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by Marius Benec

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Blog Posts (13)

  • The Lordship Salvation

    Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. — John 3:3-6 As Christians, the Gospel should be the most familiar, basic, and obvious truth that we know. And yet there has never been more confusion in the history of Christendom about the Gospel than there is today. What did we lose and why? To rediscover the Biblical truth about the true Gospel we are going to look back at one of John MacArthur's best seller's "The Gospel According to Jesus". In his book John tackled the miss-conceptions of the Gospel that are taught in so many churches today. Some are a result of liberalism while others represent a faulty understanding of the Reformed Theology or Calvinism. Here is what John has to say about the way we preach the Gospel today: "Not everyone who claims to be a Christian really is. Unbelievers do make false professions of faith in Christ, and people who are not truly Christians can be deceived into thinking they are. [...] The cheap grace and easy faith of a distorted gospel are ruining the purity of the church. The softening of the New Testament message has brought with it a putrefying inclusivism that in effect sees almost any kind of positive response to Jesus as tantamount to saving faith. Christians today are likely to accept anything other than utter rejection as authentic faith in Christ. Modern-day evangelicalism has developed a large and conspicuous fringe, embracing even those whose doctrine is suspect or whose behaviour indicates a heart in rebellion against the things of God." "Listen to the typical gospel presentation nowadays. You will hear sinners entreated with words like, "accept Jesus Christ as personal Saviour", "ask Jesus into your heart"; "invite Christ into your life"; or "make a decision for Christ." You may be so accustomed to hearing those phrases that it will surprise you to learn that none of them is based on biblical terminology. They are the products of a diluted gospel. The gospel Jesus proclaimed did not foster that kind of gullibility. From the time He first began to minister publicly, our Lord eschewed the quick, easy, or shallow response. He turned away far more prospects than He won, refusing to proclaim a message that would give anyone a false hope." "In the course of their dialogue, Jesus confronted Nicodemus's spurious faith, his works-based religion, his Pharisaical righteousness, and his biblical illiteracy. The Savior called for nothing short of complete regeneration. Without such a spiritual rebirth, He told Nicodemus, no one has any hope of eternal life. Nicodemus was clearly jolted by Jesus' words, and there is no evidence in this passage that his immediate response was positive. Nicodemus stands as an illustration of inadequate faith. His mind accepted to some extent the truth of Christ, but his heart was unregenerate." The 'Lordship Salvation' has long been contested by Christians and theologians who dismiss it as unbiblical at best while others even go as far as calling it an outright heresy. But the 'Lordship Salvation' is far from being a newly invented concept. In fact it is the oldest and purest expression of the Gospel as presented in Scripture. Those opposing it as contrary particularly to the doctrines of the Reformation make the wrong assumption that faith (in it's Biblical understanding) is at odds with one's obedience to Christ. Here is what John has to say about that: "Salvation is solely by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). That truth is the biblical watershed for all we teach. But it means nothing if we begin with a misunderstanding of grace or a faulty definition of faith. God's grace is not a static attribute whereby He passively accepts hardened, unrepentant sinners. Grace does not change a person's standing before God yet leave his character untouched. Real grace does not include [...] "the Christian's liberty to do precisely as he chooses." True grace, according to Scripture, teaches us "to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age" (Titus 2:12). Grace is the power of God to fulfil our new covenant duties (cf. 1 Cor. 7:19), however inconsistently we obey at times. Clearly, grace does not grant permission to live in the flesh; it supplies power to live in the Spirit. Faith, like grace, is not static. Saving faith is more than just understanding the facts and mentally acquiescing. It is inseparable from repentance, surrender, and a supernatural longing to obey. None of those responses can be classified exclusively as a human work, any more than believing itself is solely a human effort." "Misunderstanding on that key point is at the heart of the error of those who reject lordship salvation. They assume that because Scripture contrasts faith