PORTAGE BREATH OF LIFE CHURCH MANUAL OF BELIEFS
STATEMENT OF FAITH
WE BELIEVE in one God who is eternal in His existence, manifested as Father and Son as well as Holy Ghost, AND that He is Sovereign and Absolute in His authority. We believe in the Father who is God Himself, Creator of the universe (1 Jno. 5:7; Mat. 28:19; 1 Tim. 3:16; Gen. 1:1; Jno. 1:1). We believe that Jesus is the Son of God, born of the virgin Mary. (Col. 2:9) He suffered, died, was buried, and rose from the dead for our total salvation (Luk. 3:21-22; Phil. 2:5-11). We believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Him (Jno. 3:36; 3:31-32; 14:6). We believe that the blood of Jesus Christ atones for our sins and iniquity. It is through His shed blood that we are saved, healed and set free from bondage and the forces of darkness (Rom. 5:9-11; Eph. 1:7; Rev. 12:11). We believe in justification by faith. We believe that salvation is free through the work of the cross and apart from any work of man, is a result of the sovereign grace of God. (Eph. 2:8-9, Gal. 5:5, Rom. 5:1)
WE BELIEVE in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit who is God indwelling, empowering and regenerating the believer, whose initial evidence of indwelling a believer is speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives the believer utterance (Acts 2:4; 10:45-46; 19:6). This Holy Spirit is called the Comforter. The Spirit of Truth (Jno. 14:17, 14:26).
THE HOLY BIBLE, THE WORD OF GOD
WE BELIEVE that the sixty-six books of the Bible are the true infallible Word of God, which cleanses our souls. It holds the words of eternal life and the keys of the Kingdom of God. The Bible shows us God's principles and standards for living; and it is the food that sustains us in all circumstances (Jno. 1:14; 2 Tim. 3: 16-17; 1 Jno. 2:5-6). We believe that we are to wash and renew our minds daily by the Word of God. We must learn His ways and exchange our way of thinking for His. We are to be conformed to the Kingdom of God by the molding and shaping of His Hands (Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 4:23-29; Phil. 4:8). The Holy Spirit inspired the human authors of Holy Scripture so that the Bible is without error in the original manuscripts. The Bible is the final, absolute authority, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.
KINGDOM OF GOD
WE BELIEVE that God's kingdom is everlasting. From His throne, through His eternal Word, God created, upholds and governs all that exists: the heavenly places, the angelic hosts, the universe, the earth, every living thing and human beings. God created all things very well. God gave Adam dominion on Earth, after which Adam forfeited it due to disobedience. Jesus came to restore this Kingdom dominion to mankind. He repeatedly pronounced “The Kingdom is at Hand.” Believers have been made Kings and Priests in this Kingdom, having power over unseen principalities and powers, not to be confused with seeking positions in the governments of this world. The Kingdom is the spiritual unseen position of power in Christ. Jesus said the Kingdom was not postponed until after the resurrection/rapture but taken from the religious leaders of Israel and given to another nation, the church as a holy nation (Matt. 21:43; 1 Pet. 2:9).
This is not to be confused with “Kingdom Now” teaching which proposes, “Those who yield themselves to the authority of God's apostles and prophets will take control of the kingdoms of this world, being defined as all social institutions, the ‘kingdom’ of education, the ‘kingdom’ of science, the ‘kingdom’ of the arts, etc.” ("An Examination of Kingdom Theology.” Apologetics Index. Retrieved January 30, 2011.). This teaching proposes that the church dictates the time when Christ will return due to Christ’s words about the end coming when the gospel has been preached to all the world (Matt. 24:14). In truth, the Kingdom of God in the present is not a physical kingdom but a spiritual one in the hearts of believers (Rom. 14:17; Luk. 17:20-21; Jno. 18:36), in which the least of believers has an active role outside any secular institutional position. This Kingdom dominion involves dominion over sin, satan and self and the temptations of the world, not a kingdom of political positions in the governments of this world.
WE BELIEVE that satan, was cast out of God's presence and, as a usurper of God's rule established a counter-kingdom of darkness and evil on the earth.
