WHAT WE BELIEVE
The Articles of Faith
(from the 2006 edition of The Discipline of The Evangelical Church)
ARTICLE 1 - THE TRIUNE GOD
The Holy Scriptures declare there is but one true and living God, an eternal being without a body, indivisible, of infinite power, wisdom and goodness. He is the Creator and Preserver of all things visible and invisible. He rules with gracious regard for the well-being and salvation of all men, to the glory of His name. In this Godhead there is a Trinity of one substance and power, and coeternal, namely the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Gen. 1:1; Ex. 3:14; Deut. 6:4; John 8:58 1 Tim. 1:17 Matt. 28:19; 11 Cor. 13:14
ARTICLE 2 - JESUS CHRIST - SON OF GOD
The Holy Scriptures declare that Jesus Christ is truly God and truly man, in Whom the divine and human natures are perfectly and inseparably united. He is the eternal Word made flesh, the only begotten Son of the Father who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. As ministering Servant, He lived, suffered and died on the cross. He was buried, rose from the dead and ascended bodily into heaven to be with the Father, from whence he shall return. He is eternal Savior and Mediator, who intercedes for us, and by Him all men will be judged.
Acts 17:3; Col.2:9 Heb. 2:16; Acts 2:22; 4:10 John 1:14 Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23 Acts 1:3; 1 Cor. 15:3-8 Acts 1:9-11; Acts 2:22-24 Heb. 4:14-16; 7:25; 1 Tim. 2:5 8. 11 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:11-15
ARTICLE 3 - THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Scriptures declare that the Holy Spirit proceeds from and is one Being with the Father and the Son. He convicts the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. He leads men, through faithful response to the Gospel, into the fellowship of the Church. He comforts, sustains, empowers and sanctifies the faithful, and guides them into all truth.
John 15:26,27; John 14:16,17 Acts 5:3,4 John 16:8-11 4. John 16:7,12,13; John 14:26
ARTICLE 4 - THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
The Holy Scriptures in their entirety are the inspired, inerrant, written Word of God. They alone contain the will of God as far as it is necessary for us to know it for our salvation, so that whatsoever is not contained therein, nor can be proved thereby, is not to be enjoined on any as an article of faith, or as a doctrine essential to salvation. By the Holy Scriptures we understand those 66 canonical books of the Old and New Testament.
In both the Old as well as the New Testament, everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ Who being both God and man, is the only Mediator between God and man. Even though Christians are not bound by the ceremonies and rites of the Old Testament they are nevertheless not exempt from the keeping of, the moral laws.
11 Tim. 3:15-17; 11 Pet. 1:19-21; Gal. 1:8,9; Rev. 22:18,19 1 Tim. 2:5 Gal. 3:11,24,25; 4:9; Col. 2:16 Matt. 22:37-40; James 2:8; 1 Tim. 1:5
ARTICLE 5 - DEPRAVITY AND PREVENIENT GRACE
The Holy Scriptures declare that through the transgression of Adam man is fallen from original righteousness and apart from the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, is not only entirely destitute of holiness, but is inclined to evil, and that continually, and except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. Man in his own strength, without divine grace, cannot do good works pleasing and acceptable to God. The Holy Scriptures further declare that man is a free moral agent and that he is responsible for his eternal destiny, and that, influenced and empowered by the Holy Spirit and due to the prevenient grace of God is enabled to exercise his will for good and to the glory of God.
Eph. 1; Rom. 3:10-18,23 John 3:3-7 2. Gen. 6:5; Ps. 51:5; 58:3 Rom. 2:4 5. Acts 17:24-28; Rom. 5:15-21; Phil. 2:13; Titus 2:11; Eph. 2:8,9
ARTICLE 6 - PROVISION FOR SALVATION
The Holy Scriptures declare that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. The offering of Christ freely made on the cross through the shedding of His blood is the perfect and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the world, both original and actual, so that no other satisfaction is required.
John 19:30; Heb. 7:26; 9:26; 10:12
ARTICLE 7- JUSTIFICATION, REGENERATION, ADOPTION
The Holy Scriptures declare that we are never accounted righteous before God through our works or merit, but that those who truly repent of their sins are justified or accounted righteous before God only by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Regeneration is the renewal of man in righteousness through Jesus Christ after the image of God by the power of the Holy Spirit, whereby we are made partakers of the divine nature and experience newness of life. This is initial sanctification. By this new birth the believer becomes a child of God, receives the spirit of adoption, and is made an heir of the Kingdom of Heaven. The Holy Spirit bears witness to this gracious work and immediately assures the regenerate believer that he has passed from death unto life, that his sins are all forgiven and that he is a child of God.
