CORE DOCTRINAL POSITIONS
FOR COMMON GROUND CHURCH
We believe that the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is divinely inspired (2Timothy 3:16) – written by human authors who were moved and superintended by the Holy Spirit (2Peter 1:12-16, 20-21). Each writer’s individual personality and experiences characterize the content and presentation of God’s Word. The original manuscripts are without error[i] and are trustworthy in their instruction of truth[ii] (Psalm 119:160; 2Timothy 3:16-17). With faith in God’s providence and a basic understanding of textual criticism, we accept that our present day Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts are reliable copies of the no longer existent originals.
The Holy Bible is comprised of 66 books to form the Word of God – 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 New Testament books. By faith[iii], we accept the Old Testament canon as affirmed by Jesus (Luke 24:44), verified by the Jewish historian, Josephus and deemed closed by the council held in Jamnia[iv]. By faith[v], we accept the affirmation[vi] of the Carthage church council (397 AD) concerning the New Testament biblical canon. The canon of Scriptures are closed – for the Old Testament, with the end of the prophetic period (Luke 16:16) and the New Testament closed with the death of the apostles (John 14:26).
The Scriptures are the wholly sufficient and final authority for guidance and instruction in right living (2Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12). The Bible contains God’s specific written revelation about Himself to His people (Ephesians 3:4-6; 2Timothy 3:16-17). Moreover, the Scriptures are the revelation of Jesus Christ, God’s Son – the second person of the Triune God (John 1:1ff). Both Old and New Testaments reveal the person of Jesus (Luke 24:27) and His love for His people. The true spiritual condition of man, God’s plan for mankind’s salvation and the ultimate fate of the world are made known. One cannot and will not respond to the true message of God’s Word without illumination by the Holy Spirit (1Corinthians 2:10-14, 2Corinthians 3:13-16).
We hold that the Scriptures are to be interpreted literally within a historical and grammatical context. We recognize and understand that believers will interpret some passages differently even when adhering to sound hermeneutic principles.
God is the one true, living God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5; Romans 3:30)[vii]. Yet He is eternally existent in three distinct and equal persons (Matthew 28:19; 2Corinthians 13:14) – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God is One God revealing Himself in three Persons. Each Person deserves to receive our worship. The Trinity is about a Triune God in community – the Father loves the Son (John 17:23-24, 26), the Son loves the Father (John 14:31) and the Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son (John 15:26; Galatians 4:6).
God is three Persons in Community. The importance of the Trinity cannot be understated – the doctrine of the Trinity is fundamental to the practice of our faith.
The Scriptures tell us that God created all things (Genesis 1:1; Job 38:4-20; Isaiah 48:12-13). God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1, Colossians 1:16) out of nothing, ex nihilo (John 1:3).
God has revealed Himself to mankind generally, through nature (Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:20; 2:12, 14-16) and specifically (Psalm 19:7-11; 119:1-4; John 17:6-8). Only through certain specific revelation[viii] (i.e. – the Scriptures, theophanies, angels, prophets, Jesus Christ) can we even begin to comprehend who God is (Matthew 16:17). While we can know God (John 17:6-8, 1John 4:7-8, 5:14), the truth is that we cannot fully know Him (Job 11:7; Romans 11:33; Ephesians 3).
Through specific revelation God’s attributes and character have been made known. These things are cannot be adequately describe in this brief statement. Some of God’s attributes are – love (John 17:23-24, 26; 1John 4:8), holiness (Leviticus 11:44; Isaiah 6:3), eternality (Genesis 21:33; Psalm 90:2; Revelation 1:8), omnipotence (Psalm 139:16), omnipresence (Psalm 139:7-12), truth (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2), omniscience (Psalm 139:1-6, 15-16), immutability (1Samuel 15:29; Malachi 3:6), self-existence (Isaiah 40:13-14); sovereignty (Daniel 4:34-35), mercy (Ephesians 2:4), compassion (Psalm 103:8-13), righteousness (Psalm 11:7) and He, God the Father and the Holy Spirit, is Spirit (John 4:24).
Jesus is the eternal begotten[ix] Son of God the Father (John 1:14, 18) and the second Person of the Trinity (Matthew 28:19; Colossians 1:15). Jesus is equal in essence and nature to the Father (John 10:30) yet distinct from Him (John 14:9-10; Philippians 2:6; Hebrews 1:3). Through Jesus all of Creation came into existence (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17).
