Brethren Reformed

What We Believe

STATEMENT OF FAITH


This statement abbreviates that which we contend for, with the understanding that no claim is made that it contains all the truth in the Bible, but only that it covers orthodox fundamental matters held to be essential to a full Gospel ministry.

Where errors are found in this document, or where contradiction to the Word of God has been made, it is the responsibility of the Elders to correct the error and bring this document into conformity with the Word of God.


THE BIBLE


We believe the Bible is the verbal (every word) and plenary (complete) inspired WORD OF GOD as authored in the original manuscripts, preserved by His sovereignty through the ages in the common tongues of all men, and contained in the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments.

We believe the Word of God to be the living and active instrument by which God works, through the Spirit, to save and progressively sanctify a believer’s life(2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:19-21).

We believe the Bible to be wholly sufficient and the highest authority, whether by directive or by precept, for the direction of the individual believer and corporate church assembly in all matters pertaining to life (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3.)
We affirm that an understanding of the original Biblical tongues is beneficial in Biblical studies. But given the blessings of living in our current age where a variety of reliable translations in English are available, we believe that it is unnecessary for the maturing Christian to be an expert in the original Biblical tongues in order to ascertain the intended meaning of the Scriptures. In postmodern culture, and even in the Church, the exposition of Truth is sometimes subjugated to academic parlance. Therefore, we discourage those who would "wrangle about words, which is useless, and leads to the ruin of the hearers." (2 Timothy 2:14 NASB)


We believe that the employment of a literal, grammatical/historical method of interpretation – a "face value hermeneutic" – is the best method of interpretation to discover the intended meaning of Scripture, as opposed to an allegorical or spiritualized interpretation except when such interpretation is warranted by the context or direction of the Scripture itself. (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21; John 6).


GOD


We believe there is but one God (1 Timothy 2:5), eternally existing in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (1 John 5:7; Luke 3:22; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Matthew 7:11, John 1:1-5, 14.)
We further believe that God is sovereign and not dependent on man to accomplish His will (John 1:12-13; Romans 8:27-31; Ephesians 1:3-6, 11.)


The Father
We believe in God the Father, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the Author and Executor of the Divine Law, the Justifier of the believer and the Recipient of all the prayers of the saints.
We also affirm that all of those chosen by the Father belong to Christ, and will come to Christ (John 17:6-9)


The Son
We believe in the eternal preexistence, sonship and deity of Jesus Christ (John 1:13);

His supernatural and miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit; His birth of the virgin Mary (John 1:14; Matthew 1:18-23);

His Law-fulfilling sinless life (Hebrews 4:15);

His inability to sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; James 1:13); and the shedding of His blood as the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. (John 3:16; Hebrews 10:14; 1 Timothy 4:10; 1 John 2:2.)

We believe in His bodily resurrection (Luke 24:36-43; 1 Corinthians 15:12-19);

His ascension into heaven and present ministry (Acts 1:9, 7:55-56; Hebrews 4:14-16);

His personal, visible, and expectant return (Luke 21:28) for the Church before God's wrath is poured out on the rebellious world (Acts 1:11; 1 Thess. 5:9); the subsequent establishment of His kingdom on earth over which He will rule from Mount Zion for a literal 1,000 year period (Joel 3:16; Zechariah 8:3; Revelation 20:2-6.)


We believe in His final victory over Satan and those who rebel (Revelation 20:7-15) when He delivers the Kingdom at the fullness of time (Revelation 21), when the eternal state is ushered in (1 Corinthians 15; Ephesians 1:10; Revelation 22.)


We believe that in the incarnation (God becoming man) Christ surrendered only the prerogatives of deity but nothing of the divine essence, either in degree or kind. In His incarnation, the eternally existing second person of the Trinity accepted all the essential characteristics of humanity and so became the God-man (Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 2:9).


We believe that Jesus Christ represents humanity and deity in indivisible oneness (Micah 5:2; John 5:23; 14:9-10; Colossians 2:9).


We believe that God, from eternity past, intended the Cross to be the means of atonement (Isaiah 53:10.)


We believe that Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), and is the head of His body the Church (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23; Colossians 1:18.)


We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the one who will judge all mankind (John 5:22-23):
         Believers (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10)
         Living inhabitants of the earth at His glorious return (Matthew 25:31-46)
         Unbelieving dead at the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15)


The Holy Spirit

We believe in the person of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-15) and His deity (Acts 5:34), that He indwells, sanctifies, instructs, gifts, and empowers believers for service, enabling them to live lives of increasing holiness through obedience to the Word of God (1 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 8:9; Galatians 5:16).


