What do we believe?
THE DIVINE INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE
We believe in the Divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures as the revelation of the mind and will of God. On the authority of Jesus Christ, we accept them in their original form as the Divine Word, which, when heaven and earth are passed away, shall yet endure: Matthew 5:17,18; 24:35; 1 Timothy 3:16,17; 11
Peter 1:19-21; Revelation 22:19.
We believe in one God, eternally existing in three persons, namely : Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The terms “Trinity” and “Persons” as related to the Godhead convey to others our immediate understanding of the doctrine of Christ, respecting the being of God as distinguished from “gods many and lords many”. We therefore may speak with propriety of the Lord our God, who is one Lord as a trinity, or as one Being in three persons, and still be absolutely Scriptural: Hebrews 1:1- 8; Colossians 2:9; 1 Timothy 3:16; Acts 5:3,4; Matthew 3:16,17; Hebrews 9:14.
Distinction and Relationship in the Godhead
Christ taught a distinction of persons in the Godhead which He expressed in specific terms of relationship; as to its mode, it is inscrutable and incomprehensible, because unexplained; Matthew 11:25-27; 28:19; Luke 1:35; 1 Corinthians 1:24; 11 Corinthians 13:14; 1 John 1:3,4.
Unity of the One being of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
Accordingly therefore, there is that in the Son which constitutes Him as the Son and not the Father or the Holy Spirit; and there is that in the Spirit which constitutes Him as the Holy Spirit, and not either the Father or the Son. Therefore, the Father is the begetter, the Son is the begotten, and the Holy Spirit is the one proceeding from the Father and the Son. Therefore, because these three persons in the Godhead are in a state of unity, there is but one Lord God Almighty, and His Name is one : Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 48:16; Zechariah 14:9; John 1:18; 15:26; 17:11, 21; Hebrews 9:14.
Identity and Co-operation in the Godhead
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are never identical as to person, nor confused as to relation nor divided in respect to the Godhead, nor opposed as to co-operation. The Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son; as to relationship. The Son is with the Father and the Father is with the Son; as to fellowship. The Father is not from the Son, but the Son is from the Father; as to authority. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son; as to nature, relationship, co-operation and authority. Hence, neither person in the Godhead either exists or works separately or independently of the others: John 5:17-30; 8:17,18; 15:10.
The Title: “The Lord Jesus Christ”
The appellation, “Lord Jesus Christ”, is a proper name. It is never applied in the New Testament either to the Father or to the Holy Spirit. It therefore belongs exclusively to the Son of God: Romans 1:1-3,7; 11 John 1:3.
The Lord Jesus Christ: “God with Us”
The Lord Jesus Christ as to His Divine and eternal nature, pre-existent and future (Micah 5:2), is the proper and only begotten Son of the Father but as to His human nature, He is the proper Son of Man. He is, therefore, acknowledged to be both God and Man, who because He is God and Man, is “Emmanuel”, “God with us”. Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:23; John 4:2,10,14; Revelation 1:13,14,17.
The Title: “Son of God”
Since the name “Emmanuel” embraces both God and man in the one person, namely: our Lord Jesus Christ, it follows that the title “Son of God” describes His proper deity. The title “Son of God” belongs to the order of eternity, and the title “Son of Man” to the order of time, and the title “Son of Man” describes His proper humanity : Matthew 1:21,23; John 3:18; Hebrews 1:1- 13; 7:3; 11 John 3.
Transgression of the Doctrine of Christ
Therefore, it is a transgression of the doctrine of Christ to say that Jesus Christ derived the title “Son of God” solely from the fact of incarnation, or because of His relationship to the economy of redemption. Therefore, to deny that the Father is a real and eternal Father, and that the Son is a real and eternal Son; is a denial of the distinction and relationship in the being of God; a denial of the Father and the Son, and a displacement of the truth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh: John 1:12,14,18,29,49,51; 8:57,58; Hebrews 2:3,4; 1 John 2:22,23, 4:1-5.
Exaltation of Jesus Christ as Lord
The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, having by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; angels and principalities and powers having been made subject to Him. Having been made both Lord and Christ, He sent the Holy Spirit, that we in the name of Jesus might bow our knees and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord unto the glory of God the Father; until the time when the Son Himself shall subject Himself unto the Father, that God (the triune Godhead) may be all in all : Acts 2:32-36; Romans 14:11; 1 Corinthians 15:24,28; Ephesians 1:10-22; Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 1:3-13; 1 Peter 3:22.
