Declarations of Faith – Part 1

Declaration of Faith
Of Larry W. Brashear
Declaring one’s faith is one of the most well grounded Christian practices. Several factors have led to my choice to arrange this declaration. First, as I study the Bible, theology, and history, I have realized the value of having a confessional faith, and I have felt the need to express myself on the issues those studies addressed. Second, I have observed that an unsettling percentage of evangelical Christians in this country have a non-reflective faith; their beliefs come through preference, perception, tradition, and American culture, rather than the careful study of Scripture and deliberate catechetical training. I do not wish to be among that group. Third, this is a time and place where churches have as much danger from false and careless teaching on the inside as from the world’s attacks. New bad theology is introduced every day, and I want to know thoroughly what good theology is so that I can recognize the bad. Finally, the need for Southern Baptists to revise their own declaration of faith in 2000 has demonstrated to me that what confessions leave out or say ambiguously is as telling as what they declare outright. Thus I have set out to create an admittedly unwieldy, but fairly comprehensive statement of what I believe is the true teaching of God’s word.
Many of the words in this declaration are not originally my own, but are drawn from Scripture, others’ confessions of faith, and the reflections of wise Christians of the past and present. But each statement expresses my own heartfelt confession of what I am convinced is the truth. In formulating these declarations, I have borrowed heavily from the Baptist Faith and Message and the Westminster Larger Catechism, and I have also quoted from Chalcedon, the Athansian Creed, and (disapprovingly) from the Council of Trent and the Rechenschaft. Some ideas and wording have their origin with individuals including Christopher Pope, Kurt Aland, Charles and T. J. Betts, Bruce Bickel, F. F. Bruce, John Calvin, D. A. Carson, Chrysostom, Mark Dever, R. M. Dudley, Jonathan Edwards, Millard Erickson, Phil Farrand, John S. and Paul D. Feinberg, Wayne Grudem, Hank Hanegraaff, Don Hustad, Stan Jantz, Martin Luther, Erwin Lutzer, John MacArthur, Adrian Rogers, D.L. Moody, Paige Patterson, Albert R. Mohler, Harold Willmington, Jerry Falwell, Ergun Caner, Glenn Conner, Gene Mimms, Walter Martin, Justin Martyr, Russ Moore, Ronald Nash, John Piper, Hugh Ross, Charles Spurgeon, Robert Stein, Jerry Sutton, Henry Thiessen, Jerry Vines, Daniel B. Wallace, Donald Whitney, Bruce Wilkinson, and Monte E. Wilson. This is not to endorse the entire theology of any one of these individuals, simply to give credit for how I’ve chosen to express my own beliefs.

General Agreements:
I am in complete agreement with the Baptist Faith and Message statement of 2000, as well as Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s “Abstract of Principles.”

I am a Southern Baptist by church membership and by conviction, finding the Southern Baptist Convention to consist of true, well-ordered churches, the vast majority of which have remained faithful to the Bible and its essential teachings, and have maintained adequate discernment and willingness in cooperating with churches of like faith and practice. Most importantly I am Southern Baptist because they believe what I believe, not because I believe what they believe!
With regard to Truth and Knowledge:
“I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.” III John 4

I DECLARE that in order for the church to remain healthy, God’s eternal truth must be taught by its ministers, understood by its members, and expressed in its worship; theological illiteracy is the death of a church.
I declare that controversy for the sake of truth is a divine command, and believers should not shrink from fighting for God’s truth.
I declare that truth is that which corresponds to reality, as God perceives it. Thus truth is objective, universal, and eternal.
I declare that all truth has God as its origin, and that truth never contradicts truth. Thus all “truths” are equally true, regardless of how God has revealed them.
I declare that it is the moral duty of every person to discover, adhere to, and proclaim truth.
I declare that truth about God is entirely unknowable, except in what He chooses to reveal Himself.
I declare that God has revealed some truth through the human conscience, His work in history, and the creation we observe through the physical and social sciences.
I declare therefore that all scholarly disciplines and discourses are worthwhile and beneficial to the extent that they pursue the discovery of truth, acknowledge and glorify God, and seek to apply that truth in ways that please Him.
I declare that God has granted mankind ability to know truth through the use of reason and the senses.
I declare that human ability to discover and know truth is limited, and that mankind’s fallen state severely limits the confidence mankind can have in its own reasonings, discoveries, and observations.
I declare that God has specially revealed to mankind through the Bible all He intends for us to know which cannot be discovered with reason or the senses.
I declare that apart from the revelation of the Bible, or Jesus Christ manifesting himself to one, man cannot discover knowledge sufficient for salvation or peace with God.
I declare that history consists of the actual events which take place in this universe and is the outworking of God’s plan for His creation.
I declare that a historical record is true to the extent that it accurately presents events which have occurred in history.
I declare that Christianity is a historical faith, meaning that its truth rests heavily on historical events, most prominent among which are the incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and awaited return of Jesus Christ.

With regard to Apologetics:
“The servant of the Lord must not quarrel, but be gentle to everyone, able to teach, putting up with ill treatment, meekly instructing those who oppose them, if perhaps God might give them repentance that leads to knowledge of the truth.” II Timothy 2:24-25

I DECLARE that it is the duty of all Christians to be able to give a verbal defense of their faith, explaining why the gospel is worthy of belief. This is the heart of evangelism.
I declare that evangelism is not merely the relating of one’s personal spiritual history, but involves reflection and study on the doctrines of the Bible.
I declare that evangelism is self-defeating if it gives the impression that receiving Christ will make it more possible for one’s worldly ambitions to be fulfilled. Sin and forgiveness, with a view to God’s justice, mercy, and grace are indispensable to evangelism and apologetics.
I declare that effective apologetics must be presuppositional, demonstrating the superiority of the Biblical worldview and its presuppositions over competing worldviews.
I declare that there is abundant evidence for the existence of God, His identity as the God of the Bible, and the truth of His word, but that the unbelieving are blinded to that evidence until the Holy Spirit opens their eyes.
I declare that presenting the evidence for Christianity serves to demonstrate the sincerity, character, and rationality of believers, and is a vehicle by which the Spirit removes intellectual barriers with which the unbeliever masks rebellion against God.
I declare that apologetics does not in itself win anyone to Christ, but that the Spirit may work through it as a proclamation of God’s word and thereby regenerate the heart of the sinner.
I declare that Christian apologetics must reflect the loving character of God and cannot be done from an attitude of intellectual or cultural superiority, contempt, or coercion.
With regard to Theology:
“I had need to write to you urging that you contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all handed down to the saints.” Jude 3b
I DECLARE that one purpose of human language is to enable mankind to communicate with and about God. What is communicated about God is theology.
I declare that theological language is meaningful to the extent that the speaker uses it to communicate propositions about God; propositions are here defined as meaningful, objective statements which are expressible in words and are either true or false.
I declare that one’s theology is intricately connected with one’s entire worldview, and influences one’s life in every way.
I declare that it is each person’s moral obligation to strive to bring one’s theology into harmony with what is objectively true about God and His works.
I declare that the tools of reason are to be used to understand God’s revelation, but are not of themselves any authority for theology.
I declare that the final and sufficient authority for all theological endeavors is the Bible, correctly interpreted.
I declare that experience, prior interpretation, and the discoveries of the various disciplines of knowledge are of but secondary and tentative use, and are of no authority, in formulating theology.
I declare that the expression of theology should be contextualized to the extent necessary to communicate clearly its propositions for the building up of the church.
I declare that contextualization which alters or obscures those propositions in form or in content is counter-productive to the task of theology.
I declare that theological propositions should be organized, synthesized, and systematized so as to assist the believer in maintaining consistency and seeing the interrelation of various doctrines and the unity of the Bible.
I declare that theological systems should not be imposed on the Bible so as to skew its interpretation; the Bible should reign over the system, not vice-versa.

