Calvary Baptist Church, Darwen
Calvary Baptist Church, Darwen

Pastor Art's doctrinal statement

For the ordination council convened by Trinity Baptist Church of Williston Vermont on July 23, 2011

 

1) Bible

A) Inspiration

The Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the 66 books of the Old and New Testament so that those 66 books, and only those 66, are the Word of God. No other writing truly claims this authority, and men cannot properly call any other writing the Bible, the Word of God, or a Holy Book. The Holy Spirit inspired only the original authors of the Bible, and no other writer or translator ever had the divine inspiration. He inspired all the Scriptures [2 Tim. 3:16], so that every book and every word in those books have this special divine character making them fit to give us doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness.

 

B) Inerrant

Since holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost [2 Peter 1:21], what they wrote had no errors. Every word of God is pure [Prov. 30:5] so that the Bible makes only true statements about science, history, the nature of man, and the nature of God.

 

C) Translation

The translator seeks to bring the words and meanings of the original language into English as clearly and accurately as possible. No translator operates under divine inspiration.

 

D) Preservation

God has preserved His holy word in the original words of the original writers as found in the multitude of manuscripts available.

 

 

2) God

A) The Trinity

God eternally exists as a trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three distinct persons, yet one God, not three. These three distinct persons have the same attributes, glory, nature, perfection, and power yet each also exercises distinct and complementary functions toward the creation.

 

B) Attributes of God

God’s attributes are His distinct features, qualities or characteristics that make God who and what He is.  

 

Essential attributes belong to God, apart from any relationship to His creatures; these can never become attributes of man.

  1. God is eternal - He has neither beginning nor end. [Ps 90:2b ... from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.]
  2. God is self-existent - God exists in and from Himself. He does not owe His existence to any other. He is the source of all life and is absolutely independent of all outside Himself. [Ex 3:14a ... And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM:]
  3. God is sovereign - He is superior to all others and supreme in power, rank, and authority. [Isa. 46:10b My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure]
  4. God is immutable - He never changes. [Mal 3:6a For I am the LORD, I change not.]
  5. God is omnipotent - He has unlimited power and authority. [Matt 19:26 With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.]
  6. God is omniscient - He has infinite knowledge and knows all things. This includes past, present and future. There is nothing that He does not know and has not known from eternity. [Prov. 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.]
  7. God is omnipresent - He is present in all places at the same time [Ps 139:8 If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there.]

Moral Attributes can be communicated to or found in a lesser degree in man

  1. Holy - He is morally and spiritually excellent and is without sin. [Ps 99:9 ... the LORD our God is holy.]
  2. Righteous - All His actions are morally justifiable and virtuous. [Ps 145:17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.]
  3. Just - He must punish sin. [Gen 18:25 ... Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?]
  4. Love - [1Jo 4:8 ... God is love.]
  5. Mercy - He loves and craves to forgive sin and to make a way for man to be forgiven. [Ps 136:4 ... His mercy endures for ever.]
  6. Grace - His unmerited favor. [Ps 145:8 The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.]
  7. Faithful - He is reliable, keeping all His promises. [La 3:23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.]
  8. Truth - He speaks, acts, and is accurate, exact, and honest. [John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.]

 

C) God the Father

  1. Person - He has intellect, emotion, and will
  2. Spirit - He is Spirit, and must be worshipped in Spirit. He has no physical features, yet He sometimes appears in a physical form.
  3. Creation - He made the world and the universe from nothing in six days. He spoke the creation.

 

 

3) Jesus Christ

Jesus was virgin born through the power of the Holy Spirit. [Lu 1:35] Though born of a human, yet he has always existed. [Heb. 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.] He is fully God and fully man at the same time. Fully God, He is worthy of worship and praise. Though fully man, yet He lived a perfect sinless life, [2Co 5:21 For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin ...] having successfully endured all the temptations that we go through. [Heb 4:15 ... [He] was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.]

Christ played a crucial role in creation [John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.] He voluntarily died on the cross for sins. His death was physical and actual. His death was sacrificial, vicarious, and essential for salvation. It is the only way to God. [John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.] He rose bodily from the grave, ascended bodily to heaven, and lives there now in a life of intercession. [Heb 7:25 ... He ever liveth to make intercession for them.] He is preparing a place in heaven for the saints. He has promised to return bodily in glory to take His own [the church ... the bride of Christ] out of the world to live with Him forever. He will judge all people, believers and non-believers alike. [John 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.] He will reign on earth eternally. [Re 11:15 ... He shall reign for ever and ever.]

 

The marks of His divinity

  1. Jesus promises eternal life to those who believe in Him. [John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish...]
  2. He forgave sins - [Lu 5:20 And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.]
  3. He used God’s name - I am - [John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.]
  4. He accepted worship - [Mt 15:25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.]
  5. He said that if we believe on Him we would never die - [John 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.]
  6. He can tell what men are thinking - [Lu 5:22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?]

