This doctrinal statement gives an accurate indication as to what The Shepherd’s Bible College believes and teaches. While any doctrinal statement is but a fallible human attempt to summarise and systematise the riches of an infallible divine revelation, it in no way detracts from the importance of such a statement. These doctrines provide the basis and framework for the ministry of The Shepherd’s Bible College. Every faculty member and board member holds to this statement of faith. The doctrinal statement highlights our strong belief in the total sufficiency of the Scriptures for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3; Psalm 19:7-9). The Scriptures therefore are viewed as foundational for the teaching, training and equipping of every child of God for the work of the ministry (2 Timothy 3:16-17). They also provide an anchor to protect The Shepherd’s Bible College from theological drift.
The Shepherd’s Bible College identifies three levels of doctrine in terms of importance.
First-level doctrines are those that are fundamental and essential to the Christian faith. These include doctrines such as the full deity and humanity of Christ, the doctrine of the Trinity, the doctrine of atonement, and essentials such as justification by faith alone. Where such doctrines are compromised, the Christian faith fails.
Second-level doctrines are those that are essential to church life and necessary for the ordering of the local church, but in themselves, do not define the gospel. That is to say, one may detect an error in a doctrine at this level and still acknowledge that the person in error remains a believing Christian. Nevertheless, such doctrines are directly related to how the church is organised and its ministry is fulfilled. Doctrines at this level include those such as believer’s baptism versus infant baptism. Those in either camp can acknowledge each other as genuine Christians, even though these differences have such immediate practical implications that it would be difficult to function together in a single church.
Third-level doctrines are those that may lead to fruitful theological discussion and debate, but do not threaten the fellowship of Christians within a congregation. For example, Christians who agree on an entire range of theological issues and doctrines may disagree over matters related to the timing and sequence of events related to Christ’s return. Yet such debates, while still deeply important because of their biblical nature and connection to the gospel, do not constitute a ground for separation among believing Christians.
With these three levels of doctrinal conviction in mind, the student should view the following Statement of Faith as an attempt to be open and up-front about all three levels. In no way is the following Statement of Faith meant to elicit unnecessary division over finer points of theology. Rather, it is a full disclosure of what a student should expect to be taught at The Shepherd’s Bible College.
We believe and teach that the sixty-six books of the Bible are sacred Scripture, the written, objective, propositional revelation of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13) which are the product of the dual authorship of the Holy Spirit and selected men (2 Peter 1:20-21) and as a result are inspired by God in all their parts, fully and equally (2 Timothy 3:16).
Being thus divinely inspired, the Scriptures are the Word of God (John 10:35) and are therefore inerrant in the original writings even to the smallest letter (Matthew 5:18).
The Scriptures were designed for the practical instruction of believers, and being the final and complete direct revelation from God for this age, constitute the only authoritative and infallible rule of life and practice for every Christian (2 Timothy 3:14-17; 1 Corinthians 4:6).
We believe and teach the literal, grammatical-historical interpretation of Scripture and that, although every passage may have several applications, there is only one true interpretation. This understanding affirms the belief that the opening chapters of Genesis present creation in six literal days (Genesis 1:31; Exodus 31:17).
We believe and teach that there is only one true and living God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5-7) who exists in three persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all three being co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial (of the same substance) (Matthew 28:18-19; Mark 12:29; John 1:1, 14; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Hebrews 1:1-3; Revelation 1:4-6).
God the Father
We believe and teach that God the Father is the centre of all things (Romans 11:36; Ephesians 1:11), the creator of all things (Genesis 1:31; Ephesians 3:9), the controller of all things in creation, providence, history and salvation (Psalm 103:19; Psalm 145:8-19; 1 Chronicles 29:11; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 1:11).
