Doctrines & Practices
OUR STATEMENT OF FAITH
What We Believe
In essential beliefs– We have unity.
“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:4-6 (NIV)
In non-essential beliefs – we have liberty
“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.” Romans 14:1 (NIV)
“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4 (NIV)
“So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Romans 4:12 (NIV)
“So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.” Romans 4:22 (NIV)
In all our beliefs – we show charity
“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:2 (NIV)
THE ESSENTIALS WE BELIEVE:
1. ABOUT GOD
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God.
Genesis 1:1, 26, 27, 3:22; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; I Peter 1:2; 2 Corinthians 13:14
2. ABOUT JESUS CHRIST
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven’s glory and will return again someday to earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Matthew 1:22-23; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-5; 14:10-30; Hebrews 4:14-15; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 1:3-4; Acts 1:9-11; I Timothy 6:14-15; Titus 2:13
3. ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth and guidance in doing what is right. He gives every believer a spiritual gift when they are saved. As Christians, we seek to live under His control daily.
2 Corinthians 3:17; John 16:7-13; 14:16-17; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 3:16; Ephesians 1:13; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 5:18
4. ABOUT THE BIBLE
The Bible is God’s Word to us. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because it is inspired by God, it is the truth without any mixture of error.
2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Timothy 1:13; Psalm 119:105;Proverbs 30:5
5. ABOUT HUMAN BEINGS
People are made in the spiritual image of God, to be like Him in character. People are the supreme object of God’s creation. Although every person has tremendous potential for good, all of us are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called “sin.” This attitude separates people from God and causes many problems in life.
Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:3-6; Isaiah 53:6a; Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59:1-2
6. ABOUT SALVATION
Salvation is God’s free gift to us but we must accept it. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty. When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus in faith we are saved. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his life by faith.
Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 14:6, 1:12; Titus 3:5; Galatians 3:26, Romans 5:1
7. ABOUT ETERNAL SECURITY
Because God gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ, the true believer is secure in that salvation for eternity. If you have been genuinely saved, you cannot “lose” it. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by the self-effort of the Christian. It is the grace and keeping power of God that gives us this security.
John 10:29; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 7:25; 10:10,14; 1 Peter 1:3-5
8. ABOUT ETERNITY
People were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence.
John 3:16; John 14:17; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:17-18; Revelation 20:15;1 Corinthians 2:7-9
OUR LIFESTYLE STATEMENT
What We Practise
Beliefs are not worth much unless they are translated into actions. Based on what the Bible teaches, we feel very strongly about the following seven practices:
1. BIBLE AS OUR SOLE AUTHORITY
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)
Since God’s Word is the only completely reliable and truthful authority, we accept the Bible as our manual for living. Our first question when faced with a decision is “What does the Bible say?” We practise daily Bible reading, Bible study and Bible memorization. The Bible is the basis for all we believe.
2. AUTONOMY OF EACH LOCAL CHURCH
“And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy.” Colossians 1:18 (NIV)
Christ is the recognised head of our church, not any person, group or religious organisation. While recognising the value of associating and cooperating with other groups of Christians, we believe every local church should be self-governing and independent from any denominational control. In relating to our “daughter churches” that we sponsor, we encourage each congregation to determine her own strategy, structure and style.
3. PRIESTHOOD OF EVERY BELIEVER
“To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father—to Him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.” Revelation 1:6 (NIV)
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)
The Bible teaches that every Christian is called to “full-time” Christian service, regardless of his or her vocation. We practise the truth that every believer is a minister by encouraging every member to find a place of service and ministry. Every believer has direct access to God through prayer and Bible reading.
“A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.” Leviticus 27:30 (NIV)
We practise tithing for the support of Christ’s body, the church, as God commands. We recognise that giving at least 10% of our income is both biblical and honoring to God.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NIV)
“In Him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through your faith in the power of God, who raised Him from the dead.” Colossians 2:11-12 (NIV)
From the New Testament, it would seem that immersion was the common practice. This mode is currently practised in our church (Matthew 3:16). Sprinkling is another form. The very elderly and believers who are sick, are baptized by sprinkling or pouring a little water on the head.
6. SPIRIT-LED LIVING
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NIV)
We believe the only way possible to live the Christian life is by God’s power within us. So we seek to practice a daily dependence on God’s Spirit to enable us to do what is right. In doing this, we become truly charismatic (move in the gifts of the Spirit).
Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 5:18
7. TELLING OTHERS ABOUT CHRIST
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”1 Peter 3:15-16 (NIV)
It is the responsibility of every Christian to share the Good News with those with whom God brings us into contact. We practise personal sharing about Christ and inviting friends to church.
For further reading, please refer to “Bethesda (Frankel Estate) Church Faith & Practices” Chapter 4 & 5 on “Doctrine of the Triune God & Doctrine of the Church”.