Don't you hate it when you surf the web looking
for Bible reference material or possibly a much needed Biblical, historical, or
cultural commentary only to find after spending half an hour on a website, that
the author subscribes to some sort of unorthodox Christian perspective?
Well, maybe that hasn't happened to you but it does happen to some of us. In light
of those painful experiences, we have attempted to put together this short statement
of our basic doctrines so you can know up front if we are a source worth your
Before you begin to explore and evaluate the studies and commentaries
posted on this site, it is important for you to review our basic doctrine. In
recognition with this, we have provided the short list immediately below of our
basic statements of faith. Below that short list of basics is a larger and more
expansive set of summaries of our positions on a greater scope of issues.
believe the Father, the Word (Son), and the Holy Spirit are three eternally distinct
and co-equal persons, yet one God - Jehovah (1 John 5:7 KJV/NKJV). We believe
in the Deity of Jesus Christ, that He was "God manifest in the flesh" (John 1:1,14
& 1 Tim. 3:16 KJV/NKJV), and He is eternal (Micah 5:2 KJV/NKJV).
We believe Jesus was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14 & Luke 1:26-35), lived a sinless
life, although being tempted like any man (Heb. 4:15). He died on the cross for
the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). But, His atoning sacrifice is applied
only to those who receive Him by faith (John 1:11,12).
3. We believe
in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ (Luke 24:1-7). He ascended into heaven,
where He sits on the right hand of the Father, interceding for believers (Acts
1:9-12, Acts 2:33-35, Rom. 8:34).
4. We believe God has made provision
for all to be saved through the atonement of Christ (1 John 2:2). God draws all
sinners toward repentance (John 12:32). The sinner is free to either resist or
submit to the Gospel and drawing of God (Rom. 2:4-5). When a sinner places his
faith in Christ of his own free will, God cleanses him of sin, and makes him a
child of God (John 1:11-12, John 5:24). There is no other way to be saved apart
form placing one's faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Nor is there a second
chance after death (John 3:18, John 14:6, Acts 4:12, Heb. 9:27). We do not believe
good works merit our atonement in any way (Eph. 2:8,9). Christians who do not
persevere in their faith unto the end, but forsake Christ and the Gospel, will
be lost (Matt. 24:13, Rom. 11:20-22, 1 Cor. 15:1-2, Col. 1:21-23, Hebrews 2:1-3,
5. We believe the Old Covenant has been replaced
by the New Covenant, therefore all must come to salvation through Jesus and the
New Covenant (Heb. 8:7-13 & Heb. 10:9). We are not under the letter of the Law,
but under the commandments of Christ as found in the Sermon on the Mount and throughout
the New Testament (Rom. 6:14, 1 Cor. 9:21, Gal. 3:24:25, Gal. 4:21-5:1, Gal. 6:2).
6. We believe that every true believer is indwelled and sealed by the Holy Spirit the moment he believes the Gospel. The Spirit is given for the instruction and conviction regarding sin for Christians and the world (Rom. 8:9). The New Testament also teaches that Christians are sealed by the Spirit, which was a deposit guaranteeing our future inheritance in the Kingdom of God (2 Cor. 5:5 NKJV, Eph. 1:13,14 KJV/NKJV).
7. We believe the "gifts of
the Spirit" served primarily to authenticate the message of the Apostles
of Jesus Christ (Mark 16: 20, Hebrews 2:3-4). We do NOT believe any single gift
was meant to be the "initial evidence" of the filling of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:27-31).
We believe history records the decline and eventual loss of the gifts and that
the gifts present in the early Church are not, in general, genuinely occurring
8. We believe the Church presently consists of all of the
redeemed of all ages, and is not limited only to post-Pentecost believers (Matt.
8:11,12, Eph. 1:9,10, Eph. 4:4-6, Heb. 11:39,40).
9. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the saints
who have died, the "catching up" of the living saints AFTER the future, literal,
tribulation to meet the Lord in the air (Matt. 24:29-31 & 1 Thess. 4:13-18). We
believe in the Judgment Seat of Christ where we will be judged and rewarded according
to our works (1 Cor. 3:11-15 & 2 Cor. 5:10). And we believe in a literal, future
Kingdom of Christ on this earth for one thousand years. This kingdom will consist
of Christ and the saints ruling the nations, with believers from national Israel
literally inheriting the land promises (Rev. 2:26,27, Rev. 19:15, Rev. 20:4-6).
After the first one thousand years, Christ will hand the kingdom over to the Father
and men will dwell in the kingdom on earth with God forever.
We believe in the resurrection of unbelievers after the Millennium, the last judgment,
and eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire for the unsaved (Rev. 14:11, Rev. 20:11-15).
11. We believe the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments were inspired
by God, and free from all errors in their original form (2 Tim. 3:16 & 2 Pet.
