Christianity is a religious system centered (1 Corinthians 3:11; Hebrews 10:7) on the life (John 21:25; Romans 5:6-11), teaching (Matthew 13:34-35), and most importantly the atoning death (Romans 5:8-12; 2 Corinthians 5:18; 5:19; Romans 3:25), of Jesus of Nazareth, a historical individual presented in the New Testament.
Therefore, it is the New Testament Bible (Latin: biblia sacra = “holy book”) that is the founding document upon which Christianity stands or falls (1 Corinthians 2:13; 14:37; 2 Corinthians 5:19-20; 1 Thessalonians 2:4, 14). And according to the overt teachings of the New Testament, which is established upon the foundation of the Old Testament (Matthew 5:17; Luke 24:27) Scriptures (Hebrew: Tenach or Tanakh = The Hebrew Scriptures; in Greek, “The Pentateuch”), fulfilling those things that God has uttered since the foundation of the earth (1 Peter 1:18-20; Hebrews 1:1-3) to humanity, following the choice of God to interact with a man named Abraham (Genesis 12:2-3; 15:1-6; 17:1-8), a Hebrew (“crossed over ~ ["the river"?]), then by prophetic extension through Abraham’s descendents (Genesis 21:12; Hebrews 11:18; Romans 9:7; Genesis 22:17; 26:2-5) who became a nation known as Israel (Isaiah 43:1).
God promised a divine anointed deliverer (“anointed” = Psalm 2:2, Daniel 9:25-26) referred to as the Messiah (“anointed ~ ["One"]), revealed to be Jesus Christ of Nazareth; who by the shedding of His blood became the atonement (Romans 5:11; “covering“: Exodus 30:10) for man’s sin (during His First Coming). God utilized the Holy Spirit to lay the foundation of the church (Greek: ecclesia = “out of,” “a calling” “assembly“; Greek: kuriakos = “the Lord’s), and to inspire the apostles to communicate the fullness of the gospel (“Good News“) of Jesus Christ, known as the New Testament, and so working within humanity by indwelling believers, God fulfills the mystery of His Will until the completion of all things (Matthew 13:35; 1 Peter 1:18-23).
The Word of God
The Bible is the sole (OT = Deuteronomy 4:2; NT = Revelation 22:18-19) document for which Christianity is to be based, and is complete and without need of addition (Jude 1:3 “…once [for all ~ completely and singularly] delivered to the saints“).
The Bible (“Word of God”) is the complete and only authority of God’s revelation to man. We believe in the…
• Biblical Inspiration, which is the doctrine in Christian theology (Greek: theo = “god,” logy = “study or science” ~ “the study of God“) which teaches the divine origin of the Bible. The Bible teaches its own divine inspiration (2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:21).
• Plenary Verbal Inspiration, which asserts that God inspired the complete (plenary means: “full” or “complete“) text of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, including both historical and doctrinal details. The word verbal affirms the idea that the inspiration extends to the very words the writers chose (Acts 20:27; 1:16).
• Biblical Inerrancy, which is the doctrinal position that in its original form, the Bible is totally without errors; neither errors of fact (material errors), nor internal contradictions (formal errors), both of which refer to the complete accuracy of Scripture (Hebrews 4:12).
• Biblical Infallibility, which is the doctrinal position concerning the subjective consequences of divine inspiration; that is, the Bible is reliable and trustworthy to all who turn to it in search of God’s truth. Biblical inerrancy and infallibility may be distinguished, but not separated (Hebrews 4:13).
• Imperfect Transmission, inerrancy is generally attributed only to the original autographs, and recognizes the attention of imperfections inherent in their transmission: copying, translations (such as, a cult’s intentional mistranslations in order to produce their own bibles that say what they wanted to say as opposed to what was originally written), et al., and the potential cultural, historical, and rhetorical gaps between the writer and the reader (misunderstanding due to a lack of insight into Hebraic, Greek, and Aramaic idioms, nomenclature, and rhetorical devices), due to a misunderstanding of the idioms used (an example ~ 1 Corinthians 9:20).
There is One God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:10-11), Creator of all things (Isaiah 42:5; 45:12), infinitely perfect and eternally existing (Psalm 41:13; 90:2) in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).
The term “Trinity” and “persons,” as related to the Godhead, while not found in the Scriptures are words in harmony with the Scripture, whereby we convey to others our immediate understanding of the doctrine of Christ respecting the being of God, as distinguished from “gods many and Lords many.”
We therefore may speak with propriety of the Lord our God, who is one Lord, as a Trinity or as One Being of three persons, and still be absolutely Scriptural (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14).
