At the heart of every sound church is sound instruction in the word of God. The goal of Christian character is love for Christ and love for others, but this can only be accomplished through a right understanding of biblical truth. Therefore, our desire is to see that this truth is faithfully taught in the church.
In light of this, our church leadership has developed a confessional document entitled â€œWhat We Teach.â€ With the Bible as our sole authority, we have summarized many of the main points of the Bible's teaching as the required standard of what is taught at Crossway Bible Church.
The purposes of this statement are:
- To give a concise introduction into many of the key truths of the Bible for the purpose of teaching people what the Bible says, and
- To protect the church from false teaching on these subjects.
This statement impacts people in the church as follows:
- We require all elders in the church affirm the statement in its entirety.
- We require that all deacons and teachers agree not to teach against what is taught in the statement.
- Applicants for membership are not required to agree with all of the statement, though they are expected not to teach against it. All are encouraged to speak with the church leadership concerning any difficulties they may have with the material contained in it.
We teach that the Scriptures are God's written revelation of himself to man (1 Corinthians 2:10-11), and consist of the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament, otherwise known as the Bible.
We teach that the Scriptures are inspired, being â€œbreathed out by Godâ€ as his very words (2 Timothy 3:16). This inspiration occurred by a process of dual authorship, in which God worked through the experiences, styles, personalities, knowledge, and circumstances of the human authors of Scripture so as to record exactly the words he desired (2 Peter 1:20-21). This inspiration is plenary and verbal; it extends to the whole Bible and in every word â€“ not merely parts of the Bible, or simply the general ideas, but every single word itself, and even down to the smallest parts of each letter (Proverbs 30:5-6; Matthew 5:18).
We teach that the Scriptures are absolutely inerrant, being perfectly truthful and completely without error in the original documents (John 17:17; Titus 1:2; John 10:35). Therefore, the Scriptures are infallible and cannot lead someone astray from the truth.
Authority and Sufficiency
We teach that the Scriptures are fully authoritative, having the right to direct the actions of all people and of the church, and as God's words they are to be believed and obeyed at every point (Titus 2:15). We also teach that the Scriptures are sufficient to teach and to enable everything God requires man to do; that they contain everything that a believer needs to know in order to respond properly to God; and that they reveal everything that the church needs to know in order to carry out its commission before God (2 Peter 1:2-4). Any attempt to supplement or improve the word of God with the traditions and wisdom of men, or with claims of God speaking, directing, or revealing anything new, should be viewed as a direct attack on the sufficiency of Scripture.
We teach that the Scriptures are to be understood in light of the historical context of each passage and according to the meaning of the words and grammar used in the text. This is known as the historical-grammatical or literal-historical method of interpretation, and it is to be applied consistently across all of Scripture. We teach that the meaning of the text is determined by the author alone and not by the reader. The responsibility of the reader is to carefully and accurately seek to understand the one correct meaning of the text and to apply diligently what is understood (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:21-22).
We teach that there is one true and living God, revealed in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and that his essential nature is personal, invisible, living spirit (John 1:18; 4:24; 1 Timothy 1:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; John 5:26). We teach that this one God eternally exists in three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14). These three persons comprise the Trinity, each of whom possesses the whole divine essence: the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Spirit is God (John 6:27; 10:30; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Acts 5:3-4). Each member of the Trinity is at work in God's accomplishment of salvation for sinners (1 Peter 1:2; Matthew 3:16-17), carrying out a unique role within the Godhead, but without any division of nature, essence, or being.
We teach that God is uncreated and self-existent, and is the one who created all things, out of nothing, in six literal days (Genesis 1:1-31; Exodus 20:9-11, 31:17; Acts 17:24; Hebrews 11:3, Psalm 90:2, 148:5-6). He continually sustains all things, sovereignly ruling over his creation and controlling everything in it in his providence (Colossians 1:17; Psalm 103:19; Job 12:9-10, 34:14-15; Daniel 4:34-35; Ephesians 1:11). God is perfect in holiness and is therefore distinct from all his creatures in essence and from sinful man in moral purity (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8). God is perfectly righteous and is unable to be charged with evil (Deuteronomy 32:4; Genesis 18:25; Romans 3:3-6; 9:14; James 1:13). He is infinite in all perfections, and deserves perfect worship, honor, thanksgiving, and love from his creatures (Rom 1:20-21; Rev 4:11; Jeremiah 10:6-7). God is completely unchanging in his attributes and is perfect in love (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8; 1 John 4:8).
