Friday, October 29, 2010

Sound Doctrine

Sound Doctrine
What We Believe

Why Do We Need Doctrine?
Someone may ask the question, “Why do we need Doctrine?  Don’t we have the Bible and isn’t that enough?”  Yes, we do have the Bible, and most certainly, any doctrine that is “Sound” is going to be soundly based on the Word of God.  Any Doctrine that is not based, and cannot be verified on the Bible is false. 
Doctrine is the systematic gathering of the teachings of the Bible arranged into a format that is easily verified and adhered to.  For instance, there are thousands of scriptures in the Bible that refer to salvation.  Doctrine allows us to glean all of the teachings on this subject that are scattered throughout the Word of God and “rightly divide” them into a systematic theology.  This enables us to better understand the Word.
Of course, the entire Bible is our Doctrine.  Once a man left a note on the front door of the Church I pastor.  He had included his name and address and he wanted me to send him a copy of our fundamental doctrine.  I knew as soon as I read the note that he wanted to debate the Godhead and Water Baptism so I had my wife go to the store and buy a King James Bible and mail it to him.  I never heard from that man again.
Paul wrote to Timothy in his second epistle by that name, “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.  This scripture, along with all others, makes it clear that the Bible is our Doctrine.
The word “Doctrine” itself appears over fifty times in the New Testament and literally means “Instruction” or “Teaching” in the original Greek language.  So we must understand that Doctrine is important to the Church, but not just any Doctrine but “Sound Doctrine”.
Paul warned Timothy with these words:
2 Timothy 4:3
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

The Modern Attack on Doctrine
          Today Doctrine is often frowned upon and even hated in some churches.  The Ecumenical Movement is attempting to meld all churches into one big “Global Church” that will serve the “Global Village”.  In order to accomplish this nefarious goal they must remove all obstacles.  One of the biggest obstacles to their program is Doctrine.
          Each religion, denomination, and Church has some type of doctrine.  The attack is not so much to remove doctrine but to “dumb it down” and sanitize it so that it is inoffensive and politically correct.  Their agenda will make God some generic deity that can be referred to as Jesus, Allah, Jehovah, Gaia (Mother Nature), Mother Mary, or any other flavor people desire.  Sound Doctrine opposes this plan.  As long as our churches hold on to the Word of God, and the Sound Doctrine that it produces, the enemy will have a hard time pushing their agenda. 
          Our doctrine, Pentecostal Doctrine if you please, is decisive – it demands certain behavior – it defines what sin and righteousness is – it separates the sheep from the goats – it establishes standards of conduct and behavior – defines the differences between what is right and wrong – it demands certain responses to the plan of God – and establishes the truth while at the same time exposing the false.  This will never do for the politically correct – they must remove doctrine, and us if possible, in order to establish their agenda.
          Doctrine holds us to a certain faith and will not tolerate error.  Without doctrine we would find ourselves adrift in a sea of religion without a compass to tell us what direction we are headed.  Doctrine will help us to stay the course. 
          No matter how hard the left-wing religious nuts try to get us to soften our stand on the absolute truths of God’s Holy Word we must not waver.  We must continue to preach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth (so help us God).  We must continue to live, and even quite possibly die, by the Word of God.  Doctrine will help us to survive the storm of last day deception that is raging on our world.  We must not surrender our doctrine!

