I believe what most conservative Bible-teaching churches include in their Doctrinal Statement, with a couple of exceptions. Here’s a list:
- God exists, and wants to be known and loved by makind. God exists as one God, yet in triune form (relating to mankind through the personal roles of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).
- God has revealed Himself to mankind through the historical record known as the Bible, which He wrote through men who He inspired by the Holy Spirit. I believe the Bible, in its original languages and copies, is without error.
- Mankind came from common ancestors, Adam and Eve, who were deceived by Satan to disobey God. In doing so, they fell from a state of paradise to a state of judgement, taking all of their offspring with them.
- Because God loved them, He set a plan in motion to rescue them from their ultimate fate. That plan takes the entire Bible to reveal fully. Successive generations gradually learned more about this plan as time passed.
- God stepped into the world in the human form of the historical figure, Jesus Christ, to live a life that no child of Adam and Eve could — a life without sinning. When He was executed on a Roman Cross, taking the punishment that was rightly ours, death had no permanent claim on Him. He came back to life three days after His execution and revealed Himself to hundreds of witnesses before ascending into Heaven.
- Jesus Christ left instructions to his disciples to spread good news to the entire world, and later commissioned an additional apostle, Paul of Tarsus, to bring the good news specifically to the Gentiles (non-Jews) of the world (about whom we have a great deal to say).
- The Holy Spirit “lives inside” (indwells) believers today, and influences the world through them. Believers have a responsibility to live their lives in a manner pleasing to the Holy Spirit, and thus present Christ to a watching world.
- Jesus Christ will return to the Earth in power and majesty at some point in the future that is known only to God the Father. Believers are instructed by the Bible to be ready for this to happen. This event is surrounded by a number of sequential events in a particular order, which we will take great pains to describe in detail.
Here is where there are divisions even among Bible-teaching churches and denominations. Specifically, my position can be described as…
- Pre-Tribulation, meaning the next event on God’s agenda will be the period described in the Bible as the Tribulation.
- Pre-Millennial, meaning that in the future Christ will establish an earthly kingdom and reign over it personally for a thousand years.
- Dispensational, meaning that God has dealt with mankind in several different, progressively revealed ways through human history.
- Age of Grace, meaning that God deals with mankind today by offering salvation as a gift to anyone who will accept it, giving us something we do not deserve, and patiently withholding judgement that we do deserve. (This period of time is also known as the Church Age.)
- Mid-Acts, meaning that the church of this time and dispensation was gradually revealed in the book of Acts beginning with the resurrected, glorified appearance of Jesus Christ to Saul of Tarsus (Paul of Tarsus) on the road to Damascus.
- Pauline, meaning that Christ revealed information to Paul specifically for the non-Jews (Gentiles) of the world that differed in some ways from what Christ taught during His earthly ministry. Consequently, Paul’s writings in the New Testament are the prinicipal source of doctrine and practice for believers today.