What We Believe
In presenting this synopsis of our faith, we wish to have it understood that we have no articles of faith, creed, or discipline, aside from the Bible. We put forth this brief statement, however, of what is, with great unanimity, believed to be the pillars of our faith for anyone interested in knowing what we believe.
1. There is one God (Deu 6:4), a personal, spiritual Being, the Creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal; infinite in wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and mercy; unchangeable, and everywhere present by His Holy Spirit (Psalm 139:7).
2. There is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, who was begotten in eternity past before anything was created (Prov 8:22-30). He is the One by whom God created all things (1 Cor 8:6), and by whom they do consist (Col 1:17). He came from the Father to earth being born into the human family for the redemption of our fallen race (John 3:16). He dwelt among men full of grace and truth and lived our perfect example. He died as our sacrifice paying our penalty for sin and reconciled us to God (Rom 5:10). He resurrected from the grave, ascended into heaven and now gives us power to overcome sin through the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit (Eze 36:27; Col 1:27). He is our only mediator in the heavenly sanctuary, where, with His own blood He secures pardon and forgiveness of the sins of all those who penitently come to Him (1 Jn 1:9). As the closing portion of His work as priest, before He takes His throne as king, He will make the great atonement for the sins of all such, and their sins will then be blotted out (Acts 3:19) and borne away from the sanctuary, as shown in the service of the Levitical priesthood, which foreshadowed and prefigured the ministry of our Lord in heaven (Lev 16; Heb 8:4-5; 9:6-7)
3. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, contain a full revelation of His will to man, and are the only infallible rule of faith and practice (2 Tim 3:16).
4. God’s moral requirements are the same upon all men in all dispensations. These are summarily contained in the ten commandments spoken by God from Sinai, engraven on the tables of stone, and deposited in the ark, which was in consequence called the “ark of the covenant,” or testament (Num 10:33; Heb 9:4). This law is immutable and perpetual, being a transcript of the tables deposited in the ark in the true sanctuary on high, which is also, for the same reason, called the ark of God’s testament; for under the sounding of the seventh trumpet we are told that “the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament,” Revelation 11:19. These ten commandments can be simplified into the two great commandments, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God will all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets,” Matthew 22:37-40. The ten commandments can also be enlarged through the statutes given in the Torah to fully explain the meaning and obligation of the commandments. Jesus said, “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law (Torah), till all be fulfilled,” Matthew 5:18. The entire Word of God is our moral compass. “To the law (Torah) and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them,” Isaiah 8:20.
5. The fourth commandment requires that we devote the seventh day of each week (sunset on Friday through sunset on Saturday), to abstinence from our own labor, and to the performance of sacred and religious duties. This is the only weekly Sabbath known to the Bible, being the day that was set apart before Paradise was lost (Gen 2:2-3), and which will be observed in Paradise restored (Isa 66:22- 23). The facts upon which the Sabbath institution is based confine it to the seventh day, as they are not true of any other day, and the terms “Jewish Sabbath,” as applied to the seventh day, and “Christian Sabbath,” as applied to the first day of the week, are names of human invention, unscriptural in fact, and false in meaning. On the contrary, the Bible calls the Sabbath “the Sabbath of the Lord,” Exodus 20:10, and it is part of an entire system of holy convocations our Lord declares as His feasts and are statutes forever (Lev 23).
6. The new birth comprises the entire change necessary to fit us for the kingdom of God, and consists of two parts: First, a moral change wrought by conversion and a Christian life (Jn 3: 3, 5); Second, a physical change at the second coming of Christ, whereby, if dead, we are raised incorruptible, and if living, we are changed to immortality in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor 15: 51-55, 1 Thes 4:15-17). As the natural or carnal heart is at enmity with God and His law, this enmity can be subdued only by a radical transformation of the affections and the exchange of unholy for holy principles. This transformation follows repentance and faith, is the special work of the Holy Spirit, and constitutes regeneration or conversion. All have violated the law of God, and cannot of themselves render obedience to his just requirements. We are dependent on Christ, first, for justification from our past offenses, and, second, for grace whereby to render acceptable obedience to His holy law.
7. The Spirit of God was promised to manifest itself in the church through certain gifts, enumerated especially in 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. These gifts are not designed to supersede or take the place of the Bible, which is sufficient to make us wise unto salvation, any more than the Bible can take the place of the Holy Spirit. In specifying the various channels of its operation, that Spirit has simply made provision for its own existence and presence with the people of God to the end of time, to lead to an understanding of that word which it had inspired, to convince of sin, and to work a transformation in the heart and life. Those who deny to the Spirit its place and operation, do plainly deny that part of the Bible which assigns to it this work and position.
