Doctrinal Statement

on 26 May, 2013

 This is the full doctrinal statement of the Weston Street Bible Church

 

CONSTITUTION WESTON STREET BIBLE CHURCH ROME CITY,  INDIANA

ARTICLE I -- NAME

The name of this church shall be the Weston Street Bible Church.

ARTICLE II -- ORGANIZATION

 Section 1.  Policy:  The church's government is invested in the body of believers who compose its membership.  This church shall be an independent Baptist church with its government vested in its body of baptized (immersed) believers of which the church is composed.  It shall be subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, and no denominational or associational representatives shall ever set in judgment or council over its affairs.  The policy and practice of this church shall be patterned after the churches of the New Testament.  Section 2.  Doctrine: (1)  Bibliology -- The Doctrine of Scripture  We believe that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God," by which we understand the whole of the book called the Bible; it is the revelation of God and is known as the Word of God.  It is verbally and plenarily inspired and therefore inerrant in the original autographs and thus it is infallible.  We believe the canon of Scripture to be the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament.

 a.  Verbal inspiration is that ministry of the Holy Spirit in which he so guided the authors in their writing of Scripture, even in the selection of words, so that what they wrote was preserved from all error and from all omission.  (II Peter 1:20,21; I Cor. 2:13; John 10:35; Acts 1:16)  The Holy Spirit guided in the very choice of the words used.  However, the various characteristics of the writers were employed without intrusion of error.

 b.  Plenary inspiration refers to the fullness of accuracy with which verbal inspiration is secured.  Thus, every part of the Scripture is full and equally inspired; it is the infallible Word of God.

 c.  Inerrancy of the Scripture.  We believe the Scriptures possess the quality of freedom of error.  They are exempt from the liability of mistakes, incapable of error.  In all their teachings they are in perfect accord with the truth.

 d.  Revelation of God refers to the process in which God disclosed truth which could not be known in any other way.  Since God has given to us the entire revelation, the process of revelation has already been completed.  Hence, no one is to add to or take away from the Word.  God no longer chooses to reveal to men any further or additional revelatory truth apart from or outside of the Scripture in this dispensation.

 e.  The Word of God.  Scripture is the Word of God and therefore is the only and sole authority for faith and practice for the born-again believer.

 f.  Infallibility of the Scripture.  We believe simply that the Scriptures possess an indefectible authority.  It can never fail in its judgments and statements.  All that it teaches is on unimpeachable, absolute authority, and cannot be contravened, contradicted, or gainsaid.  The Scripture is unfailing, incapable of proving false, erroneous, or mistaken.  The Scripture and its words of truth will stand forever.  It cannot be changed or destroyed.

 g.  We therefore repudiate the position which maintains that only certain portions of the Bible contain the Word of God;  we believe all portions of the Bible to be equally the Word of God.  We firmly believe all forms of new doctrines that postdate God's revelation or spring from outside His revelation are false -- Satanic.

 h.  With the doctrine of inerrancy of the Scripture, we firmly hold to the normal, literal, historical method of interpretation as opposed to the allegorical method.  The normal, literal, historical method takes into account customary figures of speech.  An example of the normal, literal, historical method:  we believe that God, by the word of His power, instantaneously created the heavens and earth out of nothing or without pre-existent materials.  We believe in creation, as revealed in Scripture, the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) each performed a distinct work.  (Gen. 1:1; John 1:1-3)  We also believe the creation took place in six literal, twenty-four hour days. (Gen. 1:5,8,13,19,23,31; Ex. 20:11)

 i.  We believe in the illumination ministry of the Holy Spirit to believers today whereby He enables us to personally receive the truth of Scripture.  (I Cor. 2:9-14)

 j.  Believers are therefore guardians of Scripture in defense against enemies both from within and without.  (Titus 1:9)

(2)  Theology -- The Doctrine of God  a.  We believe that God is Spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.

b. We believe in the one triune God: the Maker, Preserver, the Ruler of all things -- eternally existing in three persons: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, co-eternal in being, co-equal  in nature, essence,  power and glory, each with distinct personhood, but without division of nature, essence, being or communion. 

