Preface: This is very much a work in progress. I’ve used the DTS doctrinal statement as a template (all due credit to them!) to get something down that I can share, but there’s a lot more I want to add. And I’d be thrilled to get comments on topics I should address or clarify, so by all means fire away!
Version 1.0 (8/16/14)
- Mankind, Created & Fallen
- Angels and Demons
- The Scriptures
- Christ Jesus
- The Holy Spirit
- The Church
- Our Blessed Hope
Trinity: I believe God eternally exists in three persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—and that these three are one God, having precisely the same essence, nature, attributes, and perfections, and worthy of the same trust, obedience, and honor.
Matt. 28:18–19; Mark 12:29; John 1:14; Acts 5:3–4; 2 Cor. 13:14; Heb. 1:1–3; Rev. 1:4–6
Sovereignty: I believe God is the creator of all things visible and invisible, that all things exist by His pleasure and for His glory, and that nothing happens apart from His knowledge or outside His control.
Gen. 1:1; 18:14; Job 28:24; 42:1–2; Ps. 19:1; 135:6; 139:1–6, 16–18; 148:1–5; Isa. 43:1–7; 46:9–11; 48:9–11; Jer. 32:17; Matt. 6:6–8; 10:29–31; Luke 1:37; John 1:1–3; Rom. 11:36; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:15–17; Heb. 2:10; 4:13; 11:3
I believe mankind was originally created in the image and likeness of God, and that the first humans sinned resulting in enslavement to sin, spiritual separation from God, estrangement from one another, the degradation of nature, and the promise of physical death. I believe every part of a person is corrupted by sin, and this corruption has been transmitted to the entire human race from birth.
Gen. 1:26; 2:17; 6:5; Ps. 51:5; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3:10–19; 8:6–7; Eph. 2:1–3; 1 Tim. 5:6
Demons: I believe God created an innumerable company of sinless, spiritual beings, known as angels. I believe the angel of highest rank, “Lucifer, son of the morning,” sinned through pride and thereby became Satan. A great company of the angels chose to follow him in his moral fall, some of whom became demons who are active as his agents and associates in the prosecution of his unholy purposes, while others who fell are “reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”
Isa. 14:12–17; Ezek. 28:11–19; 1 Tim. 3:6; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6
Satan: I believe that Satan is the originator of sin, and that it was he who deceived our first parents, leading them into sin and thereby accomplishing their moral fall and subjecting them and their posterity to his own power. He is the enemy of God and the people of God, opposing and exalting himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped; and that he who in the beginning said, “I will be like the most High,” in his warfare appears as an angel of light, even counterfeiting the works of God by fostering false religious movements and systems of doctrine.
Gen. 3:1–19; Rom. 5:12–14; 2 Cor. 4:3–4; 11:13–15; Eph. 6:10–12; 2 Thess. 2:4; 1 Tim. 4:1–3
Angels: I believe a great company of angels remained faithful and are before the throne of God, from whence they are sent forth as ministering spirits to assist the heirs of salvation.
Luke 15:10; Eph. 1:21; Heb. 1:14; Rev. 7:12
Satan’s Defeat: I believe that Satan was judged at the Cross, though not then executed, and that he, a usurper, now rules as the “god of this world”; that, at the second coming of Christ, Satan will be bound and cast into the abyss for a thousand years, and after the thousand years he will be loosed for a little season and then “cast into the lake of fire and brimstone,” where he “shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
Col. 2:15; Rev. 20:1–3, 10
I believe all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, by which I understand that holy men of God were moved by the Holy Spirit to write the very words of Scripture. I believe this divine inspiration extends equally and fully to all parts of the writings—historical, poetical, doctrinal, and prophetical—as appeared in the original manuscripts. I believe the whole Bible in the originals is therefore without error. I believe all the Scriptures center about the Lord Jesus Christ in His person and work in His first and second coming, and hence that no portion, even of the Old Testament, is properly read, or understood, until it leads to Him. I also believe all the Scriptures were designed for our practical instruction.
