Our Declaration of Faith
According to Jude 3 all those who have experienced “the common salvation should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” We understand the elements of “the faith” to involve the following:
- The Bible in its original autographs is “God-Breathed,” or verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit, and therefore is the infallible incorporation of God’s revealed truth to man and is historically trustworthy.
- The Bible informs us that there is a plurality of Persons in the Godhead, designated as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who are co-existing in profound oneness of relationship.
- The Bible pictures all three Members of the Godhead as exercising personal functions:
- Involving intellectual activity or process of thought,
- As being subjects of experience or emotional reactions of happiness and grief,
- As making decisions of will as a result of these.
- As to natural attributes, or involuntary characteristics or qualities of being, the Bible ascribes to each Person of the Godhead:
- Eternity, or an uncaused everlasting duration,
- Omnipresence, or spiritual existence everywhere manifested, apart from any bodily form,
- Omniscience, or knowledge of all knowable facts,
- Omnipotence, or an unbounding energy and power of personality
- As to moral attributes, each Member of the Godhead maintains a voluntary disposition of perfect benevolence of impartial good-will towards all beings with unbroken faithfulness or steadfast as embodied in the words “God is love.” This
essential moral character is described as a state of holiness or as worthy of veneration and manifest itself in actions of righteousness, lovingkindness and mercy, wisdom, and truthfulness.
- The physical universe with all its manifestations of life and all moral beings has been brought into existence out of nothing by the creative fiat of the Triune Persons of the Godhead. This act is a monument of Divine wisdom. The realm of material and nonmoral animate existence is sustained by the operations of the Godhead under the law of cause and effect, functioning either directly or by established laws and instincts.
- The Bible reveals the existence of a great host of moral beings with a purely spiritual nature called angels. They are divided as to moral character into those who are happily engaged in loving service to God, and those under Satan’s leadership who had rebelled against their Creator before man’s creation and are energetically fostering such rebellion in the universe.
- Man is a spiritual essence or personality amalgamated with a physical body. He is a replica of his Creator’s moral image, with abilities of intellect, emotion, and free-will or self-decision. He is therefore under the moral obligation as a subject of moral
government by motives (incentives) and rewards as distinguished from government by cause and effect.
- By profound endowments of personality man was given the ability to conform to the loving and intelligent will of his Creator or refuse to do so. He tragically exercised his prerogative by turning in rebellion to pursue a pathway of supreme self-gratification in denial of the rights of God and his fellowman.
- Mans has forsaken the disposition of love which constitutes the essential life of the Godhead. He has had intimate manifestations of fellowship terminated with dire moral consequences as he was consigned to a place of eternal separation and remorse called hell. And with tragic physical consequences man was driven forth from the fountain of physical life to experience bodily decay, disease, and finally death.
- Every act of sin leaves its deposit in the personality, or increases one’s depravity or tendency to wrongful indulgences. This depravity is more or less passed on to our offspring by the laws of heredity and particularly by environment, but is not itself sin.
- The essence of sin does not consist in any depraved tendencies of body and mind. Rather it is a voluntary and persistent committal of the will to pursue a course of life calculated to result in supreme gratification to self, all things considered. This revolt is against the claims of moral obligation towards God and man as dictated by intelligence and truth.
- The sinner is by natural endowed ability able to forsake his sinful course in recognition of the intelligent claims of God and man. However, he is so confirmed in the practice of sin which permeates all his activity and his emotions, which are so overdeveloped therein, that he never would forsake its paths and seek reconciliation with God unless strong influences are exerted towards this climax.
- It is the central message of the Bible that, while entirely free from all blame for the tragedy of sin, each of the Members of the Triune Godhead is compassionately disposed towards man and willing to pardon freely all of man’s sins when this can be
done with righteous consideration of all factors involved.
- It is impossible that mercy could be exercised righteously in the forgiveness of men’s sins apart from the appropriate atonement as a substitutionary measure for the eternal punishment of sinners because:
- There would be nothing to uphold the moral government of God if the penalty of sin is dispensed with through pardon, even though the sinner sincerely repents.
- There would be nothing to manifest the loving disposition of God in its intense hatred of all the aspects of sin and thus guard against false character evaluation.
