This Statement of Faith sets forth the basic doctrine which we hold to be foundational truths consistent with the teaching of the Holy Scriptures. This statement has been intentionally kept brief and though it does not address all the details of the relevant truths of our faith, it does summarize those deemed most necessary for understanding the doctrinal position of Bethesda Bible Chapel.
Who are we?
We are a congregation of born-again and baptized believers gathered together by the Holy Spirit, as a local expression of the church, of New Testament pattern. We observe the two ordinances of the Church, in obedience to Christ – water baptism of the believers (by immersion) and the Lord’s Supper. Our primary goals include Worship, Fellowship, Prayer, Evangelism, Bible Teaching and Stewardship.
(Acts 2:41- 42; I Corinthians 11:2; Matthew 28:19, 20).
What do we believe?
We believe that the Scriptures (The Holy Bible) which includes the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, are the revealed Word of God, infallibly given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and inerrant in the original manuscripts. We believe that the Scriptures have been given and supernaturally preserved in order that we may certainly know what we are to believe concerning God and what He requires of us. As such, we consider the Bible alone as our final rule and authority for all matters of faith, life and conduct.
(Psalm 119:97-104; Psalm 119:160; Deut. 8:3 Matthew 5:17-18; John 5:46-47; John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:15-16. Heb.1:1-2, 2Pet. 1:21)
We believe that God is spirit, infinite, eternal, and incomparable in all that He is; and that He is unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. We believe that there is only one living and true God, and that He eternally exists in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, our Creator, our Redeemer and our Sanctifier; and these three are one God having precisely the same nature, attributes, and perfections while each is worthy of preciously the same homage, confidence and obedience. He is the God of truth and without iniquity, He is just, right and He shall judge the world. (Deut. 6:4, Matt.28:19, Jn. 4:24, Psa. 90:2, Ja. 1:17)
We believe God the Father, the first person of the Trinity, as the Creator, reigns over this entire universe with providential care. He is all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing and all-wise. He is fatherly in attitude towards all men but is Father, indeed, to those who have become children of God through Jesus Christ.
(Gen.1:1, 1 Chr. 29:10, Jer. 10:10, Mat. 6:9, Acts 1:7, Rom. 8:14-15, 1 Cor. 8:6, 1 Cor. 15:24, Eph. 4:6)
We believe in the total deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ was begotten of the Father through the Holy Spirit, was born of the Virgin Mary, and is true man without ceasing to be God. We believe Him to be true God and true man. He was sinless and lived a sinless life, died on the cross as a perfect sacrifice for our sins, was buried, and rose bodily from the dead. He ascended in to heaven, was exalted by the Father, and now intercedes as our High Priest and Advocate, and He will personally return in power and glory, First in the air for His saints and then to the earth with His saints.
(Jn. 1:1, 1:14, 1:18; Jn. 14:8-9, 1 Tim. 3:16).
We believe that the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, of God’s righteousness and of coming judgment and he regenerates the ones who believes in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit indwells guides, instructs, fills, comforts and empowers the believer for godly living. The Holy Spirit also distributes the spiritual gifts to the believers so that the church will be edified.
(Mk.13:11, Jn.14:26, Jn.16:13, Rom.5:5, 1 Cor.3:16, Jn.16: 8-11).
God’s Purpose & Man’s Aim:
We believe that God’s ultimate purpose in all that He does is to bring glory to Himself. Therefore, we believe that our one aim in life and death should be to glorify God and enjoy Him forever; and although God teaches us how to glorify Him in the Scriptures, we are able to do so only through the Lord Jesus Christ in the power of His Holy Spirit.
(Isa. 48:11, Jn. 17:1-5, Matt. 5:16, 1 Cor. 6:20, Rom. 8:8-9)
God’s Creation & Sovereign Rule:
We believe that the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them, are the immediate work of God in creation. We also believe that God sovereignly directs and governs all that He has made in all their actions, so that they fulfill the end for which they were created.
(Gen.1:1, Dan. 4:35, Heb.11:3, Matt.10:29, Rev. 4:11)
The Creation of Man:
We believe that God created man in His own image and according to His own likeness; male and female He created them. We believe that mankind was created in order to reflect the image of God, exercise dominion over the earth, and rule over all the creatures of the earth as stewards of the Most High.
(Gen. 1:26-28, Job 12:10)
The Fall of Man:
We believe that it was by Adam’s willful sin against God that man lost his spiritual life and fell into the sin and misery in which we have been born. We believe that, being fallen in Adam, our first father, we are by nature children of wrath, under the condemnation of God and corrupted in body and soul, prone to evil and liable to eternal death; and being dead in our trespasses and sins, we are unable to help ourselves and cannot be delivered from this dreadful state except through the unmerited grace of God our Savior. We believe that every man and every woman is totally deprived and needs a Savior.
