THE WORD OF GOD
We believe in verbal
plenary inspiration which means that the entire Bible in its original
documents, both in part and in whole, is inerrant and infallible (Psalm
119:160). All sixty-six books of the Bible are literally the Word of God,
written down by men of God, who were moved by the Holy Spirit and spoke from
God (II Samuel 23:1-3; II Peter 1:20-21). The Scriptures are the only
authoritative and sufficient standard for all matters of godliness, faith,
practice, and doctrine through all generations (Psalm 19:7-11; Zechariah 7:12; Matthew
24:35; John 17:17; II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:3-4, 19). Scripture is the
only source of objective truth from God (John 5:39; Romans 15:4; I Corinthians
10:11; Hebrews 1:1; Jude 3; Revelation 1:19). God's Word stands in authority
over all creation, men, and the church and is what all men will be judged by on
the last day (John 12:48; Romans 2:16; I Timothy 3:15). Because the Bible is
the Word of God we are under obligation before God to handle it accurately when
we interpret it (II Timothy 2:15). We believe in the grammatical-historical method, which
examines the writer’s historical context and the text’s grammatical structure
to discern the original author’s intent. We believe there is one interpretation of any
given text of the Bible, though the principles and applications taken from the
one interpretation may be one or many.
GOD THE FATHER
God the Father is the initiator, planner, and organizer of
all things, being sovereign over all His creation (Job 38-41; Isaiah 14:24, 27;
37:26; Acts 4:27-28; Romans 8:29-30; I Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 1:5, 11; 2:10).
GOD THE SON
Jesus Christ is God incarnate, which means that He is God become man in the flesh; fully God and fully man (Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2; Matthew 1:23; John 1:1, 14, 18; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 1:8). He was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23), conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). He is the one and only Mediator between God and man and lives as an advocate for the saints (I Timothy 2:5; I John 2:1). He is the Redeemer (Galatians 3:13; I Peter 3:18-19), Judge (John 5:22-23; Acts 17:31), Priest (Hebrews 2:17; 3:1; 4:14-15; 5:10; 7:1, 3, 15, 21), Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18; John 6:14; Acts 3:22-26; 7:37), King of kings and Lord of lords (I Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16), and the channel of creation (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2). He lived a perfect life here on earth (I Peter 1:19; Hebrews 2:10; 4:15; 5:9; 7:28), died a vicarious or substitutionary death for the sins of men (Isaiah 53:4-6; I Peter 3:18; I Corinthians 15:3), and was the perfect Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36). He was buried and rose again bodily on the third day (I Corinthians 15:4), conquering death (Colossians 2:13-14). Having ascended, He is now seated at the right hand of God the Father (Acts 1:9-11; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 10:12), where He lives as an advocate for the saints (I John 2:1).
He came and inaugurated the Kingdom at His first coming (Matthew 12:28; Luke 17:20-21). Jesus also taught that there was a sense in which the Kingdom of God was still future, both in specific sayings (Matthew 7:21-23; 8:11-12) and in eschatological parables (such as those of the Marriage Feast, the Tares, the Talents, and the Wise and Foolish Virgins). He will come again to consummate that kingdom in the new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21-22). The kingdom of God means nothing less than the reign of God in Christ over his entire created universe (Matthew 28:18). The Kingdom of God is therefore both a present reality and a future hope. Paul also makes statements describing the Kingdom as both present (Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 4:19-20; Colossians 1:13-14) and future (1 Corinthians 6:9; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:5; 2 Timothy 4:18).
The fact that the Kingdom of God is present in one sense and
future in another implies that we who are the subjects of that Kingdom live in
a kind of tension between the “already” and the “not yet.” We are already in
the Kingdom, and yet we look forward to the full manifestation of that Kingdom;
we already share its blessings, and yet we await its total victory. Because the
exact time when Christ will return is not known, the church must live with a
sense of urgency, realizing that the end of history may be very near. At the
same time, however, the church must continue to plan and work for a future on
this present earth which may still last a long time. Referred to some as amillenialism, also known as “realized
millenialism” or “inaugurated millenialism,” we teach that “the millennium” is
now. We are now in the millennial reign of the incarnate, risen Lord Jesus
Christ with the tares growing among the wheat.