and works, faith must be incompatible with works. They set faith in opposition to submission, yieldedness, or turning from sin, and they categorise all the practical elements of salvation as human works. They stumble over the twin truths that salvation is a gift, yet it costs everything. Those ideas are paradoxical, but they are not mutually exclusive. The same dissonance is seen in Jesus' own words, "I will give you rest," followed by "take My yoke upon you" (Matt. 11:28 - 29). The rest we enter into by faith is not a rest of inactivity. Salvation is a gift, but it is appropriated through a faith that goes beyond merely understanding and assenting to the truth. Demons have that kind of "faith" (James 2:19). True believers are characterised by faith that is as repulsed by the life of sin as it is attracted to the mercy of the Savior. Drawn to Christ, they are drawn away from everything else. Jesus described genuine believers as "poor in spirit" (Matt. 5:3). They are like the repentant tax-gatherer, so broken he could not even look heavenward. He could only beat his breast and plead, "God, be merciful to me, the sinner!" (Luke 18:13)." And so how should we understand repentance then? "Repentance as Jesus characterised it in this incident involves a recognition of one's utter sinfulness and a turning from self and sin to God (cf. 1 Thess. 1:9). Far from being a human work, it is the inevitable result of God's work in a human heart. And it always represents the end of any human attempt to earn God's favour. It is much more than a mere change of mind - it involves a complete change of heart, attitude, interest, and direction. It is a conversion in every sense of the word. The Bible does not recognise "conversion" that lacks this radical change of direction (Luke 3:7 - 8). A true believer cannot remain rebellious - or even indifferent. Genuine faith will inevitably provoke some degree of obedience. In fact, Scripture often equates faith with obedience (John 3:36; Rom. 1:5; 16:26; 2 Thess. 1:8). "By faith Abraham [the father of true faith] ... obeyed" (Heb. 11:8). That's the heart of the message of Hebrews 11, the great treatise on faith. Faith and works are not incompatible. Jesus even calls the act of believing a work (John 6:29) - not merely a human work, but a gracious work of God in us. He brings us to faith, then enables and empowers us to believe unto obedience (cf. Rom. 16:26)." "Slavery to Christ is not a minor or secondary feature of true discipleship." [...] "You cannot have Jesus as Saviour and Friend here and now and decide later whether you really want to submit to His authority or not." "The gospel Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow Him in submissive obedience, not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer. Jesus' message liberated people from the bondage of their sin while it confronted and condemned hypocrisy. It was an offer of eternal life and forgiveness for repentant sinners, but at the same time it was a rebuke to outwardly religious people whose lives were devoid of true righteousness. It put sinners on notice that they must turn from sin and embrace God's righteousness. It was in every sense good news, yet it was anything but easy-believism." "We are chosen (Eph. 1:4 - 5; 1 Peter 1:1; 2:9); bought (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23); owned by our Master (Rom. 14:7 - 9; 1 Cor. 6:19; Titus 2:14); subject to the Master's will and control over us (Acts 5:29; Rom. 6:16 - 19; Phil. 2:5 - 8); and totally dependent on the Master for everything in our lives (2 Cor. 9:8 - 11; Phil. 4:19). We will ultimately be called to account (Rom. 14:12); evaluated (2 Cor. 5:10); and either chastened or rewarded by Him (Heb. 12:5 - 11; 1 Cor. 3:14)." For more on John MacArthur's "The Gospel According to Jesus" please follow the link below: The Gospel According to Jesus challenges Christians to re-evaluate their commitment to Christ by examining their fruits. MacArthur asks, "What does it really mean to be saved?" He urges readers to understand that their conversion was more than a mere point in time, that, by definition, it includes a lifetime of obedience. John MacArthur tackles the error of "easy-believism" by addressing these questions: Is it possible to accept Jesus as Savior while refusing him as Lord? Can someone truly believe without actually repenting? How do obedience, commitment to Christ, and turning from sin fit together with the truth that we are saved by grace through faith alone? The Gospel According to Jesus is just as powerful today as it was more than two decades ago. It is a Scripture-based clarion call for a rejection of the watered-down message that has gained popularity in the church and a return to the gospel Jesus preached. This 20th anniversary edition adds a powerful new chapter to the complete text of the original classic, reinforcing the book's timeless message--that Jesus demands to be both Savior and Lord to all who believe. This book is compulsory reading for Christians from all walks of life and will help guide you into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

