage was established by God to join a man and a woman together for life. A believer is only allowed to marry another believer.Genesis 2:18-25, Ephesians 5:22-33, 1 Corinthians 7:39-40, Romans 7:1-3
    Purpose of Marriage
Marriage serves a variety of God-ordained purposes. Its primary purpose is to provide companionship. A secondary purpose is procreation. Another reason for marriage is to provide a legitimate outlet for our sexual drive. Marriage also functions as a picture of the relationship between Jesus Christ and the church.Genesis 2:18-25, Genesis 1:26-31, Proverbs 2:17, Malachi 2:13-14, 1 Corinthians 7:1-7, Ephesians 5:22-33
    The Legitimacy of Singleness
Although most individuals will get married, there is a special enabling for some to be single. Singleness provides greater freedom for service to the Lord and is to be honored in the church.Matthew 19:10-12, 1 Corinthians 7:25-40, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, 1 Corinthians 7:8-9
    Grounds for Divorce
There are two legitimate reasons for a believer to seek a divorce. The first reason is unrepentant adultery. The second reason is when the unbelieving spouse chooses to leave. Matthew 19:1-12, 1 Corinthians 7:10-16
    Grounds for Remarriage
In the New Covenant era, remarriage is always allowed after a divorce, except for the professed believer who divorces someone for an unbiblical reason.Matthew 19:8-9, 1 Corinthians 7:10-16
Article 26. The Family
    God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.
    Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.
The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.
    Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents. Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7.
Article 27. The Roles of Men and Women
    Men and Women are Equal
Scripture clearly states that men and women are equal before the Lord. The priesthood of all believers, both men and women, clearly demonstrates this truth.Galatians 3:26-29,
    Men and Women have Different Roles
In the beginning God created mankind male and female. He made Adam first, and then made Eve from Adam's rib. This order of creation subordinates wives to their husbands in marriage, and women to men in the church. As an act of submission to their Creator, women are commanded to submit to their husbands and to male leadership in the church. Women are not allowed to teach or have authority over men in any formal capacity in the church. Genesis 2:4-25, 1 Timothy 2, Ephesians 5:22-33, 1 Corinthians 11:2-16
Article 28. The Church
    The People of God
All of God's elect who have ever lived, are now living, or ever will live, make up the one true universal church. Revelation 5:9-10
    The People of God in the New Covenant Era
While there has always been a people of God, the church in the New Covenant era has a unique historical beginning at Pentecost. The church is made up of both Jew and Gentiles and is not regulated by the Mosaic Law, but by the Law of Christ.Ephesians 2:11-22, Colossians 1:15-20
    The LocalChurch
The church in the New Covenant era is given visible expression in local churches. All professed believers are commanded to gather together in the local church to build up one another in the faith. The establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures. Acts 2:42-47, 14:27, 20:17, 28-32, 1 Corinthians 12, Titus 1:5-11, Hebrews 10:24-25, Revelation 1:4-3:22
    Church Leadership
God has given two positions of leadership in the local church: Pastors/elders and deacons. Pastors/elders are responsible to shepherd and teach the local church. They are to be qualified according to the qualifications of 1 Timothy chapter 3 and Titus chapter 1. The church is to follow their leadership, but they are never allowed to lord it over the people. All elders have equal authority having a head-elder as Pastor and should lead the church by consensus. Women are not permitted to be Pastors. Titus 1:5-16, 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Ephesians 4:9-16, Philippians 1:1-2, Acts 14:21-25, Hebrews 13:17, Matthew 20:20-28
    Deacons assist the Pastors. They are called upon to serve at the decision of the Pastors and their duties are determined by the Pastors. Deacons are to meet the qualifications of 1 Timothy chapter three. Women are not permitted to be deacons. 1 Timothy 3:8-13, Acts 6:1-6, 1 Timothy 2:11-15
    The Autonomy of the LocalChurch
The autonomy of the local church, free of any external authority or control, seems to be the pattern of the New Testament. This autonomy includes the separation of the church and state. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal. Acts 13:1-4, 15:19-31, 20:28; Romans 16:1, 4; 1 Corinthians 3:9, 16, 5:4-7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1-4
    Church Discipline