FALL OF MAN AND ORIGINAL SIN
WE BELIEVE that God created mankind in His image, male and female, for relationship with Himself and to govern the earth. Under the temptation of satan, our original parents fell from grace, bringing sin, sickness and God's judgment of death to the earth. Through the fall, satan and his demonic hosts gained access to God's good creation. Creation now experiences the consequences and effects of Adam's original sin. Human beings are born in sin, subject to God's judgment of death and captive to Satan's kingdom of darkness.
SALVATION & PREDESTINATION
WE BELIEVE that salvation can be lost due to disobedience and sinful living against the teaching of the Scriptures. We reject the doctrine of Once-Saved-Always-Saved, the Calvinistic doctrine of Predestination and Election of the individual, and fully believe saved believers can fall from grace and be lost unless they come to back to God and fully serve Him according to the teachings of the Bible. The only concept of predestination in the Bible is that of nations and the destiny of kingdoms, which is the concept found in Rom. 9. Paul taught that Esau, the elder, will serve Jacob, the younger (Rom. 9:12) and that God loved Jacob but hated Esau (Rom. 9:13). Esau did not serve Jacob in his lifetime, but rather his descendants, the Edomites (1 Chr. 18:13), served Jacob’s descendants, Israel. The Edomites also were hated, not Esau himself as an individual, according to Mal. 1:2-3 where the descendants are said to have fulfilled that decree. 2 Pet. 1:10 stated we must make our calling and election sure, which prohibits us from believing the elect of God cannot be lost. Jud. 24 states God can keep us from falling, indicating that believers can fall unless they seek the Lord. Although we are saved by grace, we can fall from grace (Gal. 5:2-4). Faith justifies us (Rom. 5:1) but our faith can be shipwrecked (1 Tim. 1:19, 20) and cease to exist (Luk. 8:13; Rom. 11:19-23).
CHURCH AND THE KINGDOM
WE BELIEVE that God did not abandon His rule over the earth, which He continues to uphold by His providence. In order to bring redemption, God established covenants, which revealed His grace to sinful people. In the covenant with Abraham, God bound Himself to His people Israel, promising to deliver them from bondage to sin and Satan and to bless all the nations through them which is fulfilled in the New Testament Church, the Body of Christ.
THE KINGDOM AND THE FUTURE AGE
WE BELIEVE that God's kingdom has come in the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, that it continues to come in the ministry of the Spirit through the Church, and that it will be consummated in the glorious, visible and triumphant appearing of Christ -- His return to the earth. When Jesus Christ returns, His saints, both living and dead, will be physically changed into His image to remain with Him forevermore. (1 Thes. 4:14-17; 1 Cor. 15:51-54). He will bring about the final defeat of satan and all of his minions and works, the final judgment and the eternal blessing of the righteous and eternal conscious punishment of the wicked. Finally, God will be all in all and His kingdom, His rule and reign, will be fulfilled in eternity future and He will forever be worshiped.
PROGRESS OF WORK WITH ISRAEL TO THAT OF THE CHURCH
WE BELIEVE that God, as King, later redeemed His people by mighty acts from bondage in Egypt and established His covenant through Moses, revealing His perfect will and our obligation to fulfil it. The law's purpose is to make us conscious of our moral responsibility, to help mankind understand that without God’s help we cannot make ourselves righteous, and to prepare Israel for the advent of Jesus Christ, ordained to be King of Israel. Law convicts us of our sin and God's righteous judgment against us and brings us to Christ alone for salvation.
WE BELIEVE that when Israel rejected God's rule over her as King, God established the monarchy in Israel and made an unconditional covenant with David, promising that his heir would restore God's kingdom reign over His people as Messiah forever.
WE BELIEVE that in the fullness of time, God honoured His covenants with Israel and His prophetic promises of salvation by sending His only Son, Jesus, into the world. Conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, as fully God and fully human as Son of God, Jesus Christ is humanity as God intended us to be, and fully Deity as per His very Person and Name. Jesus was anointed as God's Messiah and empowered by the Holy Spirit, inaugurating God's kingdom reign on earth, overpowering the reign of Satan by resisting temptation, preaching the good news of salvation, healing the sick, casting out demons and raising the dead. Gathering His disciples, He reconstituted God's people as His Church to be the instrument of His kingdom, and opened up the covenant with Israel to all the Gentile world through the work of the cross (Jer. 31:31; Eph. 2:11-22). After dying for the sins of the world, Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day, fulfilling the covenant of blessing given to Abraham, and made atonement for the sins of all mankind.
