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What We Believe
|We believe that:
(1) The true God "is not the author of confusion" (1 Corinthians 14:33).
It follows that objective truth exists and that the Lord wants people to be able to distinguish between truth and error. He has therefore made the truth available to mankind. But where do we find it? Where did the Lord Jesus direct us?
(2) The Lord Jesus directed man to "Search the scriptures" (John 5:39, KJV).
Jesus believed in Scripture. He said "Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35). What He condemned was adherence to bits of scripture rather than the whole. He said we should "believe in all that the prophets have spoken in all the scriptures" (Luke 24:25-27).
The Lord Jesus was personally loyal to Scripture. He said "All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning Me" (Luke 24:44; see also v46 plus John 19:28). N.B. We believe that Jesus did indeed fulfil all these prophecies and prefigures, but that there is more to the Hebrew scriptures than just the Old (i.e. Mosaic) Covenant. For instance, the book of Proverbs makes no reference to the Old Covenant.
The Lord knew and used the scriptures. He constantly used phrases like "As the scripture hath said " (e.g. in John 7:38b; Mark 9:12-13; Matthew 21:13; Luke 2:23). He did not question the truthfulness of the scriptures, because He knew them to be from God.
The Lord Jesus expected Gods People to know and obey the scriptures. He said things like "Did ye never read in the scriptures ?" (Matthew 21:42), "[H]ave ye not read this scripture ?" (Mark 12:10a), and "Have ye never read what David did ?" (Mark 2:25). His problem was with those people who were selective in what scriptures to accept.
Jesus obeyed the scriptures (Luke 22:37a; John 13:18) and said this would be a mark of true disciples (John 8:31). He overcame Satans temptations by knowing and obeying Scripture: "When the temptor came to Him [Jesus] answered and said, It is written It is written again It is written " (Matthew 4:3-11).
(3) "All scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Timothy 3:16).
There are many ways of demonstrating that only God could have been the ultimate author of the scriptures, for they always point to God and contain many things which their human authors could not possibly have known. But this is a topic for another part of this site. If men simply agree with Christ that the scriptures can be trusted, then we can find out the source of Scripture from what Scripture says about itself. The whole of Psalm 119 (all 176 verses) is devoted to extolling the scriptures as Gods words.
There are several major implications of this. Since the Bible is from the "God of truth" (Psalm 31:6) it is therefore itself true (Daniel 10:21a; John 17:17b). Likewise it is pure (Psalm 12:7; 2 Timothy 2:15), and holy (Romans 1:2; 2 Tim. 3:15).
(4) Like Jesus, Scripture is called Gods "word" (Psalm 119:9-11, 138-144).
Just as the Lord Jesus was devoted to the scriptures, so they are devoted to Him (Luke 24:27; John 5:39). But the relationship is deeper still:
Like the Lord Jesus, Scripture is eternal (Psalm 119:89, 144, 152, 160) and has been providentially preserved by the Father as He promised (Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:23,25; Psalm 12:6-7). Just as Jesus is Gods revelation of His Word in human form (John 1:14), so Scripture is Gods revelation of His Word in written form (Psalm 119:167-172). In other words, the scriptures supply all the knowledge we need about God.
(5) Scripture contains "all things that pertain to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:2-3).
Just as Jesus is complete, so is Scripture (Deuteronomy 12:32b; Revelation 22:18-19). Just as Jesus was sufficient, so is Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16b-17). Thus all matters of faith - and practice of that faith - must agree with Scripture (Psalm 119:9). If someone obtains knowledge about Gods Kingdom from another source, then Scripture remains the yardstick by which to test the truthfulness of it.
(6) "[A]ll Thy commandments are truth" (Psalm 119:151b).
In other words, all beliefs must line up with the whole of Scripture. No verse is to be disrespected (Psalm 119:6). Thus no problem passage that refutes a belief can be ignored. If the passage cannot be honestly explained away in a manner consistent with the rest of Scripture then the refuted belief should not be taught and certainly cannot be dogmatically taught.
