These are the foundational belief of Shatter the Darkness, the Ragged Edge, Preemption Broadcast and all of our ministry. These statements represent the beliefs of Russ Dizdar and any and all recognized Shatter the Darkness workers/volunteers.
1. The Word of God, the Bible both Old and New Testaments are the very living words of God... as given and preserved by the Holy Spirit. The Word of God is infallible, inerrant and the only authoritative standard/scripture or word God has given
2. God is One but triune in nature. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. God is Eternally One but also Triune by biblical definition only-Trinity). God is everlasting, Immortal, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient and all that the scriptures reveal about God.
3. That Jesus Christ is God in Human flesh, that He is Savior and Lord over the world. Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, fulfill OT scripture, spoke the words of God and did the works of God. Jesus Christ was nailed to the Cross shedding His blood and giving His life for the sum total of humanity. Jesus died, was buried and rose from the dead just as the scripture prophesied and do declare. Jesus is the Only Savior of the world and is Head of His Body the Church. Jesus is coming again to rule and reign
4. Salvation is by repenting and putting your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Salvation is by faith and not works and when a person repents and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ the Spirit of God is given to dwell in the new believer. Thus a person is Born Again by the power of God and the living Christ comes to live inside them. All believers should in obedience to the Word of God be baptized in water to proclaim their faith in Christ. Baptism does not save you but is a visible way of delcaring the salvation you already have by faith in Christ.
5. The Holy Spirit is God, He comes to live in the believer who receives Christ as Savior and Lord. We are to be filled/clothed with the Power of the Holy Spirit and live a Spirit Filled life. The Spirit of God indwells the believer and the full body of Christ worldwide, He guides, teaches, helps, empowers, gives spiritual gifts, reminds, leads and convicts the world of sin-righteousness and judgment.
6. The Church is the Body of Christ made up of all believers in Christ and are by the Holy Spirit baptized into the Body of Christ at the moment of Salvation. The Church is mainly seen in Scripture as physical visible local 'churches' that are to be under the Lordship of Jesus the Head, indwelt by the Spirit of God, and living in obedience to Christ by the Word of God. The Body of Christ (the Church) is to be a witness to the world in love and truth, is to be in mission reaching the world for Christ (world evangelization) and is to teach, disciple all believers equipping them into the full ministry of Christ.
7. That spiritual warfare is central to the life of the believer and the Church. That all believers should be taught spiritual warfare awareness, have on the full armor of God, to know their authority in Christ and to be involved in battling satan and demons and in ministry expelling demons from the demonized as needed. That equipped in Biblical spiritual warfare leads the believer and the Church to gain victory and fullness in Christ.
8. That all spiritual gifts are to be received and used as from the beginning of the Church. That all spiritual gifts and all powerful workings from the Holy Spirit should be welcomed and all done in harmony with the Word of God. That we should be aware of counterfeit works/counterfeit gifts. wrong uses of gifting must be corrected and all counterfeit by masquerading demons are to be discerned, exposed and rejected. That purity in life, words and ministry must be sought.
9. That the end of days can and should be understood by the Body of Christ and that living in light of Biblical prophecy is urgent for the times we are living in. That all Biblical prophecy should be use to empower, purify, build up the believer in Christ and help the believer to better witness/evangelize the world.
10. That Christ is coming again and will come to catch up (glorify) the Body of Christ to be with Him and then to come visibly as revealed in Revelation 19. That the second coming of Christ will end the reign of evil and end fallen world history. Christ shall come to rule and reign for 1000 years and then the great white throne Judgment will occur.
11. That all believers in Christ are to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ doing good works, being a witness to the world and living lives that honor Christ. All believers will appear before the judgment seat of Christ. All believers are to seek to grow in Christ, learn the Word of God, seek fellowship with other believers and live lives that are an example to the world.
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Here is another good statement of faith Russ would hold too:
I. The Scriptures
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.
There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
A. God the Father
God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Saviour, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God's creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.
A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.
Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.
B. Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.
C. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God's purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person's life.
D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.
Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.