But we acknowledge that a finite man should have trouble defining an infinite God and are humbled in the attempt.
Christ taught a distinction of persons in the Godhead which He expressed in specific terms of relationship, yet as to its mode is inscrutable and incomprehensible (Luke 1:35; 1 Corinthians 1:24; Matthew 11:25-27; 28:19; 1 John 1:1-3).
There is unity of the One Being of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Accordingly, there is that in the Son which constitutes Him the Son and not the Father; and there is that in the Holy Ghost which constitutes Him the Holy Ghost and not either the Father or the Son. Wherefore the Father is the Begetter, the Son is the Begotten; the Holy Ghost is the One proceeding from the Father and the Son. Therefore, because these three persons in the Godhead are in a state of unity, there is but one Lord God Almighty (John 1:18; 15:26; 17:11, 21) and His name is One (Zechariah 14:9).
There is identity and cooperation in the Godhead. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are never identical as to personage; nor is there confusion as to relationship; nor is there division in respect to the Godhead; nor opposition as to cooperation. Concerning the relationship of the Father and Son:
• The Son is with the Father and the Father is in the Son, as to relationship.
• The Son is with the Father and the Father is with the Son, as to fellowship.
• The Father is not from the Son, but the Son is from the Father, as to authority.
Hence, neither one of these Persons of the Godhead either exist or works separately or independently of each other (John 5:17-37; John 8:17-19), nor is there division or opposition concerning the Holy Spirit (yet there is less information provided about the Holy Spirit, which is in subjection to God’s Will in regards to the anonymity He holds). We believe…
God the Father is faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9; Psalms 40:10;1 John 1:9), pure (Psalm 12:6) and true (Psalm 119:160); while also merciful (Nehemiah 9:31; Psalm 103:8) and forgiving to His own (Psalm 103:17), yet righteous and just (Psalm 11:7; 19:9), beyond human understanding (Romans 11:34); all present (Psalm 139:8), all powerful (Isaiah 40:26) and all knowing (Acts 1518; Romans 11:33); beyond compare or contrast.
Jesus Christ is preeminent in the Bible (John 5:39), which presents Him as God incarnate (John 1:1-3), Messiah of Israel (Daniel 9:26), and Savior of the world (Luke 2:11; 2 Timothy 1:10), who according to God’s Will (Acts 2:22-24) was crucified for our sins (1 John 4:10) making atonement for mankind (Romans 5:11; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21); was buried, and bodily resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:39).
That Jesus was conceived of the Holy Ghost (Luke 3:22) and born of the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:27), was predicted in over 300 Old Testament passages (Hebrews 10:7) as the deliverer (Romans 11:26) of mankind, sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21). He is presently seated with His Father, on His Father’s Throne (Hebrews 8:1; 12:2), and will return to establish His Kingdom on the Planet Earth where He will rule on His own throne (Luke 1:21; Revelation 3:21) for a thousand years (Revelation 20:6). The Biblical doctrine of preeminence belongs solely to Jesus Christ, and is seen in the following areas:
• The title, “Lord Jesus Christ“
The appellation, “Lord Jesus Christ,” is a proper name (found over 116 times). In the New Testament it is never applied to either the Holy Spirit or the Father, and therefore belongs exclusively to Jesus of Nazareth (Romans 1:1-3, 7; 2 John 1:3).
• The Lord Jesus Christ, “God with Us“
The Lord Jesus Christ, as to His divine and eternal nature, is the proper and only begotten of the Father, but as to His human nature, He is the proper “Son of Man.” He is, therefore, acknowledged to be both totally God and totally man (beyond human understanding, because to do so would lower Him to our level); who because He is God and man is “Emmanuel,” meaning: “God with us” (Matthew 1:23;1 John 4:2, 10, 14; Revelation 1:13, 17-18).
• The title, “Son of God“
Since the name “Emmanuel” embraces both God and man in the One Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, it follows that the title “Son of Man,” describes His proper humanity, wherein the “Son of God” refers to His deity. Therefore, the title, “Son of God,” belongs to the order of eternity, and the title the “Son of Man” to the order of time (Hebrews 1:1-13; Matthew 1:21-23; 2 John 1:3; 1 John 3:8; Hebrews 7: 3). Wherefore, since the Father has delivered all judgment unto the Son, it is not only the express duty of all in heaven and on earth to bow the knee, but it is an unspeakable joy in the Holy Ghost to ascribe unto the Son all the attributes of deity, and to give Him all the honor and glory contained in all the names and titles of the Godhead (except those which express relationship as noted above) and thus honor the Son even as we honor the Father (John 5:22-23; 1 Peter 1:8; Revelation 5:6-14; Philippians 2:8-9; Revelation 4:8-11; 7:9-10).
