Essential doctrine

Note from the Elders:


This section is purposely entitled “Essential Doctrine.” However, if in reading these twenty bullet points you come across a concept you don’t fully understand or have never heard of, don’t be intimidated! Our heart in putting forth this body of doctrine is not to embarrass or intimidate potential new members. By publishing these twenty points we are not communicating that we only accept the most mature of believers into our fellowship.

 

This body of doctrine is published to communicate to you what we believe to be a helpful summation of the major categories of theology contained in the Bible. Certainly, the Bible contains more theology than these twenty points. But, as elders and as a church, we don’t want to reduce the Bible’s message down to less than this. 

 

Please know this as well, it is not required for membership that you comprehensively understand and affirm these twenty points of doctrine before you are welcomed as a member. We simply require our teachers, guest preachers, small group leaders, etc. to not teach contrary to these doctrines as stated.   

 

We encourage you to keep this list of essential doctrines and use it to guide your personal and/or family devotional times. Use it as a reference tool in your personal growth in Christian maturity. We have found it to be beneficial to use statements like these as a “teacher” in our progressive sanctification, and we hope you will too.    

 


I. The Scriptures


The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and are the only sufficient, certain and authoritative rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience. This affirms the verbal and plenary inerrancy for the sixty-six books of the Bible in the original autographs. The Scriptures endure forever. (2 Timothy 3:15-17; Isaiah 8:20, 40:8; Luke 16:29,31; Ephesians 2:20; 2 Peter 1:3, 19-2)

 


II. God


There is but one God, the Maker, Preserver and Ruler of all things, having in and of Himself, all perfections, and being infinite in them all; and to Him all creatures owe the highest love, reverence and obedience. (Deut. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:4, 6; Gal. 3:20; 1 Thess. 1:9; Jer. 10:10; Job 11:7-9, 26:14; Ps. 139:6)

 


III. The Trinity


God is revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit each with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence or being. (1 John 5:7; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Exodus 3:14; John 14:11, 15:26; 1 Corinthians 8:6; John 1:14,18; Galatians 4:6)

 


IV. Providence


God from eternity, decrees or permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not in any way to be the author or approver of sin nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures. (Neh. 9:6; Ps. 145:14-17; Heb. 1:3; Dan. 4:34-35; Ps. 135:6; Acts 17:25-28; Matt. 10:29-31; Prov. 15:3; Ps. 104:24; Acts 15:18; Is. 42:9; Ezek. 11:5; Eph. 1:11; Ps. 33:10-11; Is. 63:14; Eph. 3:10; Rom. 9:17; Gen. 45:7; Ps. 145:7)

 


V. Election


Election is God’s eternal choice of some persons unto everlasting life—not because of foreseen merit in them, but of His mere mercy in Christ—in consequence of which choice they are called, justified and glorified. (Eph. 1:4,9,11,2:8-9; Rom. 8:28-30, 9:11,13,15-16; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Thess. 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2)

 


VI. The Fall of Man


God originally created Man in His own image, and free from sin; but, through the temptation of Satan, he transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original holiness and righteousness; whereby his posterity inherit a corrupt nature that is wholly opposed to God and His law, are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors. (Gen. 3:13; Rom. 3:10-19, 23, 5:12, 8:7; 2 Cor.11:3; Gen. 2:17; Eph. 2:1-3; Acts 17:26)

 


VII. The Mediator


Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of God, is the divinely appointed mediator between God and man. Having taken upon Himself human nature, yet without sin, He perfectly fulfilled the law; suffered and died upon the cross for the salvation of sinners. He was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended to His Father, at whose right hand He ever lives to make intercession for His people. He is the only Mediator, the Prophet, Priest and King of the Church, and Sovereign of the Universe. (Is. 42:1; 1 Peter 1:19-20; John 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:5; Acts 3:20,22; Deut. 18:15; Heb. 5:5-6, Ps. 2:6, Luke 1:33; John 1:1-3,14; 1 John 5:20; Phil. 2:6; Gal. 4:4; Matt. 16:16; Rom. 5:19; Heb. 9:14; 2 Cor. 5:18; Col. 1:20)