Mark 12:26, 36; Luke 24:27, 44; John 5:39; Acts 1:16; 17:2–3; 18:28; 26:22–23; 28:23; Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 2:13; 10:11; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21
Incarnation: I believe the eternal Son of God came into this world that He might manifest God to men, fulfill prophecy, and become the Redeemer of a lost world, as provided and purposed by God beforehand and announced in the Scriptures. To this end He was born of a virgin named Mary, and received full humanity—body and soul and all their parts—but free from the stain of sin. I believe He became and remained a perfect man, sinless throughout His life; yet He retained His absolute deity, being at the same time very God and very man without mixture, confusion, separation, or division. I believe man was made lower than the angels, and that in His incarnation Christ took for a little time this lower place that He might lift the believer to His own sphere above the angels.
Luke 1:30–35; 2:40; John 1:1–2, 18; 3:16; Phil. 2:5–8; Heb. 2:6–10; 4:15
Crucifixion: I believe He was rejected by Israel as Messiah in fulfillment of prophecy, and that He gave His life as a ransom for all according to the eternal plan of God. I believe He voluntarily accepted His Father’s will in infinite love for the lost, and became the divinely provided sacrificial Lamb who took away the sin of the world, bearing the holy judgments against sin which God in His righteousness must impose. His death was utterly substitutionary—the just for the unjust—and by His death He became the Savior of the lost.
John 1:11, 29; Acts 2:22–24; Rom. 3:25–26; 2 Cor. 5:14; 1 Tim. 2:6; Heb. 10:5–14; 1 Pet. 3:18
Resurrection: I believe He arose from the dead according to the Scriptures, having the same body in which He had lived and died, now glorified. The resurrected state of His body is the pattern of that body which ultimately will be given to all believers
John 20:20; Phil. 3:20–21
Ascension: I believe He ascended into heaven and was accepted by the Father, and that His acceptance is a final assurance to us that His redeeming work was perfectly accomplished. I believe He became Head over all things to the church which is His body, and in this ministry He never ceases to intercede and advocate for the saved.
Eph. 1:22–23; Heb. 1:3; 7:25; 1 John 2:1
In Christ Alone, By Grace Alone: I believe that no one can enter the kingdom of God unless born again, and that no degree of reformation however great, no attainments in morality however high, no culture however attractive, no baptism or other ordinance however administered, can help the unbeliever merit heaven. Instead a new nature imparted from above, a new life implanted by the Holy Spirit through the Word, is absolutely essential to salvation, and only those thus saved are children of God. I also believe that our redemption has been accomplished solely by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was made to be sin and was made a curse for us, dying in our place; and that no repentance, no feeling, no faith, no good resolutions, no sincere efforts, no submission to the rules and regulations of any church, nor all the churches that have existed since the days of the Apostles can add in the very least degree to the value of the blood, or to the merit of the finished work wrought for us by Him who united in His person true and proper deity with perfect and sinless humanity.
Lev. 17:11; Isa. 64:6; Matt. 26:28; John 3:7–18; Rom. 5:6–9; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; 6:15; Eph. 1:7; Phil. 3:4–9; Titus 3:5; James 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:18–19, 23
Through Faith Alone: I believe the new birth of the believer comes only through faith in Christ and that repentance is a vital part of believing, not a separate and independent condition of salvation; nor are any other acts, such as confession, baptism, prayer, or faithful service, to be added to believing as a condition of salvation.
John 1:12; 3:16, 18, 36; 5:24; 6:29; Acts 13:39; 16:31; Rom. 1:16–17; 3:21–26; 4:5; 10:4; Gal. 3:22
Single Work of Grace: I believe that when an unregenerate person exercises biblical faith in Christ, he passes immediately out of spiritual death into spiritual life, and from the old creation into the new; being justified from all things, accepted before the Father according as Christ His Son is accepted, loved as Christ is loved, having his place and portion as linked to Him and one with Him forever. Though the Christian may grow in the realization of his blessings or come to know a fuller measure of divine power through self-discipline, he is, as soon as he is saved, in possession of every spiritual blessing and absolutely complete in Christ, and therefore no “second work of grace” or “second blessing” is possible or required.
John 5:24; 17:23; Acts 13:39; Rom. 5:1; 1 Cor. 3:21–23; Eph. 1:3; Col. 2:10; 1 John 4:17; 5:11–12
Assurance: I believe all who are born again by the Spirit through faith in Christ may be assured of their salvation from the very day they take Him to be their Savior, and that this assurance is not founded upon any supposed discovery of their own worthiness or fitness, but wholly upon the testimony of God in His written Word.
