Doctrines of Grace Bible Fellowship
The Doctrines of Grace Bible Fellowship
1. The Bible:
The Bible is the written Word of God, the perfect treasure of divine instruction and is the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions will be tried. (Ex. 24:3; Deut. 4:1-2; Ps. 19:7-11; 119:11, 89, 105, 140; Isa. 34:16; 40:8; Luke 24:44-46; John 16:13-15; Rom. 16:25-26). The original manuscripts of the Bible have the quality of being inspired, breathed-out by God, in that the truth they presented was the inerrant Word of God and infallibly correct in expressing His intended message (2 Tim. 3:16). The inspiration of the autographs is both verbal and plenary. Verbal inspiration extends the quality of inerrancy to the individual words in their grammatical structure, syntax, and literary context. Plenary inspiration extends the quality of inerrancy to the whole Scripture as well as to every part of Scripture. Only the autographs possess the quality of inspiration; copies and translations which accurately reproduce the original manuscripts are also reliable and trustworthy, having the authority of being the Word of God. Illumination describes the means by which, when properly interpreted through valid hermeneutics, the Holy Spirit applies the truth of Scripture to the life of the believer (Eph. 1:17-19). The Word of God is active and living in its ability, through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, to transform and change the believer's life (2 Tim. 3:15; Heb. 4:12).
2. The Trinity:
God is triune. There is but one God, infinite, eternal, almighty, and perfect in holiness, truth, and love (Gen. 17:1; Deut. 6:4; Ps. 145:3; Isa. 44:6-8; 57:15; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; 1 John 4:8). God is one in essence but eternally existent in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who are co-existent, and co-eternal (Mt. 3:16-17; 28:19; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; 2 Cor. 13:14). Each has precisely the same nature, attributes, and perfections, and each worthy of precisely the same worship, confidence, and obedience. One God-the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-is the foundation of Christian faith and life (John 14:23-25; 15:26; 16:13-15).
3. God the Father:
God the Father, the first person of the Trinity, orders and disposes all things according to his own purpose and grace. He is the Creator of heaven and earth (Gen. 1:1; Ps. 33:9; Heb. 11:3). By His Word, all things were made and through the same Word, He daily sustains all of His creation (Ps. 147:13; Jn 1:3; 3:16, 10; Rom. 8:28; Col. 1:15-17; Heb. 1:2-3). He made man for fellowship with Himself and intended that all creation should live to the praise of His glory (Rom. 11:33-36; Rev. 4:11). As Creator, this triune God created the universe apart from any pre-existing materials. He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass, and continually upholds, directs and governs all things. As the absolute and perfect ruler of the universe He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption.
4. The Son:
Jesus Christ is eternally the Son of God. He is fully God and fully man; the only Savior for sins of the world (John 1:1; 20:28; Col. 1:19; 1 Tim. 2:5-6; Heb. 2:14-18). He was the Word made flesh; supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit; born of the Virgin Mary; and was perfect in nature, teaching, and obedience (Mt. 1:18, 22-23; Luke 1:35; John 1:14; 8:29). Jesus Christ 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 died on the Cross as the vicarious sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. He rose from the dead in His own glorified body, ascended into heaven, was exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator between God and man, and will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission (John 19:33-37; 20:20; Acts 1:9-11; Rom. 4:24-25; 1 Cor. 15:1-3; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Thes. 4:16-17; 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 John 2:2;). He is the Head of His Body the Church, and Victor over all the powers of darkness. He reigns at the right hand of God the Father (Col. 1:18; 2:15; Heb. 1:3-4).
