What I Believe

In the reformation movement of the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) we have no established creed. The early reformers did not want to straitjacket the Holy Spirit as he organized his church and stood guardian over the Truth that was once and for all delivered unto the saints.

Nevertheless it is important to know where a person stands.  Here is where I stand:


CONCERNING BIBLIOLOGY 

I Believe that all 66 books of the Protestants' accepted Bible canon were written perfectly—without error or fallacy (2 Tim 3.16). 


I Believe this collection of books is the only written Word of God. Any other alleged sacred text from either Christianity or from any other religion is spurious.   


For further reading see The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.

Therefore, 


CONCERNING THEOLOGY PROPER

I Believe in one God yet three persons as the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit
 (2 Cor 13.14; Mat 3.16-17).  This triune God is the Yahweh of the Old Testament.  I hold a classical understanding of Theology Proper and omniscience—I do not embrace Open Theism.  (Isa 46.9b-10; Psa 139.4)

I Believe God created the heavens and the earth by speaking this universe into existence ex nihilo ("out of nothing") (Gen 1.1-27).  I do not believe in macro-evolution. 


CONCERNING ANTHROPOLOGY

I Believe that a literal man named Adam and a literal woman named Eve were the first parents of all humans (Act 17.26).

I Believe that Adam's sin in the garden of Eden plagued the rest of mankind with spiritual alienation/rebellion from God (Rom 5.12).  As a result every human being is born in deprivation—deprived of a relationship with God and does not have God the Holy Spirit dwelling united with his human spirit (Jude 19) and depravity—depraved, in that Adam's sin introduced corruption/death/destruction into the universe itself and from which it "groans" to be destroyed/remade (Rom 8. 19-23).  Man's nature itself is warped in total depravity (Rom 3.9-18).



CONCERNING CHRISTOLOGY

I Believe that the eternal Son of God became the sinless God-Man (in an incarnation called the Hypostatic Union), a Jewish male named Jesus (Col 2.9), when he was conceived by the power of God the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin named Mary (Luke 1.31-35).  

I Believe Jesus the Messiah is the only way to a relationship with God and entrance into heaven (John 14.6); all other ways/religions/roads lead to a literal and never-ending place of torment (Gehenna, Tartarus) that in English we call "hell" (John 8.24; Rev 20.11-15). 

CONCERNING SOTERIOLOGY 

I Believe the vicarious substitutionary and propitious death of Jesus Christ on a Roman cross on a Friday (Preparation Day, Good Friday, Passover) offers us forgiveness of sins by our trust and surrender to him.  We are justified; that is, we are reckoned/imputed/declared righteous (i.e. "not guilty") through the agency of our faith (Rom 3.21-28; Eph 2.8).  

I Believe Jesus' bodily resurrection from the dead three days later on a Sunday (Lord's Day, Resurrection Sunday, Easter) was God's public vindication of his son (Acts 2.32-36; 3.15; Rom 1.4; 1 Pet 1.21) and it proves that all will be raised from the dead one Day (1 Cor 15.12-28).

I Believe that Christians are regenerated; that is, we are imparted with new holy natures (2 Cor 5.17).  
We are made righteous (i.e. in right standing with God) (Rom 5.15-21).

I Believe that salvation (i.e. deliverance from sin and self and their eternal consequences) is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Eph 2.8).  We remain in a relationship with God by Christ's prayers for us 
(Luke 22.31,32) and our faith in him as our Prophet (Deu 18.15-19), Priest (Heb 6.19-10.22) and King (Luke 1.31-33). We are never saved by good works, though, properly understood, saving faith has works naturally follow as a result (John 14.21-24). 

I Believe that although human beings are badly depraved—warped by sin in their nature—by God's prevenient grace they are enabled to believe in Jesus for salvation.  Without this proactive grace humans never would (or even could) choose God (John 6.44).  After God has enabled them to believe through the convicting work of the Holy Spirit humans can choose to accept or reject the Son's atoning work accomplished at Calvary (Acts 2.37-40).  Christ died for all mankind in actuality and all may be saved potentially (2 Pet 3.9; 1 John 2.2).  