In His sinless perfect, life Jesus met the demands of the law. In His atoning death on the cross He took God's judgment toward us for sin which we deserve as lawbreakers, and identified with us by dying as us, being buried as us and resurrecting as us the third day. Only those who have consciously obeyed the Gospel and serve Him today can be said to have been delivered from judgment to come. The Word of God does not teach there is opportunity for salvation after this life. Jesus Christ is presently seated in heavenly places, and by identification with Him we are seated with Him. By His death on the cross He also disarmed the demonic powers.
The covenant with David was fulfilled in Jesus' birth from David's lineage, His Messianic ministry, His glorious physical resurrection from the dead, His physical ascent into heaven and His present rule at the right hand of the Father as glorified man, while remaining God in very person at the same time. As God's Son and David's heir, He is the Messiah-King, advancing God's reign throughout every generation and throughout the whole earth today. The New Covenant is not for Gentiles only, but was first given to Israel and Judah (Jer. 31:31; Heb. 8:7-13) and opened up to the Gentile world. The Gentile believer is engrafted onto the Olive Tree of Israel, and is considered a fellowcitizen of the common wealth of Israel when beforehand the believer was an alien and foreigner from the covenants of promise (Eph. 2:11-22). Unbelieving natural Israel is broken from their own Olive Tree due to unbelief and shall be engrafted again to their tree when they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 11:16-35).
HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM
WE BELIEVE that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Church on the day of Pentecost in power, baptizing believers into the Body of Christ and releasing the gifts of the Spirit to them (Acts 2:1-4). The Spirit brings the permanent indwelling presence of God to us for spiritual worship, personal sanctification, building up the Church, gifting us for ministry, and driving back the kingdom of satan by the evangelization of the world through proclaiming the word of Jesus and doing the works of Jesus. The filling or empowering of the Holy Spirit is a conscious experience for ministry today. The initial evidence of speaking with other tongues is not to be confused with evidence that accompanies spiritual maturity. The ongoing evidence of one who is maturing in the Spirit is the presence of a holy lifestyle, growth of the fruit of the Spirit in one’s life and a desire to continue to strive to grow spiritually. We believe that all believers should have the expectation to be Spirit-filled as well as water baptized. We believe in the present ministry of the Spirit in the same manner in which He ministered in the early Church, and in the exercise of all of the biblical gifts of the Spirit as they were exhibited in the early Church. We practice the laying on of hands for the empowering of the Spirit, for healing, and for recognition and empowering of those whom God has ordained to lead and serve the Church.
WATER BAPTISM AND SPIRIT BAPTISM
WE BELIEVE that believers should be water baptized by immersion in the name of Jesus Christ for the circumcision of our hearts, and remission of sins (Mat. 28:19; Mar. 16:16; Act 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5-6; 22:16). It is through baptism that we publicly identify with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:3-6; Col. 2:11-14; Act 2:38). We believe that all Christians need to partake of the communion elements which represent the Lord Jesus' body and blood. It is by participating in the Lord's Supper that we proclaim His death until His return (Jno. 6:53-58; 1 Cor. 11:23-30). We believe that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is available to every believer and each believer should live in expectation of receiving this experience. We believe that Christians can pray directly to God using their prayer language. (Act 2:4; Eph. 5:18-21; 1 Cor. 14:14-15). Peter clearly taught that baptism is PART of the salvation process by saying, “Baptism doth also now even save us,” (1 Pet. 3:20-21) but this must be understood correctly so as not to confuse it with the error of baptismal regeneration. Baptismal regeneration teaches that one need not even have faith, and be baptized, whether infant or adult, in order to be saved. Jesus clearly stated, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,” absolutely requiring faith. Water does not save in baptism, but faith in our death with Christ. Infants cannot be baptized since they cannot exert faith. Phillip told the Ethiopian eunuch that only those who believe with all their heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God may be baptized (Act. 8:37). Seeing that infants are not capable of such faith, we reject infant baptism as a valid and biblical baptism.
