STATEMENT OF FAITH
As to declarations of faith, it must ever be understood that they are not substitutes for the Scriptures. They are only exponents of what are conceived to be the fundamental doctrines of the Word of God.
The Bible is our all-sufficient rule for faith and practice. This Statement of Fundamental Truths is intended simply as a basis of fellowship among us (1 Corinthians 1:10; Acts 2:42). The phraseology employed in this statement is not inspired or contended for, but the truth set forth is held to be essential to a full gospel ministry. No claim is made that it contains all biblical truth, only that it covers our need to express some fundamental doctrines of our church.
The Scriptures Inspired
The Scriptures, the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired by God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:21).
In other words, we believe in the Verbal Inspiration of the Whole Bible in its original form.
We believe that the Word of God in its original writings is without any error (inerrancy of scripture).
We believe that a true believer must stand upon Hebrew, Greek, and Latin grammar, and must interpret the Biblical texts according to grammatical rules.
The One True God
The one true God has revealed Himself as the eternally self-existent “I AM,” the Creator of heaven and earth and the Redeemer of mankind. He has further revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son and Holy Ghost (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:10,11; Matthew 28:19; Luke 3:22).
Further, we believe that to speak conversely there is in the Godhead three separate persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), coeternal and coequal from all eternity.
We believe that the Son and the Holy Spirit are as much God as the Father is God in nature, never deriving their existence or nature from anyone (as taught by the early church before Origen)
We believe that Jesus Christ (who is God the Son) came to this world, became man, born of a virgin, shed his blood on the Cross as a substitutionary atonement for the sins of the world, was buried, descended into the underworld as a conqueror, rose bodily, and ascended to the right hand of the Father.
We believe in all the works of God the Holy Spirit, which includes (besides other things) the conviction of sin, regeneration and sanctification of sinners, indwelling believers, the manifestations of spiritual gifts, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit with fire.
The Fall of Man
Man was created good and upright; for God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” However, man by voluntary transgression fell and thereby incurred not only physical death but also spiritual death, which is separation from God (Genesis 1:26,27; 2:17; 3:6; Romans 5:12-19). In so doing, we affirm that man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker; and by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state. Consequently, all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint, but choice. Mankind became utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God and positively inclined to evil (Gen. 1:27, 31; Eccl. 7:29; Acts 16:26; Gen. 2:16; 3:6-24; Rom. 5:12; 5:19; John 3:6; Psa. 51:5; Rom. 5:15-19; 8:7; Isa. 53:6; Gen. 6:12; Rom. 3:9-18; Eph. 2:1-3; Rom. 1:18, 32; 2:1-16; Gal. 3:10; Matt. 20:15; Ezek. 18:19-20; Rom. 1:20; 3:19; Gal. 3:22).
The Salvation of Man
Man’s only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God (Eph. 2:5; Matt. 18:11; 1 John 4:10; 1 Cor. 3:5-7; Acts 15:11; John 3:16; 1:1-14; Heb. 4:14; 12:24; Phil. 2:6-7; Heb. 2:9, 14; 2 Cor. 5:21; Isa. 42:21; Phil. 2:8; Gal. 4:4-5; Rom. 3:21; Isa. 53:4-5; Matt. 20:28; Rom. 4:25; 3:21-26; 1 John 4:10; 2:2; 1 Cor. 15:1-3; Heb. 9:13-15; Heb. 1:8, 3; 8:1; Col. 3:1-4; Heb. 7:25; Col. 2:9; Heb. 2:18; 7:26; Psa. 89:19; Psa. 14).
(a) Conditions to Salvation
Salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God according to the hope of eternal life (Luke 24:47; John 3:3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 2:8; Titus 2:11; 3:5-7).
(b) How to experience:
1. See your need. (Romans 3:23; John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
2. Believe. (Romans 10:9).
3. Facts of the Gospel: died, buried, arose (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)
3. Repent. (Luke 13:3; Acts 3:19).
4. Receive. (John 1:12; Revelation 3:20).
5. Confess. (Romans 10:9,10; Matthew 10:32,33).
6. He will not cast out those who come to Him. (John 6:37).
7. He will save all who call upon Him. (Romans 10:13).
(c) The Evidences of Salvation
The inward evidence of salvation is the direct witness of the Spirit (Romans 8:16). The outward evidence to all men is a life of righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24; Titus 2:12).