Luke 10:20; 22:32; 2 Cor. 5:1, 6–8; 2 Tim. 1:12; Heb. 10:22; 1 John 5:13
Salvation before Jesus: I believe salvation has always been “by grace through faith,” and rests upon the basis of the shed blood of Christ. I believe that God has been gracious from the very beginning, even though grace is a special hallmark of the church age. I believe it has always been true that “without faith it is impossible to please” God, and that the principle of faith was prevalent in the lives of all the Old Testament saints. However, I believe that it was historically impossible that they should have had as the conscious object of their faith the incarnate, crucified Son, the Lamb of God, and that it is evident that they did not comprehend as we do that the sacrifices before Christ depicted the person and work of Christ. We believe also that they did not understand the redemptive significance of the prophecies or types concerning the sufferings of Christ; therefore, we believe that their faith toward God was manifested in other ways as is shown by the long record in Hebrews 11:1–40. We believe further that their faith thus manifested was counted as righteousness.
Gen. 15:6; John 1:29; Rom. 4:3–8; Heb. 11:6–7; 1 Pet. 1:10–12
The Spirit and the Church: I believe the Holy Spirit, though omnipresent from all eternity, took up His abode in the world in a special sense on the day of Pentecost according to the divine promise. He dwells in every believer, and by His baptism He unites all to Christ in one body. I believe He never takes His departure from the church, nor from the feeblest of the saints, but is ever present to testify of Christ, seeking to occupy believers with Him and not with themselves nor with their experiences.
John 14:16–17; 16:7–15; 1 Cor. 6:19; Eph. 2:22
Ministry of the Spirit: I believe the Holy Spirit convicts the world respecting sin, righteousness, and judgment; regenerates all believers; indwells and anoints all who are saved, thereby sealing them for the day of redemption; baptizes all who are saved into the one body of Christ; and continues filling those saved for power, teaching, and service provided they do not walk by the flesh and so grieve Him.
John 3:6; 16:7–11; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:30; 5:18–21; 1 John 2:20–27
Sign Gifts: I believe some gifts of the Holy Spirit such as speaking in tongues and prophecy are only temporarily given in places where the Gospel has not been proclaimed before in order to validate the Gospel testimony as God so chooses. I do not believe speaking in tongues is the common or necessary sign of either the baptism or the filling of the Spirit. I believe God can and does miraculously heal the body at times in His mercy, but that pain, sickness, and suffering are a normal part of even the believer’s life in a fallen world until the consummation of our salvation in the resurrection.
Acts 4:8, 31; Rom. 8:23; 2 Cor. 12:9–10; Jam. 5:14–16
One Body: I believe all who are united to the risen and ascended Son of God are members of the church which is the body and bride of Christ. I believe the church began at Pentecost and is distinct from the nation of Israel, although Israel before Christ and the church after Him make up one redeemed people. I believe membership in the one body of Christ persists regardless of membership or non-membership in the organized churches of earth, although commitment to a local church is expected. I believe that by the same Spirit all believers in this age are baptized into, and thus become, one body that is Christ’s, whether Jews or Gentiles, and having become members one of another, are under solemn duty to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, rising above all sectarian differences, and loving one another with a pure heart fervently.
Matt. 16:16–18; Acts 2:42–47; Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:12–27; Eph. 1:20–23; 4:1–6; Col. 3:14–15
The Ordinances: I believe water baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the only ordinances of the church and that they are a scriptural means of testimony for the church. I believe baptism is a sign associated with the profession of faith and only appropriate for those who already believe and confess Christ. I believe that the elements of the Lord’s Supper are signs associated with the sustaining and cleansing work of Christ and only appropriate for those who have been baptized.
Matt. 26:26–29; 28:19; Luke 22:19–20; Acts 10:47–48; 16:32–33; 18:7–8; 1 Cor. 11:26
Christian Service: I believe divine, enabling gifts for service are bestowed by the Spirit upon all who are saved. While there are diverse gifts, each believer is energized by the same Spirit, and each is called to his own divinely appointed service as the Spirit may will. In the apostolic church there were certain gifted men—apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers—who were appointed by God for equipping the saints for ministry; I believe God continues to empower people for the work of evangelist, pastor, and teacher for the same purpose, whether they hold office or not. I believe that, wholly apart from salvation benefits which are bestowed equally upon all who believe, rewards are promised according to the faithfulness of each believer in his service for his Lord, and that these rewards will be bestowed at the judgment seat of Christ after He comes to receive His own to Himself.
