We believe that all that is written in the Bible in the original thirty-nine (39) books in the Old Testament and the original twenty-seven (27) books in the New Testament, constitute the only complete and final revelation of God's unchanging will and was written by human authors who were inspired by Him. (Deut 4:2, Prov 30:6, Lk 21:33, 2 Tim 3:16)
We believe that all that is written in the Bible is both totally free from, and incapable of error. As such, we affirm that all that is written in the Bible is absolutely true, accurate, consistent and fully trustworthy. Therefore, all that is written in the Bible serves as the sole and final authority for discerning truth that is sufficient for knowing what one must believe, and how one must live before God. (2 Sam 7:28, Ps 119:160, Jn 17:17)
We believe that interpreting what is written in the Bible comes only upon the leading of God through the Holy Spirit, and He does this by allowing us to know how its writers wanted the readers of their time to understand what they were communicating to them pertaining to His will. (Jn 14:26, Jn 16:13, 2 Tim 2:15, 2 Pet 1:20, 2 Pet 3:16)
We believe that there is one God who exists as having neither a beginning nor an end, and likewise exists as being the unchanging, all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present, King, Creator and Lord of all. As such, we believe that in all of creation, everything that has ever happened, is happening, and will happen, as well as the timing, the means and the manner by which these happen are the results of God's predetermined will and complete control over all things. (Gen 1, Gen 50:20, Ps 139:3-5, 7-10, Col:1:6Neh 9:6)
We believe that God is perfectly self-sufficient and therefore has no need of anything that creation has to offer. (Isa 41:4, Acts 17:24, Rom 11:34-36)
We believe that God is perfectly holy. This means that there is absolutely nothing in His being, in His character and in His actions that is corrupted by evil or unrighteousness. This state of perfection in righteousness, is chronicled in the Bible in the way that He has loved, cared for and disciplined His people, as well as in the way that He has established His moral law as enumerated in what is known as the "ten commandments" which is the basis by which He has dispensed, and will dispense justice at the end of time. (Ex. 20, Ex 15:11, Acts 2:23, Isa 6:3, Isa 57:15, Ps 22:3, Rev 4:8, Jn 10:10)
We believe in the "Trinity" or the "Triune" God, which means that we believe in one God who exists in three persons. This means that God has one nature or one set of attributes that makes Him God, and yet He exists in three distinct persons namely, in the person of the Father, in the person of the Son, Jesus Christ and in the person of the Holy Spirit, all of whom are co-equal in power, glory, majesty and holiness. (Jn 14:26, Matt 3:16&17, Matt 28:19, 2 Cor 13:14)
We believe that man was created to be God's image-bearer. This means that during the time that God created him, man was not only endowed with dignity and value before God, but he was also given a measure of God's own intellectual and moral attributes for the purpose of enabling him to fulfill his role in creation. Man's intellectual attributes at the time of his creation included the ability to analyze information needed when making a choice, while his moral attributes included the ability to choose from the range of options that conformed to the will of God, as well as the ability not to choose from the range of options that did not. (Gen 1:26-28, Gen 2:15&16, Gen 9:6, 1 Cor 11:7)
We believe that man was created by God without moral fault. Yet, he chose to rebel against God by disobeying Him, thus rendering him guilty of falling short of God's perfect standard of holiness. This act of rebellion against God which the Bible calls "sin," has incurred for man, the wrath of God as well as his condemnation to eternal death. The guilt of this first sin, with the consequent corruption of man's nature, as well as the penalty of eternal death were inherited by all of humanity. (Gen 3:1-24, Rom 5:18-21, 1 Cor 15:22)
We believe that the corruption of man's nature by sin was total. This means that all of his faculties and abilities, which include the ability to make a voluntary choice, though still capable of good, are now inclined to prioritize the love and the pleasure of the self over the love for God who created him.
