SpiritAndTruth.org

Doctrinal Statement


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The teachers represented by this site subscribe to the following doctrinal positions.

(© The Society of Dispensational Theology [SODT], Feb. 4, 2003. Used with permission.)

The Scriptures

We believe all Scripture, Old and New Testament, is inspired by God. This refers to the original autographs as written by the prophets and apostles. Thus, the Bible is inerrant and without mistakes in the original words. We believe all Scripture points to the Lord Jesus Christ and reveals the mind of God to man, and the only way of Salvation through Christ. The Scriptures also are the only guide for our practical moral and spiritual instruction.

(Mark 12:26, 36; 13:11; Luke 24:27, 44; John 5:39; Acts 1:16; 17:2-3; 18:28; 26:22-23; 28:23; Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 2:13; 10:11; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21)

 

The Interpretation of Scripture

Though in some ways, interpretation of Scripture would not be considered 'doctrine,' yet it is extremely important as to the method that one approaches in the study of the Bible. In this sense, interpretation becomes an essential doctrinal issue.

'Hermeneutics' is the science of interpretation. There are evidences in both the Old and New Testaments as to the method that Biblical truth is to be interpreted. Conservative, normal, and literal hermeneutics takes a very tried and true approach to understanding the Bible that should include observation, interpretation, and application. It would argue for but one sense or meaning for each passage of Scripture. As well, normative hermeneutics leaves no room for a new 'complementary hermeneutics' approach in the popularly labeled system of Progressive Dispensationalism.

Though taking the Word of God literally, and at face value, in classical hermeneutics there is room for poetry, figures of speech, illustrations, types, and symbols. But these literary devices do not take away from the foundational or normal interpretative understanding of Biblical truth. Normal interpretation also argues for progressive revelation, i.e., that the Holy Spirit over a period of time revealed certain truths in a progressive fashion. For example, the revelation of Jesus Christ starts in Genesis but is not fully complete until the book of Revelation. Literal interpretation is in opposition to allegorical interpretation. Though the Apostle Paul in Galatians 'creates' an allegory in order to make an isolated point or illustration (Gal. 4:21-26), allegory as a system is but an unacceptable philosophical approach to understanding the Word of God. It is clearly contrary to proper Biblical interpretation.

(Luke 1:1-4; 24:35, 44-46, 48; Acts 10:8; 17:11-12; 26:6-7, 26-27)

The Godhead

We believe that the Godhead eternally exists in three persons--the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit--and that these three are one God, having the precise same nature, attributes, and perfections and worthy of precisely the same honor, confidence, and obedience.

(Mt. 28:18-19; Mark 12:29; John 1:14; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor. 13:14; Heb. 1:1-3; Rev. 1:4-6)

God's Eternal Purpose

We believe that according to the 'eternal purpose' of God (Eph. 3:11) salvation in the divine reckoning is always 'by grace through faith,' and rests upon the basis of the shed blood of Christ. We believe that God has always been gracious, regardless of the dispensation, but that man has not at all times been under an administration or stewardship of grace as is true in the present dispensation of the Church.

(1 Cor. 9:17; Eph. 3:2; 3:9; Col. 1:25; 1 Tim. 1:4)

The Sovereignty of God

Though God is Absolute Sovereign over all creation and history, He is not the author of sin. Yet in some mysterious way, His decrees include all that takes place in the universe. God has a 'determined plan for the whole world' and no one can alter His purposes (Isa. 14:26-27). What He has planned that He will do (Isa. 46:11). And, He 'works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will' (Eph. 1:11); 'Surely as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand' (Isa. 14:24).

Sovereignty also extends to the providence of God whereby He sustains all creatures, giving them life and removing life as He pleases (Deut. 32:39). In sovereignty, all things were created for the glory of God and all things exist for Him (Rev. 4:11). The sovereignty of God also extends to the doctrine of divine election whereby those chosen by the council of the Lord's own will, shall come to Him in faith (Jn. 6:37, 39, 44; Eph. 1:3-18; 2 Thess. 2:13). And yet, even though difficult to reconcile in human understanding, the sovereignty of God does not remove the responsibility of man (Habakkuk 1:6, 11; Acts 2:22-23, 36).