We believe and teach that as creator, God is Father over all persons (Ephesians 3:15, 4:6) but is the redemptive Father only over those who believe in Christ (Romans 8:14; 2 Corinthians 6:18) and that He becomes such by His gracious act of adopting believers in Christ into His family (John 1:12; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5). In His role as the redemptive Father, He lovingly provides for His children (Matthew 6:8, 25-33; Philippians 4:19) and faithfully disciplines His children (Hebrews 12:5-11).
In His sovereignty as the creative Father, He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events (1 Chronicles 29:11). In His sovereignty, He is neither author nor approver of sin (Habakkuk 1:13; John 8:38-47), nor does He abridge the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (1 Peter 1:17).
God the Son
We believe and teach that God the Son is co-equal with God (John 10:30, 14:9), co-eternal with God (John 8:58), and consubstantial with God, and as such is the pre-existent Son (Isaiah 9:6).
We believe and teach that the pre-existent Son became man (John 1:1-2, 14, 6:33, 41) and that He was Jesus of Nazareth (Luke 24:19; Matthew 1:21, 25; 21:11; Mark 1:9) who, though human, was without a sinful nature (Hebrews 4:15) and thus stood apart from sinners (Hebrews 7:26). In becoming fully man (Luke 2:40; Philippians 2:8) by the virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23-25; Luke 1:26-35), the Son did not cease to be God (John 14:9-10; Colossians 2:9) but possessed all the perfection and attributes of God, and His earth-life sometimes functioned within the sphere of that which was human and sometimes within the sphere of that which was divine. Taking the form of a servant, He voluntarily surrendered His right to be immediately and constantly worshipped as God (Philippians 2:5-11) veiling His splendour with assumed humanity (Hebrews 10:20).
We believe and teach His purpose in coming into the world was to reveal the Father (John 1:18; 14:9-11), which task was accomplished in His earthly life and teachings (John 17:4-8), redeem mankind (Psalm 2:7-9; Hebrews 7:25-27, 9:26; John 3:16-18; 1 Peter 1:18-19), which task was completed fully and finally in His substitutionary propitiatory redemptive death (John 1:29, 10:15, 1 John 2:2; Romans 3:24-25, 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:14; 1 Peter 2:24, 3:18). That His death was acceptable to the Father is evidenced in the resurrection of Jesus (Hebrews 1:3; Romans 1:4, 4:25; Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:38-39; Acts 2:30-31), which was literal and physical. He is therefore, the only Saviour of the lost (John 14:6; Hebrews 10:5-14; Acts 4:12).
He will also come to reign over the earth in judgement and blessing (John 5:22-23; Matthew 25:31-46; Isaiah 9:6; Revelation 20). Until that appointed hour (Acts 1:7, 9), He is the Christian’s ascended Lord (Acts 1:9; Luke 24:51) to be worshipped (Philippians 2:9-11) at the right hand of the Father, Advocate (1 John 2:1) and Intercessor (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25, 9:24), and Head of His body, the Church (Ephesians 1:22, 5:23; Colossians 1:18).
We believe and teach that in fulfilment of prophecy, Christ came first to Israel, the chosen nation (Exodus 19:5), as her Messianic King, and that being rejected by the nation He gave His life as a ransom for all in keeping with the eternal plan of God (Matthew 10:5-6, 12:18-20, 21:31, 43, 26:24-32; Acts 14:46-48; John 1:11; Acts 22:22-24; 1 Timothy 2:6). He is also the one through whom God will judge all mankind (John 5:22-23; Acts 10:42).
God the Holy Spirit
We believe and teach that the Holy Spirit is of one essence and substance with the Father and the Son in their Deity (Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:34, 28:25-26; 2 Corinthians 13:14) and that He is thus a person (John 14:17, 15:26, 16:7-8) possessing all the perfection and attributes of God (Psalm 139:7; Isaiah 40:13-14; Romans 15:13) having the capacities of intellect (1 Corinthians 2:10-13), will (1 Corinthians 12:11), and emotion (Ephesians 4:30).