c. We believe that, even though each member of the God-head is co-equal and eternal in nature, essence, power and glory, they have primary roles or agencies in which they each function.  The primary role or agency of God the Father is He is the decree agent of the God-head (Acts 2:33, I John 2:1).   The agency of God the Son is He is that visible person of the God-head in whom the power of God is manifested: The arm of the Lord (Heb. 1:3).  The primary agency of God the Holy Spirit is He is the curator of the human conscience (I Cor 2:13) (Rev. 1:1, John 16:8, John 16:13, Isa 53:1-2).  Because of the unity which exists in the God-head, these agencies, at times, overlap. 

d. We believe that the existence of these agencies best explains the subordination in the God-head which the Scriptures reveal.  This subordination exists, not because one member of the God-head is in any way greater than the other, rather this subordination exists because God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, because of their Love for the Father, have decreed He is to be honored with that role and title of Father.  Because of the perfect love and communion which exists between the members of the God-head, the subordination of agencies in the God-head causes no tension (John 10:30).

 e.  We believe the attribute of holiness is to be considered the fundamental, governing attribute of God (Psa. 89:35) and that all other attributes must be understood in the light of His holiness.

f.   We believe that God sustains the creation by His power -- omnipotence. (Heb. 1:3)

              

 

(3)  Christology -- The Doctrine of Christ  We believe the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, the second Person in the Godhead, existing from eternity past with the Father and the Holy Spirit, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary, as no other man was born or can ever be born of woman, thus to continue forever as both very God and very man, one Person with two natures. (John 1:1,14; Luke 1:35; Phil. 2:5-8; Matt. 1:23)

a. We believe the Lord Jesus Christ is equal in nature and essence with the Father and the Holy Spirit  (II Cor. 13:14)

 b.  We believe Jesus Christ is the true God-man, (John 10:30) uniting a perfect and complete divine nature with a perfect and complete, yet sinless, human nature.  (John 1:14,18; 1:4; 8:58; Phil 2:6,7; II Cor. 5:21; I  Peter 2:22)

 c.  We believe that Christ is the Redeemer by His substitutionary or vicarious death for the redemption of sinners, in which He provided, by that one sacrifice, to the Father, unlimited satisfactory payment for all sins of all time, and thus sufficient for all men, but that this satisfactory payment results in justification only to those who accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior.  (Romans 3:25; Heb. 10:4,5,11-14; I Peter 2:22,24; Isaiah 53:5,6; John 3:16-18; I John 2:2; I Timothy 4:10)

 d.  We believe His propitiating, substitutionary death has been validated by His literal, physical, bodily, personal resurrection from the grave according to the Scripture.  Thus His voluntary substitutionary death on the Cross honored the demand of the Holiness of God; that His atonement consisted not in setting us an example by His death as a martyr, but that all who receive Him as personal Savior are justified on the ground of His shed blood. (I Cor. 15:3; II Cor. 5:21; Romans 3:21-26; 4:25)

 e.  We believe that Christ, having been resurrected with a glorified body, ascended into Heaven to be at the right hand of God to intercede for the believers as High Priest and Advocate.  We also believe that as the Judge, He will evaluate the works of the believers at the Bema (Judgment seat of Christ), and those of unbelievers at the Great White Throne Judgment. (Heb. 7:25,26; Heb. 1:3; Heb. 4:14-16; I John 2:1,2; John 5:22)

(4)  Pheumatology -- The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, His Person and Work  a.  We believe the Holy Spirit is a divine, eternal Person, and that He is not just an influence.  He is designated as the third Person in the Godhead.  Having the same nature and essence, He is equal with God the Father and the Son, being subordinate to the Father and the Son only in the distinct ministry or work which He performs in relation to both the believer and unbeliever. (Acts 5:3,4; Matt. 28.19; II Cor, 13:14; Heb. 9:14; John 15:26; John 16:13,14)

 b.  We believe the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, having intellect, emotions, and His own unique personhood. (I Cor. 2:11; Eph. 4:30; I Cor. 12:11)

 c.  We believe a present ministry of the Holy Spirit is convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.  The Holy Spirit, convicts the unrighteous of their need to believe on Christ as Savior. (; John 16:8-11)

 d.  We believe another ministry of the Holy Spirit is in relation to the total redemptive work in believers according to God's expressed will in the Scripture.  Some points concerning this ministry are:

