1. INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE
We believe the Bible is inspired by God. The word inspired means that God breathed His word to man and used man as a vessel which held the pen.
God communicates Himself and His plan to humanity through His word. How else would a supernatural God communicate with mortal man? He communicated Himself through human language. Ultimately, what God had promised in the Old Testament through His word became even more clear when the Word became flesh (John 1:14). In other words, the eternally existent Word (Jesus) became man and walked with us and communicated God’s character and plan clearly and concisely to humanity.
Humanity is without excuse. God has made Himself known. All “revelation” from or about God must have precedence in the scripture or else it is merely the conjecture of men and not the Word of God.
We believe man must be born again. The first time man is born like his father Adam. While Adam was originally created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26), because of his disobedience against God, he took sin into himself. All of humanity springs forth from the loins of Adam, therefore, all of humanity is originally born into sin (his core, his nature is sinful).
Jesus said man must be born again. He told Nicodemus that there is a spiritual birth that is separate from the natural birth and that until mankind partakes in this spiritual birth, he cannot see nor can he enter into the Kingdom of God (John 3:3-6).
Man is born again by exhibiting faith in God’s plan. Modern day humanity may not want to hear this part of God’s word; nevertheless, it must be said. God is holy and He has been offended by the sinfulness of man. While all have not sinned in the exact way Adam did (Romans 5:14) all men, except Jesus, have been born in sin and have contributed their portion by sinning themselves (Romans 3:23).
There is only One who knew no sin. He was born of a virgin – God is his father- not Adam. Therefore, His nature is divine. Humanity owed a debt to God because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Jesus owed no debt because He was without sin, but He willingly offered His life in our place (Romans 3:25; Philippians 2:6-8).
That is God’s plan for sinful man. Man accepts this covenant (agreement) with God by faith. In other words, he believes and entrusts his life to God. Once the believer accepts God’s plan through faith, a supernatural phenomenon takes place. In the mind of God, the believer is placed in Christ through the person of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13) and in God’s mind, in the spirit realm, the believer dies with Jesus at the cross, he is buried with Jesus in the tomb, and the “Old Man” (before Jesus) is now dead. Furthermore, the new man is resurrected in Christ. The believer is now dead to his relationship with the sinful nature, and he has become a partaker of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).
Another one of our core beliefs is a Biblical truth called sanctification which means “to be set apart and to be made holy”. It is absolutely imperative that God’s people understand what sanctification means! God has always demanded that His children be separate from the world. The men of Israel had to be circumcised and the nation’s civil and moral behavior was governed by the “Law”. Israel was to be an example to the world around them that there was a real God in heaven. They were to be a separated people so they could represent a Holy God and show the world around them that there was an alternate lifestyle of holiness rather than sinfulness. Sadly, Israel often connected themselves to the world and the ability to see God through them became obscured because they served the god’s of the nations around them and joined them in their sin.
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul tells us to come out from among them and be separate (2 Corinthians 6:12-14). God has not changed. He expects His people to look, speak and act differently than the world around them. If there is no separation, how will they know there is a real God?
It is important for God’s people to understand that sanctification is both a position and a process. What does that mean? Positionally, we are sanctified or separated from the world because we have placed our faith in Christ and now in the mind of God, we are “In Christ “. Therefore, when the Father of lights (James 1:17) looks down from heaven upon our lives, He sees righteousness and holiness rather than sinfulness because He sees Jesus and not us.
The progression or process of sanctification begins from a position of resting in the finished work of Christ. Many in the church have been improperly taught that sanctification takes place through what they do. In other words, if they will: read, pray, fast, quote scripture, or go to church enough, they will be living a righteous and holy life. Let me make myself clear! It is imperative that believers pray and read the Holy Word of God! How else will the Christian ever know the character of the God he serves? Furthermore, prayer and reading are all part of the process of Christian growth. However, victorious Christian living which represents a true separated life is produced in the life of the believer supernaturally by the person of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit operates, and is given permission to operate, when the believer keeps his faith anchored upon the finished work of Jesus on the cross. It is faith in what Jesus has done, not in what we do that gives us access into the presence of God (Hebrews 10:10, 19-20).
Therefore, the same way a Christian receives Jesus as His savior is the same way the Christian daily lives for Him (Colossians 2:6). Daily as the believer keeps his faith in Christ and what He has accomplished in the spirit realm for him on the cross, the Holy Spirit dispenses grace into the life of the believer which gives him the power he needs to live a separated life and properly represent God every day.
4. BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe there is a second and distinct work of grace which is available to the believer after salvation. This work of grace has been termed the Baptism of the Holy Spirit by certain portions of the church of Jesus Christ.
Whereas, the Holy Spirit comes to tabernacle (live) in man upon salvation, the baptism we speak of is for the specific purpose of ministry for Master and Kingdom.
At the end of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus instructed His disciples that they were to be witnesses to His ministry and purpose for humanity. Specifically, they were to preach a message of repentance and remission of sins in His name (Luke 24:47). Furthermore, in the book of Matthew, Jesus tells His disciples that they were to teach all men the truths about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (28:18-20).
However, in Luke, He tells them that right now they need to wait in Jerusalem and be endued with power from on high (Luke 24:49). The purpose of the power was to enable the original disciples and us to accomplish the mission of being a witness by giving testimony to the facts about Jesus, by preaching a message of repentance from and victory over sin, and making disciples of all men through the teaching of His word.
This last statement is for the Christian who may be reading these words, “It is imperative that we all, as believers, fulfill the role of disciple and witness for our Master. The word ‘disciple’ means a learner of Christ. As believers we have a testimony. We are witnesses to the fact that Jesus is the changer of the human heart. We have a mandate from Him to teach all nations. You! Have a mandate from Him to teach all people you have a relationship with about the truths of Jesus. Furthermore, you need the power of God to fill you and flow out of you in order to accomplish this mandate you have been given by God. You must be filled with His Spirit and power to accomplish these things in His strength.”