1:21). We believe in the preservation of the text of Scripture through the providence
of God for each generation (Psalm 12:6,7 KJV/NKJV, Matt. 5:17,18, Matt. 24:35,
1 Pet. 1:23). We also believe the Bible is the complete revelation of God's plan.
Therefore, we reject all prophecies claiming to provide additional revelation
of God's plan for mankind after the close of the New Testament canon (Prov. 30:6,
Rev. 22:18,19). The possible exception being the 2 witnesses which are yet to
come (Rev. 11).
(from the Bible Studies
Below is a paragraph by paragraph summary
of many of the theological views that we have arrived at as a result of the bible
studies that appear on this website. We have summarized the conclusions of those
studies so that visitors can have the benefit of knowing our positions without
having to first read through thousands of pages of studies. However, it should
be noted that the paragraphs below are not intended as arguments for or against
different theological positions. They are simply meant to be informative summaries
of the conclusions we have reached from an analysis of scripture, history, and
the argumentation behind other points of view. If you wish to understand the reasons
and arguments behind the summaries that are offered below please read through
the articles that are listed in bold below each paragraph. The articles we have
listed with each of the summaries include the relevant research and study that
brought us to the specific conclusions on the various issues that are mentioned
below. If you disagree with any of the conclusions provided below we ask that
you please read the related studies on the site before writing or emailing us.
Overall Study Conclusions
We reject the validity of other religious, philosophical, or spiritual worldviews
based on epistemological, historical, and biblical grounds. Non-biblical perspectives
add nothing meaningful to biblical revelation and typically detract from it.
Why Christianity? Section
We reject mystical and subjective approaches
to knowledge. The transmission of Godís revelation in a literary format inherently
necessitates the utility, sufficiency, and effectiveness of rationale deduction
and analysis, grammatical consideration, and historical awareness in order to
achieve correct biblical understanding. We believe that the bible should be interpreted
in accordance with its grammatical and historical context. This means that our
understanding of the meaning of scripture should be based upon a thorough, consistent,
and reasonable analysis of the biblical use of languages, the total biblical discussion
on a subject, taking into account surrounding context, and an informed knowledge
of relevant historical facts. And we believe that the bible is authoritative,
sufficient, and sufficiently clear for the purposes of informing us about who
God is, what Godís plan and purpose is, how we should relate to God and to one
another and all other matters it discusses.
Why Christianity? Section
Intro: Exegesis and Hermeneutics
Hermeneutic Systems and the Grammatical Historical
Are Translations Unreliable (Parts 1 and 2)
We accept scientific methodology as a synonymous term for rationale and objective
inquiry and epistemology. We reject the idea that science and the scientific method
are synonymous with naturalism or atheism. And we reject that valid scientific
inquiry and knowledge warrants the adoption of naturalism or atheism and the denial
of a biblical worldview. We reject the idea that faith is synonymous with subjective
epistemology. In the bible, the term faith refers to the proper belief reached
from an objective evaluation of all the available evidence.
Atheism vs. Theism Section
We recognize that organisms
exhibit some change over time, but we reject the evolutionary theory for the origin
of species as an invalid scientific theory. We reject evolution as incompatible
with the Bible, which teaches that organisms will only produce after their own
kind. We reject theories which estimate the age of the earth and of the universe
in billions of years. Our rejection of these cosmologies is based on both scientific
and biblical grounds. We hold that the entire creation was historically recent
and took place within the last 6000 years or so.
Science, the Bible, and
We believe that
the reliability of the biblical texts can be demonstrated from a rational and
historical investigation and does not have to be based on presupposition.
Why Christianity? Section
A Brief Examination of Manuscript Issues
We accept the value of consulting the readings offered in other manuscript
traditions, but we do feel that there are passages where the Alexandrian readings
may contain potential doctrinal difficulties. Consequently, we tend to use the Byzantine
manuscript tradition as the most reliable manuscript tradition. Because the Greek
composite that underlies the King James Version of the bible is based on Byzantine
texts, we typically use the King James Version of the bible in our studies. However,
we do not believe that the English translation of the King James Bible is itself
inerrant or inspired. The original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek should
be considered when attempting to resolve doctrinal disputes.
A Brief Examination
of Manuscript Issues
The biblical understanding of the Trinity is
a composite of several scriptural facts. These facts include that biblical descriptions
indicate that more than one divine Person exists at a single time, that theyíve
always existed, and that these Persons interact and communicate with one another.