With regard to True and False Teaching:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are hungry wolves.” Matthew 7:15

I DECLARE that faithful teaching is instruction in doctrines sincerely discovered in the Bible by those who believingly and prayerfully search its contents. This does not in itself guarantee that the teacher’s doctrines are truly taught in the Bible.
I declare that truthful teachings are discovered through the proper study of the Bible, and are the goal of all faithful Christian teachers.
I declare that false teachers are those who propagate false doctrines out of disrespect for the Bible, lack of love for God, and/or malicious intent toward their followers.
I declare that the false teachers most threatening to pastors, students, and scholars today are those who call themselves evangelical but marginalize the biblical teaching about God, the Bible, and salvation.
I declare that the false teachers most threatening to lay Christians today are the Word-of Faith movement, which ascribes both to men and to Satan power and authority held only by God, and claims that God desires physical health and wealth for all His people. Chief among these are John Avanzini, Charles Capps, Morris and David Cerullo, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Joel Osteen, Paul Crouch, Creflo and Taffi Dollar, Jesse Duplantis, Marilyn Hickey, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Frederick K. C. Price, Oral and Richard Roberts, and R. W. Shambach.
I delcare that the false teachers most threatening to churches today are the fraudulent revivalists who preach a gospel of cryptic experiences, seek worship that bypasses the use of the mind, and often claim to have seen visions and revelations of the Lord.
I declare that Christians should seriously and severely denounce ministries which forsake the doctrine of the Trinity or the necessity of salvation through conscious faith in Christ, which mix the true faith with legalism, sensationalism, or speculation, or which shrink from a clear proclamation of Christ, especially such popular ministries as those of Bill Gothard, T. D. Jakes, Grant Jeffrey, Robert Schuller, and Gwen Shamblin.
I declare that heresy is teaching that directly opposes the clear teaching of the Bible on matters of essential importance to the integrity of Christianity; religious groups claiming the name of Christ but grounded upon heresies are rightly called cults.
I declare that the theological points which the Bible presents as essential are: the truthfulness of the Bible, the unique and infinite knowledge, power, and authority of one immutable, self-sufficient, transcendent, triune God, His moral righteousness, God as Father of His people alone and Creator of the universe, human moral responsibility, salvation by grace rather than by works, Jesus’ deity, incarnation, atonement, and resurrection, and the promise of His physical return.
I declare that those whom God has called to the full-time preaching and study of the Bible and theology, while not neglecting the essentials of the faith, should also press forward, endeavoring toward theological precision.
With regard to the Bible:
“Teach me, O Yahweh, the way of your statutes, and I shall observe it to the end.” Psalm 119:33

I DECLARE that the Bible, in its entirety and as originally composed, is the word of God written, and the only enduring special revelation given on earth.
I declare that in every detail, both the form and content of the Bible are inspired by God and essential to the message of the Bible.
I declare that the Holy Spirit inspired the writing of the Bible in such a way that God and the human author both chose each word freely, so that it is both a divine and a human composition.
I declare that to drive a wedge between the words and the meaning of the Bible is to attack its truth and undermine its authority.
I declare that all events which the Bible presents in its narrative passages are historical events.
I declare that the Bible, while written from a pre-scientific perspective, is truthful in all its assertions that have a bearing on the sciences.
I declare that God shaped the development of cultures and languages in such a way as best suited the writing of the Bible so as to communicate accurately His verbal, propositional revelation.
I declare that the assertions of the Bible are thus absolutely true regardless of the distances of time and culture.
I declare that any copy of the Bible is profitable and remains the inerrant, infallible word of God, to the extent that its translation communicates clearly and accurately the meaning intended by the words of the authors of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts at the time they were written.
I declare that the Bible is the only authoritative source for Christian faith and practice, and it is the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions of any kind should be tried.
I declare that there is no realm of life, belief, or investigation over which the Bible does not have supreme authority.
I declare that the authority of the Bible derives solely from the fact that it has God as its author, and not from recognition by any church, individual judgment, experience, practicality, or conformity to extrabiblical beliefs or knowledge.
I declare that the authoritative meaning of the Bible is one only, and is to be discovered in the text itself.
I declare that the reader brings nothing to the authority, inspiration, or meaning of the Bible.
I declare that words and verses added to the Bible since the end of the first century are not canonical, regardless of church endorsement or inclusion in Bible versions, but are of human creation and are therefore not to be called Scripture.
I declare that it is highly important to study the available manuscripts of the Bible to discern what is the actual original reading of the text and what is human addition and omission. This is the discipline properly called textual criticism.
I declare that the so-called Critical Text reflects the original text of the New Testament more accurately than any present competing reconstruction.
I declare that the canon of the Bible consists by definition of all written material which is inspired by God.
I declare that books of the Bible received entry into the formal canon as they were recognized by Christian consensus to be inspired, and that the canon’s composition was not of the church’s making.
I declare that the inspired biblical canon is the 39 commonly received books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament, each as they were originally composed.
I declare that the Apocrypha and Pseudipigrapha are merely human creations, often full of deceit and errors, and are not to be considered scriptural or semi-scriptural writings.
I declare that the canonical order of books is of little or no help in biblical interpretation, although their chronological order may be of great assistance, as well as it can be determined.
I declare that the words of the prophets and apostles who wrote the Bible are all equally inspired and true, and are on the same level of inspiration and truthfulness as the words spoken by Jesus Himself.
I declare that biblical revelation is progressive: while the quality of revelation never changed, the quantity increased, so that the fullest revelation came with the completion of the later parts of the New Testament.
I declare that the status of the Bible as the “living” Word of God does not imply that its meaning is somehow subjective, multiform, or in a state of change.
I declare that the Bible is completely inerrant, meaning that everything it asserts explicitly or implicitly, on any subject, is true in the sense intended by its authors.
I declare that the doctrine of biblical inerrancy is to be derived from God’s truthfulness and authorship of the Bible.
I declare that the believer’s confidence in the Spirit’s authorship of the Bible should derive from the internal conviction of the Holy Spirit Himself, rather than from human authority, tradition, intuition, personal appeal, or evidence.
I declare that the doctrine of the complete inerrancy of the Bible as originally written is absolutely essential to any theology which would call itself Christian, and that anything short of this is heresy and unbelief, and tends toward the destruction of faith.
I declare that the methods known as “higher criticism” fail as means of biblical scholarship wherever they neglect, deny, or run contrary to the implications of the truthfulness and divine authorship of the Bible.
I declare that perceived inconsistencies or inaccuracies in the words or meanings of the Bible are the reader’s misperceptions.
I declare that it is a worthwhile task to discover the resolutions of such apparent errors, but that some may be beyond present human discovery, and that in any case it is unnecessary to resolve these conflicts to be confident of the complete truthfulness of the Bible.
I declare that the Bible infallibly accomplishes all the purposes for which it was intended.
I declare that pseudonymity was never an accepted means for writing Scripture and therefore the inspired books were humanly composed by the stated authors during their lifetimes.
I declare, therefore, that Moses composed the Pentateuch; Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Ezra, and Nehemiah the books bearing their names; Solomon composed Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs; he, Agur, and Lemuel the Proverbs; and the titled psalms were composed by the authors in their titles.
I declare further that Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon were composed by Paul and first sent to the churches or individuals for whom they are named; likewise, James and Jude were written by the half-brothers of Jesus, and 1 Peter, 2 Peter, the Gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation were written by the apostles Simon Peter and John the Beloved.
I declare that of those books not declaring authors, believers should allow for differences in judgment as to their authorship, but that evidence indicates beyond doubt that Matthew was written by the apostle Matthew, Mark by John Mark, and Luke and Acts by Luke, the companion of Paul.
With regard to Biblical Interpretation:
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, by accurately handling the word of truth.” II Timothy 2:15
I DECLARE that the Bible is sufficient for all religious and saving knowledge.
I declare that cultural and linguistic information is sometimes necessary for biblical understanding because of the distance between the present-day reader and the original audience.
I declare however that answering questions which require information not available to the original audience of the Bible is not necessary to obtain the meaning of the text.
I declare that the meaning of a biblical text is the message which the human author intended to convey through the words of the text; this is what it means to interpret the Bible “literally,” or according to its true and natural sense.
I declare that the meaning of a text is generally distinct from its subject matter; that it answers the question, “Why is this written?” rather than “What is written?”
I declare that there is generally only one meaning to a text, but that there may be numerous implications within that range of intended meaning.
I declare that the divine meaning and human meaning of a biblical text are one and the same, though God was certainly aware of the full range of implications and applications of the text.
I declare that the true meaning of the text, along with its implications, never goes against the grammar and syntax of the text, and must be understood within its literary context, and with recognition of evident idioms and figures of speech.
I declare that in order for texts to be correctly understood, they must be interpreted with proper regard for the analogy of faith, which is its doctrinal consistency with the whole Bible, and especially with knowledge of the previous revelation up to the time of the text’s composition.
I declare that a text has not been properly interpreted until the reader has a correct mental grasp of the author’s meaning and can articulate it as one or more timeless truths.
I declare that the ability to interpret the Bible properly is a matter of intelligence, knowledge, honesty, and effort, and does not depend on the illumination of the Holy Spirit.
I declare that the illumination of the Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary for a reader to accept and obey the Bible, or to see the truth and significance of the things of God, and that such illumination is only available to those whom the Spirit has regenerated.
I declare that, because all Scripture is given for instruction, there is nothing taught in the Bible which cannot be understood; what is said obscurely in one passage is said clearly in others.
I declare that all readers of the Bible are obligated to have an attitude of submission to the text, willing to make all their own beliefs and practices subject to its authority.
I declare that study of a text is not complete until the reader determines its proper application personally and corporately, and seeks to carry it out.
I declare that the study of a topic must recognize the progressive revelation of the Bible, and therefore give highest regard to the latest portions of the Bible addressing that topic.