Christ has always existed and was existent before His manifestation as Jesus (John 1:1-5). The Old Testament records events when He revealed Himself to men, theophanies (Genesis 18, 32:24-30; Exodus 3:2; Judges 2:1-4; 1Corinthians 10:4).
Jesus took the form of a man (John 1:14; Colossians 2:9) in order to redeem the saints from an eternal death (Ephesians 1:4-7; Hebrews 1:3). Jesus voluntarily yielded independent use of His divine attributes setting aside the prerogatives of His deity but none of his divinity (Philippians 2:7; Colossians 2:9). Yet, He knew He was God (Mark 14:61-64; John 8:58, 10:30). Jesus is both wholly man and wholly God (Galatians 4:4; Philippians 2:7-8)[x].
In the incarnation, Jesus was born to a virgin (Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:34). During Jesus’ earthly ministry, Jesus was the manifestation of God (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3). He chose disciples (Matthew 4:18-22), taught (John 7:14-16), preached (Matthew 4:23); performed miracles (Mark 5:30); and forgave sin (Luke 5:20).
As a man, Jesus was without sin[xi] (2Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 1John 3:5). He fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament prophets (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6; Daniel 9:25), was executed by crucifixion (Luke 23:32), was buried (Luke 23:50-56) and rose from death on the third day (Luke 24:1-7). His resurrection was the proof that God approved Christ’s sacrifice (Romans 4:24-25). All these things were in accordance with Old Testament scripture (1Corinthians 15:3-4).
Jesus died on the cross for mankind (Matthew 1:21) as an atonement for sin[xii] (2Corinthians 5:21, Titus 2:14; Hebrews 1:3, 2:17, 9:15, 22) because without this sacrifice, mankind would be forever separated from God (Hebrews 9:22). Through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, Christians receive eternal life upon mortal death (Hebrews 9:22), a gift (Ephesians 2:8-9) that can never be lost (John 10:28-29).
The Lord Jesus Christ is now seated at the right hand of God (Hebrews 10:12, 12:2) interceding on behalf of His people (Romans 8:34; 1Timothy 2:5) as Advocate and High Priest (Hebrews 7:21-8:6).
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity (Matthew 28:19). He is fully God (Acts 5:3-4) equal in essence and nature to the Father and the Son possessing all the divine attributes (Isaiah 40:13; Zechariah 4:6; Acts 5:3-4; 2Corinthians 3:17-18; Hebrews 9:14) and the personality (Acts 5:3, 8:29; Romans 8:14, 26; Ephesians 4:30) of God. The Holy Spirit is one with the Father and the Son.
God the Spirit works through mankind to accomplish what the Father, Son and Spirit have purposed to take place. The Spirit proceeds from both the Father (John 15:26) and the Son (Galatians 4:6). In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit empowers individuals (Exodus 31:3; Judges 14:6; 1Samuel 10:10). In the New Testament, after Pentecost, the Spirit brings conviction to all (John 16:8-11), and facilitates the worship and prayer of believers (John 16:13-15; Romans 8:26-27).
At the moment of salvation/spiritual birth, every believer possesses the Holy Spirit[xiii] (2Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14). He brings all believers into the Body of Christ (1Corinthians 12:12-13). The Spirit baptizes/gives birth (John 3:5-6), convicts of sin (John 16:8), regenerates (Titus 3:5), indwells (Romans 8:9), teaches (John 14:26), illumines (1Corinthians 2:10, 12-14), moves them toward spiritual maturity (Ephesians 3:16-19) and seals/keeps until the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:30) every believer. Every believer is gifted (Romans 12:6-8, 1Corinthians 12:4-10, 27-30; Ephesians 4:11) by the Spirit for the purpose of building up the local Body of Christ (1Corinthians 12:7, 11; Ephesians 4:7, 11-13; 1Peter 4:10-11).
It is only by the Spirit that we can love, be in relationship with, God (Romans 5:5; 1John 4:16, 19) and others (1John 4:7, 12). Furthermore, it is only through the Spirit that one can comprehend the Word of God (Matthew 13:11; John 14:26; 1Corinthians 2:10-14).