We believe that the Kingdom continues to expand by the ministry of the
Holy Spirit through the church, and that it will be consummated in the
glorious, visible, and triumphant appearing of Christ when he returns to the
earth as King.
GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is one of the three persons of the godhead being fully God in every way (Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; I Corinthians 12:11,18; II Corinthians 3:18). The Holy Spirit assisted in creation (Genesis 1:2), was the agent of the virgin birth (Luke 1:35), and is the divine agent of the inspired revelation of God (Zechariah 7:12; II Peter 1:20-21). The Holy Spirit is active in convicting the world of sin and judgment (John 16:8), and regenerating and empowering those who are saved (Ezekiel 36:27; John 3:5-8; II Corinthians 12:1-7; Galatians 5:16; Titus 3:5). The Holy Spirit enables men, through His illuminating work, to understand the written revelation of God (I Corinthians 2:10-16; I John 2:20; 27). The Holy Spirit permanently indwells, and enables believers in the process of sanctification (I Corinthians 12:13; Romans 8:13-14; Ephesians 1:15-18; 3:14-21; II Thessalonians 2:13). He is the pledge and guarantee of our future inheritance (II Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30).
Man was created to give glory to God (Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:16-18). Man was created perfect and without sin on the sixth day of creation. Man was formed by God out of the dust of the ground and God breathed into man the breath of life and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7). Man is unlike the animals, being created in the image of God to rule over the earth and all living creatures (Genesis 1:24-31; Ecclesiastes 7:29; I Corinthians 15:39). Shortly after man was created, Eve was deceived by Satan into eating the forbidden fruit (II Corinthians 11:3; I Timothy 2:14) and Adam ate the forbidden fruit willingly (Genesis 3:17; Hos. 6:7). As a result of their sin, both died spiritually (Ephesians 2:1-2; Colossians 2:13) and later physically because the wages of sin is death (Genesis 5:5; Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:27). Adam was the representative head of the human race and when he sinned, the entire human race fell in him. Adam's sin is imputed to all of his descendants (Romans 5:12-14; I Corinthians 15:22), hence all men are totally corrupt, being conceived in sin (Psalm 51:5), born sinners (Genesis 8:21; Psalm 58:3), and sinning because they are sinners (Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21-23; Romans 3:10-18, 23; Ephesians 2:1-3). All men suppress the truth in unrighteousness and are sinners by nature and choice (Genesis 6:5; Romans 1:18-25; Titus 1:15). The consequences of sin have made man unable to understand the things of God (I Corinthians 2:14), unable to please God (Romans 8:5-8), and unwilling to seek Him (John 3:19-21; II Thessalonians 2:10-12).
THE NEED FOR SALVATION
Unrepentant sinners have God's wrath abiding on them; hence,
all men are in need of salvation from sin and its consequences (John 3:36; Romans
3:23-24; 6:23; Ephesians 2:3). The ultimate consequence of sin is to suffer the
holy wrath of God's justice for eternity in the lake of fire (Nahum 1:3; Revelation
PREDESTINATION OF THE ELECT TO SALVATION
God chose and predestined some to be saved from before the foundation of the world (Romans 8:29-30). All men are called to repent and believe in Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 17:30), but only the elect who are predestined to salvation believe and are saved (Matthew 22:14; Acts 13:48; Ephesians 1:4-5).
PROVISION OF SALVATION
God's only provision for salvation is Jesus Christ. Jesus is the promised Seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15), the Redeemer (Acts 20:28; I Peter 1:18-19), and Savior of all those who believe in Him for eternal life (John 3:16). The Lord Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one can come to the Father except through Him; there is no other name under heaven by which men must be saved (Matthew 11:27; John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION
The only way to be delivered from the wrath of God is by hearing and believing in the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation to all who believe (Romans 1:16; 10:14-17; I Corinthians 1:18-24). The essence of the gospel is that Jesus Christ, out of love for us, died on the cross for our sins as our substitute; was buried, and rose again on the third day conquering death (Acts 2:22-32; Romans 5:8; I Corinthians 15:1-4; I Peter 3:18). The gospel message is a call to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:1-2; 4:17; 11:20; Acts 2:38; 3:19-21; 17:30-31; 20:21; 26:19-20; Romans 2:4; II Corinthians 7:9-10).