Equal Honour to the Father and the Son
Wherefore, since the Father has delivered all judgement unto the Son, it is not only the express duty of all in heaven and on the earth to bow the knee, but it is an unspeakable joy in the Holy Spirit to ascribe unto the Son all the attributes of deity. To give Him all the honour and the glory contained in all the names and titles of the Godhead, excepting those that express relationship. See paragraph 2; 3 and 4, thus honouring the Son as we honour the Father: Matthew 28:18; John 5:22,23; Hebrews 1:3; Revelation 4:8,11; 5:6-14; 7:9,19.
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit (the third person in the trinity) proceeds from the Father and the Son, and is of one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son: Matthew 3:16; John 14:16,17; 15:26; Acts 13:2-4; Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 4:8; Acts 5:3,4.
THE INCARNATE CHRIST
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of the Father conceived of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary; that this same Jesus was crucified, buried, and raised from the dead; that He was taken up into Heaven and is today at the right hand of the Father, as the Intercessor.
SATAN OR THE DEVIL
We believe in the personality of the devil, who, originally a created angelic being, exercised authority in the presence of God, and who as a result of his transgression was cast down: Ezekiel 28:11-19. He later, by his influence, brought about the fall of man, and now seeks to destroy the faith of every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ: Genesis 3:1-5; Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8; John 8:44; 13:2.
The Scriptures moreover teach that other angelic beings shared his downfall, some being cast down to hell (Tartarus: 2 Peter 2:4), awaiting future judgement. Under his subordination and control are fallen angels and demons. Demons seek to afflict mankind with diseases of mind and body: endeavouring to oppress, obsess, harass, and enter into the bodies of mankind. The believer, however, has been given mastery over them in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Mark 16:17; Matthew 25:41; Luke 4:32; 9:42; Acts 10:38.
SIN AND THE FALL OF MAN AND HIS LOST ESTATE BY NATURE
We believe that sin is any lack of conformity in a free moral agent to the character, nature, and will of God; whether it be in act, disposition, state, thought or will. It came into existence in heaven as the result of the abuse of free moral agency by an unfallen being; that it entered the human family through the fall of our first parents, Adam and Eve, bringing spiritual death upon the human race. Further, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and repentance of sin are commanded of God for all, being necessary for the forgiveness of, and cleansing from sin: Genesis 3:1- 5; Romans 3:23; 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Galatians 3:22.
We believe that repentance is a godly sorrow for sin, brought about in the heart of the individual by the Holy Spirit, resulting in a turning about in submission to God and His Will; Acts 26:18-20. It is the gift of God : Acts 11:18; 11 Corinthians 7:10. The repentant sinner should confess his sins to God.
REGENERATION OR THE NEW BIRTH
We believe that regeneration is the imparting of the Divine nature into the heart of the repentant believer by the Holy Spirit, bringing about the new creation: John 1:12,13; 11 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 1:1,4,5; Titus 3:5-7; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 John 5:1.
We believe that reconciliation is the bringing together of God and man on the grounds of Christ’s redemptive work, into the state of fellowship and communion as children of God: 11 Corinthians 5:18,19; Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 1:21; 1 John 1:3 and Romans 5:11 (where correct translation of “atonement” in A V is the word “reconciliation”.)
We believe that redemption is the act of God whereby through the death of His Son, He paid that price which His own holiness demanded for the release of the sinner: Luke 1:69; Romans 3:25; 1 Corinthians 6:20; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18,19; Revelation 5:9,10.
JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH
We believe that justification is an act of God’s free grace whereby the sinner is absolved from the guilt of his past transgressions, and receives a free pardon and the forgiveness of all his sins, on the sole grounds of repentance and saving faith in Christ and Him crucified; the righteousness of God being imputed unto him, whereupon he enters into peace with God : Romans 5:1; 5:9; 8:30; Galatians 3:24.
We believe that the Scriptural mode of water baptism as practiced by the apostles, is single immersion in the Name (not names) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and should be obeyed as a command of the Lord Jesus Christ: Matthew 28:19; and as an act of faith after the experience of regeneration through saving faith, and repentance: Mark 16:16; Luke 7:29,30; Acts 2:38,39; 10:48; 22:16. It is a symbol of the burial of the old nature, the body of sin, and of our death and resurrection with our Lord Jesus Christ: Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12; Galatians 3:27; 1 Peter 3:20.
We believe that our conscience is made void of offence toward God through faith in the blood of Christ; but toward men we must always have a conscience void of offence by adjusting and making right all that is wrong between us and them wherever possible; by the payment of past debts, refunding thefts, and asking pardon for slanders, etcetera.
