This Statement of Faith contains a summary of the doctrinal beliefs of Calvary Bible Church but does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. We believe that it accurately reflects truths from the Bible, God’s inerrant Word. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments constitute our rule of faith and practice. They hold the place of final authority in our church and in our lives. Each believer is guided by the Holy Spirit Who enables them to understand God’s Word. It is the responsibility of the Christian to believe the Scriptures and to live according to them. For the purposes of Calvary Bible Church’s faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our Elder Board is our final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application.
1. The Scriptures
We believe that all Scripture is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16). The Holy Spirit so guided the writers that what they wrote are the very words of God (2 Peter 1:19- 21; 1 Corinthians 2:13). This divine inspiration is true only of the Bible and extends to every part of the Bible and to every word and letter of the original manuscripts (Matthew 5:18; John 17:17). We accept the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments in their original form as the Word of God and we believe that they are without error or contradiction. The Bible, not human reason or experience, is the final authority for Christian belief and practice. All the Scriptures center on the Lord Jesus Christ and lead us to Him (Luke 24:27, 44; John 5:39; Acts 17:2-3). Furthermore, even though the Church is not bound by the Old Testament Law, all the Scriptures were written for our instruction, encouragement and edification (Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11).
We believe that there is one and only one living and true God-- an infinite, eternal Spirit, the Creator and Ruler of heaven and earth. God is absolutely pure, holy, and good. He is worthy of all our love, confidence, honor, and obedience (Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 83:18, 147:5; Jeremiah 10:10; John 4:24; Ephesians 4:6). We believe that in this one God there are three separate Persons who have been revealed as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14). These three are equal in their deity and perfection, but they carry out distinct and harmonious functions in the sovereign plan of God (John 5:17-19, 10:30, 15:26; Romans 8:28-30; 1 Corinthians 6:11).
3. The Person and Work of Jesus Christ
We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God who became man without ceasing to be God (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:5-6; John 1:1, 14, 10:30-33; Galatians 4:4; Philippians 2:5-8). He freely took upon Himself a human nature, yet He was without personal sin (Hebrews 2:17-18, 4:15). He was conceived miraculously by the Holy Spirit in a virgin woman, Mary (Matthew 1:18-23; Luke 1:26-35), and lived in perfect obedience to God the Father, fulfilling the Law (Matthew 5:17; Hebrews 5:8-9). We believe that the Lord Jesus paid the full penalty of our sin when He died on the cross as our Substitute (1 Peter 3:18; 2 Corinthians 5:21). He bore our sins in His own body (1 Peter 2:24) and shed His precious blood for the forgiveness of all our sins (1 Peter 1:18-19; Matthew 26:27-28; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 2:13). Christ’s death was the perfect, final, and eternal sacrifice, and we can add nothing to it by our own efforts (Hebrews 10:10-14; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5). The death of Christ is sufficient to save all men (1 Timothy 2:6; 1 John 2:2) but is effective and applied only to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior (1 Timothy 4:10; John 1:12, 3:16; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9).
We believe that Jesus died, was buried, and then rose from the dead in the same body, though glorified. The bodily resurrection of Christ was a real event (Matthew 28:1-10; Luke 24:36-43; 1 Corinthians 15:4-8, 12-20). We believe that Christ ascended into heaven and that He is now exalted at the Father’s right hand (Acts 1:9-11; Philippians 2:9-11; Ephesians 1:20-23). There He is continually representing His people as our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16, 10:21-22), Intercessor (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34), and Advocate (1 John 2:1-2). In the future Christ will come in the air to catch away the Church. After the Tribulation, Christ will return to the earth to establish His Kingdom (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 19:11-20:6).
4. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person, not an impersonal force. He is God, equal in nature with God the Father and God the Son (Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3-4). He was active in creation (Genesis 1:1-3); He restrains sin and Satan in the world; He convicts unsaved men of sin, of the righteousness of Christ, and of the future judgment of sin as the Gospel is proclaimed; and He makes all who trust in Jesus to become new creations and baptizes them into the body of Christ. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit indwells, seals, guides, teaches, assures, intercedes for, and helps the believer (John 3:5-6, 14:26, 16:8-15; Romans 8:9, 14-16, 26-27; Ephesians 1:13- 14; 2 Thessalonians 2:7). The Holy Spirit’s ministry in this age is to glorify Christ in and through the believer (John 16:14) by reproducing the character of Jesus Christ in the believer’s life (Galatians 2:20, 4:19, 5:16, 22-25).
We believe that today the Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to each believer and that He gives gifted men to the Church (evangelists and pastor/teachers). These together with the Word of God, are sufficient to bring believers to maturity (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Ephesians 4:11-13). We believe that the miraculous sign gifts, such as speaking in tongues and instantaneous healing, which God used in order to confirm His message and messengers (Hebrews 2:2-4), were temporary in nature (1 Corinthians 13:8-12) and gradually ceased as the New Testament was completed and as its authority became established (Philippians 2:25-27; 2 Timothy 4:20). Because these sign gifts have ceased for the Church Age, any practice that claims to be a manifestation of miraculous sign gifts is false and is not to be exercised. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the act of God that places all true believers in this age into the body of Christ, the Church. This baptism occurs the instant a person believes in Christ (Acts 11:15-17; 1 Corinthians 12:13). We believe that God does hear and answer prayer regarding those who are sick, in accordance with His will (Philippians 2:26-27; James 5:13-18; 1 John 5:14-15). (This paragraph is not intended to express any limits on God’s ability to perform miracles according to His will.)
5. Man and Sin
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God from the dust of the ground on the sixth day of the creation week (Genesis 1:26-27, 31, 2:7). Man was not in any way the product of an evolutionary development from lower forms of life, but rather was created directly by God and for God (Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11). Adam was created in unconfirmed holiness but he, through sin, fell from that state (Genesis 3:1-19). In Adam, the human race fell (Romans 5:12-21), inherited a sinful nature (Psalm 51:5; Genesis 5:3), and became alienated from God (Colossians 1:21; Ephesians 4:17-19). Therefore, all men apart from Christ are totally sinful (Psalm 14:1-3; Romans 3:10-23; 1 Kings 8:46), wicked, lost, spiritually blind, and dead in sin (Luke 19:10; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Ephesians 2:1). As a result, man is, of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition (1 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 8:5-8). Man’s heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), and his only hope is salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.
The salvation of sinful people is the work of God and is totally of grace (Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 5:11). Salvation is the gift of God (Romans 6:23), which is received through repentance from sin and personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:12, 3:16, 6:47; Acts 16:31, 20:21; 2 Peter 3:9) based on the finished work of Christ in bearing the guilt and penalty of our sin (John 19:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 3:18). The moment a person believes in Christ as Savior, that person passes from death to eternal life and is justified before God in the righteousness of Christ (John 5:24; Romans 5:18). The true believer is assured of God’s acceptance and love forever because of Christ’s work and not because of the believer’s efforts (Ephesians 2:4-10; Romans 5:1; Titus 3:5). Jesus Christ is the only Savior, and apart from Him there is no salvation (Acts 4:12). Those who do not receive God’s free gift of eternal life will perish under the wrath of a holy God (John 3:16-18, 36, 8:24).
7. Eternal Security and Assurance of the Believer
The Bible clearly teaches that all the redeemed are kept by God’s power and are safe and secure in Christ forever (John 5:24, 6:37-40, 10:27-30; Romans 8:28-39; Ephesians 1:13-14; 1 Peter 1:5; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Hebrews 13:5). Therefore, it is impossible for an individual, once born again as a child of God, to lose his salvation (John 10:28). On the other hand, it is possible for there to be inconsistencies between a person’s profession and his conduct (1 John 2:4, 6, 9). Such a person should examine himself to see whether he is in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). The believer should diligently seek to confirm his salvation by increasing in the practice of godly character and conduct (2 Peter 1:3-10).