We teach that God is all-sufficient in and of himself, having no need of anything, but that he still created all things for his own glory (Acts 17:24-25; 1 John 4:8; Romans 11:33-36). He is all-powerful; he knows all things, whether past, present, or future; and he is present everywhere (Job 42:2; Matthew 19:26; Jeremiah 32:27; Psalm 139:1-12). He delights in the exercise of his own perfect attributes, including justice, righteousness, truth, grace, and love (Jeremiah 9:24; Exodus 34:6-7).
We teach that God the Father is infinitely great in wisdom and knowledge (Romans 11:33); that he works all things according to his purpose (Ephesians 1:11); that he has all authority, including directing the Son and the Spirit (1 John 4:13-14; Galatians 4:4); that he demonstrated his incomparable love in giving his Son (Romans 5:8; 8:32; Acts 2:23; John 3:16); and that he is eternally glorious (Ephesians 1:17; Romans 11:36). We teach that God is the Father of Jesus Christ, and that only believers in Christ can rightly call him their spiritual Father (1 Peter 1:3; Romans 8:14; John 8:41-44).
We teach that the Son of God is uncreated and is fully God, possessing all the divine attributes (John 8:58; Hebrews 1:8); that he existed in the beginning with God (John 1:1-2); that he is the one through whom and for whom all things were created (Colossians 1:16); that he was born of a virgin and took on human flesh, yet without sin, becoming forever the God-man, Jesus of Nazareth, existing as real man without losing any of the attributes of his deity (Matthew 1:18-23; Hebrews 2:14, 4:15; Philippians 2:5-7). He humbly lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father and performed many miraculous works, proving himself as the promised Christ (1 Peter 2:22; John 8:29, 17:4; John 5:36; Matthew 12:22-23; John 7:31), and he died on a cross as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sins for his people according to the Scriptures (1 Peter 2:24; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4), accomplishing for them redemption and propitiation (Hebrews 9:11-12; Colossians 1:14; Romans 3:24-25).
We teach that Jesus Christ was buried; that he was raised bodily on the third day according to the Scriptures; that he appeared at various times over forty days to over 500 eye-witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:3-8; Acts 1:3, 2:24-32, 3:15); that he ascended to heaven (Acts 2:33-35), where he is now at the right hand of God, interceding for his people as a faithful high priest and advocate (Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1, Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1); and awaiting the time when the Father will send him back to earth to judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:31) and to set up his throne in the Davidic Kingdom (1 Chronicles 17:11-14; Daniel 7:13-14; Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 1:32-33; Romans 11:26-27). He is the only mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5); he is head over all things, especially the body of Christ, which is the church; and he rules heaven and earth with all authority (Ephesians 1:21-23; Matthew 28:18).
We teach that the Holy Spirit is fully God, a divine person with all the attributes of personhood, including mind, emotions, and will (1 Corinthians 2:11, 12:11; Ephesians 4:30), and all the attributes of deity. He is the agent of regeneration, causing believers to be born again, and no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of the Spirit (John 3:5-8). He is the one who convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11).
We teach that the Spirit of God places all believers into the body of Christ through the â€œbaptism of the Spiritâ€ and that this happens immediately upon faith in Christ, not through any kind of post-conversion event, except for a few unique, non-normative works of God during the foundational era of the church to demonstrate the inclusion of non-Jews and Old Testament-era believers into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13; Acts 8:14-17, 11:15-18, 19:1-6).