(Gen. 2:17, Gen. 3:6-8, Rom. 5:18, Eph. 2:1-3, Rom. 3:9-19, Rom. 6:23)
We believe that God has not left mankind to perish in its sin, but has from all eternity, in grace and mercy, chosen to save unto Himself a people which no man can number. We believe that, because of the great love with which He loved them, He has determined to deliver them out of their sin and misery and transfer them to the kingdom of His beloved Son, so that in the ages to come, He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in Christ Jesus.
(Rom. 8:29-30, Rom. 9:14-24, Eph. 1:4-5, Eph. 2:4-7, Col. 1:13)
We believe that God has redeemed His people unto Himself through the Lord Jesus Christ, who was and ever continues to be the eternal Son of God, who took on human flesh and was born of a virgin in order to be made like us in all things and put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. We believe that Jesus Christ bore the penalty for our sins in His body on the cross, and fulfilled in His own person the obedience we owe to the righteousness of God. We believe that his death at the cross of Calvary was a representative and substitutionary sacrifice. We believe that, based on His finished work, He now presents us to His Father as His purchased possession, to the praise of the glory of His grace forever. (Heb. 2:17, 9:26, Gal. 3:13, 1 Pet. 2:24, Eph. 1:14, Rev. 5:9-10)
We believe that Jesus Christ, our redeemer, died because of our sins and was raised from the dead for of our justification; and having offered one sacrifice for sin for all time; He ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God where He continually makes intercession for His people. We believe that the Lord Jesus has been given by the Father as Head over all things to the church so that we need fear no evil and may surely know that nothing can snatch us out of His hands and nothing can separate us from His love. And thus our salvation is secure and we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and are kept secure by the power of God.
(Rom. 4:25, Heb. 10:12, Heb. 7:25, Eph. 1:20-22 Rom. 8:38-39, Jn. 10:29)
We believe that Christ Jesus died for the sins of the whole mankind. We believe that it is the Spirit who works faith in us through regeneration, by the word of God, and thereby unites us to Christ. We believe that the Spirit continues to renew us in this life according to the image of God, and enables us more and more to die unto sin and live unto righteousness until at last we are received into glory; and abiding in this great hope we strive for holiness in the power of His Spirit.
( 2 Th. 2:13, Tit. 3:5-6, Eph. 2:1-8, 1 Jn. 5:1, Col. 3:1, 2 Cor. 4:16, Rom. 8:29-30)
Man’s Responsibility Under The Gospel:
We believe that God requires of us, under the gospel, that out of a true sense of our sin and misery and an apprehension of His mercy in Christ, we should repent and trust Jesus Christ alone for salvation. We believe that thus being united to Him, we receive pardon for our sins and are accepted as righteous in God’s sight, only because of the righteousness of Christ imputed to us and received by faith alone. Only in this manner do we believe that one have the right to be a child of God. Obedience, good works or any kind of human effort do not earn or retain a person’s salvation.
(Joel 2:13, Acts 26:20, Jer. 31:18, Acts 4:12, Rom. 5:19, Gal. 2:16, Eph. 1:7, Jn. 1:12)
We believe that the church is the body of Christ made up of all true believers and that the Lord Jesus Christ is the one and only Head of His church. We believe that God has established His church in the world and endowed it with the ministry of the Word and the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, in order that through these, the riches of His grace in the gospel may be made known to the world, and, by the blessing of Christ and the working of His Holy Spirit, the benefits of redemption may be communicated to His people. We also believe that as members of Christ’s body, we should devote ourselves to the collective Worship, the study of God’s Word, to fellowship with the saints, to remembrance through the Lord’s Supper, and to prayer; so that we may be instructed and strengthened in faith, in holiness of life, and in love, and always be ready to give account for the hope that is in us, with gentleness and reverence. We also believe that while each believer is a part of the Universal Church, each local church is an autonomous body. We practice the priesthood of all believers.
(1 Cor.12:27, Matt. 28:19, 1Cor. 11:23, Acts 2:42, 1 Pet. 2:1-2, Heb. 10:25, 1 Pet.3:15)
The Great Commission:
We believe that the Lord Jesus has commissioned His church to proclaim the gospel of God’s grace to all men and make disciples of all nations. We believe that it is our privilege and duty to present Christ Jesus to the lost world in order that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, they may come to put their trust in God through Him, to receive Him as their Savior, and to serve Him as their King in the fellowship of His church.
(Mat. 28:19, 2 Cor. 5:20, Acts 4:12, Rom. 1:16, 1 Cor. 9:16, 1 Cor. 1:21)
The Christian Walk:
We believe that, having been pardoned and accepted for Christ’s sake, it is our duty to walk in the Spirit, doing that which is right, fulfilling the obedience we owe to Christ our King. We believe that we should ever reflect in our life and conduct the perfect example that has been set for us by our Lord, who has died for us and granted to us His Holy Spirit so that we may do the good works which God has prepared beforehand in which we should walk.
