When the congregation was founded, it adopted Articles of Faith, in April 1980. Those Articles continue to be vital and foundational to the congregation. The following series of articles of faith is a recent statement representing the congregation’s continued commitment to scriptural authority and salvation bestowed by sovereign grace. Direct scriptural references are not included for two reasons: length of the statement and fluidity in reading.
- Of the Scriptures. That the Bible is inspired of God and it is a perfect treasure of heavenly revelation. God is its author and its subject; salvation is its end; truth, without any mixture of error, comprises its matter. The Scriptures are inerrant in their inspiration and infallible in their record. They will remain, till the end of the ages, the standard by which human conduct, creeds and opinions are tried.
- Of the True God. That God is one, yet three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is eternal, infinite and immutable; omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent; holy, just and righteous; good, gracious and merciful; patient, purposeful and forbearing; solitary in His Person, supreme in His revelation, and independent in His works; spiritual, faithful and all-together lovely. God is worthy of man’s deepest meditation and highest esteem. He is the creator, sustainer and glory of the universe. He is inexpressibly glorious in holiness; He is worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love.
- Of the Love of God. That love is the essence of God: God is love. It does not extend universally to all men without the exception of any. Nor does it exclude men with regard to race, gender, social status, economic standing, etc. When Jesus said “God so loved the world” He declared God’s love is not limited to Jews alone, but included Gentiles, as well. As God is sovereign, God’s love is sovereign, therefore His love is limited by His will. Being sovereign, God is obligated to love no one. In this light, God loved Jacob, but He didn’t love Esau. Rather, God’s love is determined, purposed and an expression of His pleasure. As God set His love upon Israel, He set His love upon His elect. As God is eternal, He exclusively loved them from the world’s foundation. God’s love is infinitely wonderful, having height, depth, width and breadth which man cannot fathom.
- Of the Fall of Man. That the first man of creation, Adam was created in innocence and happiness. When God revealed His law of obedience to Adam, he fell into sin. Original sin was immediately imputed to the whole human race. Sin resulted in legal condemnation, moral depravity and spiritual inability. It is true: evil is restrained by human law and culture; the Holy Spirit restrains iniquity; God’s law sets boundaries of rebellion. Yet, mankind was affected in mind, affections and body by Adam’s fall. Since the introduction of sin, the whole creation has continued groaning and travailing in pain.
- Of the Way of Salvation. That salvation is by grace. The glorious person and saving work of Christ is the exclusive condition of grace. In life, He kept the law’s requirements; and in death, He endured the law’s penalties. He is the satisfaction of divine justice, the substitute for sinners, and the Savior of His people. God’s election is an act of grace. Christ’s effectual work at the cross is an act of grace. The Holy Spirit’s irresistible call is an act of grace. The way of salvation is free to the chosen sinner, but it cost the Father His Son, and it cost the Son His life. The way of salvation is graciously in the hand of the Potter. God does as He pleases, with whom He pleases, and He does it at all times. Thus, the way of salvation must be by grace, without the will and work of man.
- Of the Doctrine of Election.. That sovereign election is the clear and undeniable teaching of the scriptures. It is God’s decree. It is before the foundation of the world. It is limited and particular. It is without obligation to save any. It is without regard to man’s decisions or deeds. It is not salvation, yet there is no salvation without it. Salvation by divine election is consistent with grace; contrarily, salvation by human will is not consistent with grace. Election cannot be left out of the gospel declaration without misrepresenting God’s grace.
- Of the Person of Jesus Christ. That Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man, the infinite and perfect God-Man. As Christ and Messiah, He is the Prophet, Priest, and King promised in the Old Testament. As the Son of the Living God, without variation, He is the same in essence with God, yea the physical presence of Jehovah. As Jesus, He is the Savior, the unblemished Lamb of God. As the Substitute, He bore the sins of His people, not sinning Himself and remaining separate from sinners. Neither forgiveness, justification, reconciliation or redemption, were by virtue of eternal election in Christ. Rather, they occurred in connection with the incarnate Son of God’s physical presence, perfect obedience and actual suffering. A Bible phrase like, “in Christ”, means in connection with His sinless person and completed work. As the Mediator, He is the only way to acceptance before God; and, He is the everlasting intercessor in behalf of His people. As Lord, He must reign, must be the Head of His church, and will in each generation, tenderly yet powerfully, call His sheep to light, truth and salvation.
- Of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That the gospel is the declaration of the sovereign God as He is, fallen man as he is, and gracious salvation as it is. It declares God’s righteousness and it imputed at the cross unto the full justification of all the elect. The gospel must be declared, heard, understood and believed for one to call himself a gospel believer. To the extent, any preacher, teacher or missionary fails to set forth God’s righteousness and its imputation, he fails to declare the Gospel. To the extent any profession of faith is made under another gospel, it must be repented of and turned from.
- Of the Doctrine of Justification. That justification is God declaring a sinner to be as he ought to be: right with God. It is salvation from God’s just sentence of condemnation. It is salvation completed fully outside of the experiences, decisions and deeds of His own elect. It resulted from God transferring, accounting, reckoning, declaring or imputing righteousness, which Jesus Christ earned and established. At the cross, the sin of the elect was imputed to Christ; and, His earned righteousness was imputed to them. God imputed righteousness inclusively and at once to the eternal and spiritual account of all His elect. On the one hand, justification is the pardon of sin; on the other, it is the imputation of righteousness. As sin was imputed when the first Adam disobeyed, righteousness was imputed when Christ, the Last Adam, obeyed. This imputation is immutable; and, it is unto eternal life. Prior to the cross, saints looked forward to the promise of righteousness-imputed. After the cross, saints look back to the fulfilled promise of righteousness-imputed. Righteousness was imputed not before the obedience of Christ, not after His obedience and not without His obedience, but in connection with His obedience unto death. It is salvation from God’s perspective and viewed by faith. It is the security and assurance of God’s chosen people.