  (1)  He is the agent of regeneration of the believers. (John 3:5-6; Titus 3:5)

  (2)  He is the agent or source whereby believers are baptized or placed into the body of Christ.  (John 1:32-34; I Cor. 12:12-13)

  (3)  He indwells the believer. (I Cor. 6:15-19)  This indwelling is simultaneous with the new birth (regeneration).

  (4)  He seals the believer with the Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of salvation. (Eph. 1:13,14; 4:30)

  (5)  He fills the believer.  By this we mean the believer is controlled by the Spirit rather than that he receives additional or more of the Spirit.  (Eph. 5:18-20; Acts 2:4)  We have received all of the Holy Spirit at the time of conversion or regeneration by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  We do not believe that this filling is a second work of grace or second blessing as some hold.  The influence which the Holy Spirit is able to orchestrate in the life of the believer is proportional to the degree to which the precepts of the Word of God are abiding upon a believer’s heart. (I John 2:14, Romans 12:1-2 Col. 1:9-10)

  (6)  He illuminates the believer with the Word of God and gives him the discernment to accept the things of the Spirit of God. (I Cor. 2:12-14)

  (7)  He instructs the believer with truth. (I John 2:27)

  (8)  He empowers the believer for service. (Acts 1:8;  Eph. 6:18-20)

  (9)  He intercedes for the believer. (Rom. 8:26)

  (10)  he will resurrect the body of all believers. (Rom. 8:11,23)

 e.  We believe by the ministry of the Holy Spirit at salvation each believer is positionally sanctified in the sight of God, experiences progressive sanctification during his lifetime, and shall be completely sanctified at his glorification. (Heb. 10:10,14; Col. 3:1,2; John 17:17; Heb. 12:10; I Thess. 5:23)

 f.  We believe some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit were temporary.  We believe that speaking in tongues is not a sign of either regeneration or sanctification, nor a necessary sign of filling or baptism of the Holy Spirit.  We believe that the gift of tongues and other Apostolic sign gifts have ceased upon the completion of the canon of Scripture  (II Cor. 2:12; I Cor. 13:8-10).

(5)  Anthropology -- The Doctrine of Man  a.  We believe God by the direct act of creation formed (or created) the first man, Adam, as a sinless creature in His image and likeness.  Eve was the first woman; she was created by God from the side of Adam.  This couple constituted the beginning of the human race. (Gen. 7:21,22; Gen. 1:25,26; Gen 2:25)

 b.  We believe man was created in the image of God and originally had no sin nature and lived in a state of innocence. (Gen. 1:31; Gen. 2:25)

 c.  We believe Adam voluntarily by personal disobedience to the revealed will of God became a sinful creature. (Gen. 3; I Tim. 2:14)

 d.  We believe Adam, as a result of this sin, lost his fellowship with God and state of purity; that he sinned and thereby incurred not only physical death, but also spiritual death which is separation from God. (Gen. 2:17; Gen. 3:1-24; Rom. 6:23)

 e.  We believe that Adam, the seminal head of the human race, by voluntary transgression fell into sin, thus plunging the whole race into condemnation and death so that now all mankind is born in sin and shapen in iniquity and become willful sinners with the first expression of personal choice and so are without excuse before God. (Rom. 5:12-21; Rom 3:12; Psa. 51:5; Eph. 2:1-3; Isaiah 64:6; I Cor. 2:14; Gen. 3:6; II Tim. 3:13; Ezekiel 18:4)

 f.  We believe that total depravity of the human race has been transmitted to the entire race of man, except Jesus Christ alone was sinless by virtue of the virgin birth.  Therefore, man not only does not possess any spark of divinity but is essentially and totally (unchangeably) depraved, having enmity against God and being incapable, by any educational process whatever, of subjection to His Law. (Jer. 17:9; John 3:6; Rom. 5:12-19; Rom. 9:6,7)