His work is evident in the creation (Genesis 1:2), the incarnation (Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:35), the production of Scripture (2 Peter 1:20-21) and in the personal regeneration of every believer in Christ (John 3:5-7). Though the Holy Spirit has been omnipresent from all eternity, He came in a special sense and with unique purpose on the Day of Pentecost as promised by the Father (Acts 1:4) and by the Son (John 14:16-17, 15:26).
We further believe and teach that in this age certain well-defined ministries of the Spirit are in clear operation toward both believer and unbeliever, and that it is the obligation of every Christian to understand, adjust to and enjoy the ministry of the Spirit.
In relation to believers, the Holy Spirit came to initiate the Body of Christ – the Church – this being a divine mystery until the Day of Pentecost (Ephesians 3:4-5, 9, 11) awaiting the coming of the Spirit (John 7:39), so that Jew and Gentile could both be made equal in the Church (1 Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 1:18, 24-27), and to indwell the Church (Ephesians 2:22; 1 Corinthians 3:16) and the individual Christian (1 Corinthians 6:19). This individual indwelling is necessary to salvation (Romans 8:9) and provides eternal security (Ephesians 1:13), thus signifying a permanent residence within the believer (John 14:15-17).
He came to induce Christ-likeness in the believer’s life (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18) through His control (Ephesians 5:18), instruct Apostles in the complete truth (John 16:12-15; 14:25-26; 15:26; 1 John 2:20, 27; 1 Peter 1:12) which is now inscripturated in the Bible as the full and final revelation of the Spirit for this age (Hebrews 2:1-4; 2 Timothy 3:14-17), and also came to impart gifts and graces to the believer for the work of the ministry (1 Corinthians 12:11) according to His sovereign will (1 Corinthians 12:11).
We further believe and teach that since the Church has all of God’s revealed truth in the Scriptures (John 16:12-15; Jude 3; Revelation 22:18-19) that no further truth is either necessary or available, and thus that the gifts related to revelation and signs accrediting that apostolic revelation are no longer necessary (1 Corinthians 13:8-10; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:1-4). The gifts in operation today are the non-revelatory gifts for the edification and equipping of the body (Romans 12:6-8).
In relation to unbelievers, the Holy Spirit came to bring conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgement (John 16:7-9).
We believe and teach that man was created directly and immediately by God in His own image and likeness which pertains to man’s personal and moral dimensions (Genesis 1:26, 2:7, 2:15-25; James 3:9).
We believe and teach that man was created good in that he was perfect in his innocence, but that he had both the capacity and responsibility to progress through obedience to perfect holiness. Instead, man rebelled against God who in judgement subjected man to death – spiritual, physical and eternal (Genesis 3:1-19; Ephesians 2:1-4; Revelation 20:11-15).
We further believe and teach that in the rebellious act of Adam man became inherently and totally corrupt (Genesis 6:5; Romans 1:18-32, 3:10-19; Psalm 14:1-3, 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9) and being without any recuperative powers within himself to effect his own recovery (Romans 5:6) man became completely and hopelessly lost (Luke 15:1-32; Ephesians 2:1-9).
This acquired sinful disposition and state of being lost in relation to God was immediately passed to all of Adam’s posterity (Romans 5:12-21) the only exception being the Man Christ Jesus (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 1:19).
Universal death is the proof of universal sin (Romans 5:12-14) since death comes by sin (Romans 5:12, 6:23). Left to himself man is irrecoverably bad (Romans 3:23, 6:23) and stands in need of Christ the Saviour. All men are thus sinners by nature, choice, practice, and by divine declaration.
We believe and teach that salvation is wholly and solely of God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8-9) on the basis of the redemption effected through the shedding of Christ’s blood (Leviticus 17:11; Matthew 26:28; Romans 5:6-8; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18-19) and is made a reality in the life of the believer through the Holy Spirit bringing a new nature and implanting a new life from above (John 3:1-18; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Titus 3:5-7).
