Compiled on the basis of "The Confession of Faith of Christian Baptists"
under the editing of I.V. Odintsov, 1928
I. Concerning the Word of God
We believe that the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament — namely the five books of Moses, the book of Joshua, the book of Judges, the book of Ruth, the two books of Samuel, the two books of Kings, the two books of Chronicles, the book of Ezra, the book of Nehemiah, the book of Esther, the book of Job, the book of Psalms, the book of Proverbs, the book of Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon, the books of the prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, — as well as the books of the New Testament — the gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the Acts of the Apostles, the epistles of the apostle Paul to the Romans, Corinthians (2), Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians (2), Timothy (2), Titus, and Philemon, followed by the epistle to the Hebrews, the epistle of James, the two epistles of Peter, the three epistles of John, the epistle of Jude, and the Revelation to John — are true and inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that all of these books combined compose one true revelation to mankind and are the only source of truth to know God. The Bible in its original form is the inerrant and infallible Word of God, God-breathed in all its parts. God spoke in the Holy Scriptures by means of dual-authorship. The Holy Spirit so directed the human authors that, even though each had an individual personality and a different style of writing, they composed and recorded the Word of God to man without error in the whole or in the part.
We believe the Bible to be the only unchanging and infallible rule and standard of our faith and practice. Even though there may be more than one way to practically apply each text of Scripture, there is only one true interpretation. The Word of God is an object of revelation. The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently applies the literal grammatical-historical method of interpretation under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (Psalm 119:105; Luke 16:29,31; John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21).
II. Concerning God
We believe that there is only one living, true, and eternal God (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; 1 Timothy 2:5), perfect in all His attributes, and one in essence. He is eternally existent as three Persons — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, each of whom equally deserves worship and obedience. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:26; 3:22; Isaiah 61:1; Matthew 3:16-17; John 14:26; 2 Corinthians 13:14) in their essence and substance are perfect, eternally equal and inseparable (John 10:30; 14:7-10; 16:13-14; 1 John 2:23), in that the Father is the true eternal God (Matthew 6:9; Ephesians 4:6), the Son is the true eternal God (John 1:1-3,14; 20:28; Romans 9:5), and the Holy Spirit is the true eternal God.1
God the Father
God the Father is the first Person of the Godhead Trinity, who rules over all things and events according to His own purpose and grace (Psalm 145:8-9; 1 Corinthians 8:6). He is the Creator of all visible and invisible things, movable and immovable (Genesis 1:1-31; Ephesians 3:9) and is the only absolute Ruler of the universe. He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Psalm 103:19; Romans 11:36). His fatherhood includes His position in the Trinity and His relationship with mankind. As Creator, He is Father to all men (Ephesians 4:6), but He is spiritual Father only to believers (Romans 8:14; 2 Corinthians 6:18). He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass (Ephesians 1:11). He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events (Psalm 103:19). In His sovereignty, He is neither the author nor the approver of sin (Habakkuk 1:13; John 8:38-47), nor does He abridge the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (1 Peter 1:17). He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Ephesians 1:4-6; 4:4-5); He forgives and saves from sin all who come to Him through Jesus Christ; and He becomes Father to His own, the forgiven (John 1:12; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Hebrews 12:5-9).
God the Son
We believe and teach that Jesus Christ is the second Person in the Godhead Trinity. He possesses all the divine excellences, and in these He is coequal, co-substantial, and co-eternal with the Father (John 10:30; 14:9). We teach and believe that God the Father created all things according to His own will, through His Son, Jesus Christ, by whom all things continue in existence and in operation (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2).
We teach and believe that in the incarnation (God becoming man), Christ voluntarily surrendered only the prerogatives of deity but nothing of the divine essence, either in degree or in 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 teach and believe that our Lord Jesus Christ was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23,25; Luke 1:26-35); that He was God incarnate (John 1:1,14); and that the purpose of the incarnation was to reveal God, live a perfectly holy and sinless life, redeem men, and rule over God’s kingdom (Psalm 2:7-9; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:29; Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 4:15; 7:25-26; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
We believe that Jesus Christ accomplished our salvation through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross, and that His death was voluntary, substitutional, propitiatory, and redemptive (John 10:15; Romans 3:24-25; 1 Peter 2:24). 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 adopted into the family of God (Romans 3:25; 5:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18). We teach that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead and that He is now ascended to the right hand of the Father, where He now mediates as our Advocate and High Priest (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:38-39; Acts 2:30-31; Romans 4:25; 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1).
