Statement of Faith
*There is a short version at the top of this document and a long version with a lot of scriptural citations below it.
Statement of Faith (short version)
- There is only One God. He is the creator, is almighty, omnipresent, and omniscient.
- God is One, but He exists eternally as three persons. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We may use the word Trinity to express this.
- Jesus Christ the Son-is God and is also man. Since He is both God and man He was able to become the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. We should not deny His humanity or divinity. His resurrection is proof of his identity, humanity, and divinity.
- Anyone can receive eternal life by having faith in Jesus Christ. By faith alone apart from any works or anything in addition to faith in Christ (this does not mean works are not important for our Christian lives, but it means that salvation does not come through good works. Blessing, reward in heaven, and other good things can come through good works, but not salvation. Salvation is a free gift. The greatest gift humanity has ever received. It’s a gift we don’t deserve. It’s God’s grace that Jesus paid such a high price to give us and shows the measure of God's love for us)
- God’s words are amazing, immeasurably-deep, and flawless when understood by the Holy Spirit. They originate from God and we have no right to add anything to them or take anything away from. All scripture from Genesis to Revelation is useful, helpful, and lets us know everything we need to know about our spiritual lives. They are good soul food. All the words in the Bible have some importance for our spiritual lives and/or our physical lives in this world, but some topics are more important than others and we need to learn how to prioritize in accordance with God's will, while also not underestimating the importance of the more minor points of faith-and integrating these minor point into our overall faith in accordance with God's will. The Holy Spirit can help us do this as we pray for His help (Colossians 4:12, Acts 20:27).
- God-centered faith, eternal-life centered faith, discipleship centered faith.
- The Church is the body of Christ that is composed of different parts (people) and Jesus is the head (leader) of the body.
- Jesus commanded us to remember Him and abide in Him through taking the Lord’s Supper and He also commanded us to Baptize people by immersion in water. These are not man-made rituals, but God-given commands that are good for our souls and that have a purpose.
- The second coming of Jesus Christ will occur and no one knows the day or the hour of His return so Christians are told to always be ready by living according to God’s will and having our clothing (good deeds) with us. People put on special clothing to prepare for special occasions and the Bible tells us that (in addition to other things) good deeds are the clothing God wants us to wear to prepare for this meeting with the Lord Jesus when He comes again.
- The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and scriptural experiences with God belong to all believers as much today as they did during the early Church period.
- Sound in Spirit. We must make sure that all manifestations of God’s presence and power are scripturally backed and scripturally sound. We must successfully distinguish between what is from God and what is from deceiving spirits that try to invade the Church and deceive believers into thinking that their influence or manifestations are from God. One will bring order and the other will bring chaos. One will build up the Church and make it spread and the other will tear it down and make it fail in its mission. One will bring confusion and the other will enlighten our understanding and practice of scripture. Let us discern and be victorious.
Statement of Faith (Long Version)
There is only One God. He is the creator of all things that were created and He is the only One who was not created. He always existed, always will, and there is no other besides Him. He is almighty, omnipresent, and omniscient. (Mark 12:21, 1 Timothy 2:5, John 1:3, Psalm 146:6, Jeremiah 32:17, Revelation 4:11, John 1:1, Hebrews 1:2, Rev. 1:8, 2 Chron. 6:18, 1 John 3:20, Hebrews 4:13, Romans 11:33)
God is One, but He exists as One God as three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They always existed as One and are inseparable. Although the Bible does not use the word, “Trinity”, the word Trinity expresses God’s explanation of Himself that we find in the Bible-this explanation clearly shows that God exists as One God as three persons. Reading whole books in the Bible such as the gospel of John and the whole Bible and/or whole New Testament will make this more clear than cherry-picking verses. (Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:14, John 17:3, 1 John 5:20, Matthew 12:32-Notice that speaking against the Son is blaspheme because the Son is God and speaking against the Holy Spirit is also blaspheme)
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. He was born through a virgin birth. He was revealed as 100% man and 100% God. He was seen and touched by mass numbers of people who testified to his humanity and divinity. He had to become flesh to die and shed blood and save us. Eternal life is knowing Him (as 100% God and 100% man) and in knowing God the Father who sent Him. We know God the Father through the Son of God Jesus Christ. (Matthew 1:18-25, John 1:1, John 1:14, John 20:28, 1 John 5:20, 1 John 1:1-2, 1 Corinthians 15:6, 2 Corinthians 4:4b, Hebrews 1:3, John 17:3, John 5:24) Anyone who denies the humanity or divinity of the Son or denies the Father is outside God’s promise of salvation.