We teach that this baptism of the Spirit began on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:4-5, 2:33, 2:38-39, 11:15-17), and also results in all individual believers being indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 6:19), who is the guarantee of the believers' future inheritance in Christ's kingdom (Romans 8:23; Ephesians 1:13-14; 2 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5). The indwelling Spirit distributes gifts to each believer for the building up of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:7-11; 14:12, 26). Further, the Spirit of God dwells in the church corporately, which therefore functions as the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17), and he unites all believers to Christ and therefore to one another (1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Ephesians 4:3-4).
We teach that the Holy Spirit is the agent of the believer's growth in godliness as he gives the ability for believers to overcome sin and as he transforms them into the image of Christ (Romans 8:10-13; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18). It is every believer's responsibility to walk in the Spirit and to be controlled by the Spirit (Romans 8:4; Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 5:18).
We teach that the Spirit speaks today only through his revealed word, which is preserved only in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, which he so superintended that every word of the Bible written by men was a word that originated from God (Hebrews 3:7, 15; 4:6-7; 2 Peter 1:20-21). God spoke in Old Testament times in various ways, and spoke in New Testament times in the person of Christ and through the apostles and prophets who testified about him (Hebrews 1:1-2, 2:1-4; Ephesians 2:20, 3:5).
We teach that God created man in his own image, and made them male and female (Genesis 1:27). He formed man of dust from the ground and woman from the body of man (Genesis 2:7, 21-22). Mankind is God's highest creation on earth and was made to rule over the earth and all its creatures (Psalm 8:3-8; Genesis 1:28-30). Man was designed by God to be responsible for representing God on the earth and doing the work of God, and woman was made from him and for him, designed as his perfect and necessary helper without which man's situation was â€œnot goodâ€ (Genesis 2:15, 18, 20-22).
We teach that man was created in a state of righteousness (Ecclesiastes 7:29), but through the temptation of the serpent Adam and Eve fell into sin, violating God's commandment to them (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:1-6; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:14). This one sin resulted in expulsion from the Garden of Eden and from access to the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:22-24); a curse upon the serpent, man, woman, the marriage relationship, and creation (Genesis 3:16-19); and a condemnation of death upon every person to be born through Adam, as well as a heart of sinful rebellion against God (Romans 5:12-14; Genesis 6:5).
As a result of this fall into sin, the heart of man is now completely corrupt by nature, his sin graciously hindered only by conscience, circumstances, lack of ability, or perceived adverse consequences, but still fundamentally opposed to God (Jeremiah 17:9). An unredeemed person is hostile toward God, being morally unwilling and unable to subject himself to God's commandments (Romans 8:7-8). The result of this is that sin continually takes place in the motives, desires, thoughts, words, and deeds of every man, so that he always freely chooses to do evil, and even the deeds that appear good are, in reality, actually sinful at heart (Luke 12:2-3; Romans 2:16; Psalm 90:8; Mark 7:20-23; Isaiah 64:6).
These things are done despite God's revelation of his holy and righteous character to all men both in creation and in conscience so that they have no excuse before God for their sin (Romans 1:18-20; 2:14-16). All men therefore are completely and fully deserving of death, judgment, and facing the wrath of God when he judges the world in righteousness through Jesus Christ (Romans 1:32; 2:2, 5, 16).
We teach that election is God's loving, gracious choice, before time began, of certain sinners to salvation and eternal life. Though God perfectly knows the future, these persons are chosen not on the basis of their works or even their faith, but solely by God's kind decision (Ephesians 1:4-5; Romans 9:14-18). God's choice does not remove the responsibility of man to respond rightly to God (Romans 9:19); nor does it remove the necessity of hearing and believing the gospel for salvation to occur (2 Timothy 2:10). It does, however, guarantee that all whom God has chosen and predestined to eternal life will indeed come to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and receive all of its eternal blessings (Acts 13:48; John 6:37; Romans 8:29-30). No one can know or say whether someone is chosen by God until that person truly believes the gospel (1 Thessalonians 1:4-7; 2 Thessalonians 2:13).