We believe that this explains why every person born after the first man and woman knows how to commit sin without even being taught how. This predisposition or instinct to commit sin, which the Bible calls being "spiritually dead in sin" has been the source of humanity's misery and suffering since the dawn of history. (Jer 17:9, Rom 1:18-24, Eph 2:1-3)
We believe that since all men are "spiritually dead" in sin, anything and everything that a person does to remove the guilt of sin will never be sufficient to satisfy the perfect standard of God's holiness. Also, since the debt that sinners owe can only be paid by eternal death, all of mankind is therefore destined to be separated from God to experience forever, the fullest expression of His wrath in a place of indescribable pain and suffering that the Bible calls "hell." Such is the destiny of all of mankind unless God Himself intervenes to rectify the guilt of sin. (Isa 26:21, Jn 3:36, Rom 1:18)
We believe that God, even before creation, has already chosen for His ownership and pleasure a finite number of people, each of them already known and loved by Him. This people, referred to in the Bible as God's "elect," were chosen solely on the basis of His grace and not based on any foreseen merit or ability that they may individually possess. (Jn 6:37&44, Eph 1:4-9, Rom 8:29, Eph 2:8-10)
We believe that in eternity past, the Father - the first person in the Triune God, protector and sovereign creator of heaven, earth and all that is in between, equal in power, glory and majesty and co-eternal with the Son and the Holy Spirit, by His grace has guaranteed the ownership of all of His elect by establishing an eternal bond of love and friendship with them despite knowing that they will eventually and individually fall into sin and will stand condemned to eternal death.
The Bible calls this special relationship or bond of friendship between the Father and His elect as the "covenant." The guarantee by which this covenant will remain preserved is Jesus Christ because He has fulfilled what it required. The Holy Spirit, who dwells in and among the elect is the "seal" of the Father's ownership of His people. (Gen 17:1-7, Gen 15:17, Jer 31: 31-34, Eph 2:11-17, Rev 21:3)
We believe that Jesus Christ - the second person in the Triune God, both fully God and fully man, equal in power, glory and majesty and co-eternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, born without sin and perfectly righteous, entered history to redeem by His suffering and death, all of the elect thus paying the penalty of their sins as demanded by God's perfect standard of holiness and erasing their guilt and condemnation, once and for all. (Jn 1:1-4, Jn 3:16, Rom 6:23)
We believe that by His suffering, death, and perfect record of obedience, Jesus Christ has permanently satisfied on behalf of the elect, that which was required by God's moral law when it was violated as a result of the first sin, and each and every time a sin is committed. This work of Christ which has satisfied the Father's standard of holiness and justice is referred to in the Bible as the "atonement." Likewise, the permanent appeasement of the Father's wrath, directed specifically towards the elect, that was gained by this atoning work, is what the Bible calls as the "propitiation." (Isa 53:4&5, 2 Cor 5:21, 1 Jn 2:2, Rom 3:21-25)
We believe that with the work of Christ completed, the Father now sees in His redeemed elect, the perfect righteousness of Christ and considers them as though they have never been guilty of sin as Christ has never been guilty. This radical change in the elect's moral and legal standing before God, which permanently removes their guilt and their status of being condemnable to eternal death in hell, and changing it to a status of perfect righteousness and blamelessness before God, is what the Bible calls "justification." (Isa 53:11&12, Rom 3:21-25, Rom 5:1)
We believe that from all of humanity and throughout history, those who were individually chosen by the Father to be part of His elect will be visited by the Holy Spirit - the third person of the Triune God, the source of all godly conviction, comfort, counsel, direction and guidance in human life, equal in power, glory and majesty and co-eternal with the Father and the Son, for the purpose of making them spiritually alive. This transformation from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive is what the Bible refers to as being "born again" or being "regenerate." (Jn 3:3-8, Tit 3:5)
We believe that when the Holy Spirit causes persons who are part of God's elect to become born-again, they inevitably undergo an inconspicuous transformation in how they think, how they feel and how they make choices so that when the appointed time comes for them to hear about the person of Jesus Christ and how He has redeemed them, their transformed understanding, transformed desires, and transformed ability to decide will also inevitably cause them to individually surrender all aspects of their lives to Him in faith, and recognize Him as Lord and Savior. (Ezek 36:26, Jn 3:3-8,1 Pet 1:3)
We believe, that since the faith with which the elect sinner voluntarily chooses to trust Christ as Lord and Savior upon hearing and learning about Him, comes only after he or she has already been made spiritually alive by the Holy Spirit, it therefore stands to reason that, it is impossible for anyone to have faith in Jesus Christ by way of self-generated mental conditioning and ascent, which is otherwise popularly known as "will-power." Only when a person's spirit has first been made alive or has been born-again through the regenerating act of the Holy Spirit, can this person have true voluntary, or true willful faith in Jesus Christ. (Jn 1:12&13, 1 Cor 2:14, Eph 2:8-10)
We believe that evidence of the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the elect sinner is revealed at a later time in life when the elect sinner, after hearing and knowing about how Jesus Christ lived, died and was resurrected from the dead to save him from the wrath of God, becomes convicted of his sinfulness, and responds by repenting of sin, and by recognizing and trusting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This moment, known as the moment of "conversion" comes, when the Holy Spirit, after causing the elect sinner to become born again, fully and permanently dwells within him. This act of the full indwelling by the Holy Spirit during regeneration that is manifested in conversion is referred to in the Bible as the "baptism of the Holy Spirit." (Mk 16:16, Acts 2:37-39, Acts3:19-21, 1 Cor 12:12&13)
We believe that it is at the moment of conversion when the benefits of justification or being considered righteous by the Father through the work of Christ, become a reality to the regenerate elect. This means that from that moment, the condemned sinner is not only counted as righteous by the Father, once for all, but he or she also becomes His adopted child who is cared for and loved by Him. (Rom 5:1-11)
We believe that all who have been chosen by God to be born again and recipients of the benefits of being justified by faith in Jesus Christ in conversion, inevitably and progressively manifest observable changes in their lives that reflect a desire to obey the Law of God as written in His word in order to please and glorify Him.