It is the responsibility of the local church to exercise church discipline. The method to be used is described in Matthew 18:15-17. The first step is to appeal to the offender alone. If there is no repentance, then you appeal to him with one or two others. Finally, if he remains unrepentant, then you bring him before the church and appeal to him one more time. If he does not repent he is put out of the church and is viewed as an unbeliever. Those in the church are responsible to call him to repentance. They are not allowed to have normal relations with him as long as he remains in an unrepentant condition. Any verifiable, unrepentant sin is grounds for church discipline. When someone is removed from the church, or excommunicated, he is denying that he wants Jesus Christ to be his Lord. Denial of the Lordship of Christ is a denial that one has saving faith. That is why all those who are put out of the church are viewed as unbelievers. Matthew 18:15-20, 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, Galatians 6:1-5, 1 Timothy 5:17-20, 1 John 2:3-6
Article 29. The Ordinances
    The New Covenant people of God have been given two ceremonies to perform. They are baptism and the Lord's Supper. Both of these ordinances were instituted by Jesus Christ and are to be observed by the church until the Lord returns. The ordinances are outward pictures of spiritual truths. There is no saving power in the ordinances. Matthew 28:18-20, Romans 6:1-4, 1 Peter 3:18-22, Luke 22:7-38, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
Article 30. Baptism
    The Practice of Baptism
The ordinance of baptism is the formal profession of faith for the believer. It is an outward sign of an inward reality. True baptism is immersion in water, symbolizing both the believer's union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection to new life, and his cleansing from sin. Baptism may only be administered to those who demonstrate repentance from sin and make a credible profession of faith in Christ. Baptism is a necessary part of the Great Commission of Jesus Christ and is to be practiced by His church until the end of the world. Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 2:37-41, Acts 8:36-40, Acts 16:16-40, Romans 6:1-4, 1 Peter 2:9-10, 1 Peter 3:18-22,
Article 31. The Lord's Supper
The Lord's Supper was instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ on the night he was betrayed. This ordinance of the New Covenant age is to be observed in the church until the second coming of Jesus Christ. Matthew 26:17-30, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
    The Meaning of the Lord's Supper
The elements, the bread and the fruit of the vine, are a reminder of the sacrifice on the cross of Jesus Christ for his people. The bread symbolizes his body, which was cursed on our behalf, and the wine symbolizes his blood which was poured out for the forgiveness of our sins and the purchase of our salvation. The elements of the Lord's Supper do not become the actual body and blood of the Lord (Transubstantiation). Jesus is not physically present even though the elements remain bread and wine (Consubstantiation or Real Presence). Jesus is not spiritually present in a way that he is not present at any other time. The Lord's Supper is a memorial. It is a time to remember the most important part of our faith, the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, as a payment for the sins of the elect. Luke 22:7-23, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
    The Warning
Any professed believer who takes part in the Lord's Supper in an irreverent, self-centered manner, or is willfully hanging on to unrepentant sin, is eating and drinking judgment on himself. Our Lord promises to discipline all those who do not take to heart the seriousness of commemorating the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. 1 Corinthians 11:27-32
Article 32. Spiritual Gifts
    Gifted Men
The church is to cooperate with God as he accomplishes his purpose in the world. To that end, he gives the church spiritual gifts. First, he gives men chosen for the purpose of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians4:7-12), and he also gives unique and special spiritual abilities to each member of the Body of Christ.Romans 12:5-8; 1Corinthians 12:4-31; 1 Peter 4:10-11
    Miraculous and Ministering Gifts
There were two kinds of gifts given to the early church: (1) miraculous gifts of divine revelation and healing, given temporarily in the apostolic era for the purpose of confirming the authenticity of the apostles' message (Mark 16:17, 20;Hebrews 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12); and (2) ministering gifts, given to equip believers for edifying one another. With the New Testament revelation now complete, Scripture becomes the sole test of the authenticity of a man's message, and confirming gifts of a miraculous nature are no longer necessary to validate a man or his message (1 Corinthians13:8-12). Miraculous gifts can even be counterfeited by Satan so as to deceive even believers (1 Corinthians 13:13-14:12; Revelation 13:13-14). The only gifts in operation today are those non-revelatory equipping gifts given for edification (Romans 12:6-8). No one possesses the gift of healing today but God does hear and graciously 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
