|with a few of our comments
Holy Spirit, equal in power and glory.
WE BELIEVE that God’s kingdom is everlasting. From His throne, through His Son, His eternal Word, God created, upholds, and governs all that exists, the heavenly places, the angelic hosts, the universe, the earth, every living thing and mankind. God created all
things very good.
WE BELIEVE that Satan, originally a great, good angel, rebelled against God, taking a host of angels with him. He was cast out of God’s presence and, as a usurper of God’s rule established a counter-kingdom of darkness and evil upon the earth.
WE BELIEVE that God created mankind in His image, male and female, for relationship with Himself and to govern the earth. Under the temptation of Satan, our original parents fell from grace, bringing sin, sickness, and God’s judgement of death to the earth. Through the fall, Satan and his demonic hosts gained access to God’s good creation. Creation now experiences the consequences and effects of Adam’s original sin. Human beings are born in sin, subject to God’s judgement of death and captive to Satan’s kingdom of darkness.
WE BELIEVE that God did not abandon His rule over the earth which He continues to uphold by His providence. In order to bring redemption, God established covenants which revealed His grace to sinful people. In the covenant with Abraham, God bound Himself to His people Israel, promising to deliver them from bondage to sin and Satan and to bless all the nations through them.
WE BELIEVE that as King, God later redeemed His people, by His mighty acts, from bondage in Egypt and established His covenant through Moses, revealing His perfect will and our obligation to fulfill it. The law’s purpose is to order our fallen race and to make us conscious of our moral responsibility. By the work of God’s Spirit, it convicts us of our sin and God’s righteous judgement against us and brings us to Christ alone for our salvation.
WE BELIEVE that when Israel rejected God’s rule over her as King, God established the monarchy in Israel and made an unconditional covenant with David, promising that his heir would restore God’s kingdom reign over His people as Messiah forever.
WE BELIEVE that in the fullness of time, God honored His covenant with Israel and His prophetic promises of salvation by sending His only Son Jesus into the world. Conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, as fully God and fully man in one person. He is
humanity as God intended us to be. Jesus was annointed as God’s Messiah, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, inaugurating God’s kingdom reign on earth, overpowering the reign of Satan by resisting temptation, preaching the good news of salvation, healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead. Gathering His disciples, He reconstituted God’s people as His Church to be the instrument of
His kingdom. After dying for the sins of the world, Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day, fulfilling the convenant of blessing given to Abraham. In His sinless, perfect life Jesus met the demands of the law and in His atoning death on the cross He took God’s judgement for sin which we deserve as law-breakers. By His death on the cross He also disarmed the demonic powers. The covenant with David was fulfilled in Jesus’ birth from David’s house, His Messianic ministry, His glorious ressurection from the dead, His ascent into heaven and His present rule at the right hand of the Father. As God’s Son and David’s heir, He is the eternal Messiah-King, advancing God’s reign throughout every generation and throughout the whole earth today.
WE BELIEVE that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Jesus Christ and that He is our abiding Helper, Teacher, and Guide. We believe in the filling or empowering of the Holy Spirit, often a conscious experience, for ministry today. We believe in the present ministry of the Spirit and in the exercise of all the biblical gifts of the Spirit. We practice the laying on of hands for the empowering of the Spirit, for healing, and for recognition and empowering of those whom God has ordained to lead and serve the Church.
Jesus only personally gave miraculous powers to his Twelve Apostles (Matthew 10:1-4). Once the church began, early Christians “…devoted themselves to the apostles’ teachings….Many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the Apostles” (Acts 2:42-43). Peter and John saw a cripple, then Peter healed him (Acts 3:3-8) and the people rushed to Peter and John who then taught them (Acts 4:1-4). Then in Acts 5:12-14 the Apostles “performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people” and “more and more men and women believed”.
II Corinthians 12:12 lists, “the things that mark an apostle ~ signs, wonders, and miracles.”
1. Philip was the first non-Apostle listed who “preached the good news” to non-believers, working “great signs and miracles.” Back in Acts 6:5-7, the Apostles “prayed and laid their hands on” Philip and six others.
2. Later Paul was made an Apostle directly by Jesus who taught him 3 years (Galatians 1:11, 17-18). Apostles Paul and Barnabas preached to non-believers “boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and
wonders” (Acts 14:3).
3. Later the Apostle Paul wrote the church in Rome saying, “I long to see you so that I may import to you some spiritual gift” (Romans 1:11). And in 15:17-19 he referred to his “leading the [unbelieving] Gentles to obey God by what I have said and done, by the power of signs and miracles.”
In I Corinthians 13:8-9 Paul warned, “Where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled, where there is [inspired] knowledge, it will pass away….” By the time Hebrews was written ~ after most of the inspired New Testament had been written ~ miracles were becoming a thing of the past: “God also testified [past tense] to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will” (Hebrews 2:4).
The miracles included healing the maimed ~ peoplemissing hands or feet, arms or legs (Matthew 15:30-31) and raising the dead (Acts 20:9-10). WE BELIEVE that the Holy Spirit inspired the human authors of Holy Scripture so that the Bible is without error in the original manuscripts. We receive the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments as our final and absolute authority, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.
WE BELIEVE the whole world is under the domination of Satan and that all people are sinners by nature and choice. All people therefore are under God’s just judgement. Through the preaching of the Good News of Jesus and the Kingdom of God and the work of the Holy Spirit, God regenerates, justifies, adopts, and sanctifies through Jesus by the Spirit all who repent of their sins, and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. By this they are released from Satan’s domain and enter into God’s kingdom reign.
WE BELIEVE in the one, holy, universal Church. All who repent of their sins and confess Jesus as Lord and Savior are regenerated by the Holy Spirit and form the living Body of Christ, of which He is the head and of which we are all members.
WE BELIEVE that Jesus Christ committed two ordinances to the Church: water baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Both are available to all believers.
WE BELIEVE that God’s kingdom has come in the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, that it continues to come in the ministry of the Spirit through the Church, and that it will be consummated in the glorious, visible and triumphant appearing of Christ – His return to the earth as King.
I Thessalonians 4:16-17 explains, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and with dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be CAUGHT UP TOGETHER WITH THEM IN THE CLOUDS TO MEET THE LORD IN THE AIR. And so we will be with the Lord FOREVER.Jesus will nev er set foot on earth again.
After Christ returns to reign, He will bring about final defeat of Satan and all of his minions and works, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgement and the eternal blessing of the righteous and eternal conscious punishment of the wicked. Finally, God will be all in all and His kingdom, His rule and reign, will be fulfilled in the new heavens and the new earth, recreated by His mighty power, in which righteousness dwells and in which He will be forever worshipped.
This “final defeat of Satan” refers to Satan being bound 1000 years and then loosed (Revelation 20:1-3). However, Revelation is full of symbolism ~ especially the numbers. If we take this 1000 years literally, we must take literally that only 144,000 people are going to be saved (Revelation 14:1). That’s only 24 people a year saved (if the history of civilization is 6000 years old); meaning that only 2 people each year who die get to go to heaven.
But, if we see all the numbers in Revelation symbolically, we see that 10 used symbolically in the Bible always means all-inclusive. 1000 is 10 x 10 x 10. In that case, after all-inclusive years X all-inclusive years X all-inclusive years (eternity) Satan will be loosed; i.e., Satan will never be loosed. How reassuring!