We teach that regeneration is the gracious act of God by which he imparts new life spiritually to one who is dead in his sins, causing him to be born again by the Holy Spirit and the word of God (John 3:3-8; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23). Regeneration opens a person's spiritual eyes to the glory of Christ so that he will believe the gospel and trust in Christ for salvation (2 Corinthians 4:4, 6). Though regeneration and saving faith occur together at the moment of salvation, regeneration is not the result of faith, but rather the cause of it, as the sinner is made willing to believe (Acts 16:14). A person cannot cause himself to be born again, but is rather commanded to turn from his sin and to put his faith in Christ (John 1:12-13; 3:14-16). Because regeneration is a work of God, it will necessarily result in a changed heart and life (John 3:8; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 John 4:7).
We teach that conversion consists of two essential elements: repentance and faith (Acts 20:21). Both of these are heart responses to the preached gospel, and both are necessary for someone to be saved from his sins (Luke 13:3; John 3:18). The results of repentance and faith are forgiveness of sins and a righteous standing before God, as well as eternal life and all the other blessings of salvation in Christ (Acts 11:18; John 3:16; Ephesians 1:3).
We teach that repentance is the heart response to the gospel that consists of turning away from false worship and evil deeds and turning toward God (1 Thessalonians 1:9). It is brought about by the Holy Spirit convincing a sinner of his sinfulness before God, of the judgment he deserves, and of the need to obey God's command to turn from his sins (John 16:8; Acts 17:30-31). Repentance is more than mere sorrow over sin or its earthly consequences, but a hatred for it, and a resolution to turn away from it out of a changed attitude toward sin itself in light of God's view of it (2 Corinthians 7:10-11). True repentance will produce good works in obedience to God's word that prove repentance has taken place (Luke 3:8-9). Though the believer's life will be one of continual repentance (Luke 17:3-4), initial repentance occurs at the time of conversion and salvation. God does not delight in man continuing in sin, but in his repentance and salvation from judgment (Ezekiel 18:23; Luke 15:7, 10).
We teach that faith is the heart response of trust in God and his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the truthfulness, facts, and promises of the gospel (Acts 16:31; Romans 4:24). Its basis is the certainty of the promises and power of God as found in his word, no matter how difficult any of them may seem to believe (Romans 4:16-22). It does not consist in simply believing that that God is exists or even that his word and the gospel are true, but rather also in committing one's trust to Christ alone for salvation from sin (James 2:19; John 8:31). Sinners who believe are made right with God by faith alone and not by their works, but that faith never comes alone; instead, true faith that saves also produces good works after a person has been reconciled to God (James 2:14-26). Saving faith stays with a believer until the end of his life (Hebrews 3:6; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2). Saving faith also produces a willingness to forfeit immediate pleasures for the honor of God and for future glory (Hebrews 11:13-16; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Faith in the God of the Bible and his revealed truth, and not works of any kind, has always been the means of salvation from the earliest times (Genesis 15:6; Habakkuk 2:4; Galatians 3:14-17).
We teach that, in justification, God graciously credits righteousness to all who turn from their sins and place their trust in Christ alone for salvation. This crediting does not in any way depend upon the person's good works, or upon anything that God works in them, but only upon the once-for-all legal declaration by God that the person is forever pardoned of the guilt and penalty of all his sins â€“ past, present, and future (Romans 4:1-8; 3:20; Galatians 2:16; Hebrews 10:14-18). Though a believer will be vindicated and even rewarded in light of his Spirit-empowered good works (James 2:21-26; Romans 2:13; 1 Corinthians 4:4-5; 2 Corinthians 5:10), this righteousness which God credits to him does not consist of the person's faith, or of his own righteousness in any way, but rather the righteousness of God in Christ, credited to the sinner as a free gift on the basis of faith alone in Christ alone (Romans 3:26, 28; 10:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9). The basis of this righteous standing is the forgiveness of sins by virtue of the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ and his shed blood on the cross, as well as his resurrection from the dead (Romans 3:24-25; 5:9; 4:25).