APPROPRIATION OF SALVATION
Salvation is not a result of works but is an undeserved, unearned gift, received by God's grace and mercy, through the faith which God supplies to the elect (Galatians 5:4; Ephesians 2:8-9; II Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5). Saving faith is not only an intellectual assent to the facts of the gospel (James 2:19) but a volitional heart commitment to trust in the gospel (Luke 9:23; Luke 14:26) and a willingness to submit and obey the Lord of the gospel who is Jesus Christ (John 3:36; I John 2:3-5). Salvation is only appropriated through the ministry of the Holy Spirit whereby God draws the elect to His Son (John 3:5-8; 6:44). Men, apart from the grace of God, do not seek Him (Romans 3:10; John 3:19). God seeks men (Luke 5:31-32; 19:10) and men respond to the irresistible grace of God which draws them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:27; 13:11; John 6:37; Acts 13:48; Philippians 1:29; II Timothy 2:25; I Corinthians 1:18). Repentance is to have a change of mind, to acknowledge one's sins, turn from them and to pursue righteousness and faith in Jesus Christ as God incarnate, Savior, and Lord (Isaiah 55:6-9; Joel 2:12-13; John 1:12; 8:24; Romans 14:8-9; II Corinthians 4:5).
THE CALL TO SALVATION
God calls all men everywhere to repent and believe in the gospel (Acts 17:30-31). God is longsuffering, not willing for any of His elect to perish (I Timothy 2:4; II Peter 3:9). However, He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23; 33:11). Men are without excuse before God because creation, conscience, and the law of God written in men's hearts is enough to show them that God exists, yet all men suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18-20, 25; 2:4-5,14-16). Because all men suppress the natural revelation of God, the only way a person can be saved is by hearing and believing in special revelation, which is the Word of God—the Gospel (Matthew 24:14; Romans 1:16-17; 10:8-17; I Corinthians 1:18).
ATONEMENT FOR SIN
Christ's sacrificial atonement is definite, and therefore applied only to the elect who place their faith in the message of the gospel (Romans 5:6, 8; I John 2:2). The Lord caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Christ (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus shed His blood to redeem those who would be saved (Leviticus 17:11, 14; Ephesians 1:7; I Peter 1:18-19). He came to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29), died for mankind from throughout the world (John 3:16-17; I John 4:14), offered as the only Savior of mankind, but is only Savior to those who believe (I Timothy 4:10; Titus 2:11). He tasted death for them all (Hebrews 2:9), and is the sacrifice that satisfies the wrath of God (the propitiation) not only for our sins, but for the sins of the redeemed throughout the entire world (I John 2:1-2).
RESULTS OF SALVATION
Salvation includes total forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 2:13-14), adoption into the family of God (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5-6), reconciliation to God (Romans 5:10-11; 11:15), declared righteousness through justification by God (Romans 3:28; Galatians 2:16), propitiation before God (I John 2:2; Hebrews 2:17-18), eternal life with God (John 3:16, 36; 10:27-28), redemption from the curse of the law and slavery to sin and Satan (Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 2:1-9; Titus 2:14), sanctification (I Corinthians 6:11; I Peter 1:14-16; I John 3:2-3), and deliverance from the lake of fire (John 5:24; Romans 5:9), and glorification (Romans 8:29-30).
THE MANIFESTATION OF SALVATION
Salvation is the supernatural work of God in a person that manifests itself in a transformed life (II Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:24). All true believers will bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance and will be known by their fruit (Matthew 3:8-10; 7:16-23; 12:33-35; Luke 6:43-45). The kinds of fruit which salvation produces in the life of every believer are the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25), a hunger for God's Word (I Peter 2:2), a pursuit of righteousness (Proverbs 4:18), increased godliness and Christ-likeness (Philippians 1:6; II Corinthians 3:18), a desire to be with the saints (Hebrews 10:24-27; I John 2:19), and a desire to obey God in everything (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 5:9; I Peter 2:12).