We believe in the literal and physical resurrection of Jesus Christ according to Scripture (1 Corinthians 15:4). In His resurrection from the dead, God the Father confirmed the deity of His Son and gave proof that God the Father has accepted the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Jesus’ bodily resurrection is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all believers (John 5:26-29; 14:19; Romans 1:4; 4:25; 6:5-10; 1 Corinthians 15:20,23).
We believe that Jesus Christ will return to receive the church, which is His Body, unto Himself at the rapture, and will return again in glory with His church to establish His millennial kingdom on earth (Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 20). We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the One through whom God will judge all mankind (John 5:22-23). As the Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), the Head of His Body, the church (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23; Colossians 1:18), and the coming King, who will reign on the throne of David (Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 1:31-33), He will be the final Judge of all who fail to place their trust in Him as Lord and Savior (Matthew 25:14-46; Acts 17:30-31).
God the Holy Spirit
We teach that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, eternal, without origin, possessing all the attributes of personality and deity, including intellect (1 Corinthians 2:10-13), emotions (Ephesians 4:30), will (1 Corinthians 12:11), eternality (Hebrews 9:14), omnipresence (Psalm 139:7-10), omniscience (Isaiah 40:13-14), omnipotence (Romans 15:13), and truthfulness (John 16:13). In all the divine attributes, He is equal and co-substantial with the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; 28:25-26; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Jeremiah 31:31-34 with Hebrews 10:15-17).
We believe that the work of the Holy Spirit is first and foremost expressed in the revelation of God’s will to mankind. The Holy Spirit was sovereign in creation (Genesis 1:2), the incarnation (Matthew 1:18), the written revelation (2 Peter 1:20-21), and the work of salvation (John 3:5-7). We teach that the work of the Holy Spirit in this age began at Pentecost, when He came from the Father as promised by Christ (John 14:16-17; 15:26) to initiate and complete the building of the Body of Christ, which is His church (1 Corinthians 12:13). The broad scope of His divine activity includes convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ, and transforming believers into the image of Christ (John 16:7-11; Acts 1:5; 2:4, Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:22).
We teach and 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). The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption (Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 3:16). We believe that the Holy Spirit is the divine Teacher, who guided the apostles and prophets into all truth as they spoke and wrote God’s revelation, the Bible (2 Peter 1:19-21). Every believer possesses the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation, and it is the responsibility of all those born of the Spirit to be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit (John 16:13; Romans 8:9; Ephesians 5:18; 1 John 2:20,27).
We believe that the Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts to the church. Spiritual gifts serve for the glorification of Jesus Christ, the redemption of the lost, the edification and strengthening of believers in faith and truth, and the perfection of believers for the work of the ministry for the edification of the Body of Christ (John 16:13-14; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 4:7-12). We believe that the gifts of speaking in foreign tongues, as well as the working of sign miracles, were given to the apostles and prophets in the beginning days of the church and were for the purpose of pointing to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and which were never intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers. Following the formation and collection of the books of the New Testament, the necessity for these gifts decreased to nothing. Speaking in tongues and the working of miracles never have been for the purpose of witnessing the presence of the Holy Spirit in man (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 13:8-10; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:1-4).
III. Concerning Man
We teach that man was directly and immediately created by God in His image and likeness. Man was created free of sin with a rational nature, intelligence, volition, self-determination, and moral responsibility before God (Genesis 2:7,15-25; James 3:9).
We teach 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 (Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11).
IV. Concerning Sin
We believe that the sin of disobedience of Adam was his rebellion against the absolute authority of God. Man sinned through the craftiness of Satan and as a result fell away from God and in that same moment fell with body and soul into a state of death (Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23; 8:6; Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13). Having yielded to the temptation of attempting to become God (Genesis 3:4-5), man disobeyed the Lord, his Creator, and by that became guilty before God, incurred the penalty of God’s wrath, and made himself an eternal slave of sin, utterly incapable of choosing or doing that which is acceptable to God apart from divine grace (Romans 3:9-23). Because all people come from the seed of Adam, they are made participants of that fallen and completely corrupt seed (John 3:6; Romans 5:12-18), so that they are conceived and born in sin (Psalm 51:5) as, by nature, children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3), completely unable and not in the least inclined to anything good, but are instead able and inclined to all that is evil (Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21-22; Romans 3:10-18; 8:7).
