Doctrinal Statement

of Jeffrey M. Owens

 

The Bible

    I believe the Bible is the inspired (God breathed) Word of God.  The completed canon of scripture consists of the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament (2 Tim.3:16).  God the Holy Spirit moved holy men of God to write the very words of God, yet miraculously allowed them to write within their individual personalities and writing styles (2 Peter 1:21).  I believe in the verbal inspiration, meaning each word is inspired by God and the plenary inspiration, meaning the entire Bible is inspired (Matt. 4:1-11; 1Cor. 2:13; 2 Pet. 3:16).  Inspiration applies only to the original manuscripts of Godís Word, which are no longer in existence today. However, God promised to preserve His Word and has done exactly that through the many ancient copies and careful translations into different languages (Mt. 5:17-18; Jn. 10:35). 

I believe the Bible is true, inerrant and infallible in all areas including historical and scientific facts.

           

    Because the Bible is Godís Word to mankind, it is therefore absolute truth, meaning it is completely trustworthy (Jn. 14:6; 17:17).  As a result of this trustworthiness, we as followers of Christ should make the Bible our authoritative standard for faith and practice.  I believe the Bible is to be correctly interpreted in the normal, consistent, and literal method, including looking at the historical and grammatical context.  Today, we have the completed cannon of Scripture and is not to be added to or removed from without severe consequences (Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Rev. 22:18,19). 

  

God

     I believe there is one God who eternally exist in three persons, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit

(Deut. 6:4; Mt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14).  Each one of the persons of the godhead has specific and distinct work to perform, yet all are co-equal in essence, in deity, in power and in glory.  God is self-existent and exists eternally, meaning He was uncreated, therefore had no beginning and will not have any end (Ex. 3:14; Ps. 90:2; Jn. 8:58).  God alone is the source and sustainer of all creation (Col. 1:16, 17).  I believe God in His infinite power created heaven and earth by the words of His mouth in six literal days (Gen. 1; Ps. 148:5; Heb. 1:2; 11:3).

 

    God by nature is spirit (Jn. 4:24).  God is infinite, meaning there are no limits that can contain Him, and is sovereign

(Job 42:2; Ps. 115:3; 135:6), meaning he is the supreme ruler over everything.  We can see the greatness of our God by His omnipotence (Gen. 18:14; Mt. 19:26), omniscience (Ps. 139:2; Mt. 6:8; 10:29, 30), omnipresence (Ps. 139:7-11; Jer. 23:24), and immutability (1 Sam. 15:29; Mal. 3:6; Rom. 1:23;Jms. 1:17).  We are also able to see the character of God and His desire to have a relationship with man through His holiness, righteousness, justice, goodness, love, mercy, grace, and truth.  God, whose attributes are beyond measure, is worthy of all our praise, worship and obedience because He truly is the great God.

  

Jesus Christ

     I believe Jesus Christ is the God-man, containing both a fully divine and a fully human nature.  He is undiminished deity and perfect humanity united together in one person forever.  Jesus Christ has eternally been the son of God (even before His incarnation) and voluntarily submits Himself to God the Father. (Jn. 1:1; 17:1-6)  Christ possess all the attributes of God therefore is worthy of our honor and worship because he is God (Phil. 2:9-11).  Jesus Christ, even though He is fully God, did not see His deity as something to take advantage of but willingly gave up the glory of heaven to become a man.  Not only did Christ willingly become a human but he showed amazing love and suffered and died on the cross for the salvation of his own creation.  In becoming a man Jesus Christ voluntarily gave up independent use of some of His divine attributes (Phil. 2:6-8).

 

    Jesus Christ was miraculously conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin mother (Lk. 1:34-35).  I believe Jesus Christ had a literal human body (1 Jn. 1:1).  He lived a sinless life (Heb. 9:14; 1 Pet. 2:21-22), literally died on the cross as a perfect substitute for the sins of the entire human race (Jn. 19:31-37; Heb. 10:10; Is. 53:4-6), was buried and after three days rose bodily from the grave.  By His resurrection from the grave, Christ was able to proclaim victory over the power of sin and death.  He ascended bodily to heaven and is presently glorified and sitting at the right hand of the Father (Acts 1:9-11).  Christ is presently interceding on our behalf as our High Priest (Heb. 7:25, 9:24).  He is also preparing a place in heaven for all true believers (Jn. 14:2-3).  He has promised to return imminently (at any moment) to rapture His church and take them to be together with Him in heaven (1 Thess. 4:13-18).