ASSURANCE OF SALVATION
We can know we are saved by the internal witness of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16-17; I John 3:24; 4:12-13) and by the righteousness which true saving faith produces in the life of every believer who receives the truth of the gospel (John 17:17; Colossians 1:3-6; I Thessalonians 2:13; I John 2:3-4). A person who practices sin and rebellion against God has no assurance of salvation (James 2:14-26; I John 2:29; 3:4-10; 5:2). Everyone should regularly examine themselves to see whether they be in the faith (Psalm 139:23-24; Lamentations 3:40; I Corinthians 11:28, 31; II Corinthians 13:5).
THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS
God saves men while they are enemies (Romans 5:8) and once a person is saved, their salvation can never be lost or rejected (John 6:37, 39; Romans 8:38-39). God seals all believers with the Holy Spirit, who is given as a pledge of our future inheritance until the day of Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). God enables every believer to persevere unto the end (I Thessalonians 5:23-24), and God loses none whom He has called (John 6:37, 39; 10:27-30). The saints persevere in their salvation not because of what they do but because of what God does for them (John 6:44, 65; I Thessalonians 5:23-24; I Peter 5:10; Jude 1).
THE PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH
The ultimate purpose of the Church is to give glory to God (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14). The Church can only give glory to God by submitting to the Lord Jesus Christ out of love and by obeying His Word (John 14:15, 23-24; I John 5:3). The Church gives glory to God by worshiping Him (John 4:21-24; Romans 12:1-2), by evangelizing the lost (Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 24:46-48; Acts 1:8; Colossians 1:23), and by equipping the saints for the work of service both now and in the age to come (Matthew 24:45-47; 25:21-23; I Corinthians 3:12-15; Ephesians 2:10; II Timothy 3:16-17; 4:7-8; Titus 2:11-14).
THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH
There is a universal church comprised of all true believers everywhere, baptized by the Holy Spirit upon conversion into the one body of Christ through faith (I Corinthians 12:12-13; Ephesians 2:11-16; 4:4-6). The Universal Church age started at Pentecost and will end at the glorious return of Christ (Acts 2; I Corinthians 15:51-52; I Thessalonians 5:13-18).
The local church is responsible to look after the spiritual welfare of its members and discipline those who continue in unrepentant sin according to the Scriptures (Matthew 18:15-20; Acts 5:1-11; Romans 16:17-18; I Corinthians 5; Galatians 6:1; I Thessalonians 5:14-15; II Thessalonians 3:6-15; I Timothy 5:20; Titus 1:13; 3:10-11; Revelation 2:2, 14-15, 20).
THE HEAD AND LEADERS OF THE CHURCH
Jesus Christ is the Head, King, and Lord of the Church (Acts 2:36; Ephesians 4:15-16; 5:23; Colossians 1:18) and believers are members of His spiritual body (I Corinthians 12:12-13). Jesus guides the body through the Bible and through under-shepherds who submit to the Bible. God's under-shepherds are the elders, pastors, or overseers who must possess certain spiritual qualifications (Acts 20:28; I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; I Peter 5:1-3). Leaders must be examples to the flock as those who will give an account (II Timothy 2:24; Hebrews 13:17), showing others how to live as humble servants of the King (I Peter 5:3). The church must also appoint faithful men who meet the qualifications of deacon (I Timothy 3:8-13). Deacons are appointed to help meet the physical needs of the church and to assist the elders so the elders can focus on prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4; I Timothy 4:6, 10-13, 15-16).
THE ORDINANCES OF THE CHURCH
The church has two ordinances: water baptism (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 8:38) and communion, or “the Lord's Supper” (I Corinthians 11:20-26; Matthew 26:26-29). Both water baptism and communion should be observed today by believers in the local church.