 

 

4) Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity and is not merely an influence, energy, or a power. He inspired men to speak and write the Word of God. In the Old Testament times He came upon the believers for certain times and certain tasks and left them. In the New Testament times He indwells the believers, sealing them to the day of redemption, and never leaves us. This begins when He regenerates them through faith and continues until the day of their death or rapture. In the mean time He gives spiritual fruit to God’s children. [Gal. 5:22-23] He guides believers both negatively and positively [Acts 16:6, 10] He gives gifts to every believer. [Rom. 12:6] He immerses every believer into the body of Christ. [1Co 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body ...] He fills believers at times, [Eph. 5:18] assures them that they are children of God, [Ro 8:16] and guides the believer into the truth. [John 16:13] He also prays for the believers [Rom. 8:26] and brings them comfort. [John 14:26] Walking in [obeying] the Spirit results in victory over the flesh. [Gal. 5:16-17]

The Holy Spirit convicts the lost about their sin and the coming judgment. [John 16:8] He restrains sin in the world. [2 Thess. 2:7]

 

 

5) Angels and Satan

God created a huge host of spirit beings called angels. One of them, Satan [also known as Lucifer], led a rebellion. He exercised his self-will against God, described by the 5 “I wills” of Isaiah 14:13-14. He is known by many titles, including ”the prince of the power of the air” and ”the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.” [Eph 2:2] God then created a lake of fire for those spirits in rebellion. [Mt 25:41] Satan and the fallen angels, known as demons, work in the earth to accuse the believers before the throne of God [Re 12:10], to thwart the work of God, and to bring praise and adoration to the devil, who is an ”angel of light.” [2Co 11:14] The Christian life is actually a war against these evil spirits. [Eph. 6:12] These forces promote false doctrine [1Ti 4:1] and lies [John 8:44] and hinder the work of God [Dan. 10:13].

Those angels not in rebellion serve God and the saints. [Heb. 1:14] They do not marry [Mt 22:30]. God made different classes of angels, with Michael as the archangel, and also a division between cherubim and seraphim. They will help God execute His judgment [Mt 22:30], protect men [Matt. 18:10], and guide believers. [Acts 8:26] They worship God [Rev. 5:11-12], and ministered to Christ when He was on the earth. [Matt. 4:11]

 

 

6) Man and Sin

God made man in His own image instantly and without any evolutionary process. [Ge 1:27] He called the first man Adam, and gave him both a physical nature and a non physical nature; the non physical part consists of emotions, intellect, will, and spirit. God used Adam’s rib to form the first woman, called Eve. All humans descended from Adam and Eve, and therefore all men and women are cousins, of one blood, and related. God made only one race, the human race.

God made man sinless but with the ability to choose between right and wrong. Satan deceived Eve and she sinned. [1 Tim. 2:14] Adam followed Eve’s example, and sin and death, both spiritual and physical, passed upon all mankind. [Ro 5:12] Adam and Eve subsequently hid from God, [Ge 3:8] now ashamed because of their guilt. [Gen 3:10 I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid ...] As God held Adam and Eve responsible for their sinful decisions, so all mankind will give an account for their conduct and choices. [2Co 5:10, Rev. 20:12]

 

 

7) Salvation

Man’s sin separated him from God, yet the Lord in His wonderful love made a way for man to reconcile. Man cannot earn salvation through any effort of his own, neither can any religion, other than the precious blood of Jesus, wash away sin. God planned the sacrifice of His Son before the creation [Re 13:8 ... the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.] to effect reconciliation. That reconciliation cannot happen while man’s sin stands in the way. [Isa. 59:2] Christ shed His precious blood to take away the sins of the world [John 1:29], which the blood of animals shed under the old testament could never do. [Heb. 10:4, 11] The sacrifice paid the price for all sins, both of the believers and the unbelievers. [1Jo 2:2] Though scripture speaks of God choosing sinners [election - Eph 1:4, 2Th 2:13], God makes it clear that He has not willed the damnation of any sinners [2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not ... willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.] He makes His salvation available to all [Re 22:17 ... whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely], and man has a free will choice in the matter. [Eze. 33:11 ... turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?]

God required a blood sacrifice to take away sin: [Heb 9:22 ... without shedding of blood is no remission.] The blood of Christ washes sin away and does not merely cover it. [Rev. 1:5]

  • Repentance: To turn or to change one’s mind; in the NT, it means to turn from sin; God requires repentance as part of salvation.
  • Faith: Conviction of the truth of anything; in the NT sense, believing what the Bible teaches about the work of Jesus Christ and asking for forgiveness and salvation.
  • Regeneration: The new birth; when the Holy Spirit indwells a believer to make that individual a new creature.
  • Justification: Putting a person into a right relationship. In NT justification, God justifies the sinner, declaring him to be free from guilt. Justification comes by grace [Ro 3:24], by faith [Rom. 3:28], by his blood [Ro 5:9], and by Christ. [Gal.2:17]
  • Propitiation: Turning away wrath by an offering: in the NT sense, the shed blood of Jesus on the cross turned away the wrath of God. The Father sent the Son to be the propitiation for sin [1 John 4:10] and that turned away the Father’s wrath for all individuals [1 John 2:2] who avail themselves of the offered pardon.
  • Atonement: To make amends and repair a wrong done. In the NT sense, God’s action removes man’s sin.
  • Assurance: Once saved, always saved. The Holy Spirit speaks to our inner man [Ro 8:16], assuring us of our right standing in God’s sight, so that we can know that God has saved us. [1Jo 5:13]
  • Sanctification: To set apart something for a holy use. In the NT sense, God has set us apart for a life of good works. The process of becoming holy takes a lifetime to complete, and when we appear before the Lord, “we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” [1Jo 3:2] Thus, sanctification has three parts: positional [God sets us apart for Himself], progressive [we gradually resemble Him more and more], and perfect [we become like Him.]