8. The Christian Life
Persons who are born again will manifest a life marked by obedience to the Word of God (1 John 2:3-5), a walk that is characterized by righteousness and Christlikeness (Galatians 5:16, 22-23; 1 John 2:29, 3:10), and a love for other believers (1 John 4:7, 20).
The believer is free to be guided by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God and is not bound by the Old Testament Law or the rules of legalists (Galatians 5:1, 25). This liberty in Christ, however, is not to be used as an opportunity to sin (Galatians 5:13; Romans 13:13-14, 6:11-14). The grace of God teaches us that we should deny ungodliness and worldly desires and should live sensible, righteous, and godly lives, looking for the hope and appearing of Christ (Titus 2:11-13). The believer’s responsibilities include the privilege to read and practice God’s Word and to faithfully attend a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. These are necessary so that the believer will be instructed in the truth of the Word and fully equipped for the work of the ministry (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 10:24-25).
We are instructed to be devoted to one another in love and to demonstrate that love not only in word or tongue but also in our deeds and in truth (Romans 12:9- 21; 1 John 3:16-18). God’s Word clearly commands separation from religious apostasy and compromise, from sinful and worldly practices, and from unscriptural associations (2 Timothy 3:1-5; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1). Saved people should live in such a way that they do not bring reproach to the name of Christ. Rather, we are to shine as lights in a dark world, sounding forth the Word of the Lord, having such a testimony that the Father in heaven is glorified (Philippians 2:15; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; Matthew 5:16).
9. The Church
The Church, which is the body and the bride of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23, 5:22-30), is a spiritual organism being built by Christ and is made up of all born again persons of this Church Age (Matthew 16:18). The Church Age began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2, 11:15-17) and will be concluded at the rapture of the Church (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), at which time the spiritual building will be complete (Ephesians 2:20-22; 1 Peter 2:4-7; Romans 11:25). It is Christ’s calling on the Church to glorify God, to remain pure and unstained from the world, to build up one another in love, and to proclaim the gospel to a lost world (1 Corinthians 10:31; James 1:27). Jesus Christ is the Head of the universal Church and of our local church (Colossians 1:18). Therefore, we seek to exalt Christ in every ministry and activity of our church, and we are to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (1 Peter 4:10-11; Ephesians 4:1-3; Colossians 3:12-17). False teaching, division, and unrepentant sin within the church are to be handled by church discipline (Titus 1:9-14; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13). Christ has placed elders as overseers to shepherd His flock and to protect them from false teachers (1 Peter 5:1-4; Acts 20:28). All believers are members of Christ and members of one another (Romans 12:5). As believers we are to love each other fervently (1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 3:16-18). As Christ was sent by the Father, so too, we are sent into the world to be His witnesses and to make disciples (John 20:21; Matthew 28:19- 20; Acts 1:8).
10. Angels and Satan
The Bible clearly teaches the creation, existence, and personhood of angels -- some who are holy (Colossians 1:16; Luke 2:13, 9:26, 15:10) and others who are fallen, also called demons (Mark 5:1-20; 2 Peter 2:4). Satan is a fallen angel, the author of sin (1 John 3:8; John 8:44; 1 Timothy 3:6), and the adversary of God and men (2 Corinthians 4:3-4; 1 Peter 5:8). His defeat was accomplished through the cross of Christ, and he and his angels will be eternally punished in the lake of fire (John 12:31-32; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).
