God the Spirit We believe that God the Holy Spirit indwells and seals all believers, preserving them until the redemption of the purchased possession (Eph. 1:14-15, Phil. 1:6), baptizing them into Christ (Gal. 3:27, 1 Cor. 12:13). His primary work is to glorify the Son of God (Jn. 16:14). He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (Jn. 16:8-11) and by His work regenerates sinners (Tit. 3:5-6). He gives spiritual gifts to the church (1 Cor. 12:7-11), convicts of sin, and leads believers into the truth (Jn. 16:13). He teaches and gives understanding of the word of God (1 Cor. 2:10-12), and by Him the gospel is preached (1 Pet. 1:12, Acts 4:31). Thus, the Bible is only rightly proclaimed and rightly understood through the Holy Spirit. Living in believers, He works in them to will and to do for God’s good pleasure (Phil. 2:12-13). Thus, through His instrumentality and work, believers in Christ grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ unto maturity (Eph. 4:13-16, 2 Pet. 3:18). It is He who unfolds, enlightens, and applies the work of Jesus Christ to the life of the believer (Jn. 16:14-15).
Statement on Spiritual Gifts 1. The Nature of the Gifts Spiritual gifts are God-given abilities that a believer receives in order to edify the church (1 Cor. 12:1-9). There are a variety of gifts which are listed in Scripture, these include: prophecy, service, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, mercy (Rom. 12:6-8), word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, effecting of miracles, distinguishing of spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues (1 Cor. 12:8-10), helps, and administrations (1 Cor. 12:28).
2. The Purpose of the Gifts Spiritual gifts are given for the purpose of edifying and serving the church body (1 Cor. 12:7; 1 Pet. 4:10). Each member of the body of Christ has been gifted with at least one spiritual gift for the purpose of the body’s growth (Eph. 4:16). Thus, each individual’s gift is to be employed and used according to the measure of God’s grace given (1 Pet. 4:10-11). Spiritual gifts by their very nature are supernatural, and so the way in which they relate to and affect evangelism and church growth is supernatural. Seeing as God gives the spiritual gifts (Rom. 12:6-8) and the various offices in which they are employed (Eph. 4:11-13), all the credit for both evangelism and church growth goes to God alone. He placed each member of the body where He did as He desired and saw fit (1 Cor. 12:18), which renders boasting foolish (1 Cor. 4:7). Though the Christian is used to spread the gospel (2 Cor. 5:20) and edify the church, he is only a tool in the hand of a mighty God who is using it according to the purpose given to it and for his glory.
3. The Extent of the Gifts There are some 17 spiritual gifts mentioned in Scripture (Rom. 12:6–8; 1 Cor. 12:4–11; 1 Cor. 12:28). These lists in Scripture are exhaustive, though they may be expressed in a variety of different ways. For example, leadership may be exercised by a pastor over a church, or by a deacon over a men’s group. Furthermore, there are varieties of effectiveness in using spiritual gifts. For example, one Christian may be a more able leader than another Christian, though they both possess the same gift of leadership. Each member of the body of Christ receives at least one spiritual gift (1 Cor. 12:7; 1 Pet. 4:10). Scripture does not put a limit on how many gifts a believer can possess, making it is possible to have more than one.