Isa. 64:6; Gal. 2:16 Eph. 2:8,9; Rom. 5:1,2; 4:3-5; Gal. 5:5,6 Titus 3:5; 11 Cor. 5:17; John 1:12 1 Jn.3:1; 11 Cor.6:18 Rom.8:14-16; Gal.4:4-7
ARTICLE 8 - SANCTIFICATION
The Holy Scriptures declare that sanctification begins in the new birth and is the work of God's grace through the Word and the Holy Spirit, by which those who have been born again and delivered from the willful practice of sin are enabled to live in accordance with God's will, and to seek earnestly for holiness without which no one will see God.
Entire Sanctification is that second definite, instantaneous work of God, wrought in the heart of the believer, subsequent to regeneration, by which God cleanses the heart from all inherited sin and fills the soul and spirit with the person of the Holy Spirit, thus enabling us to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. This gracious work is conditioned upon total consecration of the whole self to God, total death to all inherited sin and faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary.
There is a clear distinction that must be made between consecration and entire sanctification. Consecration is that more or less gradual process of devoting oneself wholly to God, consummating in the crucifixion of the old self or death to the Adamic nature, by the help of the Holy Spirit which comes to a completion at a point in time. Total consecration of necessity precedes and prepares the way for that definite act of faith which brings God's instantaneous sanctifying work to the soul.
This gracious work does not deliver us from the infirmities, ignorance and mistakes common to man , nor from the possibility of further sin. A person is freed so that he may experience a continued growth in divine knowledge, spiritual strength and good works to the glory of God. The Christian must continue to guard against the temptation to spiritual pride and seek to gain victory over this and every temptation to sin. There also follows a life of Christian perfection which consists in a purity such as that of Jesus, resulting in the same mind which was also in Him, and enabling us to walk even as He walked.
Acts 15:9; Rom. 8:1-4; 6:6; 1 Thess. 5:23,24 Heb. 12:14 Col. 1:9-14 Matt. 22:37; Gal. 5:22,23; 1 Pet. 1:22; 1 Jn.1:9 Rom. 6:1,2,11-14; 12:1,2 1 Jn. 3:3 Heb. 12:10-15; Phil.2:1-5 Phil. 2:2
ARTICLE 9 - SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER
The Holy Scriptures declare that the believer is secure in Christ as long as he walks in obedience and faith. The Scriptures also declare that it is possible after the experience of regeneration and/or the experience of entire sanctification to depart from grace and fall into sin, and if one remains in this state to be eternally lost. However, by the grace of God, a man may through repentance and faith rise again from a backslidden state and be restored to righteousness and true holiness.
Phil. 1:6; 2:12 Gal. 6:1 2. Heb. 6:1-6; 10:26-31; Matt. 18:15-35; Gal. 5:4
ARTICLE 10 - GOOD WORKS
The Holy Scriptures declare that good works are the necessary fruits of faith and follow regeneration but they do not have the virtue to remove our sins or to avert divine judgment. We believe good works, pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, spring from a true and living faith, for through and by them faith is made evident even as a tree is discerned by its fruit.
Eph. 2:10 Gal. 2:16 John 15:1-8; James 3:10-13; 2:17,18; Phil. 1:10,11
ARTICLE 11 - THE CHURCH
The Holy Scriptures declare that the Church is the community of (born again) believers under the Lordship of Christ. It is the fellowship of the redeemed in which the Word of God is preached by men divinely called, and the sacraments are duly administered according to Christ's own appointment. Under the discipline of the Holy Spirit the Church exists for the maintenance of worship, the edification of believers and the redemption of the world.
Acts 2:47; 2:41-47; 1 John 1:7; Rom. 1:18,21
ARTICLE 12 - SACRAMENTS
The Holy Scriptures declare that the sacraments, ordained by Christ, are not only pledges and symbols of the Christian's profession, but they are also signs of God's love and grace toward us, by which He works invisibly in us, quickening, strengthening and confirming our faith in Him. Two sacraments are ordained by Christ our Lord, namely Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
Baptism signifies entrance into the household of faith, and is a symbol of repentance and inner cleansing from sin, a representation of the new birth in Christ Jesus and a mark of Christian discipleship, and is to be administered to those who receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Children are under the atonement of Christ, and as heirs of the Kingdom of God, are acceptable subjects for Christian baptism. The promise of God is unto you and unto your children." Children of believing parents through baptism become a special responsibility of the church. They must, however, be nurtured and led to a personal acceptance of Christ, and by profession of faith confirm their baptism.