Angels are created spiritual beings (Job 1:6; Ezekiel 10; Hebrews 1:6-7), but they are not God and are not to be worshipped (Colossians 2:18; Revelation 19:10; 22:8-9). They are distinct from man because Jesus’ death was only for humans (Hebrews 2:16). They worship (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 5:11) and serve (Daniel 10:12; Acts 12:23) God, and exercise His judgment (2Kings 19:35; Acts 12:23). They minister to God’s people (1Kings 19:5; Hebrews 1:14).
There are some angels that no longer serve God (Matthew 12:24, 25:41; Jude 6; Revelation 12:7), but Satan. Satan was formerly an angel of the highest order but fell into sin when he considered himself better than God (Ezekiel 28:14-19). he was cast out from heaven (Isaiah 14:15; Revelation 12:9) along with a number of the angels (Revelation 12:7-9).
Satan wars against God (Genesis 3:1-5; Matthew 3:10; Mark 8:33) and the saints (1Peter 5:8) opposing God and the work of Christ. he opposes (1 Thessalonians 2:18) and accuses (Revelation 12:10) the brethren, and seeks to turn people away from God (2Corinthians 4:4). he is defeated (Genesis 3:15; 1Corinthians 15:54-57) and will be cast into eternal punishment (Revelation 20:10). As a created being, Satan only has the power that God allows him to have (Job 1:12, 2:6; Ephesians 2:2).
Man is comprised of material (body/flesh – Genesis 2:7; Luke 24:39) and immaterial (spirit/soul – Genesis 2:7; Numbers 16:22). At death, body and soul are separated (Ecclesiastes 12:7) – the body returns to dust (Genesis 3:19) and the soul goes on to eternal life (Revelation 21:27) or eternal death (Revelation 14:9-11, 20:10, 12-15).
In the Garden of Eden, man and woman fell away from their relationship with God when Eve was deceived and Adam defied God’s command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:1-7, 22). With the exception of Adam and Eve, all humans are born with a sinful nature (Romans 3:23, 5:12, 18-19)[xiv]. This sinful nature prohibits a relationship with God (Romans 3:10-12). Only God can restore the relationship (Romans 3:21-26).
Man and woman were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). The image of God is the love/community found within the Trinity. God (Father, Son and Spirit) desires that man would be in intimate fellowship with Him and with others. God created man to be in relationship with Him. Out of this love, man gives glory to God. God’s original intention for man will be finally achieved when His people are united with Him.
Men and women are equal by nature (Genesis 1:27; 5:1) and spirituality (Galatians 3:26-28) before God. However, by God’s design, there is an established hierarchy of authority that makes their roles distinct (1Corinthians 11:3, 11). God has called men to lead the church (1Timothy 2:12-14, 3:2, 8) and their families (Ephesians 5:22-24). Women are asked to submit to the authority of men (elders and husbands, respectively) in these areas.
Sin is commonly understood as disobedience or missing the mark – failure to do the revealed will of God and/or live according to the Word of God. However, it involves far more than that. Jesus notes that murder and adultery are not confined to the act (Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28) but are found in the attitude of the heart – our motive (Matthew 18:35; Luke 6:45).
If we understand sin to be the attitude or disposition of our heart, then sin would be a heart not inclined to, or in love with, God. Hence, we can understand sin as a love for anything or anyone other than or over God[xv] -- it is a broken relationship between created and Creator. The brokenness of relationship is in direct conflict with what God desires from us – our love (Exodus 6:5; John 14:15, 23-24) and dependence upon Him (Matthew 6:24-33). Behavioral sins are a manifestation of the heart’s autonomous desires.
Mankind’s sin originated[xvi] with Adam (Romans 5:12-19) and it has resulted in death (1Corinthians 15:21-22). All mankind is sinful by nature (Psalm 51:5; Ephesians 2:3) meaning that all have and will commit sin (Romans 3:23). Because of sin (Romans 6:23) no one can comprehend God (Romans 3:10) or meet His high standards (Romans 3:23). All who are unregenerate will fail to pass God’s future judgment (Isaiah 59:2).
Sin has not only marred man’s relationship with God, it has inflicted grievous harm on him, physical and spiritual death, and on the world (Genesis 3:16-19; Romans 8:19-22).