THE BELIEVER’S CONFESSION OF SINS
- We believe that where sin has been committed which is only known to God and the believer, this should be confessed to God only: Luke 15:21; 1 John 1:8,9.
- Where offences have been committed and another individual is involved, this should be confessed to God and to such individual, if humanly possible. If several individuals are affected then the confession should be made to God and to them: James 5:16.
- Where an offence has been committed, which has brought dishonour upon the Church, then the offence should be confessed to the Church : James 5:16; 11 Corinthians 2:5-8.
SANCTIFICATION AND HOLINESS
We believe that those who would live unto God and in fellowship with Him are enjoined to be holy in life. Since the Creator is holy in Himself, the obligation to be holy rests upon all of His creation: Psalm 22:3; 1 Peter 1:15,16; 11 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:7. Sanctification is represented in three aspects in the Scriptures, namely:
Positional sanctification is that state of holiness or sainthood that is the initial imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the regenerated or born-again believer. It is a result of the believer’s union with Christ as a new creation: Hebrews 10:10; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 6:11; Ephesians 4:24; 11 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2. Positional sanctification has to do with the standing of the regenerated before God, which standing is based upon the imputed holiness of Christ to all and upon all who believe: 11 Corinthians 5:21.
While all who believe are sanctified positionally, the positional sanctification does not have reference to practical or experimental sanctification, which has to do with the quality or condition of our daily lives. Experimental sanctification is subsequent to regeneration and may come as an instantaneous blessing in regard to specific problems in the Christian life, or as a progressive experience as the believer walks in the light, and in the Spirit: 1 John 1:7; Romans 12:1.
- Yieldedness to God – Romans 6:17,22; 12:1.
- Freedom from the Power of Sin – Romans 6:11-13; 8:2; 1 John 2:1,2.
- Spiritual Growth
Christians are expected to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: 11 Peter 3:18. As the child of God abides in the Vine he is expected to bear much fruit: John 15:2,5,8; Philippians 3:12,15. This phase of experimental sanctification is the result of the constant growth of the individual in things spiritual, and the ever-increasing knowledge of the rights of his sonship through grace.
SECURITY IN SALVATION
The ultimate aspect of sanctification is related to the Christian’s final perfection in Glory. This will take place at the time when the Church is presented faultless before the presence of His glory, free from every spot and wrinkle: 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Ephesians 5:27; Colossians 1:22; Jude verse 24.
The agents of sanctification as emphasised in the Scriptures are as follows:
- The Holy Spirit – 1 Corinthians 6:11; 11 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2.
- The Son of God – Hebrews 10:10.
- The Word – THE TRUTH OF GOD: John 15:3; 17:17.
- The Blood of Christ – Hebrews 13:12.
THE INDWELLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that every believer at the moment of regeneration or the new birth is indwelt by the Holy Spirit: John 14:16,17; 20:22; Romans 8:9-11; 8:14-16; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 11 Corinthians 1:22; Galatians 4:16;
This indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer at the time of the spiritual re-birth creates the new nature within and forms the basis for the development of spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22,23) and makes it possible for the believer to walk in the Spirit and experience practical sanctification: Romans 8:1-6,13; Galatians 5:16.
We therefore believe that the repentant believer is born again by the Holy Spirit (John 3:5-8), bringing about regeneration. Simultaneously he is indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9), bringing about sanctification. At the same time he is also baptised into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13), bringing about membership in the body of Christ and true spiritual sonship. In addition to these mighty acts of the Holy Spirit in and on behalf of the believer, he is also enjoined to receive by faith from God, the enduement of spiritual power to witness: Galatians 3:2,14; Acts 2:33. This enduement of power or baptism in the Holy Spirit is as needful in the church today as it was in the early church, and is still a divine provision to enable the church to fulfil the Great Commission: Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8.
THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT, OR THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Holy Trinity coming upon the believer after regeneration. It is the enduement of power from on high, promised to all believers who obey Him: Luke 24:49; Acts 1:5-8; 2:38; 5:32. It is the privilege of every believer to receive this supernatural experience, as in the early church: Acts 2:1-4; 8:15-19; 10:44-47; 19:1-7. This wonderful experience is distinct from, in addition to, and subsequent to the experience of the new birth. At the time of the new birth the believer is baptised into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit, as referred to in 1 Corinthians 12:13 and Romans 6:3. This baptism into the body of Christ has to do with the placing of the believer into a new position as a child of God, whereas the baptism in the Holy Spirit referred to in Acts 2:1-4; 8:15-19; 10:44- 47 and 19:1- 7 has to do with the placing of the believer into the element or control of the Holy Spirit for the purpose of Divine direction and enduement of spiritual power for service.