  • Book Review: "Christianity & Liberalism"

    J. Gresham Machen, Christianity & Liberalism. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009, 152 pp., paperback, £9.47 “Christianity & Liberalism” is a polemic writing on the emergence of liberalism as an ideology in the modern world, among Christians, and churches. It is often referred to as “the classic defence of Christian orthodoxy”. In his book Gresham Machen provides a defence for traditional Christianity against the liberal attacks on several fundamental beliefs. Written at a time when liberalism already gained territory in most areas of life, “Christianity & Liberalism” remains relevant today when liberalism has become the new norm in many churches around the world. In the introduction to his book, Machen provides the context in which liberalism emerged in America. Rooted in naturalism and in the denial of the creative power of God, liberalism is described as a destructive type of religion as it makes use of traditional Christian terminology. Liberalism can be tackled on two lines of criticism: (1) on the ground that it is un-Christian, and (2) on the ground that it is unscientific. Machen’s book is aimed at dealing with the former line of criticism. The modern world of liberalism, argues Machen, shows improvements in science and in conditions of life, but proves loss in the spiritual realm. Moreover, as well as in the world of art and literature, the political context in America shows a decline as materialism infiltrates society and even children’s education. In chapter two of his book Machen discusses the core difference between Christianity and liberalism—the doctrine. Machen remarks the various ways in which liberal pastors would rather avoid doctrine for the sake of church unity—an issue which is ever more predominant today. The doctrines taught by apostle Paul in his epistles are again unfavourable to the modern liberal pastor. Instead, a more accessible option would be the moral teaching of Jesus, that being stripped of the value of the atonement. Although essential, doctrine is not in opposition to exhortation; holy living is a result of a transformed life, affirms Machen. However, doctrine is not equally important. Machen adds that different views on eschatology, sacraments, church polity and even the separation from Rome are less harmful than liberalism itself. What Machen stressed here and all throughout the book is that “naturalistic liberalism is not Christianity at all” (43). This is a truth that is ever more blurred today when self-professing Christians hold proudly to the label of “liberal Christian”. In the next chapter Machen addresses the subject of God and man. He identifies the shift in understanding the differences between the Creator and the creature. With the rise of liberalism, the distinction between the two is constantly reduced in favour of man. Machen holds that the core of this problem is the elimination of the concept of sin. Consequently, when sin is left out of the equation, the gulf that separates man from the Creator becomes non-existent. As Machen eloquently puts it, “the consciousness of sin was formerly the starting-point of all preaching” but today that is replaced by the “supreme confidence in human goodness” (55). Chapter four is dedicated to defending the doctrine of plenary inspiration of Scripture. This is a key subject with a high relevance today as more and more passages of Scripture pose a challenge for liberal churches. What becomes increasingly evident today was already clear for Machen almost a century ago—that is that liberalism is founded upon “the shifting emotions of sinful men” (67). Sitting in contrast to liberalism, Christianity is founded upon the unchangeable Biblical truth. A couple of points are worth mentioning here. First, Machen attempts to distinguish liberals from those Christians who believe the Bible to be essentially right in its “account of the redeeming work of Christ, and yet believe that it contains many errors” (64). The second point which is another issue increasingly present today is the tendency of the modern liberals to substitute the authority of the Bible for the authority of Christ, as if the two were incompatible. Perhaps a more familiar example found today is the alleged distinction between the Old Testament God together with most of the apostle Paul’s teaching of the New Testament from the teaching of Jesus recorded in the four gospel books. That ties in with the next chapter as Machen continues by tackling the issue of the liberals’ misconception of Jesus. He sums it up by saying that modern liberalism regards Jesus