Statement of Faith

A. THE SCRIPTURES

We believe the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be verbally and plenarily inspired of God and inerrant in the original writings; and that they are the basis for our fellowship, doctrine, practice, and the habits, both in public and private life, and that they are the supreme and final authority in all such matters. (II Pet. 1:19-21; II Tim. 3:16-17)

B. GOD

We believe in one God, eternally existing in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Eph. 4:4-6; Mt. 3:16-17; I Pet. 1:2; II Co. 13:14)

1. THE FATHER

We believe in God the Father, an infinite, personal spirit; perfect in holiness, wisdom, power, and love. We believe that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men, that He saves from sin and death all who come to Him through personal faith in the Person and work of His Son.

We believe as follows:

a. The Father is the First Person of the Trinity. (Mt. 28:19)

b. He is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jn.20:17; II Co.11:31)

c. He is the Father of all who believe. (Jn.1:12,13; Eph.5:1)

2. JESUS CHRIST

We believe the following:

a. Christ's pre-incarnate glory with the Father. (Jn.1:1; 17:5; 8:58; Phil.2:6-7)

b. His equality with the Father and the Holy Spirit. (Phil.2:6)

c. He is the Second Person of the Trinity. (Mt. 28:19)

d. His Creatorship (Col.1:16-19; Jn. 1:3; Heb. 1:3)

e. That Christ was made flesh. (Jn. 1:14)

f. His conception by the Holy Spirit (Mt.1:18-23)

g. His virgin birth (Mt. 1:21-23; Lk. 1:27,35)

h. His sinless life (I Jn. 3:5; II Co. 5:21)

i. His true humanity (Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 2:14)

j. His miracles (Jn. 2:23; 4:54)

k. His substitutionary death on the cross (I Jn. 2:2; Mk. 10:45)

l. His bodily resurrection (Jn. 11:25; Mt.28:6)

m. His ascension into Heaven (Acts 1:9-11)

n. His present intercession (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25)

o. His Headship over the church (Col.1:18; Eph.5:23)

p. His coming to remove the church in what is commonly called the "rapture". (I Thess. 4:13-18)

q. His sole mediatorship (I Tim.2:5; I Jn. 2:1)

r. His personal and visible return in power and glory (Mt.24:30; Rev.1:7)

s. His Millennial reign (Rev. 20:4)

t. His great white throne judgment of all that have opposed Him. (Rev. 20)

3. THE HOLY SPIRIT

We believe as follows:

a. He is a Person not just an influence. (I Co. 2:10-13; Rom. 8:26,27; Jn.16:7-15)

b. He is the Third Person of the Trinity. (Mt. 28:19)

c. He convicts of sin. (Jn.16:7,8)

d. He regenerates unbelievers (Titus 3:5; Jn.3:5)

e. He baptizes believers into the body of Christ. (I Co.12:13)

f. He indwells the believer from the moment of salvation. (I Co.6:19)

g. He sanctifies believers. (II Thess.2:13; I Pet. 1:2)

h. He teaches believers. (I Jn. 2:27)

i. He witnesses the reality of salvation. (Rom.8:16; Eph.1:14)

j. He seals (puts Christ's identification upon) believers. (Eph. 1:13)

k. He is our comforter. (strengthener) (Jn. 16:7)

l. He delivers from the power of sin. (Rom.8:2)

m. He renews believers. (Titus 3:5)

n. He leads believers. (Rom.8:14)

o. He fills the believer for service. (Eph.5:18; Acts 2:4)

p. He empowers the believer for service. (Acts 1:8; I Co. 12:7-11)

q. He bears fruit through the believer. (Gal. 5:22,23)

r. He should not be resisted, despised, grieved, lied to, or quenched. (Acts 7:51; Heb.10:29 Eph.4:30; Acts 5:3-4; I Thess. 5:19)

s. He intercedes for believers. (Rom. 8:26-27)

C. SATAN

We believe as follows:

1. Satan is a person. (Isa.14:12-14; Ez.28:15-18)

2. He was called Lucifer before his fall. (Isa.14:12-15)

3. He is the author of sin. (Ez.28:14-16)

4. He induced the fall of man. (Gen. 3:1-13)

5. He is the open and declared enemy of God and man. (Mt.4:2-11)

6. He shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire. (Rev.20:10)

D. MAN

We believe as follows:

1. Man was created in the image of God. (Gen.1:26-27)

2. Man is constituted of body, soul, and spirit. (I Thess. 5:23; Heb.4:12)

3. After Eve was deceived by Satan, Adam willfully disobeyed God and became a sinner. (Gen.3:1-6; Rom. 5:12; I Tim.2:14)

4. As a representative of all humanity, Adam thus incurred upon himself and all his posterity, both physical and spiritual death. (I Co. 15:21-22; Rom.3:23; 5:12-21; 6:23)

