Alpha-Omega-Outreach
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Doctrinal Statement of Alpha-Omega-Outreach
 

Statement of Faith

 

PREFACE AND THEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE

Alpha-Omega-Outreach exists under the authority of God and His Holy Scripture. The ministryis dedicated to glorifying the Triune God in all His majesty, teaching His disciples to obey His commandments, and thus to enjoy Him forever. As doctrine and practice are inseparably linked, so AOO desires Biblical learning that issues in the fruit of holy lives. As the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7), all the  endeavors of AOO proceed from this foundational truth.

Foundationally, then, we believe that giving a good confession of our Lord demands submission to the whole counsel of the Word of God. Because of this, the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are our only final and infallible rule of faith and practice. Scripture alone commands final authority. Even so, as Christ’s Church is the pillar and ground of the truth (1Timothy 3:15), we recognize her catholic,2 historic witness as a fallible, yet genuine authority as we strive to interpret the Scriptures faithfully. The historic Church has authority, but that authority (like the authority of creeds and confessions) is subordinate to the Word of God.

We therefore gladly receive as faithful witnesses to Scripture the historic ecumenical creeds that are the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Definition of Chalcedon, and the Athanasian Creed.Beyond these, we adhere to the Westminster Standards as the fullest and most accurate summation of orthodox Christian doctrine as revealed in Scripture. As they concur with theWestminster Standards, we are also in harmony with the Three Forms of Unity (the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dort).

STATEMENT OF FAITH

GOD

There is only one living and true God, Who is holy, pure, righteous, and true. God is a spirit, and the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. Infinite in His perfections, He is yet not remote from His creation, but personal, loving, kind, and good. Almighty and omniscient, He is also all-knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future actions of His creatures.

THE HOLY TRINITY

The one, true God is revealed in Scripture as existing in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We deny that these three subsistences are modes or manifestations of the one God, but rather affirm that these three exist each as individual persons, yet united in one essence; co-eternal and co-equal, yet without division of nature, essence, or being. We affirm that the headship and subordination present within the Trinity is in no way in contradiction with the coequality of the three Persons; and that this economy is not merely a spiritual reality, but the archetype for submission in human relations—in particular, the relationship between man and wife (1Corinthians 11). We deny the economic subordination within the Holy Trinity pertains only to the Son of God in His incarnate state.

CREATION

The Almighty God is the creator of all things, visible and invisible. He spoke, and it was; in six days He created ex nihilo and for His Own glory the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, resting on the seventh day; and He upholds and directs all events by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). Creation is distinct from God, yet constantly dependent on His providence and provision.

Beyond this, we also affirm that Genesis is a coherent account from the hand of Moses, belonging in the category of history, not myth; that before Adam’s fall neither sin nor death existed among men; that Adam and Eve spoken of by Scripture were historical, singular human beings without biological ancestors, and hence not the products of evolution from lower forms of life; and that from Adam and Eve are descended all men, such that Adam’s first sin infected all his posterity with corruption.

Because the Bible is the word of the Creator, it speaks authoritatively not only concerning theological truths, but also concerning every matter it addresses, including history and science. Holding to the plenary verbal inspiration of the Bible, we affirm that every single word of Scripture is true—not only the underlying con- cepts of Scripture regarding faith and practice. Recognizing that a naturalistic worldview and true Christian faith are impossible to reconcile, we gladly take our stand with biblical supernaturalism.

REVELATION

God reveals Himself through every part of His creation, and all His creatures teach us about His character and nature. Though tainted by sin, the goodness of all creation testifies to our Father’s goodness; and we affirm the usefulness of the sciences to study, describe, and understand the order and beauty of God’s creation, allowing us to better praise and serve our Maker. God has also given natural revelation through the witness of con- science given all men. Both conscience and the natural world are clear to all, so that men are without excuse for their unbelief (Romans 1:20). As a witness to God’s character, then, general revelation is sufficient to condemn men, but insufficient to save them; only through faith in Christ as revealed through the Special Revelation of Holy Scripture can man find salvation.

As God’s written revelation to men, the Holy Scriptures are comprised of the sixty-six canonical books of the Old and New Testaments and are the Word of God, inerrant in all they affirm, and the final rule for faith and practice. We deny that the Scriptures are the work of man, but affirm with Scripture that “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2Peter 1:20, 21). We also deny the need for scholarly or ecclesiastical intermediaries to understand the central meaning of Holy Scripture, but affirm that it is per- spicuous, clear to the learned and unlearned alike in all matters necessary for salvation. The Bible therefore has divine authority in all that it addresses, and it addresses all that man needs for life and godliness. Even as it reveals the principles by which God judges us, Holy Scripture is, and will remain to the end of the world, the center of Christian union, and the final standard by which the conduct, creeds, and religious opinions of men must be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of God’s revelation to man.