as an example while Christianity, as a Saviour; liberalism regards Jesus as an example for faith while Christianity, the object of faith. One of the most common liberal approaches to Jesus and the Bible is to deny the concept of supernatural and the miracles. In his defence of the Christian belief, Machen returns to the core issue that divides God from man—the sin. He writes that the conviction of the reality of sin causes acceptance of the supernatural. Without it there is no appreciation of the uniqueness of Jesus. Moreover, a fundamental remark is made here to say that a generalisation that all men are sinners is insufficient. True conviction depends upon the revelation of God’s law. In chapter six Machen discusses the issue of salvation. It is unsurprising that the liberal understanding of salvation will differ from that of Christianity as with all the previous subjects. Machen identifies a few ways in which liberal pastors strip the atonement of Christ of its full value. Among others Machen lists: placing the emphasis on Jesus’ self-sacrifice, His hate of sin, and God’s love for His people. While all of these are truths found in the Scripture, the atonement is not taught as being substitutionary—a major issue which denies the moral order, adds Machen. The author also writes here about some of the liberals’ objections to Christian orthodoxy such as: salvation being dependent on one isolated historical event, and the offensive exclusivity of Jesus being the only way to salvation. One other aspect discussed by Machen in this chapter that is worth mentioning is the liberal preaching that seeks joyful religion. As most of the issues discussed this is especially evident in so many evangelical churches today. In practice Machen describes this as the attempt by the modern preacher to eliminate every unpleasant doctrine which leaves the congregation uninterested. Some may refer to this as the preaching of “cheap grace”. Of course, Machen would not leave this subject without providing a defence of the true faith and the necessity for a supernatural rebirth—another notion disputed by the liberals. In his final chapter Machen’s analysis culminates with a discussion about the church. By way of concluding his treatise he brings together the effects of the modern liberals as one destructive manifestation in the church and tries to provide solutions for the body of Christ against their influence. A couple of important remarks are worth mentioning here. First, Machen identifies the cause of liberalism in the church as the result of having openly liberals (non-Christians) admitted as members and even as pastors or teachers in the church. This results in a division between liberals who desire a church with no authoritative Bible or doctrinal requirements, and conservatives who desire the very opposite. The effect of a mixed church as such is the Christianity being attacked from within on views about God and man, the seat of authority in the church and even the way of salvation. Overall “Christianity & Liberalism” is a book that still speaks today and perhaps even more so than almost a century ago. The evolution of liberalism in society and in churches makes this a valuable resource on the topic. The only criticism would be on the author’s exposition of some pieces of legislation passed in the United States around the time this book was written. Although related to the subject discussed, these remarks may seem a bit difficult to engage the reader almost a hundred years on. Despite these commentaries, the book is highly relevant for every church leader and ordinary Christian alike. It serves as a warning against liberal tendencies in corporate worship and church polity today.

  • Book Review: "The Bondage of the Will"

    Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012. Translated by J. I. Packer and O. R. Johnston Pp.13-320, paperback, £18.91 “The Bondage of the Will” in its original title De Servo Arbitrio, is an intellectual historical critique first published by Martin Luther in 1525. It was written as a reply to Desiderius Erasmus’ Diatribe seu collatio de libero arbitrio (Discussion, or Collation, concerning Free-Will), which was published in 1524. This has been considered by many to be a writing central to the Reformation. Indeed, the topic of “free-will” is crucial to the Protestant Reformation as it supports Luther’s argument for the justification by faith alone in a direct attack against Rome. In this edition the translators, J. I. Packer and O. R. Johnston provide an introductory survey to Erasmus’ and Luther’s early lives leading up to the time of their writings and followed by the actual text of “The Bondage of the Will”. Erasmus’ humanistic studies are evidenced in his work in which he claimed that man possess “free-will” to choose between good and evil. Following the semi-Pelagian scholastic tradition, Erasmus