• Transgression of the Doctrine of Christ
Wherefore, it is a transgression of the Doctrine of Christ to say that Jesus Christ derived the title, “Son of God” solely from the fact of the incarnation, or because of His relation to the economy of redemption.
Therefore, to deny that the Son is a real and eternal Son, is to deny that the Father is a real and eternal Father, and therein a denial of the distinction and relationship in the Being of God; and a displacement of the truth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh (2 John 1:9; John 1:1-2, 14, 18, 29, 49; 1 John 2:22-23, 4:1-5; Hebrews 12:2).
• Exaltation of Jesus Christ as Lord
The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, having by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; angels and principalities and powers (ranking entities created by God mainly known as Angels: “messengers” – Romans 8:38; Ephesians 3:10; 6:12; Colossians 2:15) having been made subject under Him (Colossians 1:16; Titus 3:1).
And having been made both Lord and Christ, He sent the Holy Ghost that we, in the name of Jesus, might bow our knees and confess Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father until the end, when the Son shall make everything become subject to the Father, that God may be all in all (Hebrews 1:3; 1 Peter 3:22; Acts 2:32-36; Romans 14:11; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28).
• Equal honor to the Father and to the Son
Wherefore, since the Father has delivered all judgment unto the Son, it is not only the express duty of all in heaven and on earth to bow the knee, but it is an unspeakable joy in the Holy Ghost to ascribe unto the Son all the attributes of deity, and to give Him all the honor and glory contained in all the names and titles of the Godhead (except those which express relationship as noted above) and thus honor the Son even as we honor the Father (John 5:22-23; 1 Peter 1:8; Revelation 5:6-14; Philippians 2:8-9; Revelation 4:8-11; 7:9-10).
The Holy Ghost
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the trinity (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 John 5:7), an individual whose ministry is to glorify our Lord Jesus Christ in anonymity (John 16:13-14), to convict men of sin (“reprove” ~ John 16:8), regenerate the believing sinner (Titus 3:5), and indwell (John 3:5; 14:17), guide and instruct (John 14:26), and empower believers (Luke 24:49), equipping the Saints (Greek: hagios = “set apart ones“) for the work of the ministry (Greek: diakonua = “service“) of the church (Ephesians 4:11-12).
Man was originally created in the image of God (Adam alone was created in God’s Holy image: Genesis 1:26-27; ~ You & I are created in the image of fallen man, who was originally created in God’s Holy image), and given a free will; freely chose to disobey God (Romans 5:12-19) by refusing to display trust in God and His ability to deal with the sin (Greek: hamartia = “missing the mark“) of the woman Eve and so became a fallen or sinful creature. Therefore, as the lineage of man flows from Adam after the fall and whereby having sin introduced into humanity: “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Salvation is by grace through faith, and faith alone (Ephesians 2:8), which is complete reliance upon God (in the shed blood of Jesus Christ ~ Luke 22:20); referred to as the gospel, (“good news” is defined in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4) concerning God’s propitiation (“appeasing God’s wrath” that we would be reconciled to Him ~ Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10) for sin (Greek: hamartia = “missing the mark“) in the form of the sacrificial and atoning (taking our place by covering our sins and paying the price for them) death of His Son Jesus Christ (John 14:6) in order to impute (declare it legally acquitted) onto man undeserved forgiveness (“mercy” ~ 1 Peter 1:3; 2:10; Romans 11:30-32).
Faith gives man what man did not deserve (“grace” ~ Hebrews 4:16; 1 Peter 4:10; Titus 2:11; 3:7) by being adopted as sons and daughters (Ephesians 1:5; Galatians 4:5), sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:23; 4:30), and that this faith (Greek: Písteuo? = “to believe to the point that behavior is changed based upon that belief” ~ Hebrews 10:38; Galatians 3:11;- better yet Hebrews 11:1-40) which is the foundation of a relationship with God, culminates in repentance of sin (“to change one’s mind” = “to put one’s trust in God and to believe Him as opposed to perdition” ~ Mark 1:15; [REPENTANCE IS NOT A MERE VERBAL CONFESSION - IT IS A CHANGING OF A PERSON'S MINDSET - TRANSFORMING FROM MAN'S SINFUL SELF RELIANCE & PRIDE TO TRUSTING SOLEY UPON & IN GOD, AS ACCORDING TO HIS WORD], it is far more than stopping a particular sin – it is life changing because a person’s whole belief system changes), which is a synonym for Biblical faith (in that believing what the Gospel says about sin and changing a person’s direction from going their own way to God’s way concerning sin and salvation is repentance), which displays a full committed reliance upon God (Matthew 6:8; 6:25-34), not based upon human (Proverbs 3:5) perceptions (2 Corinthians 5:7), nor contingent upon human effort (Ephesians 2:9), but fully and completely grounded in faith alone (Hebrews 11:6) wherein God chooses to make us right with Himself (Romans 3:24).
