Article I: Orthodox Distinctives
These beliefs and teachings distinguish the church from churches that profess to be Christian but are either pseudo Christian churches or apostate churches.
Section 1: Principle of Authority
All sixty-six books of the Bible are God’s infallible and inerrant word that is sufficient for salvation and full maturation. Since the Bible has its focus on salvation or redemption, it is not the only source of authority in everything possibly knowable about God’s creation; however, in everything that it addresses, the Scripture is the highest authority and has absolute authority. This is true, not just in matters concerning salvation, but in all issues that it addresses including history, geography, science, doctrine, ethics, religious practice, human traditions, or any other topic. Therefore, the Bible must rule, guide, judge, and correct all aspects of human thought, life, and endeavor.
(2Tim 3:16-17; Mat 22:29; Jn 10:35; Lk 16:27-31; Isa 8:19-20; 1Jn 4:5-6; 2Jn 1:9-11; 1Cor 14:37-38)
Section 2: The Triune God
There is only one true and living God, one Supreme Being. This one and only true God, however, has a
plurality of distinct persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. One in essence, and equal in
power and in glory. For the One is three and the three are One.
(Deu 6:4; Isa 44:6-8; 45:4-7, 20-22; 43:10; 1Cor 8:4-5; Gal 3:20; Gen 1:26-27; 3:22-24; Exo 3:2-6; Mat 28:18-19; Lk 12:10; Jn 5:30; 2 Cor 13:14)
Section 3: God’s Work of Creation and Providence
Paragraph A: God’s work of Creation
God created the universe out of nothing and everything in it, visible and invisible, in the span of six
(Gen 1-2; Jn 1:3; 2King 19:15; Ps 121:2; Ps 134:3 ; Ps 146:6; Jer 10:12; Jonah 1:9; Isa 40:26-28; 42:5; 45:12, 18; Col 1:16-17; Heb 1:1-3; Rom 1:18-25; Acts 14:14-17; 17:22-26, 30)
Paragraph B: God’s work of Providence
God did not just leave creation to work on its own, but “in His infinite power and wisdom doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures and things, from the greatest to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, to the end for which they were created, according unto His infallible foreknowledge, and
the free and immutable counsel of His own will; to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice,
infinite goodness, and mercy.”
(Mt 10:29-31; Acts 17:24-28; Ps 104; Pro 19:21; 16:9; 21:1; Eph 1:11; Gen 50;20; Isa 10:5-16; Acts 4:27-28; Acts 17:18, 22-31)
Section 4: Messiah – Jesus Christ
Paragraph A: Divinity
Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, the Messiah, is fully God, one in essence and equal in power and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit to whom we must render the worship due to Himself, God. (Jn 1:1-3; 5:15-23; 8:24; 20:24-31; Rom 9:5; Tit 2:13; Heb 1:3-13; 2Pet 1:1; 1Jn 5:20-21)
Paragraph B: Humanity
Although Jesus is the Supreme Being, and yet, at the incarnation, He became what He never once was, a true human being, with a human body and a human spirit. In doing this, Jesus did not cease to be the Supreme Being, but in addition to that, He became what He never ever was, a true human being. Thus, now Jesus is the God-man. He is God as if He never became a man. He is a man as if He never was God. Yet there are not two persons of Jesus, there is only one. This is the mystery of His person.
(Jn 1:14; 1Tim 2:5; 1Jn 4:1-3; Heb 2:17; 4:14-16)
Paragraph C: Atoning Death
Foundational to the work of Christ in accomplishing salvation or redemption for His people is to die as a substitute for them in order to provide a once-for-all sacrifice to atone for all of their sins and provide a just and effective basis for the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God. This work of Christ was completed when He died once-for-all on the cross of Calvary.
(Mt 1:21; 1Ti 1:15; Mt 20:28; John 10:14-18; Rom 2:21-26; Heb 9:22; 1Cor 15:1-3; 1Cor 1:23-24; 1Cor 11:23-26)
Paragraph D: Resurrection from the Dead
After Christ died on Calvary in order to atone for all the sins of His people, He rose from the grave on the third day, never to die again.
(Mat 28:1-10; Mk 16:1-8; Lk 24:1-9; Jn 20:1-31; Rom 10:8-11; 1Cor 5:1-5)
Paragraph E: The Exclusive Mediatorship
After Christ died, rose again on the third day, and ascended into heaven, He now reigns as the only mediatorial priest and king over all of God’s people under the New Covenant. This role of Christ He holds permanently and is not transferable to anyone nor is it shared by anyone.