I believe that salvation can be lost/forfeited by apostasy or sinful rebellion (Rom 11.17-23; Heb 6.4-6; 10.38,39; 2 Pet 2.20-22).  This forfeiture of  salvation occurs when an obstinate loss of faith in Christ leads to the removal of Christ's High Priestly prayers for the backslidden person (Luke 22.31,32; Heb 7.25).  Apostasy/rebellion is the natural result.  

CONCERNING HAGIOLOGY

I Believe that sanctification, the process whereby a Christian, owned by God, grows in holy conformity to his Christ, begins at the new birth (Rom 8.29).

 I Believe that Christians are to surrender to the Holy Spirit for a deeper work of grace called by different names by different people: Christian Perfection, Perfect Love, Entire Sanctification, Full Salvation, etc.  This was made available by Christ's atoning work which provides freedom from sin and is appropriated by a moment by moment act of trust (Rom 7; 12.1,2; 1 The 3.12,13). 


CONCERNING ECCLESIOLOGY


I Believe the Rite of Believer's Baptism symbolizes our death, burial and resurrection with the Lord Jesus (Rom 6.4; Col 2.12).  Water further is a symbol of the cleansing of sin (Tit 3.5).  I baptize by immersion, which I believe is the standard biblical way, because our English word "baptize" is an Anglicization of the Greek word βαπτίζω which means to dip, to immerse, to submerge.  However, I would baptize by pouring or sprinkling if extenuating circumstances (i.e. imperiling sickness) prevented immersion because, while important, neither the act of baptism nor the proper form of baptism saves but, rather, faith in Christ. 

I Believe the Rite of Holy Communion is symbolic of the body and blood of  the crucified Jesus Christ. A Christian who partakes of the ordinance of the Lord's Table proclaims Christ's death until the Lord's return (1 Cor 11.26). Many in the Church of God (Anderson) also wash the feet of the saints during Holy Week leading up to Resurrection Sunday (John 13.3-15).  This symbolizes servanthood, humility (John 13.16,17) and, as Church of God scholar Gilbert Stafford postulated, the forgiveness of post-baptismal sins (John 13.10). The Rites/Ordinances of the Church are not sacraments; i.e. they do not bestow grace ex opere operato 
though, of course, every obedience to the Lord's commands brings blessing.  They are signs that point to the reality, which is Christ.

I Believe there is only one Church, God's Church, of all born-again Christians wherever they may be. The Church of God universal shouldn't be divided but unified in doctrine and mission (John 17.20-23). 


I Believe that the elders (ministers) of the Church should anoint sick persons with olive oil and pray for their divine healing (Jam 5.14-16).  While I am neither Pentecostal nor charismatic I believe God still performs miracles today. 

 I Believe it is the duty of every congregation to evangelize her community (Mat 5.13-16).  

CONCERNING ESCHATOLOGY

I Believe the Kingdom of God (which means, "Kingship of God" or "Reign of God," etc.) is the spiritual reign of Christ upon the hearts of those who have bowed the knee in submission to King Jesus (Rom 14.17,18).  Christ is presently reigning on the throne of his ancestor, David (Luke 1.32,33; 1 Cor 15.24-28).

I Believe  Christ will return at an unknown time to deliver the Kingdom to his Father.  It will be the Day of Resurrection (1 Cor 15.12-28) and Judgement (John 5.28,29) of all people who ever lived and their eternal separation into saved and lost groups (Matt 25.31-46).  The saved—those of the new creation, those in Christ, the Last Adam—live in the presence of God for eternity (Rev 21.9-22.5).  The lost—those of the old creation, the First Adam—live with Satan and his underlings in Hades which will been thrown into Lake of Fire for eternity (Rev 20.11-15; 21.8).  The universe will be destroyed/renewed by fire (2 Pet 3.10).  I am an amillennialist.