11. The Second Coming of Christ
We believe that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ will take place as follows: First, there will be the personal (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), imminent (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; Titus 2:13; Revelation 22:20), and pre-tribulational (Revelation 3:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 5:9-11) coming of the Lord Jesus for His Church. This coming is known as the rapture and is the believer’s confident hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13- 18; Titus 2:13). The rapture will then be followed by the tribulation period, a period of seven years, during which God pours out His wrath on sinful men (Revelation 4- 19). Finally, at the end of the tribulation period, Christ will return to the earth with His saints to establish His Kingdom and reign for one thousand years (Zechariah 14:4-11; Revelation 19:11-16, 20:1-6; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Matthew 24:29-31, 36- 51).
12. The Eternal State
Immediately upon death, the believer is in the presence of Christ (Philippians 1:21- 23). He is absent from the body but face to face with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-8). There, the believer joyfully and consciously awaits the resurrection at the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) when he will be united with his resurrected body to be glorified forever with the Lord. At death, unbelievers are in conscious misery (Luke 16:19-26) until the resurrection at the end of Christ’s one thousand year reign when they shall appear before Christ at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:5, 11-15). They will not be annihilated but will suffer everlasting conscious punishment in the lake of fire under the wrath of God (Matthew 25:41-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Mark 9:43-48; John 3:36).
We believe that God progressively reveals truth about Himself and His purposes to mankind in stages throughout distinct periods of history. These periods are called dispensations. The content of God’s revelation progressively expands with each period. In every dispensation God calls upon mankind to believe in Him and to obey His Word. In every dispensation people are saved by grace through faith in God’s promises. (Ephesians 1:9-10, 3:1-12; Colossians 1:24-27; Hebrews 1:1-2; John 1:17).
We further believe that the promises God made to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament will be literally fulfilled to Israel in the future Kingdom (Romans 11:11- 27). We reject any teaching that equates the New Testament Church with Old Testament Israel (Covenant Theology) and any teaching that rejects water baptism and/or the Lord’s Supper as ordinances for the Church today (Hyperdispensationalism).
14. Gender and Sexuality
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female (Psalm 139:13-16). These two distinct, complementary genders each reflect the image and nature of God (Genesis 1:26-27). An individual’s gender and sexuality is not a matter of personal choice. Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person (Romans 9:20; Isaiah 29:16).
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 that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.
We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God (Matthew 5:28, 15:18-20a; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Ephesians 5:3).
15. Marriage and Divorce
The Bible clearly teaches that God defines marriage as one man and one woman (whether saved or unsaved) becoming one flesh (Genesis 2:18-24; Matthew 19:4- 6). God establishes this one flesh relationship when one man and one woman enter into a formal covenant (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Malachi 2:14); “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matthew 19:6). God has commanded that sexual activity is reserved for the marriage relationship only and is not to be defiled by sexual immorality (Hebrews 13:4).\
Furthermore, God has expressed a consistent hatred for divorce (Malachi 2:13-16; Matthew 19:6), and it is never His desire for a couple to divorce. Nevertheless, the Bible permits divorce when a spouse is guilty of sexual immorality (Matthew 19:9) or an unbeliever abandons a believer (1 Corinthians 7:12-16). While not God’s ideal, divorce is permitted in these cases because of the hardness of the human heart-- an unwillingness to repent of sin or to forgive sin and a failure to obey God’s perfect will (Matthew 19:8).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ commanded His Church to observe two ordinances-- water baptism and the Lord’s Supper (communion). These ordinances do not bring salvation to those who participate in them. We are saved by the grace of God through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). We do believe, however, that these ordinances are to be observed as an important and beneficial part of the life of the Church and its members.
Water baptism is to be administered by immersion to believers in Jesus Christ “in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Baptism is the public testimony of the believer’s faith in Christ and symbolizes being united with Christ in the likeness of His death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-5).
The Lord’s Supper, or communion, is to be administered to believers in Jesus Christ who “proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” Believers are exhorted to examine themselves before partaking in communion to ensure they do not partake in an unworthy manner. The bread and juice used in the communion service are symbols of the body and blood of Christ and serve as reminders to us of His death for our sins (Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 11:23-30).