(Jn 14:6; 1Tim 2:5-6; Acts 4:8-12; Heb 2:14-18; 4:14-16; 7:23-28; Heb 8:6-12, 9:11-22).
Paragraph F: The Second Coming of Christ
Christ who died, rose again on the third day, ascended into heaven, and who now reigns as mediatorial
priest and king will come again in order to destroy all who oppose Him and bring His work of salvation
(Acts 1:9-11; Heb 9:27-28; 1Cor 15:20-26; Phil 3:20-21; 2Pet 3:1-13)
Section 5: Salvation apart from Personal Merits
Acceptance with God and eternal life are blessings that we can never merit by our obedience or by
anything that we do but they are blessings freely given to us solely on the basis of the merits of Christ’s
righteousness and death on Calvary, and they are received solely through faith in Christ alone.
(Ps 143:2; Jer 23:5-6; 33:15-16; Lk 18:9-14; 23:39-43; Rom 3:19-28; 4:1-5; 6:22-23; 10:1-4; Gal 2:14-21; 5:1-4; Phil 3:1-12)
Section 6: The Necessity of Holiness
Although holiness of life can never serve as the just or meritorious basis of our acceptance with God,
having eternal life, yet, mortifying sin by the Spirit and pursuing holiness of life is an essential condition
of completed salvation, that one may not forfeit that life but come to the attainment and full enjoyment
of it. For God gives grace, not that we might indulge in sin, but that we might fight sin and grow in
(Mt 5:8, 20, 27-30; 7:22-23; Heb 12:14; Gal 6:7-9; 1Cor 6:9-10; Rom 6:1-23; 8:12-14; Jud 1:3-4)
Section 7: Two Eternal Destinies
There are only two destinies of men – heaven and hell. For those who are believers in Christ, they will enjoy eternal bliss forever and ever in the new heavens and the new earth where righteousness dwells. For those who are not, they will undergo conscious suffering as the just punishment for their sins in the lake of fire forever and ever, which is the second death.
(Mt 18:8; 19:29; 25:46; 2Thes 1:9; Jud 1:6-7; Rev 14:10-11; 20:10-15; Dan 12:2)
Article II: Calvinistic Distinctives
These beliefs and teachings will distinguish the church from Arminian and Ameraldian churches in aspects of God’s work of salvation.
Section 1: The Plan of Salvation (Unconditional Election)
From the mass of fallen humanity, God has chosen from eternity those whom He will save through the work of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This choice of God is not based on foreseen good in them or even faith in them but purely out of His own sovereign will and mercy. Those whom God did not choose from eternity to save, God predestined to experience the fullness of His just anger against them for all eternity, for all the sins they have committed against God and against others.
(Eph 1:3-14; Acts 13:46-48; 18:27; Phil 1:29; 2Tim 2:24-26; 1Thess 5:8-11; Rom 9:1-13; 1Pet 2:7-10)
Section 2: The Accomplishment of Salvation (Definite or Limited Atonement)
In the fullness of time, God sent His Son in order to accomplish the salvation He had planned from eternity and promised through prophecy, particularly through the covenants He made in redemptive history. Christ died once-for-all in order to atone for the sins, not for every single human being in the whole world without exception, but for all kinds of sinners, without distinction, that is, all those whom the Father had chosen from eternity to save.
(Jn 10:14-18, 25-28; Heb 2:13-18; Acts 20:28; Rev 5:9; 1Joh 2:1-2; Rom 8:31-32; John 17:9-26)
Section 3: The Application of Salvation
Paragraph A: Total Depravity
After man’s fall into sin, he has become totally depraved. But because of God’s common grace in restraining and redirecting the utterly deceitful and desperately wicked hearts of men, not all become equally sinful and wicked in this life; however, every faculty of the human soul (the mind, the will, the conscience, and the emotions or affections) has been affected by sin, including the body. This has rendered man morally incapable of obeying God from the heart and of pleasing Him. He is even incapable of coming to Christ in true repentance and faith.