5. Man is in a state of total depravity whereby he can produce no righteousness by which he can be self-redeemed before God. (Isa.64:6; I Co.2:14; Acts 26:18)

6. Man thus stands in need of supernatural redemption and spiritual regeneration through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, which brings to him new life through a second birth, without which he cannot go to Heaven. (Rom. 3:23-28; II Co.5:17; Jn.3:3-5)

E. SALVATION

We believe as follows:

1. The Lord Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for all men's sins according to the Scriptures. (I Co.15:3; I Jn.2:2)

2. Salvation from sin is received as a free gift from God. (Eph.2:8-9; Rom.3:24; 6:23)

3. The mode of receiving this gift is through personal faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. This includes repentance (a change of mind about God, self, and sin) (Rom.3:24,25; 5:9)

4. Through Christ's blood we are delivered from the condemnation of all sin. (Titus 3:5; I Jn.1:7,9; Rom. 8:1)

5. Thus we have acceptance by and a right standing before God. (Rom.5:1,2: Eph 1:3-14)

6. All who receive by faith the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior are born again by the Spirit of God. (Jn. 1:12)

7. They become children of God through the new birth. (Gal.3:26; Rom.8:14-17; Jn.1:12)

8. All such believers are sanctified (set apart unto God) both instantaneously by virtue of their being in Christ, (I Co.1: 2,30; 6:11; Heb.10:10) and progressively through spiritual growth. (Jn.17:17; Eph.5:25,26; I Thess.4:3,4; 5:23; I Pet.3:18)

F. ASSURANCE

We believe that the assurance and security of the believer's salvation is clearly affirmed in the following verses:

Jn.6:37; Rom.8:28,29; I Pet.1:5; Jn.5:24; Jn.10:28,29; 3:36; II Tim.1:12; I Jn.1:7; Rom.5:8-10; Heb.7:25; I Jn.5:13; Jude 24.

We further believe that salvation is not dependent upon our feelings, but upon the authority of God's promises in His Word.

G. THE CHURCH

We believe as follows:

1. The purpose of the local church is to glorify God and to manifest and display His greatness before men and angels. As the local body of Christ is healthy and as it functions according to the Biblical pattern (Eph.4:1-16; I Tim.3:14-16), the living God will manifest His life (Col.1:27), His wisdom (Eph.3:10), His power (Eph.3:20), His grace (Eph.2:7), His love (Jn.17:22-26), His truth (I Tim.3:15), and His glory (Eph.3:21), in and through and by means of the church.

2. The church, which is Christ's body, the espoused bride of Christ, (Eph.1:22-23; 5:22-23; I Co.11: 2) is a spiritual organism made up of all born-again persons of this present age.

3. The church began on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2; I Co.12:13; cp. Mt.3:11; 16:18; Acts1:5; 11:15-17), and the church age will be concluded at the Rapture, (I Thess.4:13-18), at which time the spiritual "building" will be completed. (Mt.16:18; Eph.2:20-22; I Pet.2:4-7; Rom.11:25)

4. Spirit baptism is that work of God whereby a person is immersed (placed into) the spiritual body of Christ the moment he believes in the Lord Jesus Christ. (I Co.12:13)

5. The establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures. (Acts 14:21-23; I Tim.3:1-16; Titus 1:5-11)

6. The local church is a congregation of believers (Acts 2:41), the house of God (Eph.2:20-22; I Co.3:16), the assembly of the living God and the pillar and ground of the truth (I Tim.3:15). Its
purpose is to glorify God in the edification of Christians through the teaching of God's Word (Eph.4:11-16; Acts 20:26-32), in the promotion of Godly worship (Col.3:5-17), in the defense of the faith once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3), and in the world-wide proclamation of God's saving grace through the Person and work of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Mt.28:18-20; Acts 1:8).

7. The officers of the local church are elders and deacons (Phil. 1:1), whose qualifications and duties are clearly defined in the Scriptures. (I Tim.3:1-16; Titus 1:5-11)

8. The local church has the absolute right of self-government, free from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations; and that the one and only Head is the Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph.1:22,23; Col.1:18)

9. The local assembly of believers is the body over which Jesus Christ is the Head. His image is upon us, by virtue of the indwelling Holy Spirit, granting Him ownership of the body, and all its earthly possessions. No church property is to be considered as being owned by any governmental agency, under any circumstances.

10. The local church is the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation with other local churches and on all matters of membership, polity, government, discipline, and benevolence, the will and decision of the local church is final.