We believe and teach that election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:1-2). This election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Saviour and Lord (John 3:18-19, 36; 5:40; Romans 9:22-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:10; Revelation 22:17). Nevertheless, since sovereign grace includes the means of receiving the gift of salvation as well as the gift itself, sovereign election will result in what God determines. All whom the Father calls to Himself will come to faith and all who come in faith the Father will receive (John 6:37-40, 44; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:29-30).
We believe and teach that the unmerited favour that God grants to totally depraved sinners is not related to any initiative of their own part nor to God’s anticipation of what they might do by their own will, but is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy (Romans 9:11-16; Ephesians 1:4-7; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 1:1-2). Thus foreknowledge originates in advanced planning, not advanced knowledge (Acts 2:23; Romans 8:29).
We believe and teach that election should not be looked upon as based merely on abstract sovereignty. God is truly sovereign but He exercises His sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace and love (Romans 9:11-16). This sovereignty will always exalt the will of God in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 1:9).
(Note: The following section entitled “Faith” is a recent addition that seeks to bring balance to the Statement of Faith which previously led readers to conclude a hyper-Calvinist position. The Shepherd’s Bible College is neither hyper-Arminian nor hyper-Calvinistic. The elders of Riverbend Bible Church and the board and faculty of The Shepherd’s Bible College have approved this section on “Faith”. Its final ratification will take place at the 2012 Riverbend Bible Church AGM.)
We believe and teach that a general invitation to receive Christ as Saviour is made to the whole world and that Christ’s death was sufficient to pay for the sins of the whole world (John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 2:2). Each individual is responsible to respond to this invitation by repenting of their sin and believing in Jesus Christ for salvation – indeed they are commanded to do so (Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38; 17:30). The personal responsibility of every individual is upheld by Scripture, in that if a person refuses to accept the gift of salvation by placing their faith in Christ’s substitutionary death, they will be held accountable for their sin and rejection of the gospel of Christ (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).
We believe and teach that the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man are equally necessary to and perfectly consistent within the gospel. Neither demean the character of God, as God is always true to Himself and to His Word. Any tension that arises must be allowed to exist, with the acknowledgement that Christ’s love cannot fully be understood by the human mind (Ephesians 3:19).
We believe and teach that justification is an act of God (Romans 8:33) by which He declares righteous only those who trust in Christ (Romans 3:21-26; 5:1-2), and that the believer can be declared righteous (Romans 3:20, 26) because their sins have been placed on Christ (Colossians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24) and Christ’s perfect righteousness has been imputed to them (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:4-9).
We believe and teach that regeneration issues in the inseparable and simultaneous responses of repentance toward God and faith in the divinely provided Saviour (Acts 11:18, 20:21), there being absolutely no other condition whatsoever for salvation (Acts 13:38-39; Romans 3:20, 4:6-7; Titus 3:5), and that regeneration also issues in a new submission to the Spirit-given Word of God (Ephesians 5:17-21; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:4-10). Good works, righteous attitudes and conduct, will be the proper evidence and fruit of regeneration (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:13; James 2:14-18; 2 Peter 1:4-10; 1 John 1:6, 2:3-5).
We believe and teach that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy and is therefore identified as a saint. This sanctification is instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification. This sanctification has to do with the believer’s standing, not his present walk or condition (Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30; 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 2:11; 10:10, 14; 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2).
We further believe and teach that there is also, by the work of the Holy Spirit, a progressive sanctification by which the state of the believer is brought closer to the standing the believer positionally enjoys through justification. Through obedience to the Word of God and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:17, 19; Romans 6:1-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, 5:23).
In this respect we believe and teach that this will entail continual and unending conflict in the believer’s life – the new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh. But adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 10:13; Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:5-17).
The struggle, nevertheless, stays with the believer all through this earthly life until the believer leaves this life either through death or translation, because the believer has within, both the old nature of the flesh and the new nature of the Spirit. All claims of the eradication of sin in this life are unscriptural. Eradication of sin is not possible, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9).