(6)  Soteriology -- The Doctrine of Salvation  a.  We believe salvation is the gift of God brought to men by His grace through the substitutionary death and bodily resurrection of Christ, as the only basis of eternal salvation of man, apart from any sacraments or good works or human merit. (Eph. 2:8,9; Titus 3:5; I Peter 1:18,19; Rom. 6:23; Rom. 4:25; Acts 4:12; Gal. 4:3,4)

 b.  We believe sanctification of believers is taught in the Scriptures as three aspects, which sanctification is but a continuous aspect or totality of salvation.  We recognize sanctification as the permanent setting apart of the born-again believers from the domain of this world.  Every born-again person has been sanctified through the death of Christ; is being sanctified by the Holy Spirit, by which He seeks to conform the believers into the image of Jesus Christ; and will be completely sanctified at his glorification when he goes to be with Christ. (Heb. 10:10,14; II Cor. 3:18; Phil. 3:21)  The basic meaning of the word "sanctification" is "to set apart”.  This setting apart is  from the guilt,  penalty, and domination of sin unto God for security, communion, and  service." (I Thess. 1:9 Eph. 2:6-7  Eph5:25-27)

 c.  We believe that the Word of God teaches the eternal security of the believer, which rests in the perfection of God’s salvation in Christ, not the imperfection of a believers earthly deportment.   We also believe that although it is the privilege of the believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation, through the testimony of God's Word, it clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to fulfill the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life. (John 10:27-30; Rom. 5:8-10; Rom. 9:16; Rom. 11:29; Heb. 7:25; Phil 1:6; II Tim. 1:12; I Peter 1:5; I John 2:15,16)

 d.  We believe the final and ultimate redemption (salvation) of every believer is glorification, which is consummated by the event identified as the "Rapture" or "catching-away" of the believers to heaven.  After the soul of the believer has been united with the resurrected, glorified body, all believers will then share the blessings of heirship with Christ throughout eternity. (Rom. 8:14-17; 28-30; II Cor. 4:17,18; I Peter 1:6-9; I Peter 4:12,13)  We also believe that glorification is based upon the divine justification, "for whom He justified, them He also glorified".

 e.  We reject all gospel invitations which demand moral reformation in any form as a prerequisite to regeneration.  We also reject all gospel invitations which demand sinners to "pray through", beg for mercy, or invite Jesus into the heart, etc.  We believe these unscriptural methods fail to focus on the only issue for the sinner:  personal appropriation of the truth of the gospel. (Rom. 3:24; Rom 3:28; Rom. 4:5; Rom. 5:9; Titus 3:5-7)

 f.  We believe that the New Birth results in regeneration, which means the Holy Spirit creating within the believer a new person at the moment of Saving Faith( Eph. 4:24).  We believe this new person is created in the image of God in righteousness and true Holiness and therefore incapable of sin (I Jn. 3:9).  The New Birth does not result in the eradication of the old man(Romans 7:24), but the introduction of a new man to which the believer is identified in Christ.  We believe that when a believer sins it is because the old man, which is not annihilated at the New Birth, is dominating the seat of the his affections (Gal. 5:16) .  We believe that Christian maturity is the result of a believer consistently abiding in fellowship with Christ, in fellowship with other believers, in the Scriptures, and in faithful Christian service.

(7) Ecclesiology -- The Doctrine of the Church  a.  The Church

  (1)  We believe that the church universal is a New Testament organism; unknown to the Old Testament prophets; established by Jesus Christ, Who is its sole Head; revealed through the holy Apostles; empowered and perpetuated by the Holy Spirit; His "body" for service and His "bride" for glory.