8. Baptism is an ordinance of the Christian church, to follow faith and repentance, and is the means by which we commemorate the resurrection of Christ. By this act, we show our faith in His death, burial and resurrection, and through that, in the resurrection of all the saints at the last day. No other mode of baptism more fitly represents these facts than that which the Scriptures prescribe, which is baptism by immersion (Rom 6:3-5; Col 2:12).
9. Participating in the Lord’s Supper (Communion) is an expression of our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. The emblems that we partake of are the unleavened bread, which represents His body, and the wine, which represents His blood. Jesus died and shed His blood to pay the penalty of our sins, for without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Heb 9:21-23). The Lord’s Supper is linked to Jesus’ death on the cross which symbolizes our justification with God. In coordination with the Lord’s Supper, Jesus also established the Ordinance of Foot Washing. In this service, the one doing the washing is acting in the place of Jesus who humbled Himself to save us from our sins (Phil 2:8). For the recipient, this service not only represents the washing away of our past sins by Jesus but the walking in newness of life (Rom 6:4) and symbolizes our sanctification with God through His Spirit. It is also a way of reexperiencing our baptism and recommitting our life to Him. We can see in these two services the complete plan of salvation: Justification, pardon for sin; Sanctification, power over sin. This complete salvation is also seen in the words of Jesus, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more,” John 8:11.
10. The followers of Christ should be a peculiar people, not following the maxims, nor conforming to the ways of the world; not loving its pleasures nor countenancing its follies; inasmuch as the apostle says that “whosoever therefore will be in this sense, “a friend of the world, is the enemy of God” (James 4:4); and Christ says that we cannot have two masters or at the same time serve God and mammon (Mat 6:24). The Scriptures insist upon plainness and modesty of attire as a prominent mark of discipleship in those who profess to be the followers of Him who was, “meek and lowly in heart,” that the wearing of gold, pearls, and costly clothing, or anything designed merely to adorn the person and foster the pride of the natural heart, is to be discarded, according to such scriptures as 1 Timothy 2:9-10 and 1 Peter 3:3-4.
11. The means for the support of evangelical work among men should be contributed from love to God and love of people. The proportion of one’s income required in former dispensation can be no less under the gospel. It is the same as Abraham (whose children we are, if we are Christ’s, Gal 3:29) paid to Melchisedec (a type of Christ) when he gave him a tenth of all (Heb 7:1-4). The tithe is the Lord’s (Lev 27:30); and this tenth of one’s income is also to be supplemented by offerings from those who are able, for the support of the gospel (2 Cor 9:6; Mal 3:8,10).
12. Prophecy is a part of God’s revelation to man. It is included in that Scripture which is profitable for instruction (2 Tim 3: 16) and is designed for us and our children (Deu 29: 29). So far from being enshrouded in impenetrable mystery, it is that which especially constitutes the word of God a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Ps 119: 105; 2 Peter 1: 19), and a blessing is pronounced upon those who study it (Rev 1:3). Consequently, it is to be understood by the people of God sufficiently to show them their position in the world’s history and the special duties required at their hands (Jn 14:29). The world’s history from specified dates in the past, the rise and fall of empires, and the chronological succession of events down to the setting up of God’s everlasting kingdom, are outlined in numerous great chains of prophecy; and that these prophecies are now all fulfilled except the closing scenes.
13. God, in accordance with his uniform dealings with the race, sends forth a proclamation of the approach of the second advent of Christ. This work is symbolized by the three messages of Revelation 14, the last one bringing to view the work of reform on the law of God, that his people may acquire a complete readiness for that event.
14. As the man of sin, the papacy has thought to change times (God’s holy convocations) and laws (the law of God, Dan 7:25), and has misled almost all Christendom in regard to the fourth commandment and it’s associated statutes along with the Torah in large. We find a prophecy of a reform in this respect to be wrought among believers just before the coming of Christ (Isa 58:12; Mal 4:4-6; Rev 14:12).
15. The doctrine of the world’s conversion and a temporal millennium is a fable of these last days, calculated to lull men into a state of carnal security, and cause them to be overtaken by the great day of the Lord as by a thief in the night (1 Thes 5: 1-3). The second coming of Christ is to precede, not follow the millennium. For until the Lord appears, the papal system, with all its abominations, is to continue (2 Thes 2: 8), the wheat and tares grow together (Mat 13: 29, 30, 39), and evil men and seducers wax worse and worse, as the word of God declares (2 Tim 3: 1, 13).