(1Kn 16:25; Ezk 16:46,47; Acts 28:2; Rom 8:7-8; Pro 15:8; 21:27; Jn 3:19-21; 5:39-40; 6:44, 65; 1Cor 2:14)
Paragraph B: Sincere, Passionate, and Indiscriminate Offer of the Gospel
Salvation in Christ is to be offered to all, regardless of whether they are elect or reprobate, as the
highest expression of God’s common grace because God has no desire in the death of the wicked. In the
proclamation of the gospel, sinners are sincerely, passionately, and indiscriminately to be urged to come
to Christ in repentance and faith, not on the basis that Christ died for every single human being in the
whole world without exception, but that He died to purchase with His blood all kinds of sinners in the
world without distinction, and that God promised that everyone who believes in Christ shall not perish
but have eternal life.
(Ezk 33:11; 18:30-32; Isa 45:21-22; Lk 7:30; 13:33-35; 14:12-24; Mk 1:14,15; 16:15; Acts 17:30-31; Joh 3:16)
Paragraph C: Irresistible or Efficacious Grace
Although Christ is to be offered to all without exception, yet, God effectually calls to Himself only and all those whom He has chosen to save from eternity through the gospel by accompanying the word with the saving power of the Holy Spirit. Thus, all those who have been predestined to salvation will most willingly and surely come to Christ in true repentance and faith and will be raised to life and glory at the second coming of Christ.
(1Th 1:4-5, 9-10; 2:13; 2Th 2:14; Joh 6:44; 1Cor 1:22-31; Rom 8:29-30)
Section 4: The Life in Salvation (Preservation and Perseverance of the Saints)
As a condition to final or completed salvation, all those whom God called in time and has chosen to save from eternity into faith-union with His Son through the gospel must persevere in faith and obedience or else face eternal destruction. All those whom God predestined to glory, however, will most surely persevere to the end; because the triune God has committed Himself to preserve them to the end.
(Jer 32:38-40; Mat 24:11-13; Joh 15:5-6 Col 1:21-23; Rom 11:19-24; Rom 8:12-13; Heb 2:1-4; 3:1-4:1, 11-16; 6:9-20; Heb 10:19-39; Rev 2:10-11; 3:5-6; 1Tim 4:13-16; 1Pet 1:3-9; Joh 6:39; Phil 1:6; 1Th 5:23-24; Rom 5:11; 8:29-39; 1Joh 5:4-5, 18)
Article III: Covenantal Distinctives
These beliefs and teachings will distinguish the church from dispensational churches.
Section 1: One Way or Method of Salvation
God has provided and revealed after the fall only one way or method sinners could be saved, and that is through faith in the promised Messiah, not by meriting that salvation through obedience to the Law. Those who were saved prior to the first coming of Christ looked in faith to Him as their only hope of salvation, and those who are saved after the first coming of Christ look back in faith to Him who has already come and has promised to return to complete the work of redemption.
(2Tim 3:14-17; Gen 3:15; 22:18; Acts 3:25; Joh 8:56-58; Gal 3:8-9; Rom 4:1-25; Joh 14:6; Acts 4:12)
Section 2: One Plan and One People of God
God has only one covenant nation or people on earth – the nation of Israel. Under the Old Covenant, it consisted of the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob whom God delivered from the bondage in Egypt and whom God organized into His covenant nation in Mt. Sinai. Since the Old Covenant consisted only of common grace promises and pointed only to New Covenant realities, God knew that the people would break that covenant and forfeit all the blessings of it and bring upon themselves God’s just wrath. In God’s sovereign mercy, however, God promised through the prophet Jeremiah that He would replace the first covenant He made with the nation of Israel with a new covenant, enacted on better promises or saving grace promises. This promise of God was fulfilled at the first coming of Christ and especially when He shed His blood on the cross of Calvary, which also made the Old Covenant obsolete. Israel under the Old Covenant then became Israel under the New Covenant. At that turning point of redemptive history, the unbelieving Jews were cut off from the covenant nation and the believing Gentiles were grafted into it without the need of them being circumcised for religious reasons and without them becoming Jews. Thus, Israel now under the New Covenant consists of both believing Jews and believing Gentiles – the church of Jesus Christ.
(Deu 31:14-22; Jos 21:43-45; Jer 31:31-34; Heb 8:1-13; 9:11-28l; Lk 22:20; Mt 3:5-12; Rom 11:13-24; Joh 10:14-16; Eph 2:11-22; Phil 3:2-3; 1Pet 2:7-10; Acts 3:29-36; 15:13-18; 26:6-7, 22-27; 1Cor 15:22-26)
Article IV: Puritan Distinctives
These beliefs and teachings will distinguish the church from legalistic churches, antinomian churches, and libertarian churches.