(Rom. 6:1-18, Rom. 8:4, Gal. 5:16-17, 1 Pet. 2:21, Col. 1:9-10, Eph. 2:10, Gal. 5:22- 23)
The Blessed Hope (The Second Coming):
We believe in the imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ to take his Church out of this world, before the great tribulation. We also believe that those who die in Christ, before his return, our souls shall be at death made perfect in holiness and go home to the Lord; and when He shall return, we shall be raised in glory and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoyment of God to all eternity.
(1 Th. 1:10, 1Th. 4:16, Tit. 2:13, Jn.14:1-3, 1Cor. 15:51-53, I Th. 4:15, 5:11)
We believe in the return of Christ for the Millennium reign, after the tribulation.
(Mat. 25:31, Luke. 1:31-33, Acts 1:10-11, 2:29-30, Rev. 20:7).
We believe that after the Millennium reign all those whose name is not found written in the Book of Life will be judged at the great white throne and cast in to the lake of fire. (Mat.25:41, 2 Th. 1:7, Acts 17:31, Rom. 2:5, Rev. 20:11-15, Dan. 12:2)
We believe that the Scriptural pattern for spiritual oversight of the local church is through plurality of elders. The title of ‘Elder’ is also referred to as ‘Overseer’ or ‘Bishop’ and to those who ‘take heed to the flock’ in the scriptures. Hence we believe that an elder should be a person of maturity (emphasized by the word ‘Elder’), a person who can take responsibility and leadership (emphasized by the words ‘Overseer’ or ‘Bishop’) and can protect, lead, heed and feed the flock (as understood by the word ‘Shepherd’). We believe that the Elders are appointed by the Holy Spirit and recognized by the local church. The Scriptures clearly define the qualifications, duties and responsibilities of the elders. Such elders appointed by the Spirit will exhibit the qualities spelled out in the Scriptures. They are to faithfully guide and rule for the spiritual welfare of the body as a whole, and members individually. They are to be examples to the flock in their life and conduct.
(Acts 14:23, Acts 20:17, Titus 1: 5-9, 1 Tim. 3: 1-7, 1 Tim. 5: 17-20, 1 Pet. 5:1-3, Heb. 13:17, 1 Th. 5:12)
We believe that the role of the Deacons in a church is a supportive role, as co-laborers with the elders, ministering mainly to the physical and material needs of the congregation. Deacons have similar qualifications requirements as that of an elder except in the area of teaching.
(Acts 6: 1-5, 1Tim. 3: 8-13)
We have an open worship service where the entire congregation of the believers is actively involved in the worship of God, through his son Jesus Christ and lead by the Holy Spirit. Men of our congregation are free to represent us in worship through praise, a scripture reading, a hymn, an exhortation, or a prayer expressing to God his worthiness and the worthiness of our Savior, as led by the Holy Spirit and according to the guidelines of Scripture. Being led by the Spirit does not preclude individual preparation; and in any case, participation should be relevant, orderly, reverent, honoring to God and edifying to the body of the church. Periods of silence which may occur during this service should be viewed as opportunities for individual silent worship and meditation on our Lord. The prime purpose of the worship time is not to minister to the saints, as in other meetings of the Church, but to minister to the heart of God.
(Acts 2:42, 1 Cor. 14:1-33, 1 Cor. 14:40, 1 Th. 5:19).
Women In The Meeting Of The Church:
Scripture specifically prohibits women from speaking publicly in the meeting of the church, in the context of leading, teaching or exercising authority over men. We believe this is a valid precept based on the Scriptural principle of headship. However, this principle does not infer that women have less than equal standing before God or that their role in church life is less valuable than men. We also believe that women should cover their heads either by a veil or any appropriate head covering while participating in the meetings of the church. We affirm that the reason for the practice of head covering is not cultural or social but theological.
(1 Cor. 11: 7-15, 1 Cor. 14:34-35, 1 Tim. 2:11-12, Titus 2:3-5)
The Lord’s Supper:
We observe the Lord’s Supper as the central part of our worship service every week when we come together as a local church. We understand from Scripture that the Lord’s Supper is a communion for believers whereby we corporately remember the Lord Jesus Christ and proclaim His death until He comes. Our invitation to share in this communion is extended to all believers who may be present at the time, without regard to church affiliation. However the scriptures clearly require a person to examine himself before God to consider himself worthy before partaking from the Lords Supper. If someone has doubts about his or her relationship with the Lord or his spiritual condition, we ask that he or she should refrain from the Lord’s Supper. The elements of the Lord’s Supper consist of the bread and the cup which is divinely appointed symbols representing our Lord’s body and blood which were given for us.