11. Every believer should identify with and consider himself to be responsible to a local assembly that is faithful to the ministry of the Word of God.

12. Believers are responsible to the leadership of the local assembly with which they identify, whether or not they are corporate members. (Heb.13:17)

13. We deem this church as having the authority and inherent right to ordain to the gospel ministry any man whom it esteems as qualified. (II Tim.2:2; Acts 13:3)

H. SPIRITUAL GIFTS IN THE CHURCH TODAY

We believe as follows:

1. God is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts. (I Co.12:4-11; I Pet.4:10) While there are many spiritual gifts still operative in local churches today (Rom.12:7-8; I Co.12:7,11), other gifts are not. Speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles gradually ceased as the New Testament Scriptures were completed and their authority became established. (I Co.13:8-10)

2. God is not giving new and added revelations (through prophecy, dreams, or visions) during this latter phase of the church age because of the all sufficiency of the written Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, providing the believer with all that he needs to glorify Christ in this life and to walk in a way that is pleasing to Him. (Rev.22:18-19; II Pet.1:15-21; II Tim.3:16,17; II Co.5: 7; I Co.13:8-10)

3. The Scriptures place the greatest emphasis and importance upon the gift of God's life (I Jn.5:11,12; Rom.6:23) which is the present possession of every believer and therefore it is his responsibility first and foremost to seek to manifest and exhibit the resurrected life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Gal.2:20; 4:19; 5:22,23; Phil.1:20-21) by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:8; Eph.5:18)

4. Although the gift of healing is not operative in our day, God, in accordance with His own will, does hear and answer the prayer of faith for the sick and afflicted. (Jn.15:7; I Jn.3:22; 5:14-15; Js.5:14-16)

I. THE FUTURE

We believe as follows:

1. In the pre-tribulational return of Christ for His bride, the church. (I Thess.4:14-17; I Co.15:52; Rev.3:10)

2. Following this, Christ will return in glory to set up His Millennial Kingdom on earth. (Mt.24:27-30; Zech.14:4; Lk.1:33; Rev.19:11-16)

3. In the resurrection of the saved to everlasting conscious blessedness with Christ. (Jn.5:28-29; 11:25; I Co.15:22,23; Jn.14:3; I Co.15:51-54; Rev.21:4-8)

4. The souls of the redeemed are at death absent from the body and present with the Lord, where in conscious bliss they await the first resurrection, when spirit, soul and body, are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord. (Rev.20:4-6; II Co.5:1-8; Phil.1:23; 3:21; Rom.8:22-23)

5. The redeemed will be judged immediately after the Rapture, at the Bema (the judgment seat of Christ) and given rewards, which will adorn them for Heaven. (II Co.5:10)

6. The souls of unbelievers remain after death in conscious misery until the second resurrection when with spirit, soul, and body reunited; they shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting, conscious punishment. (Lk.16:23-25; Mt.25:41-46; II Thess.1:7-9; Mk. 9:43-48; Rev.20:11-15)

7. The absolute victory of the Lord Jesus Christ over all the forces of evil and over every enemy, so that He will be acknowledged by all as the Christ. (Phil.2:9-11; Rev.5:12-13; 19:11-16)

J. DISPENSATIONALISM

We believe as follows:

1. The Scriptures divide time into seven unequal periods usually called "dispensations". These periods are marked off in Scripture by some change in God's method of dealing with mankind (or a portion of mankind) with respect to the questions of sin and man's responsibility. Each of the dispensations may be regarded as a new test of the natural man, and each ends in judgment marking his utter failure in every dispensation.

2. The Bible is interpreted correctly only when dispensational distinctions are recognized, such as the difference between the various judgments, and the difference between law and grace.

3. We reject the extreme teaching known as "hyper-dispensationalism" which opposes the Lord's Supper and/or water baptism as Scriptural means of testimony for the church in this age. (Mt.28: 19-20; Acts 2:41,42; 18:8; I Co.11:23-26)

4. We recognize fully the distinctive and parenthetical and mysterious character of the present church age from the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) to the rapture of the church (I Thess.4:13-18) in which God is visiting the nations to call out a people for His name (Acts 15:14-16; I Co.10:32; Eph.3:1-11; Col.1:24-27). We also believe God will fulfill His covenant and kingdom promises to the nation of Israel. (Gen.12:1-3; 15:18-21; Dt.30:3-10; II Sam.7:4-17; Jer.31:31-37; 33:15-26)