Section 1: Liberty of Conscience
As human beings created as the image and likeness of God, we all have a conscience that serves as a moral monitor. Since God is the ultimate Lawgiver and Judge to whom we must all give an account to, we should recognize Him alone as the Lord of our conscience. For conscience to be at liberty, however, two things are essential – the blood of Christ and the word of God. For only the blood of Christ can effectively cleanse our conscience from the guilt of sin, and only God’s word can deliver us from the slavery and tyranny of the traditions, opinions, convictions, and manipulations of men. Therefore, we should have our conscience be continually cleansed by the blood of Christ and we must not allow anyone to act as our conscience by surrendering or violating our own. And we must never act against conscience unless in faith we are convinced from Scriptures that our conscience is misinformed.
(Rom 2:14-15; Heb 9:13-14; 12:24; 1Joh 1:5-2; Jam 4:12; Tit 1:15-16; 1Tim 4:1-6; 1Cor 8:1-13; 10:24-33; Rom 14:14-23; Acts 17:11; Ps 19; 2Tim 3:16-17 )
Section 2: God Honoring Worship
The Paragraph A: The Simplicity of New Covenant Worship
God is to be worshipped only in the way He says He is to be worshipped; we are not to add to or take away anything from His regulation for worship. While the regulations for corporate worship under the Old Covenant were very complex and elaborate, the regulations for corporate worship under the New Covenant are profoundly simple and yet far more glorious. This is because God promised giving of the Holy Spirit in the fullness of His saving operations under the New Covenant. Moreover, while the Old Covenant, being a common grace covenant, focused on things visible on earth, the New Covenant worship focuses on heavenly realities that in the Old Covenant were only copies or foreshadows.
(Deu 12:29-32; Lev 10:1-3; 2Kn 12:20-23; 1Kn 12:26-33; 1Chro 15:1-4, 11-15; Jn 4:19-24; 7:37-39; Phil 3:1-3; Heb 7:12; 9:8-11; 8:1-6; 10:1-18; 1Pet 2:4-5; Heb 13:15-16; Rom 12:1; Ps 51:17; Ps 141:2; Rev 5:8)
The Paragraph B: The Designated Day of New Covenant Worship
God instituted the Sabbath from creation for the good of man so that man can rest from his weekly work and spend a day in concentrated worship of God and the nurture of his soul and that of others. As God’s image and likeness, man’s weekly observance of the Sabbath is based on God’s work of creation – six days of creation and one day of rest on the seventh. God reiterated the observance of this weekly Sabbath when He gave the Ten Commandments to the nation of Israel as part of their fundamental covenant obligation to God under the Old Covenant. Moreover, the observance of that day was not only to commemorate God’s work of creation but also God’s redemption of Israel from slavery in Egypt. Under the New Covenant, what God only wrote on tablets of stone for His covenant nation to observe, God promised to write on tablets of human hearts on all those who are bona fide members of the New Covenant, which replaced the Old Covenant. Moreover, God changed the day specially designated for
the rest and the worship of God’s people from the seventh day of every week to the first day of every
week in order to commemorate the inauguration of the New Creation at Christ’s resurrection.
(Gen 2:1-3; Exo 20:8-11; Mk 2:27-28; Deu 4:12-14; Deu 5:22; Deu 10:1-4; Neh 9:13-14; Jer 31:31-34; 2Cor 3:3; Rev 1:10; Mat 28:1, Mk 16:2; Lk 24:1; Joh 20:1, 19, 26; Acts 20:7; 1Cor 16:1-2; Col 2:16-17; 1Cor 15:22-26, 42-49)
Section 3: God Honoring Marriage
Paragraph A: The Sanctity of Marriage
God instituted marriage at creation as an essential part of God’s original purpose for the good of man and for the propagation of the human race. Therefore, even after the fall, marriage is to be held in honor by all, and not to be despised and avoided. Although during abnormal times or crisis situations, remaining single is advisable in order to avoid trouble, it is not sinful or dishonorable to marry even in such situations. Moreover, although one might choose to remain single in order to labor for the spread of God’s kingdom in situations where marriage could not work properly or normally, the Bible strongly urges marriage for all those whom God gives a good opportunity for it. To despise marriage or forbid marriage is a clear departure from the Christian faith.