Angels, Fallen and Unfallen

We believe that God created an innumerable company of sinless, spiritual beings, known as angels; that one, 'Lucifer, son of the morning'--the highest in rank--sinned through pride, thereby becoming Satan; that a great company of the angels followed him in his moral fall, some of whom became demons and are active as his agents and associates in the prosecution of his unholy purposes, while others who fell are 'reserved in everlasting chains under darkness until the judgment of the great day.'

(Isa. 14:12-17; Ezek. 28:11-19; 1 Tim. 3:6; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6)

Man, Created and Fallen

We believe that man was originally created in the image and after the likeness of God, and that he fell through sin and as a consequence of his sin, lost his spiritual life, becoming dead in trespasses and sins, and that he became subject to the power of the devil. Paul adds that the lost are mentally blinded by Satan, the god of this world, and that the truth of the gospel is veiled from those who are destroying themselves (1 Cor. 4:3-4). The Word of God makes it clear, there is no one who seeks after God (Rom. 3:11). So God has given mankind over to the lusts of the heart and to a depraved mind (Rom. 1:24, 28). The Apostle further argues that men who live to indulge the flesh and the mind with lusts, are by nature the children of wrath, and in life, walk after the course designed by Satan, the 'spirit' presently working in the sons of disbelief (Eph. 2:2-3). Theologically, this 'deadness' and darkness of mind and heart along with all the sins that come forth, has been rightly called Total Depravity (Rom 1:28). Following the sin of Adam, man could only produce descendants who would be sinners. Therefore all mankind is under the death sentence and penalty of sin (Rom. 5:12-18) and thus are all condemned. This doctrine is important because it stands in opposition to the philosophy of humanism that is the moral and spiritual scourge of modern man. Only through the reconciliation of Christ, by His death, are human beings who are enemies of God being saved (Rom. 5:10). The result is that sinners are justified by Christ's blood, and are rescued from the wrath of God.

(Gen. 1:26; 2:17; 6:5; Ps. 14:1-3; 51:5; Jer. 17:9; Eph. 2:1-6)

The First Advent of Christ

We believe that, as provided and purposed by God and as preannounced in the prophecies of the Scriptures, the eternal Son of God came into this world that He might manifest God to men, fulfill prophecy and become the Redeemer of a lost world. To this end He was born of the virgin, and received a human body and a sinless human nature.

(Luke 1:30-35; John 1:18; 3:16; Heb. 4:15)

We believe that in fulfillment of prophecy He came first to Israel as her Messiah-King, and, being rejected of that nation, He gave His life as a ransom for all according to the eternal counsels of God.

(John 1:11; Acts 2:22-24; 1 Tim. 2:6)

We believe that, according to the Scriptures, He arose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He had lived and died, and that His resurrection body is the pattern of that body which ultimately will be given to all believers .

(John 20:20; Phil. 3:20-21)

Salvation Only Through Christ

We believe that, owing to universal death through sin, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless born again; and that no degree of reformation however great, no attainment in morality however high, no culture however attractive, no baptism or other ordinance however administered, can help the sinner to take even one step toward heaven; but a new nature imparted from above, a new life implanted by the Holy Spirit through the Word, is absolutely essential to salvation, and only those thus saved are sons of God.

(John 1:12; 3:16; Rom. 1:16-17; 3:22; Gal. 3:22)

The Extent Of Salvation

Though the saved one may have occasion to grow in the realization of his blessings and to know a fuller measure of divine power through the yielding of his life more fully to God, he is, as soon as he is saved, in possession of every spiritual blessing and absolutely complete in Christ, and is therefore, in no way required by God to seek a so-called 'second blessing,'  'second work of grace,' or a 'second baptism.'

(1 Cor. 3:21-23; Eph. 1:3; Col. 2:10; 1 John 4:17; 5:11-12)

Eternal Security

We believe God keeps eternally all those He has elected and called to salvation and that none are lost. God will, however, chasten and correct His own in infinite love; but having undertaken to save them and keep them forever, apart from all human merit, He, who cannot fail, will in the end present every one faultless in Christ, and on His merits, before the presence of His glory and conformed to the image of His Son.

(John 5:24; 10:28; 13:1; Eph. 1:3-17; 1 John 5:13)

We believe that believers can have eternal assurance that they are the children of God and thus, are eternally kept. This assurance gives confidence and helps the believer grow in inner peace and maturity.

(Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:3-17)

The Holy Spirit

We believe that the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, though omnipresent from all eternity, took up His abode in the world in a special sense on the day of Pentecost according to the divine promise, dwells in every believer, and by His baptism unites all to Christ in one body, and that He, as the indwelling One, is the source of all power and all acceptable worship and service.

(John 14:16-17; 16:7-15; 1 Cor. 6:19; Eph. 2:22; 2 Thess. 2:7)

We believe that speaking in tongues was never the common or necessary sign of the baptism nor of the filling of the Spirit.

(Acts 4:8, 31; Rom. 8:23; 1 Cor. 13:8)

The Great Commission

We believe that it is the explicit message of our Lord Jesus Christ to those whom He has saved that they are sent forth by Him into the world to make known Christ to the whole world.

(Mt. 28:18-19; John 17:18; Acts 1:8; 1 Pet 1:17; 2:11)

The Blessed Hope

We believe that the next great event in the fulfillment of prophecy will be the coming of the Lord in the air to receive to Himself into heaven both His own who are alive and remain unto His coming, and also all who have fallen asleep in Jesus, and that this event is the blessed hope set before us in the Scripture, and for this we should be constantly looking.

(John 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Titus 2:11-14)

The Apostasy Of The Church

Without designating a specific time table, the Apostle Paul warns of a 'falling away' from the faith (2 Tim 4:1) that will lead to a heeding of deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons (1 Tim 4:2) Paul simply says it will occur in the 'later times' and produce hypocrisy and a searing of the conscience. This apostasy will be religious and moral in nature (2 Tim 3:1-7) and will happen prior to the rapture of the Church and before the revelation of the son of destruction, the Antichrist (2 Thess. 2:1-5). Paul further teaches that the seeds of apostasy are present in the Church but they will also completely mature in the last days, which he describes as 'difficult times' (2 Tim. 3:1).

The Apostle Peter continues the theme of the apostasy that will come upon the Church in the future (2 Pet. 2:1-2), that is, during the 'last days' (2 Pet. 3:3) when men will be mockers asking 'Where is the promise of His coming?' (2 Pet. 3:4).

Some argue, as is true, that the apostasy is ever-present and not simply a future departure from the Word of God. Yet, the Bible still predicts a future religious phenomenon whereby the truth is maligned and the righteous will be exploited by greed and false words (2 Pet 2:2-3).

The Tribulation

We believe that the rapture of the church will be followed by the fulfillment of Israel's seventieth week (Dan. 9:27; Rev. 6:1-19:21) during which the church, the body of Christ, will be in heaven. The whole period of Israel's seventieth week will be a time of judgment on the whole earth, at the end of which the times of the Gentiles will be brought to a close. The latter half of this period will be the time of Jacob's trouble (Jer. 30:7), which our Lord called the great tribulation (Mt. 24:15-21). We believe that universal righteousness will not be realized previous to the second coming of Christ, but that the world is day by day ripening for judgment and that the age will end with a fearful apostasy.

The Second Coming of Christ

We believe that the period of great tribulation in the earth will be climaxed by the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth as He went. The millennial age will follow, with Satan bound. Israel will be restored to her own land and the Abrahamic Covenant will be fulfilled by the consummation of its three divisions - Land (Palestinian Covenant), Seed (Davidic Covenant), and Blessing (New Covenant finally brought to complete fruition). The whole world that survives will be brought to a complete knowledge of the Messiah.

(Deut. 30:1-10; Isa. 11:9; Ezek. 37:21; Jer. 31:31- on; Mt. 24:15-25:46; Acts 15:16-17; Rom 8:19-23; 11:25-27; Rev. 20:1-3)

The Eternal State

We believe that at death the spirits and souls of those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation pass immediately into His presence and there remain in conscious bliss until the resurrection of the glorified body when Christ comes for His own, whereupon soul and body reunited shall be associated with Him forever in glory; but the spirits and souls of the unbelieving remain after death conscious of condemnation and in misery until the final judgment of the great white throne at the close of the millennium, when soul and body reunited shall be cast into the lake of fire, not to be annihilated, but to be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.