 


VIII. Regeneration


Regeneration is a change of heart, brought about by the Holy Spirit, who makes alive those who are dead in trespasses and sins, enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the Word of God, and renewing their whole nature, so that they love and practice holiness. It is a work of God’s free and special grace alone. (Ezek. 11:19, 36:26-27; Deut. 30:6; John 3:5; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:23; John 6:44-45; 2 Tim. 1:9; Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 9:11)  

 


IX. Repentance


Repentance is an evangelical grace, wherein a person being by the Holy Spirit, made sensible of the manifold evil of his sin, humbles himself for it, with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and abhorrence of the old self, with a purpose and endeavor to walk before God so as to please Him in all things. (Acts 11:18; 2 Cor. 7:10; Zech. 12:10; Ezek. 18:30-31, 36:31; Is. 30:22; Ps. 51:4, 119:6, 59, 106, 128; Jer. 31:18-19; Joel 2:12-13; Amos 5:15; 2 Cor. 7:11; 1 Thess. 1:9; 2 Kings 23:25)

 


X. Faith


Saving faith is the belief, on God’s authority, of whatsoever is revealed in His Word concerning Christ; trusting and resting upon Him alone for justification and eternal life. It is brought about in the heart by the Holy Spirit, and is accompanied by all other saving graces, and leads to a life of holiness. (John 4:42; 1 Thess. 2:13; Acts. 24:14; John 3:5; 1 Cor. 12:3; Titus 3:5; John 1:12; Acts 16:31; Gal. 2:20; Acts 15:11; 1 John 5:4-5; Heb. 6:11-12, 10:22)

 


XI. Justification


Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal of sinners, who believe in Christ, from all sin, through the satisfaction that Christ has made; not for anything brought about in them or done by them; but on account of the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith. In justification God declares the sinner righteous. (Rom. 3:22-28, 4:5-8, 5:15-19, 8:30; 2 Cor. 5:19, 21; Titus 3:5, 7; Eph. 1:7; Jer. 23:6; 1 Cor. 1:30-3; Acts 13:38-39; Phil. 1:29, 3:9) 

 


XII. Sanctification


Those who have been regenerated, and thus justified, are also sanctified by God’s word and Spirit dwelling in them. This sanctification is progressive through the supply of Divine strength, which all saints seek to obtain, pressing after a heavenly life in joyful obedience to all Christ’s commands. (1 Thess. 5:23-24; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; Acts 20:32; Rom. 6:5-6; Phil. 3:10; John 17:17, 19; Rom. 8:13; Col. 1:10-11; Eph. 3:16-19; 2 Cor. 7:1; Col. 1:28; Heb. 12:14)

 


XIII. Perseverance of the Saints


Those whom God has accepted in the Son, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere to the end; and though they may temporarily fall through neglect and temptation, into sin, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the Church, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall be renewed again unto repentance, and be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. (Phil. 1:6; 2 Peter 1:10; Rom. 8:28-30; John 6:37, 10:28-29; 1 Peter 1:5, 9; 2 Tim. 2:18-19; Ps. 51:14; Matt. 26:70, 72, 74; 2 Sam. 12:9, 13; Gal. 2:11-14; Eph. 4:30; Rev. 2:4)

 


XIV. The Church


The Lord Jesus is the head of the Church, which is composed of all His true disciples, and in Him is invested supremely all power for its government. According to His commandment, Christians are to associate themselves into particular societies or churches; and to each of these churches He has given needful authority for administering the order of discipline and worship which He has appointed. The regular officers of a Church are elders and deacons. (Eph. 5:23, 27, 32; Col. 1:18; 1 Cor. 1:2, 12:12-13; Ps. 2:8; Rev. 7:9; Eph. 2:19, 3:15; Acts 2:47; 1 Cor. 12:18; Eph. 4:11-13) 

 