(Gen 1:26-28; 2:18-25; Ecc 4:9-12; Heb 13:4; Pro 5:1-19; 30:18-20; 1Tim 4:1-6; 1Cor 7:25-28; Mat 19:10-12; 1Tim 5:11-15)
Paragraph B: God’s Regulation of Marriage
The God who instituted marriage from creation is Himself the God who gave regulations regarding marriage for its proper functioning. Therefore, adherence to God’s regulations regarding the respective roles of husbands and wives, parents and children, are vital for the maintenance and cultivation of godliness in the home.
(Eph 5:22-6:9; Col 3:18-4:1; 1Pet 3:1-7; Tit 2:1- 18; 1Tim 5:8; Pro 13:24; 22:6, 15; 23:13-14; 29:15; Mat 15:1-9)
Section 4: Involvement in Civic Duties
God in providence has established every civil authority as a common grace institution primarily to
restrain human sinfulness and maintain justice, law, order, and peace in human society. In fact, even the
worst government is still better than having none at all. Therefore, it is the duty of all citizens of a
nation, including Christians, to show respect, gratitude, helpfulness, and humble submission to all civil
authorities as they carry out their respective duties within the sphere of their God-given authority. It is
only when civil authority goes beyond its their delegated authority or requires from the people
something against their God-given duties should they refuse to obey and be willing to suffer for it for the
sake of Christ and righteousness. Moreover, it is perfectly legitimate for Christians to be working for and
in government institutions.
(Rom 13:1-7; 1Pet 2:13-16; Tit 3:1-8; Pro 24:21-22; Mat 26:46-56; 1Pet 2:18-23; 1Tim 2:1-2; Acts 4:19; 5:29; Lk 3:12-14; 1Cor 7:17-24)
Section 5: Experiential Christianity
Paragraph A: General Statement
Since there are many false religious experiences, and since experience is not self-interpreting, it is vital that God’s work in applying salvation to us must be interpreted by God’s word given to us. Failure to do this will only encourage false religious experiences and will rob us of the enriching benefit of truly interpreting and understanding genuine religious experiences.
God has given in Scripture all the necessary information that will help us interpret and understand the blessings He gives when He applies salvation to us. These blessings given in the application of salvation are connected and bound up in the person and work of Christ and they include effectual call, regeneration, conversion, justification, adoption, definitive sanctification, progressive sanctification, completed sanctification (or glorification), preservation and perseverance of the saints, and assurance of salvation.
(Ps 19:7-14; 36:9; 119:97-105; 2Tim 3:16-17; Isa 8:20; 1Cor 14:37-38; 1Thes 5:21-22; Mt 15:14; Acts 17:11; Eph 1:3-14; Rom 8:29-30)
Paragraph B: Effectual Calling
Although God sincerely calls all sinners to repent and believe in the gospel and promises salvation to everyone who believes, yet, He effectually calls only those whom He has chosen from eternity to save by making the gospel come, not in word only, but also in the power of the Holy Spirit. This powerful working of the Holy Spirit removes the sinner’s ethical bias that makes him a truth-suppressor and will enable him to recognize the self-attesting and self-authenticating word of the living God, drawing him most willingly to the Lord Jesus Christ in true repentance and faith.
(Rom 8:29-30; 1Thess 5:23-24; 2Thess 2:13-14; 1Pet 5:10-11; 2Tim 1:8-9; Gal 1:6-7; 1Cor 1:21-24; 1Thes 1:2-5; Rom 9:10-13; 1Cor 1:9; Col 3:15; 1Thes 4:7; Gal 5:13, 5:1-4; 1Pet 2:9, 20-21)
Paragraph C: Regeneration
Regeneration is inseparably connected with God’s effectual call and it is an act of God’s free grace, which is essential if a sinner is ever to become part of God’s kingdom under Messiah. This work of God’s grace, through the instrumentality of God’s word through the agency of the Holy Spirit, is highly mysterious in its operation, and can be known only by its effects. It has a two-fold nature of purifying and vivifying the soul. Just like physical conception and birth, the new birth has both the initial inception of life in the soul and the actual experience of birth at conversion.
(Joh 2:23-3:21; Ezk 36:25-27; Tit 3:4-6; Lk 8:15; 1Joh 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18; 1Pet 1:23, 25b; Jam 1:18; Rom 3:11; 8:7-8; Acts 16:14; Joh 5:39-40; 20:30-31)
Paragraph D: Conversion
Conversion is the sinner’s active response to God’s effectual call and it consists of the two-fold act of repentance towards God and faith in Christ. The ultimate source of conversion, however, is still the powerful working of God’s saving grace.
