WHAT WE BELIEVE
Doctrinal Beliefs held by Butler Bible Church
The Holy Scriptures
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the inspired Word of God, as they were given in the original writings. We believe that inspiration is verbal and plenary in its extent – every word of scripture and the Bible in its entirety is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16,17; 2 Pet. 1:20,21; Matt. 5:18). Because the Bible is God-breathed, it is inerrant (Ps. 19:7; Matt. 22:29), infallible (Is. 55:11; Jn. 10:35), and therefore the final authority for doctrine and practice (1 Cor. 10:11). We believe that the Word of God is complete in all sixty-six books of the Bible and the process of special revelation is finished (Jn. 16:12,13; 1 Cor. 13:8-11; Rev. 22:18,19).
2. The Godhead
We believe in one Triune God (Deut. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:6), eternally existing in three distinct persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14), co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections, yet varying in function. While there is equality among the persons of the godhead, there is also subordination, the Son having been sent by the Father (Jn. 17:18) and the Spirit by the Son (Jn. 16:14,15).
3. The Person and Work of Christ
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, took upon himself human nature, without ceasing to be God (Jn. 1:1,2,14; Phil. 2:6-8; 1 Tim. 3:16), having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary (Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:34,35), in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful men (Jn. 1:18; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 10:5-8). He is fully God and fully man, yet He is one sinless person (1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 4:14,15).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption (Eph. 1:7), reconciliation (Col. 1:20,21), and propitiation (Rom. 3:25) through His death on the cross as our substitutionary sacrifice (1 Cor. 15:3,4). Though its benefits are entered into only by the saved, We believe that the sacrifice of Christ was offered for the sins of all mankind (Jn. 1:29; 2 Cor. 5:14,15,19; Heb. 2:9; 1 Jn. 2:2), thereby rendering the whole world savable. We believe that He was buried, bodily rose from the dead (Acts 2:25-32; Rom. 1:4; 1 Cor. 15:4,20) and was seen by many witnesses.
c. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven and that He is now exalted at the right hand of God (Acts 1:9-11; Heb. 1:3; 9:24), where he ministers as our High Priest (Heb. 4:14), Intercessor (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25), Advocate (1 Jn. 2:1), and the Great Shepherd of the sheep (Heb. 13:20).
4. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
a. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a Person (Eph. 4:30; 1 Thess. 5:19; Acts 7:51), that he is God (Acts 5:3,4; 2 Cor. 3:17), that He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (Jn. 16:8-11), that He supernaturally regenerates all believers (Jn. 3:3-7; Tit. 3:5), baptizes them into the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12,13), indwells in them forever (Jn. 14:17; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 6:19) and seals them unto the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13,14).
b. We believe that the Holy Spirit is the Divine Teacher who guides believers into all truth (Jn. 16:13, 1 Jn. 2:20,27), illuminates the scriptures to them (1 Cor. 2:10-12), leads them (Rom. 8:26), intercedes for them (Rom. 8:26) and that, it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).
c. We believe that the Holy Spirit gave miraculous sign gifts to the early church to authenticate their message, that these gifts were temporary and ceased with the completion of scriptures (1 Cor. 13:10; Heb. 2:3,4), and that he sovereignly bestows gifts (1 Cor. 12:11) which are sufficient for the edifying of the Church (Eph. 4:7,11-12).
5. Total Depravity of Man
We believe that man was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26,27), that he is body, soul and spirit (1 Thess. 5:23), but that in Adam’s sin, the entire race fell (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:21,22), inherited a sinful nature (Ps. 51:5; Eph. 2:3), and that being alienated from God, man is totally depraved, and of himself utterly unable to remedy his lost condition (Rom. 3:9-12,23). Man is therefore universally in need of salvation through the new birth (Jn. 1:12,13; 3:3).
a. We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, totally apart from human merit (Eph. 2:8-10; Tit. 3:5). We believe that all who trust in the person and finished work of Christ, whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for our sins, are born again (Jn. 1:12,13; 5:24), forgiven (Col. 2:13), redeemed (1 Pet. 1:18,19), made righteousness by virtue of their position in Christ, and therefore justified (Rom. 5:1,9; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 2:16; Phil. 3:9).
b. We believe that before the foundation of the world, God – by His grace, elected those whom he would save according to the good pleasure of his will (Eph. 1:4; Rom. 9:11,18; 11:5,6), predestinated them to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29,30), and effectually calls them to salvation (2 Tim. 1:9). We believe that apart from that effectual call, man (being totally depraved) would not of himself seek God (Jn. 6:44; Rom. 3:11); however, those who are called will genuinely believe in Jesus Christ (Acts 13:48; Phil. 1:29), being free moral agents. Man is therefore held fully responsible for receiving or rejecting Jesus Christ (Jn. 3:36).