V. Concerning Salvation
We teach and believe that salvation is wholly of God, by grace, on the basis of the redemption of Jesus Christ (the merit of His shed blood), and not on the basis of human merit or works (John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
Regeneration (New Birth)
We teach 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; 1 Peter 1:3). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the work of the Word of God (John 5:24; 1 Peter 1:23), resulting in the repentant sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit, responding in faith to the divine provision of salvation. Genuine regeneration is manifested by fruits worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct. Good works are the proper evidence and fruit of regeneration (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 together with faithful obedience to the Word of God (Ephesians 5:17-21; Philippians 2:12b; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:4-10). This obedience, together with beholding the glory of the Lord in the Word of God, causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). Such conformity is climaxed in the believer’s glorification at Christ’s second coming (Romans 8:17; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:2-3).
We teach that election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-12; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2). We believe that from eternity past, God’s determination and benevolence (Romans 11:34; Ephesians 1:11) to redeem sinners was free and governed by nothing outside Himself (John 3:16). Therefore, by the unsearchable and gracious love of God, before the creation of the world, it was decided in God’s council that God by His incarnation and His death would become the Redeemer (Acts 2:23; 3:18; Ephesians 3:10-11) to those individuals from the fallen race of man, who were previously chosen by the Father 2, their names being written in Heaven (Daniel 12:1; Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 17:8; 20:12,15), and who later are given into the hands of the Redeemer (John 17:6,9,24) as His people (Isaiah 53:8; Matthew 1:21; Acts 18:10), as the sheep of His pasture, for whom He gave His life (John 10:15-16,26-27), as His inheritance (Ephesians 1:18), and as His bride. To these persons is given life eternal in Christ Jesus (John 10:28; 17:2; 1 John 5:11) and all means are determined which will bring them to faith in Christ, to holiness, and finally to eternal bliss (Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:19; 1 Peter 1:1-3). This determination of God is unchangeable and is established forever (Psalm 89:30-34; Isaiah 54:10; Romans 11:29; Philippians 1:6) so that those whom it regards — the chosen — can never be stolen or snatched away from the hands of Christ (Matthew 24:24; John 6:39; Romans 8:38-39; 1 John 10:28-29), but by the power of God are maintained in faith and love to Jesus until they are made inheritors of His glory (1 Peter 1:3-5).
We teach that sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Ezekiel 18:23,32; 33:11; John 3:18-19,36; 5:40; Romans 9:22-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Revelation 22:17).
We believe that election should not be looked upon as an authoritative act of God apart from the general character of His Godhead. God is truly sovereign, but He exercises this sovereignty in harmony with all His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love (Romans 9:11-23). This sovereignty will always exalt the will of God in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:25-28; 2 Timothy 1:9).
Redemption and Justification
We believe that God could not have otherwise redeemed man from the deserved and terrible consequences of his fall than by the complete satisfaction of His justice (Hebrews 9:22); thus from eternity past, He pre-determined as a sin offering, His only Son, Jesus Christ (Acts 2:23; 1 Peter 1:20), to die for us. Following this plan, Christ, the Son of the living God, in a time determined by God (Galatians 4:4), came to earth as God incarnate (John 1:1,14; Romans 8:3) for the redemption of mankind. He accomplished complete obedience; having fulfilled for us all the law of God (Matthew 5:17; Romans 5:19), He gave His body and soul as a sacrifice (Isaiah 53:4; Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 9:14,26,28; 10:12,14). He became a curse for us (Galatians 3:13) and took the wrath and punishment of God upon Himself for our sins (Isaiah 53:5-6; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
We believe that our eternal and full salvation was accomplished by the Son of God (Hebrews 9:12) — this is the only reason for our salvation (Hebrews 5:9). Through Him, we have received forgiveness of all our sins (Matthew 26:28; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14), justification (Romans 3:24), eternal righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), deliverance from sin, Satan, and Hell (1 Corinthians 15:26,54-55), and life eternal (John 3:36; 10:28; 11:25-26; 2 Timothy 1:10; 1 John 5:11-12). Also through this redemption, we receive the power to hate sin, die to it (Titus 2:14), desire good, and do good (Philippians 2:13; 4:13). Christ, having fulfilled redemption by His death (John 19:30), arose on the third day from the dead (Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20; Acts 2:32), ascended into heaven (Luke 24:51), sat at the right hand of God (Hebrews 1:3; 8:1), and sent His Holy Spirit to us. Christ leads us to accept the Father by faith (Acts 16:14; Romans 5:5), intercedes for us before the Father (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 4:14; 7:25; 1 John 2:1), abides with us all our days till the end of time (Matthew 28:20), and finally, will take us to Paradise where He prepared a place for us (John 14:3; 17:24).