Extra Note**:People do not need to have a deep knowledge of God’s words about the Son, the Father, and the Holy Spirit to have salvation. They only need a basic understanding and humble faith enabled by the Holy Spirit. Once they are saved they can learn more. People in the gospels met Jesus briefly and were saved; Paul had advanced knowledge to teach which is useful in many ways, but is not necessary for salvation nor should anyone be conceited or arrogant about their knowledge.**
Salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Faith that He is our Lord and Savior who was sent by the Father and testified to by the Holy Spirit. It is His merit that saves us and not our own so no one can boast. He saves a more wicked person and a less wicked person-He wants all the people of all the nations to be saved. He commands repentance, turning from unbelief and sins when someone believes in Him for salvation. Repentance is important, but it’s not regarded as any merit of our own being added to Jesus’ merit. He became the atoning sacrifice for the sins of all people of all nations and saved us because we could not save ourselves by any means at all. God did this because He loves us and wants us to please Him, glorify Him, and be with Him forever. We are not saved by faith and baptism (although we do get baptized by immersion) or faith and works or faith + anything. We all live by the grace of God. Those that are saved will go to heaven to be with God forever and those that are not saved will go to the lake of fire which is the second death/hell with the devil and is angels. The Universe and the Earth will pass away, but heaven where the Son is seated on the throne will not pass away. (Galatians 2:16, Romans 3:21-31, John 6:29, Romans 10:9-10, Acts 16:31, Acts 4:12, John 3:16, Mark 1:15, Acts 3:19, 2 Peter 3:18, 2 Timothy 2:4, Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:19, 1 John 2:2, Matthew 24:35, Matthew 25:41, Revelation 20:14-15, Luke 10:20)
God words originate from God, they are flawless, infallible, and perfect. They show us how to be saved, how to live according to God’s will, they give us knowledge, and they contain promises God has given us. They can transform individual Christian lives and make a person more and more like Jesus so that God’s will, will done on Earth as in Heaven. Each part of the 66 books of the Bible are God’s revealed words that lead us to Jesus and help us spiritually. God will not transcend (add to or subtract from or contradict) this revelation in the Bible so any experience a person may have with God during their Christian life will agree with the Bible if it is truly from God. Any books that attempt to distort the Bible must also be rejected (2 Peter 3:16). All Christian books, sermons, Bible studies, conversations, ect. must be Biblically accurate. They must be Sola Scriptura as Martin Luther said. Also, we cannot truly understand God’s words in the Bible nor use them correctly without the help of the Holy Spirit-He is the Spirit of truth who guides us into all truth (God’s words are truth-John.17:17), and He only speaks what He hears from the Father (John. 16:13), and He advocates (testifies) about Jesus (John 15:26, Matthew 16:17, I Corinthians 2:9-16, 2 Peter 1:20-21, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, John 5:39, Psalm 18:30, 2 Corinthians 1:20, Revelation 22:18-19, Matthew 7:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2, Hebrews 1:1-2, John 12:49, 2 Peter 1:16, Luke 1:1-4, Hebrews 2:3, Romans 12:2, Ephesians 5:26-27, John 17:17, Matthew 28:19-20, 1 John 2:6, Luke 6:40, Revelation 2-3). God wants us to obey all His commands and to overcome the world-the world is against His commands, knowledge and promises.