We teach that sanctification is the work of God in believers to set them apart from sin and to God in purity of character and purpose. This is according to his eternal purpose to conform to the image of Christ those whom he has chosen for eternal life (Romans 8:28-29; Ephesians 1:4). Sanctification begins at conversion with positional sanctification, wherein every believer in Christ is set apart by the Holy Spirit from sin and the world for God's purposes and is declared immediately to be a â€œsaintâ€ (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 1 Peter 1:2; Hebrews 10:10, 14). This takes place by means of the shed blood of Jesus Christ and faith in him (Hebrews 13:12; Acts 26:18).
This sanctifying work continues throughout a believer's life in progressive sanctification, as his holiness of character grows to match his holy position. This occurs as the believer is transformed into the image of Christ by the Spirit of God and by means of the written word (2 Corinthians 3:18; John 17:17). Progressive sanctification entails growth in godliness as the necessary outcome of regeneration; putting off sin and putting on righteousness according to one's standing as a new creature in Christ; and, by the Spirit, fighting against the desires of the flesh in order to live righteously before God by his strength (1 John 3:9; Ephesians 4:22-24; Romans 8:12-13). This progress only occurs by the means of grace, including the word of God, prayer, and the work of the church in the building up of one another (1 Peter 2:2-3; Philippians 1:9-11; Ephesians 4:15-16). This takes place only so far as the believer lives by faith in the Son of God and in obedience to his commandments, walking by the Spirit in the good works which God has prepared beforehand for him to do (Galatians 2:20; John 15:4-10; Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 2:10).
The final phase of sanctification is ultimate sanctification, which occurs at the coming of Christ, when believers will see him as he is and become like him in purity (1 John 3:2-3). This action is ultimately the work of God and he will certainly perform it for all believers (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
We teach that a believer in Jesus Christ is secure forever; that God has planned each believer's salvation from before time began; and that nothing can separate him from the love of God in Christ Jesus (John 6:37-40, Romans 8:28-39). God desires for those who demonstrate proof of knowing him to have an assurance of their possession of eternal life (1 John 5:13). One can only be rightly assured of his own status as a true believer through an enduring, correct profession of faith in Christ and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit unto personal godliness (1 Corinthians 15:2; Romans 10:9, 8:12-17; 2 Peter 1:10-11). God protects and guarantees the final salvation of all true believers in Christ by his power through their faith, and faith that saves is also faith that endures to the end (1 Peter 1:5; Hebrews 3:6, 14; 10:36-39; Colossians 1:23).
We teach that believers in Christ will one day be transformed physically into a body like that of Jesus Christ's glorified body (Philippians 3:21). This will occur at the time of the rapture both for those who have died in Christ and are resurrected, and for those who are still alive at that time, as they are caught up to be with the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). It is the future guaranteed by the indwelling Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14), and it is the believer's eager hope as he considers what he will one day be and his freedom from sin's corruption (Romans 8:23-25; 2 Corinthians 4:17-5:5).
We teach that the church consists of all those who possess saving faith in Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:2). Though eternally planned by God, the church was a â€œmysteryâ€ that was only revealed at Christ's first coming, and through the message he entrusted to the apostles and prophets (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 3:4-6, 10-11). It is a new entity, beginning on the day of Pentecost, and consisting of both Jews and Gentiles with equal access to God through the indwelling Holy Spirit by virtue of the work of Christ (Ephesians 2:14-18; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13).
We teach that the church is the body of Christ, who is the head, and is made up of all individual believers, who together also constitute his bride (Colossians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 5:32; 2 Corinthians 11:2). Every believer is commanded to unite himself to a particular local manifestation of the church and to carry out in that setting the numerous commands believers are given concerning their conduct toward one another (Hebrews 10:24-25; John 13:34-35; Romans 12:10, 13:8-10).
We teach that the primary purposes of the church are to glorify God through worshipful obedience and verbal praise; to proclaim the gospel to all nations and thereby make disciples; and to build up these disciples to become more like Christ as they serve one another in love (Ephesians 3:21; 1 Peter 2:9-10; Matthew 28:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 1 Peter 4:10). This is all to be done according to the standard of God's word, with which the church is entrusted in order to protect it as originally delivered (2 Timothy 1:13-14, 2:2; 1 Timothy 3:15; Jude 3).