All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7,19-22; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31ff.; Matthew 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22,31; 25:34; Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48; John 1:12-14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45,65; 10:27-29; 15:16; 17:6,12,17-18; Acts 20:32; Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7,26-36; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 15:24-28; Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11; Colossians 1:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10,19; Hebrews 11:39-12:2; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:2-5,13; 2:4-10; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:19; 3:2.
VI. The Church
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.
The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper.
The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.
Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26; Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12.
VIII. The Lord's Day
The first day of the week is the Lord's Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord's Day should be commensurate with the Christian's conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:1-12; 28:1ff.; Mark 2:27-28; 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-3,33-36; John 4:21-24; 20:1,19-28; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5-10; I Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16; 3:16; Revelation 1:10.
IX. The Kingdom
The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God's will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.
Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 3:2; 4:8-10,23; 12:25-28; 13:1-52; 25:31-46; 26:29; Mark 1:14-15; 9:1; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:2; 12:31-32; 17:20-21; 23:42; John 3:3; 18:36; Acts 1:6-7; 17:22-31; Romans 5:17; 8:19; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 11:10,16; 12:28; 1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:13; Revelation 1:6,9; 5:10; 11:15; 21-22.
X. Last Things
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.
XI. Evangelism and Missions
It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man's spirit by God's Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.
Christianity is the faith of enlightenment and intelligence. In Jesus Christ abide all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. All sound learning is, therefore, a part of our Christian heritage. The new birth opens all human faculties and creates a thirst for knowledge. Moreover, the cause of education in the Kingdom of Christ is co-ordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence, and should receive along with these the liberal support of the churches. An adequate system of Christian education is necessary to a complete spiritual program for Christ's people.
In Christian education there should be a proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility. Freedom in any orderly relationship of human life is always limited and never absolute. The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or seminary is limited by the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative nature of the Scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for which the school exists.
God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer's cause on earth.
Christ's people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ's Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ's people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.
All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.
Exodus 20:3-17; Leviticus 6:2-5; Deuteronomy 10:12; 27:17; Psalm 101:5; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 8:16; Matthew 5:13-16,43-48; 22:36-40; 25:35; Mark 1:29-34; 2:3ff.; 10:21; Luke 4:18-21; 10:27-37; 20:25; John 15:12; 17:15; Romans 12-14; 1Corinthians 5:9-10; 6:1-7; 7:20-24; 10:23-11:1; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Philemon; James 1:27; 2:8.
XVI. Peace and War
It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ they should do all in their power to put an end to war.
The true remedy for the war spirit is the gospel of our Lord. The supreme need of the world is the acceptance of His teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love. Christian people throughout the world should pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 2:4; Matthew 5:9,38-48; 6:33; 26:52; Luke 22:36,38; Romans 12:18-19; 13:1-7; 14:19; Hebrews 12:14; James 4:1-2.
XVII. Religious Liberty
God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.
Genesis 1:27; 2:7; Matthew 6:6-7,24; 16:26; 22:21; John 8:36; Acts 4:19-20; Romans 6:1-2; 13:1-7; Galatians 5:1,13; Philippians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; James 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12-17; 3:11-17; 4:12-19.
XVIII. The Family
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.
Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.
The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.
Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.
Here is another Doctrine statement that Russ Dizdar holds to
The Evangelical Friends Church - Eastern Region presents its Statement of Doctrine in the following Statement of Faith.
101 We believe in one1 eternal,2 omnipresent,3 unchanging,4 personal5 God; perfect in holiness,6 wisdom,7 love,8 power,9 and justice10 without preceding cause or beginning;11 creator12 and preserver13 of all things, visible and invisible.