Extra Note**:Understanding God’s words deeply and accurately and closely adhering to them should be the ambition of all Christians. When Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11) He didn’t respond by saying “Well, it’s just obvious you’re wrong.” or “That doesn’t sound like a good idea to me.” He just strictly adhered to the word of God in every situation which is what He did during His entire life on Earth and it’s what we should aim to do as well. Our faith is 100% based on the word of God and 0% based on human tradition (Colossians 2:20-23).**
All Christians should be God-centered, salvation-centered, and discipleship-centered. God loves us and has given us so much, but we ultimately exist for his glory and for Him. We should spend enough time recognizing that though He works for our good and is our good shepherd we exist for Him (Colossians 1:16, Romans 11:36, Matthew 6:13, Philippians 2:13 NKJV, Revelation 4:11). Christians that see God at the center of it all (all creation and existence) will have a better attitude in God’s sight than Christians that see themselves at the center of it all. Sharing God’s words with people and making disciples were central activities during Jesus’ public ministry, a central topic that Jesus spoke about after His resurrection and before His ascension, and a central activity of the early Church. Therefore, it’s God’s will for all Christians to live to contribute to the collective work of saving souls by witnessing of Jesus and making disciples. Individual Christians may contribute in different ways depending on which part of the body of Christ each one is (Matthew 4:23, Matthew 9:35, Matthew 10:1-33, Luke 10:1-12, Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-20, Acts 1:8, Acts 4:29, Acts 6:4, Acts 8:1/Acts 8:4, Acts 28:31, 2 Timothy 2:1, Hebrews 5:12-6:3, Ephesians 4:11-4:16, Colossians 1:28-2:3, Ephesians 5:27, I Corinthians 12:27, I Corinthians 12:12-31, Romans 12:3-8).
The Church is the body of Christ. God wants individual Christians to gather and work together as He directs them. Every Christian is a part of the body of Christ, every Christian has a God-assigned function (could be more than one) in the body of Christ, and every Christian is important. We should be careful not to overestimate or underestimate the importance of any part of the body of Christ (Romans 12:3, 1 Corinthians 12:24, 1 Corinthians 12:21). A group of believers functioning together is called a Church. The better the Church fits God’s design in the Bible for individual parts working and functioning together, the better the Church is; the further the Church is from this design the worse the Church is. We see in the Bible that it’s God’s will for there to be various parts of the body of Christ such as overseers (can also be called Pastors-Ephesians 4:11) and deacons (for the Church to respect and obey), teachers, those with gifts of administration, those that focus on serving, those that focus on praying for others, those that focus on helping financially, those that focus on encouraging, the works are so various that I think they are only broadly mentioned in the Bible rather than specifically mentioned. For example, being a “teacher” is mentioned, but being a teacher specifically of people over 70 or under 10 is not mentioned and neither is being a teacher of ex-cons or college students. I think that it was not necessary for God to add 1000’s (+) of pages to the Bible to specifically mention them all, but each part of the body of Christ does something that is within ‘everything Jesus commanded’ and within God’s will in the Bible and doesn’t go beyond it and should not be acting on some distorted understanding of it. Figuring this out can be challenging and may require careful study of the Bible, ongoing and intense prayer, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and guidance from well-trained leaders. Jesus is the head of the body of Christ and the true master of the body of Christ-leaders are called by God and ordained in order to arrange things in the Church according to the true masters will (Ephesians 4:11, Ephesians 4:11-16, I Corinthians 12:1-31, Romans 12:3-8, Colossians 4:12, Hebrews 10:25, Luke 10:1, Acts 12:2, Acts 1:14, Acts 15:22, Hebrews 13:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13.) The Church can overcome all the forces in the world that are against it: corrupted angels, demons, contrary ideas and ideologies, temptation, persecution, and any people or institutions that have come under the control of the devil and started to oppose the Church. Jesus promised that we can overcome all these things just as He overcame as we rely on Him (Matthew 16:18, 1 John 5:4, John 16:33, 1 Peter 5:9, Romans 8:31-39, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, Ephesians 6:10-18).