With regard to God:
“Hear, O Israel! Yahweh is our God, Yahweh alone!” Deuteronomy 6:4

I DECLARE that there is one and only one God, who is one and only one Lord.
I declare that God exists, meaning that He is a real entity.
I declare that everyone has some knowledge of God, as the creation and their own consciences declare His existence and certain of His attributes, chief among which are His righteousness, power, and glory.
I declare that rational and experiential arguments to provide evidence for God’s existence do so only to those already willing to believe He exists, although they may provide reassurance for believers in times of doubt.
I declare that much about God, indeed the very things necessary to know Him personally and please Him, are revealed only through His special revelation.
I declare that whereas God’s special revelation of Himself came formerly through prophets and apostles, and ultimately through Jesus Christ, that the entirety of that revelation intended for us is the Bible.
I declare that God may use dreams or angelic visitations to protect His people or to prepare others to receive the gospel, but that He no longer specially reveals Himself apart from the Bible and its proclamation, whether through inspiration, prophecy, apostleship, visions, dreams, or angelic visitations.
I declare therefore that the surest and most detailed knowledge of God comes through the Bible, that knowledge derived from it is certain, and that beyond this, natural theology and human speculation or insight provide no sure foundation for knowledge of things divine.
I declare that God desires most to be known personally and relationally, but that doctrines about God are best formed by attention to His written Word rather than by personal experience.
I declare that understandings of God which rival the God revealed in the Bible are false gods, and their worship is to be condemned as idolatry. This includes the gods of classical Greek theism, Animism, Pantheism, Panentheism, Unitarianism, Islam, American Indian tribal religion, Freemasonry, Theosophy, Mormonism, and Process Theology.
I declare that God is a Trinity, meaning that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three eternally distinct persons, yet existing as one eternal being.
I declare that the Persons of the Trinity are eternally equal in all their attributes, each being autotheos, self-sufficient in divinity, and all of equal glory, majesty, and lordship.
I declare that, while being equal in their attributes, the Persons of the Trinity eternally function with the Son freely submitting Himself to the Father, and the Spirit to the Son.
I declare that neither God nor any of the three Persons of the Trinity are created, limited, or comprehensible.
I declare that the understanding of God as a Trinity is an essential part of the saving gospel and of the teaching of the church.
I declare that God is personal, having life, consciousness, self-awareness, knowledge, and desires; it is in this manner that He reveals Himself to be the Living God.
I declare that God has no body and therefore no biological gender, but that gender is ultimately a component of personhood, and that God reveals Himself to be a masculine person; thus in English He is properly addressed with masculine pronouns. This applies to each member of the Trinity.
I declare that both masculine and feminine comparisons and analogies may be used to describe various of God’s attributes, to the extent that they reflect the true biblical example and are not understood to diminish the masculinity of God’s personality.
I declare that it is God alone who has the authority to choose the offices or titles by which He is to be called.
I declare that the personal name by which God has revealed Himself is Yahveh, or Yahweh.
I declare that divine names of human invention, such as Jahbulon, are not other names for God but for false gods not to be worshiped.
I declare that the primary names by which God identifies His relationship to His people are Father, Lord, and King.
I declare that God is fatherly in His attitude toward all His creation, that only His chosen people can claim and address Him as their Father, and that God is Father in a most special way to God the Son, Jesus Christ.
With regard to God’s Attributes:
“Then Yawheh passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘Yahweh, Yahweh God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands; who forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.'” Exodus 34:6-7a
I DECLARE that God’s attributes describe Him not metaphorically but as He really is, and are all essential to His status as God.
I declare that God never limits or changes His attributes.
I declare that Jesus Christ in His divine nature gave up none of His attributes in His Incarnation.
I declare that God is personal in His relationship to the universe, caring about and acting in consideration of it; this does not conflict with God’s infinity.
I declare that God’s glory, in one sense, is the honor and excellent reputation duly ascribed to God by His creation. In another sense, it is the brightness that surrounds God’s revelation of Himself. In yet another sense, the Bible speaks of God’s glory as His intrinsic awe-inspiring greatness and majesty.
I declare that God is perfect, meaning that He completely possesses all excellent qualities and lacks no part of any qualities that would be desirable for Him.
I declare that God is blessed, or happy, meaning that He delights fully in Himself and in all that reflects His character.
I declare that God is spirit, meaning that in His essence He is not made of any matter, has no parts, dimensions, or size, is unable to be perceived by the bodily senses; spirituality is more excellent than any other kind of existence.
I declare that God is invisible, meaning that His total essence cannot be seen by anyone, though in biblical times He took on visible forms to show Himself to selected people on a number of occasions.
I declare that God is infinite, not subject to the limitations of humanity or creation or to the change that characterizes created existence; this does not conflict with God’s personality. He is everlasting, without beginning or end.
I declare that God is a unity, not divided into parts; He is neither a collection of attributes, nor are those attributes added to Him. Each attribute describes God’s whole being.
I declare that God is immanent, meaning that God is continually active in His creation, with all things holding together in and dependent on Him; and meaning that God is knowable through His revelation.
I declare that God is transcendent, meaning that God is distinct and separate from His creation, and that nothing in all creation (including existence itself) may be called God or a part of God; and meaning that God cannot be comprehended by the human mind.
I declare that God’s transcendence of creation includes as many dimensions of time and space as exist, and that God is not dependent upon these dimensions to act upon or respond to His creation.
I declare that God is timeless, whose existence does not consist of moments coming one after another, yet that God sees all time equally vividly.
I declare that God fully understands created time, sees events in time, and acts in time as a way of relating to His creation.
I declare that God is omnipresent, meaning that God is present at every point of space with His whole being, yet God acts differently in different places.
I declare that God is present in a special way at different times and places to punish, sustain, bless, or listen to His creation.
I declare that God is omniscient, meaning that He has complete and infallible knowledge of all things actual and possible in the past, present, future, and timeless, in one simple and eternal act of knowing; therefore His attitude toward His creation and His people does not change from moment to moment.
I declare that God is omnipotent, meaning that God is able to do anything He pleases; nothing restrains or hinders God from accomplishing His will, and His power comes from no outside source or principle.
I declare that God is independent, meaning that God is fully satisfied in Himself, not needing His creation for anything; even though creation can glorify Him and bring Him joy, He is not dependent upon creation to be infinitely glorious and joyful.
I declare that God is not bound by or dependent on human cooperation for the carrying out of His work, or on human requests for the bestowing of His blessings.
I declare that God is free and sovereign, exercising complete rule over all His creation as He pleases, without hindrance or constraint and under no authority.
I declare that God acts in accordance with His will, which is that attribute whereby He approves and determines to bring about every action necessary for the accomplishment of His purposes and for the existence and activity of all creation.
I declare that God is immutable, meaning that He is unchanging in His being, attributes, purposes, and promises.
I declare that God acts and feels emotions, and that He acts and feels differently in response to different situations, yet God is not controlled or swayed by fallible and transient emotions, as humans are.
I declare that God is a God of peace and order, meaning that in His being and actions He is separate from all confusion and disorder, yet He is continually active in innumerable well-ordered, fully controlled, simultaneous actions; He always acts in accord with logic and with His wisdom, character, and attributes.
I declare that God is holy, meaning that He is set apart from His creation both ontologically (by virtue of His essential nature) and morally, separated from sin and devoted to seeking His own honor.
I declare that God is righteous, meaning that He always acts in accordance with what is morally right, and is Himself the final standard of what is right.
I declare that God is just, meaning that He requires righteousness of His moral creatures (humans and angels) and always punishes unrighteousness.
I declare that God is wrathful, meaning that He intensely hates all sin.
I declare that God is jealous, meaning that He continually seeks to protect His own honor and will not allow glory to be given to another.
I declare that God is genuine, meaning that He is the true God, and that He is as He presents Himself.
I declare that God is truthful, meaning that all His words, whether spoken or written, given directly or indirectly, are both true and are the final standard of truth.
I declare that God is faithful, meaning that He will always do just what He has said and will fulfill all He has promised.
I declare that God’s truthfulness and faithfulness do not require Him to accommodate Himself or His actions to false beliefs or expectations concerning Him and His promises; indeed they ensure that He will not.
I declare that God is good and benevolent, meaning that all that He does is worthy of approval.
I declare that God is merciful, His mercy being His goodness toward those in distress.
I declare that God is gracious, His grace being His goodness toward those who deserve only punishment.
I declare that God demonstrates common grace in His goodness to humanity in general by restraining sin and mitigating its destructive effects in society, by temporarily withholding judgment, by providing good and pleasurable things to all men, by inviting all to come to Him for salvation, and by providing them with opportunities to give Him glory.
I declare that God demonstrates a special grace to His chosen people by sending Christ to pay the price for their sins, by bringing them salvation through repentant faith, by justifying them on account of their faith and imputing to them Christ’s righteousness, by giving them the Holy Spirit for encouragement and instruction, and by promising them an inheritance as children of God.
I declare that God is patient, His patience being His goodness toward those who continue to sin over a period of time.
I declare that God is persistent, continuing to offer salvation and blessings to those who refuse them.
I declare that while God is infinite in His mercy, grace, patience, and persistence, He extends these when and to whom He pleases, and only for as long as He pleases.
I declare that God is loving, meaning that God eternally gives of Himself to others for their benefit.
I declare that the greatest love is that which the Persons of the Trinity have for one another.
I declare that God has true compassionate love for all His creation, and for all people, not taking pleasure in their punishment, and demonstrating that love through His plan of redemption.
I declare that God demonstrates love to His chosen people in a special, redemptive manner through the sacrifice of His own Son to pay for their sins.
I declare that God is beautiful, infinitely possessing all truly desirable qualities.