Faith is more than mere belief, which is cognitive (James 2:19), and is always seen in behaviors which display (James 2:17-18) this trust (Psalms 23:4), yet never presumptuous concerning (1 Thessalonians 5:17) petition (1 John 5:14:”… according to His will”), used as a tool to attempt to manipulate God simply to receive self serving desires (James 4:3), it is the vehicle by which Christ lives in our hearts (Ephesians 3:17; 1 Peter 3:15).
Faith is a lifestyle (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:39), commonly referred to as a walk (Romans 4:12), which is seen in habitual behaviors displaying this reliance (1 Peter 5:6-7) upon God (James 2: 14) as opposed to self (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Faith is to be based upon God’s Word as opposed to experience. While experience may add to faith, if a person’s faith is based solely or even mainly upon experience (which can be common these days), then it is based upon human senses (the word experience mandates the use of the five senses ~ human senses), which are inconsistent and this is opposed in Scripture (“for we walk by faith, not by sight” 2 Cor. 5:7). Experience can be misunderstood, deceitful, and inconsistent; yet God’s Word is none of these. Experience is subjective at its best, and misleading at its worst. It is only when experience is based solely upon God’s Word and not human interpretation or intuition that experience can be utilized rationally.
It is this author’s primary presupposition that by analyzing God’s Word and identifying the internal inexplicable, enigmatic, unfathomable, and incomprehensible insights that are found in and below the text, that the only conceivable explanation is that this book could not have been engineered by human contrivance. Therefore, the only rational conclusion is that the Bible is divinely designed and authored by God (men were the scribes, using their own words that were engrafted by the Holy Spirit, something only God could do), and that if God wrote a book this proves His existence. And that due to the infallibility of this book – it is solely worthy as the only guide for our daily walk. And based on this infallible “Word of God;” faith (faith - there is no other virtue known to man that pleases God [Heb. 11:6], therefore, it is faith that deserves our unending attention in learning how to please God more and more) is achieved by reading and studying it (salvation starts with God’s Word ["Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever" ~ 1 Peter 1:23] and grows with God’s Word). Romans 10:17 states:
“Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by [through] the Word of God.“
Water Baptism is by water immersion, which is biblically commanded (Acts 10:48) as an outward expression (“declaration“) of our personal understanding of being saved by Jesus’ sacrifice and of being united in God’s family (baptism: “being immersed / combined with” ~ in God), and understood to be a sacrament of the Church (Matthew 28:19).
The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper is an outward expression (1 Corinthians 11:24) of the believer celebrating Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection in place of the sinner until Christ’s return. This is to be observed until Christ returns, and is understood to be a sacrament of the Church (Matthew 26:26-30; 1 Corinthians 11:24-27).
The Church of God is the “body of Christ;” composed of those individuals who through personal faith in Jesus Christ have been indwelt (John 1417), regenerated (Titus 3:5), sanctified (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Ephesians 5:26; Hebrews 13:12), empowered (Acts 1:8), and equipped by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:11); in order to fulfill the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12) as ordained by Jesus Christ until the day in which He gathers the church, those “out called ones” (“belonging to the Lord“) to Himself.
The Rapture (Greek: harpazo = “caught up,” to be “snatched away by force” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:17) is the imminent (“soon…, and without warning“), return of Jesus Christ in the clouds (Acts 1:9 ~ Luke 21:27), not to the Earth, yet to the atmosphere to draw the believers to Himself (1 Thessalonians 4:17) to take back with Him to heaven until all is fulfilled and He returns with His Saints to the Earth itself.
If the doctrine of the Rapture is a myth, then by necessity, after His first coming to die for the sins of the world, Christ would only return one other time, which we call ”the 2nd Coming of Christ” – it would be a one-time occurrence. Therefore, if they are our descriptions of 2 quite different events concerning Christ’s returning to earth (once only to the air / clouds [1 Thess. 4:17]; and the other to touch His feet upon the ground [Luke 17:30] ~ ), then by necessity one of those must be the Rapture. It needs to be remembered that the 2nd coming is with Jesus touching upon the Earth, where as the Rapture is Jesus’ only coming in the air and collecting His own to take back with Him to heaven prior the seven-year period referred to as the Tribulation.