held the view that sin has not made humans utterly incapable of meritorious actions and that salvation is determined by a particular meritorious act which humans perform in their own strength and without divine assistance. Although Erasmus held firm to his position, he claimed that matters of doctrine were unimportant, the least of them the issue of man’s “free-will”. Luther, on the other hand, held that doctrines were essential to the Christian religion, and in particular the issue in question which is the cornerstone of the gospel and the very foundation of faith. He denied “free-will” by affirming man's total inability to save himself, and the sovereignty of divine grace in man’s salvation. For Luther, Christianity was a “dogmatic religion, or it was nothing” (44). It is of great importance to remark that Erasmus’ doctrinal indifferentism was meant to secure peace in the Church. As in many churches today, this was of more value than any doctrine. In the introduction to his work, Luther begins by praising Erasmus for his eloquence in his writing but at the same time heavily criticising his opponent for his lack of knowledge in the subject. Luther begins his critique by tackling Erasmus’ statements made in the preface of the Diatribe. A defence on the clarity and sufficiency of Scripture is presented as a response to his opponent’s claim that parts of Scripture remain abstruse. The first “bombshell”, as Luther describes it, rests in his claim that “God foreknows nothing contingently”, but “does everything according to His own immutable, eternal and infallible will” (80). This argument, says Luther not only denies “free-will”, but serves as assurance in God’s promises. For most of Luther’s critique of the Diatribe preface, he tackles Erasmus’ alleged advantage of suppressing certain truths. Erasmus acknowledges the truths of Scripture but objects their value and more so considers them harmful to the ordinary reader. Luther refutes these arguments by asking rhetorically should the Bible truths be measured according to the feelings of men? Luther understood that at the heart of Erasmus’ argument was the fear of reducing human responsibility to nothing. As a response Luther affirms that biblical truth does not impede someone from reforming their life. Instead, it causes humility and fear of God by acknowledging God’s grace. Moreover, these truths are meant to work humbleness and faith in the heart of the elect. In tackling the introduction of the Diatribe, Luther discusses the holiness of old saints, scholars, and martyrs as alleged examples of “free-will”. He also answers the question how could God overlook such an error and for such a long period of time in church history. In addressing this question Luther argues that the true church consists only of those who hold on to the correct doctrine and those who repented of their initial error. In supporting his argument Luther delivers another defence of the authority of Scripture using selected texts from both the Old and the New Testaments. Luther’s critique of the Diatribe takes an important turn as he begins to discuss Erasmus’ definition of the “free-will”. In his definition Erasmus attributes to man the power of the will to “apply himself to those things that lead to eternal salvation” (137). Luther compares Erasmus’ definition to that of Pelagius’ in which two parts contribute to “free-will”: the power of discernment and the power of choice. Erasmus’ definition, says Luther, sets aside the power of discernment, thus making the “free-will” able to move itself by its own power. To shed light in the matter, Luther appeals to Augustine’s teaching that the so-called “free-will”, of its own power is in fact a slave to sin. In his analysis, Luther identifies three views about the “free-will” from Erasmus’ text: (i) the “probable enough” view which denies that man can will good without special grace, (ii) the “more severe” view that “free-will” benefits nothing but sinning without the work of grace, and (iii) the “most severe” view that God works in man both good and evil. Luther finds here that the definition of “free-will” provided by Erasmus contradicts the first view which he defends in his Diatribe. Several texts from the Old Testament, the New Testament, and from the book of Ecclesiasticus (not in the Protestant canon) are used by Erasmus to support his view. These are argued against by Luther who claims that God’s commands do not imply the human ability to obey them. Luther identifies one purpose for the law and that is to reveal sin and accuse man who is unable to keep the law. This is referring to the moral law that displays God’s character and which fallen man cannot keep without God’s grace. But what is omitted here is that God also gave Israel the civil law for the purpose of distinguishing themselves from the pagan nations around them and to be