(Mk 1:14-15; Acts 20:20-21; Ps 51:13; Mk 10:17-27; Joh 6:44; 2Tim 2:24-25; Phil 1:29; Mk 9:23-24)
Repentance includes some sorrow for sin, acknowledging and taking full responsibility for one’s sin and 0turning away from particular sins with the willingness to make restitution whenever possible.; bBut the heart of true repentance is the ending of one’s rebellion against God – forsaking one’s own way and submitting to God’s way and will.
(Lk 13:3-5; 24:45-49; Mt 26:24; 27:3-5; 2Cor 7:9-10; 2Cor 12:21; Ps 51; Ps 32; Is 55:6-7; Acts 22:5-10)
Faith includes knowing the Jesus of the Bible, acknowledging that everything the Bible says about Jesus is true, and trusting in the Jesus of the Bible. It involves particularly trusting in Jesus that His once-for-all sacrifice on Calvary is all the sacrifice one needs to atone for one’s sins, that His righteousness is all the righteousness one needs as the meritorious basis of one’s justification and reconciliation with God, that His power is all the power one needs to live a holy life, to persevere to the end, and for one’s body to be raised from the dead and transformed into a glorious body.
(Rom 10:17; Joh 8:24; Acts 10:43; Heb 9:13-14; 10:1-18; Rom 10:1-4; Phil 4:13; Rom 8:9-11)
Paragraph E: Justification
The sole meritorious basis of a sinner’s justification is the righteous obedience of Christ even unto death, and it is received by faith alone from beginning to end. Thus, the Bible is clear that justification is not by anything done by us, not by any righteousness wrought in us, but it is a gift of God’s grace in Christ through the redemptive work of Christ. Without God’s provision of righteousness in His Son and received by faith alone, no one can ever be declared righteous by God, be reconciled to God, accepted by God, and enjoy the free gift of eternal life. However, the evidential basis of a sinner’s justification is one’s work, which is the inevitable fruit of saving faith.
(Ps 143:2; Isa 66:6; Jer 23:6; 33:16; Rom 1:14-18; 3:19-31; 4:1-8; 5:1-11, 12-18; 8:31-39; 10:1-5; Gal 2:15-16; 3:24; 5:1-4; Phil 3:1-11; Jam 2:14-26; Mat 12:37; 25:31-46)
Paragraph F: Adoption
At conversion, the sinner is not only justified by faith in Christ, but is also adopted into God’s family through faith in Christ. The full experience of this blessing of adoption, however, only takes place at the resurrection when Christ returns. As an adopted child of God, the believer becomes the special object of God’s fatherly protection and provision who is entitled to the family inheritance, and becomes the special object of God’s fatherly discipline or training. Moreover, as God’s adopted children, it is the duty of every believer to trust, respect, submit, and imitate their heavenly Father.
(Joh 1:11-13; 1Jn 3:1-3; Mt 10:29-31; Mat 6:25-26; Lk 11:11-13; Gal 4:6-7; 1Cor 3:21-23; Heb 12:4-11; Mat 5:44-48; Eph 4:32-5:2; 1Pet 1:17-19; Mat 12:48-50; Jam 4:13-16; Mat 7:11; Rom 8:32)
The crowning blessing of adoption is the receiving of the Holy Spirit as God’s gracious gift to all believers
as the pledge of their inheritance. After the glorification of Christ and the ratification of the New
Covenant, the Holy Spirit is given in the fullness of His saving operation to all believers at conversion,
and it is not some second blessing that believers must seek after. However, receiving the Holy Spirit in
the fullness of His saving operations at conversion does not mean that the Holy Spirit’s presence and
influence cannot diminish or increase. Therefore, believers must avoid grieving and quenching the Holy
Spirit. Moreover, believers must continually pray for fresh supplies of the Holy Spirit and continually be
filled with the Holy Spirit.
(Joh 1:11-13; Mk 1:6-8; Joh 7:37-38; Acts 1:4-5; 2:37-39; Eph 1:13-14; Gal 3:1-14; 4:1-7; 1Cor 12:12-20; Eph 4:30; 1Thess 5:19; Eph 5:18; Phil 1:19; Lk 11:13).
Paragraph G: Definitive Sanctification
When a sinner is united to Christ by faith at conversion, he experiences definitive sanctification, which changes his condition from being a sinner to a saint. One the historical basis of Christ’s death and resurrection to life on the third day, the believer through union with Christ at conversion dies to the reign or dominion of sin and is made alive into newness of life. Based on this union with Christ, the believer is no longer in bondage to sin that leads to death. He can now mortify remaining sin by the Holy Spirit, and can truly grow in holiness of life, the outcome of that holiness being the experience of the fullness of eternal life, which is a free gift of God in Jesus Christ.
