Statement of Faith
STATEMENT OF FAITH
As a Christian ministry that seeks to serve the church in caring for orphaned and vulnerable children, Bethesda’s Statement of Faith serves to guide and guard our mission, to provide a clear foundation for partnership with those who are committed to the gospel and vulnerable children, and to articulate sound doctrine to be taught and followed by our staff, families and children.
I. CONCERNING THE SCRIPTURES
We believe that the 66 books of the Old and New Testament Scriptures, were originally written by men who were so influenced by the Holy Spirit of God, that they are the writings of God. We believe that because these Scriptures are the complete and only written revelation of God to the people of God, these Scriptures are true in all they affirm and trustworthy and without error, and are therefore the final authority in all matters. We believe the Bible is the only infallible guide for faith and practice. (Matthew 5:17-18; Mark 12:36; Acts 1:16; Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 5:12; 2 Peter 1:19-21; 3:15-16
II. CONCERNING THE TRUE GOD
We believe in one God, who is the creator of all things and upholds all things by the power of His Word. We believe in the unity of the Godhead. There are three eternal and coequal persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who execute distinct and harmonious offices in the great work of redemption. They have precisely the same nature, attributes, and perfections, and are worthy of the same worship. (Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 4:35; 6:4; Isaiah 46:9; Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19-20; John 1:1-3, 14; Acts 5:3-4; Romans 1:19-20; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 1:3-14; 4:4-6; Hebrews 1:1-3; Revelation 1:4-6)
III. CONCERNING THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
We believe the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He is fully God and fully man, yet without sin. He voluntarily laid down His life on the cross of Calvary as a substitute in the sinner’s place to make full atonement for our sins, was buried, and on the third day rose bodily from the dead and triumphed over sin, death, and all the forces of evil, and that He purchased for Himself a people out of every tribe, language, and nation. On that cross the Son of God received in His person the due penalty of God’s wrath against our sin. His shed blood is the sole basis for our salvation and the greatest revelation of the grace of our God. We believe that Jesus was glorified as the first-fruits of God’s new creation. Forty days after His resurrection, the Lord Jesus ascended bodily into heaven, where He is seated at the right hand of the Father as ruler over all things. We believe that He presently intercedes as High Priest and Advocate for all who draw near to God through Him and that He will return personally, visibly, and gloriously to judge the living and the dead. (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; Matthew 1:18-25; 28:6; John 1:1, 14; 14:3; Acts 1:9-11; 15:16; 2 Corinthians 5:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 1 Peter 2:22-24; 3:18)
IV. CONCERNING THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe the Holy Spirit is a Person of the Godhead because He possesses all the attributes of personality and of deity. He is equal with the Father and the Son and is of the same nature. He convicts unbelievers of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He is the agent of the new birth who immediately places the new believer into the Body of Christ. He seals, indwells, infills, guides, and teaches believers the ways of righteousness. We believe there is a distinction between the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and His ministry in the New Testament. There is a new and unique work of the Holy Spirit in relation to the Body of Christ. (John 3:6; 7:39; 14:16-17, 26; 16:7-11; Acts 1:5; 4:8; Romans 8:9; 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 12:4-13, 28-31; 13:8-13; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:7-11, 30; Titus 3:4-7; 1 John 2:20-27
We believe that the Holy Spirit endues believers with gifts for service, upon their conversion. These gifts are given for the mutual good of the Body of Christ, the Church and never to elevate or glorify any specific individual but to bring glory to God. While we allow for liberty in these matters, we do believe that the scriptures indicate that use of sign gifts vary according to the need that each gift meets, and we seek to emphasize the more excellent way of love, as well as zeal for the more edifying gifts. (Ephesians 4:11-12; Romans 8:9-17; 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-5, 11-26; 31; 13:1-13; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Galatians 5:22-26).
V. CONCERNING MAN
We believe the Scriptures teach that man was created by a direct act of God and not from any previously existing form of life. We believe that in the beginning God sovereignly created all things visible and invisible and took delight in all that He created. Life is sacred to God and begins at conception, therefore it should not be unnecessarily terminated at any stage. We believe that by voluntary transgression man fell from his state of innocence, in consequence of which all men are now sinners by nature and by choice, are utterly devoid of the holiness required by God’s standard, are positively inclined to evil, and therefore are without defense or excuse under just condemnation to eternal punishment and to everlasting existence separated from God. (Genesis 1:26-27; 6:5; Psalm 14:1-3; 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9; John 5:25-30; Romans 3:10-12, 23; 5:12-19; Revelation 20:11-15)
VI. CONCERNING SALVATION
We believe the Scriptures teach the salvation of sinners is divinely initiated, wholly by grace, and accomplished only through the shed blood of the Son of God; that it is wholly apart from works and comes only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, that in order to be saved the sinner must be born again, being regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit through faith in God’s Word and becoming the recipient of a new nature; that the believer who has exercised personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is completely justified and possesses a salvation which is eternally secure.(Matthew 26:28; John 1:12-13; 3:3-18, 36; 5:24; 6:29; 10:28-29; Acts 13:39; 16:31; Romans 1:16-17; 3:26; 4:5; 5:1, 9-11; 10:9-13; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 2:8-10; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 4:2; 1 Peter 1:18-23; 2 Peter 1:4)
VII. CONCERNING THE CHURCH
We believe the Scriptures teach the Church of Jesus Christ was inaugurated at Pentecost and must be considered in two aspects: the local church and the “church which is His body.” The local church is a congregation of believers, observing the two ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Table, and where biblical church discipline is exercised. Its Scriptural officers (pastors, sometimes called bishops or elders, and deacons, etc), whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the Scriptures. The “church which is His body” is the entire company of believers in Christ in this age, whether Jew or Gentile, regardless of denominational affiliation and present position in heaven or on earth. (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:5, 2:1-4, 41-42; 10:44-48; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Ephesians 1:22-23; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9)
VIII. CONCERNING BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER
We believe the Scriptures teach that Christian baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a solemn and beautiful emblem through which we identify with the crucified, buried, risen Saviour and by which the believer illustrates his death to sin and his resurrection to a new life.