We believe that justification before God is His work (Romans 8:33) by which He declares righteous all those who through faith in Jesus Christ repent of their sins (Isaiah 55:6-7; Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10) and receive Him as their personal Savior and Lord (Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Philippians 2:11). This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Romans 3:20; 4:6) and involves the imputation of our sins to Christ (Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24) and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21). By these means, God is able to "be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26).
We believe that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy and is declared a saint. This sanctification is positional and instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification. This positional sanctification has to do with the believer’s standing, not his present walk or condition (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). We believe that there is also by the work of the Holy Spirit, a progressive sanctification by which the state of the believer is brought closer to the positional standing the believer enjoys through justification. Through obedience to the Word of God and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:17,19; Romans 6:1-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 5:23; 1 Peter 1:1-2).
In this respect, we teach that every saved person is involved in a daily conflict — the new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh — but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life and is never completely ended. All claims to the eradication of sin in this life are unscriptural. Eradication of sin is not possible, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-32; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9).
Assurance of Salvation
We believe that the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power (John 10:27-30) 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 4:30; Hebrews 7:25; 13:5; 1 Peter 1:5; 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). Those who live this way are Christians only by title, but have never experienced new birth (Romans 6:15-22; Galatians 5:13,25-26; Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 2:19; 3:8-9).
VI. Concerning the Church
We believe that all who place their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual Body, the church (1 Corinthians 12:12-13), the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-32; Revelation 19:7-8), of which Christ is the Head (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; Colossians 1:18).
We believe that the formation of the church, the Body of Christ, began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-47) and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own at the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). The church is a unique spiritual organism designed by Christ, made up of all born-again believers in this present age (Ephesians 2:11 — 3:6). The church is distinct from Israel (1 Corinthians 10:32), a mystery not revealed until this age (Ephesians 3:1-6; 5:32).
We believe that the establishment and continuity of local churches, created by Jesus Christ, 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). The church will be edified on earth till the moment of its rapture by Jesus Christ, after which it will abide with Him forever (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
We believe that the New Testament clearly teaches and determines the establishment and priority of the local churches (Acts 14:23,27; 20:27,28; Galatians 1:2; Philippians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1) and that fellowship is necessary for members of one spiritual Body in local churches (1 Corinthians 11:18-20; Hebrews 10:25). By the commands of Jesus Christ and His apostles (Matthew 18:15-17; Ephesians 4:15-16), as well as by the examples of the apostolic period, the responsibility of anyone converted to Christ is that he must not be left alone, but must attach himself to other disciples of Christ as members of one Body (1 Corinthians 12:27) and as living stones of one house of God (Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:5) for mutual edification, comfort, and help on the path of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:11,14), and to abide in the teachings of the apostles, in fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayer (Acts 2:42). Such a unification of true disciples of Jesus Christ is founded on the Word of God and is the church of Jesus Christ. The unchanging rule and governing authority of the church is the Word of God — the Bible (John 8:31; 10:27).
Ministers of the Church
We believe that the one supreme authority for the church is Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18) and that church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed by His sovereignty as found in the Scriptures. The biblically-designated officers serving under Christ and over the assembly are elders (also called bishops, overseers, pastors, and pastor-teachers) (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11) and deacons, both of whom must meet biblical qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5).
We believe that the Bible, as it speaks of elders, deacons, pastors, teachers, and evangelists, teaches us not about the different degrees of church authority, but about the different functions of the servants in the local church. The Scriptures lay the responsibility of spiritual care for the members of the church, first and foremost, on the preaching of the Word of God and prayer (Acts 6:4). Besides that, the elders participate in the performance of communion, baptism, prayer over the sick (James 5:14), marriage, as well as prayers of blessing with the laying on of hands.
Deacons must also possess the qualities outlined in the Holy Scriptures (1 Timothy 3:8-9). The primary task of a deacon is to render to the elders any necessary help in the fulfillment of their ministry; that is, their ministry is that they are given responsibility over the material side of service of the church.