XV. Baptism


Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus, obligatory upon every believer, wherein he is baptized in water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, as a sign of his fellowship with the death and resurrection of Christ, of remission of sins, and of giving himself up to God, to live and walk in newness of life. It is prerequisite to church membership, and to participation in the Lord’s Supper. (Rom. 6:2-5; Col. 2:12; Acts 8:36-37; Matt. 28:19-20)

 


XVI. The Lord’s Supper


The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of Jesus Christ, to be administered with the elements of bread and wine, and to be observed by His churches till the end of the world. It is in no sense a sacrifice, but is designed to commemorate His death, to confirm the faith and other graces of Christians, and to be a bond, pledge and renewal of their communion with Him, and of their church fellowship. (1 Cor. 11:23-26; Matt. 26:26-27; Luke 22:19-20; Heb. 9:22, 25-26, 28, 10:10-14) 

 


XVII. The Lord’s Day


The Lord’s Day is a Christian institution for regular observance, and should be employed in exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private, individually and corporately, every Sunday (the first day of the week). (Ex. 20:6; Is. 58:13-14; Matt. 12:1-13; Mark 3:1-5; Heb. 10:24-25; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; Acts 20:7; Rev. 1:10)

 


XVIII. Liberty of Conscience


God alone is Lord of the conscience; and He has left it free from the constriction of men, which are contrary to His word, or not contained in it. Civil authorities and government are ordained by God, as such we are to be in subjection to them in all lawful things commanded by them, not only to avoid civil consequences, but also for our conscience’s sake. (James 4:12; Rom. 14:4,10; 1 Cor. 10:29; Acts 4:19, 5:29; Matt. 15:1-6; Col. 2:20-23; Gal. 2:4-5)

 


XIX. The Resurrection


The bodies of men after death return to dust, but their spirits return immediately to God—the righteous to rest with Him; the wicked, to be reserved under darkness to the judgment. At the last day, the bodies of all the dead, both just and unjust, will be raised. (Gen. 3:19; Acts 13:36; Luke 23:43; Eccl. 12:7; 2 Cor. 5:1-8; Phil. 1:23; Rom. 8:23; Luke 16:23-24; Acts 1:25; Jude 6-7; Acts 24:15; Phil. 3:21)

 


XX. The Judgment


God hath appointed a day, wherein He will judge the world by Jesus Christ, when everyone shall receive according to his deeds: the wicked shall go into everlasting punishment and the righteous into everlasting life. (Acts 17:31; John 5:22, 27; 2 Tim. 4:1; Matt. 25:31-46; Rom. 2:5-6; Acts 3:19; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; Mark 9:48; Matt. 24:36, 42-44; Mark 13:35-37; Luke 12:35-36; Rev. 22:20) 

our DISTINCTIVEs

Note from the Elders:


Below are eight categories we believe to be distinctive about our church. They are not meant to be an indictment of other churches, but to help you understand more about us as a church which you are seeking to join. 


As with the Essential Doctrines, these are categories with which teachers, guest preachers, small group leaders, ministry leaders, etc. in our church must agree. We are not demanding full agreement with these distinctives from every member, but we are asking for members to not obstinately advocate for viewpoints contrary to these distinctives. 


And again, as with the Essential Doctrines, comprehensive knowledge of these distinctives is not prerequisite for membership at Faith Bible Church. We only ask that members understand these to be our positions and not persist in opposition to them. 



1) High View of God


Although God is immanent—accessible to us as Abba Father—Scripture also teaches He is transcendent—exalted far above us as our Sovereign King. Therefore, He must be treated with profound reverence and respect and never taken lightly. God’s transcendence is captured in the attribute we call His holiness. God is holy or transcendent in two related, but ultimately distinct ways: He is transcendent in His moral purity and also transcendent in His majesty. He is separate or distinct from and exalted above everything else in the universe. Our greatest prayer must always be that God’s transcendence is seen and known in the worship of this church and that He therefore is both loved and feared. It is our profound desire and chief concern that in our worship we treat God as separate, distinct, set apart, majestic, and transcendent. It is only in understanding His transcendence that we can truly see the beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ through which we are reconciled and brought near to such a great and awesome God.