a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6). More so the ceremonial laws were also given to prescribe the way Israel is to approach God in worship. God’s calling to the nation of Israel to obey them is clear when saying: “this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach” (Deuteronomy 30:11). Eternal salvation was never meant to be earned through the keeping of these laws. Rather, they were given for specific purposes as guidance for Israel’s conduct. When the passage of Matthew 23:37 is brought into consideration, Luther resolves to invoke God’s secret will that man cannot attain to. Despite Luther’s sharp critique of Erasmus’ claims, this section gives the reader the impression that Luther is somehow left without a satisfactory explanation. The reference quoted in this context does seem to argue that some passages such as this fall outside of man’s ability to understand them, thus less than clear in interpretation. In the next section of his treatise Luther discusses the questions of the hardening of Pharoah’s heart with reference to Exodus 4:21 and the election of Jacob over Esau of Genesis 25:21-23. About the former, Luther argues that there is no difference between the already hardened heart of Pharoah as a fallen man, and the further hardening as the heart here is at the same impotent state to will good. Without God’s grace Pharoah’s heart is only increasingly hardened by the prospect of losing his dominion over the Israelites. The important remark here is that according to Luther, God does not inflict new evil upon man. Rather He uses the human corruption already present in the man’s heart to delay Israel’s redemption in order to display His glory. The latter issue discussed in this section leaves an open question of exegetical concern as to whether God’s election of Jacob refers to eternal election or temporal order of earthly servitude. Finally in this section and probably the clearest argument against the “free-will” is the commentary on the metaphor of the potter and the clay of Romans 9:21. A further discussion here is to determine whether apostle Paul meant to quote Isaiah 45:9 and Jeremiah 18:6 since these two references seem to refer to temporal affliction on the nation of Israel rather than discussing the issue of predestination. Finally, in the last section of his book Luther brings his own arguments and Bible references to demolish the argument for the “free-will”. In answering Erasmus, Luther shows his protest against Rome by driving home the idea that the works of the law cannot be added to the grace of Jesus Christ for salvation. It is salvation by grace alone that drove the Reformation and Luther knew the importance of concluding his book with this truth. The answer to Erasmus’ humanistic view of the “free-will” would not only clarify an important doctrine, but it would also contribute to the entire understanding of the gospel blurred by Rome and the papacy at that time. Luther’s work is no doubt one of the most essential writings from the Reformation period and a must read for every student of the Reformation and Protestantism. Despite Luther’s heavy denial of human responsibility, he brings a healthy understanding of the “bondage of the will” and resurfaces Augustine’s teaching on the matter.

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  • theMarben.com

    Book Release "An assessment of the extent to which the CJEU’s interpretation of free movement of goods and free movement of persons has converged " A selection of EU case law analysis from beyond 2010. Legal Research Archive Parallel to the deepening of European Integration, a new role of European Citizenship has been created that goes far beyond just economic participation in the internal market. Download ​ An evaluation of the extent to which the Court of Justice of the European Union’s interpretation of Article 101 TFEU has been effective in tackling restrictive agreements. Download Twitter Feed The Latest Articles The Lordship Salvation Book Review: "Christianity & Liberalism" Book Review: "The Bondage of the Will" Church after Covid Christ in the Old Testament Covenants

  • Dogmatics | theMarben.com