The ordination of ministers (pastors, teachers, and deacons) is fulfilled by experienced ministers of the local church (or ministers invited from other churches) after being chosen by the church and having gone through the appropriate examination (1 Timothy 3:10). All ministers in the church first and foremost carry a direct responsibility before Christ, before each other, before the council of ministers, and before the whole church. We believe that with adherence to Biblical qualifications and election by the church, the present ministers have God-established authority to proclaim the gospel and to govern and direct the local church as the ministers of Christ (1 Timothy 5:17-22). The board of elders (or pastors of the church) are those carrying a special responsibility for the function and development of the church. The members of the church, in turn, submit to these leaders and ministers (Hebrews 13:17).
We believe that God ordained the local church as the building block in the process of the functioning of the Body of Christ — the universal church. The local church has no sort of external, man-driven authority to oversee and rule it. The board of elected and biblically-qualified ministers and the general church congregation possess all the necessary authority for the solving of any matter concerning the life and the practice of the church (Acts 15:6,22). The involvement of some external ministers or organizations in the matters of a local church is only permissible by request of that local church. At the same time, among the different local churches that interact with each other according to biblical standards, there ought to be upheld a fellowship and an opportunity for mutual aid and mutual joint projects in the work of spreading the gospel. Each local church itself, through their own elders, determines the degree and form of cooperation and interaction with other churches (Acts 15:19-31; 20; 28; 1 Corinthians 5:4-7,13; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
We believe that spiritual growth of believers in a church occurs by means of their spiritual nourishment in the Word of God (1 Peter 2:2) and their interaction with each other, which is presented in Scripture as discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Timothy 2:2). Life in the church assumes an interaction of believers with each other, as well as their mutual responsibility to each other (Matthew 18:5-14). The church must take measures to reprimand (warn and excommunicate) church members who sin, do not repent, and do not leave their sin. This church discipline is applied on the basis of biblical standards (Matthew 18:15-22; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 1 Timothy 1:19-20; Titus 1:10-16). The church’s first and foremost goal in church discipline is to help the one in sin repent and be restored from that sin (1 Timothy 1:5).
We believe that the purpose of the church is to glorify God (Ephesians 3:21) by building itself up in the faith (Ephesians 4:13-16), by instruction of the Word (2 Timothy 2:2,15, 3:16-17), by fellowship (Acts 2:46-47; 1 John 1:3), by keeping the ordinances (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38-42), and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8).
We believe that for the edification of the church, for service to one another, and for the giving of glory to God, each born-again Christian receives from God certain spiritual gifts (Romans 12:5-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31; 1 Peter 4:10-11). These gifts are distributed to each Christian by the Holy Spirit by His sovereign will (1 Corinthians 12:11). One of the primary tasks of the church elders is to equip believers for the work of the ministry by helping them to correctly identify their gifts for the mutual edification of the church (Ephesians 4:11).
We believe that the gifts of miracles, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, direct divine revelation, and healing were temporary gifts given to the early church for a specific time span during the period of the formation of the New Testament. These gifts were given to the apostles and prophets of the New Testament for the purpose of confirming the Divine authority of the revelations spoken by them (2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:2-4). With the completion of the collection of the books of the New Testament, the need for such gifts ceased (1 Corinthians 13:8). Today, the only standard by which any kind of preaching can be examined is the Bible, and there is no further need to authenticate it with some miracle or supernatural action (Galatians 1:6-9; 1 Corinthians 13:8-12). Moreover, the Bible tells us that in the last days, miracles will be used by Satan for the seduction of the world (2 Thessalonians 2:9-11; Revelation 13:1-14). The goal of all spiritual gifts active today is to edify and build up the church (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 14:12).
We believe that, although there are no people in the church today gifted with special miraculous gifts, this does not mean that God does not perform miracles in our day. God is all-powerful and continues to heal the sick and perform miracles in our time in accordance with His will as He answers the prayers of His children (Luke 18:1-8; John 5:7-9; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; James 5:13-16; 1 John 5:14-15).
We believe that two ordinances have been committed to the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:38-42). Christian baptism by immersion (Acts 8:36-39) is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a believer demonstrating his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life (Romans 6:1-11). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible Body of Christ, the church (Acts 2:41-42).