102 He exists as one divine being and yet as a trinity of three distinct persons, identical, inseparable, and equal in divinity, power and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.14
103 God revealed Himself in the past in many and various ways, though supremely in the person of Jesus Christ.15 He continues to reveal Himself today through His creation,16 the Holy Scriptures,17 and the workings of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of people.18
104 He alone is worthy of our worship, honor, praise and thanksgiving, now and forevermore.19 __________________
1Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29 2Psalm 90:1-2; Romans 1:20 3Psalm 139:7-12 4James 1:17; Malachi 3:6 5John 14:9 6Isaiah 6:3; I Peter 1:15-16 7Romans 11:33 8I John 4:8 9I Chronicles 29:11-12; Isaiah 40:26-28; Ephesians 1:18-20 10Psalm 89:14; Romans 3:26 11Psalm 93:2 12Genesis 1:1; Romans 11:36 13Psalm 104:27-30; Colossians 1:16-17 14Matthew 28:19; John 14:16, 18, 23; II Corinthians 13:14 15Hebrews 1:2; John 1:18 16Romans 1:19-20 17II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:21 18Acts 8:29; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6-10 19Galatians 1:5 _________________
110 JESUS CHRIST
111 We believe that Jesus Christ, the Word who was with God and was God,1 is the only begotten Son of God.2 He was conceived by the Holy Spirit3 and born of the Virgin Mary4 and is the express image of the invisible God.5 He combines within Himself both the divine nature of God and human nature in one perfect indivisible personality, the God-man.6
112 He lived and suffered in the world to show the Way of Life.7 He was crucified and died as the atonement for the sins of the whole world,8 making the only provision whereby people can find forgiveness of sins and cleansing from all unrighteousness.9
113 He died in our place10 and was raised the third day for our justification;11 He ascended into heaven12 and sits at the right hand of God, ever living as our only Mediator and High Priest making intercession
for us,13 and from there will return again to receive His church unto Himself14 and to judge the world in righteousness.15 __________________
1John 1:1-2; Colossians 1:16-17 2John 1:18; I John 4:9 3Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:35 4Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:34 5Colossians 1:15 6John 1:14; Colossians 2:9 7John 14:6; Romans 5:10; Ephesians 5:2; I Peter 2:21 8Romans 3:23-25; I John 2:2 9Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:13-14; Titus 2:14 10I Corinthians 15:4; I John 4:10 11Romans 4:25; I Corinthians 15:4 12Acts 1:9; Ephesians 4:8 13Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 9:24 14I Thessalonians 4:15-17 15Romans 2:16; II Timothy 4:1 ___________________
120 THE HOLY SPIRIT
121 We believe in the Holy Spirit, not as an impersonal principle or influence, but as a divine person,1 and though distinct from the Father and Son, proceeding from both,2 with whom He is equal in authority, power, glory, and titles.3
122 He is the divine agent in conviction of sin,4 regeneration,5 sanctification,6 and the believers' assurance.7
123 He is given as an indwelling Presence to every believer to be a teacher,8 guide,9 and source of comfort.10 He purifies the heart of the believer11 and imparts at His own choosing spiritual gifts for service and the building up of the body of Christ.12 He produces in believers the fruit of the Spirit13 so that they may conform to the image of Christ. __________________
131 As with early Friends, we believe that all Scripture,1 both of the Old and New Testaments, is given by inspiration of God, without error in all that it affirms,2 and is the only infallible rule of faith and practice.3 It is fully authoritative and trustworthy, fully sufficient for all believers now and always,4 and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness.5
132 Thus, the declarations contained in it rest on the authority of God Himself,6 and there can be no appeal from them to any other authority whatever. They are the only divinely authorized record of the doctrines which we are bound as Christians to believe,7 and of the moral principles which are to regulate our behavior.8 Only such doctrines as are contained in the Scripture can be regarded as Articles of Faith.9 The Holy Spirit, who inspired the Scripture, must ever be its true interpreter.10 Whatever any person says or does which is contrary to the Scripture, though under profession of the guidance of the Spirit, must be reckoned and accounted a delusion.11
133 The Scripture demands of believers complete obedience12 and is made increasingly open to those who study and obey it.13 __________________