We believe the Lord’s supper is the commemoration of His death until He comes and should be preceded by solemn self-examination. Observance of the Lord’s supper is for believers only. The ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s supper must be observed under the discipline of the local church. They do not have any saving merit.(Acts 2:41-47; 8:36-39; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 11:23-28)
IX. CONCERNING THE RETURN OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
We believe in the “blessed hope”: the personal return of our Lord Jesus Christ to set up His kingdom on earth. His return has a vital bearing on the personal life and service of the believer. (Matthew 24:29-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8; Revelation 20:1-4, 6) (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:34; John 14:2; 2 Corinthians 5:1; Revelation 2:7; Matthew 8:11; Matthew 10:28; Matthew 13:49-50; Mark 9:47-48; Luke 12:5; Revelation 21:8).
X. CONCERNING THE ETERNAL STATE
We believe the Scriptures teach the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust. All those who are justified through faith in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will spend eternity in full enjoyment of God’s presence, and those who refuse to accept God’s offer of mercy and grace will spend eternity in everlasting torment in conscious separation from God. We believe that the terms heaven and hell refer to both, literal and distinct places , as well as a condition or state. (Luke 16:19-26; John 5:28-29; 14:2-3; Philippians 1:23; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Revelation 20: 11-15, 21: 1-4)
XI. CONCERNING SATAN
We believe the Scriptures teach there is a personal devil who is “the god of this age” and “the prince of the power of the air,” who is full of all subtlety, who continually seeks to frustrate the purposes of God and to ensnare the sons of men, and who was conquered by Christ on the cross and condemned to everlasting punishment. (John 16:11; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; 11:13-15; Ephesians 2:2; 6:10-12; Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:9; 20:1-3, 10)
XII. CONCERNING PERSONAL SEPARATION
We believe the Scriptures teach that every believer should be set apart by God in the world and should walk by the aid of the Holy Spirit in Christian love and holiness, exhibiting qualities of honesty, integrity, forgiveness, and loving-kindness. We further believe that any achievement in these characteristics will be evidenced by sincere humility and genuine zeal for the advancement of the cause of Christ. We also believe the Scriptures admonish every believer not to love the world or the things in the world, but rather to flee evil desires, avoid every kind of evil, and refrain from questionable practices which destroy one’s testimony, offend one’s brother, and fail to glorify God. (Romans 6:11-13; 14:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20; 8:9-13; 10:23, 31-33; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Galatians 5:22-25; Ephesians 4:22-32; 5:1-21; Philippians 4:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 5:5-6; 1 John 2:15-17)
XIII. CONCERNING GENDER & SEXUALITY
We affirm that God created two genders, male and female, and that both are equal in dignity and value before God as persons created in (and reflecting) His image. According to scripture, gender is not determined by “an inner sense of identity”, rather gender is rooted in the genetic distinctions between male and female, our God-given distinct, inherent dispositions, and His design for complementary roles (or functions). We believe that struggle with gender identity and disordered sexual desires are a result of the fall, which has distorted us in body and in mind. We believe that both men and women are naturally fitting together in mutuality and complementarity. As part of the goodness of God’s creation, each of us should joyfully embrace and express our God-given biological gender distinctions, whether male or female. Further, we believe that God created marriage as a gift for some, and it is a sacred, exclusive, and lifelong covenant between a natural man and a natural woman. We believe that together, both men and women are critical, indispensable, and essential to fulfilling the Great Commission, exemplifying the Kingdom of God on earth, and doing all that God has instructed us to do. Though equal, God did ordain that men and women would be distinct in their roles, and complementary in their sexuality for the sake of human flourishing. (Genesis 1:24-28, Genesis 2, Genesis 3, Matthew 28:18-20, Ephesians 5:15, 20, Titus 2:2, Jeremiah 17:9, Proverbs 14:12, Gal 3:28, Ephesians 5:15-18)
XIV. CONCERNING AFRICAN TRADITIONAL RELIGION
There are wide range of cultures and traditional practices all over the world, but all men from all cultures and traditions of the world are in desperate need of the Saviour. We express appreciation and honour to God for the lives of elders who lived and gone before us. However, we believe that God is the only one worthy of our worship. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and humankind. (Romans 3:23; Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1-3; Exodus 20:3-6; Mathew 4:10; 1 Timothy 2:5 / Hebrew 7:24-25 / Hebrew 9:11-15)
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