We believe that the Holy Spirit is the supernatural and sovereign agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13.)


We believe that the Holy Spirit seals Christians unto the day of redemption (John 16:7-15; Romans 8:9; 15:16; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8; 2 Peter 1:20-21.)


We believe signs and wonders were given in the apostolic era to authenticate and confirm the Apostles' message. We believe the apostolic era ceased with the death of the Apostles and that, in the present-day, Scripture is the sole test of the validity of a man's message (2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:8.) Thus, we walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7.)


The Holy Spirit glorifies neither Himself nor His gifts by ostentatious displays, but He does glorify Christ by implementing His work of redeeming the lost and building up believers in the most holy faith (John 16:13-14; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 2 Corinthians 3:18.)


Accordingly, we believe in the continuation of the Holy Spirit's gifting upon all Christians, and that the Holy Spirit bestows any gift He desires according to the will of God (Acts 2:4; Hebrews 2:4) as divine power for the perfection of our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) and for the preaching of the gospel (Ephesians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:5.)

CREATION & UNIVERSAL FLOOD
We believe Genesis 1 through 11 records the truthful and literal account of the creation, the fall, the flood and the division of the nations. We believe in a literal six-day, 24 hour-day creation, and a universal flood. We reject that God used evolutionary processes ("Theistic evolution") to progressively instantiate unique beings which reproduce after their kind (Hebrews 11:3; Colossians 1:15-17.)

SATAN & FALLEN ANGELS
We believe in the existence of a fallen angel named Satan, who was created perfect as Lucifer, but willfully sinned and became the open and declared enemy of God and His creation (Ezekiel 28:11-19; Genesis 3; Revelation 12:1-10.)

We believe that other angels also followed Satan's lead in rebellion against God (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:1-14.)

We believe the ultimate defeat of Satan and all fallen angels has been determined through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, (John 12:31) and will be fulfilled by Christ at the end of the His millennial reign upon earth (Revelation 20:7-10.)

We believe there is no salvation for fallen angels (Hebrews 2:16.)


HOLY ANGELS
We believe that angels are created beings and are therefore not to be worshipped. Although presently they are a higher order of creation than man, they are created to serve God and to worship Him (Luke 2:9-14; Hebrews 1:6-7, 13-14, 2:6-7; Revelation 5:11-14; 19:10; 22:8-9).


MANKIND

We believe that humankind was directly created by God in His image and likeness, free of sin, with a rational nature, intelligence, volition, self-determination, and moral responsibility to God (Genesis 1:26-31; 2:4-3:24; James 3:9.)

We believe that God’s intention in the creation of man was that man should glorify God, enjoy God’s fellowship, live his life in the will of God, and by this accomplish God’s purpose for man in the world (Psalm 15; 73:25-26, 28; Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11).
THE FALL
We believe that Eve was deceived by Satan and that Adam willfully chose to disobey God’s commands (1 Timothy 2:13-14.)

We believe that in Adam’s sin of disobedience to the revealed will and Word of God, man lost his innocence; incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death; became subject to the wrath of God; and became inherently corrupt and utterly incapable of choosing or doing that which is acceptable to God apart from divine grace. With no recuperative powers to enable him to recover himself, man is hopelessly lost. Man’s salvation is thereby wholly of God’s grace through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:1-19; John 3:36; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1-3; 8-9; Colossians 1:13-14; 1 Timothy 2:13-14; 1 John 1:8).

We believe that because all men were in Adam, a nature corrupted by Adam’s sin has been transmitted to all men of all ages, Jesus Christ being the only exception. All men are thus conceived in sin, sinners by nature, by choice, and by divine declaration (Psalm 14:1-3, 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:9-18, 23; 5:10-12.)

We believe that the responsibility of man's personal sin, attitudes, and actions are his own, and that secular/humanistic attempts to absolve man of his own culpability are to be rejected.

We believe that all systems, ideologies and philosophies that attribute the source of sin to such factors as inorganic disease, social influence, environmental conditions or demonic activity are to be rejected.


SALVATION
We believe all human beings are, as Adam’s fallen descendants by nature, sinful and lost and that the regeneration of each and every individual, by the Holy Spirit, is absolutely essential for their salvation. We believe that through the communication of the Gospel, (Romans 1:15-17) men are justified solely by means of God's grace through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ; that man, in and of himself, is totally unable to sufficiently trust such a Gospel promise or yield to the Lordship of Christ; and that only God, in His sovereign wisdom, love, and power, works to achieve the salvation of His chosen people (1 Corinthians 2; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:57; 1 Peter 1:18-19.)


ELECTION
We believe that sovereign election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates and saves (John 3:1-8; Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:1-2).