1II Timothy 3:16 2Psalm 19:7-11 3Psalm 119:4, 105 4Psalm 119:89; I Peter 1:25 5II Timothy 3:16-17 6I Thessalonians 2:13 7Romans 1:16-17 8Psalm 119:9 9John 17:17 10John 14:26; 16:13; II Peter 1:21 11II Peter 1:20; I John 4:1 12Psalm 119:4; I Corinthians 4:2 13I Corinthians 2:4-5, 12 __________________
141 We believe creation to be that free act of the triune God,1 the Father,2 Son,3 and Holy Spirit,4 by which in the beginning and for His own glory5 God made, without use of pre-existing material,6 the whole visible and invisible universe.7 __________________
151 We believe in the existence of the Evil One, ?that old serpent which is the Devil, and Satan,?1 the old deceiver who by his own choice rebelled against God2 and became evil, who tempted our first parents to sin,3 and who through their disobedience brought about the fall of the human race,4 with all its attendant degeneracy, unhappiness, and misery.5
152 Satan demonstrated his evil character and purpose in his perpetual opposition to Christ by the temptations in the wilderness,6 and to His people and to His kingdom.7 But Satan's power is limited,8 and in God's own time he will be chained and finally cast into the lake of fire.9
153 While Satan is active in this world, Christians through the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them are able to resist Satan's temptations and have victory over him.10 __________________
1Revelation 20:2 2Revelation 12:7-9 3Genesis 3:1-6; II Corinthians 11:3 4Romans 5:12, 15-19 5Genesis 3:17-19; Romans 8:18-22 6Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-15 7II Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2 8Job 1:12; 2:6; I Corinthians 10:13 9Revelation 20:1-3, 10 10I Corinthians 10:13; I Peter 5:8-11; I John 4:4 ___________________
161 The Creation: We believe that by a definite act God created man and woman in His own image, holy and capable of knowing and obeying God's will, in order to glorify God and enjoy His fellowship forever.1
162 The Fall: We believe that Adam and Eve fell from this original state by a voluntary act of disobedience,2 thus suffering the immediate loss of a perfect relationship with God3 and making self the center of their lives. By this act, they suffered spiritual death, and sin entered the world and death by sin, so that death passed upon all.4
163 We further believe that as a consequence of the Fall, all people are born with a nature which is thoroughly sinful5 and not subject to the law of God, so that only through the operation of the grace of God can they repent and call upon Him. However, by God's grace infants are not under condemnation but are heirs of salvation.6 __________________
171 We affirm the truth of John 14:6 that salvation can only be found through faith in Jesus Christ. We believe that by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,1 through the direct and immediate agency of the Holy Spirit,2 persons may be reconciled to God and recovered from their fallen state through justification,3 regeneration,4 sanctification,5 and ultimately the resurrection of the body.6
172 Justification: In response to sinners' repentance, surrender of themselves, and sincere faith in the power and sufficiency of Jesus' atoning death and shed blood,7 God pardons them from past sins and declares them righteous, not for anything they have done but because of the obedience and atoning death of Christ.8
173 Regeneration: In response to sinners' repentance, surrender of themselves, and sincere faith in the power and sufficiency of Jesus' atoning death and shed blood, God also by His gracious power makes them new creatures.9 By the Holy Spirit they are born again into the family of God10 to a new life of love to God and to people.11 Their minds are enlightened to understand His truth,12 and their wills are renewed to do His will,13 as He begins to conform them to His image. The evidence of this regeneration of the believer is the fruit of the Spirit.14
174 Sanctification: We believe that children of God at the moment of their conversion do receive the Holy Spirit.15 As they trust in Him and obey His will, they manifest more and more of the fruit of the Spirit, conform more and more to the likeness of God, and thus are being continuously sanctified.16
175 It is also the will of God that believers receive the fullness of the Spirit,17 which He will graciously grant in response to their full consecration to His will and their faith in Christ's promises and in His atoning death.18 Sanctification is thus a process in which the Holy Spirit continuously disciplines the believer into paths of holiness and an act in which He cleanses the heart from an imperfect relationship and state.19