Each of these three divine Persons is eternal and uncreated. And each of these
three Persons are Creator to everything else that exist. All three Persons are
referred to in the bible using the divine name Yahweh or Jehovah. This name signifies
their eternal, uncreated nature because of its derivative meaning as ďI amĒ or
ďthe existing one.Ē These three divine Persons (the Father, the Word, and the
Spirit) are one in substance. They are three Persons, yet one Being. In the bible,
the sonship and subordination of the Word of God is solely related to the Wordís
incarnation as a human whereby He became part of creation Himself through His
humanity and thus, became a son to God our Creator and Father. Prior to the incarnation
the concept of sonship cannot be correctly used to refer to the Wordís relationship
to the Godhead. The Word of God is the person of the Trinity who is interactive
with man throughout the Old Testament. God the Father has never been seen by any
man. Beginning in the Old Testament the Word takes on a voluntarily diminished
stature in regard to His divine attributes. As a result there are instances in
the Old Testament which record the Word interacting with creation without using
His divine omniscience or omnipotence. This diminished stature and relating to
creation without full use of His divine attributes was to prepare us for and ultimately
culminate in His incarnation as a man. Old Testament passages in which God is
described as not exhibiting divine attributes (such as omniscience or foreknowledge)
are accurately understood as the pre-incarnate Word voluntarily not using these
divine attributes as He interacts with creation, and more specifically with man.
Consequently, God does possess true omniscience, foreknowledge, omnipotence, and
omnipresence. (Biblically speaking, omnipresence is the ability to be anywhere
at will. Omnipresence is not being everywhere at once or being in all things as
pantheism teaches.) However, as exhibited in these Old Testament texts and in
the incarnation itself, the Word does not always utilize or access all of these
divine attributes as He interacts with creation.
The Trinity Section
Why Christianity? Section (Specifically Judaism and Christianity Articles)
We reject the idea that the early church lacked a full and mature understanding
of Christís teaching. We likewise reject that later generations of the church
have been able to gain a greater understanding of God. Much of modern Christianity
is comprised of practices, traditions, and beliefs that have no biblical basis
or are contrary to biblical teaching. We believe that the church cannot make and
has not made improvements to New Testament theology or church practice.
Orthodox Doctrine Accumulated Over Time?
The Church Ethic Section
The New Testament indicates that the role of the Holy Spirit is to help keep us in remembrance of what Christ taught and to reveal future events. Within the confines of this biblical understanding, we cannot accept beliefs or practices which are claimed to originate from the Holy Spirit's guidance, but which add to or contradict the record of New Testament teaching.
The Role of the Holy Spirit
Jesus Christ fulfilled the Mosaic
Covenant and replaced it with the New Covenant. His ability to accomplish the
fulfillment of the Mosaic Covenant and itís replacement with the New Covenant
stems from His sinless life under the Law, His status as Mosesí prophesied successor,
His inheritance of the Abrahamic promises, His inheritance of the Davidic dynastic
promises, His sinless death, His resurrection, and the fact that He was the person
of the Godhead that established the Mosaic Covenant in the first place. The bible
describes that atonement was accomplished by ransom and not by vicarious substitution.
Jesus pays the price that was necessary to redeem us from our sin. He does not
take each of our places in punishment or bear the consequences merited by our
sin. Our redemption required a solution to the physical death that is warranted
for our sin and an end to the enmity that existed in our minds towards God as
a result of our sinful lifestyle. Christ accomplished both of these. His death
and resurrection provide the means to reverse the consequence of physical death.
His example of humility in the incarnation, His sinless life, and His teachings
provide the means by which we can turn our minds from seeking things contrary
to God, renew them in the knowledge of our Creator, and put an end to the enmity
that was between us.
The New Covenant
is not freedom from laws or commands. The liberty that we have in Christ is freedom
(for the repentant) from the consequences of sin (physical death and separation
from God). And it is freedom from the laws of the Mosaic Covenant. Christ is properly
understood as Mosesí successor. In accordance with this fact, His new covenant
included a new law code. This law code contained a basic two-part command: 1)
to love God above all else, and 2) to love your neighbor as yourself. As exhibited
in the New Testament writings these two precepts specifically included all of
the 10 commandments with the exception of the command to keep the weekly Sabbath.
The New Testament is absolutely clear that to love God we must keep Christís commands
and that our love of our neighbor cannot take priority over following Christís
commands. As demonstrated in the New Testament texts, Christís first commandment
to love God carried over the Old Testament prohibitions against idolatry. As participants
in the New Covenant we must keep the commands of the Law of Christ as recorded
for us in the New Testament. However, while we must remain firm in our adherence
to New Testament teaching, we must be careful not to add to these commands with
our own man-made traditions. We must also be careful not to reinstate abolished
portions of the Law of Moses. Such traditions by their nature lack biblical authority.
Furthermore, we do not have any authority to establish or enforce extra-biblical
rules on our congregations. The establishment and enforcement of extra-biblical
rules or traditions constitutes a violation of the Lordís command not to adopt
or follow the practices of the Pharisees.
Liberty in Christ Section
Being Like the Pharisees
Sin and the Covenants
We believe that we should live and believe
in the manner of the New Testament church without accommodations for man-made
traditions that have accumulated since the earliest church period. We reject the
incorporation or adoption of pagan and non-biblical religious or worship customs
into our Christian faith and practice. To do so violates the biblical prohibitions
against idolatry involving taking what the heathen did in veneration of their
gods and doing it unto the Lord. The celebration the Christmas holiday is an example
of this type of biblical violation. As such we do not celebrate Christmas.
