Affirmation of Faith
The statement of faith that must be affirmed in order to be a member of Maranatha Bible Church.
- The Bible is God’s inspired and only written revelation to man. It is true, authoritative, sufficient, and without error. (Psalm 119:89; 2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 1:23, 25; 2 Peter 1:20-21)
- There is only one true God, Creator of heaven and earth. God has all power and authority, and is in control of all things. God exists as three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2)
- Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, born of a virgin, and is both fully God and fully man. Jesus lived a sinless life, and offered his life as a sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sins. He was crucified, buried, and rose again on the third day. He ascended into heaven, and will return again to this earth. (Matthew 1:18-25; John 1:1, 14; 3:16; I Corinthians 15:3-7; Acts 1:11; Luke 24:1-53)
- The Holy Spirit is God. His ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, and to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He indwells the believer at the time of salvation, baptizes the believer into the body of Christ, and equips the believer with spiritual gifts. He is the seal and guarantee of our inheritance in Christ. He guides, teaches, and empowers the believer who is submitted to God’s authority. (John 15:26, 16:8, 3:3-6, 14:16-17, 14:26)
- All people are created in the image of God. Because of Adam’s sin, all people are sinful by nature and by choice. Apart from forgiveness of sins through Christ, all are lost and enemies of God. (Genesis 1:27, 3:1-6; Romans 3:23; Ephesians 2:1-3)
- Salvation rests solely on the work of God’s grace. We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and not by our own works. Christ’s death is the only acceptable payment for sin. All who genuinely believe in Christ are born again, and have become the children of God. We are now blameless in the eyes of God because of the perfect life and work of Christ on the cross. (Romans 3:23-26; 4:1-3; John 1:12-13; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-6)
- All who truly believe in Jesus Christ will experience eternal life and fellowship with Christ. All who do not truly believe in Jesus Christ will experience the wrath of God, and eternal punishment. (Luke 16:19-31, 23:43; Revelation 20:11-15)
- Marriage is the original and foundational institution of human society, established by God as a one-flesh, covenantal union between a man and a woman that is life-long (until separated by death), exclusive (monogamous and faithful), and it is to reflect the relationship between Christ and the Church. (Genesis 1:27-28, 2:18, 21-24; Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:22-33; Galatians 5:16-21)
Affirmation of Faith for Leadership at Maranatha Bible Church
In order to serve in a leadership position at Maranatha Bible Church (i.e. elder, pastor, deacon, teacher, or staff), one must agree to totally support this Affirmation of Faith. This simply means that a leader agrees not to speak against, or teach anything contrary to what is contained in this Affirmation of Faith.
Any proposal to alter, amend or rescind any provision of this constitution shall be submitted in writing by any member of the church to the elders. The elders will have up to 90 days to consider the recommendation. If a change is approved by three fourths (3/4) of the elders, it shall be submitted to the church membership for their approval at a duly called members’ meeting. Any change would require a majority vote by the congregation.
I. THE HOLY SCRIPTURES: The absolute standard for what we believe and how we live.
We believe that the Bible, consisting of both the Old and New Testaments, is the inspired (God-breathed) Word of God, that every part (historical, poetical, doctrinal, prophetical and instructional) is fully and equally inspired, and that every word was produced under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We believe the Bible’s authors intended that their writings be understood according to the normal use of words (including figures of speech) and the accepted rules of grammar. We also accept the Bible in its entirety as being without error in the original writings. Therefore, we are committed to the Bible as our final authority for all Christian life and faith (Mat. 5:18; John 16:12-13; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21, 3:16; Rev. 22:18-19).
II. THE TRIUNE GODHEAD: The Recipient of Our Worship and Services
We believe there is only one true, eternal, living God, who is sovereign over all things and is the Creator and Sustainer of life. While one in essence, this one God exists in three co-equal and co-eternal persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit–who have the same attributes and perfections. For the purpose of accomplishing work there is a voluntary submission among the members of the Triune God (Deut. 6:4; Mat. 3:16-17, 28:19-20; John 1:1, 14; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor. 13:14; Col. 1:15-17).
A. GOD THE FATHER : Father of all creation
We believe that God the Father is the Father of all creation, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal spiritual Father of all who believe in Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 8:6; Gal. 3:26; Eph. 1:3; Heb. 12:9).
B. THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE SON, JESUS CHRIST: Our Savior and Master
- 1. We believe the Lord Jesus Christ is absolute deity, the image of the invisible God. He existed with God the Father in eternity past and came into this world fully human without ceasing to be God. He was begotten of God, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin, Mary (Isa. 7:14; Mat. 1:22-23; Luke 1:26-27, 35; John 1:1-2, 14; Col. 1:15-20).