We believe and teach that once saved, the believer is kept by God’s power and grace (1 Peter 1:3-5; John 17:11; 1 Corinthians 1:8-9) and that such a security is guaranteed by virtue of the intrinsic nature of eternal life (John 10:27-30), the intercessory ministry and advocacy of Christ for the believer (Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2; Luke 22:32), and the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit in the believer (John 14:16-17; Romans 8:1-11; Ephesians 4:30).
Thus the believer is secure in Christ forever, there being no condemnation (Romans 8:1) and no separation (Romans 8:39). Since God saves the believer apart from human merit (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8-9), He will not reject those He has chosen (Ephesians 1:4) because of demerit in themselves, but He will present them faultless before the presence of His glory (Jude 24) conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). He who is faithful in the calling will not fail in the consummation (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:5).
We believe and teach that it is the privilege of all who are born again by the Spirit through faith in Christ, to experience the assurance of eternal salvation from the very moment of their faith in Christ as Saviour, and that this assurance is based on the personal witness of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16), and the Word of God (1 John 5:11-13; John 5:24), which however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion for sinful living and carnality (Romans 6:15-22; Galatians 5:13).
We believe and teach that separation from sin is clearly called for throughout the Old and New Testaments, and that the Scriptures clearly indicate that in the last days apostasy and worldliness shall increase (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).
We believe and teach that out of deep gratitude for the undeserved grace of God granted to us, and because our glorious God is so worthy of our total consecration, all the saved should live in such a manner as to demonstrate our adoring love to God and so as not to bring reproach upon our Lord and Saviour. We also believe and teach that separation from all religious apostasy, and worldly and sinful practices is commanded of us by God (Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11).
We believe and teach that believers should be separated unto our Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:1-2) and affirm that the Christian life is a life of obedient righteousness demonstrated by a beatitude attitude (Matthew 5:2-12) and a continual pursuit of holiness (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14; Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 3:1-10).
We believe and teach that all who place their faith in Jesus Christ, regardless of their membership or non-membership of any denomination, are immediately identified with the one spiritual Church through the placing ministry of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Ephesians 2:11-3:6). The spiritual Church is related to Christ both as His Body (1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Ephesians 1:22-23) and as His Bride (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-32; Revelation 19:7-8), and He is Head of both (Ephesians 1:22, 4:15; Colossians 1:18).
We believe and teach that the invisible church began on the Day of Pentecost (Matthew 16:16-18; Acts 2:1-21, 38-47) and that this body is different to Israel (Romans 9-11; Galatians 6:16), and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His bride at the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). This being the case, we further believe and teach that there must be a fundamental unity between all Christians, which rises above denominational distinctives (John 17:20-23) since each believer is one with every other member of this great body (Romans 12:5) and is responsible to keep the unity the Spirit has made (1 Corinthians 12:12-13) in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3-6; Colossians 3:14-15).
We believe and teach that the one supreme authority for the church is Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18) and that the church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed through His sovereignty. The biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the local church are elders and deacons, both of whom must meet biblical qualification (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5). These leaders lead as servants of Christ (1 Timothy 5:17-22) and have His authority in directing the church within the bounds of scriptural absolutes. The congregation is to imitate their leaders’ faith and submit to their leadership (Hebrews 13:7, 17).
We believe and teach the importance and practice of discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Timothy 2:2), mutual accountability of all believers to each other, as well as the need for discipline of sinning members of the congregation in accord with the standards of Scripture (Matthew 18:15-22; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 1 Timothy 1:19-20; Titus 1:10-16).
We believe and teach the autonomy of the local Church, free from any external authority or control, with the right of self government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organisations (Revelation 1-3; Titus 1:5; Acts 20:28).
We believe and teach that the Church exists to glorify God (Ephesians 3:21) by facilitating the maturing of the body through the teaching of the Word of God (Ephesians 4:13-16; 2 Timothy 2:2, 15; 2 Timothy 3:16-17), through the keeping of the ordinances (Luke 22:19-20; Acts 2:38-42), through fellowship (Acts 2:42, 44-47; 1 John 1:3) and by a commitment to evangelism throughout the entire world (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).