Every adult person being baptized and the parents of every child to be baptized should have the privilege of choosing the mode of Baptism, namely sprinkling, pouring, or immersion.
The Lord's Supper is a representation of our redemption, a memorial of the sufferings and death of Christ, and a token of love and union which Christians have with Christ and with one another. Those who rightly, worthily and in faith eat the broken bread and drink the blessed cup partake of the body and blood of Christ in a spiritual manner until He comes.
Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:38-41; 8:36-39; 16:30-33 Luke 22:19-22; 1 Cor. 11:23-29
ARTICLE 13 - HEALING
The Holy Scriptures declare that God is able to heal and that we ought to pray for the sick. Although healing cannot be demanded of God, it may be sought in accordance with the instructions in James. God heals in three ways: (1) through the natural processes of the human body which may be aided by medical help, (2) through the instantaneous intervention of God bringing healing to the body, and (3) through the death and resurrection of the body to a glorified state.
ARTICLE 14 - THE LORD'S DAY
The Holy Scriptures declare that the Lord's Day is divinely ordained for private and public worship, for rest from unnecessary work, and should be devoted to spiritual improvement, Christian fellowship and service. It is commemorative of our Lord's resurrection and is an emblem of our eternal rest. It is essential to the permanence and growth of the Christian Church, and important to the welfare of the civil community.
Matt. 28:1; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Heb. 10:25; Rev. 1:10
ARTICLE 15 - PUBLIC WORSHIP
The Holy Scriptures declare that divine worship is the duty and privilege of man, who in the presence of God, bows in adoration, humility and dedication. It is essential to the life of the church, and the assembling of the people of God for such worship is necessary to Christian fellowship and spiritual growth.
The Scriptures further reveal that the order of public worship need not be the same in all places but may be modified by the church according to circumstances and the needs of men. It should be in a language and form understood by the people, consistent with the Holy Scriptures to the edification of all, and in accordance with the order and Discipline of the church.
Whosoever willingly and purposely breaks the ordinances, ceremonies and rites of the church to which he belongs ought to be rebuked openly, as one that offends against the order of the Church and wounds the consciences of the weaker brethren, in order that others may be deterred from similar neglect.
Ps.95:1,2,6; Eph.5:19 Eph.4:11-16; I Thess.5:11 Acts 5:1-11;1 Cor.5:1-7
ARTICLE 16 - THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
The Holy Scriptures declare the coming of Christ to be a bodily return to the earth and that he will cause the fulfillment of all prophecies made concerning His final and complete triumph over all evil. Faith in the imminence of Christ's return is a rational and inspiring hope to the people of God.
Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thess. 4:15-18; Titus 2:11-13
ARTICLE 17 - RESURRECTION, JUDGMENT AND FUTURE STATE
The Holy Scriptures declare that there is a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. All men stand under the righteous judgment of God, both now and in that day. The Scriptures further teach an eternal state of rewards in which the righteous dwell in endless life in heaven and the wicked in endless punishment in hell.
Ecc. 12:14; Jn. 5:22; Acts 17:31; 11 Cor. 5:10 Isa. 35:8-10; 11 Cor. 5:8; Rev. 21:22 Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:11-15; 21:8
ARTICLE 18 - CHRISTIAN PROPERTY
The Holy Scriptures declare that God is the owner of all things and that the individual holding property is lawful and is a sacred trust under God. Private property is to be used for the manifestation of Christian love and liberality, and to support the church's mission in the world. All forms of property, whether private, corporate or public, are to be held in solemn trust and used responsibly for human good under the sovereignty of God.
ARTICLE 19 - CIVIL GOVERNMENT
The Holy Scriptures declare the importance of recognizing the sovereign governments under whose protection we reside. The sovereignty of these governments should be respected. Generally speaking, war and bloodshed are not in keeping with the Gospel and Spirit of Christ; nevertheless, at times, in order to preserve orderly governments in the world, war is the unpleasant alternative. As Christian citizens it is our duty to give moral strength and purpose to our respective nations through sober, righteous and godly living.
Matt. 22:17-21; Rom. 13:10 Titus 2:11,12