c. We believe that every saved person possesses two natures (Rom. 7:21), with provisions made for victory of the new nature (Eph. 4:24) over the old nature (Eph. 4:22) through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16-18) and the resurrection life of Christ within (Rom. 6:13; Eph. 1:19,20), and that because God is progressively sanctifying the believer until the day of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3:18; Phil. 1:6; 2:12,13), all claims to the eradication of the old nature in this life are unscriptural (Phil. 3:12-14; 1 John 1:8). We believe that at that day God will glorify all whom he has justified (Rom. 8:30).
d. We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Rom. 8:1; 8:38,39; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24). We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word (Tit. 1:2), and God’s Spirit (Rom. 8:16). We believe that while good works are not a condition of salvation, they are a proof of saving faith as they are produced in the believer’s life (Eph. 2:10; Jas. 2:14-17), with an understanding that Christian liberty is not to be used as an occasion to the flesh. (Rom. 6:1; Gal. 5:13; Titus 2:11-14).
7. The Church
a. We believe that the Church, which is the body and the espoused bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all regenerated persons from the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost to the Rapture (1 Cor. 12:12,14; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 1:22,23; 5:25-27), and that it is eternally distinct from Israel as the people of God (Mt. 16:18; Acts 15:14-16; 1 Cor. 10:32), being made up of Jews and Gentiles and being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:13,14,20-22).
b. We believe that the local church is an organized, indigenous, visible assembly of believers under the direct authority of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 5:4; Rev. 2:1) and that the establishment of local churches is God’s current program, as modeled and defined in the New Testament (Acts 14:27; 1 Tim. 3:15). We believe the purpose of that assembly includes the preaching of God’s Word, united prayer (Acts 2:42), and the proclamation of the gospel (Acts 13:1-3). We believe that the government of that assembly is comprised of a plurality of elders (Titus 1:5) and deacons (Phil. 1:1), the pastor being distinct as the head elder (Acts 15:13; Col. 1:7; 4:12,13) and that the Lord has given two symbolic ordinances to the church to be performed, Christian baptism (Mt. 28:19) and the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:23-26), neither of which is a means of salvation or sanctification.
8. The Angels and Satan
a. We believe that angels were created perfect personal spirits (Ezek. 28:15), superior to mankind (Ps. 8:5), that the Holy Angels function as messengers for God (Ps. 103:20,21), worshippers of God (Heb. 1:6), Spectators of God’s program (1 Pet. 1:12) and ministers of those who shall be the heirs of salvation (Heb. 1:14).
b. We believe that Lucifer, one of the holy angels, willfully sinned (Is. 14:12-14), led a large number of the angels in rebellion against God, and became Satan, the enemy of God and God’s people (Eph. 6:10-17; Rev. 12:9,10), the Prince and deceiver of this world (2 Cor. 4:3,4; Eph. 2:2) and the origin of sin in the universe (John 8:44). We believe that Satan and his angels are doomed to the lake of fire (Mt. 25:41) by the death of Jesus Christ upon the cross (Gen. 3:15; Jn. 12:31; 16:11; Rom. 16:20; Col. 2:14,15).
a. We believe in the dispensational view of Bible Interpretation, namely that God’s plan through the ages consists of a series of dispensations (or stages), in the progressive revelation of God, each constituting a distinct stewardship (or rule of life), and each beginning with a distinct covenant of God, and ending with a decisive failure of man, and consequent judgment from God. These dispensations (some of which are more objective than others) may be defined as Innocence, associated with the Edenic Covenant (Gen. 2:16,17) and the fall; Conscience, associated with the Adamic Covenant (Gen. 3:15; Rom. 2:15) and the flood; Human Government, associated with the Noahic Covenant (Gen. 9:1-17) and the tower of Babel; Promise, associated with the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-3) and the 40 years in the wilderness; Law, associated with the Mosaic Covenant (Ex. 19:5,8) and the judgment of the Cross; Grace, associated with the New Covenant in Christ’s blood (Mt. 26:26-28; Eph. 3:2; Heb. 8:8-13) and the tribulation period; Kingdom, associated with the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-33) and the destruction of the heavens and earth and the Great White Throne, and in which the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:4-16), and the Palestinian Covenant (Gen. 15:17,18) find their ultimate fulfillment.
b. We believe that, while each covenant with its corresponding rule of life is directed to a distinct age or people, all scripture is profitable for the people of God (1 Cor. 10:11; 2 Tim. 3:16,17) and that the way of salvation is by grace, through faith in all ages and for all people (Gen. 15:6; Ps. 32:1,2; Is. 53:5,6; Acts 15:10,11; Rom. 3:25), as defined by the promise of a Savior and sacrificial substitute (Gen. 3:15).
