BY TIM VALIANTE
I affirm that God has graciously given His Word to mankind in the 66 inspired books that make up our Old and New Testaments. The Word of God is inerrant (entirely without error) reaching to the individual words (verbal) of Scripture and to every subject (plenary) within Scripture (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:21).
Theology Proper (God the Father):
I affirm the existence of one all-powerful, all-knowing God who exists eternally along with His Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit (Psalm 90:2). The Trinity (or the Godhead) which consists of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is made up of three distinct persons with one nature. It was by the Father’s will that all things have come into being, and through His power that all things exist (Rev 4:11).
I affirm the eternal existence and exaltation of the second Person of the Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is fully equal with the Father (Phil 2:6), yet He humbled Himself by taking on human flesh, through His incarnation via the virgin birth. He lived a sinless life and laid down His life for the sins of the world by dying upon the cross. Jesus is one Person with two distinct natures (divine and human). It is only through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that mankind can be brought back into a right relationship with God (Acts 4:12).
Pneumatology (Holy Spirit):
I affirm the eternal existence and personhood of the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is fully equal with the Father and Son, worthy of all honor, glory and praise. The Holy Spirit is not merely a force or emanation from God the Father. He is always regarded as an individual person of the Trinity. A number of passages include Jesus along with the Father and Spirit (Matthew 3:16-17; Matthew 28:19; John 14:16; II Corinthians 13:14).
I affirm the direct creation of man as a part of the six literal days of creation as recorded in Genesis 1-2. Man was created in an initial state of holiness, from which he fell plunging all of creation into sin. The Bible says that Adam was created in the image of God. Although sin marred this image, man still maintains some aspects of his initial state such as having a mind, conscience, soul, emotions and spirit which is initially dead in trespasses and sins. Man will live forever in either the lake of fire (for those who reject Jesus Christ), or in heaven (for those who experience God’s grace through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ).
I affirm the free gift of salvation offered by God’s grace to those who come to Him by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross. Although God was not involved in man’s sin (James 1:13), Christ’s atonement, and man’s salvation were in His heart from the very beginning. (Revelation 13:8, I Peter 1:18-20 Ephesians 1:4-5). Redemption was not an afterthought. Man’s sin did not catch the Lord off guard, and certainly did not overwhelm Him. Salvation is a gift God offers to all mankind (1 John 2:3), that must be personally accepted. Many groups hold on to an erroneous belief that after a person is saved, he can possibly lose his salvation. This idea is diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Bible. The very fact that the term “eternal life” is used in reference to salvation is enough to support the fact that once a person is saved, he is always saved (John 10:28).
I affirm the existence of angelic beings who were created by God in an initial state of holiness from which some beings have fallen. The study of angels (and other supernatural beings which includes cherubims and seraphims) falls into two categories. The first category includes good/holy angels while the second focuses on evil/fallen angels also known as demons.
Eschatology (End Times):
I affirm the premillennial, pre-tribulational return of Jesus Christ. When literally interpreting eschatological passages in the Word of God in their historical and grammatical context, one will see the strength of dispensational theology over covenant theology. God has neither annulled His promises to bless Israel through a literal kingdom nor Jesus’ promise to His bride that she would reign together with Him in that same kingdom. According to Romans 11:2, “God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew.” Further into the passage in Romans 11:26, Paul writes of a future event saying, “And so all Israel shall be saved.” God will not go back on His promise to His people. I affirm the visible, bodily return of Jesus Christ at the end of the Tribulation to establish His Kingdom (upon which He will sit upon the throne of His father David), and reign for 1,000 years.
I affirm that the church is a body of believers who have been called out from darkness into God’s marvelous light. Salvation is the key component in becoming a part of the body or church of Jesus Christ. The term church can be used to describe two aspects of a believer’s association with Christ. When a person is saved, he is spiritually baptized into the body (collective group of believers) of Christ. After a person is saved and goes through water baptism, he is then joined to the local church which is a representation of the larger body of Christ. I affirm two ordinances (baptism and the Lord’s Supper) and two offices (pastors or elders and deacons) given to the local church.