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper may seem like ‘rituals’ to people who aren’t Christians, but these are God-given commands that the Church must obey without any alteration. Baptism is done by immersion in water and the person being baptized should receive salvation first and be given a basic (or detailed) Biblical explanation of what Baptism is and why it’s done before the baptism takes place. People are not to be baptized on the basis of their parent’s faith or someone else’s faith, but on that of their own faith. Some have suggested that this has to be done in a river because there are many occurrences of baptisms taking place in a river in the Bible, but I believe the following verse shows that any water where people can respectfully be immersed will do (Acts 8:36). Respecting God’s commands is respecting God. New believers should be baptized immediately or soon after they receive Jesus as Lord and Savior (Acts 16:31-33, Acts 22:16). Every occurrence of Baptism in the Bible was by immersion and never by sprinkling. Sprinkling is from man, baptism by immersion is from God. When we are saved we are born-again so the old-self, the unbeliever, that was in Adam and in spiritual death-we died to that self and now we live by Christs’ eternal life as the new self. Of course we are the same person, but we have a new identity and a new status before God as His adopted child when we are born again. Our souls are no longer dead in sin, but alive in Christ. We are not saved by baptism, but baptism is obedience to the Lord’s command and when we get baptized we recognize our new status before God because of our salvation. It is outward expression (and testimony) of our inward faith to glory of God. Only those that are saved get baptized. We recognize the new identity that we have in Christ, and of the death of the old self, and that we are born-again as the new self that belongs to Christ and calls God “Father.” We recognize that just as Christ died so we died to sin (we were buried with Him-Romans 6:3-4), we are no longer in Adam (spiritually dead and condemned to hell), and just as Christ lives so we live with Him (our souls live with God’s eternal life and we are bound for heaven) and because of Him (Galatians 2:20). We should be that much more detached from the world and that much more attached to God after baptism, though we still have free will. When we are baptized we should recognize our new status before God while understanding that we not saved by baptism. Baptism is to be done in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit so anyone being baptized needs to have at least a basic understanding and acknowledgement of the Trinity-One God/3 Persons (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). Not only the Father, not only the Son, and not only the Holy Spirit, but all of them-this is what Jesus commanded. (Matthew 3:16, Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 2:41, Acts 8:12, Acts 16:22, Acts 16:31-32, Colossians 2:12, 1 Peter 1:23, Romans 6:1-18, Ephesians 2:5-6, Colossians 2:13, Romans 8:15). Jesus commanded us to keep having the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Him. When we do so, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he returns and we acknowledge the New Covenant in His blood. Eating His flesh and drinking His blood is believing in Him and believing in His words (Matthew 4:4, John 6:53-58, John 6:63, John 6:47, John 15:30). Those who believe in Jesus and His words live in Him and He in them. In terms of the Lord’s Supper, believing Jesus words to take the Lord’s Supper and practicing them is eating His flesh and drinking His blood. Only those who believe in Him unto salvation should practice this command. Many Churches teach that this is a symbolic act, and I don’t teach this myself, but I am not really against this teaching. I respect that there is potential Biblical evidence for this point of view and I don’t want to be contentious about this. I hope that if we are mostly ‘on the same page’ about this we can still work together for the sake of saving many souls. I don’t need to teach anything about my interpretations of the Lord’s Supper in another Church that has been teaching an interpretation that is a little different. If asked, I can mention what we agree about and not mention any slight disagreements. But the following matter is not so slight. The bread and wine/grape juice does not literally transform into Jesus body and blood-created things cannot become the Creator. That’s not what Jesus meant. Some believe that the Lord’s Supper must be taken with unleavened bread, but I don’t think so. Unleavened bread was necessary for the Passover during the Old Testament times, but no such command is given for the Lord’s Supper. There does not seem to be specific instruction about this for gentile believers in the New Testament. If some Churches want to use unleavened bread because Jesus may have passed around unleavened bread during the first Lord’s Supper, I think that’s fine as long as they don’t confuse the Passover and the Lord’s Supper. Jesus Himself is our Passover Lamb. So we no longer need a literal lamb or unleavened bread. We have Jesus the reality during the New Testament period rather than symbols of Jesus as they had during the Old Testament times (Hebrews 10:1, Colossians 2:7). Any bread will do, but I think it’s better to not use bread or wine/grape juice that tastes so good or is so impressive that it might make people focus on the taste of the bread or wine/grape juice itself rather than on obeying the command and remembering Jesus. I suppose if it tastes bad enough, that might also be distracting. Disrespecting this command is seen as disrespecting the One who gave us this command. If anyone eats a