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Doctrinal Statement

09.01.12 | Village Distinctives

THIS STATEMENT OF DOCTRINE expresses what we believe true Christians must affirm. It is not meant to represent all that Christians should believe but includes the essential truths that we believe authentic Christians must not deny.

STATEMENT OF DOCTRINE, CHRISTIAN LIVING AND OTHER MATTERS OF BIBLICAL ETHICS

As members of Village Bible Church, we voluntarily and without reservation agree to accept this Article, with the express purpose of committing ourselves to the teachings of Scripture, both for our own spiritual benefit and also as a basis for our own witness before a watching world. We believe that all spiritual experiences must be based on and nurtured by the truths of Scripture.

This Article is compiled from various sources and reflects those truths we believe beneficial for personal salvation, spiritual growth and a life lived for God’s glory. All who teach for this Church do so under the authority of the Guiding Elders and are expected to advocate and not undermine the positions of the Church as stated in this Constitution.

This statement of doctrine expresses what we believe the scriptures teach us about our faith. It is not meant to represent everything Scripture teaches, but rather includes what we believe are the essentials of authentic Christianity.

Section 3.A.                   The Scriptures.   The Bible, composed of the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament, was written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit, is God’s revelation to humanity and is our final, absolute authority, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. It leads us to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

Having been given by God Himself, the Scriptures are fully and verbally inspired. Therefore, as originally given, the Bible is free from error in all it teaches. Each book must be interpreted according to its context and purpose and in reverent obedience to the Lord Who speaks through it in living power. All believers are exhorted to study the Scriptures and diligently apply them to their lives. The Scriptures are the authoritative and normative rule and guide for all Christian practice and doctrine. They are totally sufficient and must not be added to, superseded or changed by later tradition, extra-biblical revelation or worldly wisdom. All doctrine, whether in creed, confession or theology, must be put to the test of the full counsel of God in Holy Scripture. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, Who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.

Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:18-19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:25,44-45; John 5:39; 10:35b; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 1 Corinthians 10:11; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:23,25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.

Section 3.B.                   God.  There is only one living and true God, Who is a spiritual and personal Being. He is the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver and Ruler of the universe. His plans and purposes cannot be thwarted. He is infinite in holiness, love and all other perfections. He is all powerful, all knowing, all wise and present everywhere. His knowledge is perfect and extends to all things, past, present and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence and obedience. The eternal and unchanging Triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence or being.

  1. The Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures and human history according to the purposes of His grace. He involves Himself mercifully in human affairs, hears and answers prayer and saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ. He is faithful to every promise, in all things works for the good of those who love Him and in His unfathomable grace gave His Son Jesus Christ for our redemption. Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15,28-29; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:13-15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:14-17; 1 John 5:1-4.

  2. Christ is the eternal and only Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ, He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, and in His very nature He is fully God in bodily form. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of the Father, taking upon Himself human nature and identifying Himself completely with humanity, yet without sin. In His substitutionary death on the cross, He made provision for the redemption of human beings from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the same person Who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of the Father, where He is the only Mediator, being fully God and fully man. Through Him believers are reconciled to God. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to bring His redemptive mission to completion. Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.

  3. The Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, is to be respected, honored and worshipped as God, the third person of the Trinity. Through the proclamation of the Gospel, He persuades people to repent of their sins and confess Jesus as Lord. He brings about the new birth, unites believers to Jesus Christ in faith, baptizes them into the Body of Christ and dwells within them. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals believers for the day of redemption. His presence in believers enables them to grow in Christlikeness. He leads the Church into a right understanding and application of the truths of God’s Word. He came to glorify the Son, Who in turn came to glorify the Father. Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; 20:22; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 5:3-4; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,28,39; 10:44; 11:16-17; 13:2,4; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 6:19; 12:3-11,13; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; 5:5; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-8; Revelation 1:10; 22:17.