(Lk. 22:19-20, Acts 20:7, Acts 2:42, 1 Cor. 11:23-32)
Baptism (Believers Baptism):
The New Testament presents Baptism as an act of obedience whereby, upon believing, a person publicly identifies himself with the Lord Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. We therefore believe that baptism should be by immersion, administered only to those who profess faith in Christ, and performed at the earliest opportunity after conversion. We do not practice infant baptism, and it is the Chapel’s position that children should be baptized only as they are able to give evidence of understanding the gospel.
(Matt. 28:19, Acts 2:41, Acts 8:12, Acts 16:31-34, Acts 10:47-48, Rom. 6:3-5)
Scripture calls for us to maintain purity of the church by exercising discipline to reprove and hopefully restore any member who falls into open sin. According to Scripture, when a member of the body sins, he should be confronted, first by the one who has become aware of the sin. If a sin is committed against another in the body, then the one sinned against should go in private and reprove the one who sinned. If anyone is unrepentant or persists in sinful behavior after being confronted, then two or more should go speak to him so that every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, the church should be informed; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, then fellowship should be withdrawn and he should be treated as an unbeliever. The offender’s future restoration is to be sufficiently attested by true repentance and restoration, where necessary.
(Matt. 18:15-18, Gal. 6:1-2, 1 Cor. 5:1-13, 1 Tim. 5:19-20, 2 Th. 3:6-15, 2 Tim. 2:23-26, Titus 3:9-11)
Spiritual gifts are enriched capacities for service given in Christ Jesus to believers for the building up of the body of Christ, the church. Our exercise of these spiritual gifts is nothing more or less than Christ ministering through and to His body. These enriched capacities manifest themselves in areas such as teaching, preaching, service, evangelism, helping, mercy, giving, discernment, administration, exhortation, and leadership; all for the work of service, edification, and unity in the body. No one is gifted in all areas, but each believer is gifted in at least one area. The more extraordinary gifts such as miracles, miracle healing, prophecy and tongues are not essential for the normal function of the body of Church. Rather, they are sign gifts used by God primarily for purposes of confirmation and authentication of the Apostles and their message during the formation of the early Church. With the New Testament revelation (Scriptures) now complete and confirmed, these confirming gifts of miraculous nature are no more required and has hence ceased. We also believe that since the scriptures clearly teaches that all believers have been baptized by the Holy Spirit in to the Body Of Christ, at the time of Salvation, and that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ are not His at all, it is wrong to teach believers to tarry for or seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
(1 Cor. 12:4-31, Rom. 12:4-8, Eph.4:7-16, 1 Pet. 4: 10-11, 1 Cor. 1:4-7, Rom. 8:9, Rom. 11:29, 1 Cor. 14:27-33)
We believe that the material wealth God has entrusted us is not our possession, but God’s. We are merely stewards, or managers and we will be held accountable for the way we manage it. We believe that we are to give back a portion of what He has entrusted us as a natural response of Worship and Thanksgiving to what Christ has done for us. We believe that we should honor him with our ‘first fruits’? We believe in the regular, systematic, sacrificial setting aside of the portion, and the liberal supporting of the Lord’s servants and service through the free-will offering of God’s people, both collectively and individually. We also believe that even though the New Testament does not specifically teach us to ‘tithe’, it is a principle we see throughout the Old Testament times. Hence we believe that, in this age of grace, our giving should be sacrificial, liberal and hence should be above and beyond that of tithing.
(Acts. 11:29, 2Cor. 8:12, 2Cor. 9:6-8,1Cor. 16:1-2, Rom.12:13, Mat. 6:1-4, Phil. 4:18, Prov. 3:9, Rom. 12:8)
Accepted Practices and Policies
Worship and Lord’s Supper:
The congregation of Bethesda Bible Chapel gathers on the first day of the week (Sundays) for collective worship and to observe the Lord’s Supper. The congregation also meets on the other days of the week for Prayer, Bible-Study and other meetings for fellowship and spiritual edification.
The membership of Bethesda Bible Chapel is extended to all believers who are baptized, have a consistent Christian Life and testimony and desire to be in full fellowship with the Church. Full fellowship means ready to embrace the privileges of local church life as well as willing to accept the responsibilities. These include acceptance of our doctrinal statement-‘Statement of Faith’, regular attendance of the meetings of the Church, exercise of the spiritual gifts for the up building of others, submitting to one another, especially in obedience to the church oversight and sharing in the financial needs and commitments of the church. Anyone who is desirous of becoming a member of Bethesda Bible Chapel should contact the leadership of the Church.
Since we consider the Church oversight a matter of utmost importance and a great responsibility we believe that at any time an elder or a deacon is not able to fulfill his responsibilities and/or become unqualified to serve in that position, on the basis of the scriptures, he should willingly step down from that position.