Liberty in Christ Section
The New Testament
church that was instituted by Christ and His apostles met in their homes. This
was not the result of limited financial resources, lack of opportunity, Roman
law, lack of the need to accommodate a large church community, or a failure to
realize the usefulness of larger church buildings. Rather, the early church continued
to meet predominately in one anotherís homes because they inherited their manner
of meeting from the Last Supper model. This model included a strong emphasis on
Christís teaching, open participation which included the opportunity for the men
who were present to ask questions or make comments, the silence of women, prayer,
and a full meal. The authority of church leadership is entirely contingent on
their remaining faithful to the teachings of Christ. Since their authority is
derived entirely from their adherence to biblical teaching, we are under no obligation
to follow Christian leaders who teach or act in a manner contrary to biblical
The Church and Going to Church
Church Leadership and Authority
Church Gatherings and Leadership Section
Testament church received a system of voluntary, shared finances to the effect
that those who had much had none left over and those who were lacking had enough.
The Old Testament tithe which was supportive of the Hebrew theocracy and the Old
Testament priesthood was not a part of the new covenant or early church practice.
Every week the church communities would gather contributions from the community
and distribute it to those in need among them. Local leaders (called elders, overseers,
bishops, or pastors) who taught the word were permitted to take a double portion
of this weekly distribution to compensate them for their time in ministering the
word. Biblically speaking, this double portion designated their rank as the apostlesí
successors. While apostles and evangelists on missionary journeys had the right
to forego work and enjoy full financial support from the Christian community,
local elders did not have this right. Instead, local elders were required to work
to in order to provide for themselves.
Financial Support for Ministers
(Introduction and Parts 1 and 2)
Tithing (Parts 1 through 4 and Early Christian
Writers on the Tithe)
Church Gatherings and Leadership Section
Jesus Christ established that in His absence, church authority on earth was distributed
to and shared among a group of men who were supposed to submit to one another.
This began with the apostles who oversaw the early church community through consensus.
They passed this model on to their successors, the local elders who oversaw local
church communities and weekly church gatherings through the teaching of the Word.
These local leaders are referred to in the New Testament by the following synonymous
terms: elder, bishop, overseer, and pastor (or teacher).The New Testament indicates
that authority in the church is not held by a single individual such as a head
pastor or pope. Models of church leadership with a singular, authoritative head
are the result of non-biblical influences such as the Roman imperial structure
or corporation-style institutions.
Ministers, Pastors, and the Calling
(Part 1 and 2)
Church Leadership and Authority Conditional
and Leadership Section
We believe that excommunication is an essential
and required form of church discipline and protection against false beliefs and
practices. The process of excommunication is given as a replacement for the execution
for sin, which was required under the Mosaic Law. Excommunication is first described
for us by Christ in Matthew 18. Conceptually and linguistically, excommunication
in the New Testament fulfills the purposes of execution in the Old Testament.
The protocols for excommunication begin with one Christian approaching another
Christian who they believe is in violation of Jesusí teaching. If there is no
resolution other Christian brothers are brought in to assess and assist in the
situation and to ensure that the teachings of Christ are being upheld. If the
situation remains unresolved the issue is to be brought before the entire community
at a church gathering and the party in sin is to be officially removed from fellowship
at the testimony of two or three witnesses. If this result occurs, Christians
are not permitted to remain in social contact with the excommunicated believer.
The excommunication signifies that an ongoing lack of repentance from sin results
in a person not receiving eternal life in Christís coming kingdom. The purpose
is to prevent the spread of sinful behavior or false belief among the Christian
community as well as to impress on the sinning party that they must repent and
cease their ungodly behavior. The New Testament indicates that adultery (including
adulterous marriages), homosexuality, idolatry, thievery, substance abuse, lying,
covetousness, and false teaching are among the sins for which the church can and
Forgiving and Forgiveness
The Bible Instructs Us to Judge
repentance requires an acknowledgement of sin followed by an honest and intentional
effort to stop the sin that one is repenting from. Repentance is not just saying
we are sorry or regretful while continuing in sinful behavior without an attempt
The new covenant law given by Jesus Christ is stricter than
the Mosaic Law which preceded it with regard to the issue of the permanence of
marriage. Mosaic Law permitted a marriage to be dissolved for any reason and permitted
a divorced person to marry another while their original spouse was still alive.
Christ forbid this practice in the church and required that His followers forbid
it as well. From a biblical perspective no distinction can be made be made between
separation and divorce. Rather the language of the New Testament indicates that
divorce and separation were indistinguishable for the purposes of new covenant
teaching. The new covenant commands regarding marriage were as follows. Single
Christians are permitted to marry. However, we are not permitted to marry non-Christians
or anyone who has been previously married if their original spouse is still alive.