We believe that sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Isaiah 55:6-7; Ezekiel 18:32; 33:11) and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (John 3:16-19, 36; 5:40; Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Colossians 2:6.)


We believe that sovereign election does not contradict or negate the scope of Christ's death for the world (John 3:16-17), which brought common grace to all creation, and preserved the continuum of time for all who would believe (2 Peter 3:4-13; Revelation 5:1-10.)

We believe that the unmerited favor that God grants to totally depraved sinners is not related to any initiative of their own part nor to God’s anticipation of what they might do by their own will, but is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy (Romans 9:10-18; Ephesians 1:4-7; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 1:2.)

We believe that the biblical position on election does not minimize a believer’s responsibility to evangelize, but rather intensifies that privilege (Romans 10:14; 2 Timothy 2:10) and promises a fruitful work (John 15; Philippians 1:6; Jude 24.) We believe that sovereign election on God’s part (Ephesians 1:4, 11; John 6:44; 15:16; Acts 13:48; Romans 9:18), and man’s responsibility to repent and believe the gospel (Ezekiel 33:11; Matthew 23:37; Acts 17:30; 2 Peter 2:1; 3:9), are both taught in Scripture.


REGENERATION
We believe that regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (John 5:24), when the repentant sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit, responds in faith to the divine provision of salvation. Genuine regeneration is manifested by fruits worthy of repentance (Matthew 3:8; Acts 26:20) as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct (Colossians 1:9-10.) Good works will be its proper evidence and fruit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:10), and will be experienced to the extent that the believer submits to the control of the Holy Spirit in his life through faith in the Word of God (Ephesians 5:17-21; Philippians 2:12b; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:4-10).


JUSTIFICATION
We believe that justification before God is an act of God (Romans 8:33) by which He declares a person to be righteous. This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Romans 3:20; 4:6) and involves the imputation (credit to one’s account) of our sins to Christ (Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24) and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us (Romans 5:17-19; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
By this means God is both “just, and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).


ADOPTION
We believe that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God at the moment of justification and is therefore declared to be holy and identified as a saint. This sanctification is instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification. (Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30; 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 2:11; 3:1; 10:10, 14; 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2).
This "setting apart" is the act of adopting us as sons, and making us joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16-17; Galatians 3:29; Ephesians 3:6; Titus 3:4-7.)

SANCTIFICATION
We believe that there is also, by the work of the Holy Spirit, a progressive sanctification by which the thoughts, affections, and lifestyle of the believer are brought into increasing conformity to Christ-likeness. The Holy Spirit enables the believer to obey the Word of God and, through faith, grow in holiness and conformity to the will of God. The believer is commanded to “put off” the old lifestyle, and with a renewed mind, “put on” the new lifestyle (John 17:17, 19; Romans 6:1-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 3; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 5:23). In this respect, we believe that every saved person is involved in a daily conflict – the new creation in Christ doing battle against the selfish desires of the flesh – but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle against the flesh nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life and is never completely ended (Romans 6-7; Galatians 5:16-25; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9-10; James 1:14-15; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 1:9; 1 John 3:5-9).

PRESERVATION OF THE SAINTS
We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power, will persevere in their love for Christ, and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 5:24; 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Romans 5:9-10; 8:1, 31-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 7:25; 13:5; 1 Peter 1:3-5; Jude 24).


We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion for sinful living and carnality (Romans 6:15-22; 13:13-14; Galatians 5:13, 25-26; Titus 2:11-14).


THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
We believe that it is the duty of every true believer to live a life of righteousness, holiness (1 Peter 1:16) good works and separation unto God from the evil ways of the world (Romans 12:12), manifested by speaking the truth (James 5:12), maintaining the sanctity of the home (Ephesians 5:22-6:4), settling differences between Christians in accordance with the Word of God (1 Corinthians 6:18), not engaging in carnal strife but showing a Christ-like attitude toward all men (Romans 12:17-21), exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and maintaining a life of prayer (Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6.)

We believe that Christians should avail themselves of the privilege, when sick, of calling for the elders of the church to pray and to anoint with oil in the name of the Lord (James 5:13-18.)

We believe that on the basis of the efficacy of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the believing sinner is freed from the punishment, the penalty, the power, and one day the very presence of sin; and that he is declared righteous, given eternal life, and forever placed into the service of God (John 17:3; Romans 3:25-26, 5:8-9; 1 Corinthians2:9; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5; 1 Peter 2:24, 3:18.)