There is nothing a person can do to have right standing before God (Romans 3:28). Salvation by faith in Jesus Christ is the work of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). One is redeemed through the blood of Jesus shed on the cross and not by any human work or merit (Ephesians 1:7; 1Peter 1:18-19).
Sin demands and requires payment (1Corinthians 6:20; Hebrews 9:22) because of God’s holiness. Jesus’ death was an atoning sacrifice[xvii] satisfying the wrath of God[xviii] for mankind’s sin (Hebrews 9:11-15; 1John 4:10). God’s wrath was satisfied by Jesus’ sacrifice (Romans 5:9). The death of Jesus was a substitutional death[xix] (Romans 3:25-26, 8:32; 2Corinthians 5:21; 1Peter 3:18) for mankind through all time (Hebrews 10:10). Jesus’ death provides believers with forgiveness for all sins (past, present and future).
Faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection is the only means by which one can have a relationship with God (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Only those who trust God’s work through Jesus (Ephesians 1:7; 1John 5:11-12) are spiritually born into permanent membership in God’s family (John 10:28-29). Jesus has redeemed (Galatians 3:13), reconciled to God (Romans 5:10-11; 2Corinthians 5:18-19) and justified (Romans 3:24, 28, 4:5, 25) His people, extending to them His righteousness[xx] (Romans 4:24, 5:17; 2Corinthians 5:21). Because the salvation of believers is based on the work of God, they cannot lose their salvation (John 10:27-29). They are eternally secure (Philippians 1:6) and will persevere in the faith.
God offers salvation to all (1Timothy 2:6; 2Peter 2:1; 1John 2:1-2) and desires that all would be saved (John 3:16-17; 1Timothy 2:4), yet only the elect, God’s chosen, are saved (Acts 13:48; Ephesians 1:4, 11; 2Thessalonians 2:13). Because believers have been chosen, they respond to God’s call (Matthew 22:14; John 6:37, 39; Acts 13:48). This response is work of the Spirit – He brings conviction (John 3:5-6, 16:8), regeneration (John 3:3; Titus 3:5), and conversion (John 1:12; Romans 10:9-10) to those who are called to faith. The gift of salvation is received when a person falls in love with God (Romans 5:5; 1John 4:7-10, 19, 5:1-2) allowing them see (2Corinthians 3:15-16) – believing and accepting Jesus as the Christ (Savior) and Lord (Romans 10:9-10).
While God has sanctified His people positionally[xxi] (1 Corinthians 1:30, 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13), we are to conduct ourselves with holiness (2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Peter 1:10). The sanctification of believers is progressive (2Corinthians 3:18) and finds its completion when Jesus returns (1 John 3:2). This sanctification will come to fruition because God has secured us in Christ forever (John 10:28-29; Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:30). When Christ returns the completed sanctification will yield to the glorification of believers (1 Corinthians 15:42-43; Ephesians 5:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Timothy 2:10-12).
At the point of salvation, a believer becomes a part of the Body of Christ, the universal Church (1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 27; Ephesians 4:4, 12) of which Jesus is the Head (Ephesians 4:15, 5:23). The Church is also referred to as a temple (1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:19-22), a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), a flock of sheep (John 10:1-16), and understood to be the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 19:7-9).
The Church is a distinct group (Romans 11:5, 11) of God’s people – Jew or Gentile (Ephesians 2:11-19, 3:6), different from God’s historic chosen people, the nation of Israel (Romans 11:1; 1 Corinthians 10:32) – a mystery not revealed until this age (Ephesians 3:1-6). The Church came into existence at Pentecost (Acts 2). The role of the Church is to love God and our neighbor (Mark 12:28-31). Some of the ways this love is expressed is by bearing witness to God’s love expressed through Jesus (Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 14:24-25; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Ephesians 3:10-11), making disciples (Matthew 28:18-20) and obedience to God (1 John 5:2-3).