4. Temporary versus Permanent Gifts Temporary spiritual gifts are gifts that, at one point in time, existed in order to fulfill a purpose but are no longer present today. Permanent gifts on the other hand are gifts that continue to operate since the inception of the church. The sign gifts are gifts of healing, prophesy, tongues, visions, and raising the dead (1 Cor. 12:9-10). The sign gifts were the temporary gifts, which had the purpose of authenticating the message of the gospel in the time of Christ and the apostles (Acts 2:22; 2 Cor. 12:12;Heb. 2:1-4). The passages that mention these gifts are closely linked to the spread of the Word of God, and thus were used to authenticate and confirm it (Acts 3:4-16). This is why English versions of the Bible often offer the alternative translation of “attesting miracle” for the word “gift.” Just as Christ’s miracles testified about him and the message he preached (John 5:36), so did the sign gifts validate that the message that the apostles preached was Christ’s message (Acts 4:29-30). The apostles were the ones who primarily possessed the sign gifts (Acts 9:40; Acts 20:9-10; 2 Cor. 12:12) and were involved in the ministry of prophecy as special revelation (2 Pet. 1:19-21; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Pet. 3:16). In terms of timing, the sign gifts and the offices of apostle and prophets were temporary (being “the foundation” Eph. 2:20), dying off with the apostles (2 Cor. 12:12), no longer being needed once the Scriptures were completed. All other spiritual gifts are permanent and currently active in the church.
Comparison of the Ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old and New Testament
B. To Believers in the New Testament The ministry of the Holy Spirit to NT believers is much more extensive, and one could say intimate, than in the OT. In the NT, the Spirit regenerates the believer (Titus 3:5; John 3:5-8) and permanently indwells the believer, sealing him for redemption as a guarantee (Eph. 1:13-14). He helps the believer (John 14:26); assists in prayer (Jude 1:20); intercedes (Rom. 8:26-27); comforts (1 Thess. 1:6); gives joy (2 Cor. 13:14); gives the believer with joy and peace (Rom. 15:13); sanctifies (Gal. 5:19-26); fills the believer (Eph. 5:18); gives gifts (1 Cor. 12:4); teaches (1 Cor. 2:10-11); and gives wisdom (1 Cor. 2:12-13). The main difference between the Spirit’s ministry to OT believers vs. NT believers is that his ministry to NT believers is permanent, while in the OT the Spirit could temporarily choose to be involved in a person life (1 Sam.16:14).
Bible We believe that the Scripture (the Bible), comprised of 66 books, contains the only written revelation of God, and was given by the Holy Spirit through human authors. The Word of God (the Bible) is free from errors in the original manuscripts, possesses divine unity, and constitutes the only infallible and sufficient rule for faith, life, and godliness. We believe the Bible is complete, and has complete and final authority in our lives individually as Christians and in the life of the Church (Psalm 19:7-9; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21).
Man We believe that mankind (man and woman) were created by God in His image and likeness (Gen. 1:26-27). Man was created originally free from sin, but rebelled against the command of God and fell (Gen. 3:1-13), incurring the sentence of death (Rom. 5:12). All mankind (with the exception of Jesus Christ- Heb. 4:15) was subsequently born sinful (Rom. 5:19), meaning they are unrighteous by nature (Rom.3:9-18), in their actions, mind, and will (Rom. 8:7-8, Eph. 2:1-3). Unregenerate man is a slave to his own sinful nature (Rom. 3:9; Rom.6:17, Rom. 6:20). Because of this, man does not possess the ability, nor the desire to awaken himself to spiritual life, reconciliation with God, or doing good, apart from God’s direct and deliberate intervention (Eph. 2:4-8, Tit. 3:4-7). In order for a person to enter the kingdom of God, they must be born again (Jn. 3:3).