The Lord’s Supper
We believe that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes, and should be always preceded by serious self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:28-32). We also teach that, whereas the elements of Communion are only representations of the body and blood of Christ, participation in the Lord’s Supper is nevertheless an actual communion with the risen Christ, who indwells every believer, and so is present, fellowshipping with His people. The right to participate in the Lord’s Supper is given to those who are born again (who are saved), who have demonstrated that through water baptism, and who abide in peace with God and with all other members of the local church (1 Corinthians 10:16).
VII. Concerning Marriage
We believe that marriage is established by God for fellowship, mutual assistance between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:18), and for the multiplication and reproduction of humanity (Genesis 1:27-28). We also believe that a man must have only one wife, and a wife only one husband — so long as both are alive (Matthew 19:4-6). We acknowledge that Christians can enter into wedlock only with those who are in the Lord (i.e., with other believers) (1 Corinthians 7:39).
Marriage presents with itself a mutual devotion of the man and woman to each other before God and His church. This commitment is made only once to last a lifetime (Matthew 19:5-6). All problems arising between the husband and the wife must be resolved in the spirit of Christian love and humility on the basis of the Holy Scriptures. The Bible forbids divorce (1 Corinthians 7:10) no matter the circumstance, except in the case of adultery (Matthew 5:32) or in the case where an unbelieving husband or wife leaves a believing wife or husband (1 Corinthians 7:15).
Wedlock, being a divine and legal establishment, besides being committed before God and the church, must be documented in accordance with the laws of the country.
VIII. Concerning Citizenry Order
We believe that God established the institution of earthly authority for the purpose of checking sinful humanity from complete corruption (Romans 13:1). Earthly government has authority from God to defend those doing good and to punish the evil (Romans 13:4). It is our belief that Christians are responsible to fully and unconditionally submit to and obey the laws of the country they live in (Romans 13:1,5-7; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13,14,17) if these laws do not oppose the principles of Scripture (Matthew 22:21; Acts 4:19,29; 5:29,42). Christians are also responsible, by the command of God, to pray for the government (1 Timothy 2:1-2) so that it would, by His will and under His merciful protection, use its entrusted authority to preserve peace and justice.
We believe that the government, which, according to Scripture, does not bear the sword in vain, has the right and obligation, according to God’s law, to punish those who commit evil (Romans 13:4) and to use the sword in protection of the citizens. Along with this, we acknowledge that in the end, evil is never overcome by evil (Romans 12:21). In connection with this, we believe that participation in military service is a matter undertaken by the personal conscience of every Christian. No one can judge those who are in military duty, as well as force those to participate in military service who out of deep conviction ask to be freed from carrying arms.
IX. Concerning the Spiritual World
We believe that angels are created beings and are therefore not to be worshiped. Although they are a higher order of creation than man, they are created to serve God and to worship Him (Luke 2:9-14; Hebrews 1:6-7,14; 2:6-7; Revelation 5:11-14; 19:10; 22:9)
We believe that Satan is a created angel and the author of sin. He incurred the judgment of God by rebelling against his Creator (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19), by taking numerous angels with him in his fall (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:1-14), and by introducing sin into the human race by his temptation of Eve (Genesis 3:1-15).
We believe that Satan is the direct and declared enemy of God and man (Isaiah 14:13-14; Matthew 4:1-11; Revelation 12:9-10); that he is the prince of this world, who has been defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 16:20); and that he shall be eternally punished in the lake of fire (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).
We believe that physical death is a moment when the soul (spirit) of a person separates from the body (Philippians 1:23). The soul of a person is immortal. The souls of the persons who are physically dead are now in full consciousness (Revelation 6:9-11). Besides this, the souls of saved people are now in the presence of Jesus Christ (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23), but the souls of unbelievers are suffering in Hades, awaiting even greater judgment and punishment in Hell (Revelation 20:13). For saved people, this separation will continue until the moment of the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17), when our soul and body will be again reunited and glorified by our Lord (1 Corinthians 15:35-44,50-54; Philippians 3:21).
We believe in a bodily resurrection of all, believers and unbelievers. Believers will be resurrected unto eternal life with Christ (John 6:39; Romans 8:10-11,19-23; 2 Corinthians 4:14), but unbelievers unto judgment and eternal punishment (Daniel 12:2; John 5:29; Revelation 20:13-15).