With regard to Creation and History:
“It is I who made the earth and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands, and I ordained all their host.” Isaiah 45:12

I declare that everything external to God has been created by Him–matter, energy, space, time, celestial beings, and realms beyond this universe.
I declare that God loves and values His creation, even beyond its benefit to humanity, and that its purpose is to glorify Him.
I declare that the purpose of the universe, and of each human life, is to glorify God, and that its creation was a totally free act of God.
I declare that the physical universe is real and subject to principles which God has established for it.
I declare that God created the physical universe out of nothing, and that such creative power belongs only to God Himself.
I declare that ascribing the creation of the universe to God is a prerequisite to pleasing Him.
I declare that the universe operates according to physical principles which were established by God at the creation and which have not changed since; these principles are in perfect harmony with God’s occasional and continual providential interventions in the course of history.
I declare that God, having created the dimensions, matter, and energy which are the universe, carefully formed them to fashion a place for the human creatures He would create.
I declare that God guided the formation of the Earth and developed it with constant attention to make it habitable for humans.
I declare that Genesis 1 describes the process whereby God prepared the Earth for mankind, and is written from the perspective of an observer on the surface of the Earth.
I declare that the “days” of Genesis 1 are of indeterminate length according to normal biblical usage of the word, and that the Bible contains numerous evidences that the “days” of Genesis 1 were long periods of time.
I declare that human observations reveal beyond any doubt that the Earth and its universe have existed for billions of years, and that therefore the “days” of Genesis 1 were long periods of time.
I declare that knowledge of the age of the universe is unnecessary to understanding the meaning of the creation account in Genesis.
I declare that the teaching that the universe developed on its own, apart from the special assistance of God, is offensive to biblical testimony and statistically absurd.
I declare that the gap theory, the teaching that the universe was created for Satan or that the emptiness of Genesis 1:2 was the result of judgment or catastrophe is not supported by the Bible and confuses the biblical teaching about Satan.
I declare that the teaching that God causes the universe to appear to be the same age by every conceivable means of measurement, when in fact it is much younger, is in conflict with God’s truthfulness.
I declare that disagreement over whether human observations of the age of the universe are flawed, or whether the authorial intent of Genesis 1 was to portray six twenty-four hour creation days, should not be disruptive to one’s relationship with God and fellowship and cooperation with other believers.
I declare that each kind (species or genus) of life which has existed on earth was separately created by God, and that evolution operates only within that very narrow range.
I declare that the teaching that humans descended from lower animals, or that one kind of life descended from another, is directly contradicted by both the Bible and scientific observation.
I declare that any anthropoid creatures which existed before the lifetime of Adam and Eve were of necessity unspiritual animals, regardless of their apparent intelligence and accomplishments.
I declare that the Genesis accounts of the garden of Eden, the Flood of Noah, and the Tower of Babel are accurate historical accounts.
I declare that after creating Eve, God initiated the seventh day, during which He has ceased His ex nihilo creative activity.
I declare that the seventh day continues, until the time God resumes His creative acts and establishes the new heavens and the new Earth, which He will some day inhabit with His people forever.
I declare that the entirety of God’s creation, before the fall of Adam, was very good and whole in every aspect.
I declare that the fall of Adam brought spiritual death to the human race, made human physical death a certainty, and resulted in the banishment of humans from Eden’s paradise to the harshness of the outside world.
I declare, moreover, that it is because of the fall that creation was bound to its own cycle of decay and death, though that cycle was begun long before the creation of Adam.
I declare that the Flood of Noah covered the entire inhabited world, destroying every human except for the eight members of Noah’s family.
I declare that the teaching that Noah’s Flood brought about the geological features, fossils, and fuel resources which suggest the Earth’s extreme age, is unsupported by the Bible and in profound contradiction to all observations of natural history.
I declare that all humans are descended, not only from Adam, but also from Noah and his three sons.
I declare that at Babel, God confused the universal language of mankind, leaving people only with their various tribal or national languages.
I declare that for a long time after the deaths of Noah and his sons, humanity existed without the true worship of God, but that God chose one heathen named Abram and covenanted with him to establish a people for Himself from all nations, and gave him circumcision as a sign of that covenant.
I declare that God’s covenant gave the Promised Land forever to Abram and his physical offspring.
I declare that the lives of Abram and his family were as the book of Genesis presents them.
I declare that the exodus from Egypt took place in the middle of the fifteenth century, B.C., and that the date of the exodus is clearly revealed in the Bible.
I declare that God gave Moses and the Israelites the Torah at Mount Sinai after their departure from Egypt, and that because of the Israelites’ rebellion, they wandered for thirty-eight years from that time to the death of Moses.
I declare that after the death of Moses, Joshua led the Israelites on a campaign against the Canaanites in the Promised Land, after which they inhabited the land as twelve tribes and were ruled for a time by judges.
I declare that the Israelites rebelled against God by demanding a king, and that God gave them Saul; God’s divine intent all along was to establish His covenant with David, who was Saul’s successor.
I declare that God’s glory dwelt with His people in the temple built by David’s son Solomon in Jerusalem.
I declare that following the reign of Solomon, the nation of Israel was split and both kingdoms fell into idolatry; because of their idolatry, God brought powerful nations against them and carried each nation into captivity in its own time.
I declare that God purged Judah of its idolatry through captivity in Babylon, but that He brought them out in accordance with the message of His prophets.
I declare that in the fullness of time, God fulfilled the Messianic hope proclaimed by His servants the prophets when He sent Jesus into the world.
I declare that Jesus’ crucifixion and subsequent resurrection were together the central event of all history and of God’s redemptive plan.
I declare that following Jesus’ ascension, the New Testament church was established as the continuance of God’s chosen people, the true Israel.
I declare that the church operates under the new covenant prophesied by Jeremiah, and that the sign of this covenant is circumcision not of the body but of the heart.
I declare that the church was scattered across all nations for the unhindered spread of the gospel.
I declare that the Protestant Reformation was an act of God to lead His true people out of a church which had become false.
I declare that from the time of Abram, God has preserved for Himself a people in all times, and will continue to do so until Christ’s return.
I declare that Christ’s first coming initiated the last days, and that God is moving history toward a time when He will execute judgment against His and His people’s enemies, bring all things under the visible reign of Christ, and repay all peoples for the deeds they have done in this life.