We believe and teach that there are two ordinances for the Church: Baptism (Matthew 28:19) and the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
We believe and teach baptism by immersion (Acts 8:36-39) a symbol of the Spirit baptism at conversion, believing it best symbolises the Spirit baptism each believer has experienced at the moment of faith (Romans 6:1-11). Baptism is expected of all true believers (Matthew 28:19) and is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a believer showing forth his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Saviour and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life (Romans 6:1-11). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible body of Christ (Acts 2:41-42).
We believe and teach that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of the Lord’s death until His return (1 Corinthians 11:23-26), and should be always preceded by solemn self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:27-32).
We also believe and teach that while the elements of the Supper are only representative of the body and blood of Christ, the Lord’s Supper is nevertheless an actual communion with the risen Christ who is present in a unique way, fellowshipping with His people (1 Corinthians 10:16).
We believe and teach that there were two kinds of gifts given to the early church: miraculous gifts, given temporarily in the apostolic era for the purpose of confirming the authenticity of the Apostles and their message (Hebrews 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12); and ministering gifts, given to equip believers for the edification of one another (Romans 12:6-8).
With the New Testament revelation now complete, Scripture becomes the sole test of the authenticity of a man’s message (Acts 17:10,11; 1 Corinthians 4:6; Revelation 22:18-19), and confirming gifts of a miraculous nature such as divine revelation, healing, and tongues (i.e. real languages) are no longer necessary to validate a man or his message. Miraculous gifts can be counterfeited by Satan so as to deceive even believers (Mark 13:22; Revelation 13:13-14). The gifts in operation today are those non-revelatory equipping gifts given for edification (1 Corinthians 13:8-13; Romans 12:6-8).
We believe and teach that no one possesses the gift of healing today but that God does hear and 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).
We believe and teach that angels are created beings and are therefore not to be worshipped. Although they are a higher order of creation than man, they are created to serve God and to worship Him (Luke 2:9-14; Hebrews 1:6-7, 14, 2:6-7; Revelation 5:11-14, 19:10, 22:9).
We believe and teach that Satan is a created angel and the author of sin. He incurred the judgement of God by rebelling against his Creator, taking angels with him (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:1-14), and by introducing sin into the human race by his temptation of Eve (Genesis 3:1-15).
We believe and teach that Satan is the open and declared enemy of God and man (Matthew 4:1-11; Revelation 12:9-10), the prince of this world who has been defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and that he shall be eternally punished in the lake of fire along with his angels and followers (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).
Last Things (Eschatology)
We believe and teach that death is not annihilation, but the separation of man in his material and immaterial components (Genesis 2:7, 3:19; James 2:26).
For the believer, there is the immediate and conscious presence of Christ (Luke 16:19-26, 23:42-43; Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8), which state exists until the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17) which initiates the first resurrection (Revelation 20:4-6), when there will be the reconstitution of the believer in the joining of the immaterial identity with the material resurrection body (Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:35-44, 50-54; John 6:39; Romans 8:10-11, 19-23; 2 Corinthians 4:14).
For the unbeliever, there is the immediate and conscious awareness of condemnation until the second resurrection (Luke 16:19-26; Revelation 20:13-15) when the unbeliever will be reconstituted (John 5:28-29) to appear at the Great White Throne Judgement (Revelation 20:5-15), to suffer conscious torment day and night forever in the Lake of Fire (Matthew 25:41-46), cut off from the life of God forever (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:41-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
We believe and teach that Christ’s imminent coming to the air to remove His Church and receive her into heaven (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:11-14) will precede the Tribulation period (1 Thessalonians 1:10; Revelation 3:10), and that at this coming the living Christians will be changed (Philippians 3:21) and that the already departed believers will return with Christ to the air to receive their resurrection bodies (1 Thessalonians 4:14) and between this event and His glorious return with His saints, to reward believers according to their works (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
We believe and teach that following the removal of the church from the earth (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) the righteous judgements of God will be poured out upon an unbelieving world (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:27, 12:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12; Revelation 16), and that these judgements (known as the time of Jacob’s Trouble or the Great Tribulation) will be climaxed by the return of Christ in glory to the earth (Matthew 24:27-31, 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12).