We believe that salvation is possible only during the earthly life of people. After death, a man has no opportunity to change his place of eternal residence (Luke 16:26). The souls of the unsaved after death will be experiencing punishment until the second resurrection (Luke 16:19-26; Revelation 20:13-15), when the soul and body in the moment of resurrection will be united (John 5:28-29), after which they will stand before the great white throne to be judged (Revelation 20:11-15) and thrown into the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41-46), where they will abide in torment, eternally separated from God (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:41-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
X. Concerning the Last Things
We believe that one day in the future, the church of Jesus Christ will be taken from the earth. That is, all believers who are alive on the earth at that time will be raised (raptured) to meet the Lord in the air, their bodies transformed into glorified bodies, to remain with Him for all eternity. However, New Testament believers who have died prior to that time will be raised immediately before them, with the exact same outcome (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). Old Testament and Tribulation believers will be raised at Christ’s Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation (Daniel 12:2-3; Revelation 20:4-6).
We believe in the literal bodily return of Jesus Christ to earth in might and in glory to judge the unrighteous and to establish the kingdom of God forever (1 Corinthians 15:24). We believe that preceding the Second Coming will be seven years of the Great Tribulation when God’s wrath will be poured out on the living unbelievers of the earth (Revelation chaps. 6-19).
We believe that with His Second Coming, Jesus Christ will establish the Kingdom of the Messiah for 1000 years (Revelation 20:1-7). At that time, all of the resurrected holy ones will reign with Him over Israel and all other nations of the earth (Ezekiel 37:21-28; Daniel 7:17-22; Revelation 19:11-16). Immediately before the thousand-year reign, the kingdom of the Antichrist and the false prophet (Revelation 19:20) will be defeated, and these two will be thrown into the lake of fire, while Satan will be chained and imprisoned for a thousand years (Daniel 7:17-27; Revelation 20:1-7). We believe that the thousand-year reign will be a fulfillment of a promise given to Israel in the Old Testament where God promised to reestablish them on the earth that they lost because of their disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:15-68; Isaiah 65:17-25; Ezekiel 36:21-28; Zechariah 8:1-17). The result of their disobedience was that God would work with the Gentiles for many years (Matthew 21:43; Romans 11:1-27). The great tribulation and the thousand-year reign will be the fulfillment of God’s word that Israel again will be awakened through repentance to enter the Promised Land (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:22-32; Zechariah 12:10-14; Romans 11:25-29).
We believe that after the thousand-year reign of the Messiah, Satan will be freed for a short period of time (Revelation 20:7). During this period, Satan will seduce the people of the earth and gather them to wage battle against the holy ones and against Jerusalem. In this moment, a fire from heaven will devour Satan and his whole army (Revelation 20:9). After this, Satan will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).
We believe that all those who have not received salvation will be literally and physically resurrected unto judgment before the great white throne. They will be judged by God in accordance with the works that they have done on earth (Revelation 20:12) and will be thrown into the lake of fire unto eternal punishment because their names are not written in the book of life (Revelation 20:15).
We believe that after the closing of the millennium, the temporary release of Satan, and the judgment of unbelievers (2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 20:7-15), the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God, after which the elements of this earth are to be burned up and dissolved (2 Peter 3:10) and replaced with a new heaven and earth, wherein only righteousness dwells (Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 20:15,21-22). Following this, the heavenly city (the new Jerusalem) will come down out of heaven (Revelation 21:2) and will be the dwelling place of the saints, where they will enjoy forever fellowship with God and with one another (John 17:3; Revelation chaps. 21-22). Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28), so that in all spheres the triune God will reign forever and ever (1 Corinthians 15:28).
We firmly hold to the accurate and clear sayings of the Holy Scriptures, which tell us that, just as with blessedness, the torment of a person after this life will be unchangeable, and we believe that both of these conditions are eternal (Matthew 25:46). Consequently, any transfer from one condition into another and any salvation after death are impossible (Hebrews 9:27). We then, as we remember the words of our Lord, "Yes, I am coming quickly" (Revelation 22:20), together with the Spirit and the bride, the church, of which we consider ourselves to be members, exclaim with the apostle John, "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20).
1 Genesis 1:2; Matthew 12:32; Acts 5:3-4; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 2:11; 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; Ephesians 4:30; 1 Peter 4:14
2 Psalm 33:12; 65:4; Matthew 20:16; Mark 13:20; Luke 18:7; John 6:37,65; 15:16; Acts 13:48; 18:9-10; Romans 8:33; 9:11-16,20; 1 Corinthians 1:26-29; Ephesians 1:4; 2:8,10; Colossians 3:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 1:9