 

 

8) The Church

The word church refers both to the local church and to the universal church. The local church is the body of immersed believers who have NT officers and ordinances, and gather to worship the Lord, edify one another, and carry out the great commission. The universal church consists of all the believers of the New Testament era.

The New Testament era began with John [Lu 16:16], and continued with the preaching of Christ and His disciples. He commanded His disciples to pass on everything He taught them to the church, until the end of the age. [Mt 28:20]

The Holy Spirit baptized the church in power at the day of Pentecost. [Ac 1:5 ... ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.] He directed the church to select deacons to help carry out the work, and then used the persecution at Jerusalem to spread the church out and begin to fulfill the great commission.

God has kept a distinction between Israel and the church, and He will deal with Israel again during the tribulation.

 

The church has a responsibility to:

  • Worship the Lord: The contemporary rock style in the church is a case of loving the world. [1Jo 2:15]
  • Edify one another: God has given leaders to the church as a gift. The leader must in turn seek to encourage believers to take spiritual responsibility, to exercise their gifts in the church, and to grow mature in the faith.
  • Carry out the great commission: Christians should make every effort to fulfill the commands of the Lord in their lifetime - every nation in my generation. To accept less than full success falls short of the Lord’s command. The church must seek the power of God to do the impossible.
  • Discipline members: The church must exercise discipline of members when they sin in a public way. [Mt 18:15-17] The discipline puts the member outside the fellowship of the church, with the goal of seeing the erring one repent and return to fellowship. [Ga 6:1, 2Co 2:7]
  • Select officers: The church has two officers, pastor [elder-overseer-bishop] and deacon. The church must choose men according to the qualifications laid out in 1 Tim. 3:1-13, Titus 1:6-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-4. The qualification specifies that women cannot hold these positions.
  • Ordinances: The church should immerse people of responsible age when they have trusted Christ as savior. The church should administer the Lord’s table on a regular basis, opening the communion to all of like precious faith who walk in obedience.
  • Personal Separation: The believer must separate himself from sin, the world, and false religion. He must also lay aside “weights” things that keep him from seeking the Lord with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength.
  • Church Separation: The church should cooperate only with churches of like faith and practice.

9) Future Things

Seventy weeks of Daniel: God describes His plan for the future in Daniel 9. In this passage He describes the seventy weeks of Daniel [9:24-27], which we understand to be seventy groups of seven years. Sixty nine weeks [483 years] would pass from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem until the cutting off of Messiah [9:26-27]. The seventieth week would come later, and the Bible calls that seven years the Tribulation.

Rapture: At the end of the church age the Lord will come back in the clouds to take His children out of the earth [1 Thess. 4:16-17]. The Bible prefigures this catching up in the translation of both Enoch and of Elijah. The rapture can come at any time [imminent], will precede the tribulation and the millennium, and will allow the living to go to God without experiencing death.

Tribulation: At some point after the rapture, the tribulation [Daniel’s seventieth week] will start. This will last for seven years, and will include the return of Israel to God, the great plagues spoken of in Revelation, and the battle of Armageddon, where Christ will return and rescue Israel.

Millennium: Christ will reign on earth for 1,000 years with the saints. God binds Satan for that time and then releases him at the end of the millennium. Satan leads one final rebellion and then the Lord defeats him and casts him into the lake of fire.

White throne judgment: Here the lost of all eternity come before the Lord Jesus for final judgment. They find their names missing from the book of life and then the Lord judges them based on their works. Then the Lord has them thrown into the lake of fire.

The lake of fire: God orders that those who reject His offer of pardon through His Son Jesus should endure everlasting bodily punishment. The Bibles describes the punishment as ”the smoke of their torment ascending up for ever and ever.” [Rev. 14:11] In Mark 9:44, 46, and 48, the Lord says about his punishment: ”Where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched.”

Bema [Judgment seat]: The believers will receive rewards according to their service. Some will have little or no rewards, some will receive much. [1 Corinthians 3:14-15]

Marriage Supper of the Lamb: Jesus Christ takes His bride the church in marriage with a great celebration.

 

Final State: God makes a new heaven and a new earth, and the believers live there in a state of eternal happiness, worshipping the Godhead. The unbelievers endure eternal torment without hope of pardon, without second chances, and without annihilation.

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