(1Cor 1:1-3; 1Cor 6:9-11; Acts 276:18; Rom 6:1-23; 8:1-14; 13:11-14; Gal 5:15-17; 6:7-9)
Paragraph H: Progressive Sanctification
Although believers are no longer under the reign of sin, and yet, sin remains in them while still in this present life. Sin as a principle and power still dwells in the soul and the body, and long-developed sinful habits do not change automatically. These factors necessitate the work of progressive sanctification. In this work, both God and the believer are active agents. God wisely calibrates and directs providence for the sanctification of each believer, even as He works beneath the level of the believer’s consciousness to will and to work for His good pleasure. Moreover, the believer must actively do what God commands him to do in His word for his growth in holiness and godliness, using all the God-given means towards that end, and availing of God’s all-sufficient grace in Christ in doing it.
(1Thess 5:23; Heb 13:20-21; Jam 1:2-4; 1Cor 10:13; Joh 17:17; Phil 2:12-13; 2Cor 7:1; Heb 12:14; 1Tim 4:7-8; Rom 8:12-14; Eph 4:20-32; Mat 5:27-30; 2Tiim 2:22; Heb 3:12-13; 4:14-16)
Paragraph I. Completed Sanctification (or Glorification)
In completed sanctification or glorification, God makes perfect the souls of believers at death. Moreover, at the second coming of Christ, He will resurrect and transform their bodies like unto Christ’s glorified body, and will reunite both body and soul to dwell with Him forever and ever in the new heavens and new earth where righteousness dwells. In this glorified state, man will become truly immortal. Death will no longer be even a possibility.
(Heb 12:22-24; 2Cor 3: 18; 1Jn 3:2-4; 2Cor 5:6-9; Lk 23:43; 1Thess 5:23; Phil 3:21; 1Cor 15:35-49)
Paragraph J: Preservation and Perseverance of the Saints See Article II; Section 4
Paragraph K: Assurance of Salvation
Assurance of salvation is the believer’s subjective awareness that he has been united to Christ in the bonds of faith and through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit therefore, he is no longer under condemnation, he has passed from death to life, and he is on his way to glory. Although the Bible warns us of the reality that many have a false kind of assurance of salvation, yet it also teaches that true assurance of salvation is one of the blessings God gives in the application of salvation as a fruit of true saving faith. The foundation of this assurance of salvation is the reflex action of faith that rests solely upon Christ for salvation – that His sacrifice is the only sacrifice one needs to atone for all sins, that His righteousness is all the righteousness one needs as the meritorious basis of one’s justification and acceptance with God, that His power is all the power one needs to grow in holiness, persevere in the Christian life, and for one’s body to be raised and glorified in the future. Other factors that affect assurance of salvation are the existence of evidences of God’s saving work in a person’s life that will clearly show one’s faith is saving and also the confirming witness of the Spirit of adoption in one’s heart that enables a person to recognize subjectively and yet infallibly his sonship.
(Mat 7:21-23; 2Tim 1:12; 2Cor 13:6; 1Joh 5:13; Ps 23:6; Ps 73:26; Rom 5:1-11; Jam 2:19; 1Joh 1:5-7; 1:8-2:2; 2:3-6; 2:9-11; 3:9-10; 4:4-6; 5:1,4; Joh 8:31; Rom 8:12-16; Gal 4:6)
Article V: Baptistic Distinctives
These beliefs and teachings will distinguish the church from episcopalian churches, presbyterian churches, denominational churches, and sacramentalist churches.
Section 1: Separation of State and Church
The church is not above the state in authority, nor is the state above the church in authority. Both stand in equal footing under God with distinct and separate spheres of authority and function delegated by God. The state is a common grace institution from God in order to maintain and encourage justice, liberty, law, order, and peace for all in a society, and therefore, has to be more tolerant of differing religious beliefs and human conduct and more pragmatic in its approach in its policies to accommodate as much as possible, what is the common grace good for all. The church is a saving grace institution that must live in complete submission to the will of its mediatorial King and Priest revealed particularly in the NT Scriptures.