With regard to God’s Providence:
“All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?'” Daniel 4:35

I DECLARE that God’s providence is His continual involvement with all created things; it is not arbitrary or capricious, but governed by His holy and wise counsel.
I declare that God keeps all created things existing and maintains the properties with which He created them.
I declare that God cooperates with all created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do.
I declare that God directs all created things to fulfill His purposes; thus there are no “random” or “chance” events, and nothing is trivial or unimportant to God.
I declare that the Bible uses the term “God’s will” in two senses: (1) that which He commands and which pleases His love and righteousness, and (2) the eternal and inviolable plans of God whereby, before the creation of the world, He determined to bring about everything that happens.
I declare that God’s control over all things ought to give the believer great comfort, knowing that nothing can threaten him outside the power and knowledge of the One who loves and protects him.
I declare that it is God’s control over all things which allows the believer to put aside fear and worry and to be thankful to God for all things that happen.
I declare that God has endowed certain of His creatures with a degree of freedom and ability to choose to do what they will or desire.
I declare that God works through the properties and circumstances of these creatures so that their desires are in accordance with His purposes. Thus the free actions of God’s creatures are both fully caused by Him and fully caused by the creature as well.
I declare that human actions have real and eternally significant results, and that they affect the course of events.
I declare that human actions, including prayer, may be understood as means by which God brings about change in the world and the accomplishment of His purposes.
I declare that trusting in and relying on God does not excuse us from acting responsibly and working to bring about what He desires and commands.
I declare that God rightfully blames and judges moral creatures for the evil they do.
I declare that God is never to be blamed for evil and never takes pleasure in evil.
I declare, however, that God often uses evil for His glory and for the good of His creatures.
I declare that God brings difficulties and calamities upon His people in order to make evident to them their inherent helplessness and prompt them to call on God humbly for strength; to test their patience and faith and to train them in obedience, and to allow them the privilege of suffering for righteousness’ sake.
I declare that limiting God’s knowledge or placing evil outside God’s ability to restrain it, leads to a dangerously incorrect understanding of God and ought to be characterized and opposed as false doctrine.
I declare that limiting human responsibility and obligation, or denying the existence of evil, also leads to extreme error in both belief and practice, and is also to be opposed as false doctrine.
I declare that a systematic understanding of how God’s will interacts with human decisions is unnecessary for a proper relationship with God or for full fellowship and cooperation among believers, provided they acknowledge God as all-knowing and free to do all that He wishes, uphold human moral accountability, and ascribe the cause of their salvation wholly to God.
With regard to Miracles:
“He does great things that cannot be explained, and wondrous works without number.” Job 9:10
I declare that God usually works through His creation in accordance with the processes and principles by which it normally operates, which we often call “physical laws.”
I declare that God Himself is not subject to physical laws and may act in creation without regard for them whenever He so chooses.
I declare that God sometimes performs miracles, by which He evokes awe and wonder and testifies to Himself by acting in a way which is manifestly beyond the usual course of activities in creation.
I declare that God uses miracles to confirm His words, to bear witness to the coming of His kingdom, to help those who are in need, and to remove hindrances to people’s ministries, but ultimately to bring glory to Himself.
I declare that God’s miraculous activity, while primarily concentrated during a few eras of history, continues to operate today.
I declare that believers may make humble requests to God for miracles, but that God performs miracles on His own initiative and does not presently tie His miracle-working to the ministry of any particular person.
I declare that God will not honor with true miracles any minister who proclaims false doctrine or ministers for his or her own glory.
With regard to Angels:
“Or do you think that I cannot urge My Father, and He will give me at this moment more than twelve legions of angels?” Matthew 26:53
I DECLARE that angels are personal, moral, spiritual beings without physical bodies, created by God to serve and glorify Him.
I declare that, while not having a body, angels are limited in space and time and can take on human (or other) visible form when relating to humans.
I declare that angels act as messengers, agents of judgment, and worshipers of God.
I declare that angels are assigned to protect God’s people, including little children, but that the Bible does not teach that each individual has a guardian angel.
I declare that the “angel of the Lord” spoken of in the Old and New Testaments refers only to an angel and not to an appearance of the Lord Himself.

With regard to Demons and the Occult:
“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to Yahweh.” Deuteronomy 18:10-12a

I DECLARE that demons are evil angels who sinned against God.
I declare that demons are subject to the same limitations as angels.
I declare demons are those, who fell with Satan, now continually working evil in the world.
I declare that demons may afflict unbelievers and control their bodies, which we often call possession.
I declare that demons may bring upon believers afflicting circumstances and temptations, within the permissive will of God, but that the Holy Spirit prevents believers from being controlled or directly afflicted by demons.
I declare that believers do not have the authority to “bind” Satan or his demons from their work.
I declare that spiritual warfare consists not in the believer’s participation in battles between demons and angels, nor in interpersonal conflict, but in resistance to temptation brought by demons, the sinful world system, and our own human nature.
I declare that spiritual warfare is fought not with declarations and incantations, nor with words addressed to demonic forces, but with prayer and knowledge of God’s word.
I declare that the believer’s protection in spiritual warfare is first of all salvation, then truth, righteousness, faith, and a solid grounding and preparation in the gospel.
I declare that the Bible does not support the existence of territorial or generational spirits, or demonic influence behind every sin, disaster, or physical or psychological malady.
I declare that simple role-playing or games of imagination and fantasy do not make one vulnerable to demonic influence.
I declare, however, that superstition and occultic practices in which one attempts to contact, communicate with, or be controlled by spirits or the dead, can make the unbeliever susceptible to demonization, and are sins which make the believer prone to discipline.
I declare that the apparent success of such occultic practices as mind-reading, witchcraft, Ouija boards, tarot card readings, seances, horoscopes, and omens owes itself to demonic power, not the power of God, and is among the most harshly condemned practices in the Bible. The popularity of such practices is a sign of a sick society ripe for God’s judgment and headed for earned destruction.
With regard to Satan:
“Be sober; be diligent. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” I Peter 5:8.
I DECLARE that the head of the demons is Satan, also called the serpent or the Devil, and that Satan is an actual, personal being.
I declare that Satan is a powerful celestial being and not to be mocked or taken lightly.
I declare that Satan was cast out of heaven when he rebelled, as described in Revelation 12.
I declare that the denunciation of the kings of Babylon and Tyre in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 are not descriptions of Satan’s fall; and the name Lucifer is the result of both mistranslation and misinterpretation.
I declare that Satan was the originator of sin.
I declare that Satan opposes God’s plans, accuses believers, spiritually blinds unbelievers, and deceives the nations, yet is limited by God’s control and has limited power.
I declare that Satan has no legitimate authority over this universe or its people, and that God is not in any way subject to or hindered by Satan; “even the devil is God’s devil.”
I declare that in fact God uses Satan’s rebellion to accomplish His own purposes, and thus even temptation can affect a purifying work in the believer’s life, and failure may drive the believer to restoration.
I declare that the crucifixion was Satan’s defeat, not his victory.
I declare that the future of Satan and all demons is eternal punishment in hell, and it is for this purpose that hell was created.
I declare that in hell, Satan and the demons will be not tormentors, but in torment themselves.