Persons who have married someone who has already been married and whose first
spouse is living are in adultery and must separate from this adulterous marriage.
If the adulterous marriage was the first marriage of one of the parties, then
they are free to marry in accordance with the above requirements. We are not permitted
to divorce or separate from legitimate spouses unless our spouse is involved in
sexual impropriety, in which case we must no longer remain in a sexual relationship
with them so that we do not participate in their sin. Anyone who has been divorced
or separated from their legitimate spouse must remain single and cannot marry
another person while their original spouse is still alive. If your original spouse
has died you are permitted to remarry, but only to another Christian. Biblically
speaking sex is restricted to marital relationships and marital relationships
are restricted to a single man and a single woman. Homosexual relationships are
not biblically permissible under any circumstances.
Liberty in Christ
Divorce and Remarriage: Intro and Basics
Separation and Divorce
in the Law of Moses
Marital Separation (4 Parts and Addendum)
and the Issue of Homosexuality (Parts 1 and 2)
The Importance of Family (Parts
1 and 2)
The bible teaches that woman was created to be a helper
to man and that man was created first. This relationship, wherein the man is the
head of the wife and the household is not a result of sin. Even after the new
covenant is established by Christ, the New Testament continues the Old Testament
model wherein the wife is to submit to the husband. The only exception to this
is if the husband is requiring that the wife to be involved in sin. In accordance
with this biblical fact, men are not permitted to pray with their heads covered
and women must cover their heads when praying. The husband is chiefly responsible
for ensuring that his household is in compliance with biblical teaching first
by understanding it himself and then by keeping his family accountable to it.
The wifeís role is to submit to her husband and assist him in keeping their family
accountable to his understanding of the word.
New Testament Protocols
Regarding Men and Women (Part 1 and 2)
Comparative Peer Dynamics Chart
The New Testament teaches that there is only one baptism that is necessary
for salvation. This is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Water baptism was the baptism
brought by John, but Jesus brought baptism in the Holy Spirit. When we come to
Christ we must express our acceptance of Christís teachings and our repentance
from sin. After Pentecost, New Testament practice was for this expression to take
place using the Jewish ritual of water baptism that John himself practiced in
preparing Israel for the coming of the Christ. We believe that baptism in the
Holy Spirit is synonymous with the new birth of the believer and is not necessarily
accompanied by supernatural works.
speaking, apart from the office of the apostles, there is no such thing as a special
or distinct call to the ministry. The scripture indicates only a general call
to all mankind to repent and follow Christ. A manís desire to serve as an elder
(overseer, bishop, pastor, teacher) is a good thing, but it is not accurate to
say that God calls particular persons to such roles.
and the Calling (Parts 1 and 2)
While the bible indicates that singing
hymns and psalms had a place in New Testament church life, music in general (whether
a cappella or accompanied by instruments) is not biblically synonymous with worship
or praise. While an attitude and posture of worship and praise towards God is
essential to the Christian life, it cannot be biblically supported that this necessarily
includes music of any kind. The use of song or music is permissible in our church
gatherings. However, a New Testament analysis shows that musical worship (whether
a cappella or accompanied) has a very small role in our personal or corporate
life in Christ. The modern church has given a far too exaggerated role to musical
worship, especially its significance in our church gatherings.
of Music in Worship
Church Gatherings and Leadership Section
We believe that the New Testament requires that Christís followers practice a
strict policy of non-violence. We are not permitted recourse to violence in order
to avoid or avenge injustice or injury. This prohibition against violence and
vengeance is a temporary one that will continue until Christ returns and establishes
His kingdom on earth. Included in the biblical worldview is a corresponding restriction
against Christian participation in the human governments and civil institutions
of this age. Likewise, there is a strict prohibition against participation in
military service, military support, and war. Within a biblical perspective, it
is not possible to conceive of a Christian nation prior to the coming millennial
reign of Christ on earth. We believe that as Christians we must obey the laws
of the human civil authorities whose jurisdiction we live within. This includes
paying taxes. However, we should have no patriotic sentiments to the human nations
we live among. (We are thankful for our religious freedom, but America is just
another nation of this age.) Our nation, our government is with Christ in heaven.
And only when Christ returns will our kingdom be of this world.
and War (Parts 1 and 2)
God Bless America: Patriotic Christianity
1 Corinthians 5: Christians in Government
In a biblical sense, salvation is defined as escaping from the destruction
of the ungodly and the ungodly nations when Christís kingdom comes. It is also
deliverance from the satanic adversaries which will be achieved when Christ returns
to destroy the wicked. Those who have repented and remain faithful to follow the
teachings of Jesus have acquired salvation in the sense that we have already met
the requirements that will enable us to escape that coming judgment and destruction.