lot as if it were a meal to be gluttonously enjoyed or gets drunk because they don’t recognize the body and blood of the Lord during the Lord’s Supper (faith in the body and blood of the Lord) they eat and drink judgement on themselves. Anyone who takes the Lord’s Supper without recognizing the body and blood of the Lord eats and drinks judgement on themselves. Most Churches use non-alcoholic grape juice rather than alcoholic wine. Although I think Jesus probably used alcoholic wine during the first Lord’s Supper (if so, who knows what the alcohol content was, it may have been very slight and I think alcohol was more commonly used for things other than partying and binge-drinking back then). There was no refrigeration in those days in the past and I suspect that low proof wine was often used the way juice might be used today to refresh oneself when one is tired and was used for purposes other than getting drunk. The wine Jesus used was from grapes and I believe grape juice works fine for the Lord’s Supper. In fact, I think nonalcoholic grape juice is better because if Christians taste alcohol they may be inclined to drink it at other times and on other occasions and this can lead to sin and getting drunk is a sin in itself (Ephesians 5:18). Furthermore, some Christians may also have had problems with alcoholism which is just one more reason to use grape juice. It’s better for people to have the Lord’s Supper often in order to firmly abide in His command and keep being reminded of the price Jesus paid for us, that should be balanced with enough time to obey other commands and live according to all of God’s will for us (Matthew 28:20, Luke 22:17-20, I Corinthians 11:26, I Corinthians 11:20-34, Acts 20:7).
Jesus promised to return. No one knows the day or the hour of His return and if anyone does claim to know they’ve been deceived. The Son Himself does not even know, but only the Father (Matthew 24:26), so anyone who claims to know is incredibly arrogant or ignorant of scripture. It’s because we don’t know that we should live as He commanded us to live and watch and be ready for His coming. We do know that there will be signs indicating that His return is drawing near. I think the signs He mentioned such as “earthquakes in various places”, “wars and roomers or wars”, “famines”, “the roaring and tossing of the sea” (Matthew 24:6-7, Luke 21:25, Matthew 24:32-33) are things that have been happening throughout history in different parts of the world, but I think that somehow when these things happen because His coming is near it will be different. Perhaps they will occur in greater frequency and/or intensity. Jesus commanded the believers to be His witnesses to all nations, to preach the gospel to all creation (all humans/all nations (people groups), and that the gospel must be preached to all nations first before He returns (Matthew 24:14). Since the world has become globalized and the gospel is already spread throughout most of the world we really don’t know when Jesus will come back and we should live ready. A person that is very close to God and to scripture might be able to interpret how world events relate to the return of Jesus Christ enough to say that he or she thinks He is coming soon, but in my experience, people that try to do this are usually off, sometimes very off and it makes unbelievers scoff at the Church. Although, I think the scoffing was also predicted (2 Peter 3:3). When the Lord comes, His faithful believers will meet Him in the air and the whole world will experience a tribulation that will be worse than any other tribulation(s) that humanity has ever experienced. God will spare His faithful believers from this tribulation, but He will not spare unbelievers from it. I am more careful about interpreting scripture in the book of Revelation and Biblical end time prophesies than any other topic/part(s) of the Bible. I am confident of the meaning of some verses, I am honestly not sure what some other verses mean, and I am very ‘shy’ about connecting real world events to end time Biblical prophesies. They will all be fulfilled, but I don’t have a perfect understanding of every verse and when I see world events that may be the fulfillment of Biblical prophesy I think, “maybe” and sometimes “more maybe” (haha) which just reminds me that Jesus will come back at some point and we don’t know when so we should live a faithful Christian life. The Jews were once waiting for the first coming of the Messiah and I am pretty sure a lot of people scoffed-especially since impostors came first. Jesus said His gospel must go to all nations at a time when Christianity was represented by only Jesus and His flawed disciples; at a time when the educated people, the scholars, and others would probably have thought such a thing was preposterous and impossible and would have scoffed. But against all odds, Jesus words about the gospel spreading have been being fulfilled and now it’s already spread throughout the world and is still spreading. Unbelievers and secularized Christians today do not take the return of Jesus seriously and some of them scoff at His return and make videos of clothes with no people in them to mock the idea, but Jesus is coming soon and everything the Bible says will happen is going to happen. They remind me of people on the Titanic who trusted in the science that build the ship and thought the ship would never sink. (Matthew 24:1-51, Luke 21:5-36, Mark 13:1-37, Acts 2:19-21, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8, Daniel 12:1-2, Daniel chapters 7-12 [parts of these chapters in Daniel may relate to the events of past empires, but surely much of it if not all of it relates to end-time events; parts may refer to both past and future events], Revelation 7:14, Revelation chapters 1-22).