Scripture interprets Scripture (Psalm 36:10). If a method of scripture interpretation has no precedent in Scripture itself, then that method is illegitimate. For example, if there is no example in Scripture of an incompletely fulfilled literal prophecy being spiritualised then this is not a permissible method of interpretation for us either.
God has made the truth available and wants people to seek it sincerely and diligently. He wants us to know His whole Word, and therefore material on a given topic is often spread throughout the scriptures. God has arranged for some of these scriptures to be ambiguous when taken on their own, so that anyone who does not have the "love of the truth [can be rewarded with] strong delusion, that they should believe a lie" (2 Thessalonians 2:11). It is therefore vital that any ambiguous scriptures about a topic must be interpreted in the light of unambiguous ones rather than the other way around
For example, Pauls words "the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life" (2 Corinthians 3:6b) quoted on its own appears to say that it is unhealthy to follow the Bible. But the rest of the verse and the subsequent verses reveal that the ambiguous phrase "the letter" refers here to the letter of the law i.e. the Old Covenant (v14) given to Moses (v15) on stone tablets (v7) and now "abolished" (v13) and "done away" (v11). (If we try to live by the works of the Mosaic law rather than by faith in the Lord Jesus then we will indeed die!)
Pauls phrase "the letter" cannot refer to the Bible as a whole since Paul elsewhere appealed to Scripture many times (e.g. in Romans 4:3; Romans 15:4; and 1 Timothy 5:18). He also encouraged people to know: "the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise to salvation " (2 Timothy 3:15) and wrote: "[G]ive attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; Take heed to thyself, and to thy doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee" (1 Timothy 4:13-16).
(7) Satan "deceiveth the whole world" (Revelation 12:9) and hates Gods perfect Word.
The Devil is extremely subtle (Genesis 3:1) and thus likes to use (or abuse) Gods own words since this is very inconspicuous. He used this method in the Garden of Eden where he only slightly corrupted the words of God (Genesis 3:1). In the Wilderness temptations he used the scriptures. Satan wants to be worshipped as God (2 Thessalonians 2:4) so he has created a counterfeit kingdom as similar as possible to the Kingdom of God.
With regard to Scripture, this has two important ramifications: Firstly, Scripture clearly cannot be treated like any other book in terms of textual criticism, since both God and Satan have an especial interest in it. Secondly, only scripture versions translated by people who genuinely believe in the inerrancy of Scripture (i.e. points 1-6 above) will enjoy Gods hand on their creation and be thoroughly reliable. Many scribes in Jesus day were far from trustworthy! It is therefore important to learn about the topic of Bible versions and to know where your version came from.
What does the Bible teach when taken as a whole then?
Here are just a handful of the many things that follow from the above. (They are included mainly as primary evidence that we truly believe the above points.)
We believe, among other things, that:
...Hebrew scriptures: That there is a plurality to the Godhead is clear from Genesis 1:26 & 11:7. Genesis 1:26 reads "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" and, sure enough, men too possess a tri-une nature (i.e. we have a body, a soul, and a spirit. If you do not believe that the soul is different from the spirit, please see Hebrews 4:12 or 1 Thessalonians 5:23). "God is one" (Deuteronomy 6:4) but the Hebrew word "echad" translated "one" means unified, not single. The Messiah is the only begotten Son of God and is therefore God too. (Which is why the Messiah is indivisible from the "everlasting Father" - see Isaiah 9:5.)
...Greek scriptures: Here too, there is only ONE God (Galatians 3:20; Matthew 19:17), but three Persons, viz. the Father, the Word, and the Spirit (1 John 5:7, KJV). God-willing, a separate webpage will supply a much fuller treatment of this topic.
On the rest of this site, where space is not so limited and proper proofs can therefore be provided, additional beliefs are enunciated.
"The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward" (Psalm 19:7-11).
"Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word" (Psalm 119:1-16).
May God bless you.