With regard to Human Nature:
“What is man that You take thought of him,and the son of man that You care for him?Yet You have made him a little lower than God,and You crown him with glory and majesty!” Psalm 8:4-5

I DECLARE that mankind is the only moral, spiritual creature in the physical universe.
I declare nevertheless that humans are part of creation, and are not set against nature as if it were hostile to God or to themselves.
I declare that God created mankind in His own image, meaning not that we are reproductions of God, but that each person resembles and represents God as a caretaker of His creation and comprised of Body, Soul, and Spirit.
I declare that the essence of every human being retains God’s image, though it was marred by Adam’s fall.
I declare that Jesus, as the human par excellence and being fully divine, was the truest image of God.
I declare that the image of God is renewed upon our salvation and perfected in the resurrection, when we are finally conformed to the likeness of Christ.
I declare that humans have had essentially the same anatomy and abilities since creation.
I declare that each human is essentially one total being, whose elements of body and soul are indivisible and interrelated.
I declare that the human soul has no existence prior to conception.
I declare that human life begins at conception with both a body and a soul, which function as one unit until death.
I declare that the body is the whole material aspect of the person, corruptible and mortal apart from special transformation by God.
I declare that the soul is the non-material aspect of the person, created immortal and consisting of the intellect and the will.
I declare that the soul has no psychic ability, and no ability to know the future, affect the outside world without the means of the body, or create its own reality.
I declare that a man’s spirit is the same as his soul, but that when the two are contrasted in the Bible, the spirit is that particular aspect of the soul which enlivens the intellect and will, and relates spiritually with God.
I declare that at death, the soul is separated from the body, which remains on earth.
I declare that all the dead will be resurrected, the soul being rejoined to the body.
I declare that God has placed within each person a conscience, an inner sense of God’s moral law, which though fallible, limited, and marred by the fall, leaves all people without excuse as to their actions.
I declare it is the duty of believers to search the Bible to determine God’s moral law, rather than relying on their own consciences to inform them.
I declare that each person is accountable to God for his own beliefs and behavior, and cannot rest his status with God on the faith or deeds of others.
I declare that the physical and psychological/emotional disabilities suffered by mankind are God’s sovereign choice, and are not affliction by demons, nor are they necessarily present because of punishment by God or lack of faith on the part of the sufferer.
I declare that material blessing does not come by positive confession, hopeful thinking, authoritative pronouncements, or any creative power within man, but only by the grace of God.

With regard to Gender:
“And so God created man in His image; in the very image of God He created him. It was as male and female that He created them.” Genesis 1:27
I DECLARE that all people are created male or female as an essential aspect of personhood.
I declare that masculinity and femininity should not be resisted but fostered toward maturity.
I declare that, at the heart of mature masculinity is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for, and protect women in ways appropriate to a man’s differing relationships.
I declare that mature masculinity expresses itself not in the demand to be served, but in the strength to serve and to sacrifice for the good of others; it does not presume superiority but mobilizes the strengths of others.
I declare that mature masculinity does not have to initiate every action, but feels the responsibility to provide a general pattern of initiative; it recognizes that the call to leadership is a call to repentance and humility and risk-taking.
I declare that mature masculinity expresses its leadership in married romantic sexual relations by communicating an aura of strong and tender pursuit which is a mixture of initiation and response.
I declare that a husband should not assume the authority of Christ over his wife, but advocate it.
I declare that a husband should accept the burden of the final say in disagreements between husband and wife, but not presume to use it in every instance; in a well-ordered biblical marriage, this will seldom be required.
I declare that a husband should take the initiative in disciplining children when both parents are present and a family standard has been broken, although the wife is free to take that initiative if the husband is absent.
I declare that mature masculinity is sensitive to cultural expressions of masculinity and adapts to them (when no sin is involved) so as to act with maturity and dignity as a man.
I declare that, at the heart of mature femininity is a freeing disposition to affirm, receive, and nurture strength and leadership from worthy men in ways appropriate to a woman’s differing relationships.
I declare that the greatest human fulfillment for both men and women comes in marriage and child-bearing, and that this should be considered a greater challenge, higher priority, and better use of life than more gainful employment, advancement, or peer approval.
I declare, however, that both men and women are complete persons without marriage, and that single believers should exploit their singleness to the full in devotion to God and not be paralyzed by the desire to be married.
I declare that all those whom God has not gifted with the ability to live unmarried without undue temptation and distraction should seek to be married.
I declare that God who works all things in accordance with His will, also prepares an intended mate for each one who should be married.
I declare that seeking marriage partners is not so much a matter of searching for the divinely intended partner, but submitting to God’s timing and plan to bring the two of them together.
I declare, however, that the fostering of all Christian relationships should be effortful and characterized by mutual commitment to each other’s good.
I declare that those who are married should creatively, intelligently, and sincerely seek to learn and fulfill the biblical roles of husband and father, or of wife and mother.
I declare that there are no biblical grounds for divorce.

With regard to Sin:
“Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Romans 5:12

I DECLARE that any failure to conform to the moral law of God in act, attitude, or nature is sin; thus the fundamental nature of sin is lawlessness.
I declare that when Adam first sinned, he acted as representative of the human race, so that all Adam’s descendants are under condemnation from conception and inherit a nature in bondage to sin.
I declare that sin corrupts every aspect of human nature, making mankind totally lacking in spiritual good before God, and totally unable to do anything which is good in His sight.
I declare that sinful nature necessarily manifests itself in the voluntary commission of sinful acts, for which God rightly holds us responsible.
I declare that sin’s seriousness is beyond human ability to comprehend, but merits eternal punishment in hell.
I declare that the Bible indicates that, in terms of results, the degree of God’s displeasure, and the severity of judgment, some sins are worse than others, but that even the smallest sin makes us legally guilty before God and worthy of eternal punishment.
I declare that the consequences of sin include victimization, addiction, agitation and restlessness, guilt and sorrow, innumerable calamities and troubles, damage in relationships with humans and with God, environmental consequences, oppression, injustices, and social structures and systems which not only encourage but guarantee the propagation and continuation of sin.
I declare that it is because of sin that decay and death are presently integral parts of the created order.
I declare that the consequences of sin are not always visible to the sinner.
I declare that the repeated commission of sin quickly hardens the heart and makes the conscience insensitive to the sin’s severity.
I declare that secular means to relieve a person of sinful habits, attitudes, or addictions, nevertheless do not make the sinner righteous in the sight of God and are not true repentance.
I declare that believers are fully capable of even the most severe sins, but that Christian sin does not change one’s legal standing before God.
I declare that Christian sin disrupts fellowship with God, bringing about God’s fatherly displeasure and often severe discipline; God forgives the believer’s every sin, but He does not overlook a single one.
I declare that Christian sin sets back one’s progress in the Christian life and diminishes one’s eternal reward.
I declare that, regardless of any past experience of apparently sincere prayer or profession of faith, a long-term pattern of increasing disobedience to Christ should be taken as evidence to doubt that a person is really a believer at all.
I declare that the unpardonable sin involves the conscious, malicious, and willful rejection and slander of the testimony of the Holy Spirit regarding the grace of God in Christ, and attributing it to the power of Satan; those who commit this sin place themselves beyond God’s established means of bringing forgiveness through repentance and trusting Christ for salvation.
I declare that it is to restrain sin that God endued humans with a conscience and instituted human governments to punish sin and invoke shame.
I declare that the Spirit also restrains the sinfulness of unbelievers, for otherwise it would break out in a way which would make it impossible to maintain law and order, and they would destroy one another and their environment so as to bring about their own extinction.
I declare that the punishment for sin comes not primarily as a deterrent or a corrective, but as retribution which God’s justice righteously demands.