176 We further believe that the fullness of the Holy Spirit does not make believers incapable of choosing to sin, nor even from completely falling away from God, yet it so cleanses and empowers them as to enable them to have victory over sin, to endeavor fully to love God and people, and to witness to the living Christ.20 __________________
1Galatians 1:3-5; Ephesians 2:8-9 2John 3:5; Romans 5:5 3Romans 4:25; 5:1; Titus 3:7 4Colossians 3:9-11; Titus 3:5 5II Thessalonians 2:13; I Peter 1:2 6I Corinthians 15:20-22 [see #191 and 192] 7Ephesians 1:7; I John 1:8-2:2 8Romans 3:23-26; II Corinthians 5:20-21 9II Corinthians 5:17 10Romans 8:14-16 11John 3:3; I John 4:7-21 12John 16:12-15; Romans 12:1-2 13I John 2:17 14Galatians 5:22-23 15John 3:5-8; Romans 8:14-17; I Corinthians 12:13 16Galatians 5:22-25 17Acts 2:38-39; Ephesians 3:14-19; 5:18; I Thessalonians 5:23-24 18Romans 8:5; 12:1-2 19John 17:17; Romans 6:1-2, 22-23; Acts 15:8-9 20II Corinthians 7:1; II Peter 2:20-22; Acts 1:8 ___________________
180 THE CHURCH
181 We believe that the church is made up of all those from the apostles until now,1 both the triumphant dead and the living,2 who through response to God's gracious offer of salvation3 by repentance of their sins4 and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior5 have been born again6 as new creatures in Christ.7 This church is spiritual in nature,8 universal in scope,9 holy in character,10 and redemptive in its life and purpose.11
182 Its purposes are to make disciples of all nations by its witness to the grace and love of God12 and to live as a loving fellowship who build up one another in the grace and knowledge of God.13
183 The church accomplishes these purposes by its existence as particular local congregations gathered out of the world14 and as associations of congregations in larger organizations15 under the leadership and service of those called and gifted to such service.16 It worships in prayer,17 thanksgiving,18 and song;19 diligently studies the Word of God;20 witnesses to and proclaims the gospel of God's Son;21 exercises the gifts of the Spirit;22 administers discipline;23 and performs works of blessing and service both physical and spiritual to its members and to all in need.24 __________________
1Matthew 16:18 2I Thessalonians 4:14-17 3Ephesians 2:8-9 4II Chronicles 7:14; Mark 1:14-15; Acts 2:38 5John 1:12; Romans 5:1 6John 3:3 7II Corinthians 5:17 8John 4:23-24; I Peter 2:5 9I Corinthians 12:12-27; Hebrews 12:22-24 10Psalm 24:3-4; Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 19:7-8 11Luke 24:46-48 12Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8 13Acts 2:41-47; Ephesians 4:11-16 14I Corinthians 1:2; Acts 11:22; I Thessalonians 1:1 15Romans 16:4, 16; I Corinthians 16:19; II Corinthians 8:1; Galatians 1:2, 22-23 16Ephesians 4:11-13; Hebrews 13:17 17Isaiah 56:7; Luke 19:45-46; I Thessalonians 5:17; James 5:13-16 18Psalm 100:1-4; Philippians 4:6; I Thessalonians 5:18 19Psalm 100:2; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16 20Acts 17:10-11; Colossians 3:16; I Peter 2:2-3 21Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8 22I Corinthians 12:7-11; Ephesians 4:11-13; II Timothy 1:6 23Matthew 18:15-17; II Corinthians 2:5-8; Galatians 6:1 24Matthew 25:34-40; John 13:12-17 ___________________
190 LAST THINGS
191 We believe that upon death the mortal body returns to the dust from which it came.1 The spirits of the righteous will experience joy and life in the presence of God, but the unrighteous will be separated from His presence in the darkness and torment of their evil.2
192 We believe in the literal and personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth at a time not revealed.3 At His return the righteous dead will be raised and the righteous living will be changed to their glorification in bodies like their Lord's glorious resurrected body - bodies which they possessed in earthly life but now with glorified, heavenly qualities. The unrighteous will also be resurrected for the final judgment.4
193 We believe that Christ will consummate His kingdom over all people and nations by His final triumph over Satan.5
194 We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ will finally judge all persons of their belief in Him as demonstrated by commitment of their lives to the way of the cross; the lost to everlasting punishment and the redeemed to eternal blessing and life.6 ________________
1Genesis 3:19; Psalm 103:14-16; Ecclesiastes 12:6-7 2Luke 16:19-31; 23:39-43 3Matthew 24:42-44; John 14:3; I Thessalonians 4:15-18 4Romans 6:5; Philippians 3:21; John 5:28-29; Revelation 21:1-8 5I Corinthians 15:20-26; Philippians 2:9-11; Revelation 20:10-15 6Matthew 25:31-46; II Corinthians 5:10