These changes arise from them being enabled to put off what the Bible calls as the "old self," thus bringing about a continually growing sense of love and gratitude to God as they now comprehend what He has done for them in Jesus Christ. From here, they learn to love what He loves and hate what He hates. (Rom 6:1-4, 1 Cor 6:9-11, Gal 2:20, Gal 5:22&23, Eph 4:22-24)
We believe that all who have been chosen by God to be born again and recipients of the benefits of being justified by faith in Jesus Christ in conversion, struggle with temptation and sin and will continue to do so for as long as they live, because the sinful "old nature" that still inhabits their thinking, their emotions and their decision-making, still actively resists the "new nature" that seeks to know God, love God and decide to honor Him in the way that they live. (Rom 7:14-18, Gal 5:16-18, Eph 4:22)
We believe that all who have been chosen by God to be "born again" and recipients of the benefits of being justified by faith in Jesus Christ are more than sufficiently equipped by the Holy Spirit to overcome all challenges such as the disappointments that arise from giving into temptation and falling into sin, as well as the pain of personal suffering that would otherwise cause them to abandon their desire to please God and live a holy life, thus keeping them preserved in their faith in God even until the time of their death. Although it may be possible that God will allow them to stray from faith for a season in their lives, we believe that by His grace and lovingkindness, that He will restore His elect and bring them back to fellowship with Him. (Jn 10:27-29, Lk 12:10, Rom 8:37-39, Phil 1:6, 2 Pet 1:10)
We believe that all who profess to be "born again" as well as all who profess to be beneficiaries of justification by faith in Jesus Christ make up the universal church. Those who belong to the universal church are found among people of all races and in all nations. (Matt 16:18, Eph 2:19-22, Col 1:18)
We believe that the sole mandate of the universal church is to faithfully proclaim the message that a person can only be saved from the wrath of God by repenting of one's sins and trusting in Jesus Christ, who through His obedience, suffering and death paid for the penalty of sin, once and for all. The proclamation of this message, also known as the "gospel," is the principal means by which the church participates in gathering the elect to be followers or disciples of Jesus Christ and is based on the command He gave to His disciples immediately before His ascension to heaven. (Matt 24:14, Matt 28:18-20, Jn 20:19-23, Eph 1:13)
We believe that all who have been chosen by God to be "born again" and who are thus, recipients of the benefits of being justified by faith in Jesus Christ are commanded to be part of a local church. (Eph 4:11-13, Heb 10:24&25)
We believe as a local church, that the chief means by which the grace of God benefits the corporate life of the church is the faithful preaching of the word of God on each occasion of worship. (1 Cor 2:4,5, 1 Thes 2:4, Tit 1:3)
We believe as a local church that preaching in a worship service, or the interpretative explanation of Scripture for purposes of study in any assembly attended by both men and women who are of age, should only be done by the pastors, elders, male deacons and designated male teachers. (1 Tim 2:11-12)
We believe as a local church, that God is glorified when believing parents present their children for water baptism because God considers the children of believers to be part of His covenant people. Thus, the local church is called to treat these children as though they belong to God's elect. As such, children of believers are to be taught the gospel, cared for and protected as part of Christ's flock. (Gen 17:7, Deut 30:6, Acts 16:31, Col 2:11)
We believe as a local church, that God is glorified when believers who were converted as adults present themselves for water baptism and likewise, we believe that God is glorified when believers who were baptized as children, but were converted as adults make a public profession of their faith before the congregation. (Acts 8:36-38, Acts 22:16,1 Cor 12:13)
We believe as a local church, that true believers have been given by the Holy Spirit, distinct spiritual gifts in order to promote unity in the body, advance the proclamation of the gospel, and build up the faith of the believers in the church. These gifts include preaching, mercy, teaching, discernment and many others. (Eph 4:11-14, Rom 12:6-8, 1 Cor 12:6-10)
We believe as a local church, that on the gifts of "tongues" and on the matter of signs and wonders the outpouring of such gifts and their occurrences is no longer the norm with the end of the apostolic age and with establishment of the authority of the writings that make up the New Testament which marks the completion of what is known as the "canon of Scripture" making both the Old and New Testaments, the sole and final standard for faith and life.