THE INITIAL EVIDENCE OF THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
The initial Scriptural evidence of believers receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit is the physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Holy Spirit gives them utterance: Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6; in confirmation of the promise of Jesus in Mark 16:17. The speaking with tongues in these initial instances is the same in manifestation as the gift or “spiritual” (GR. pneumatikos), of tongues, 1 Corinthians 12:4-10,28.
THE FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The fruit of the Spirit is distinct from the gifts or spiritual manifestations of the Spirit, although both are nine-fold (compare Galatians 5:22,23; with 1 Corinthians 12:7-11). The fruit of the Spirit is the expression through the believer of the new nature, or the divine nature which is imparted at the time of the new birth, whereas the spiritual gifts or the manifestation of the Spirit is the revelation of the ministry purpose and power of the Holy Spirit through the believer in his worship and service: 1 Corinthians 12:7; Romans 8:26, 27; 1 Corinthians 12:28.
We believe in the present day operation of the nine-fold manifestation of the Holy Spirit, the spiritual gifts (Gr. pneumatikos and charisma) as set forth by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11; and we recommend to all to covet earnestly these spiritual gifts, so that the church may be edified and enlarged, and function effectively. The demonstration of these spiritual gifts should at all times conform to the Scriptural order as outlined in the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of the first epistle of Paul to the Corinthian church; whereas the bestowal of these spiritual manifestations is the sovereign right of the Spirit the Divine Giver : 1 Corinthians 12:11. Although distinct from each other, the fruit and the manifestations of the Spirit should operate in conjunction with each other: John 15:1-9; Romans 6:22; 1 Corinthians 13:1.
We believe that Divine provision has been made for the physical health and healing of the believer through the redemptive work of Christ upon the Cross and that by His stripes we are healed: Exodus 15:26; Numbers 21:8,9; John 3:14; Isaiah 53:4; Matthew 8:17; 1 Peter 2:24. Divine healing is to be ministered to the sick through prayer and the laying on of hands, in the ministry of the Gospel Mark 16:18 : through anointing the believer with oil, and through the prayer of faith : James 5:14,15 and also through the ministry of the gifts of healing : Acts 28:8,9; 1 Corinthians 12:9.
THE LORD’S SUPPER
We believe that the Lord’s Supper, consisting of the partaking of the elements, express our remembrance of the Lord’s death and the initiation of the New Covenant through His shed blood. By the eating of the bread and the drinking of the cup, we also express by faith our participation of the body and the blood of Christ, and thereby express our spiritual communion with Him in the proclamation of His death until He comes: Matthew 26:26-28; Luke 22:6-20; 1 Corinthians 10:16,17; 11:23-29.
The etymology of the word
The word “Church” comes from the Greek word “ekklesia” which means “a called out company”. The deeper spiritual use of the word, translated “Church” in the New Testament, refers to a company of saved people, who by their salvation are called out from the world into organic union with Christ to form His mystical body, over which He is the head: Romans 8:30; Acts 15:14. It does not refer merely to a visible assembly of people, which may include some unsaved as well as saved people, nor is it restricted to any one generation, race, or locality. It includes all those truly saved of all generations since the church began; and is through the inner ministry of the Holy Spirit, a self-perpetuating spiritual organism: Ephesians 4:16; 1 Peter 2:9.
The Origin of the Church
The Church is a separate and distinct company from Old Testament Israel. This is clear from the following: Christ during His ministry declared it to be yet future (Matthew 16:18). Saving faith in a crucified and risen Saviour is the requirement which brings about regeneration and membership in the Church; so the Church could not have existed until after Calvary: Galatians 3:23-25. There could be no Church until it was purchased with His shed blood: Ephesians 5:25-27. The Church could not live until Christ arose to give it resurrection life: Romans 6:5; Colossians 3:1-3. The Church could not exist as His body until He had ascended to be the head over all things to it: Ephesians 1:20-23. It would have been impossible for the Church to exist and perpetuate itself through its various ministries until the resurrection of Christ had brought the ministry gifts into existence: Ephesians 4:7-12. These various ministries could not have carried out their functions until they were endued with power for the task: Acts 1:8; 2:4. The Church therefore came into existence through the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Christ. It received the Holy Spirit, and was given the great commission, John 20:22, Matthew 28:19, 20, Mark 16:15 and at Pentecost had the ministry gifts bestowed upon it and was endued with power for service and ministry. Ephesians 4:7-12; Acts 1:8; 2:4.