ANTHROPOLOGY

We affirm that man is the special creation of God; as such, he was created in God’s image, perfect, sinless, and given authority and responsibility to exercise dominion over the created world. From the point of conception—not the point of implantation but rather the point of fertilization—man is given the honor of bearing the image of God. This singular fact distinguishes mankind from all other parts of God’s creation. Man is not endowed with humanity by virtue of any mental or physical capacities, but by virtue of his being. For this reason, infanticide, euthanasia, and abortion in all its forms constitute an attack on the image of God, and must be resisted. Bearing God’s image, all human life is to be protected, both in principle and in practice.

SEXUALITY, MARRIAGE, AND FAMILY

From the beginning, God made man male and female, and this distinction is fundamental to all human relations everywhere. We therefore deny that sexual identity is a malleable construct along a gender continuum, but affirm that the bifurcation of man into male and female is the express design of God. All perversions of this essential reality of human existence—whether sodomy, lesbianism, transsexuality, bisexuality, or bestiality—fundamentally deny what it means to be created “male and female,” and consequently, what it means to be made in God’s image. We further affirm that headship and subordination in the created order reflect archetypical economies in the Godhead: man is thus the head of woman even as God is the Head of Christ (1Corinthians 11).

At creation, God established the purpose and meaning of man, woman, sexuality, and marriage. Naming the race after Adam, its first representative, God then ordained that he and his posterity should exercise dominion over all the earth. Since it was not good for man to be alone, God made Eve from Adam’s rib that she would serve as a helper suitable to him. As He gave Adam the task of ruling, so God made Eve “mother of the living”; and to them both God gave the duty of filling the earth and subduing it. Sexuality is thus a function of the purposes of God’s good creation. Marriage, as established by God, is intended to provide companionship, protection against impurity, and the propagation of a godly seed, and none of these purposes may be diminished without injury to God’s design. The one-flesh union of a man and a woman is a picture of the mystical union between Christ and His Bride, the Church.

God further gave the man and woman distinct responsibilities tied to their sex. Respecting their being, a husband and wife are of equal worth before God, having both been created in God’s image. Functionally, however, as Christ is head of the Church, so a husband is the head of his wife and family, and bears the God- given responsibility to provide for, protect, and lead them. A husband must love his wife as Christ does the Church, and be willing to sacrifice himself for her. A wife is to submit willingly to her husband in all things, even as the Church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. As his God-ordained helper, a wife is to respect her husband, be busy at home, help him manage the household, and nurture, discipline, and instruct the next generation.

In the Garden God created Adam first, then Eve; and He made marriage the fruitful, lifelong union of one man and one woman. Since these fundamental aspects were instituted by God prior to the Fall, they are no private Christian commitment, but are universally binding upon all men through all time.

From the moment of conception, children are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God’s pattern for marriage, teach their children the truths and ways of the holy relig- ion, and instruct them through consistent holiness and loving discipline to live lives that are pleasing to God. Children are to honor and obey their parents.

SIN

Sin is any deviation from the expressed will, character, and law of God. As such, it includes both actively transgressing God’s law as well as failing to practice the good His law commands. Whether deliberate or unintended, all sin is lawlessness, and brings with it the condemnation of death. Even so, all sins are not of equal severity or consequence, nor are they to be treated as such.

We further affirm that by free choice Adam fell from the innocence he enjoyed, transgressing God’s law, bringing sin and death into the world, and infecting all his posterity with corruption. Ever since, man inherits both a nature and an environment corrupted by and inclined toward sin, and from his mother’s womb is a sinner by nature as well as by choice. In body, soul, mind, and strength, man in his natural state is unable to do anything accounted good in God’s sight, and his only hope is the perfect merit and efficacious grace of Jesus Christ.

THE GOD-MAN JESUS CHRIST

Christ is the eternal Son of God, eternally begotten by the Father, yet in the fullness of time made man for us and our salvation. Conceived by the Holy Spirit, He was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and is thus one person possessing two equal natures, without confusion or conversion, and without division or separation. He is fully man and fully God; as man, He is our Elder Brother and High Priest, representing us before God the Father. As God, He is the express image of the invisible Father, Immanuel, and the Word of God incarnate for us. As such, He is the only way to God, and the New Covenant established by His death and conditioned upon faith is the only relationship whereby man may gain eternal salvation. We therefore deny that any people, including God’s ancient people, the Jews, have any eternal hope outside faith in Jesus Christ and His death and resurrec- tion; and we gladly affirm the necessity and privilege of preaching this Gospel to Israel according to the flesh.

THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, and fully God. Proceeding from the Father and the Son, he speaks not of Himself, but of Jesus Christ. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He convicts man of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and calls him to Jesus Christ. According to the purposes of the Father he regenerates men and women, giving them faith, and changing their hearts from stone to flesh. At conversion every believer becomes a member of the invisible Church, is given spiritual gifts, and is sealed until the day of redemption. Through the illumination of the Spirit, believers become able to affirm the authority and understand the true meaning of Scripture; through sanctification, believers are made to progress in holiness as they live by the power of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit intercedes in the prayers of believers, comforts them, and assures them of salvation as He cries out, “Abba, Father” in their hearts. He is the guaran- tee that God will cause believers to persevere to the end. 