Salvation We believe that Jesus Christ, through His sinless obedience, broken body, shed blood, death on the cross (Phil. 2:7-8), burial, resurrection, and ascension into heaven, has conquered death (Heb 2:14-15) and redeemed us to God (Jn. 16:9-11,1 Cor. 15:3-4,Heb. 8:1,Heb. 7:25,Rev. 5:8-10). On the cross Jesus received a perfectly just retribution for our sins (Rom. 3:26), was the propitiation of them (Rom. 3:25), paid for our insurmountable debt we owed to God with His own blood (Gal. 3:13,1 Pet. 1:18-19), and died in the sinners place (as our representative and substitute (Rom. 6:3-6,Rom. 6:10,Tit. 2:13-14)). This brought about a perfect, real, and complete satisfaction of God’s justice, wrath, and holiness (Rom. 3:25-26,Ezek. 18:4,Ezek. 36:21-27). He did this to glorify the Father and because He loves the Father (Jn. 14:31,Jn. 12:27-28); and because He loves us (Rom. 5:6,Rom. 5:8). Since the just, holy, and righteous demands of God have been satisfied by the Son of God, God is now free to justify any and all who come to Him by faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:26). When a person believes in Jesus it is accounted to that person for righteousness (Rom. 4:3,Rom. 4:23-24), thus it is God who justifies the ungodly (Rom. 4:5). Justification is a free gift of God, given by the grace of God, received by faith (Rom. 4:16,Eph. 2:8-9). Salvation then is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. A person can in no way be saved by any work or works of righteousness which he can do (Tit. 3:5,Eph. 2:8-9), but instead stands condemned (Rom. 3:9-20). When a person believes in Jesus Christ they are born again and made a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), possessing the Spirit of God and the seed of God in themselves (Eph. 1:13-14), who works in them sanctification (Phil. 2:12-13), delivering them from continuing in sin (1 Jn. 3:9), and conforming them to the image of the Son (Rom. 8:29), bearing fruit to God and producing holiness of life (Rom. 6:22,Eph. 4:20-24). Salvation is complete (Jn. 19:30) and will be fulfilled when our bodies have been redeemed (Rom. 8:23) and we are glorified (Phil. 3:21).
If a person will not repent and believe in Jesus Christ, they cannot be saved (Acts 4:12,Lu. 13:2-3).
The Church The head of the church is Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:22;Eph. 5:23). We believe that the church is comprised of those who believe, have been regenerated (born again) by the Spirit of God, and live by faith in the Son of God (Rom. 1:16-17,Gal. 2:20,Heb. 11:6). To glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31), know Him (Phil. 3:8-11,Jer. 31:33-34), and love Him with the whole being (Deut. 6:5) is the mission of the church. The work of the church includes proclaiming the gospel to the world (Mk. 16:15,Acts 10:42), and the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edification of the church (Eph. 4:11-12). Believers in Christ are a part of one body (the church) that are manifested in local congregations representing His spiritual body (the universal church), with the teaching of the word, worship, fellowship, the Lord’s supper, prayer, and discipline (Acts 2:42,Gal. 6:1,2 Tim. 4:1-3,Mt. 18:15-20,Eph. 4:11-12). The ordinances of the church are the Lord’s supper and baptism, which are to be administered to regenerate, believing Christians (1 Cor. 11:23-26,Acts 8:36-37).
The Resurrection We believe in the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust. Of the just to everlasting life, of the unjust to everlasting condemnation (Jn. 5:28-29;1 Thess. 4:16-17;2 Thess. 1:7-10). Man is a being who will never cease to exist.
Heaven We believe in a literal heaven which is a place of inexplicable, incomparable, indescribable, and unending peace, joy, holiness, love, freedom, righteousness, and sinlessness (and much, much more). The Lamb is its light and is perfectly and forever worshiped there (Rev. 21– Rev. 22).
Hell We believe in a literal hell which is a just and righteous punishment upon people for their sin (2 Thess. 1:7-10). Along with the demons, all whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life will be cast into hell after they are judged (Rev. 14:10-11,Rev. 20:12-15). It is a place of indescribable, unending, utter torment, where “their worm does not die and their fire is not quenched.” (Is. 66:24,Mk. 9:44).
Angels and demons We believe in a literal and very real created order of angelic spirit beings (Heb. 1:7) comprised of both good angels (Heb. 1:7), and evil (fallen) angels otherwise known as demons (Jude 6). Angels are sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation (Heb. 1:14). Demons are incapable of and ineligible for salvation (Heb. 2:16). Satan is the ruler of the demons (Mk. 3:22-26), and the prince of this world (Eph. 2:2). The doctrine that a believer in Jesus Christ can be cursed or possessed by a demon is itself a doctrine of demons.