SALVATION REQUIRED FOR THE WHOLE WORLD
WE BELIEVE that the whole world is under the domination of Satan and that all people are sinners by nature and choice. All people therefore are under God's just judgment. Mankind is born in sin due to the act of disobedience of Adam (Rom. 5:19). Through the preaching of the Good News of Jesus and the Kingdom of God and the work of the Holy Spirit, God regenerates, justifies, adopts and sanctifies through Jesus by the Spirit all who repent of their sins, are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. By this they are released from Satan's domain and enter into God's kingdom reign.
THE GLOBAL CHURCH AND THOSE WHO COMPRISE IT
WE BELIEVE in the one, holy, universal Church. All must repent of their sins and confess Jesus as Lord and Saviour by water baptism and expect to be regenerated by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Such people form the living Body of Christ, of which Christ is the head and of which we are all members. We reject that the concept of baptism for deceased people is valid and believe that it is actually a misinterpretation of 1 Cor. 15:29. The aforementioned passage actually teaches that it is Christ’s death for which we are baptized, since we are baptized into His death (Rom. 6:3).
WE BELIEVE in worshiping the Lord in spirit, song, dance and with the raising of our hands. We believe that we are to praise and worship Him with our whole being (Psa. 150:1-6; Jno. 4:24). We believe that Godly living and the pursuit of a holy life should be the goal of every believer. (Heb. 12:14, Phil 3:14)
HEALING AND DELIVERANCE
WE BELIEVE that it is God's will to heal and deliver His people today as He did in the days of the first Apostles. It is by the stripes of Jesus that we are healed, delivered and made whole. We have authority over sickness, disease, demons, curses, and every circumstance in life (Luk. 10:19; 2 Cor. 10:4-5; 1 Pet. 2:24). "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature... and these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." (Mar. 16:15-18)
SAME-SEX MARRIAGE, TRANS-GENDERING, CROSS-DRESSING, HOMOSEXUALITY AND LESBIANISM
WE BELIEVE the Bible speaks expressly against same-sex marriage, homosexuality and Lesbianism, transgendering (sex-change), and cross-dressing. Lev. 18:22, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Lev. 20:13a, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination:” Biblical history speaks against it (Gen. 19:4-12; Gen. 19:23-28; 1 Kin. 15:11-12; 1 Kin. 22:41-46; 2 Kin. 23:7). The Prophets of the Old Testament speak against it (Isa. 1:9; Isa. 3:9; 13:19; Lam. 4:6; Eze. 16:49). The New Testament speaks against it (Rom. 1:26-32; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 1 Tim. 1:9-10; 2 Pet. 2:6; Jude 7). Our church will therefore not perform weddings and marriages of same-sex couples, nor will any person involved in or who considers such a lifestyle as acceptable be involved in ministry of this church. Membership will likewise not include any person who considers homosexual living to be acceptable in the eyes of God. We believe that though God loves every sinner despite their sins, including homosexuality, transgendered living, and cross-dressing, God hates the sin and the sinful acts, themselves.
WE BELIEVE the doctrine known as Universal Reconciliation (the teaching that those who are lost and inhabit hell after death will be reconciled to God as though hell will refine their souls to salvation), is extreme error and a wicked deception in our time, and will not be tolerated as an acceptable belief in our congregation membership. The Bible teaches no hope for those lost who have died. Damnation is unending and there is no recovery from it for human beings nor fallen angels.
THE GENERAL RESURRECTION
WE BELIEVE in the actual and physical resurrection of the human body at the yet-future coming of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:23; 1 Thes. 4:15-17; Jno. 5:28-29; Act 24:15; Phil. 3:21). The resurrection is physical. It is not speaking metaphorically of the church body of believers as though the body is not the actual human body. As Christ physically resurrected from the grave as the firstfruits of our resurrection, we shall likewise change in very body from mortal to immortal so that the Kingdom of God can involve our very bodies (1 Cor. 15: 50-55).
WE BELIEVE there shall be the final end of history and the very existence of sin, death, satan, evil spirits, and sinners at the White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20). At this point the Earth will never again be influenced by sin, satan and death of mankind. As Adam ushered in the influence of these things upon the human race, the cross of Christ and His atonement have provided for the finality of their existences in the earth, which shall be fulfilled at the final judgment. The presence of sin, satan, sinners and death amongst mankind will not continue forever in the earth.