However, our salvation has not actually occurred because what we are saved from
has not yet occurred. Similarly, ďborn-againĒ refers to two things biblically
speaking. It can refer to our acceptance of the Godís word metaphorically as a
seed in conception. But also, ďborn againĒ refers to the immortalization of our
bodies of flesh when they are overcome by the immortal substance of spirit. Along
these lines, eternal life in the New Testament is not accurately understood as
a good life in Christ. Rather, biblically speaking eternal life is defined as
living eternally with God in the kingdom on earth which is in part possible through
the transformation of our bodies.
Gospel Overview Outline
Modern notions that angelic beings and heavenly structures do not have corporeality
is the result of mystical, Gnostic, and Neo-platonic thinking. Biblically speaking,
the difference between heavenly bodies and earthly bodies is one of quality resulting
from the quality of the substance from which they were constructed. Earthly bodies
are composed of a mortal and corruptible substance called flesh. Heavenly bodies
are composed of an immortal, incorruptible substance called spirit.
In the bible the term heaven is used to describe
the earthís atmosphere, outer space, and the place where God dwells with some
angelic beings. The bible also identifies a place known as Sheol, which is a compartment
within the earth. In Old Testament times this compartment within the earth contained
sections where the spirits of both righteous and unrighteous men resided along
with angels who had been cast out of heaven. For the righteous this was a place
of comfort. For the wicked, it was a place of fiery torment. After Christ inaugurated
the New Covenant by His death and resurrection, the righteous dead were removed
from this compartment within the earth and now live in the presence of God in
heaven. After the millennial reign and final judgment, unrighteous men, fallen
angels, and demons will dwell in this fiery compartment within the earth, which
will breach the surface of the earth in a place known as the Lake of Fire. Righteous
men (both Jews and Gentiles) along with angels will dwell together with God on
a renewed earth forever.
Bible Cosmology Section
End Times (Eschatology)
Revelation Chronology Section
Angels and demons are distinct
types of created beings. Demons are not fallen angels. Wicked angels are referred
to biblically as devil or satan. They are not referred to as demons or demonic
spirits. Biblically speaking demonic spirits were the spirits of the Nephilim,
who were the children of fallen angels and human women.
Giant Lineages Study
The notion that we have the Holy Spirit ďin usĒ is best understood in accordance with Jesusí statements that He is ďin usĒ as we faithfully keep His teachings. Here the phrase ďin usĒ is meant metaphorically to describe this relationship. In this respect the Holy Spirit is also ďin usĒ as we keep Jesusí teachings. Although the New Testament states that Christians are sealed by the Holy Spirit with an earnest of our future inheritance, biblically-speaking, the phrase "in us" was not meant to indicate that either the Person of Jesus or the Person of the Holy Spirit are in any way physically present inside the space of our bodies.
From a New Testament perspective spiritual warfare is an ideological
battle to maintain and promote the teachings of Christ against worldly ideologies
and false ways of thinking.
Spiritual Warfare Section
terms of eschatology we are progressive dispensationalists. We are futurist, premillennial,
and hold to a post-tribulational rapture. Futurism means that we believe that
Christ has not yet returned or established His kingdom on earth. We remain watchful
for this to happen at some point in the future. Premillennial means that we believe
that Christ will return before the kingdom of God occurs on earth. It is Christís
return that establishes Godís kingdom on earth. In regards to progressive dispensationalism
and the rapture we hold that both Jews and Gentiles of all ages receive the same
promises and have the same destiny in Christ. The rapture will occur at the end
of the tribulation just prior to Jesusí return and all believers whether Jew or
Gentile will live forever in the kingdom of God on earth. We believe that Christís
return will be imminent or unexpected for those who are not watchful, but that
it will be preceded by signs which will be identifiable to those who are watchful.
Our perspectives on eschatology are mirrored by the earliest church writers who
affirmed futurism, pre-millennialism, a post-tribulational rapture, and progressive
dispensationalism. The scholarly term for this early church view is chiliasm.
Amillennial, post-millennial, preterist, and historicist views were later developments
whose chief theological contributors came from Augustine and Reformation scholars.
Traditional dispensationalism marks an incomplete return to the chiliasm of the
early church, but with a false understanding of the gospel and a false dichotomy
between Israel and the church. It has emerged only in the last few centuries along
with the novel notion of a pre-tribulational rapture.
End Times (Eschatology)
Revelation Chronology Section
Covenant and Dispensational Theologies
is currently sitting at the right hand of the Fatherís throne in heaven. He is
not currently seated on His own thrown. The throne of Christ is the Davidic throne
of the earthly nation of Israel. Jesus received the authority to implement that
kingdom when He died and rose from the dead. We who believe are currently citizens
of that coming Messianic, Jewish kingdom, which will rule over the earth. However,
that kingdom is not currently in effect over the earth. Jesus is not currently
ruling over the earth from heaven.