Section 3.C.                   Humanity.  Humanity is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation, that they might have fellowship with Him. In the beginning humans were innocent of sin and were endowed by their Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice Adam rebelled against God, bringing sin into the human race. As a consequence of Adam’s sin, all human beings are estranged from their Maker, yet are still responsible to Him. All people are lost and without hope apart from salvation in Christ. Nevertheless, because they still possess the divine image, every person of every race has full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love. All humanity is subject to divine wrath, inwardly depraved and, apart from a special work of grace, utterly incapable of returning to God. Genesis 1:26-30; 2:7,18-22; 3:1-24; 9:6; Psalms 1:1-6; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6; 7:14-25; 8:12-18; 8:29-30; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19,21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11.

Section 3.D.                  Salvation.   Salvation involves the redemption of the whole person and is offered freely to all who receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In its broadest sense salvation includes election, regeneration, justification, sanctification, perseverance and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24; 10:9; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; Romans 1:16; 10:9-10,13; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; Colossians 1:9-22; Hebrews 5:8-9; 9:24-28.

  1. Election is the gracious purpose of God, settled before the foundation of the world, as the basis on which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies and glorifies sinners. Election is consistent with the free agency of human beings and is the glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness. It excludes boasting and promotes humility. Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; Matthew 21:28-45; 24:22,31; 25:34; John 6:44-45,65; 15:16; 17:6; Romans 8:29-30; 11:5-7,26-36; Ephesians 1:4-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 1 Peter 1:2; 2:4-10.

  2. Regeneration, or the new birth, is the work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit’s work in regeneration is not the result of water baptism or of any outward ritual. It is a change of heart brought about by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, in which sinners respond in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. And true biblical faith means more than simply believing certain facts. It means accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and committing one’s entire being to Him as Lord. It calls for a total response involving the believer’s mind, emotions and will. Jeremiah 31:31ff.; Ezekiel 11:19; John 1:12-14; 3:3ff.; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Eph. 2:1-10; 3:1-11; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:3.

  3. Justification is the act of God by which He declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ, repent of their sins and confess Him as Lord. It is granted apart from any human virtue or good works and involves the imputation of our sins to Christ and of His righteousness to us. Genesis 15:6; Luke 24:44-48; John 3:16; 5:24; Acts 13:39; Rom. 1:17; 3:21-28; 4:1-25; 5:1, 8-10; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:24.

  4. Sanctification is the ongoing experience, beginning with regeneration, by which believers are set apart for God’s purposes and are enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the power of the Holy Spirit Who dwells in them. Growth in grace should continue throughout the believer’s life. John 17:17,19; Acts 20:32; Romans 6:1-23; 8:1-17; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 6:19-20; Galatians 2:20; 5:22-25; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 12:14; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:13-16, 22; 1 John 1:6-2:1

  5. Perseverance to endure to the end is promised to all true believers. Those whom God has accepted in Christ and sanctified by His Spirit will never fall away from the state of grace, but will persevere to the very end of their earthly lives. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, thereby grieving the Spirit, bringing reproach to the cause of Christ and coming under the Lord’s discipline. Nevertheless, God’s promise is sure: He who began the work of salvation will be faithful to see it through to completion. John 10:27-29; Romans 8:28-39; Philippians 1:6; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10, 19; Hebrews 11:39–12:2; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 1 John 2:19.

  6. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed state of the redeemed as they abide in God’s presence for all eternity. Matthew 13:43; Romans 8:18-23, 30; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Ephesians 1:18; Philippians 3:21; Colossians 3:4; 2 Timothy 1:10; 1 Peter 5:1; 1 John 3:2.

Section 3.E.               The Church.   All who come to Jesus Christ in faith are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual body, the church, the bride of Christ, of which Christ is the Head. The Father by His Word and Spirit creates the church, calling sinful people into the fellowship of Christ’s body. And by the same Word and Spirit, He guides and preserves that new redeemed humanity.

The universal church is not a religious institution or denomination. Rather, it is made up of all those who have become genuine followers of Jesus Christ. The church exists to worship and glorify God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It also exists to serve Him by faithfully doing His will on earth. This involves a commitment to see the Gospel preached and churches multiplying throughout the world. The ultimate mission of the church is the making of disciples through the preaching of the Gospel. As God transforms human nature, this then becomes the chief means of society’s transformation. Upon conversion, newly redeemed men and women should, through baptism, enter into the fellowship of a local church in which they devote themselves to learning, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper and prayer. In this context they are called to live out the New Covenant as the people of God and demonstrate the reality of the Kingdom of God. The church’s members are to work together in love and unity, exercising their spiritual gifts, intent on fulfilling the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ.