1. A new love for the Bible. (I Peter 2:2).
2. A new awareness and conviction of right and wrong. (Hebrews 5:13-14)
3. A new desire to be like Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:29).
4. Being misunderstood by others because of your changed life. (I Peter 4:3)
5. A new desire to share Christ with others. (Colossians 1:28-29)
6. A new love for other Christians. (I John 3:14).
(d) The Freeness of Salvation
We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel. It is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent, and obedient faith. Nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel which involves him in an aggravated condemnation. (see Isa. 55:1; Rev. 22:17; Luke 14:17; Rom. 16:26; Mark 1:15; Rom. 1:15-17; John 5:40; Matt. 23:37; Rom. 9:32; Prov. 1:24; Acts 13:46; John 3:19; Matt. 11:20; Luke 19:27; 2 Thess. 1:8).
(e) Grace in Regeneration
We believe that in order to be saved sinners must be regenerated, or born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind; that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel; and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, faith, and newness of life. (See John 3:3, 6-7; 1 Cor. 1:14; Rev. 8:7-9; 21:27; 2 Cor. 5:17; Ezek. 36:26; Deut. 30:6; Rom. 2:28-29; 5:5; 1 John 4:7l; John 3:8; 1:13; James 1:16-18; 1 Cor. 1:30; Phil. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:22-25; 1 John 5:1; Eph. 4:20-24; Col. 3:9-11;Eph. 5:9; Rom. 8:9; Gal. 5:16-23; Eph. 3:14-21; Matt. 3:8-10; 7:20; 1 John 5:4, 18).
(f) Repentance and Faith
We believe that repentance and faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God; whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger, and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy. At the same time we heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest and King, and rely on Him alone as the only and all-sufficient Savior. (See Mark 1:15; Acts 11:18; Eph. 2:8; 1 John 5:1; John 16:8; Acts 2:37-38; 16:30-31; Luke 18:13; 15:18-21; James 4:7-10; 2 Cor. 7:11; Rom.10:12-13; Psa. 51; Rom. 10:9-11; Acts 3:22-23: Heb. 4:14; Psa. 2:6; Heb. 1:8; 8:25; 2 Tim. 1:12).
We believe that the creation of the human race in Godlikeness included our ability to choose between right and wrong; and thus human beings were made morally responsible. Through the fall of Adam they became depraved so that now they cannot now turn and prepare themselves by their own natural strength and works to faith and calling upon God. But we also believe that the grace of God through Jesus Christ is freely bestowed upon all people, enabling all who will to turn from sin to righteousness, believe on Jesus Christ for pardon and cleansing from sin, and follow good works pleasing and acceptable in His sight ( John 1:5; Ezekiel 18:25-26; John 1:12-13; 3:6b; Acts 5:31; Romans 5:6-8, 18; 6:15-16, 23; 10:6-8; 11:22; 1 Corinthians 2:9-14; 10:1-12; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Galatians 5:6; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:21-23; 2 Timothy 4:10a; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 3:12-15; 6:4-6; 10:26-31; James 2:18-22; 2 Peter 1:10-11; 2:20-22).
The Ordinances of the Church
(a) Baptism in Water
The ordinance of baptism by immersion is commanded in the Scriptures. All who repent and believe on Christ as Savior and Lord are to be baptized. Thus they declare to the world that they have died with Christ and that they also have been raised with Him to walk in newness of life (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 10:47,48; Romans 6:4).
Why Be Baptized In Water?
1. Jesus commanded it. (Mark 16:16)
2. Jesus Himself was baptized as an example to all believers. (Luke 3:21)
3. Peter commanded it. (Acts 2:38)
4. Paul baptized believers. (Acts 19:1-5)
5. It is an expression of our love for Christ. (John 14:15; 1 John 5:3)
6. We confirm and validate our faith by our obedience. (James 2:17-18)
Requirements for Water Baptism
1. Hearing and obeying the Word of God. (Acts 2:41, 16:14-15, 19:5)
2. Conviction of sin. (Acts 2:37-39)
3. Repentance must proceed. (Acts 2:38)
4. Faith. (Mark 16:16; Acts 8:12, 36-37)
(b) Holy Communion
The Lord’s Supper, consisting of the elements—bread and the fruit of the vine—is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4); a memorial of His suffering and death (1 Corinthians 11:26); a prophecy of His second coming (1 Corinthians 11:26); and is enjoined on all believers until He comes.