- 2. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ lived as a man yet without sin and voluntarily laid down His life for our sins, the just dying for the unjust, making it possible for men to be saved. All who receive Him and thereby receive His substitutionary sacrifice are declared righteous by God (justified) on the grounds of His shed blood. Our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Isa. 53:4-6; Rom. 3:24-25; Eph. 1:7; 1 Peter 1:3-5, 2:24; Heb. 4:14-16).
- 3. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven in His glorified, resurrected body, and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where, as our High Priest, He acts as the only true Mediator between God and man fulfilling the ministry of Intercessor and Advocate (Acts 1:9-10; Rom. 8:34; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 7:25, 8:1; 1 John 2:1-2).
C. THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: Our Enabler and Comforter in Christ’s Stead
- 1. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person sent from the Father who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and that He is the Supernatural Agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers at the moment of salvation into the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them until they are united with Christ in heaven (John 3:3-7, 16:7-11; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 3:16, 12:12-14; 2 Cor. 1:22, 3:6; Eph. 1:13-14).
- 2. We believe that the Holy Spirit is the Divine Teacher who guides believers into all truth; comforts the hurting, and enables believers to grow and mature toward Christ-likeness. It is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled (controlled by) with the Spirit through knowledge of and obedience to God’s Word (John 14:6, 16:13; Eph. 5:18; Col. 3:16; 1 John 2:20-27)
- 3. We believe that the Holy Spirit’s ministry never calls attention to Himself, but always exalts and glorifies Christ as Lord (John 16:13-15).
III. CREATION: The origin of the universe, angels and man
We believe in the Genesis account of the creation of the physical universe, angels and man. Man was created in the image of God and the entire Genesis account is to be taken literally–it is neither allegory nor myth, but a literal, historical account of the direct, immediate creative acts of God without any evolutionary process (Gen. 1, 2; Ex. 20:11; Psalm 33:6; Mark 10:6; John 1:3, 10; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 11:3).
IV. THE TOTAL DEPRAVITY OF MAN: Our condition apart from God’s grace
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that in Adam’s sin all men sinned in him and all humanity fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God; and that man is totally depraved, a sinner by nature and conduct and, of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition (Gen. 1:26-27; Rom. 3:22-23, 5:12; Eph. 2:1-3, 12).
V. SALVATION: Our new standing before God
A.We believe that salvation is the gift of eternal life with God provided by the grace of God to anyone who will receive it. Salvation is received through a personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ whose precious blood was shed in His death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins (John 1:12, 3:16; Eph. 1:7, 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
B. We believe that every saved person is a new creation in Christ and has received a new nature which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness. However, we believe that the tendency to sin continues to be resident within our flesh throughout our earthly life. We believe that provision has been made for the victory of the new nature over the tendency to sin through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. All claims to the eradication of sin, and or the eradication of the tendency to sin in this life, are unscriptural (Rom. 6:6-7; 8:12; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 2:20, 5:16-25; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:9-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 2 Peter 1:3-4; 1 John 1:8, 3:5-9).
VI. THE ETERNAL SECURITY: Our assurance and guarantee of eternal life
A. We believe that all true believers, once saved, are kept by God’s power, not our own, and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 6:37-40, 10:27-30, 17:11; Rom. 8:1, 38-39; 1 Cor. 1:4-8).
B. We believe that while it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation, God’s Word does not allow our Christian liberty to become a license to gratify the flesh (Rom. 6:1-2, 13:13-14; Gal. 5:13; Titus 2:11-15).
VII. SPIRITUAL GIFTS: Our enablement for ministry in the local church
A. We believe that every believer is to fulfill his/her calling in the church by exercising his/her spiritual gifts in ministering for the glory of Jesus Christ ( Rom. 12:4-8; Eph. 4:12; 1 Peter 4:10).
B. We believe the gifts of evangelism, pastoring, and teaching are sufficient for the maturing of the saints today; and that speaking in tongues (known languages) and the working of sign miracles (such as tongues, interpretation of tongues) gradually ceased as the New Testament Scriptures were completed and their authority became established (1 Cor. 12:4-11, 13:8-10; Eph. 2:19-20, 4:7-12; Heb. 2:1-4).
VIII. THE CHURCH: Our spiritual family
A. We believe the Church which began with the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, is the body and the promised bride of Christ, a spiritual organism made up of all believers of this present age (1 Cor. 12:12-14; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 1:22-23, 5:25-27).
B. We believe that all believers should live in such a manner as to glorify and represent Christ to a lost and dying world. They should strive to live and walk in the Spirit and not bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord. This would include separation from all religious apostasy, all ungodly and sinful pleasures, and all immoral and unscriptural practices and associations as commanded by God (Rom.12:1-2, 14:23; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; Gal. 5:16-26; Eph. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11).