5. We furthermore believe that in every age regardless of God's distinctive dispensational programs, men have always been saved by grace through faith. (Eph.2:8; Gen.15:6; Heb.11:4-7) We believe that the glory of God is the governing principle and overall purpose for God's dealing with men in every age and that in every dispensation God is manifesting Himself to men and to angels so that all might redound to the praise of His glory. (Eph.1:6,12,14; 3:21; Rom.11:33-36; 16:27; Isa.43: 7; I Tim.1:17)

K. SEPARATION

We believe as follows:

1. The doctrine of separation is a major doctrine of the Scripture, and that it is to be found throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

2. The important aspect of separation is what you are separated to, rather than what you are separated from; a right concept of separation will include separation from worldly things and habits, and doctrinal error. (II Thess.3:14-15; Rom.16:17; II Co.6:14-18)

3. In practice, separation will include the following:

a. The believer will not offend the holy nature of God.

b. The believer is at liberty to practice whatever the absolutes of God do not forbid.

c. The believer will not offend his own conscience.

d. The believer will not offend the conscience of another.

4. A right concept of separation should apply to such things as marriage, business, affiliations in God's work, and personal habits. (II Co.6:14-18; Rom.16:17; Jn.17:14; I Jn.2:15-16; I Tim.6:11; Jude 3, 4; II Jn.9-11; Col.3:1-2; I Co.6:11)

L. NEW EVANGELICALISM

This term refers to those among Bible believers who are characterized by the following:

1. Doubts of the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures;

2. Truth being considered relative rather than absolute;

3. "Love" being considered more important than the truth;

4. A disparagement of dispensationalism;

5. Value of scholarship and science above the Scriptures;

6. Acceptance of some form of evolution;

7. Infiltration into areas where God says, "Come out from among them.";

8. Inclusivism in co-operative efforts of Gospel ministry;

9. Refusal to expose error;

10. Involvement in social-gospel types of programs;

11. Disparagement of separation;

12. Toleration of wrong views of eschatology;

13. Implied acceptance of theological liberalism and unbelief.

14. The philosophy which says that the end justifies the means.

These criteria represent the type of thinking that is commonly called "new evangelicalism", which we repudiate.

M. DOCTRINAL ERROR

We do not fellowship with groups involved in ecumenism, new evangelicalism, neo-orthodoxy, the charismatic movement, or any such unbiblical groups. We believe that these movements are out of harmony with the Word of God and the official doctrine and position of this church, and are harmful to the work of God.

N. ORDINANCES

We believe that Christian ordinances are outward rites appointed by Christ, not as a means of salvation, but as visible signs and seals of the facts and realities of salvation.

1. Baptism

We believe as follows:

a. Baptism with water is the public confession of Christ as Savior and Lord, and that immersion is the Scriptural mode. This mode is evidenced in the Greek word "baptitso" which means to whelm, to dip, as a garment in dye, or to immerse. It is further evidenced in the sense of the Scripture, which teaches that we are buried with Him in baptism. (Rom 6:3-5; Col.2: 12; I Co.12:13)

b. Baptism is a symbol of one's union, by faith, with Christ in death, burial, and resurrection, and therefore is to be administered to those who have given evidence of faith in Christ as their personal Savior.

c. Baptism has no saving power, but is an outward sign of an accomplished, inward work. We require baptism by immersion in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, prior to membership.

2. The Lord's Supper

We believe as follows:

a. The Lord's Supper should be observed by all believers in obedience to the command, 'This do in remembrance of Me". It consists of partaking of the emblems of unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine (unfermented) and symbolizes the death of Christ for the remission of our sins and our continual dependence upon Him for our sustenance. It testifies of the mystical union of the believer with Christ. (Jn 15)

b. The union of believers around the Lord's Table should be open to all who are in right relationship with the Lord and with one another. (Mt 26:26-31; Lk.22:19-20; I Co.11:23-29)

O. MARRIAGE

We believe that marriage was designed and instituted by God in the beginning and that the only legitimate marriage as defined by God is the joining of one biological man and one biological woman. Accordingly, Salem Bible Church shall not perform weddings contrary to this Biblical principle. (Genesis 2:22-25; Romans 7:1-3; 1 Corinthians 7:1-3,10; Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:22-23)

The Bible also informs us how we are to respond to people who struggle with sin of any kind, including sexual practices that are contrary to Biblical principles. We are to possess and demonstrate God’s love for all sinners, a love that seeks to deliver them from their sin through the provision of Jesus Christ. Every type of sin can be forgiven and every sinner can be saved to new life by grace through faith. Furthermore, because every human being is made in the image of God, all are to be treated with decency, respect, and love. We therefore renounce common reactions such as sarcasm and ridicule to those engaged in sinful practices. (Eph. 2:8-9; Genesis 1:27; 9:6; Galatians 5:14; 6:10; I Thessalonians 3:12)

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