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit (John 14:17, Acts 2:1-4, Acts 8:14-17, Acts 10:44-48, Acts 19:1-7) the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-11, Romans 12:6-8), the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 6:22-23), the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 4:1, Acts 16:9-10, Acts 16:16) and experiencing God according to what’s written in Biblical scripture. Experiences verify the truth of scripture (Mark 16:20), help people to believe in scripture (John 4:48), help people in ways that are so desperately needed (Luke 13:15-16, Acts 27:21-25, Acts 12:5-11, Mark 8:1-8, and so many more examples in the Bible) as well as enable the Church to successfully carry out God’s will (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5, I Corinthians 14:12b). If we carefully review all the verses in the New Testament rather than cherry pick a few here and there it’s pretty clear that believers should continue to experience God and receive the Holy Spirit (be Baptized by the Holy Spirit) and pray in tongues as the apostles and everyone in the early Church did (Acts 1:15, Acts 1:4). It’s clear in scripture that we should continue to operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit since they are available to anyone who believes and not just to some believers (yes, some believers are better suited for some gifts than others, but Paul said by the Holy Spirit, “I would like everyone one of you to speak in tongues” so there are some gifts that everyone can have; I Corinthians 14:5, I Corinthians 12:11).
Sound in Spirit (sound in the Holy Spirit). There are a lot of other spirits in this world and some of these spirits try to deceive Christians into thinking that their influence, power or voice is God’s influence power or voice and some try to pretend to be God’s angels (I Corinthians 11:14, Matthew 4:5-7, Acts 19:15, Acts 16:16-19, Matthew 7:22-23, Revelation 22 18-19). Every experience with God and with the Holy Spirit must have sound Biblical backing and strict discernment of spirits for us to accept it and be certain that it’s from God (Acts 2:14-21, I Corinthians 14:21, Jeremiah 28, Deuteronomy 18:20, I Kings 22, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, Revelation 2:20, 1 John 4:1, I Corinthians 12:10). It is important to not quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19-23) and let God do what He wants to do (Acts 7:51-52), but it is also important to successfully make a distinction between what God is really saying and doing and what deceiving spirits are saying and doing or there will be a lot of problems in the Church. Some radios get a better reception than others and some Christians are better at discernment of spirits than others so we put the word of God first even though the Holy Spirit is just as important as the word of God for our lives of faith and for our service to God and people. Because even the Christians who are not so good at discernment of spirits can as least grasp God’s words with their minds and speak it to others with their minds during those times when they may feel ‘not so inspired’ by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16NKJV, Matthew 10:20). We should always seek to understand God’s words by the Holy Spirit and speak them by the Holy Spirit as much as we can do so, but if there are times when we are not so spiritual at least we can rely on what we already know to be true in the Bible until we can get inspired by the Holy Spirit again. The Holy Spirit remains in us, but we do not always feel Him controlling and speaking through us all the time because we are imperfect and sometimes resist God a little or a lot. The Holy Spirit will never contradict God’s words and this is another way that we know that what we believe is true. Living according to God’s will, knowing God’s words very well, obeying God, being humble, praying for God’s help with discernment of spirits, repenting for any influence false spirit may have had over us, and commanding false spirits to go away in Jesus name can help us stay sound in the Holy Spirit and avoid dangerous and disrespectful misrepresentations of God. We can’t successfully lead the Church or lead our Christian lives without the help of the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, we must grow to maturity and learn to distinguish what is from God and what isn’t. We do not want people to be overly suspicious when someone tries to speak or act by the Holy Spirit, but letting deceiving spirits work can be like idolatry without some Christians even realizing it so I think it’s a more important issue than some realize. We are certainly not anti-Pentecostal here. The Pentecostal movement is good in so many ways because (among