Rom. 12:4–8; 1 Cor. 3:9–15; 9:18–27; 12:4–11; 2 Cor. 5:10; Eph. 4:11–16; 1 Tim. 3:1–13
The Great Commission: I believe the church is sent forth by Christ into the world just as the Son was sent into the world by the Father. I believe those saved undergo a change in relationship to the world, becoming strangers and pilgrims, ambassadors and witnesses, and that their primary purpose corporately is to make Christ known to the whole world. I believe all Christians regardless of their gifting should be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in them.
Matt. 28:18–19; John 17:18; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:18–20; 1 Pet. 1:17; 2:11; 3:14–16
State and Progress: I believe sanctification is being set apart for God. In one sense it is already complete for every saved person because his position toward God is the same as Christ’s perfect position because he is in Christ. However, I believe in another sense his sanctification is no more perfect than his experience in daily life due to the continued presence of temptation and sin. Therefore, there is a progressive sanctification wherein Christians “grow in grace” and are changed by the unhindered power of the Spirit. This progressive sanctification will reach perfection only when Christ returns and we shall see Him and be “like Him.”
John 17:17; 2 Cor. 3:18; 7:1; Eph. 4:20–24; 5:25–27; 1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 10:10, 14; 12:9–13
The Christian Walk: I believe we are called to walk after the Spirit and not the flesh, and therefore to live in the power of the indwelling Spirit, not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh and dishonoring God. But the flesh remains with us until our resurrection and needs to be kept by the Spirit in constant subjection to Christ.
Rom. 6:11–13; 8:1–15; Gal. 5:16–25; Eph. 4:22–24; Col. 2:6–10; 1 Pet. 1:14–16; 1 John 3:5–9
Eternal Security: I believe all true believers everywhere, once saved shall be kept saved forever. The purpose of God toward the objects of His love is eternal, His grace toward the undeserving is limitless, the Father’s adoption is immutable, Christ’s advocacy in heaven for us never ends, and the Holy Spirit’s seal abides on us. I believe God chastens and corrects His children in infinite love when they sin, but He cannot fail to present every one of us faultless before His glory and conformed to the image of His Son as He promised.
John 5:24; 10:28; 13:1; 14:16–17; 17:11; Rom. 8:29–39; 1 John 2:1–2; 5:13; Jude 24
The Rapture: I believe the next great event in the story of redemption and the fulfillment of prophecy will be the coming of the Lord in the air to receive to Himself into heaven both His own who are alive at His coming and also all who have fallen asleep in Jesus.
John 14:1–3; 1 Cor. 15:51–52; Phil. 3:20; 1 Thess. 4:13–18; Titus 2:11–14
The Tribulation: I believe the Rapture will be followed by a time of judgment on the whole earth. The latter half of this period will be the time of Jacob’s trouble, which our Lord called the great tribulation.
The Second Coming of Christ: I believe the period of great tribulation in the earth will be climaxed by the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth as He went, in person on the clouds of heaven, and with power and great glory to introduce the millennial age, to bind Satan and place him in the abyss, to restore Israel to her own land and to give her the realization of God’s covenant promises, and to bring the whole world to the knowledge of God.
Deut. 30:1–10; Isa. 11:9–12; Ezek. 37:21–28; Matt. 24:15–44; Acts 15:16–18; Rom. 11:25–27; Rev. 20:1–5
The Eternal State: I believe that at death the souls of those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation pass immediately into His presence and there remain in conscious bliss until the resurrection of the glorified body when Christ comes for His own, whereupon soul and body reunited shall be associated with Him forever in glory. However, the souls of the unbelieving remain after death conscious of condemnation and in misery until the final judgment of the great white throne at the close of the millennium, when soul and body reunited shall be cast into the lake of fire, not to be annihilated, but to be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.
Matt. 25:31–46; Luke 23:42–43; 2 Cor. 5:1–8; Phil. 1:21–24; 2 Thess. 1:5–10; Jude 6–7; Rev. 20:9–15