False Doctrine
          All religions and denominations have some type of doctrine - they have systematically arranged their beliefs into a format for their leadership and membership.  Unfortunately much of the doctrine today is false.  How did this happen?  How is it possible to use the Word of God as the basis for doctrine but end up with a false idea?
          The simple answer is trying to make scripture fit your idea rather than the other way around.  Many people already have an opinion and they go to the Word to prove their opinion.  When this is done you can always find something in the Bible to support your supposition.  The Bible must be the basis and not our ideas.
          Another way to come up with False Doctrine is to isolate an individual scripture and passage in the Bible from the rest of the Word of God.  The Bible is the best interpreter of the Bible.  The Word of God will explain the Word of God.  Scripture illuminates scripture.  There are entire Pentecostal denominations that are built on one scripture, why they even place their favorite passages prominently on their Church marquis.  In order to understand one scripture we must look at all of the scriptures.  If you fail to do this you may end up with a false doctrine.  You will not fully understand Salvation, the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, Sanctification, or any other doctrine without the entire voice of the Word of God.
          Some religions elevate tradition to the same level as scripture.  This is true of the Catholic Church.  There is great danger when this is done.  Tradition will never be equal with the Word of God.  The Word of God alone is sufficient foundation for us to base our beliefs upon.
          Another area of danger is experience.  There are left-leaning charismatic believers today that say, “I know the Bible says nothing about what we are doing but God is bigger than His Word”.  How can God be bigger than his Word?  He is His Word!  Your experience is not greater than scripture!
          Lastly, you cannot build a doctrine on what the Bible does not say.  All doctrine must be based on what the Word of God says, not what it does not say.  The Church of Christ denomination made it their doctrine to prohibit the use of musical instruments in their churches because there is no mention of music being used in the churches in the New Testament (there are plenty of references of music use in the Old Testament).  This is a faulty way of creating doctrine.  When you cross this line then where do you stop?  Are we allowed to build bathrooms in our churches because the New Testament says nothing about that?  Can we have Sunday School classes?  How about Wednesday night service?  Nothing is written about any of these but most of our churches have them.  Doctrine cannot be derived from the silence of scripture it must always be derived from what is written.

What We Believe
          In the rest of this booklet I am going to give you a brief look at the great doctrines of the Pentecostal Church.  In no way whatsoever am I claiming to know everything about these subjects but I do want to establish a foundation for further study.

The Scriptures Inspired
We believe that the Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of 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).  We also believe the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible is the most accurate translation in the English language.  We reject modern translations of the Scripture that minimize the importance of prayer and fasting and detract from the overall message of the Word of God.
We believe that the Bible is to be preached, taught, witnessed, testified, sung, memorized, read, studied, and lived.  We encourage all believers within our churches to study the word of God for themselves.  Beware churches and preachers that discourage its followers from careful study of the Word of God (for hundreds of years the Catholic Church did just this and they steadfastly resisted translating the Word of God from the Greek, Hebrew, and Latin because they did not want their members to study for themselves).

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).
The terms trinity and persons as related to the Godhead, while not found in the Scriptures, are words in harmony with Scripture, whereby we may convey to others our immediate understanding of the doctrine of Christ respecting the Being of God, as distinguished from “gods many and lords many.” We therefore may speak with propriety of the Lord our God, who is One Lord, as a trinity or as one Being of three persons, and still be absolutely scriptural (examples, Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; John 14:16,17).
Christ taught a distinction of persons in the Godhead which He expressed in specific terms of relationship, as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but that this distinction and relationship, as to its mode is inscrutable and incomprehensible, because unexplained (Luke 1:35; 1 Corinthians 1:24; Matthew 11:25-27; 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 John 1: 3,4).
Accordingly, therefore, there is that in the Father which constitutes Him the Father and not the Son; there is that in the Son which constitutes Him the Son and not the Father; and there is that in the Holy Ghost which constitutes Him the Holy Ghost and not either the Father or the Son. Wherefore the Father is the Begetter; the Son is the Begotten; and the Holy Ghost is the One proceeding from the Father and the Son. Therefore, because these three persons in the Godhead are in a state of unity, there is but one Lord God Almighty, and His name one (John 1:18; 15:26; 17:11, 21; Zechariah 14:9).
A person once asked me this question concerning the Godhead, “How can three be one?”  My answer to them was this: “The same way that two can be one.  You do believe that you and your wife are one?”  He nodded his head in the affirmative.  “You are one, yet you are here and she is there.  How is that possible?  I’ll tell you how.  You are one in purpose.  You are one in heart. You are one in goals.  You are one in love.  Every decision you make is made with her in mind.  Every place you go you take her with you.  There is nothing you do without considering her.  In this same way the Godhead is one.”  This may seem like a simplistic answer but there is really no explanation that will completely answer every question about the Godhead – much of this is still a mystery.

The Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ
          We believe the Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God.  We further believe that He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, worked miracles, died on the cross for our sins, rose bodily from the dead, and has been exalted to the right hand of God on high.
          We believe that Jesus is both the Son of God and the Son of Man – He is Very God and Very Man – He is Emmanuel: God With Us. 

The Fall of Man
          We believe that man was created in the image of God. We believe that man was created good and upright but through voluntary transgression and sin brought physical and spiritual death upon the human race.  We believe that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:17; 3:6; Romans 5:12-19).