Within the universal Church there are geographically local assemblies of believers (1 Corinthians 14:33; Galatians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-16) who gather together regularly (Hebrews 10:25). In this local body there is worship (Acts 2:42; Ephesians 5:19-20; Hebrews 10:22-23), mutual exhortation to be more like Christ through discipline, encouragement, instruction and prayer (1 Corinthians 5:4-5; 12:24-27; Ephesians 4:11-16; Hebrews 10:24-25; James 5:14-16, 19-20) and evangelism (1 Corinthians 14:24-25). In addition, the local body of believers partakes of the ordinances – the Lord’s supper and baptism (Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
As the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ is the final authority over the Church (Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18). Within the local church, Jesus has established biblically qualified offices (elders and deacons) to serve under Christ and over the assembly of believers (Ephesians 4:11; 1 Timothy 3:1-13). These leaders are to proclaim the Word of God to, watch over, guide and direct the church (1 Timothy 5:17, Hebrews 13:7, 17). The congregation is called to submit to the leaders God has placed over them – spiritual (Hebrews 13:7, 12) and civil (Romans 13:1-7; 1Peter 2:13-21).
While spiritual maturity is the work of the Spirit, it comes through involvement in the local church (Ephesians 4:11-13; Titus 2:1-5). God desires that His people would live in community to manifest Christ (1 Corinthians 14:24-25; 1 John 4:7, 20-21) and build up the local Body of Christ through the exercise of spiritual gifts (1Corinthians 12:7, 11; Ephesians 4:7).
Because God is three Persons in Community, the Church is made a part of this relationship by the work and nature of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Further, the Church is encouraged to interact with one another at a level of intimacy that mirrors that of the Trinity.
As a function of our mortality, all are destined to physically die. Then, the Scriptures indicate, there is judgment (Hebrews 9:27). At the time of judgment, God will evaluate our lives (Revelation 20:12, 15). Some will spend eternity with Christ, others will face God’s wrath (John 5:29; Romans 2:6-16) – a second death which is eternal separation from God (Revelation 2:11, 20:14-15). Upon death a believer’s soul is ushered into the presence of the Lord (Luke 23:43; 2Corinthians 5:8; 1Thessalonians 4:14). Unbelievers, at death, literally go to hell until final judgment (1Peter 3:19; Revelation 20:13-15). Because Jesus has been resurrected, there will be a resurrection of the believers’ bodies when Christ returns (1Corinthians 15:20-24, 40-44).
The return of Jesus Christ is imminent although the exact time is unknown (Matthew 24:36, 42, 44; Luke 12:40). In the end, a new earth and heaven will be created (Revelation 21:1), and the New Jerusalem will be established (Revelation 21:2). The saints will be in the company of the Father, Son and Spirit forever (Revelation 21:3-5).
It is our understanding that the local body of believers is to partake in two ordinances – baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 28:19; Acts 8:36-39; 1Corinthians 11:23-26).
Through baptism we identify ourselves with Jesus and share in his death and resurrection (Romans 6:3-6).
With the Lord’s Supper believer’s remember (1Corinthians 11:24) and proclaim (1Corinthians 11:26) Christ’s death, identify themselves with the Lord Jesus and the Body of Christ (John 6:53-56; 1Corinthians 10:16) and anticipate His return (1Corinthians 11:26). While the elements are only representative of the body and blood of Christ, it is a real Communion we partake in so we observe it with reverence and sober self-examination lest we incur judgment (1Corinthians 11:28-31).
DOCTRINAL VIEWS AND APPLICATION OF SPECIFIC ISSUES
ON CHURCH DISCIPLINE
Church discipline is to be exercised according to Matthew 18:15-20 and 1Timothy 5:19-20 (for elders). The goal of discipline is to restore the wayward believer to relationship with God and the Body of Christ. Those administering discipline are to conduct themselves in love, God’s love (Ephesians 4:15; 1John 4:20-21). Church discipline begins proactively assuming that significant relationships exist within the local assembly (Matthew 18:15; 2Corinthians 2:5-11).
ON CHURCH POLITY
We affirm a multiple eldership model for the leadership of the local church. The elders are men who share in the teaching of the Word to (Acts 6:4; 1Timothy 5:17; Titus 1:9) and ministry of prayer for (Acts 6:4; James 5:14-16) the congregation. As shepherds, elders are called, by way of servant leadership, to protect, feed and care for the flock God has set them over.