A Throne of His Own
The bible indicates that creationís
history prior to the coming of Christís kingdom on earth would encompass approximately
6,000 years. We do not have the resources to calculate our location within this
timeline to an exact date. However, biblical and secular history indicates that
the end of this time frame is near. The final seven years of this age have been
described to us in various books and passages of the bible. It will involve the
ministry of two men (the two witnesses) who will lead and galvanize the faithful
remnant of the Gentile church and who will minister to believing Jews. Their ministry
with the Jews will involve the reconstruction of the Jewish Temple on its former
site in the northern portions of the ancient City of David on the southeast hill
of Jerusalem. The False Prophet must be biblically understood as a political leader
whose power base is comprised of two powerful nations after the manner of the
Medes and Persians. His kingdom will be the seventh in a series of seven world
empires that control and manipulate world affairs during a period where believing
Jews live in Jerusalem and are building a temple. His kingdom will precede and
prepare for the coming to power of the Antichrist. The empire of the False Prophet
will have powerful financial influence after the manner of the ancient Phoenicians.
The False Prophetís role is to facilitate a transition of the worldís paradigm
towards a modern form of Neo-platonic or Gnostic angel worship. The first three
years or so of the final seven years of this age will involve a struggle between
the False Prophet and a movement of believing Jews and Christians led by the two
witnesses to rebuild the Jewish Temple. Just before the midway point of this final
seven years, the remaining satanic angels will be cast from heaven as a result
of their ongoing interference with the movement of faithful Jews and Christians.
Together with the False Prophet, these satanic angels will polarize world religion
against biblical teaching. An immediate demonstration of this power will be the
impartation of the second ranking, satanic angel (Apollyon) into a man of some
prominence who will probably be from eastern Turkey or Kurdistan. This event will
involve a desecration of the restored altar of the Temple. After this has occurred
the Antichrist, now possessed by Apollyon (or Abaddon), will be given political
and military power to reconstitute Apollyonís former empire from ten nations in
the Middle East and central Asia, subduing three of these nations in the process.
The rule of the antichrist will continue for 42 months against the ministry of
the two witnesses. This will be the period of great tribulation for the saints.
Believers who are present in Israel at the time of the abomination (likely a predominately Jewish group) will be taken into a place where they will be protected and preserved
until the coming of Christ. The rest of Christís followers will be greatly persecuted
throughout the rest of the world. Near the final portion of these seven years,
the great city of the False Prophetís empire (known as Mystery Babylon) will be
destroyed. Three days before the end of the age the two witnesses will be put
to death. Their resurrection indicates the timing of the resurrection of the dead
and the rapture of the living saints at the end of the seven year tribulation.
Christ will then return with the saints and godly angels, conquer the enemy forces
gathered against Him at Armageddon, separate the unrighteous out of His kingdom,
and then physically reign over the nations of the earth replacing the previous
empires of this age. Christís rule with the saints will comprise a 1,000-year
restoration and renovation of the earth in preparation for the coming of the Father
and the heavenly city. At the end of this 1,000 years, a final rebellion will
occur again, lead by the same satanic angels. It will be put down by the Father
who will come in judgment and whose face will transform the creation making everything
incorruptible and eternal. The saints will then dwell on the earth with God and
the righteous angels forever.
End Times (Eschatology) Section
that a significant transition took place in the church between the end of the
2nd century and the close of the 5th century AD. The result of this transition
was an infiltration of Roman Imperial and pagan, Neoplatonic, and mystical religious
beliefs into Christianity. Historical figures who contributed negatively to this
trend include Origen, Ambrose, Augustine, Constantine, and Eusebius of Caesarea.
During this period, the church community, which had previously remained separated
from the culture and ideologies of the world, merged with the culture around it.
Christian teaching and practices from this period until modern times are more
accurately understood as deviations from New Testament teaching rather than continuations
of them. The Reformation was simply an attempt to correct a few of these historical
deviations. As Christians learn about and cast aside these man-made traditions
and return to following the teachings of Christ as laid out in the New Testament
our church practices and beliefs will mirror that of the early church to a greater
and greater degree.
Roman Catholicism Section
Church Ethic Section
Early Church Beliefs: First Eight Writers Display Consensus Section
The charismatic gifts ceased at some point in early church history. However, as
late as the mid to late 2nd century the church was still receiving and practicing
these gifts. Modern gifts are not a legitimate continuation or restoration of
New Testament gifts. The character of modern gifts differs from New Testament
gifts and they do not occur in a doctrinal environment that is consistent with
New Testament teaching. The New Testament gifts were conditionally given by God
for the purpose of confirming His authentic teaching. New Testament authors expected
that the gifts could continue until Christ returned assuming that the church remained
faithful to Christís teaching. The basis of these expectations came from Christís
statements that if we donít remain in His commands we can do nothing. However,
the New Testament also anticipated that the church would become unfaithful. The
gifts were not intended by God to pass prior to Christís return. Neither were
they guaranteed to remain. Biblical teaching is that God would pour out the spiritual
gifts at two points in human history. The first occurred after Christís ascension
at the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. The second will occur in the final seven years
of this age before Christ returns to set up His kingdom on earth.