The tribulation is a 7 year period of time in which there is a distinction between the first 3 and a half years in the second 3 and half years. During the first 3 and a half years, the Antichrist sets up his rulership, and makes a 7 year covenant, most likely referred to as a treaty with Israel. Halfway through the treaty, 3 and a half years after the start of the tribulation is when he reveals his true identity because of the behaviors which the Bible attributes to the individual we refer to as the Antichrist. This last half of the tribulation (3 1/2 of the years) which is the time referred in the OT as: “Jacob’s Trouble’s“ (Jer. 30:7 ~ Matt. 24:3, Mk. 13:3) is a time in which Great Tribulation is normally recognized due to the severity of events and is a time so terrible which has never been known before upon the earth, nor never after (Matt. 24:21).
In considering the doctrine of the Rapture, perhaps the best tool of examination of this doctrine is that of comparison and contrast.
Rapture Second Coming
Translation of believers No translation
Translated saints go to heaven Translated Saints return to earth
Earth is not judged Earth is judged
Eminent – any moment Follows defined predicted signs
Sign-less Has Signs
Not in the Old Testament Predicted in the Old Testament
Affects believers only Affects all men
Before the day of wrath Concludes the day of wrath
No reference to Satan Satan is bound
Jesus comes for His own Jesus comes with His own
Jesus comes to the air (Clouds) Jesus comes in clouds
……………………………………..then to earth (Mount of Olives)
Jesus comes to claim His bride Jesus comes with His bride
Only His own see Him Every eye shall see Him
Great tribulation begins Millennium begins
Church believers only Old Testament saved raised later
The following Scriptures reference support the Rapture:
John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-15; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; 1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 5:1-5-9; 2 Thess. 2:3-5; 2 Thess. 2:1-2; 2 Thess. 2:6-8; 2 Thess. 2:9-11; Jude 1:14 (the only explanation for Christ coming with His Saints at His second coming, is that the Saints were are ready caught up with Him prior to this event).
The following Scriptures display the differences between the Rapture & the Second Coming:
The Rapture The Second Coming
John 14:1-3 Daniel 2:44-45
Romans 8:19 Daniel 7:9-14
1 Cor 1:7-8 Daniel 12:1-3
1 Cor 15:1-53 Zech 14:1-15
1 Cor 16:22 Matt 13:41
Phil 3:20-21 Matt 24:15-31
Col 3:4 Matt 26:64
1 Thess 1:10 Mark 13:14-27
1 Thess 2:19 Mark 14:62
1 Thess 4:13-18 Luke 21:25-28
1 Thess 5:9 Acts 1:9-11
1 Thess 5:23 Acts 3:19-21
2 Thess 2:1, (3?) 1 Thess 3:13
1 Tim 6:14 2 Thess 1:6-10
2 Tim 4:1 2 Thess 2:8
Titus 2:13 2 Peter 3:1-14
Heb 9:28 Jude 14-15
James 5:7-9 Rev 1:7
1 Peter 1:7, 13 Rev 19:11-20:6
1 John 2:28-3:2 Rev 22:7, 12, 20
1. The Rapture (1 Thess. 4:17)
2. The Judgment Seat (“Bema Seat”) of Christ (Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10)
3. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev_19:7)
4. The Second Coming of Christ (Luk_17:30)
5. The Judgment of the Nations – Sheep & Goats (Matthew 25:31-46)
6. Satan Bound for 1000 Years (Rev_20:3)
7. The Final Judgment – White Throne (Rev_20:11)
8. The New Jerusalem (Rev_21:2)
The Second Coming of Christ
The Second Coming of Christ is the personal return of Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:11) to and on the Earth to fulfill all prophecies concerning God’s Will in judging the world and establishing His millennial (Greek: chilliasm “thousand”) kingdom. Every eye shall see Him (Matthew 24:30; Revelation 1:7, Revelation 19:11-21).
The Millennial Kingdom of Christ is 1000 year period (Revelation 20:4) in which Jesus will literally fulfill (Luke 1:21; Revelation 3:21) those predictions that the Messiah would rule over Israel upon David’s throne. A time at which Christ and those chosen believers will rule (Revelation 20:6) on Earth from Jerusalem, where Satan will be bound (Revelation 20:2) and then loosed at the end (Revelation 20:3), and will culminate in the white throne judgment of unbelievers (Revelation 20:5).
The Great Resurrection
The Great Resurrection of the dead (and those alive as well) to either everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord; or to the White Throne Judgment of the unbeliever to eternal and everlasting conscious punishment in hell (1 Corinthians 15:42; Revelation 20:5; Hebrews 6:2; Philippians 3:11).
Reprinted from “What We Believe” at the “About Us” link: www.FaithBibleMinistries.com