  

Holy Spirit

     I believe the Holy Spirit is the third person of the godhead and is co-equal with God the Father and God the Son.  The Holy Spirit is a person possessing the attributes of intellect (Rom. 8:27, 1 Cor. 2:11), emotion (Eph. 4:30) and will (Heb. 2:4).  The Holy Spirit was active in the creation of the world (Gen. 1:2).  He convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (Jn. 16:8-11).  In relation to the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit guided men as they wrote the scriptures (2 Pet. 1:21).  The Holy Spirit also possesses the ministry of illuminating the Scriptures to believers (1 Cor. 2:8-14).  In relation to believers, the Holy Spirit baptizes them into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13), He regenerates (Titus 3:5), He indwells (1 Cor. 6:19), He gives assurance of salvation (Rom. 8:16), He seals (Eph. 1:13), He guides (Rom. 8:14), He intercedes (Rom. 8:26), He teaches (1 Cor. 2:13), He empowers believers for service by giving spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:11), and He is involved in the process of progressive sanctification of each believer (2 Cor. 3:18).

  

Angels, Satan, and Demons

     Angels are spirit beings created by God before the foundation of the world (Col. 1:16; Job 38:4-7).  They were created by God in holiness and as personal beings with intellect, emotion, and will.  Angels were created for the purpose of worshipping and performing the work of God.  They are also the ministers of God to the needs of saved men (Heb. 1:14). 

 

    The angel Lucifer, who was filled with pride because of his beauty, chose to sin against God by making himself ďlike the Most High.Ē (Is. 14:12-20; Ezek. 28:11-19)  Demons are angels, who because their pride, followed Satan into rebellion against God.  Satan and all who follow him will be removed from Godís presence in heaven (Mt. 25:41).  Today Satan rules over the demonic powers who oppose the work of God on earth (Eph. 6:10-12).  During the Millennial reign of Christ on earth, Satan will be bound and thrown into and locked in the bottomless pit, then he will be released for a short time before being thrown into the lake of fire for all eternity (Rev. 20:1-10).

 

Man

     I believe God created Adam, the first man, from the dust of the ground on the sixth day of creation.  God breathed into him the breath of life and he became a living soul.  God then created Eve, the first woman, from the rib of Adam and made her a helper and companion for Adam (Gen. 2:7-25).  God created mankind in His own image with intellect, emotions, and will, making him unique from the rest of the creation (Gen. 1:26-27).  Man was originally created perfect without sin and was given the free will to choose between right and wrong.  Adam and Eve choose to sin against God by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, from which they were commanded not to eat (Gen. 2:17).  The result of their sin was physical and spiritual death and broken fellowship with God.  Adam, being the head of the race, passed on the sin nature to every human being who is therefore a depraved sinner by nature and also by choice (Rom. 5:12).  Man by himself is incapable, apart from God, of fixing his sin problem and is therefore destined for eternal punishment. However, God provided a way of restored fellowship and escape from a destiny of eternal punishment through the shed blood of His son Jesus Christ.  This salvation is a free gift available to all who will accept it.

 

Salvation

     Man is by nature and choice a sinner and therefore is separated from fellowship with God as result of his sin

(Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3:23).  The just punishment for sin and rebellion against God is eternal punishment in hell.  Man is incapable of saving himself from this punishment because the payment for sin is death through the shedding of blood (Heb. 9:22).  Therefore God in his mercy and grace has provided a way of salvation for the entire human race.  Salvation is Godís solution for mankind to be delivered from the power and the punishment for sin.  This wonderful salvation is provided through Jesus Christ who willingly humbled himself by coming to earth, he then lived a perfect life, died on the cross to shed his blood, was buried and rose again on the third day (1 Cor. 15:1-4).  Through the Gospel, Jesus met the demands of God for the cleansing of the sins of the world.

 

    Salvation is a free gift available to any person who will receive this gift (Jn. 3:16; 5:24).  It cannot be earned by the works of righteousness, but is a result of the mercy of God (Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5) and paid for by the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  Salvation is received by grace through personal faith in Jesus Christ as the redeemer from sin.  Because salvation is the work of God, He has promised to never release His children back to the bondage of sin, therefore they are eternally secure in the hand of God (Jn. 10:27-29).  This also means that salvation is only necessary one time and we become part of the family of God for the rest of eternity (Heb.9:11-15; 10:10-12).  This one time event of salvation must not be confused with the progressive work of sanctification in our lives (2 Cor. 3:18).  When a person receives the gift of salvation he is made a new creature, meaning there will be a change in his life through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18; 5:17). 

  

Sanctification

     As believers we are sanctified, or called out from the world, and separated unto God.  There are three aspects of sanctification in a Christianís life.  First, is positional sanctification which is enjoyed by every believer.  Positional sanctification refers to a believerís position as a member of the family of God (1 Cor. 1:2; 6:11).  It is accomplished through justification by faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  The second aspect of sanctification is progressive sanctification which is a continual lifelong process of becoming more like Christ (2 Cor. 3:16; 1 Pet. 1:16).  As Christians, we should strive to please the Lord by the way we live in obedience to Him (Rom. 6:12-14).  The final aspect of sanctification is ultimate sanctification which we will experience when we reach heaven.  At this point in time we will be set apart to God for all eternity

(Eph. 5:26-27; Jude 24-25).