(Luke 16:19-26; 23:42; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Jude 6 - 7; Rev. 20:11-15)

Dispensationalism

We believe that the Bible presents the fact that God has not always dealt with mankind the same way in every age. According to Biblical terminology these distinct periods are called 'administrations' in regard to the purpose of God or 'stewardships' concerning the responsibility of man as originated from the New Testament usage of the Greek word, oikonomia  (Eph. 1:10; 3:2, 9).  We believe that classical or traditional dispensationalism is the system that best represents the Biblical teaching on this matter. Classical or traditional dispensationalism is distinguished by

  1. A consistent literal interpretation

  2. A clear distinction between Israel and the Church

  3. Taking into account progressive revelation

  4. Recognizing the glory of God as the ultimate purpose of God in the world.

 

On Current Issues

We believe that corruptive influences have always been working against the Church, the body of Christ.  Along with anti-moral forces, the SODT repudiates the man created philosophies of secular humanism, materialism, evolution, and feminism. This includes the influences of secular psychology. While some truths may be imprinted into what man can observe, basically, they are counter to the revealed truths of Scripture.

SODT believes that much of what is commonly identified with the 'Church Growth' movement encourages, perhaps unintentionally, dependence upon the flesh and worldly methods, rather than means ordained by God. SODT acknowledges that, in this age of grace, the Head of the Church has given His servants great freedom to trust Him for creative strategies and methods as they pursue by the Spirit the fulfillment of our Lord's mandate, the Great Commission. However, SODT repudiates dependence on the flesh and upon worldly strategies in all aspects of the Lord's work.

More than a detestable lifestyle (Lev. 18:22; 20:13), homosexuality is hedonism which claims its own rights no matter what the consequences. Some churches are confused and say, 'we don't have to accept the practice but we must love the person.' When men and women blatantly jeopardize the lives of others and defiantly shake their fists at God and human authority, tolerance reaches a limit. Though God detests every sin, those sins that destroy human life, He moves against, giving them 'over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not right' (Rom. 1:28). If homosexuals repent before God and ask for forgiveness, as found only in Christ, they should be accepted and supported.  Christians must continue to fight against the socialization of homosexuality in government and education.  Believers must also continue to witness about God's gracious ability through Christ to rescue even from the most detestable of sins.

(Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim 1:8-11)

Women and Ministry

We believe that in the body of Christ men and women stand spiritually equal and constitute the Church universal.  We believe women have had and always will have their God-given gifts and roles within this body. Accordingly, as the primary role of believing men is to be husbands and fathers, so the primary role of women is to be wives and mothers. But modern secular feminism has destroyed the importance of these positions and blurred the differences between men and women. The SODT encourages women to have personal ministries. But the Scriptures are clear that male leadership is called to the local church positions of deacon, elder, and pastor-teacher. No amount of debate can water down what the Bible says about the individual and distinct callings of both sexes, in regard to gifts and positions. The SODT equally encourages women to pursue diplomas but the role of pastor-teacher is Biblically reserved for men.

(1 Tim. 2:9-15; 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 2:1-8; 1 Cor. 14:34-35)

Openness Of God, Progressive Dispensationalism, Preterism

The SODT repudiates the theories known as the “Openness of God”. This theory proposes that God does not exhaustively know the future, that He learns as He observes the unfolding of history, and that He is 'open' to the free actions of His creatures, altering His plans in response to the exercise of their free agency and previously unknowable acts. This theory violates both the omniscience of God and the fact that in sovereignty, He has ordained all things. In fact, this theory may be classified as heretical.

The SODT repudiates the theories of Progressive Dispensationalism. The central disturbing tenet in this view is that the Lord Jesus Christ is now spiritually reigning on the throne of David in heaven. The Scriptures do not teach this view. The Lord is seated at the right hand of the Father presently in glory, but this is not the prophesied Davidic rule that will take place in time and history. Progressive Dispensationalism arises from a faulty, inconsistent and complementary hermeneutic, and a misplaced desire for rapprochement between Dispensational and Covenant Theologies.

The SODT repudiates the theories of Preterism. Preterism is an eschatological viewpoint that places many or all Eschatological events in the past, especially during the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Preterism, in it’s full or “consistent” form asserts that Christ’s second coming has already occurred, that the Scriptures do not speak of any future eschatological events, and that we are now living in the New Heavens and the New Earth. The SODT believes that the Preterist view is exegetically unsupportable and represents a compromise with Liberal Theology by downgrading the veracity of prophetic scriptures.

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