West Lisbon Church Doctrinal Statement
We last revised our doctrine at the January 26th, 2014 Annual Meeting.
I. The Scriptures
We believe that “all Scripture is inspired by God” which includes the Old and New Testaments and came through men “moved by the Holy Spirit” and is the complete revelation of God. We believe the Scriptures are verbally and completely inspired, infallible, and inerrant in the original manuscripts and are the supreme authority in faith and life (II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:21; Ephesians 2:20; John 14:26; Revelation 22:18, 19).
II. The Godhead
A. The Father
We believe the Fatherhood of God in the following areas as described by Scripture: God as the Father of all creation (Ephesians 3:14, 15; Acts 17:29; I Corinthians 8:6), God the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:17; Ephesians 1:3; Galatians 4:4), and God as the Father of all who believe in Jesus as Savior (John 1:12; Galatians 3:26).
B. The Son
We believe Jesus Christ, the eternal Son, begotten of the Father, is the image of the invisible God. To accomplish our redemption, He took upon Himself the form of a man, being conceived of the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary. By His perfect obedience, substitutionary death on the cross, He has purchased our redemption. He arose from the dead for our justification in the body in which He was crucified. He ascended into heaven where He is now seated at the right hand of God, the Father, as our interceding High Priest. He will come a second time personally, bodily and visibly, to gather the believers unto Himself and to establish His millennial kingdom. Finally, He will judge the living and the dead and make an eternal separation between believers and unbelievers (Matthew 1:18-25; Matthew 25:31-46; Luke 24; Acts 1:9-11; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 4:14-16; Colossians 1:15; I Peter 2:24-25; I Thessalonians 4:16-18; John 8:58; John 1:1-2; I John 2:1-2; Revelation 11:15-17; Revelation 11-15; Revelation 20:4-6).
C. The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is eternally one and equal with the Father and the Son and also possessing personal attributes. He has had part in creation, revelation, and inspiration. Although His ministry in the Old Testament was limited, at Pentecost He came to indwell believers and form the Body of Christ (Matthew 28:19; John 15:26; I Corinthians 6:19; I Corinthians 2:9-10; John 14:16-17, 26; Acts 2; II Timothy 3:16).
We believe the ministries of the Holy Spirit are convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, regenerating, indwelling and baptizing believers into Christ and the Church, sealing, and filling those believers who yield themselves to Him. In addition, He restrains the evil of the world until the appointed time, empowers for service, teaches and enlightens believers in God’s revealed Word, sanctifies guides, assures Christians of their relationship to God, and intercedes for believers (John 16:7-11; I Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 4:30; Ephesians 5:18; II Thessalonians 2:6,7; I Corinthians 12:7-11; John 16:13-15; I Corinthians 2:9-10; Romans 15:16; Romans 8:14, 16, 26).
We believe that man was created as a result of the spoken Word of God in the image and likeness of God and not as a result of an evolutionary process. Adam and Eve are the historical parents of the entire human race and enjoyed complete fellowship with God, but through the temptation from Satan, disobeyed God and sinned, resulting in spiritual and physical death. We believe that all human beings (the man Christ Jesus alone being excepted) are born with a sinful nature transmitted from Adam and that we are sinful through our nature and actions (Genesis 1:26, 27; Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:10; Genesis 3; Psalm 14:1-3; Psalm 51:5; Ephesians 3:2; Romans 8:6,7; Ephesians 2:1-3; I Timothy 5:6; Romans 5:12-18; I Corinthians 15:21,22; II Corinthians 11:3; Genesis 3:19; Genesis 2:16, 17).
We believe that man is eternally separated from God because of sin and that the only way we can have fellowship with God or enter the kingdom of God is by believing that Jesus Christ, who was made to be sin for us, died a substitutionary death, totally satisfying God’s wrath on our sin and, at that point, we are born into a new relationship with God by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 26:28; John 1:12; Romans 1:16,17; Romans 5:6-9; II Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3; Galatians 6:11-15; Ephesians 2:8,9; I Peter 1: 18, 19, 23).
We believe that our redemption has been accomplished by grace through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and that “He has saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy” and having entered that relationship with Him, He has introduced us into His body, through the Spirit, blessing us with all spiritual blessings and absolutely complete in Him, needing nothing more to live a life glorifying Him (I Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 2:10, Ephesians 1:3).
We also believe that all who are born again through faith in Christ can be assured of their salvation based on the promises in God’s Word (Hebrews 10:22; I John 5:11-13; I Timothy 1:12).
V. The Church
We believe that God has “called out” a universal new Body of people which began at Pentecost, who are united in Jesus Christ which is the Church, or the Bride of Christ. The membership into this body is only through the Holy Spirit at the point of salvation. We believe as commanded by Christ, that “called out” ones meet, organize and devote themselves to the preaching of the Word, fellowship, prayer, and the building up of the Body of Christ (Ephesians 3:5,6; Romans 12:5; I Corinthians 12:12-27; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2; II Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Corinthians 15:51; I Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 4:12; Hebrews 10:24,25; Ephesians 2:14,15; Acts 2:42-47; Colossians 3:14-16).
We believe that Christ instituted the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Communion) as testimonies for the Church (Matthew 28:19; Luke 22:19, 20; Acts 10:44-48; I Corinthians 11:26).