THE CHURCH
We believe in one true church, the body and the bride of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23, 5:25-32), composed of all true believers of the present age (Ephesians 3:1-6, 5:32; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13); and the organization of its members in local churches for worship, for edification of believers, and for worldwide gospel witness to the end of the age (Matt. 28:18-20), each local church being autonomous but cooperating in fellowship and work (Ephesians 4:11-16.)

We believe Christ alone is the head of His Church (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; Colossians 1:18.)

We believe that it is a man's responsibility to oversee the church in the work of the elders, provided that he meets the standards of leadership required by Scripture (1 Timothy 3; 1 Timothy 5.) We also believe that along with the elders that the office of the deacons is just as vital to the biblical operation of the church. The elders are responsible for the spiritual growth and teaching and deacons care for the needs of the flock.

We believe that the establishment and continuity of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:23, 27; 20:17, 28; Galatians 1:2; Philippians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1) and that the members of the one spiritual body are directed to associate themselves together in local assemblies (1 Corinthians 11:18-20; Hebrews 10:25).


We believe in the autonomy of the local church (Acts 6:3; 15:22-25; 1 Corinthians 16:3). We believe that it is Scriptural for Bible-believing churches to cooperate with each other for the presentation or propagation of the Gospel. Each local church should be the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation (Acts 15:19-31; 1 Corinthians 16:1).

ISRAEL
We believe that national ("ethnic") Israel has remained, and will remain, a preserved nation on this planet because they are the chosen nation of God.


We believe that, while the Church is distinct from ethnic Israel, members of the New Testament church are the spiritual descendants of Abraham (Romans 4:1, 11; Galatians 3:6-7.)


We believe in the final restoration of national Israel.


MARRIAGE & HOMOSEXUALITY
We believe that marriage is an institution that was ordained by God and not man. Therefore, God alone determines what a marriage is, and He has said through His Word that marriage is a union between one man and one woman for the duration of this mortal life (Genesis 2:24; Mark 12:25; 1 Corinthians 7.)


We believe that the marriage model is symbolic of the relationship between Christ and His bride, the Church (Ephesians 5:23-32.)

We believe any attempt to redefine or minimize the definitions of marriage is a defamation of the Word of God (Romans 1:21-32.)


This church is opposed to a homosexual lifestyle as being an "alternative" lifestyle. Additionally, this church holds that a homosexual lifestyle is contrary to God’s will and purpose for humanity, just as stealing, lying, adultery, etc. are also contrary to God's will. Predilection for such activities, even as a so-called "alternative" behavior, does not mitigate the command of God to refrain from such behaviors, which are a result of the depravity of sin in each human being.
The Bible instructs us that sin prevents us from inheriting the Kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9 (NET) says, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God."
Even though none of us achieves perfection while on this earth, we are nonetheless forbidden to continue in the willful practice of sin, and we do have power through the Holy Spirit to refrain from such sin (Mark 14:38; Romans 6:1-2; Romans 7:23-25; Romans 8.)


Homosexual Marriage or Unions
This church will not perform any homosexual marriages or unions. It will not condone or recognize such marriages or union, even if the state passes laws that provide for recognition of such marriages or unions.


Members and Homosexuality
Members of the church are forbidden to practice such sin. Any member found to be in such sin shall be treated according to our established church discipline.


END TIMES
We believe that Jesus Christ ascended to heaven (John 14:2, 20:17; Acts 1:9) and is coming back (John 14:3; Acts 1:10-11).

We believe that when He comes back, it will be to render wrath upon the earth (Luke 4:17-21; Isaiah 61:1-3; Revelation 19:11-16.)

We believe all those who have died in Christ (1 Corinthians 15) will be resurrected (Romans 8), and will be summoned by Christ to Himself, and those who are alive and remaining on earth will also be caught up together with them to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.) We believe this "rapture" to be visible, time-consuming, and of great fear to the inhabitants of the earth, occurring prior to the "Day of the Lord", which is synonymous with Christ's execution of vengeful wrath (Romans 12:19; Revelation 6:16, 14:10, 15, 16:19; 19:15.) The "rapture" occurs because those whom He has saved by His blood are not subject to the wrath He is about to pour out (Romans 5:9.)

We believe that ethnic Israel will be purified during a time called the "Seventieth Week of Daniel", when the times of the Gentiles we presently live in are brought to a conclusion, and thus "all Israel will be saved" (Romans 11:25-26.)

We believe in a future life consisting of the conscious existence of the dead (Philippians 1:21-23; Luke 16:19-31), the resurrection of the body (John 5:28-29), the judgment and reward of believers (Romans 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10), the judgment and condemnation of unbelievers (Revelation 20:11-15), the eternal life of the saved (John 3:16), and the eternal punishment of the lost (Matthew 25:46; Revelation 20:15).

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