The Baptism in the Holy Ghost
All believers are entitled to and should ardently expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Ghost and fire, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the normal experience of all in the early Christian church. With it comes the endowment of power for life and service, the endowment of the gifts and their uses in the work of the ministry (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4,8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31). This experience is distinct from the experience of the new birth (Acts 8:12-17; 10:44-46; 11:14-16; 15:7-9). With the baptism in the Holy Ghost come such experiences as an overflowing fullness of the Spirit (John 7:37-39; Acts 4:8), a deepened reverence for God (Acts 2:43; Hebrews 12:28), an intensified consecration to God and dedication to His work (Acts 2:42), and a more active love for Christ, for His Word, and for the lost (Mark 16:20).
The Initial Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Ghost
The baptism of believers in the Holy Ghost is witnessed by the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance (Acts 2:4). Speaking in tongues comes from the gift of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:4-10,28).
Sanctification is an act of separation from that which is evil, and of dedication unto God (Romans 12:1,2; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:12). Scriptures teach a life of “holiness without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). By the power of the Holy Ghost we are able to obey the command: “Be ye holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15,16). Sanctification is realized in the believer by recognizing his identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, and by faith reckoning daily upon the fact of that union, and by offering every faculty continually to the dominion of the Holy Spirit (Romans 6:1- 11,13; 8:1,2,13; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 2:12,13; 1 Peter 1:5).
The Church and Its Mission
The Church is the body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Spirit, with divine appointments for the fulfillment of her Great Commission. Each believer, born of the Spirit, is an integral part of the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven (Ephesians 1:22,23; 2:22; Hebrews 12:23).
A divinely called and scripturally ordained ministry has been provided by our Lord for the purposes mentioned in our philosophy.
Holy Scriptures were given by divine inspiration and without error revealing the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation, so that whatever is not contained therein is not to be enjoined as an article of faith (Luke 24:44-47; John 10:35; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Peter 1:10-12; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
Divine healing is an integral part of the gospel. Deliverance from sickness is provided for in the Atonement, and is the privilege of all believers (Isaiah 53:4,5; Matthew 8:16,17; James 5:14-16). We believe in the Bible doctrine of divine healing and urge our people to seek to offer the prayer of faith for the healing of the sick. Providential means and agencies when deemed necessary should not be refused (2 Kings 5:1-19; Psalm 103:1-5; Matthew 4:23-24; 9:18-35; John 4:46-54; Acts 5:12-16; 9:32-42; 14:8-15; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; James 5:13-16).
The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the Church (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17; Romans 8:23; Titus 2:13; 1 Corinthians 15:51,52). In other words, it is the glorious catching away of all true believers in Christ to meet the Lord in the air with those dead saints coming with Christ to be resurrected.
The Second Coming of Christ
The glorious, literal, bodily, and personal return of the Lord with His saints and angels to defeat the Dragon, the False Prophet, the Antichrist and his armies and to deliver Israel, establish a reign of righteousness and holiness upon the earth, assist in fulfilling the mystery mentioned in Revelation 10:6-7, and to begin the process of putting down all rebellion against God (1 Corinthians 15:25-28; Zechariah 14:5; Matthew 24:27,30; Revelation 1:7; 19:11-14; 20:1-6).
The Millennium is when Jesus Christ as the Son of David will reign over the millennial kingdom fulfilling the prophecies in the Old Testament about an earthly Kingdom in which the Messiah will reign (2 Samuel 7; Psalms 2; 89:35-37; Isaiah 2:2-4; Daniel 2:44-45; 7:13-14; Zechariah 6:12-13).
The Final Judgment
There will be a final judgment in which the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their works. Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, will be consigned to everlasting punishment in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:43-48; Revelation 19:20; 20:11-15; 21:8).
The Heavens and the New Earth
“We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21,22).
View on Sexuality
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female.
These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God (Gen 1:26-27.). Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.
We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. (Gen 2:18-25.) We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other. (1 Cor 6:18; 7:2-5; Heb 13:4.) We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.
We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God. (Matt 15:18-20; 1 Cor 6:9-10.)
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of True Light Ministries as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the TLM’s members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by TLM in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by this Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality. (Matt 5:16; Phil 2:14-16; 1 Thess 5:22.)
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. (Acts 3:19-21; Rom 10:9-10; 1 Cor 6:9-11.)
We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31.) Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of TLM.