Matthew 16:18; 18:17; 28:18-20; Acts 2:41-47; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 14:26; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:11-16; 5:23; 1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Peter 4:10-11.

Section 3.F.               Angels.  Angels are created beings and are therefore not to be worshiped. Although they are a higher order of creation than humanity, they are created to serve God, to worship Him and to care for those who will inherit salvation.

Satan, originally the greatest of the angels, rebelled against God, taking with him a host of angels (also referred to in Scripture as demons). He was cast out of God’s presence and, as a usurper of God’s authority, he established a counter-kingdom of darkness and evil. He is the “father of lies” and the great deceiver. Therefore Satan is the open and declared enemy of God and of humanity. He is the prince of this world who has been defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Although he presently controls all the powers of darkness, he will be punished eternally in the lake of fire.

Genesis 3:1-15; Job 1:6-7; Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Matthew 4:1-11; 25:41; Luke 2:9-14; 10:18; John 10:10; 12:31; 16:11; Romans 16:20; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Ephesians 6:10-17; Colossians 2:15; 1 Thessalonians 3:5; 1 Timothy 3:7; 2 Timothy 2:26; Hebrews 1:6-7,14; 2:6-7,14; 1 Peter 5:8-9; Revelation 5:11-14; 12:1-14; 19:10; 20:2,10.

Section 3.G.                  The Return of Christ.  At a time known only to God, Jesus Christ will descend from heaven, and all believers – both those who have died in Christ and those who are still alive – will meet Him in the air. This hope produces in us a sense of constant expectancy and motivates us to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission.

Every human being who has ever lived will one day be raised bodily from the dead. In judgment and condemnation, unbelievers will be consigned to eternal conscious punishment in hell, while believers will enter into eternal blessedness and joy. In the new heaven and the new earth, Christ’s Kingdom will come to full fruition as the redeemed, in gloriously renewed bodies, dwell with Him forever, serving Him, reigning with Him and giving Him unending praise and glory.

Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 8:12; 10:28; 13:49-50; 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:34; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:5,40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; 23:42; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:1,8,10; Philippians 1:23; 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; 2:1-12; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7-13; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 6-7,14; Revelation 1:8; 2:7; 3:11; 19:16; 20:1-22:13.

Section 3.H.                  Marriage, Gender and Sexuality. We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God (Gen 1:26-27). Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.

We believe that the word “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture (Gen 2:18-25). We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other. 1 Cor 6:18; 7:2-5; Heb 13:4

We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest and the use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God. Matt 15:18-20; 1 Cor 6:9-10

We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of Village Bible Church as a local Body of Christ and to provide a biblical role model for both our own church members and the community, it is imperative that all members agree to and abide by this statement on Marriage, Gender and Sexuality, which is further developed in our distinctive entitled Marriage and Human Sexuality. Matt 5:16; Phil 2:14-16; 1 Thess 5:22

Because God has ordained marriage and defined it as the covenant relationship between a man, a woman, and Himself, our church will recognize only marriages between a biological man and a biological woman. Pastors, elders and staff members will participate in weddings and solemnize only marriages between one man and one woman. Additionally, the facilities and property of our church will host only weddings between one man and one woman.

We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Acts 3:19-21; Rom 10:9-10; 1 Cor 6:9-11

We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect and dignity. Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31

This position is further developed in our distinctives entitled Christian Life and Biblical Sexual Morality.

Section 3.I.                Sanctity of Human Life.  We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect and value all human life (Ps 139). This position is further developed in our distinctives entitled Christian Life and Sanctity of Life.

Section 3.J.                The Final Authority for Matters of Belief and Conduct.  This statement of faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God, speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality and the proper conduct of mankind and is the sole and final source of all that we believe.

The Guiding Elders, in light of the responsibility assigned to them by both Scripture and this Constitution, are entrusted with the spiritual oversight of the church and bear the final responsibility for the church in the interpretation of Scripture, the meaning of the content of this Article and all other matters relating to spiritual oversight.