5. The Holy Spirit:
The Holy Spirit, the Third Person in the blessed Trinity, is the Lord and Giver of life, convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment; unites man to Jesus Christ in faith; brings about the New Birth; and dwells within the regenerate, producing in them the fruit of the Holy Spirit, thus enabling them to grow in sanctification (John 3:5; 15:8-10; Rom. 8:9-11; 1 Cor. 6:19; 12:13; 2 Cor. 3:17-18; Gal. 5:22-23;). The Holy Spirit inspired prophets, judges, and kings in ancient times; anointed Jesus Christ for His ministry, fills the Church with power, and will transform the mortal bodies of believers into one like Jesus in the glory of the resurrection (Luke 4:1, 18-21; Acts 2:4; 4:31; Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; Phil. 3:21; 1 Pet. 1:2; 10:12; 2 Pet. 1:20-21; 1 John 3:2). The Holy Spirit is imparted to all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and receive Him as Savior (Luke 11:13; Acts 2:38-39). The promise of the Father that the Holy Spirit would be sent in power was not only made to the early disciples, but continues through generations to come. The gift of the Holy Spirit is God's sovereign action for edifying the Body of Christ (Rom.12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:7-11, 28-31; 14:1,13; 1 Pet. 5:10-11). The gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor/teachers were given by the Lord Jesus Christ for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the Body of Christ. These Holy Spirit directed gifts to the Body of Christ are the direct results of the Lord Jesus Christ's promise to guide all believers into the truth (Luke 11:28; John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13; Eph. 4:7-16).
Man was created male and female, in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26-27). Through the original sin of man (Adam and Eve) mankind has fallen from God and has become corrupt in his whole nature. As a consequence of his sin, man has lost his spiritual life, becoming dead in trespasses and sins, being subject to the power of the devil. The spiritual death, or total depravity of human nature, has been transmitted to the entire human race of man and hence every child (Jesus Christ the only exception) of Adam is born into the world with a nature which is essentially at enmity with God. Man by himself is totally incapable of returning to God (Jer. 17:9; John 6:44; Rom. 5:12, 16-17; Eph. 2:1-3). Fallen, sinful men, whatever their character or attainments, are eternally lost and without hope apart from salvation in Christ (John 3:3-7; Acts 4:12).
Salvation, the gift of God, is provided solely by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31; Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8-9) and His literal shed blood (Rom. 3:25; Heb. 9:12, 10:19; Rev. 1:5). When an unregenerate person exercises faith in Christ, he passes immediately out of spiritual death into spiritual life, and from the old creation into the new; being justified from all things, accepted before the Father as Christ His Son is accepted, loved as Christ is loved, having his place and portion as linked to Him and one with Him forever. Though the saved one may have occasion to grow in the realization of his blessings and to know a fuller measure of divine power through the yielding of his life more fully to God, he is, as soon as he is saved, in possession of every spiritual blessing and absolutely complete in Christ, and is therefore in no way required by God to do anything to maintain or guarantee his salvation and position before God. There is no other name except Jesus Christ by which man may be saved (Acts 4:12). Through His great redemptive act, there is forgiveness of sin, liberation from bondage to the world, and freedom in His Spirit (Eph. 1:17; Gal. 6:14-15). Because of God's freedom to exercise grace toward the undeserving on the ground of the propitiatory blood of Christ, the nature of the Giver of eternal life, the present and indefatigable intercession and advocacy of Christ in heaven, the abiding guarantee of the indwelling Holy Spirit, all who are saved shall be kept saved forever. Man can not merit, maintain, or lose the salvation promised and gifted to him by God (John 5:24; 10:28; 14:16-17; Rom. 8:29-30; 1 Cor. 6:19; Heb. 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2; 5:13).
8. The Church:
The Church, which is the Body and future Bride of Christ, is dedicated to worship and service of God, the observance of the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, as well as the practice of good works (Rom. 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 2:10,22; 5:23-27; Tit. 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:5-10). All who are united to the risen and ascended Son of God are members of the Church, baptized into one body that is Christ's, whether Jew or Gentile, and having become members one of another, are under solemn duty to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, rising above all sectarian differences, and loving one another with a pure heart. The primary task of the Church in all ages is to teach all nations and to make disciples, bringing the Gospel into every aspect of life and thought. The ultimate mission of the Church is the redemption of souls (Mt. 28:19-20; 2 Cor. 10:4-5).