We teach that the spiritual authority of the church (both universal and in each local manifestation) rests in its head, the Lord Jesus Christ. Under the authority of Christ, through the Scriptures, each local church is to be ruled by a group of men called â€œelders,â€ who are also known as â€œpastorsâ€ or â€œoverseersâ€ (Titus 1:5; 1 Timothy 3:1; Acts 14:23, 20:28; Ephesians 4:11). An elder may be appointed only if he meets the biblical qualifications contained for the office (1 Timothy 3:2-7; Titus 1:6-9). Elders are responsible to lead, care for, and protect the flock of God, by instruction from the word and by godly example (1 Peter 5:2-3; Titus 1:9). Believers are to joyfully submit to the elders of their own local church as those who will give an account for their leadership (Hebrews 13:17).
We teach that deacons are the other officers of the church, appointed to assist the elders in carrying out the work of the church, but not carrying any kind of authority inherent in their office. These also must meet biblical requirements in order to be appointed (1 Timothy 3:8-13; Philippians 1:1).
We teach that each local church, under the leadership of its elders, is accountable directly to the Lord Jesus Christ through his word and not to any higher spiritual authority above the local church level. Local churches are to be united with one another in following biblically accurate beliefs and practice (1 Corinthians 4:17, 14:33, 36), and multiple local churches can join together in various ways to accomplish God-honoring goals (1 Corinthians 16:1; Acts 20:4; 2 Corinthians 8:1-6). Moreover, all believers are called to diligently seek to preserve the unity of the church (Ephesians 4:3-6). However, the biblical commands for Christian unity do not demand or imply the necessity for a local church to join or submit to any overseeing spiritual organization, institution, or association.
We teach that each local church is responsible to humbly and lovingly correct and restore its sinning members by calling them to repentance (Galatians 6:1; Matthew 18:15-17). If, after careful inquiry into the matter, and after carefully following the biblical process to correct them, starting on the individual level, they still refuse to repent, they are to be removed from association with the local body until they do (1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:14). The goal of church discipline is the spiritual good of the one who is sinning and the purity of the local church (1 Corinthians 5:5-8).
By virtue of the indwelling Spirit and the grace of Jesus Christ, each believer has a unique gift for serving the church (1 Corinthians 12:7; Ephesians 4:7-11; 1 Peter 4:10). Christ has given gifts to the church for its growth in likeness to himself, and they are to be exercised for the common good of the church, for the building up of the body of Christ, and in the strength supplied by God, all so that God may be glorified (Ephesians 4:12-16; 1 Peter 4:11; 1 Corinthians 14:26).
We teach that certain gifts were intentionally designed by God to exist only during the initial time of the church. Though God is always able to do whatever he wishes, and though he still does things that people cannot explain, this is not the same thing as the continuation of these certain gifts. Among these are gifts that brought revelation of truth from God concerning Christ, as the foundation of the church, such as apostleship, prophecy, and tongues, as well as gifts that attested to the truth of the message being proclaimed, such as signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of healing (Ephesians 2:20; 3:5; Hebrews 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12). The church's foundation being laid, God has chosen not to continue to reveal new truth or to empower particular individuals with miraculous gifts, and this will be the case until the time of great tribulation (Revelation 11:3).
We teach that baptism is given by the Lord Jesus to the church as a commandment to perform for all believers upon their profession of faith in Christ (Matthew 28:19; Acts 19:4-5). Baptism is a statement of the believers' identification with Christ and does not have a saving effect (1 Corinthians 1:12-13; Acts 10:47-48). We teach that the word â€œbaptismâ€ means â€œimmersionâ€ and that this is the proper mode of conducting this ordinance.
The Lord's Supper
We teach that the Lord's Supper is a commandment of the Lord Jesus, handed down through his apostles, to be practiced by the church as a memorial of his death until he returns (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). It consists of the elements of the bread and the cup, which, though only a representation of the body and blood of Christ, picture his death and bring communion with him and with his people (1 Corinthians 10:16-17). It is to be practiced as gathered believers with greatest reverence for what it represents (1 Corinthians 11:27-30).