- There would be nothing to break down the sinner’s pride so that he can be reconciled to God and become a penitent and appreciative subject of moral government.
- There would be nothing to purify man’s innermost being from the defilement of sin, renewing and motivating him to live a new spiritual life through faith.
- To remove these otherwise impossible obstacles, the Son of God, The Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, condescended to enter our sphere of life and joined His Deity to our humanity through the Virgin Birth. He lived a
sinless life in the impartation of truth to a dying race. In His death He died not of physical wounds but of the load of sins of the whole world upon His holy heart, “that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man,” or without any partiality or
- There are three agencies and one instrument in the reconciliation of the sinner to God:
- The Holy Spirit as the Divine Agent enlightens every man as to his moral obligations and exerts powerful conviction of guilt, and manifests the moving love of God through the Gospel proclamation
- The servant of Christ makes choice to exert similar persuasion and in addition has the privilege of prayer to travail with God,
- The sinner, who is able to resist all the measures that can be taken toward his salvation, must respond to the truth, break down his heart before God, and repent,
- The Word of God, the Bible, becomes the instrument in the hands of all to achieve this happy end.
- The first condition of salvation is repentance. This is not merely regret and remorse, but a climatic renunciation of the whole principle of supreme selfishness as an end in life. Repentance must include a proper evaluation of the awfulness of sin and its
consequences to God and man, and a firm determination to be through with sin forever because of its intrinsic hatefulness.
- The second condition of reconciliation to God is saving faith. This is not merely an intellectual state in accepting certain factual knowledge about sin and the advent and death of Christ related thereto. Saving faith is an intelligent committal of the will in the acceptance of the atoning death of Christ with all that is involved as the only hope of our being forgiven of our past sins and restored to Divine favor.
- This saving faith is not self-energized but is an induced gift of God to the repentant sinner who is enlightened by the Holy Spirit. When the sinner is so enlightened the atoning death of Christ becomes a living reality rather and a historical entity, exalting the
love of Christ and deflating the sinner so that he is exceedingly glad to have such an object of faith and remedy for sin as his only hope.
- Upon the capitulation of faith, there takes place in the judicial governorship of the Father the free pardon of every single sinful act that has been committed up to that moment. At that moment, a new name is written in “the Lamb’s book of life,” and all
reason of present condemnation are forever blotted out.
- As the sufferings of Christ are made real to the repentant sinner (through the illumination of the Holy Spirit), upon the exercise of the committal of faith a most glorious and mysterious transformation takes place in the very depth of his experiential
consciousness. In this way devastating effects of sin in the inner personality are cleansed away and its stains in the conscience removed so that they do not weigh down the soul any longer. This cleansing event is described as “the washing of regeneration.”
- The “renewing of the Holy Spirit” takes place as a happy climax to the negative cleansing operation. The subject of regeneration is overjoyed in the fullness of love of God, which issues forth as the innermost being is baptized by the Holy Spirit into a vital
relationship to the resurrected Christ, henceforth to be animated by the very life of God.
- In this vital relationship it is but natural to be “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” Victory over all sin is absolutely guaranteed as long as we lay hold of the promises of God by faith and abide in Christ in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, “that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
- This continuance in victory over temptation by the glorious provisions of grace is not optional, but is set forth in both Old and New Testaments as a mandatory third condition of final salvation. This is enforced by a great number of most solemn warnings against apostasy and its dreadful consequences: “He that overcometh the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”
- The law of habit happily works both ways, and therefore as we form the habit of walking day by day in the fullness of the Holy Spirit and “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,” “kept by the power of God through faith,” we become “established in the faith,” are “no more children tossed to and fro, …but grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”
- “Occupy till I come” was our Lord’s loving and prophetic command to His disciples. Further commissions were addressed to His Church which was soon to be formed by the baptism of the Holy Spirit after His ascension into heaven. The Church was to be
mightily endued with power and wisdom for the solemn and urgent task: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
- “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, and with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God” at the end of the great Tribulation period, to culminate this age of grace, subdue all resistance to His will, and establish His glorified Church in their resurrected bodies. Yet according to our Lord’s words, “This gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.”
Gordon C. Olson, 1941