What Do You Believe?

Mike wrote the below when entering Calvary Chapel Bible college around the year 2000 as part of the requirements for acceptance. Usually an official statement of faith (like the Campus Crusade and GMO ones linked below) are restricted to more essential matters, but there are a few points below that extend that a bit into areas sincere Christians may disagree about. These are my own personal theological commitments and cannot in all cases be presumed to reflect those of Campus Crusade or Global Media Outreach.

  1. The Bible

    The technical way to define my position is that the Bible is the verbally-inspired Word of God in plenary. I believe the Bible teaches about itself that it is no less than the very Word of God and in fact the words of God, put into men’s mouths. This position is frequently denounced today as “mechanical dictation” but I believe the human authors’ influence was little more than vocabularies of stylistic expression from which God chose His Words, palettes from which He chose the color for His imagery. The Bible is God’s special revelation to mankind: although God speaks to individual believers today, the primary means He uses is His Word. I believe the canon of Scripture is closed for this dispensation. I also believe God has perfectly preserved His Word for us today. (Deut. 4:2, Rev. 22:18, 19; 1 Peter 1:20, 21; Isa. 40:8, Ps. 119:89, Matt. 24:35)

  2. God

    I believe the Bible teaches that the one-and-only true and living Creator God of the Universe is self-existent, infinite, personal, all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere-present yet focused and always-near, unchanging, holy, righteous, just, yet merciful and loving, without a trace of darkness, corruption or untruthfulness. Impossible for finitude to comprehensively understand, yet able to know us and be known in a sufficient and significant way. I believe the God of the universe as portrayed in the Bible is a Trinity, a being consisting of three personages united in some mystical, unknowable way; that these three persons are distinct yet united, co-equal and co-eternal in essence but with a hierarchy in terms of role. Thus the Father sends the Son, the Son sends the Holy Spirit; the Son reveals and glorifies the Father, the Holy Spirit reveals and glorifies the both the Son and the Father. The Father is called God, and was there in the beginning, (Gen. 1:1); the Spirit is called God, and was there in the beginning, (Gen. 1:2); the Son is called God, and was there in the beginning (John 1:1). Only in passages where the other two are distinguished from the Father is the Father called “God” as opposed to the Spirit and the Word.

  3. Jesus Christ

    The Son, who is the eternal Word (Logos, or creative expression) of God, is, as I said above, co-equal, co-eternal with the Father; but without changing His essential character or essence, took on an additional nature in the Incarnation—that of human form. What’s more, He took on the role of the suffering servant, being made “a little lower than the angels.” Philippians 2:5-11 describes some of His voluntary humiliation, and I think we must use great care not to go beyond what the text says. For instance, numerous passages speak of His comprehensive authority, complete knowledge, self-existence, and even omnipresence while still in human form. His Incarnation seems to be more in terms of man’s perception, more a “veiling” than a “voiding.” He made one sacrifice for sins forever, has passed into the heavens, and ever lives to make intercession for us. (Heb. 10:12, 4:14, 7:25) He will return a second time to judge the living and the dead and establish a literal earthly reign from Jerusalem for 1,000 years. (Heb. 9:28, 2 Tim. 4:1, Rev. 20:6)

  4. Holy Spirit

    The third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, is also co-equal and co-eternal and united with the Father and Son. As I John 5:7 says, “…these three are one.” He is the “comforter,” the unbreakable seal of our salvation, and the earnest of our inheritance. Christ’s propitiation and resurrection made it possible for the Holy Spirit to indwell each Christian, for the purpose of conviction of sin, encouragement, discernment, empowerment and sanctification. The Bible says, “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” (Rom. 8:9) In fact, the Bible implies that abiding fruit is HIS fruit, and we only bear it; (John 15) that, “cursed is the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm…” (Jer. 17:5) and that worthwhile things are done “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of Hosts” (Zech 4:6) Paul confessed that his speech and preaching was not by man’s wisdom, but by the Spirit, that the Corinthians’ faith be not ensured by his power but the power of God. (1 Cor. 2:4,5)