c. We believe that the Law (or Mosaic Covenant), as a rule of life, was conditional on man’s performance and therefore weak through the flesh (Lev. 18:5; Rom. 8:3), was given to Israel (Ex. 19:5,6; Rom. 9:4), was temporarily added to demonstrate man’s need for salvation, but never to save (Rom. 3:19,20; Gal. 2:16; 3:19-24), was holy, just and good (Rom. 7:12) but could only curse and condemn (Rom. 7:11; Gal. 3:13), was ended at the cross (Rom. 10:4; Col. 2:14) and was replaced by grace as a rule of life for the people of God in the current dispensation (Jn. 1:17; Rom. 6:14). We believe that grace as a rule of life differs from law in that the standard is stricter (Jn. 13:34), it is based on a pre-existing position of acceptance (Rom. 12:1), it provides divine enablement to please God (Rom. 6:4; 2 Cor. 12:9; Phil. 2:12,13), and it fulfills the moral principals of the law (Rom. 8:4; Gal. 5:22).
d. We believe that, as the people of God, Israel and the Church are eternally distinct in the mind of God (1 Cor. 10:32), that God has not cast off his people Israel (Jer. 32:20-22; Rom. 11:1,2), that although Israel is currently in an apostate condition, they will ultimately be restored (Zech. 12:10; Rom. 11:26,27), that God will literally fulfill his covenants to them as a nation (Gen. 15:4; Ezek. 37:21-28; Rom. 9:4, 5; 11:29), and that God is not currently dealing with Israel as a nation, but with the Church, whose existence is parenthetic to his purpose with Israel (Dan. 9:24-27; Acts 15:13-17) and in which there is no distinction made between Jew and Gentile (Rom. 10:12; Gal. 3:28). We believe that a pre-tribulational rapture and a pre-millennial return of Christ are necessary components of the Biblical Dispensational model.
10. Things to Come
a. We believe in the imminent (1 Jn. 2:28; 3:3), pre-tribulational (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9; 2 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 3:10) rapture of the Church (Jn. 14:1-6; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Tit. 2:13), that “Blessed Hope” in which Jesus Christ returns for his saints to receive them to himself, at which time each believer will appear before the judgment seat of Christ for reward or loss of reward (Rom. 14:10; 1 Cor. 3:10-15; 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:10). We believe that the rapture will be followed by the tribulation, a seven year period of universal judgment upon the earth, which is the fulfillment of Daniel’s seventieth week (Dan 9:24; 12:1) and the subject of Revelation 6-19, at the end of which Jesus Christ will personally and visibly return to the earth with his saints to deal a decisive blow to the armies of this world (Ps. 2:9; Mal. 4:2; Mt. 24:27,30; Acts 1:6,7; Jude 14,15), and to reign a thousand years in a physical kingdom (Is. 9:6,7; Rev. 20:4) during which Satan is bound (Rev. 20:1-3), the curse is lifted (Is. 11:6-9), and the direct presence of Christ is enjoyed (Is. 11:1,9,10). We believe that after the thousand years are ended, Satan will be loosed, will lead a final rebellion against Christ, and will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:7-10).
b. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men (Dan. 12:2; Jn. 5:28,29), that at physical death, the soul and spirit of the believer go immediately into the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, in conscious bliss awaiting the first resurrection, when spirit, soul and body are reunited (Job 19:25-27; 1 Cor. 15:51-53; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; 3:21). We believe that at physical death, the soul and spirit of the unbeliever go immediately into the place of torment (Lk. 16:22-28), to await the second resurrection, when the soul, spirit and body are reunited to appear before the Great White Throne, to be judged for their works, and to be cast into the Lake of Fire to suffer everlasting, conscious punishment (Mk. 9:44; Jn. 3:16; 2 Thess. 1:9; Rev. 20:11-15).
a. We believe that all the saved are called into a life of separation from all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices, and associations (Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 7:1; 1 Thess. 5:22; 2 Tim. 3:1-5), should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord, and should walk worthy of the vocation to which they are called (Eph. 4:1; Col. 1:10).
b. We believe that separation from all religious apostasy (2 Cor. 6:14-18; 2 Jn. 9-11), and believers who are walking in disobedience to God’s Word (Rom. 16:17; 2 Thess. 3:6) is commanded by God.
We believe that it is the debt of the saved (Rom. 1:14) to witness by life and by word to the truths of Holy Scripture and to seek to proclaim the Gospel to all mankind (Acts. 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:19,20), that the local church is the divine appointed institution to carry out this endeavor during this age (Acts 13:1-3), and that the primary means of accomplishing it is through the planting of indigenous (self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating) local churches (Mt. 28:18-20; Acts 14:23-27).