2) High View of Scripture


The inspired, infallible and inerrant Word of God provides the foundation and contours of our beliefs. As such, the Scriptures inform every facet of life and practice (2 Timothy 3:16). Scripture provides the form and content for preaching, worship, and singing. The Bible is God’s self-revelation and states the purpose for which He created us. It also helps us to understand our own hearts of sin and the broken world in which we live because of man’s fall into sin. Through His Word, God has also revealed the way of salvation in Christ to restore sinful human beings into the image of Christ for His glory.



3) The Five Solas of the Reformation


We promote the five Reformation watchwords or battle cries, centered around the Latin word solus, meaning "alone". These watchwords capsulate Protestant teaching. 


Sola Scriptura


Scripture Alone: The Bible is the inspired, infallible and inerrant Word of God, and it is the only rule and authority for faith and practice. This means that we endeavor to submit unconditionally to everything the Bible teaches (2 Tim. 3:16).


Sola Gratia


Grace Alone: We can only be saved from sin and its consequences by the renewing work of the Holy Spirit. This manifestation of God's sovereign goodness to sinners, which excludes all human merit, the Bible calls the grace of God (Eph. 2:8). Our salvation is altogether of God; from beginning to end, it is only by God's free mercy and grace.


Sola Fide


Faith Alone: Salvation is not the result of our own accomplishments or works, but is obtained only by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His atonement accomplished on Calvary's cross. By faith in the perfect obedience of Christ we become righteous before God, trusting only in the finished work of Christ (Heb. 4:2).


Solus Christus


Christ Alone: The Lord Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5), who has made an effective, complete and final atonement for sin. Therefore, He is the only One through whom we can be reconciled with our Creator, whom we have offended by our sins. Only Christ's perfect sacrifice and righteousness are acceptable to God (John 14:6), and through Him we have direct access to God.


Soli Deo Gloria


Glory to God only: The primary purpose of our existence is to live to God's glory, which therefore is the primary purpose of our salvation. This means that all honor and glory for our salvation must be given to God alone (Rev. 7:12).



4) The Sovereignty of God's Grace in Salvation


This is powerfully illustrated by the so-called "Five Points of Calvinism" succinctly summarized as follows:


Total depravity (sovereign grace needed): man is so depraved and corrupted by sin in every part of his being that he is by nature incapable of doing any spiritual good and cannot affect any part of his salvation (Gen. 6:5).


Unconditional election (sovereign grace conceived): from eternity past, God chose to save certain individuals irrevocably to everlasting life and glory in Christ Jesus without seeing any intrinsic goodness in them, and He ordained the means by which they would be saved (Rom. 9:15-16).


Limited atonement (sovereign grace merited): while the death of Christ is sufficient to cover the sins of the world, its saving efficacy is intentionally limited to His elect sheep whose sins He bore and for whom He fully satisfied the justice of God (John 17:9).


Irresistible grace (sovereign grace applied): God irresistibly calls the elect to saving faith and salvation in Christ with such sovereign power that they can no longer resist His grace, but are made willing in the day of His power (Ps. 110:3; John 6:44-45).


Perseverance (sovereign grace preserved): those whom God saves, He graciously preserves in the state of grace so that they will never be lost. They may be troubled by infirmities as they seek to make their calling and election sure, but they will persevere until the end, fighting the good fight of faith until the final victory shall be realized in the coming again of their Savior and Lord as Judge (John 10:28).



5) Cessation of Miraculous Gifts


God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts for the perfecting of the saints today and that speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles in the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of pointing to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and were never intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers. Thus they (the miraculous or sign gifts) have ceased to be present in the life of the Christian church (1 Cor.12:4-11, 13:8-10, 2 Cor. 12:12, Eph. 4:7-12, Heb. 2:1-4).


This does not mean that Christian do not pray for the physical healing of others. God has commanded us to pray for this (John 16:24; James 5:14-15). It means that we believe that no individual Christian has the spiritual gift of healing today (2 Timothy 4:20).