C. We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches are clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Mat. 16:18; Acts 14:27, 20:17; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11; Heb. 10:25).
D. We believe in the autonomy of the local church free of any external authority or control accountable only to the will of God as contained in the Holy Scriptures. The ministry of the local church is financially supported through the love gifts of God’s people who give from the first fruits of that which God has prospered them (Deut. 26:1-4; Prov. 3:9; Acts 13:1-4, 15:19-31, 20:28; 1 Cor. 5:4-7, 13, 16:1; 2 Cor. 8:1-15, 9:7; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
E. We believe in two ordinances as commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ, water baptism by immersion, after salvation, and the Lord’s supper as a Scriptural means of testimony and celebration and are not requirements for salvation (Mat. 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42, 18:8; Rom. 6:4; 1 Cor. 11:23-26).
F. We believe that it is the obligation and privilege of believers to witness by life and by word to the truths of the Holy Scriptures to proclaim the Gospel to all mankind. God does not desire any to perish but wants all to know the truth and be saved. (Mat. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:19-20; 1 Tim. 2:4, 4:10; 2 Peter 3:9).
G. We believe that the church has a responsibility to exercise church discipline in accordance with the instructions given in Scripture (Mat. 18:17; Rom. 16:17; 1 Cor. 5; 2 Cor. 2:8; Gal. 6:1; 1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14; Titus 3:10).
IX. DISPENSATIONS: How God works out His purpose.
We believe that God is progressively working out His purposes for world history through increasing revelation (which is now complete in the Scriptures) and distinguishable ways of dealing with man’s accountability and stewardship, which the Bible calls “dispensations.” These dispensations are not ways of salvation but divinely determined ways God relates to man which define man’s responsibilities in successive ages. Three of these, the age of law, the age of the church, and the age of the millennial kingdom, are the subjects of detailed revelation in Scripture.
This method of interpretation, which does not demand a reinterpretation of the Old Testament in light of the new, nor set aside Old Testament prophecies and promises, also leads us to recognize a distinction between Israel and the church of Jesus Christ (Gen. 9:1-17; 12:1-3, 15:1-21; Deut. 30:1-10; 2 Sam. 7:12-16; Jer. 31:31-34; John 1:17; 2 Cor. 3:13-18; Eph. 1:9-10, 3:2-10; Col. 1:24-25; Heb. 1:1-2; Rev. 20:2-6).
X. ANGELS: Our spiritual helpers
Angels are created, spirit beings which are immortal, intelligent, powerful and glorious. They are the servants of God and minister to the members of the Body of Christ (Psalm 103:20; Mat. 24:36; Luke 9:26; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:13-14).
XI. SATAN: Our spiritual enemy
We believe Satan is an angelic personality who rebelled against God and hence became the open and declared enemy of God and man. Satan is the author of sin and the tempter in the fall of man. After he fell he organized his own kingdom which consists of both demons (i.e. those angels who rebelled against God) and unregenerate man. He is currently the ruler of this age who seeks to thwart the work of God, keep the unsaved from being saved, and hinder and destroy the testimony and ministry of Christians. Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection defeated Satan, who will at the appointed time be cast into the lake of fire with his evil angels (Job 1:6-7; Isa. 14:12-17; Ezk. 28:12-19; Mat. 4:1-11, 25:41; Rev. 20:10).
XII. THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST: The believer’s hope
We believe in that “Blessed Hope,” the personal, imminent (that is, could occur at any time), pre-tribulational and pre-millennial coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His redeemed ones; and in His subsequent return to earth, with His redeemed ones, to establish His Kingdom on earth and reign for 1,000 years (Daniel 9:1-27; Zech. 14:4-11; 1 Thess. 1:10, 4:13-18, 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:7-8; Rev. 1:7, 3:10, 19:11-16, 20:6).
XIII. THE ETERNAL STATE: The ultimate destiny of all men
A. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life, and the lost to judgment and everlasting punishment (Mat. 25:46; John 5:28-29, 11:25-26; Rev. 20:5-6, 12-13).
B. We believe that the souls of the redeemed are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where in conscious worship they await the first resurrection when spirit, soul and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord (Luke 23:43; Rev. 20:4-6; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; 1 Thess. 4:14-17).
C. We believe that the souls of unbelievers are at death absent from the body and in conscious misery until the second death, when spirit, soul and body are reunited. At that time they shall appear at the Great White Throne Judgment, and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting separation from God in conscious punishment (Mat. 25:41-46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-26; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Rev. 20:11-15).