16. The mistake of Adventists in 1844 pertained to the nature of the event then to transpire, not to the time. No prophetic period is given to reach to the second advent, but the longest one, the two thousand and three hundred days of Daniel 8:14, terminated on October 22, 1844, and brought us to an event called the cleansing of the sanctuary on the Day of Atonement.
17. The sanctuary of the new covenant is the tabernacle of God in heaven, of which Paul speaks in Hebrews 8 and onward, and of which our Lord, as great high priest, is minister. This sanctuary is the antitype of the Mosaic tabernacle, and the priestly work of our Lord, connected therewith, is the antitype of the work of the Jewish priests as the type (Heb 8:1-5). This, and not the earth, is the sanctuary to be cleansed at the end of the two thousand and three hundred days. What is termed its cleansing being in this case, as in the type, simply the entrance of the high priest into the most holy place to finish the round of service connected therewith by making the atonement and removing from the sanctuary the sins which had been transferred to it by means of the ministration in the first apartment (Lev 16; Heb 9:22, 23). This work in the antitype, beginning in 1844, consists in actually blotting out the sins of believers (Acts 3:19), and occupies a brief but indefinite space of time, at the conclusion of which the work of mercy for the world will be finished, and the second advent of Christ will take place.
18. The time of the cleansing of the sanctuary, synchronizing with the time of the proclamation of the third message (Rev 14:9-10), is a time of investigative judgment. First, with reference to the dead, and secondly, at the close of probation, with reference to the living, to determine who of the myriads now sleeping in the dust of the earth are worthy of a part in the first resurrection, and who of its living multitudes are worthy of translation, – points which must be determined before the Lord appears.
19. The grave, whether we all tend, expressed by the Hebrew word “sheol” and the Greek word “hades”, is a place, or condition, in which there is no work, device, wisdom, nor knowledge (Eccl 9:10). The state to which we are reduced by death is one of silence, inactivity, and entire unconsciousness (Ps 146:4; Eccl 9:5-6; Dan 12:2) and is referred to by the Bible as a “sleep” (Job 14:12; 1 Thes 4:13-14).
20. Out of this prison-house of the grave, mankind is to be brought by a bodily resurrection. The righteous having part in the first resurrection, which takes place at the second coming of Christ; the wicked, in the second resurrection, which takes place in a thousand years thereafter (Rev 20:4-6). At the last trump, the living righteous are to be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and with the risen righteous are to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, so forever to be with the Lord (1 Thes 4:16-17; 1 Cor 15:51-52).
21. These immortalized ones are then taken to heaven, to the New Jerusalem, the Father’s house, in which there are many mansions (Jn 14:13), where they reign with Christ a thousand years, judging the world and fallen angels, that is, apportioning the punishment to be executed upon them at the close of the one thousand years (Rev 20:4; 1 Cor 6:2-3). During this time the earth lies in a desolate and chaotic condition (Jer. 4:23-27), described, as in the beginning, by the Greek term abussos (bottomless pit) (Septuagint of Gen 1:2). Here Satan is confined during the thousand years (Rev 20:1-2) and here finally destroyed (Rev 20:10; Mal 4:1). The theater of the ruin he has wrought in the universe is appropriately made, for a time, his gloomy prison-house and then the place of his final execution.
22. At the end of the thousand years the Lord descends with his people and the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:2), the wicked dead are raised, and come up on the surface of the yet unrenewed earth, and gather about the city, the camp of the saints (Rev 20:9), and fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours them. They are then consumed, root and branch (Mal 4:1), becoming as though they had not been (Obad 15-16). In this everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord (2 Thes 1:9), the wicked meet the “everlasting punishment” threatened against them (Matt 25:46), which is everlasting death (Rom 6:23; Rev 20:14-15). This is the perdition of ungodly men, the fire which consumes them being the fire for which “the heavens and the earth, which are now,. . . are kept in store,” which shall melt even the elements with its intensity and purge the earth from the deepest stains of the curse of sin (2 Pet 3:7-12).
23. The new heavens and a new earth shall spring by the power of God from the ashes of the old, and this renewed earth, with the New Jerusalem for its metropolis and capital, shall be the eternal inheritance of the saints, the place where the righteous shall evermore dwell (2 Pet 3:13; Ps 37:11,29; Mat 5:5).