We teach that all people will one day be raised bodily from the dead, some to everlasting life with Christ in his kingdom, and the others to everlasting, conscious judgment in hell (John 5:28-29; 6:40, 44; Acts 24:15-16; 2 Corinthians 4:14; Daniel 7:14, 18, 27; Isaiah 66:23-24; Matthew 25:41-46; Mark 9:47-48; Daniel 12:2-3; Revelation 20:10-15).
We teach that Christ will judge all people, even the secrets and motives of their hearts (Luke 12:2-3; John 5:22, 27; Acts 17:31; Romans 2:16; 8:34; 1 Corinthians 4:5). He will judge and punish unbelievers on the basis of all their sins (Matthew 7:21-23; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelation 20:12-14). He will not condemn believers, but will judge and reward them for the deeds they have done in Christ, having borne the punishment that was due them for all their sins (2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; Romans 8:34).
We teach that those who die as believers in Christ depart from this life to be with him, awaiting the time of the resurrection (Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:6-8), when the Lord Jesus Christ descends from heaven and his saints, both the living and the dead, are caught up (â€œrapturedâ€) to meet him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). At this time the bodies of his saints, whether living or dead, will be transformed to become imperishable and incorruptible, forever to dwell in the presence of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:50-53).
We teach that before the Lord Jesus returns to earth at his second coming, there will be a seven-year period of intense distress in which God will afflict the world with great judgments unlike any ever seen before or after (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:27; 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3). During this time, Antichrist will rule the earth with great power, but will be judged and thrown into the lake of fire at the appearing of the Lord when he comes to set up his kingdom on earth (Daniel 7:23-26; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 19:19-20).
We teach that when Christ comes to rule, God will fulfill literally the unconditional promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob of a land, a seed, and a blessing (Genesis 12:1-3, 7; 13:14-17; 17:8; 26:3-5; 35:11-12). He will gather the remnant of Israel from among the nations, give them a new heart, forgive their sins against him, cause them to live in their own land that was promised to their forefathers, and make them a blessing to the nations, as they put their faith in Christ (Isaiah 11:11-12; Ezekiel 36:22-28, 37:21-28; 39:21-29; Genesis 15:7-21; Deuteronomy 30:1-10; Jeremiah 31:31-34; 33:1-13; Micah 2:12-13; 7:18-20; Isaiah 19:24-25; Romans 11:25-32).
We teach that at this time God will also fulfill his covenant with David, as Christ will sit on the throne of David as the ruler of Israel, ruling also over all the other nations (2 Samuel 7:16; Psalm 89:35-37; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 33:14-26; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 2:29-30; Revelation 19:15). The saints will reign with Christ, including those killed during the time of tribulation (Revelation 2:26-27; 5:10; 20:4-6; 1 Corinthians 4:8, 6:2). This state will continue for 1,000 years, will be centered in Jerusalem, and will be a time of great prosperity and peace upon the earth, though not yet being the perfected eternal state (Revelation 20:4-6; Isaiah 2:2-4, 65:20; Zechariah 14:5-17). During this time, Satan will be bound, and will no longer deceive the nations (Revelation 20:1-3). At the end of the thousand years, Satan will be released, and will lead a final, futile battle against Christ and his saints before he is defeated and cast forever into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:7-10). At this time, all those who have died as unbelievers will be raised from the dead, judged at the Great White Throne according to their deeds, and thrown forever into the lake of fire for their evil (Revelation 20:11-15).
We teach that after this, God will then bring about a new heavens and new earth, and bring in the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, in which his redeemed people will live, and in which there will be no sin, death, suffering, sadness, or wicked person (Revelation 21:1-4, 7-8, 27; 22:15). At this time Christ will hand over the kingdom to the Father, and God will continue forever to dwell with his people and show them the riches of his grace, all so that he might be glorified forever (1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Revelation 5:13; 21:3, 22:3-4; Ephesians 2:7, 3:21).