This means, with respect to "edification" or the building up of the faith, it is incorrect to assume that in our time, that it is still typical for the Holy Spirit to dispense the gift of "tongues" in the same manner that He did during the apostolic age. (on the purpose of miracles and "signs and wonders": Ex 4:3-6, Deut 13:1-5, Deut 18:21&22, 1 Ki 18:36, Jn 5:36&37, Jn 10:24&25, Acts 2:22, Heb 2:3&4; Scripture references on the end of the apostolate and apostolic revelation: Matt 10:1, Acts 1:2&22, Eph 2:19-22, Eph 3:4&5, Eph 4:7-11, 2 Cor 12:12; For Scripture references on the sufficiency of the Bible, see above; 1Cor 14:37-40)
We believe as a local church that "The Heidelberg Catechism," "The Belgic Confession" and "The Canons of Dort," collectively known as the "Three Forms of Unity," are faithful expressions of the central teachings of the Bible to which the Ministers of the Word, as well as the members of the Board of Elders and the Board of Deacons of Bread From Heaven Christian Fellowship (BFHCF) subscribe, and that the recognition of these expressions distinguishes BFHCF from other local churches, hence revealing that our doctrinal foundations are borne out of the historic Protestant Reformation of continental Europe in the 16th century.
We recognize as a local church, the Church Order of Bread From Heaven Christian Fellowship, adopted from the Church Order of the Synod of Dordrecht, Netherlands of 1618 to 1619, as a faithful expression of how the Bible prescribes church governance, worship and the discipline of its members, thus prompting us to implement in our corporate life, the provisions stated therein, as we strive to honor the Lord Jesus Christ in our community.
We believe that the end of this world will come when the Lord Jesus Christ returns in one singular event to gather to Himself all of the elect from all generations as one covenant people whether Jew or Gentile to receive the reward of eternal life in God's presence. (Matt 24:30&31, Jn 14;3, 1 Cor 15;52)
We believe that during the return of Jesus Christ, three things will happen. First, all of the elect who have died will be raised to an imperishable and glorious state and all who are alive on that day will have their bodies similarly transformed. Second, all of humanity will be judged such that the righteous will be separated from the wicked, where the former are ushered in to the kingdom of God and the latter are thrown into what the Bible refers to as the "lake of fire." Third, Jesus Christ will make all things new, thus ushering in what the Bible refers to as the "New Heaven and New Earth" to be inhabited by the righteous of God. (1 Cor 15:52&53, 1 Thes 4:16&17, Phil 3:20,21, Matt 7:23&24, Rev 20:7-15, Rev 21:1-4)
We believe that the return of Jesus Christ will be preceded by what is called the "millennium." This period which is referred to in the Bible as lasting for "one-thousand-years," is symbolic and not literal. It symbolizes the duration that spans the first and the second coming of Jesus Christ as well as the period in which Satan is temporarily bound and restrained from hindering the spread of the Gospel. This is also the time when Jesus Christ reigns spiritually as King of kings and Lord of lords in the hearts of the elect that is why as a church, the elect carry out the mandate to proclaim the gospel to the all nations. (Rev 20:1-10)
All Scripture references are taken from the English Standard Version, ESV.