The gift of tongues was the miraculous, God-given capacity to communicate the truth of God's Word in human languages the speaker had never learned or studied (Acts 2:4-12; 8:15-17; 10:44-46; 19:1-7). It was a manifestation of God's power and blessing to validate the gospel message the Apostles taught and to establish the early church (Acts 14:3; 1 Cor. 14:22; 2 Cor. 12:12; Heb. 2:3-4). We believe that ecstatic outbursts and private prayer languages share nothing in common with the New Testament gift of tongues, and that they are patently unbiblical (Acts 2:4-12; 1 Cor. 14:5, 13, 27). 



6) The Role of Women (a Complementarian view)


We believe that both men and women bear the image of God and that those in Christ enjoy equal spiritual standing before God (Gen. 1:27; 5:1-2; Gal. 3:28).


But Scripture teaches that God has assigned different roles and responsibilities to men and women. In the home, the husband is to be the gracious, loving head and the wife is to submit to her husband's leadership (Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18-19; Titus 2:5; 1 Pet. 3:1-7). 


God has provided equally clear roles in the church. While there are many ways women can and should serve, we believe that Scripture forbids women from teaching and leading men, or in any way exercising authority over men in the context of the church (1 Cor. 14:34-35; 1 Tim. 2:9-12; 3:1-2, 5).



7) Marriage


We believe marriage is a gift of God’s common grace to all mankind as a fundamental building block of society (Gen. 1:28; 2:18, 24; Ps. 127:3; Prov. 18:22; 31:10-11; Heb. 13:4). 


As the architect of marriage, God alone retains the right to define its constructs and guidelines, and He has done so in His Word (Gen. 2:18-24).


In accordance with Scripture, we teach that God’s design for marriage is a public, formal, and official covenant between one male and one female for life (Gen. 2:24; Prov. 2:17; Ezek. 16:8-14; Mal. 2:14).


God designed the marriage covenant to be a life-long bond, with divorce permitted only in (1) the case of unrepentant sexual sin (In keeping with the spirit of Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments, we urge reconciliation in most cases in the event of an unfaithful spouse who demonstrates sincere biblical repentance cf. Hos. 1-3; 11; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13) or (2) of desertion by an unbeliever (Mal. 2:16; Matt. 5:32; 19:9; Mark 10:11-12; 1 Cor. 7:12-16, 24).


Although sexual sins of thought are not justification for divorce, all sexual immorality, both thoughts and behavior, must be taken seriously as a transgression against God (Job 31:1; Matt. 5:28; 15:19; James 1:14-15).


God intends that the union between two believers be a loving illustration of the relationship between Christ and His church, when carried out in obedience to the Bible and through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18-33; 2 Cor. 6:14; 1 Pet. 3:7).



8) Sanctity of Life


We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image (Gen. 1:26). 


Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. (Ps. 139:13-16, Prov. 16:31, Jn. 9:2-3)


We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life from the various modern-day threats ranging from abortion to physician assisted suicide (Ex. 20:13). 



9) Human Sexuality


We believe that God created mankind in His own image (Gen. 1:27; 5:1; 9:6; James 3:9). 


In two separate acts, He created only two distinct genders: male and female (Gen. 1:27; 5:1-2; Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6).


The genders of Adam and Eve were established by God and defined by their physiological sex at creation (Gen. 1:27; 2:7, 22).


Subsequent to creation, God determines the gender of all other humans by their physiological sex at the time of birth (Gen. 18:10; Lev. 12:2, 5, 7).


Thus, all attempts to redefine human sexuality beyond the physiological male-female distinction (whether framed biologically or culturally) and all attempts to change one’s birth gender are sinful rebellion against our Creator. As our Creator, God stipulates in His Word that the only legitimate and acceptable sexual desires and sexual acts are those between a man and a woman within the context of marriage (Gen. 2:24; Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Matt. 5:28; 19:4-6; Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 7:1-5; Gal. 5:19- 21; 1 Th. 4:3-8; 1 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 13:4).