The Salvation of Man
          We believe that man’s only hope of redemption is in the shed blood of Jesus Christ the son of God. All must be born again in order to be restored to Fellowship with God.  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).”  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Acts 2:21)”  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:9-10).”
          Salvation is obtained at the time of repentance and is an act of faith towards God.  All that truly repent of their sins and pledge their lives to Jesus Christ will enter into the “Born Again” experience.  The Holy Ghost is active throughout this process of cleansing and once this cleansing has occurred the Believer will now be a candidate for the Baptism in the Holy Ghost.

The Ordinances of the Church
          We believe that there are two ordinances commanded in Scripture for the Church to observe.  These two ordinances are water baptism and the Lord’s supper.
The ordinance of baptism by immersion is commanded in the Scriptures. All who repent and believe on Jesus Christ as Saviour 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).
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); and a prophecy of His second coming (1 Corinthians 11:26); and is enjoined on all believers “till He come!”  We reject the use of alcoholic wine in the Lord’s Supper.

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 enduement of power for life and service, the bestowment of the gifts and their uses in the work of the ministry (Luke 24:49-53; Acts 1:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31). This experience is distinct from and subsequent to 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).
We believe that all believers must be filled with the Holy Ghost.  We do not believe that we have the option to reject the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)”.

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 (Mark 16: 17, John 15:26, Acts 2:4, 10: 44-46, 19: 1-7). The speaking in tongues in this instance is the same in essence as the gift of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:4-10, 28), but different in purpose and use.
We believe that all who are filled with the Holy Ghost will speak in other tongues.  These tongues are as “the Spirit giveth the utterance” and cannot be taught by man. 

Sanctification is an act of separation from that which is evil, and of dedication unto God. As a Church we would encourage our members to not be conformed to this world’s fashions, but to be transformed by the renewing of their mind (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).
Since God’s purpose concerning man is to seek and to save that which is lost, to be worshipped by man, and to build a body of believers in the image of His Son, the priority reason-for-being of the Church is:
a.   To be an agency of God for evangelizing the world (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19, 20; Mark 16:15, 16).
b.   To be a corporate body in which man may worship God (1 Corinthians 12:13).
c.   To be a channel of God’s purpose to build a body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son (Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 14:12).

The Ministry
We believe in a divinely called and scripturally ordained ministry.   This ministry was provided by our Lord for the threefold purpose of leading the Church in: (1) evangelization of the world (Mark 16:15-20), (2) worship of God (John 4:23, 24), and (3) building a body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son (Ephesians 4:11, 16).

Divine Healing
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, Exodus 15: 26). Healing is a command from Jesus to the Apostles (Mark 16: 18). Healing is the children’s bread (Matthew 15:26). Prayer with faith shall and will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up (James 5: 15). We believe that this should be contended for in our churches (Exodus 23:25; Deuteronomy 7:15; 2Chronicles 7:14; Psalms 91:10, 103:3; 107:20; 147:3; Isaiah 58:8; Jeremiah 3:22; Malachi 4:2; Matthew 4:24; 9:35; Luke 4:18;Acts 4:22; 5:16; 10:38; 1Peter 2:24;).

The Gifts of the Spirit
We believe that all nine Gifts of the Spirit should be working in the church today to nurture and build up the Body of believers and to profit withal, the Holy Spirit dividing to every person the gifts severally as He will (1Corinthians 1:1-11).

The Blessed Hope
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).
We use the term “Rapture” to refer to this event. Some have tried to discount this doctrine because the term rapture is not found in the King James Version of the Bible but this is in error.  Though the term rapture does not appear in the Bible the concept of the rapture does.  For that matter the term Bible does not appear in the Bible but this does not disprove the Bible, neither does the lack of the use of the term “Rapture”.

The Second Coming & the Millennial Reign of Christ
Jesus will return with His saints to reign on the earth for one thousand years- this is the Second Coming of Christ and Jesus will walk on the earth in a physical form at this time (in the Rapture He will only meet the Church in the clouds) (Zechariah 14:5; Matthew 24:27, 30; Revelation 1:7; 19:11-14; 20:1-6). This millennial reign will bring the salvation of national Israel (Ezekiel 37:21-22; Zephaniah 3:19,20; Romans 11:26-27) and the establishment of universal peace (Isaiah 11:6-9; Psalm 72:3-8; Micah 4:3-4).

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 New 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).

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