The Doctrine of the Church
The doctrine of the Church was an unrevealed mystery to the Old Testament saints, but it was revealed later to the New Testament apostles and prophets. Therefore the doctrine of the Church relates to this present age only. Also the doctrine, discipline and order of the Church are given in the New Testament only: Ephesians 3:1-10.
The Universal Church of Christ
The church is constituted in a universal sense by all those who are born again through the Holy Spirit in this dispensation (John 3:5; 1:12 and 13), and are baptised by Him into one body (1 Corinthians 12:13), with Christ as the Head of the body (Colossians 1:18). The church is then such a spiritual and living organic unity that expresses itself as the body of Christ in action, in the organisational church (1 Corinthians 12:20). Thus the local assemblies are equally organic.
THE BLESSED HOPE
We believe that the personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ to resurrect those who have died in Him, their rising to be caught up together with those believers who are alive when He returns, and their joint meeting with the Lord in the air, is the imminent and blessed hope of the Church. This event is to take place prior to the great tribulation: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; 1 Corinthians 15:51-55.
THE GREAT TRIBULATION
We believe that the closing days of this age will witness a period of unprecedented and great tribulation on the earth (Matthew 24:21-31), and that Christ, together with His saints, will return immediately after the tribulation of those days: Matthew 24:29, 30.
THE MILLENNIAL REIGN OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
We believe in the coming of the Lord with His saints to judge the nations and reign in righteousness upon the earth for a thousand years. Psalm 72:8,11; 96:10-13; Isaiah 11; Daniel 7:22; Micah 4:1-7; Zechariah 14:1-9; Revelation 19:11; 20:6; Jude verse 14,15; Isaiah
THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH
We believe in and look for a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, and over which God shall reign with his people forever: 11 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1; 22:5.
PUNISHMENT OF THE WICKED
We believe in the everlasting punishment of the wicked in the sense of eternal torment: Matthew 25:46; 13:49,50; Luke 16:23,24; Romans 6:23; 11 Thessalonians 1:8,9; Revelation 20:6-15; 14:11; 21:8.
1. THE PURPOSE OF GOD
We affirm our belief in the one-eternal God, Creator and Lord of the world, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who governs ali things according to the purpose of his wilL He has been calling out from the world a people for himself, and sending his people back into the world to be his servants and his witnesses, for the extension of his kingdom, the building up of Christ’s body, and the glory of his name. We confess with shame that we have often denied our calling and failed in our mission, by becoming conformed to the world or by withdrawing from it. Yet we rejoice that even when borne by earthen vessels the gospel is still a precious treasure. To the task of making that treasure known in the power of the Holy Spirit we desire to dedicate ourselves anew.
(Isa. 40:28; Matt. 28:19; Eph. 1:11; Acts 15:14; John 17:6, 18; Eph 4:12; 1 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 12:2; li Cor. 4:7)
2. THE AUTHORITY AND POWER OF THE BIBLE
We affirm the divine inspiration, truthfulness and authority of both Old and New Testament Scriptures in their entirety as the only written word of God, without error in all that it affirms, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice. We also affirm the power of God’s word to accomplish his purpose of salvation. The message of the Bible is addressed to ali men and women. For God’s revelation in Christ and in Scripture is unchangeable. Through it the Holy Spirit still speaks today. He illumines the minds of God’s people in every culture to perceive its truth freshly through their own eyes and thus discloses to the whole Church ever more of the many-colored wisdom of God.
(li Tim. 3:16; li Pet. 1:21; John 10:35; Isa. 55:11; 1 Cor. 1:21; Rom. 1:16, Matt. 5:17,18; Jude 3; Eph. 1:17,18; 3:10,18)
3. THE UNIQUENESS AND UNIVERSALITY OF CHRIST
We affirm that there is only one Saviour and only one gospel, although there is a wide diversity of evangelistic approaches. We recognise that everyone has some knowledge of God through his general revelation in nature. But we deny that this can save, for people suppress the truth by their unrighteousness. We also reject as derogatory to Christ and the gospel every kind of syncretism and dialogue which implies that Christ speaks equally through ali religions and ideologies. Jesus Christ, being himself the only God man, who gave himself as the only ransom for sinners, is the only mediator between God and people. There is no other name by which we must be saved. AII men and women are perishing because of sin, but God leves everyone, not wishing that any should perish but that all should repent. Yet those who reject Christ repudiate the joy of salvation and condemn themselves to eternal separation from God. To proclaim Jesus as “the Saviour of the world” is not to affirm that all people are either automatically or ultimately saved, still less to affirm that all religions offer salvation in Christ. Rather it is to proclaim God’s !ove for a world of sinners and to invite everyone to respond to him as Saviour and Lord in the wholehearted personal commitment of repentance and faith. Jesus Christ has been exalted above every other name; we long for the day when every knee shall bow to him and every tangue shall confess him Lord.