  (2)  We believe that the church universal, or this organism, is manifested through the local church which is a congregation of immersed believers, associated by covenant of faith and fellowship or the Gospel; observing the gifts, rights and privileges invested in it by His Word:  that its officers are pastors (or bishops or elders) and deacons; that it has the absolute right of self-government directed by the Holy Spirit and it is answerable only to Christ, and that in all matters of membership, policy, government, discipline and benevolence the will of the local church is final. (Matt. 18:16-17; Acts 20:17,28; I Cor. 1:2; I Cor. 6:4,5; I Cor. 7:17, I Cor. 11:16; I Tim. 3:1-15)

 b.  Ordinances

  (1)  We believe that there are two church ordinances:  baptism and the Lord's Supper.  The word ordinance is understood to mean:  "that which has been ordered or commanded".  We believe that these two rites are to be observed by the churches because they have been commanded to do so by the Lord Jesus until He comes to receive His own unto Himself. (Matt. 26:26-30; Matt. 28:19-20; I Cor. 11:23-26)  We do not believe that the water of baptism had anything to do with the washing away of a believer's sin; that was done by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water and is properly called "Believer's Baptism".  It sets forth in a beautiful and solemn way our faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with the effects of that faith in our lives as it produces death to sin and resurrection to a new life.  Baptism is a prerequisite to the privileges of church relation. (Acts 8:36-39; Rom. 6:3-5)

  (2)  Since the Lord's Supper is a commemoration of our Lord's death until He comes and a testimony of our continued fellowship with Him, we believe that according to the pattern in the book of Acts (even though not by specific commandment) it should be preceded by baptism and always by careful self-examination. (I Cor. 11:23-32)

(8)  Eschatology -- The Doctrine of Last Things (or Things to Come)  a.  We believe in the pre-wrath, pre-millennial Rapture of the Church in which the Lord will remove all believers from earth before He pours out His wrath upon those who have, up to that point, have refused the saving grace of God  (Rom. 5:9, I Thes. 5:9, II Thes. 2:10-12).

 b.  We believe in a thousand year, millennial reign of Christ, in Which He will rule and reign on earth over the nations with a "rod of iron".  We believe that this will happen in the future, after the rapture of the Church and the Judgment of the Nations  (Joel 3:1-4, Rev. 19:15, Psalms 2:9).

 c.  We believe that simultaneously with the rapture of the Church to their heavenly home, the Resurrection of those who have died in Christ will occur.  After that resurrection, Christ will enter into Judgment with His saints.  The purpose of that Judgment will not be to determine a persons eternal destiny, for that was fixed when  we believed, the purpose of the Judgment seat of Christ will be to determine eternal rewards and to what degree and capacity we will rule and reign with Christ during His millennial reign  ( I Thess. . 4:16-18, II Tim. 2:11-12, I Cor. 6:2).

 d.  We believe that there are two resurrections: one of the believers (righteous), and one of unbelievers.  We believe the souls of the saved (righteous ones) at death go immediately to be with Christ in heaven , where they abide in joyful fellowship with Him until His second coming (the rapture).  Then their bodies shall be raised from the grave and changed into the likeness of His glorified body.  At this time their works shall be brought before the Judgment Seat of Christ for the determination of rewards, a judgment which may issue the loss of rewards, but not the loss of salvation (Phil. 1:22-24; II Cor. 5:1-8; I Cor. 15:51-53; I Cor. 3:11-15).

 e.  We believe the souls of the unsaved (unrighteous ones) at death descend immediately into Hell (Gehenna) where they are kept under punishment until the Judgment of the Great White Throne.  This Judgment will be held at the close of the millennium, and after the casting of Satan  into the Lake of Fire at which time the bodies of the unsaved shall be raised from the grave and their souls from Hell.  Both shall be re-united to stand before the Great White Throne where they shall be judged according to their works,  and receive their just reward, which is eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire (Luke 16:19-31; Rev, 20:11-15;  Matt. 10:28).

 f.  We believe that after the Great White Throne Judgment there will be the establishment of the New Heaven and New Earth, in which believers of all ages shall forever enjoy the presence and company of their Creator-Redeemer, even the Lord Jesus Christ, and the everlasting state in which "God shall be all in all" will begin  (I Cor. 15:28; II Peter 2:10-13; Rev. 21 & 22).