THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
We believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, is inerrant in the original writings, and is our sole authority on all matters of doctrine and practice (1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16).
We believe that there is only one true and living God who exists in three eternal and co-equal persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Mark 12:29; John 4:24; Matt. 3:16-17; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14).
THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE FATHER
We believe that the Father is the first person of the Trinity; is Spirit (John 4:24), and is the ultimate expression of perfection and holiness (Rev. 15:4). He is exalted as head above all (1 Chron. 29:11-12) and is seated on His heavenly throne attended to and worshipped by angels (Isaiah 6:1-3). He exercises His supremacy as Sovereign (Isaiah 46:10) and is to be the object of all of creation’s praises. He exists as eternal (Jer. 31:3), immutable (Mal. 3:6; James 1:17), omniscient (Dan. 2:22), and omnipotent (Psalm 62:11).
THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST
We believe that Jesus Christ is the pre-existent Son of God who became man in order to reveal God and redeem man. He was supernaturally conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. While on earth, He lived a perfect and sinless life and then died on the cross having offered Himself blameless to God as a sacrifice for our sins. He rose bodily from the dead, appeared to many believers, and then ascended to His Father’s right hand in Heaven to appear as our great High Priest. He will come to rapture His Church and subsequently return to reign on the earth (John 1:18, 8:58; Matt. 1:23; Col. 1:15-17; 1Tim. 1:15, 3:16; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).
THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity who convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment; creates anew and places believers into Christ; and seals and indwells all believers until the day of redemption. He is the creator and giver of spiritual gifts who instructs, guides, comforts, assures and empowers believers for service. The Holy Spirit continually fills believers who yield to Him. We believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place at the time of conversion and is the act of placing the believer
in the body of Christ (Acts 5:3-4; 2 Thess., 2:3-9; John 16:7-11,13; Titus 3:5; Eph. 1:13, 2:22, 5:18; 1 Cor. 6:19, 12:13, 14; James 5:14; Rom. 8: 14,16).
We believe that the Triune God, according to His sovereign will and for His own glory, created the heavens and the earth out of nothing. All living things came into being by a direct creative act of God and not by an evolutionary or random process, and thus have an existence distinct from Him and yet always dependent on Him (Gen. 2:4; Prov. 16:4; Acts 17:24; Col. 1:17).
Man was created in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:27), in a state of innocence (Gen. 1:31), and distinct in gender (Matt. 19:4). Through deliberate disobedience, man fell from his sinless state and as a consequence lost his fellowship with God, becoming subject to spiritual and physical death (Rom. 3:23). The entire human race, through Adam’s transgressions, has inherited a corrupt nature which is essentially evil and unable to please God (Gen. 1:26-27, 3:24; Rom. 5:12; Eph. 2:1-3). Sin is anything contrary to the character of God. Every man is separated from God because of sin. All men are separated from God and completely helpless to earn salvation and avoiding the judgment of God. The sin nature never goes away, even for those who are born into the family of God, but it remains until the end of life. God has, however, made provision for forgiveness of sin through the blood of Jesus Christ and victory over sin through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Rom. 3:10, 23, 6:23; Eph. 4:18; 1 John 1:8-10, Gal. 5:16-17, Heb. 10:14).
Salvation from the penalty and power of sin is provided only through the blood of Jesus Christ which He shed on the cross when He was made sin for us and died in our place. There is nothing that man can do to attain this salvation through good works, moral achievement or religious status. We believe the one and only condition for salvation is personal faith in Jesus Christ as one’s own substitute for (and Savior from) sin. At the time of salvation, a person is spiritually reborn, his sins are forgiven, God’s righteousness is credited to him and he is declared “not guilty” in the sight of God. This salvation, we believe, is complete and a present possession of all believers which remains theirs forever. All who have trusted Christ as Savior and are truly born-again into God’s family are kept secure and will never lose their salvation. Although salvation is something that is willfully received by man (free will), it comes only through the conviction by God (predestination). Both concepts are taught in Scripture and are held to be true. While every true child of God is safe and secure for all eternity, a Christian can through sin lose his fellowship with God. He may also lose his joy, power, testimony and incur the Father’s discipline. The Christian’s relationship with God is eternal, being established by new birth (1 Pet. 1:18-19, 2:24; 2 Cor. 5:21; Eph. 2:8-9. 4:32; Rom. 5:1, 8:38-39; Titus 3:5; John 6:35-40, 10:27-29).
The Church, referred to as the Body and Bride of Christ, is a unique organism composed of all individuals who have placed their faith in Christ as Savior. The local church is an expression of the Church universal (all believers around the world) and has the twofold purpose of the edification of believers and the evangelization of the lost. The two ordinances of the church are water baptism, which we practice by immersion, and the Lord’s Supper, which we practice corporately each Sunday as a remembrance of Christ’s death in our place. Water baptism is a voluntary act by a believer as a public profession of his identification in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and his desire and intention to walk in newness of life in Christ. It is in no way essential to salvation nor is it to be considered as a door of entrance into the fellowship of the local church. It is, however, an important forward step in the spiritual development of a believer. Our weekly communion service takes the form of spontaneous Spirit-led expressions of worship in prayers, hymns and spiritual songs, reading of Scripture and ministry. All believers in Christ are welcomed and encouraged to share in this celebration (1 Cor. 11:23-28, 12:12-27; Acts 2:1-4; 1 Thess. 4:13-17; Col. 4:16; Eph. 4.7, 5:32; Heb. 13.17; Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 8:38; Rom. 6:4; 1 Cor. 1:17).
We hold to a Biblical definition of Marriage as the intimate and complementary union between a man and a woman where the two become one flesh (Matt. 19:3-6). In the New Testament, imagery is used to describe marriage as the relationship between Christ and His church (Eph. 5:21-33). The husband’s responsibility is to lead his family as Christ, who is the head of the church (Eph. 5:23), leads the church. The wife responds to her husband’s sacrificial love like the church submits to Christ (Eph. 5:24).
We believe that the next event in God’s prophetic calendar is the Rapture of the church when living and dead Christians will be caught up to meet the Lord, give account of their earthly lives, and receive rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Following the Rapture, a seven-year period of Tribulation will commence upon the earth at which time God’s wrath will be poured out on mankind. God’s millennial kingdom will be ushered in by Jesus Christ when He returns to the earth in power and glory to rule sovereignly over the world for a thousand years. The unsaved dead of all ages will be raised after the millennium to face the judgment of the Great White Throne and will be cast into the lake of fire where there will be eternal punishment. The redeemed of the ages will exist in an eternal state of joy and bliss in the new heavens and new earth where they will worship and serve God forever (John 14:3; Heb. 10:37; 2 Cor. 5:10; Matt. 24:21-31; 1 Cor. 3:12-15; Rev. 20-22).
1 Strict agreement with these doctrines is not required for Membership at Bethel Community Church, however, we affirm these beliefs as taught in Scripture and have established them as the official positions of our Church.