(Gal. 1:6-9;Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Tim. 2:5,6; Acts 4:12; John 3:16-19; li Pet. 3:9; li Thess. 1:7-9;John 4:42; Matt. 11:28; Eph. 1:20,21; Phil. 2:9-11)
4. THE NATURE OF EVANGELISM
To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures, and that as the reigning Lord he now offers the forgiveness of sins and the liberating gifts of the Spirit to ali who repent and believe. Our Christian presence in the world is indispensable to evangelism, and so is that kind of dialogue whose purpose is to listen sensitively in ordcr to undcrstand. But cvangelism itself is the proclamation of the historical, bíblica! Christ as Saviour and Lord, with a view to persuading people to come to him personally and so be reconciled to God. ln issuing lhe gospel invitation we have no liberty to conceal lhe cost of discipleship. Jesus still calls all who would follow him to deny themselves, take up their cross, and identify themselves with his new community. The results of evangelism include obedience to Christ, incorporation into his Church and responsible service in lhe world.
(1 Cor. 15:3,4; Acts 2: 32-39; John 20:21; 1 Cor. 1:23; li Cor. 4:5; 5:11,20; Luke 14:25-33; Mark 8:34; Acts 2:40,47; Mark 10:43-45)
5. CHRISTIAN SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
We affirm that God is both the Creator and lhe Judge of ali people. We therefore should share his concern for justice and reconciliation throughout human society and for lhe liberation of men and women from every kind of oppression. Because men and women are made in lhe image of God, every person, regardless of race, religion, colour, culture, class, sex or age, has an intrinsic dignity because of which he or she should be respected and served, not exploited. Here too we express penitence both for our neglect and for having sometimes regarded evangelism and social concern as mutually exclusive. Although reconciliation with other people is not reconciliation with God, nor is social action evangelism, nor is political liberation salvation, nevertheless we affirm that evangelism and socio-political involvement are both part of our Christian duty. For both are necessary expressions of our doctrines of God and man, our lave for our neighbour and our obedience to Jesus Christ. The message of salvation implies also a message of judgment upon every form of alienation, oppression and discrimination, and we should not be afraid to denounce evil and injustice wherever they exist When people receive Christ they are born again into his kingdom and must seek not only to exhibit but also to spread its righteousness in lhe midst of an unrighteous world. The salvation we claim should be transforming us in lhe totality of our personal and social responsibilities. Faith without works is dead.
(Acts 17:26,31; Gen. 18:25; Isa. 1:17; Psa. 45:7; Gen. 1:26,27; Jas. 3:9; Lev. 19:18; Luke 6:27,35; Jas. 2:14-26; Joh. 3:3,5; Matt. 5:20; 6:33; li Cor. 3:18; Jas. 2:20)
6. THE CHURCH AND EVANGELISM
We affirm that Christ sends his redeemed people into the world as the Father sent him, and that this calls for a similar deep and costly penetration of the world. We need to break out of our ecclesiastical ghettos and permeate non Christian society. ln the Church’s mission of sacrificial service evangelism is primary. World evangelization requires the whole Church to take the whole gospel to the whole world. The Church is at the very centre of God’s cosmic purpose and is his appointed means of spreading the gospel. But a church which preaches the cross must itself be marked by the cross. lt becomes a stumbling block to evangelism when it betrays the gospel or lacks a living faith in God, a genuine love for people, or scrupulous honesty in all things including promotion and finance. The church is the community of God’s people rather than an institution, and must not be identified with any particular culture, social or political system, or human ideology.
(John 17:18; 20:21; Matt. 28:19,20; Acts 1:8; 20:27; Eph. 1:9,10; 3:9-11; Gal. 6:14,17; li Cor. 6:3,4; li Tim. 2:19-21; Phil. 1:27)
7. COOPERATION IN EVANGELISM
We affirm that the Church’s visible unity in truth is God’s purpose. Evangelism also summons us to unity, because our oneness strengthens our witness, just as our disunity undermines our gospel of reconciliation. We recognize, however, that organisational unity may take many forms and does not necessarily forward evangelism. Yet we who share the sarne biblical faith should be closely united in fellowship, work and witness. We confess that our testimony has sometimes been marred by a sinful individualism and needless duplication. We pledge ourselves to seek a deeper unity in truth, worship, holiness and mission. We urge the development of regional and functional cooperation for lhe furtherance of lhe Church’s mission, for strategic planning, for mutual encouragement, and for lhe sharing of resources and experience.