Baptism is commanded by Christ and practiced by the Church as an identification with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. We believe that infants may also be baptized, thereby identifying with Christ. At the same time, we firmly believe that all, who having reached an age of accountability, must have a conscious experience of sin and saving grace. Through the Word, both the law and gospel, God convicts of sin and bestows His grace in Christ unto the forgiveness of sin to all who repent and believe (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38,41; Acts 22:16; Romans 10:9; Romans 6:4; Hebrews 10:22; I Corinthians 6:11; Mark 16:16; Acts 8:13, 36; Acts 10:43ff; Acts 16:33; I John 5:12).
We believe that the Lord’s Supper (Communion) was instituted for the Church by the command of Christ on the night before His death as he gathered with the disciples to eat the Passover meal. We believe that through the Lord’s Supper believers are to remember Christ’s redemptive death on the cross, their present fellowship with Him, and the anticipation of His return. Believers must examine themselves for any improper spiritual condition which is to participate in “an unworthy manner” thus resulting in the chastising judgment of God. (Mark 26:17ff; Mark 14:12ff; Luke 22:7ff; I Corinthians 11:24-26; Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 11:14, 27, 28, 30-32).
VII. Future Things
We believe that, according to the Word of God, the next great event in the fulfillment of prophecy will be the coming of the Lord in the air to receive to Himself into heaven both His own who are alive and remain unto His coming and also all who have fallen asleep in Jesus and that this event is the blessed hope set before us in the Scripture, and for this we should be constantly looking (John 14:1-3; I Corinthians 15:51-52; Philippians 3:20; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:11-14).
A. The Second Coming of Christ
We believe that the period of the Great Tribulation in the earth will be climaxed by the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth as He went, in person on the clouds of heaven, and with power and great glory to introduce the millennial age, to bind Satan and place him in the abyss, to lift the curse which now rests upon the whole creation, to restore Israel to her own land, to give her the realization of God’s covenant promises, and to bring the whole world to the knowledge of God (Deuteronomy 30:1-10: Ezekiel 37:21-28; Matthew 24:15-17; Romans 8:19-23; Romans 11:25-27; Revelation 20:1-3).
B. Eternal State
We believe that at death the spirits and souls of those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus for salvation pass immediately into His presence and there remain in conscious bliss until the resurrection of the glorified body when Christ comes for His own, whereupon soul and body reunited shall be associated with Him forever in glory; but the spirits and souls of the unbelieving remain after death conscious of condemnation and in misery until the final judgment of the Great White Throne at the close of the millennium, when soul and body reunited shall be cast into the lake of fire, not to be annihilated, but to be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from glory of His power (Luke 16:19-26; Luke 23:42; II Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; II Thessalonians 1:7-9; Jude 6, 7; Revelation 20:11-15).
Marriage is a covenant, a sacred bond between a man and a woman instituted by and publicly entered into before God and normally consummated by sexual intercourse. God’s plan for the marriage covenant involves at least the following five vital principles:
A. The Permanence of Marriage:
Marriage is intended to be permanent, since it was established by God (Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:9). Marriage represents a serious commitment that should not be entered into lightly or unadvisedly. It involves a solemn promise or pledge, not merely to one’s marriage partner, but before God. Divorce is not permitted except in a very limited number of biblically prescribed circumstances.
B. The Sacredness of Marriage:
Marriage is not merely a human agreement between two consenting individuals (a “civil union”); it is a relationship before and under God (Genesis 2:22). Hence, a “same-sex marriage” is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. Since Scripture universally condemns homosexual relationships. God will never sanction a marital bond between two members of the same sex.
C. The Intimacy of Marriage:
Marriage is the most intimate of all human relationships, uniting a man and a woman in a “one-flesh” union (Genesis 2:23 -25). Marriage involves “leaving” one’s family of origin and “being united” to one’s spouse, which signifies the establishment of a new family unit distinct from the two originating families. While “one flesh” suggests sexual intercourse and normally procreation, at its very heart the concept entails the establishment of a new kinship relationship between two previously unrelated individuals (and families) by the most intimate of human bonds.
D. The Mutuality of Marriage:
Marriage is a relationship of free self-giving of one human being to another (Ephesians 5:25-30). The marriage partners are to be first and foremost concerned about the wellbeing of the other person and to be committed to each other in steadfast love and devotion. This involves the need for forgiveness and restoration of the relationship in the case of sin. Mutuality, however, does not mean sameness in role. Scripture is clear that wives are to submit to (respect) their husbands and to serve as their “suitable helpers,” while husbands are to bear the ultimate responsibility for the marriage before God (Ephesians 5:22-24; Colossians 3:18; see also Genesis 2:18, 20).
E. The Exclusiveness of Marriage:
Marriage is not only permanent, sacred, intimate, and mutual; it is also exclusive (Genesis 2:22-25; 1 Corinthians 7:2-5). This means that no other human relationship must interfere with the marriage commitment between husband and wife. For this reason, Jesus treated sexual immorality of a married person, including even a husband’s lustful thoughts, with utmost seriousness (Matthew 5:28; 19:9). For the same reason, premarital sex is also illegitimate, since it violates the exclusive claims of one’s future spouse. As the Song of Solomon makes clear, only in the secure context of an exclusive marital bond can free and complete giving of oneself in marriage take place.