other things) it asserts experiencing parts of the Bible that were often previously ignored, but the Pentecostal movement has been going on for a long time now and we (in this ministry) think quite a few Churches within that movement need reform. We do not seek to set ourselves above others or feel superior by saying this because we are not superior and because even if were, that attitude in itself is totally contrary to God’s will. But, we tend to emphasize the importance of being sound in Spirit more than a lot of other Pentecostal Churches. Let this part of the statement of faith never become a way of trying to elevate ourselves, but only a way of continually being zealous for the Holy Spirit and experiences with God on the one hand and being sound in Spirit on the other hand. Such is one of the main goals that we work at and want to maintain. I think some might disagree with me and think that believers cannot be deceived because Jesus said, “…my sheep know my voice…” and “…they will never listen to a stranger…” (John 10:3-4), but I believe we must search out the meaning of these verses in John 10 in light of other related verses and in light of experiencing what’s going on in the Churches and in the world (how scriptures relate to what we see in the Churches and the world). Hebrews 5:14 “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” It means that believers that are not mature yet may not be able to distinguish good from evil in every situation. Whatever else this verse means-God’s words that the Holy Spirit works upon are good and contrary actions and ideas that evil spirits try to perpetuate are evil. Ephesians 4:14 “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” Believers may be mature in some areas of God’s instructions (words) and not in others (Mark 4:28). Some will reach maturity in other areas, but never in discernment of spirits which is more reason why we need to know the Bible very well to help keep us on track. I believe that if we examine John 10:3-4 in light of Hebrews 5:14 and Ephesians 4:14 we can gather that if believers are living in God’s will and mature in discernment of spirits they will easily know the Lord’s voice (or influence) and easily know to reject a stranger’s voice (or influence). Paul spoke by the Holy Spirit and told the elders of Churches (elders are usually better trained than the average believer and more mature) to “keep watch over themselves and all the flock” because Paul knew that after he would leave them “savage wolves will come in and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them” and therefore they should “be on their guard” (Acts 20:25-31). I think this means that as long as Paul was there, these ‘truth distorters’ could not come into the Church because he was more mature in knowledge, discernment of spirits, more experienced in leadership, ect…whatever the reason why they couldn’t come in while Paul was there it seems that it would be harder for the elders to keep them out than for Paul to keep them out because Paul was more mature than those elders. If you are a Church leader and are like me, you are not as mature or capable as Paul, but what we can do is make a lot of effort for the sake of the Lord’s sheep. To discern what is Biblically accurate and what is not and what is sound in Spirit and what is not.
Extra Note**:I really hope you do not relate what I mentioned above about “truth distorters” to me because I think the content of this document and the time and effort that I put into shows how dedicated I am to teaching God’s words accurately, teaching about the Holy Spirit accurately and to keeping falsehood out of the Church. Haven’t I proven that my points are backed by the Bible? Can anyone prove to me that anything I have said in this document is wrong by using only the Bible? If not or if you agree with me already then that means I am right so let’s work together as much as it’s God’s will for us to work together. Let us not work against each other since we have the same Lord Jesus and we are all parts of His body and He is the head of that body. Let’s work together so that we might have a harvest for the sake of those souls and for God to be glorified. Christ’s love compels us. Even if your Churches statement of faith is a little different than the one here, I hope we can still work together because we agree about the more important topics of faith and because I have backed up my points with a lot of scripture. Let us love one another with God’s love and work together to spread that love to those who haven’t experienced it yet. In a lot of cases, we achieve more when we work together than when work separately just as more parts of our human bodies working together can enable us to be more functional and productive.