With regard to Christ’s Person:
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the uniquely begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

I DECLARE that the Spirit-anointed Messiah promised in the Old Testament is Jesus Christ, who is the Son of Man, Son of God, the Word, both Lord and Savior, the Alpha and the Omega, the Lion of Judah, the Good Shepherd, and the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, the long awaited answer to Isaacs question to Abraham.
I declare that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments testify to Jesus Christ, and that it is through their testimony, which is the testimony of God, that we know who Jesus is and what He has done.
I declare that Jesus is God the Son, who exists from eternity, and ever unchanging in His divine nature, possessing equal attributes and equal Lordship with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
I declare that the Son never took human form prior to His incarnation as Jesus. The Old Testament references to Melchizedek and the various angels, who are regularly designated angels of God or angels of Yahweh, are not Jesus Christ but created, undivine beings.
I declare that Christ, being divine, emptied Himself by taking on a human nature in His incarnation, though retaining His divine nature and full deity
I declare that Christ’s Incarnation was accomplished through the means of a virgin birth: that Christ was conceived of Mary’s substance in her womb by the Holy Spirit, and thereby became the Son of Man; He was named Jesus at the time of His birth and circumcision.
I declare that Mary, while obedient, was not sinless, but was her self in need of Christ’s redemption.
I declare that Mary, while a virgin when Jesus was born, was not eternally virginal, but afterward had the normal sexual relations with Joseph which God commands married couples to share.
I declare that Christ alone performs mediatorial and redemptive work, and that blessings and graces come through no one else, neither through Mary, nor through saints who have gone before.
I declare that because Jesus Christ is God eternally, and was so when conceived and borne by Mary, she is rightfully called the Mother of God, but that the title must be employed with caution, lest it be perceived to give her undue glory.
I declare that it is a form of idolatry to bestow on Mary honor, title, or attributes which in effect give her any status in the redemptive work of her Son or elevate her as a special object of veneration.
I declare that Christ in His incarnation had the two natures–divine and human, each with its own mind and will–”unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, and inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son.” Thus Jesus was one person, fully human, and fully divine. (See post: Analysis of Kenosis)
I declare that Jesus’ humanity was pure and complete, the pristine image of God, unaffected by the corruption and guilt resulting from Adam’s sin. His sinless nature results from His divine righteousness, and not from the way in which He came into the world.
I declare that Jesus was truly tempted in every way we are, both internally and externally, and that His decisions not to sin were made freely and voluntarily, just as our decisions. While His nature guaranteed that He would not sin, He had the moral capacity to choose good or evil, and always freely chose the good.
I declare that in His divine nature Christ remained, and remains, unchangeable, all-knowing, all-powerful, omnipresent, independent of His creation, and the eternally living God.
I declare that in His human nature Christ grew physically and spiritually, had to learn and gain wisdom, was often tired, hungry, and thirsty, was spatially and temporally located, suffered, and even died.
I declare that Christ had His two natures in such a way that what is properly said of one is sometimes said of the other in the Bible.
I declare that Christ acted, spoke, and resisted temptation by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.
I declare that God recognized Jesus’ claims as to His person, nature, and mission by raising Him from the dead with the same physical body in which He died, and that He glorified and exalted Jesus when He ascended into heaven.
I declare that after Jesus died, He was buried, and on the third day God raised Him from the dead.
I declare that belief in the historical, bodily resurrection of Christ is absolutely necessary for salvation, as the Bible clearly teaches.
I declare that Christ was seen after the resurrection by several women, by His apostles and His half-brother James, and by over five hundred disciples.
I declare that Christ bodily ascended into heaven, where His body’s glorification was made complete.
I declare that the incarnation of Christ continues in heaven, where He is seated beside the Father.
With regard to Christ’s Work:
“Who ‘Himself bore our sins’ in His body on the treeso that after we died to the sins,we might come alive to righteousness,’by whose scourgings you were restored,’for you were like sheep going astray,but you have now been returned to the shepherd and overseer of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:24-25
I DECLARE that Christ’s work consists in the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King.
I declare that as Prophet, Christ reveals God to us, speaks His words, and does His will, being Himself the revelation of God.
I declare that it was Christ who preached through Noah and the Old Testament prophets, and they foreshadowed Him in their words and actions.
I declare that Christ is alone qualified to mediate forever between God and man as High Priest.
I declare that Christ lived a life of complete righteousness and fulfillment of the law, learning obedience from the things He suffered, so that His righteousness might be imputed to us.
I declare that Christ did and said all that is ascribed to Him in the Bible, and many more things which are not recorded.
I declare that as High Priest, Christ offered Himself once for all time as the sacrifice for our sins, and that His sacrifice alone could take away sins.
I declare that Jesus Christ truly died, being crucified by the Romans at the instigation of the Jews.
I declare that Jesus was held to the cross not by our sins, nor by the Romans’ nails but by His love and obedience.
I declare that our sins neither caused Jesus’ death nor sent Him to the cross, but that He died for them of His own choosing; therefore guilt and blame for His death do not fall upon all humanity.
I declare that it is necessary that God in His justice punishes sin; Christ’s substitutionary death was the only way for the penalty to be paid for those God chose to forgive.
I declare that at Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, God poured upon Him all the wrath which was the due penalty for the sins of God’s chosen people; thus Jesus was the propitiation for all their sins, past, present, and future; no penalty remains for the sins for which Jesus died.
I declare that God poured out on Jesus precisely and only that wrath which was necessary to pay the full penalty for all the sins of His people.
I declare that Christ’s blood–that is, His death–effectively atoned for His people, and also redeemed (purchased) them from their bondage to sin, whereby they are slaves of Christ, and thus truly free.
I declare that Christ’s blood is not a force or power to be appropriated for the doing of miracles, but is what secured our salvation and its benefits.
I declare that belief in Christ’s substitutionary atonement is necessary for salvation.
I declare that when Christ died, His atoning work was finished, and He went to Paradise, which was and is in heaven, until His resurrection.
I declare that Christ did not descended into hell, rather Christ descended to Hades, gathering believers of old before ascending to Heaven.
I declare that Jesus Christ is the only Savior provided for any person; no other action or event in all history provided forgiveness for anyone.
I declare that Jesus Christ, in redeeming His people, redeemed the whole world through them as through a faithful remnant, just as He restored Israel through a remnant after their captivity.
I declare that Christ’s death demonstrated to all people the love, mercy, and justice of God, and the severity of sin; it also fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies, giving yet one more proof that Jesus was the Messiah.
I declare that Christ’s death was a victory over Satan, not a defeat or temporary setback.
I declare that Christ, as priest, continues to intercede in heaven for believers.
I declare that Christ is the true King of the people of God, and that He is the Messianic ruler who sits eternally on David’s throne.
I declare that a time will come when all people will recognize Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords.
I declare that, as co-heirs with Christ and members of His body, we who are believers are given prophetic, priestly, and kingly duties.
I declare that believers have a prophetic role in that we direct one another in the Bible and proclaim God’s word to the rest of the world; our access to God’s written revelation provides us with greater understanding than what was given to the prophets of old.
I declare that believers are a royal priesthood, sacrificing to God with praise and good works (though not to atone for sin), and offering our bodies as living sacrifices.
I declare that as priests, we have direct access in communication and fellowship with God, being also His temple (both collectively and as individuals), wherein He resides.
I declare that as priests we have the responsibility to bear one another’s burdens, pray for one another, disciple one another, instruct in the truth, and restore one another to fellowship.
I declare that our priesthood does not give us the right to interpret the Bible however we wish, but makes us especially accountable to God and to our fellow believers for the accuracy of our interpretations.
I declare that believers will reign with Christ when He returns to establish His physical kingdom on earth.