(Rom 13:1-7; Mat 26:51-52; Joh 18:36-37; 2Cor 10:3-6; Eph 6:10-20; Eph 5:22-24; Col 1:18; 1Cor 12:27-28; Eph 4:11-16; Acts 6:1-5; Mt 18:15-18; 1Cor 6:1-8; Acts 16:4; Mt 22:21; Mat 19:3-9; 1Cor 5:9-13; Rom 16:17-19)
Section 2: Local Church Autonomy
There is only one church that is the mother of all churches and is above all other churches – the church in Jerusalem, which was where the living apostles of Jesus were based; that church is the one and only Apostolic See of the universal church. Under this one and only Apostolic See, local churches should avoid isolationism but seek to foster good relations with other local churches and engage in cooperative efforts when a pressing need arises and when such efforts are possible. However, each fully organized local church with a plurality of elders is a complete unit of its own and is answerable and accountable
only to Christ, the Head of the Church. Moreover, each local church must guard against permanent humanly devised organizations that slowly but subtly undermine the autonomy of each local church under the headship of Christ. After the death of all living Apostles of Jesus Christ and NT prophets, the full and final revelation of God in the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ have all been comprehended, summarized, and preserved in the completed NT Scriptures. Recognition and humble submission of a local church to the NT Scripture is the true nature of apostolic succession, and refusal to do so constitutes an apostasy from the Christian faith.
(Eph 2:19-22; 4:11-16; 1Cor 12:28-29; 14:37-38; Acts 15:1-16:5; Rom 16:23; 1Cor 14:23-25; Acts 14:21-23; Tit 1:5-9; Mat 18:15-20; 1Cor 5:4-5; Rev 2:1-3:22; Jud 1:3; Heb 1:1-3; 2Joh 1:9-11; 2:18-20; 4:4-6; 3Joh 1:9-11; Col 2:18-23; 1Tim 4:1-6; 2Tiim 2:2; 3:14-4:8)
Section 3: Rule of Elders in the Church
A church is fully organized only when it has a plurality of biblically qualified elders or overseers or
pastors. These elders serve as rulers or governors of the local church, that the Holy Spirit through the
agency of the church has made them overseers, to pastor the church of Christ, which He purchased with
His own blood. Just like all God-delegated human authority, this rule of elders in order to take care of
the church is both defined and limited by the NT Scriptures.
(Acts 14:21-23; Tit 1:5-9; 1Tim 3:1-14; 5:17-18; 1Pet 5:1-4; Heb 13:7, 17; Mat 15:14; Acts 17:11)
Section 4: Definite and Regenerate Membership
A church must have a definite and definable membership that serves to distinguish between those who belong to the church and those who simply are occasional or regular visitors. This is essential to the proper implementation of directives given in Scriptures for the functioning of a local church. Moreover, only those who have a credible profession of faith in Christ are to be received and retained as members of the church.
(Act 1:15; 2:41-42; 2:46-47; 4:4; 6:1-6; 15:22; Mt 18:16-18; 1Cor 5:9-13; 14:23-25; Room 16:1-2; Acts 15:22,24; Gal 1:1-5; 2Cor 6:14-18; Mt 16:18; Heb 8:7-13; 1Joh 3:10; Mt 3:7-8; Acts 9:26-28)
Section 5: Believers Only Baptism
Water baptism is an initiatory right for membership in the church (Israel under the New Covenant Community), signifying that a person has been washed with the blood of Christ and is no longer to be considered as spiritually unclean, and that the person has been baptized by Christ with the Holy Spirit. Hence, it is only to be administered to those whose profession of faith in Christ is credible and should not be administered to infants and even to minors.
(Mt 3:7-11; Joh 4:1-2; Mt 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42; 5:14; 8:3; 12; 9:2; Lk 23:40-43; 1Cor 1:12-18)
Section 6: Supper of Remembrance
The Lord’s Supper instituted by Christ is the commemorative meal under the New Covenant that replaced the Passover meal – which was the commemorative meal under the Old Covenant. The partaking of the benefits of Christ’s person and work in the meal is not because of some mystical reality that happens to or is present in the elements of the bread and the wine, but because the elements help
us corporeally to remember Christ, and through faith we again partake of Him. Thus, the Lord’s Supper is
not a means of special grace, but it is a special means of the same grace we partake when we think of
Christ and appropriate the benefits of His person and work through faith.
(Heb 7:26-28; 9:11-14; 10:10-14; 2Sam 23:15-17; Lk 22:15-21; 1Cor 11:23-26; 1Cor 10:16-17)