  5. Sin

    The Bible characterizes sin in a number of different ways: it is “the transgression of the law,” (1 John 3:4); it is “whatsoever is not of faith,” (Rom. 14:23); and it is sin to him who “knows to do good and does it not.” (James 4:17) It is “missing the mark,” “stepping out of bounds,” “lawlessness,” impurity. R.C. Sproul has called sin “cosmic treason.” And it is, because all is painted in relation to God, Him Who established the mark, the bounds, the laws and the standard of purity. As righteousness reflects the character of God, sin opposes it and seeks to establish the sinner as autonomous and authoritative without acknowledging Him. God has decreed that “the soul that sinneth, it shall die,” (Ezek. 18:20) And by one man, sin entered into the world, and therefore, death by sin. (Rom. 5:12) It is a double-elimination, though, for, although we sin because we’re sinners, and not the other way around, we still choose to sin, and on top of this, we violate our own lower standards even as we reject God’s perfect ones. We aren’t subject to the law of God, neither can we make ourselves so. (Rom. 8:7) But, that God could remain just and yet still justify us, He did not let our sin go unpunished (Ex. 34:7) but poured out the full penalty on His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him, though he were dead, “yet shall he live.”

  6. Salvation

    Salvation is a way to describe another aspect of being born again, that miracle of the Spirit that happens when someone believes upon Jesus Christ, made possible by repentance from one’s own dead works at the reproof of the Holy Spirit. This is occasioned by a biblical presentation of the nature and requirements of a holy God and the provision made in Jesus Christ. The ultimate meaning is that one will be “saved from [God's] wrath” (Rom. 5:9) by being found “in Christ,” (Php. 3:9) dressed in His righteousness and not the filthy rags of our own. (Isa. 64:6) Apart from Christ, we are by nature "children of wrath," which comes on the children of disobedience. (Eph. 2:3, 5:6, Col. 3:6)

  7. Baptism with the Holy Spirit

    That which is called “baptism with the Holy Spirit” is an event by which the Holy Spirit comes to indwell a believer and by that event, the person is made part of the Body of Christ. (1 Cor. 12:13) Since the resurrection and glorification of Jesus, it has happened to all who believe on Him (John 7:39) and no one who is truly His is left out. (Rom. 8:9) In the earliest apostolic times, it seems to have been evidenced by speaking in tongues (Acts 2:4, 10:46) yet, as Paul later writes to the church at Corinth, he makes the point by a rhetorical question that by this time not all speak in tongues. (1 Cor. 12:30) In Acts 8, it appears that the Holy Spirit is given by the laying on of the Apostles’ hands, yet in Acts 10 and 11, the Spirit falls on the hearers while Peter preaches to them.

  8. Eschatology (end times events)

    I believe in the literal, personal, pre-millennial return of Jesus Christ to this earth to establish a literal 1,000-year reign from Jerusalem which will conclude with a final rebellion, judgment of individuals and nations, and a renewal/restoration of the heaven and earth. I believe in a literal heaven with eternal rewards and the presence of God for those made righteous by Jesus Christ, and a literal eternal, burning hell for those who reject Him and remain in Adam. I believe in a literal interpretation of end-times prophecy, so I expect a literal Beast who confirms the covenant, violates it, deceives the nations by promises of peace and safety, desolates the Temple and is destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s coming.

  9. The Rapture

    I believe that there is good biblical support (1 Th. 4:13-18, 5:9; 1 Cor. 15:51-58; John 14:1-3; Rev. 3:10) for the conviction that Jesus will “catch up” His saints to Himself prior to the time of the Tribulation that comes on the earth and that the Church will spend the time of the Tribulation in Heaven as the wife of the Lamb. This coming is to be contrasted with that which is called His Second Advent, for it it only for believers, it happens in the twinkling of an eye, and we are caught up in the clouds with him. By contrast, according to the Olivet Discourse, the Second Coming will be like lightning from the east to the west, every eye shall see him, and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn because of it.

  10. Eternal Security

    Because salvation is a work accomplished entirely by God (Eph. 2:8,9; Titus 3:5-7), I believe the true believer is permanently secure in His hand. (John 10:28-30) Moreover, Jesus has promised that He will in no wise cast out those who come to Him, that He will never leave us nor forsake us, that the gifts and calling of God are “without repentance,” (Rom. 11:29), meaning that He doesn’t take them back. Seeing that salvation is called “the gift” or “the free gift” some 6 times in Romans, I find no reason for insecurity. Romans 8 promises that nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of Christ, and 1 John 5:13 assures us that, based on the definition of what it means to be in Christ, we can indeed know that we have eternal life. Eternal life, it need not be overly stressed, is by definition eternal, therefore if “lost” it never was eternal life to begin with. On the other hand, the Lord makes it clear in the parables about the Church (Matt. 13) that there are many different types of soil and that tares cannot be distinguished from wheat until the time of the harvest. It is possible to be both self-deceived and to be deceived by an excellent counterfeit; but it is a rock-solid promise that those who truly believe on Jesus can never be lost.