ON DISPUTABLE ISSUES
(ALCOHOL, SMOKING, R-RATED MOVIES, BIRTH CONTROL, DANCING, MUSIC, ETC…)
The Apostle Paul notes that while permissible, some things are not beneficial (1Corinthians 10:23). Our freedom in Christ gives us a great deal of latitude on what we do, but it is to be tempered by how it may affect others who are not of the same conviction (Romans 14; 1Corinthians 8:9-13, 9:12, 23-33). An individual’s convictions will determine what they can do, with their convictions affirmed by their spiritual maturity. Culture and upbringing can influence one’s convictions without causing transgression.
The issue of abortion is NOT a disputable subject. It is murder (Genesis 9:5-6). Life begins at conception (Psalm 139:13-16) and abortion destroys life. The topic of homosexuality is also NOT a disputable matter. It is a sin that God finds detestable (Leviticus 18:22) yet no more heinous than the other sins mankind commits (Romans 1:29-32; Revelation 22:15).
ON DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE
God hates divorce (Malachi 2:14-16). Divorce defames the character of God because marriage is a reflection of God’s grace and relationship with His people (Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5:25-32). Divorce is permitted in the case of adultery but NOT required (Matthew 19:3-9).
Remarriage is permissible when reconciliation with one’s divorced spouse is no longer possible (they have died or are remarried).
We are called to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). The proclamation of the Word is vital to bringing a person to salvation (Romans 10:17). People can be convicted, by the Spirit, simply through witnessing Christ in the midst of believers assembled together for worship (1Corinthians 14:22-25).
ON SPIRITUAL GIFTS
We maintain that many of the gifts are still in practice. The gifts that have ceased are apostleship[xxii] and prophecy[xxiii] (Ephesians 2:20). Because apostleship is no longer possible, signs, wonders and miracles (2Corinthians 12:12) are no longer in practice (ASSUMING that only apostles manifested these gifts).
The gift of tongues is to be practiced only when there is someone who can provide interpretation (1Corinthians 14:27-28). To speak in tongues is to speak in another human language unknown to the speaker (Acts 2:4-11).
ON WOMEN IN MINISTRY
There are distinct roles outlined by God concerning men and women. As such, while women may be qualified to fulfill the role of an elder in the church, they refrain from doing so because of God’s hierarchical design (1Corinthians 11:3; 1Timothy 2:12, 3:2, 8, 12; Titus 1:6). Need and/or expedience are not an excuse to circumvent this plan of authority.
[iii] Faith that the Scriptures early Judaism recognized as canon was divinely appointed by God.
[iv] The two councils held in Jamnia (also known as Yavneh) in 90 AD and 118 AD.
[v] Faith that God led the early church fathers to affirm some texts and exclude others, incorporating standards for canonicity – apostolicity, orthodoxy (theological and ethical consistency), catholicity, inspiration/authority and antiquity
[vi] As asserted by Athanasius in 367 AD.
[vii] We believe there is a first Cause of that which exists and this being is infinite, necessary, eternal, simple, unchangeable and one (Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology, 30). The God of the Scriptures is this Being.
[viii] When God chooses to make Himself known to mankind.
[ix] That Jesus is begotten of the Father only refers to a subordination that is “administrative.” As noted, Jesus is an equal to the Father. The “roles/delineation” of the Father, Son and Spirit are a temporary, functional subordination. Neither their status nor essence changes. (Millard Erickson, Christian Theology, 338.)
[x] hypostatic union – fully divine AND fully human
[xi] impeccability – impossible to commit sin
[xii] of the elect
[xiii] indwelt and sealed
[xiv] Sin is both inherited (biological) and imputed (legal – charged to us even though Adam “did it”).
[xv] Ultimately, the definition of sin can be reduced to “love for the created and not for the Creator.” It reveals itself in a life that is independent of God.
[xvi] Sin is inherited and imputed.
[xvii] Because was sinless, He was a perfect, unblemished sacrifice (Hebrews 9:14).
[xix] vicarious atonement (substitutionary reparation) – Jesus took our place subjecting Himself to God’s wrath
[xx] imputed righteousness – because we are in Christ we are made righteous, possess His righteousness
[xxi] we are immediately justified
[xxii] Those who have seen Christ (Acts 1:21-22) versus the notion of planting churches.
[xxiii] Where prophecy is foretelling of future events versus simply telling the truth.