With regard to the Holy Spirit:
“Or do you not know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” I Corinthians 6:19

I DECLARE that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, the third person of the Trinity, with full divinity and Lordship, who was sent to us from the Father through the Son.
I declare that the Holy Spirit primarily works to show God’s active presence in the world.
I declare that the Holy Spirit is the author of all Scripture and was the agent of inspiration for the apostles and prophets.
I declare that the Holy Spirit is the ultimate source of human life, reason, artistic ability, strategy, wisdom, and other talents.
I declare that the Holy Spirit came upon certain people in the Old Testament, empowering them and sometimes controlling them against their will, and that Old Testament saints were dependent on the Spirit’s work in their lives for their holiness–but that He did not indwell them in the way He indwells believers today.
I declare that the Holy Spirit is at work among unbelievers, convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, witnessing to Christ, and providing some restraint of evil, thus preventing man from being as evil as he could be.
I declare that the Spirit empowered and exalted Christ during His earthly ministry.
I declare that after Christ’s ascension, the Holy Spirit came upon the believers at Pentecost.
I declare that Pentecost was a singular event in history, during which the apostles spoke the gospel miraculously so as to be understood by speakers of many languages. This marked the establishment of the New Testament church.
I declare that since Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is forever with the church, gifting its members and empowering its activities, binding true believers together in unity, and through the Bible teaching it all things necessary to be known, so that there is no need for the church to seek further revelation.
I declare that the Holy Spirit works in the elect unbeliever’s life to bring him under the hearing of the gospel, and that it is by the Spirit that he is called and regenerated, and enabled to respond to God in repentant faith.
I declare that at the moment of regeneration, the Holy Spirit baptizes the believer, an invisible act without manifestation, setting him apart for God and sealing him for salvation.
I declare that, because the Holy Spirit is not a physical being, He is not spatially located in believers, but actively located in them, working redemptively within the deepest part of their beings to conform them into the image of Christ.
I declare that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, as evidenced by the fruits it inevitably produces in the believer’s life, is the guarantee of the believer’s eternal security.
I declare that the Holy Spirit produces as fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control.
I declare that the filling of the Holy Spirit occurs when a believer is wholly submissive to God’s work in his life, and results not in loss of self-control, but in voluntary Christlike behavior.
I declare that the Holy Spirit assists in prayer, sometimes giving the believer the words to speak, and other times conveying to God the words which remain unspoken.
I declare that the saving work of the Holy Spirit does not operate in non-Christian religions or in any manner apart from the gospel of Christ.
With regard to Spiritual Gifts:
“But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually, just as He wills.” I Corinthians 12:11
I DECLARE that the Holy Spirit gifts each member of the church with a special ability to minister to other believers and carry out the church’s mission.
I declare that the Spirit’s gifts are distributed by His choice alone, and cannot be merited or learned, and that all are useless unless exercised in love, which is greater than all gifts.
I declare that for a time after Pentecost, the Spirit testified to the genuineness of His baptism and the legitimacy of the apostles’ ministries through miraculous signs. These gifts included prophecy, healing, miracles, speaking and interpreting in unlearned human languages, and the miraculous discernment of good and evil spirits.
I declare that by the completion of the New Testament, in accordance with the Bible’s identification of the apostles and prophets as the foundation of the church, these sign-gifts and the authority of the apostolic office were brought to an end, that foundation having already been laid.
I declare that today, all observed incidents of ecstatic speech, faith-healing, “Spirit-induced” spasmodic jerking and uncontrollable laughter, continued prophecy through visions and inspiration, the spontaneous production of precious metals in or on the body, and other so-called manifestations of the Spirit–both in pagan religions and within the visible church–are either the work of demonic forces, or are manufactured through altered states of consciousness, peer pressure, expectation, and psychological suggestibility.
I declare that the Holy Spirit gifts some members of the church to serve one another in word: with a special ability to teach the Bible and instruct in doctrine (teaching), to proclaim the gospel before unbelievers (evangelism), or to equip the church by revealing to them the meaning and proper application of God’s word (proclamation).
I declare that the Holy Spirit gifts some members of the church with special abilities to serve one another in deed: through humble assistance, leadership and administration, encouragement and extraordinary faith, generosity in giving, or extraordinary inclinations to show mercy and hospitality.
I declare that the Holy Spirit also grants special (though not superior) gifts to those whom He wishes to fulfill extraordinary roles. To some He grants the ability to live a celibate life, to some an acceptance and even desire for martyrdom; to some a devotion to missions far from home; others are enabled for voluntary poverty. Still others are given special talents in music and craftsmanship.
I declare that the gift of faith is not a force which one uses to provide for one’s self, nor a divine power which makes man like God in nature, but is a reliance on God’s gracious provision by which the one with faith keeps God’s commandments..
I declare that the Spirit’s gifts are to be used for the building up of the church and in service to others, not for one’s own benefit or glory.
I declare that the Spirit’s gifts and callings are given at His discretion and are irrevocable.

With regard to the Need for Salvation:
“For all of us have become like one who is unclean,and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;and all of us wither like a leaf,and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” Isaiah 64:9

I DECLARE that God in His perfection and holiness cannot look upon sin, and does not have peaceful fellowship with anyone who does not have perfect righteousness.
I declare that righteousness consists in perfect obedience to the law.
I declare that when Adam and Eve transgressed the law of God, their sin brought corruption and condemnation on all their descendants, so that each man is conceived in bondage to sin, and under God’s curse; this is original sin.
I declare that no person perfectly obeys the law, and further, that no human act is righteous and acceptable in God’s sight, however charitable and well considered it may be in our eyes.
I declare that the guilt from which man must be saved is the condemnation of having transgressed the law of God, and not merely the emotion commonly called guilt.
I declare that the sinner bears guilt for deeds done against the law, whether of commission or omission, whether with or without knowledge, and whether through action or intent.
I declare that individuals also bear guilt for the sins of the society in which they live.
I declare that sin estranges the sinner not only from God, but also from the church, from his neighbors, from creation, and from his own conscience.
I declare that the sin nature has so corrupted man’s will that he does not even desire either to please God or seek salvation from Him.
I declare that, because no man is willing to approach the righteousness required for fellowship with God, he cannot take even one step toward his own salvation.
With regard to the Basis for Salvation:
“He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:4-5
I DECLARE that salvation is a free gift given by God to those with regenerate hearts, who then receive and accept it.
I declare that the Father, because of His love for the world, chose to redeem for Himself a people from every tribe, nation, and tongue.
I declare that God from eternity chose the individuals whom He would redeem, based only on His free, sovereign, and gracious will, without regard to any human acts or decisions, or anything intrinsic to anyone; for this reason the Bible refers to God’s people as elect.
I declare that the foreknowledge of God refers to His eternal, free choices; it is a causative term and not merely His knowing in advance who would choose Him.
I declare that those whom God elected He predestined to the completion of their salvation–to complete Christlikeness and eternal life.
I declare that since the salvation which God bestows on the elect glorifies His mercy, and the punishment of the wicked glorifies His justice, the existence and destination of each serves the highest possible good.
I declare that the unsaved sinner should not seek to determine if he is elect to establish a warrant for faith; rather, his response of faith is itself evidence of election.
I declare that God knew of evil and its consequences, including Adam’s fall, from eternity, and therefore must have permitted it for His own plan of redemption.
I declare that God accomplished the redemption of His people through Jesus’ death on the cross.
I declare that one’s own salvation is not assured by the faith of others, but that parents should saturate their children with the word of God, through which they may be brought to faith.
I declare that the Bible gives reason for us to be confident that those who die before developing a moral sense (and thus the capacity for deliberate acts of sin) are among God’s elect and are safe from their original sin by Jesus’ death on the cross.
I declare that speculation into God’s reasoning in election beyond what is revealed in the Bible is foolish and dangerous; one should not “pry into things God has chosen to conceal in Himself.”I declare that the great mystery is not why God does not save all regardless, but why God saves any at all.

Posted on January 3, 2007, in Declarations of Faith. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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