Water baptism is reserved for believers who have placed their faith in Christ and whose conversion has become naturally evident to the local church community. (Regarding the age requirements for baptism, please see Baptism of Children.) Baptism is not a means of salvation or grace, but is an act of obedience whereby a believer makes a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38, 41). It symbolizes the inward reality of being united with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-6). Baptism is to be by immersion (Mark 1:10; John 3:23; Acts 8:39) and is a prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and the Lord’s Supper.
LORD'S SUPPER OF COMMUNION
Communion is an act of obedience whereby a Christian remembers the sacrifice of Christ, proclaims the death of Christ, and anticipates the glories of Christ's kingdom to come (Luke 22:19; I Corinthians 11:24). Communion is not a means of salvation or grace, but is the result and privilege of saving grace. Communion is only for believers who are not living in unrepentant sin (I Corinthians 11:17-34).
SPIRITUAL GIFTS OF THE CHURCH
We teach that there were two kinds of gifts given the early church: miraculous gifts of divine revelation and healing, given temporarily in the apostolic era for the purpose of confirming the authenticity of the apostles' message (Hebrews 2:3 4; 2 Corinthians 12:12); and ministering gifts, given to equip believers for edifying one another. With the New Testament revelation now complete, Scripture becomes the sole test of the authenticity of a man's message, and confirming gifts of a miraculous nature are no longer necessary to validate a man or his message (1 Corinthians 13:8 12). Miraculous gifts can even be counterfeited by Satan so as to deceive even believers (1 Corinthians 13:13-14:12; Revelation 13:13 14). The only gifts in operation today are those non-revelatory equipping gifts given for edification (Romans 12:6 8).
We teach that no one possesses the gift of healing today, but that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith and will answer in accordance with His own perfect will for the sick, suffering, and afflicted (Luke 18:1 6; John 5:7 9; 2 Corinthians 12:6 10; James 5:13 16; 1 John 5:14 15).
MARRIAGE, GENDER, AND SEXUALITY
We believe that God wonderfully creates each person in the womb as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person. Further, we believe that efforts to change biological gender also violate scriptural admonitions and are sinful.
We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one naturally born man and one naturally born woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture (Genesis 2:18-25). This special union uniquely represents the union of Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:25-32). We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other (1 Corinthians 6:18; 7:2-5; Hebrews 13:4). We believe God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.
We believe any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, sodomy, bisexual conduct, pedophilia, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God (Leviticus 18; Matthew 15:18-20; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Romans 1:26-27; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3-6).
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of Pacific Hope Church (PHC) as the local Body of Christ and to provide a biblical role model to PHC members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by, who are members of, or who serve as volunteers in any capacity at PHC agree to, and abide by, this Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality (Matthew 5:16; Philippians 2:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:22).
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ (Acts 3:19-21; Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31). Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accordance with Scripture nor the doctrines of PHC.
Angels are created spirit beings (Exodus 20:11; Job 38:4-7; Colossians 1:16). Angels were created to worship God and minister to believers (Hebrews 1:14; Revelation 7:11-12). All angels were at one time holy, but when Satan rebelled a third of the angels fell with him (Revelation 12:3-4). Fallen angels are called demons or evil spirits and will be judged along with Satan and thrown into the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).
THE INTERMEDIATE STATE
We believe that when Christians die they pass immediately into the blessed presence of Christ, there to enjoy conscious fellowship with the Savior until the day of the resurrection and glorious transformation of the body. The saved will then forever dwell in blissful fellowship with their great Triune God. We also believe that when unbelievers die they are consigned to hell, there to await the day of judgment when they will be punished with eternal separation from the presence of God (Matthew 25:46; Luke 16:19-31; John 5:25-29; 1 Corinthians 15:35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Philippians 1:19-26; 3:20-21; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Revelation 20:11-15; 21:1-22:15).
DOCTRINE OF LAST THINGS
We believe in the personal and glorious return of Jesus Christ. After Christ returns, he will bring about the ultimate defeat of Satan, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment, and the eternal blessing of the righteous. At that time, the Kingdom of God will be completely fulfilled in the new heavens and the new earth, in which righteousness dwells and in which he will be worshiped forever (1 Corinthians 15:20-28,50-58; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12; Revelation 19:1-21).