  

Church

     The church is the organism here on earth through which God is working in the world today.  Jesus Christ is the head of the body of Christ, which is the church (Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22).  The church can be looked at from two aspects, the local church and the universal church.  The universal church consists of all true believers in Jesus Christ from Pentecost, the beginning of the church, through the present.  The church is sometimes referred to as the Bride of Christ with reference to future events.  Christ has promised to return to receive the Church unto himself. 

 

    The second perspective of the church is the local church which consists of a group of baptized believes who are organized together for worship, teaching, preaching, fellowship, and service.  In the New Testament when the church is referred to it is most commonly referring to the local church.  The local church is to be organized, autonomous, self-governed, self-perpetuating, and self supporting (Mal. 3:10) and receives its authority and direction from the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. 

 

Church leadership

    I believe the Word of God gives two offices of the leadership in the local church, the office of pastor and the office of deacon.  The pastor is to be the spiritual leader of the church and is responsible for guiding the church under the direction of God and the Word of God.  God in His Word also gives specific qualifications which a pastor must meet (1Tim. 3:1-7; Tit. 1:5-9).  In the Scripture the pastor is also referred to as elder, bishop, shepherd, preacher, and teacher, each of these names has significance pertaining to his duties and responsibilities (Tit. 1:5-7; Acts 20:17,28; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Phil 1:1).  The different names for a pastor are not referring to separate offices of the church, which would result in a hierarchical structure of leadership, but rather all these names refer only to the pastor who is responsible to God not another man.  The second office in the church is the office of deacon whose qualifications are also given to us in the Bible (1 Tim. 3:8-13).  The deacons are men of God who are appointed to a ministry of service to the congregation and pastors (Acts 6:1-3). 

 

Ordinances

    I believe the Bible teaches two ordinances which the local church is commanded to observe, baptism and the Lordís supper.  Biblical baptism is by immersion and is a believerís outward identification with Christ, not a requirement for salvation (Acts 2:41; 8:37-39; Rom. 6:4-5).  The Lordís supper is to be a reminder to the Church of the sacrifice which Christ made to purchase our redemption (Mk. 14:22-25; 1 Cor. 11:23-34).

  

Last Things

     I believe in the pretribulational and imminent rapture of the church, at which time all believers from the church age, both dead and alive, will meet Christ in the air (1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; 5:1-9).  Following the rapture will be a seven year period known as the tribulation, during which Christ will pour out His judgment against the wickedness of the world

(Rev. 6:17).  At the end of the seven year tribulation Christ will return to earth and establish His millennial (1,000 year) reign on earth.  During this 1,000 years Satan will be bound and thrown into the bottomless pit.  Satan will then be released for a short time at the end of the millennium and will deceive many in the world.  Satan will suffer his final defeated in battle against Christ during the battle of Gog and Magog.  Following this defeat Satan will be cast into the lake of fire for all eternity (Rev. 19-20:10).  All who choose to be followers of Satan will be judged at the Great White Throne and will be thrown into the lake of fire for eternal punishment (Rev. 20:11-15).  All Christians will be judged at the Bema Seat, following the rapture, and will spend all eternity in the presence of God (Rev. 21:1-3).

 

Separation

Personal

    As Christians we have been called out from the darkness of the world and called to be separated unto God.  We are new creatures in Christ, being dead to sin and alive unto righteousness through Christ (Rom. 6:1-14; Eph. 4:24).  As believers in Christ we are children of light and are not to have fellowship with darkness (Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 6:14-18).  As well as separating from worldliness, the Bible commands separation from those who are teaching false doctrine (Rom. 16:17) and believers living in unrepentant sin (1 Cor. 5:11; 2 Thess. 3:6).  We are not to compromise our stand for truth by adopting the ways of the world, which are not pleasing to the Lord.  Refusing to compromise a strong stand for truth will result in a strong testimony for the Lord (Phil. 2:14).

  

Ecclesiastical

    I believe the Bible instructs the church, as well as the individual believers, to separate from the ways of the world.  As the bride of Christ, the Church should desire and strive for purity and holiness in preparation for Christ presenting us to Himself (Eph. 5:26-27).  Maintaining purity means the Church must separate from worldliness and false teachings that are not in agreement with the Word of God (Rom. 16:17). The church and its members are also commanded by God not to have fellowship with believers who are living in unrepented sin (1 Cor. 5:11; 2 Thess. 3:6). In fact, purity in the Church is so important to God that He has provided for a way to purify the church of outright and unrepentant sin through Church discipline.