WHAT WE BELIEVE
We stand on these truths:
Salvation By Faith
The Eternal Security and Assurance of the Believer
The Temporary Nature of Some Spiritual Gifts (We are Non-Charismatic)
The Pre-Tribulational Return of Christ to Rapture the Church
The Pre-Millennial Return of Christ to Establish His Kingdom
The Everlasting Blessedness of the Redeemed In Heaven
The Eternal Conscious Punishment of the Unsaved
In greater detail:
1. The Holy Scriptures:
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the verbally inspired Word of God, the final authority for faith and life, inerrant in the original writings, infallible and God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; Matt. 5:18; John 16:12, 13).
2. The Godhead
We believe in one Triune God, eternally existing in three persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections (Deut. 6:4; 2 Cor. 13:14).
3. The Person and Work of Christ
a. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful men (John 1:1, 2, 11; Luke 1:35).
b. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross for all mankind as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice, and that the sufficiency of this sacrifice (atonement) to accomplish the redemption and justification of all who trust in Him is assured by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Rom. 3:24, 25; 4:25; Eph. 1:7; I Tim. 4:10; Heb. 2:9; I Pet. 1:3-5; 2:24; and 2 Pet. 2:1).
c. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate (Acts 1:9, 10; Heb. 9:24; 7:25; Rom. 8:34; 1 John 2:1, 2).
4. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
a. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and, that He is the Supernatural Agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the Body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption (John 16:8-11; 2 Cor. 3:6; I Cor. 12:12-14; Rom. 8:9; Eph. 1:13, 14).
b. We believe that He is the Divine Teacher who guides believers into all truth; and, that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit (John 16:13; I John 2:20, 27; Eph. 5:18).
5. The Total Depravity of Man
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that in Adam's sin the race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God; and, that man is totally depraved, and, of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition (Gen. 1:26, 27; Rom. 3:22, 23; 5:12; Eph. 2:1-3, 12).
We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins (Eph. 2:8-10; John 1:12; Eph. 1:7; I Peter I:I8, 19).
7. The Eternal Security and Assurance of Believers
a. We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God's power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Rom. 8:1, 38, 39; I Cor. 1:4-8; I Peter 1:5).
b. We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God's Word; which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh (Rom. 13:13, 14; Gal. 5:13; Titus 2:11-15).
8. The Two Natures of the Believer
We believe that every saved person possesses two natures, with provision made for victory of the new nature over the old nature through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit; and, that all claims to the eradication of the old nature in this life are unscriptural (Rom. 6:13; 8:12, 13; Gal. 5:16-25; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9).
We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord; and, that separation from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices and associations is commanded of God (2 Tim. 3:1-5; Rom. 12:1, 2; 14:13; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John vss. 9-11; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1).
We believe that it is the obligation of the saved to witness by life and by word to the truths of the Holy Scripture and to seek to proclaim the Gospel to all mankind (Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:19, 20).
11. The Ministry and Spiritual Gifts
a. We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowment of all His gifts; and, that the gifts of evangelists, pastors and teachers are sufficient for the perfecting of the saints today; and, that speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles gradually ceased as the New Testament Scriptures were completed and their authority became established (l Cor. 12:4-11; 2 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 4:7-12).
b. We believe that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith, in accord with His own will, for the sick and afflicted (John 15:7; 1 John 5:14, 15).
12. The Church
a. We believe that the church, which is the body and the espoused bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all born-again persons of this present age (Eph. 1:22,23; 5:25-27; 1 Cor. 12:12-14; 2 Cor. 11:2).
b. We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:27; 20:17, 28-32; 1 Tim. 3:1-13: Titus 1:5-11).
c. We believe in the autonomy of the local church free of any external authority or control (Acts 13:1-4; 15:19-31; 20:28; Rom. 16:1, 4; 1 Cor. 3:9, 16; 5:4-7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
d. We believe in the ordinances of believer's baptism and the Lord's Supper as scriptural means of testimony for the church in this age (Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 2:41, 42; 18:8; 1 Cor. 11:23-26).
We believe that the Scriptures interpreted in their natural, literal sense reveal divinely determined dispensations or rules of life which define man's responsibilities in successive ages. These dispensations are not ways of salvation, but rather divinely ordered stewardships by which God directs man according to His purpose. Three of these - the age of law, the age of the Church, and the age of the millennial kingdom - are the subjects of detailed revelation in scripture (John 1:17; 1 Cor. 9:17; 2 Cor. 3:9-18; Gal. 3:13-25; Eph. 1:10; 3:2-10; Col. 1:24, 25; Heb. 7:19; Rev. 20:2-6).
14. The Personality of Satan
We believe that Satan is a person, the author of sin and the cause of the fall; that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man; and, that he shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire (Job 1:6, 7; Isa. 14:12-17; Matt. 4:2-11; 25:41; Rev. 20:10).
15. The Second Advent of Christ
We believe in that "Blessed Hope," the personal, imminent, pre-tribulation and pre-millennial coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His redeemed ones; and in His subsequent return to earth, with His saints, to establish His Millennial Kingdom (1 Thess. 4:13-18; Zech. 14:4-11; Rev. 19:11-16; 20:1-6; 1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9; Rev. 3:10).
16. The Eternal State
a. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Matt. 25:46; John 5-28 29-11:25, 26; Rev. 20:5, 6, 12, 13).
b. We believe that the souls of the redeemed are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where in conscious bliss they await the first resurrection, when spirit, soul and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord (Luke 23:43; Rev. 20:4-6; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; 3:21; 1 Thess. 4:16, 17).
c. We believe that 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 Judgment, and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting conscious punishment (Luke 16:19-26; Matt. 25:41-46; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Jude vss. 6, 7; Mark 9:43-48; Rev. 20:11-15).
SECTION 2. MOVEMENTS CONTRARY TO FAITH
Ecumenism is that movement which seeks the organizational unity of all Christianity and ultimately of all religions. Its principal advocates are the World Council of Churches and the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
b. Ecumenical Evangelism
Ecumenical Evangelism is that effort to promote the Gospel by bringing fundamentalists into an unequal yoke with theological liberals and/or Roman Catholics and other divergent groups.
Neo-Orthodoxy is that theological movement which affirms: the transcendence of God, the finiteness and sinfulness of man, and the necessity of supernatural divine revelation of truth; but, while using evangelical terminology, seriously departs from orthodoxy: in accepting the views of destructive higher criticism, in denying the inerrancy of the Bible as historic revelation, in accepting religious experience as the criterion of truth, and in abandoning important fundamentals of the Christian faith.
d. New Evangelicalism
(Neo-Evangelicalism, New Conservatism)
These terms refer to that movement within evangelicalism characterized by a toleration of and a dialogue with theological liberalism. Its essence is seen in an emphasis upon the social application of the Gospel and weak or unclear doctrines of: the inspiration of Scripture, Biblical creationism, eschatology, dispensationalism, and separation. It is further characterized by an attempt to accommodate Biblical Christianity and make it acceptable to the modern mind.
We believe that these movements are out of harmony with the Word of God and the official doctrine and position of the Townsend Bible Church and are inimical to the work of God.
SECTION 3. COVENANT OF FAITH
In subscribing to these Articles of Faith, we by no means set aside, or undervalue, any of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments; but we deem the knowledge, belief and acceptance of the Truth as set forth in our Doctrinal Statement, to be essential to sound faith and fruitful practice, and therefore requisite for Christian fellowship in the Townsend Bible Church.