Article 33. Stewardship
    God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to God, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve him with their time, talents, spiritual gifts, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. Although tithing (giving a tenth) is not required for New Testament Christians, according to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer's cause on earth. Genesis 1:26-30, 2:15, 14:20; Proverbs 3:9-10, 27-28; Psalms 8:5-8; 115:16; Matthew 6:1-4; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2, 6:19-20, 12, 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8-9, 12:15; Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19
Article 34. Missions
    It is the privilege and obligation of believers to witness by life and by word to the truths of Holy Scripture and to seek to proclaim the gospel and make disciples of all nations so that there might be a great multitude from every nation, tribe, ethnic group, and language group who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:19-20
Article 35. Separation
    Separation is a doctrine as well as a practice and the separation principle runs through the entire Bible. True spiritual fellowship is the result of common faith and practice. There are several aspects of biblical separation:
Political Separation
    Personal Separation
The separation of the believer from sin in order to serve God. Joshua 24:15; Romans 12:1-2, 14; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; Ephesians 5:15-18; Titus 3:10; 1 John 2:15-17, 4:1; 2 John 10-11
    Ecclesiastical Separation
The separation of the church from apostasy.2 Corinthians6:14-18; Ephesians 5:11-15; 2 Timothy 4:2-4; 2 John 10-11
    Familial Separation
The separation of the believer from an erring brother, when doctrinal or ethical compromise creeps into his life or ministry.Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15
Article 36. The Consummation
    Universal righteousness will not be realized previous to the second coming of Christ. The world is day by day ripening for judgment and the age will end with fearful apostasy. Matthew 24:3,10; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 4:3-4
The next great event in the fulfillment of prophecy will be the coming of the Lord Jesus in the air to receive to himself the dead in Christ and the believers who are alive at his coming, otherwise known as the rapture and translation of the Church.1 Corinthians15:51-57; Philippians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10,4:13-18;Titus 2:11-14
    The rapture of the Church will be followed by the fulfillment of Israel's seventieth week, the latter half of which is the time of Jacob's trouble, the great tribulation.Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15-21; Revelation 6:1-17
The great tribulation will be climaxed by the (premillenial) return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth to set up His earthly kingdom. Zechariah 14:4-11; Matthew 24:15-25, 46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelation 20:6
Article 37. The EternalState
    There will be a bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment. Matthew 25:46; John 5:28-29, 11:25-26;Revelation 20:5-6, 12-13
    The souls of the redeemed are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where in conscious state they await the first resurrection, when soul and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord. Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23, 3:21;1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 20:4-6
    The souls of unbelievers remain after death in conscious misery until the second resurrection, when with soul and body reunited, they shall appear at the Great White Throne of Judgment and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting, conscious punishment.Matthew 25:41-46; Luke 16:9-26; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Revelation 20:11-15
[1] While much of this Confession is original, many of the articles are adapted from The New Covenant Confession of Faith of New Covenant Bible Fellowship and In-Depth Studies available online at: http://www.ncbf.net/PDF/confession.pdf. A Few other articles are adapted from the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message of the Southern Baptist Convention available online at: http://www.sbc.net /bfm/bfm2000.asp.
Statement adopted/adapted with permission of  Massimo Lorenzini-Frontline ministries.