- Of the Doctrine of Redemption. That redemption is by the ransom-price paid by Jesus Christ. It is from the curse of the law. It occurred at the cross, as did all other saving blessings: sin’s remission, justification, sanctification, adoption, reconciliation, and gracious acceptance. It is without regard to race, gender, education, economic or social status. It is particular, saving, and infinitely honoring to God. In behalf of God’s elect, it effectuated the Law of Liberty.
- Of the Doctrine of Regeneration. That regeneration is spiritual awakening by the sovereign Holy Spirit. As justification is salvation from the law’s condemnation at the cross, regeneration is salvation from spiritual darkness in time and experience. It is from death to life; and, it is from darkness to light; and, it is from spiritual ignorance to spiritual enlightenment. It gives a favorable disposition of the mind and affections to the gospel, and an unfavorable disposition to the tenets of any other gospel. Regeneration results in personal faith and personal faithfulness.
- Of the Doctrine of Repentance. That repentance is a God-given change of the mind. It is from dead works, which are decisions or deeds once considered necessary conditions to appropriate forgiveness, redemption, sanctification, acceptance, and justification. It is unto the truth, which is the settled body of revelation set forth in the scriptures and, as we believe, declared in this statement. It remains the disposition of the believer’s mind; hence, he repents many times in the course of life. It is incumbent upon all men, everywhere, and in every walk of life to repent and believe the gospel.
- Of the Doctrine of Faith. That faith is the sovereign gift of God to all whom He chose, who were given to Christ, and who were justified at the cross. Faith doesn’t await the sinner; rather, it is God’s gift to the sinner. By faith, God’s elect understand the gospel, embrace God’s unconditional election, rest in sovereign justification and grow in grace. Faith is the window through which God’s elect see their sin, God’s grace, and the vicarious death of Christ. Faith and repentance are inseparable graces. Faith is essential in this age of grace, not to be saved by, and not to appropriate grace, but to be at peace toward God, and to find comfort in the salvation won by the Man, Christ Jesus. Believers walk by faith toward an infinitely better place.
- Of the Doctrine of Calling and Conversion. That calling by the Holy Spirit is effective; and, results in turning away from sin and false worship unto Christ and true worship. These two graces are always accompanied by heartfelt humility, grief, remorse, and contrition. There is an initial calling and conversion; but, believers are ever coming to Christ and they are ever turning away from sin and false thoughts concerning God.
- Of the Doctrine of Perseverance. That perseverance of the saints declares those whom God has chosen, justified, regenerated, effectually called and converted can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace. They shall be preserved by God; and, they shall persevere in the faith. They can no more fully fall from grace, than God can change His election. It follows that God’s special providence watches over their welfare; and that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto the final end of salvation.
- Of the Doctrine of Last Things. That Last Things concerns events, which will bring this age of grace to a conclusion and initiate the eternal ages. Though God has given signs to look for, He has not given a timetable. Only He knows when last things will culminate. Christ, at the appointed time, will bodily return to the earth. The elect who have passed in death will be bodily raised; and, the elect who are alive will be joined to be with the Lord. They will be changed to have spiritual bodies, like that of Christ, suitable for the eternal ages. The remainder of mankind, both dead and alive, will be judged and sent to everlasting punishment.
In conclusion, we recognize this statement is not complete, it expresses many vital truths, which are relevant in this and any age. Other biblical subjects and doctrines could be addressed, including:
- The Inspiration and Authority of the Scriptures
- The Everlasting Covenant of Grace
- The Church: her origins, purpose, ordinances, offices, membership, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper
- The Family: marriage, parenting, and family relations
- The Liberty and Ethics of the Believer
It is our hope and prayer the statement will be a source of blessing to the reader and an introduction to Providence Church.
All are encouraged to examine the various articles and messages connected with the website. We also encourage correspondence by emailing Pastor David Simpson at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The few definitions that follow are not technical ones; but, they are consistent with original languages, Bible Dictionaries, and Webster’s Dictionary. The definitions are designed to assist the reader in understanding the doctrinal statement above.
Election: To select or choose one or a few from a larger number; the choice of God of some people to salvation; it was by God’s determining will; it was not made with a view to man’s choices and decisions; it was strictly an act of God’s grace to save any
Imputation: To transfer, account, attribute, ascribe, reckon or declare; to put to one’s account; either to impute the sin Adam committed to his posterity, or the sin of the elect to Christ, or the righteousness established by Christ to His elect
Justification: Sinners declared right with God; to acquit, absolve or free from guilt and condemnation; to declare righteous, but not to make righteous; to be declared righteous before God, His law and justice; to be declared righteous by God in connection with Christ’s obedience unto death; justification is by the imputation of righteousness
Righteousness: It is the relationship of Christ to the whole law of God; it is the result of His perfect obedience in life and death; it remained when divine justice at the cross was satisfied; it is suited to justify sinners
Sovereign: God’s right and power of dominion over His creation; God’s freedom to determine and dispose as He pleases; it extends to every aspect of life and death; it fixed for whom, how and when salvation came to pass