the Charismatic Movement, and the Faith Movement Section
that men, even sinful men, retain freedom of choice, including the ability to
choose to believe and repent. We believe that this freedom of choice is hindered
only by the force of habit, not by any internal component of human nature inherited
from Adam or otherwise. We reject the Calvinist view of original sin and the related
doctrine of Total Depravity, which teach that all of Adamís offspring were judged
in Adam when he sinned, are deemed guilty at conception, and are born incapable
of freely choosing God. From a biblical standpoint, manís incapacity to redeem
himself stems from his inability to atone for his own sin and avoid the consequence
of physical death. Likewise, while man may be willing and capable of seeking God
and doing good, but his salvation also requires a proper understanding of Godís
will, which can only be gained through adherence to Godís word. From a biblical
point of view, being ďin AdamĒ refers to following the pattern set by Adam just
as being ďin ChristĒ refers to following the pattern taught by Jesusí example.
We believe that the timeframe of Jesusí earthly ministry was a unique time in
redemptive history in which God was not attempting to draw all men but only a
few, in order that the crucifixion would occur while at the same time a small
foundational base would be laid for the church. We believe that since the time
of the crucifixion (as well as prior to Jesusí earthly ministry) God generally
attempts to draw all men close to Him, believers and unbelievers. We believe that
men often resist the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit in this regard.
Consequently, we believe that true believers can and have fallen away, being ďblotted
outĒ of the Lambís book of life. We believe that God is sovereign, and that the
bible speaks of His sovereignty in terms of His jurisdictional and punitive authority,
which is not constantly exercised but is only exercised in limited ways and at
specific times until final judgment when Godís will enforce His will perfectly
upon all the universe. Until then, God has unilaterally decided to let freewill
be exercised by both men and angels. We believe that Jesusí death provides atonement
sufficient to redeem all mankind. We believe that which individuals receive atonement
is not limited by God apart from the fact that God limits the amount of time allotted
to men to freely repent. Only in this sense has God limited the number of individuals
who receive atonement. Consequently, the application of atonement is determined
by each individualís free choice to believe or not. Likewise, we believe that
throughout the Old and New Testament, election is always depicted as conditionally
based upon manís free choice to believe or not. We believe that God made His election
before creation by means of His non-causative, foreknowledge of those free choices.
It is historically inaccurate to view the debate over free will and determinism
as having begun between Augustine and Pelagius in the 4th century. In reality,
this debate was present from the earliest period of Christian history. The earliest
church writers all affirmed the free will position and vigorously rejected the
Calvinist view of determinism, which at the time was championed only by the heretics.
Calvinism Study Outline
The Sinful Nature (Redemption Section)
Age of Accountability(Redemption Section)
the Calvinist and Open Theist conclusion that foreknowledge is deterministic.
There is no logical connection necessitated between knowledge and causation. Nor
is their biblical support for this conclusion. While we may not be able to understand
the mechanism by which God is able to preview the future, we cannot and need not
assume that His ability to do so must conform to human understanding. Biblically
speaking, God possesses attributes the function of which we do not comprehend.
For example, the means by which God created all things from nothing is also not
known. In addition, there are numerous passages in scripture in which God exhibits
knowledge of very specific future events that are determined, in whole or in part,
by the free choices of other beings. Any step away from divine foreknowledge requires
an increasing amount of divine determinism, which is the very Calvinist doctrine
that Open Theism seeks to avoid.
Open Theism Study Outline
non-Christian, Jewish teaching dating prior to as well as after Christ parallels
and corroborates the New Testament understanding of Old Testament prophecy and
the biblical expectations regarding the Christ. While it is true that many forms
of modern Judaism do not share the New Testament teachings of a dying Messiah,
the divinity of the Word of God, or that there are multiple persons in the Godhead,
it is difficult to distinguish ancient Jewish thought from New Testament thinking
so sharply. In fact, there have been significant forms of Judaism that have existed
over the centuries (and even in contemporary times) which posit a similar understanding
of key Old Testament theological concepts as those offered in the New Testament.
Trinity Study (Specifically Ancient Jewish Recognition of Trinitarian
Why Christianity? (Specifically Rabbinical Judaism Accepts Christian
Interpretations, Parts 1 through 6 and Christianity a Sect of Judaism Part 2
History of Judaism
The earliest church writers exhibit a general consensus on Christian theology.
A survey and analysis of their writings harmonizes with the above conclusions,
which we have ourselves derived from the biblical texts.
Beliefs: First Eight Writers Display Consensus Section
Early Church Confirmation