We believe and teach that the history of the nations of the earth are inextricably bound up with God’s providential and particular dealings with the elect nation – Israel – both in blessing (Genesis 12:3; Isaiah 2:1-4, 11:9; Micah 5:4-15) and in judgement (Genesis 12:3; Deuteronomy 30:7; Matthew 24:4-14).
We further believe and teach that these days will end in the personal return of Christ to earth (Matthew 24:27-31, 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12), when the Old Testament saints and the tribulation martyrs will be raised and all the living judged (Daniel 12:2-3; Revelation 20:4-6).
The Second Coming of Christ and the Millennial Reign
We believe and teach that the Second Coming of Christ properly relates to the physical personal return of Christ to earth (Acts 1:9-11; Matthew 25:31), in order to overthrow the Antichrist and the False Prophet (Daniel 7:17-27), bind Satan in the abyss (Revelation 20:1-3) and to establish the millennial age (Revelation 20:2-7) as Israel’s Davidic King (Luke 1:31-33; Acts 2:29-30; 2 Samuel 7:8-16) ruling over a redeemed (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:22-32) and restored (Deuteronomy 28:1-30:20; Romans 11:25-29) Israel, in fulfilment of Israel’s covenants (Genesis 12:13, 15:1-21; Deuteronomy 28:1-30:20; 2 Samuel 7:8-16; Jeremiah 31:31-34) and the predictions of the prophets (Isaiah 65:17-25; Ezekiel 37:21-28; Zechariah 8:1-17).
As with the judgments of the Tribulation, so with the blessings of the Kingdom; all is mediated through the Jews (John 4:22) with whom the providential dealings of history are providentially bound.
With Israel’s acceptance of her King there begins the thousand-year kingdom on earth (Acts 1:6, 3:19-22; Isaiah 11:1-16, 65:17-25; Ezekiel 36:33-38; Revelation 20:1-7). The resurrected saints will share in this rule (Ezekiel 37:21-28; Daniel 7:17-22; Matthew 19:28; 1 Corinthians 6:1-3; Romans 8:17-22; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 5:10, 19:11-16).
We further believe and teach that this time of our Lord’s reign will be characterised by harmony, justice, peace, righteousness, and long life (Isaiah 11, 65:17-25; Ezekiel 36:33-38), and will be brought to an end with the release and final judgment of Satan (Revelation 20:7).
The Judgment of the Lost
We believe and teach that following the release of Satan after the thousand-year reign of Christ (Revelation 20:7), Satan will deceive the nations of the earth and gather them to battle against the saints and Jerusalem. They will be defeated (Revelation 20:9), Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10), and Christ, as judge of all men (John 5:22), will resurrect and judge the great and the small at the Great White Throne Judgement. This resurrection of the unsaved dead to judgement will be a physical resurrection, whereupon receiving their judgement they will be committed to an eternal conscious punishment in the Lake of Fire (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:11-15).
We believe and teach that after the closing of the millennium, the temporary release of Satan, and the judgment of unbelievers (2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 20:11-15), the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God, after which the elements of this earth are to be dissolved (2 Peter 3:10) and replaced with a new earth wherein only righteousness dwells (Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 20:15, 21-22).
Following this, the heavenly city will come down out of heaven (Revelation 21:2) and will be the dwelling place of the saints, where they will enjoy forever fellowship with God and one another (John 17:3; Revelation 21-22). Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28) that in all spheres the triune God may reign forever and ever (1 Corinthians 15:28).