(John 17:21,23; Eph. 4:3,4; John 13:35; Phil. 1:27; John 17:11-23)
8. CHURCHES IN EVANGELISTIC PARTNERSHIP
We rejoice that a new missionary era has dawned. The dominant role of western missions is fast disappearing. God is raising up from lhe younger churches a great new resource for world evangelization, and is thus demonstrating that lhe responsibility to evangelise belongs to lhe whole body of Christ. Ali churches should therefore be asking God and themselves what they should be doing both to reach their own area and to send missionaries to other paris of the world. A reevaluation of our missionary responsibility and role should be continuous. Thus a growing parlnership of churches will develop and lhe universal character of Christ’s Church will be more clearly exhibited. We also thank God for agencies which labor in Bible translation, theological education, lhe mass media, Christian literature, evangelism, missions, church renewal and other specialist fields. They too should engage in constant self-examination to evaluate their effectiveness as pari of lhe Church’s mission.
(Rom. 1:8; Phil. 1:5; 4:15; Acts 13:1-3, 1 Thess. 1:6-8)
9. THE URGENCY OF THE EVANGELISTIC TASK
More than 2,700 million people, which is more than two-thirds of ali humanity, have yet to be evangelised. We are ashamed that so many have been neglected; it is a standing rebuke to us and to lhe whole Church. There is now, however, in many paris of lhe world an unprecedented receptivity to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are convinced that this is lhe time for churches and para-church agencies to pray earnestly for lhe salvation of lhe unreached and to launch new efforts to achieve world evangelization. A reduction of foreign missionaries and money in an evangelised country may sometimes be necessary to facilitate the national church’s growth in self-reliance and to release resources for unevangelised areas. Missionaries should flow ever more freely from and to all six continents in a spirit of humble service. The goal should be, by ali available means and at the earliest possible lime, that every person will have the opportunity to hear, understand, and to receive the good news. We cannot hope to attain this goal without sacrifice. AII of us are shocked by the poverty of millions and disturbed by the injustices which cause it. Those of us who live in affluent circumstances accept our duty to develop a simple life-style in order to contribute more generously to both relief and evangelism.
(John 9:4; Matt. 9:35-38; Rom. 9:1-3; 1 Cor. 9:19-23; Mark 16:15; Isa. 58:6,7; Jas. 1:27; 2:1-9; Matt. 25:31-46; Acts 2:44,45; 4:34,35)
10. EVANGELISM AND CULTURE
The development of strategies for world evangelization calls for imaginative pioneering methods. Under God, the result will be the rise of churches deeply rooted in Christ and closely related to their culture. Culture must always be tested and judged by Scripture. Because men and women are God’s creatures, some of their culture is rich in beauty and goodness. Because they are fallen, all of it is tainted with sin and some of it is demonic. The gospel does not presuppose the superiority of any culture to another, but evaluates ali cultures according to its own criteria of truth and righteousness, and insists on moral absolutes in every culture. Missions have all too frequently exported with the gospel an alien culture and churches have sometimes been in bondage to culture rather than to Scripture. Christ’s evangelists must humbly seek to empty themselves of all but their personal authenticity in order to become the servants of others, and churches must seek to transform and enrich culture, ali for the glory of God.
(Mark 7:8,9,13; Gen. 4:21,22; 1 Cor. 9:19-23; Phil. 2:5-7; li Cor. 4:5)
11. EDUCATION AND LEADERSHIP
We confess that we have sometimes pursued church growth at the expense of church depth, and divorced evangelism from Christian nurture. We also acknowledge that some of our missions have been too slow to equip and encourage national leaders to assume their rightful responsibilities. Yet we are committed to indigenous principies, and long that every church will have national leaders who manifesta Christian style of leadership in terms not of domination but of service. We recognise that there is a great need to improve theological education, especially for church leaders. ln every nation and culture there should be an effective training programme for pastors and laity in doctrine, discipleship, evangelism, nurture and service. Such training programmes should not rely on any stereotyped methodology but should be developed by creative local initiatives according to biblical standards.