    Theology Proper, Christology and Pneumatology (The Doctrines of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit) ​ There is one living and true God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things (Deuteronomy 6:4 ; Isaiah 45:5-7 ; 1 Corinthians 8:4 ). Trinity of God – Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19 ; 2 Corinthians 13:14 ) The Lord Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary (Philippians 2:5-8 ; Colossians 2:9 ; Isaiah 7:14 ; Matthew 1:23 ). Jesus lived a sinless life and died on the cross, shedding His blood as the only acceptable sacrifice for our sins (John 10:15 ; Romans 3:24-25 ; Romans 5:8 ; 1 Peter 2:24 ). Jesus arose in bodily form from the dead, and ascended into heaven, where He sits at the right hand of God (Matthew 28:6 ; Luke 24:38-39 ; Acts 2:30-31 ; Romans 4:25 ; Romans 8:34 ; Hebrews 7:25 ; Hebrews 9:24 ; 1 John 2:1 ). The Holy Spirit is a divine Person, possessing all the attributes of personality and deity, including intellect (1 Corinthians 2:10-13 ), emotions (Ephesians 4:30 ), will (1 Corinthians 12:11 ), eternality (Hebrews 9:14 ), omnipresence (Psalm 139:7-10 ), omniscience (Isaiah 40:13-14 ), omnipotence (Romans 15:13 ), and truthfulness (John 16:13 ). ​ God's Word ​ Scripture, both Old and New Testament, is God-breathed, inspired, infallible and inerrant Word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13 ; 1 Corinthians 2:13 ; 2 Timothy 3:16 ). Scripture is the literal nature of the biblical accounts, especially regarding Christ’s miracles and the Creation account in Genesis (Genesis 1:31 ; Exodus 31:17 ). The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently applies the literal grammatical-historical method of interpretation under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 7:17 ; John 16:12-15 ; 1 Corinthians 2:7-15 ; 1 John 2:20 ). ​ Anthropology and Hamartiology (Man and Sin) ​ Humanity was created in the image of God both men and women as conceived in their mother's womb (Genesis 1:27 ; Genesis 2:7 ; Colossians 1:16 ; Psalm 103:19 ). Through Adam’s sin of disobedience to the revealed will and Word of God, man lost his innocence, incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death, and became subject to the wrath of God (John 3:36 ; Romans 3:23 ; Romans 6:23 ; 1 Corinthians 2:14 ; Ephesians 2:1-3 ; 1 Timothy 2:13-14 ; 1 John 1:8 ). Because all men were in Adam, a nature corrupted by Adam’s sin has been transmitted to all men of all ages, Jesus Christ being the only exception. All men are thus sinners by nature, by choice, and by divine declaration (Psalm 14:1-3 ; Jeremiah 17:9 ; Romans 3:9-18 , 23 ; Roman 5:10-12 ). ​ Soteriology (Salvation ) ​ Salvation is in Jesus Christ through faith alone (John 1:12 ; Ephesians 1:7 ; Ephesians 2:8-10 ; 1 Peter 1:18-19 ). The new birth and fruit of the Holy Spirit is a sign of repentance (John 3:3-7 ; Titus 3:5 ; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ; Ephesians 2:10 ; Philippians 2:12b ; Romans 6:1-22 ). ​ Separation from sin is clearly called for throughout the Old and New Testaments, and that the Scriptures clearly indicate that in the last days apostasy and worldliness shall increase (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 ; 2 Timothy 3:1-5 ). Believers should be separated unto our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 ; Hebrews 12:1-2 ) and affirm that the Christian life is a life of obedience, righteousness and a continual pursuit of holiness (Romans 12:1-2 ; 2 Corinthians 7:1 ; Hebrews 12:14 ; Titus 2:11-14 ; 1 John 3:1-10 ). Ecclesiology (The Church ) ​ ​ The water baptism by means of full immersion, and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances for believers, commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ, which are intended to be observed by the Church according to the Scripture (Acts 2:38-42 ; Acts 8:36-39 ; Acts 2:41-42 ; 1 Corinthians 11:28-32 ). The Church’s one calling is to preach the full Gospel to the non-believers and calling people to repent and believe in Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20 ; 2 Timothy 2:2 ; Matthew 3:2 ; Matthew 4:17 ; Mark 1:15 ). The Church needs to distinguish itself from the world and seek spiritual growth and holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14 ; Acts 15:19-31 ; Acts 20:28 ; 1 Corinthians 5:4-7 , 13 ; 1 Peter 5:1-4 ). The term “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman as conceived and born, in a single, exclusive union (1 Corinthians 7:2 ; 1 Corinthians 7:4 ; Ephesians 5:23 ; 1 Corinthians 7:39 ; Ephesians 5:33 ; Genesis 2:24 ; Leviticus 18:22 ; Leviticus 20:13 ; Romans 1:24-32 ; 1 Timothy 1:10 ). ​ Eschatology (The Future ) ​ Jesus’ literal and personal return to earth in power and glory is imminent ( Acts 1:9-11 ; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ; Revelation 20 ). After the tribulation period, Christ will come to earth to occupy the throne of David (Matthew 25:31 ; Luke 1:31-33 ; Acts 1:10-11 ; 2:29-30 ) and establish His messianic kingdom for a thousand years on the earth (Revelation 20:1-7 ). The bodily resurrection of the saved to eternal life (John 6:39 ; Romans 8:10-11 ; 2 Corinthians 4:14 ), and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Daniel 12:2 ; John 5:29 ; Revelation 20:13-15 ). After the closing of the millennium, the temporary release of Satan, and the judgment of unbelievers (2 Thessalonians 1:9 ; Revelation 20:7-15 ), the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God. ​

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