(Col. 1:27,28; Acts 14:23; Til. 1:5,9; Mark 10:42-45; Eph. 4:11,12)
12. SPIRITUAL CONFLICT
We believe that we are engaged in constant spiritual warfare with the principalities and powers of evil, who are seeking to overthrow lhe Church and frustrate its task of world evangelization. We know our need to equip ourselves with God’s armour and to fight this battle with the spiritual weapons of truth and prayer. For we detect lhe activity of our enemy, not only in false ideologies outside the Church, but also inside it in false gospels which twist Scripture and put people in the place of God. We need both watchfulness and discernment to safeguard the biblical gospel. We acknowledge that we ourselves are not immune to worldliness of thoughts and action, that is, to a surrender to secularism. For example, although careful studies of church growth, both numerical and spiritual, are right and valuable, we have sometimes neglected them. At other limes, desirous to ensure a response to the gospel, we have compromised our message, manipulated our hearers through pressure techniques, and become unduly preoccupied with statistics or even dishonest in our use of thcm. Ali this is worldly. Thc Church must be in the world; the world must not be in the Church.
(Eph. 6:12; li Cor. 4:3,4; Eph. 6:11,13-18; li Cor. 10:3-5; 1 John 2:18-26; 4:1-3; Gal. 1:6-9; li Cor. 2:17; 4:2; John 17:15)
13. FREEDOM AND PERSECUTION
lt is the God-appointed duty of every government to secure conditions of peace, justice and liberty in which the Church may obey God, serve the Lord Jesus Christ, and preach the gospel without interference. We therefore pray for the leaders of nations and call upon them to guarantee freedom of thought and conscience, and freedom to practise and propagate religion in accordance with the will of God and as set forth in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We also express our deep concern for all who have been unjustly imprisoned, and especially for those who are suffering for their testimony to the Lord Jesus. We promise to pray and work for their freedom. At the sarne time we refuse to be intimidated by their fate. God helping us, we too will seek to stand against injustice and to remain faithful to the gospel, whatever the cost. We do not forget thewarnings of Jesus that persecution is inevitable.
(1 Tim. 1:1-4, Acts 4:19; 5:29; Col. 3:24; Heb. 13:1-3; Luke 4:18; Gal. 5:11; 6:12; Matt. 5:10-12; John 15:18-21)
14. THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Father sent his Spirit to bear witness to his Son; without his witness ours is futile. Conviction of sin, faith in Christ, new birth and Christian growth are all his work. Further, the Holy Spirit is a missionary spirit; thus evangelism should arise spontaneously from a Spirit-filled church. A church that is nota missionary church is contradicting itself and quenching the Spirit. Worldwide evangelization will become a realistic possibility only when the Spirit renews the Church in truth and wisdom, faith, holiness, love and power. We therefore call upon all Christians to pray for such a visitation of the sovereign Spirit of God that all his fruit may appear in all his people and that all his gifts may enrich the body of Christ. Only then will the whole church become a fit instrument in his hands, that the whole earth may hear his voice.
(1 Cor. 2:4; John 15:26;27; 16:8-11; 1 Cor. 12:3; John 3:6-8; li Cor. 3:18; John 7:37-39; 1 Thess. 5:19; Acts 1:8; Psa. 85:4-7; 67:1-3; Gal. 5:22,23; 1 Cor. 12:4-31; Rom. 12:3-8)
15. THE RETURN OF CHRIST
We believe that Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly, in power and glory, to consummate his salvation and his judgment. This promise of his coming is a further spur to our evangelism, for we remember his words that the gospel must first be preached to ali nations. We believe that the interim period between Christ’s ascension and return is to be filled with the mission of the people of God, who have no liberty to stop before the end. We also remember his warning that false christs and false prophets will arise as precursors of the final Antichrist. We therefore reject as a proud, self-confident dream the notion that people can ever build a utopia on earth. Our Christian confidence is that God will perfect his kingdom, and we look forward with eager anticipation to that day, and to the new heaven and earth in which righteousness will dwell and God will reign forever. Meanwhile, we rededicate ourselves to the service of Christ and of people in joyful submission to his authority over the whole of our lives.
(Mark 14:62; Heb. 9:28; Mark 13:10; Acts 1:8-11; Matt. 28:20; Mark 13:21-23; 1 John 2:18; 4:1-3; Luke 12:32; Rev. 21:1-5; li Pet. 3:13; Matt. 28:18)
Therefore, in the light of this our faith and our resolve, we enter into a solemn covenant with God and with each other, to pray, to plan and to work together for the evangelization of the whole world. We call upon others to join us. May God help us by his grace and for his glory to be faithful to this our covenant! Amen, Alleluia!