SALVATION

As sons of Adam, all men are spiritually dead and unable to do anything to secure their salvation. Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who REPENT and believe (TRUST) in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. By His Own blood, Jesus has obtained eternal redemption for all who believe, repent of their sins, and place their faith in Him. Saving faith includes knowledge of the basic facts of the Gospel, assent to their truth, and trust in the person of Jesus.

Salvation originates in the mercy of God the Father, and incorporates the following aspects: election, whereby according to His sovereign pleasure, God elected an unknown number of men to eternal salvation, leaving the remainder to their sinful desires; regeneration, whereby the Holy Spirit grants spiritual life to those who are spiritually dead so that man is able to believe in Jesus Christ and his heart is changed from stone to flesh; justification, in which God declares the sinner righteous on the basis of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ; sanctification, in which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, enabled to progress toward spiritual maturity, and progressively conformed to the image of Christ through the presence and power of the indwell- ing Holy Spirit; and glorification, whereby the believer is perfected of his sins and made ready for the abiding state of the blessed.

There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. Good works contribute nothing toward a believer’s justification, and yet they are the necessary fruit of hearts regenerated by the Spirit and are inevitable evidences of true faith in Jesus Christ. Through the power of the Spirit, believers are to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, looking forward to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb when they will be dressed in robes of their righteous deeds.

THE LAW

The law of God is the testimony and revelation of His Own holy and righteous character; as such, it cannot be altered by anything other than God’s Word. The law is holy, righteous, and good; it convicts men of sin, driving them to Christ; it restrains men from iniquity through dread of punishment; and it communicates the will of God to believers, confirming them as they progress toward sanctification and holiness.

Jesus Christ, in coming to earth, did not abolish the law, but rather fulfilled it, imputing this righteousness to believers’ accounts, and showing the example for us of a life lived in holiness. The grace of God, therefore, does not set aside the Moral Law as expressed in the Old Testament, but rather establishes it. The law is not opposed to the Gospel, but complements it, and is itself a gracious provision from God. To all who do not believe, the law of God condemns them in their own self-righteousness; to those who do believe, the law of God teaches the principles of a good and happy life that pleases and honors Him.

THE CHURCH

The Church is the mystical Body of the Lord Jesus Christ, composed of the redeemed of all the ages—believers from every tongue, tribe, and nation who have been made one through the blood of His cross. As such, it is Christ’s manifestation in our world today. Its foundation is the apostles and prophets of old, and its corner- stone is Jesus Christ, who gave Himself to purify His Church from all her sins, and to present her before Himself as a spotless bride, clothed in the righteous acts of the saints.

In its local manifestation, the Church is a visible collection of saints of all ages, bound in covenant to Him and to one another. They will be characterized by their love for one another, their assembly around the preached Word, their faithful administration of the two sacraments, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and their orderly and disciplined government according to the Word of God. Christ has also appointed officers over His Church in the form of pastors, elders, and deacons, and to these He has given the oversight, encouragement, rebuke, correction, and service of the church.

The Church is the centerpiece and focus of God’s evangelistic plan, and there is ordinarily no salvation outside the Church. As Cyprian declared and Calvin affirmed, “He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother.”

In entrusting His Great Commission to the Church and her officers, Christ gave authority and centrality to these ministers; and so this Commission cannot be fulfilled apart from the ministry of the local church under the authority of those officers. Administration of the Sacraments and ecclesiastical discipline are responsibilities given neither to Christian families nor Christian ministries; and Christian colleges, seminaries, and parachurch ministries must never arrogate to themselves these singular responsibilities of the Church.

THE ORDINANCES

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper were both instituted by our Lord and are the two ORDINANCES He gave His Church. By means of these ORDINANCE God both gives the faithful grace for their growth in conformity to the Image of His Son and distinguishes those inside the Church’s fellowship and care from those outside the covenant established by His Son’s blood. Baptism testifies to God’s promise to the believer of his ingrafting into Christ and of the old man’s death and new life through Jesus Christ. The Lord’s Supper testifies through the consecrated cup and bread that Christ died for His Church, and that communing believers are one with Christ and His Church. Ordinances are visible signs and seals of inwardly dispensed grace. When either Ordinance is unaccompanied by faith (cf. 1Corinthians 11:29), it becomes, not an empty sign, but a seal of condemnation.

WITNESS

As believers present the gospel to those who remain in rebellious unbelief, there must be no compromise with that unbelief. The ground and precondition for all creaturely ventures is the Word of God, which necessarily includes our teaching, apologetics, and evangelism. Every thought is to be made captive to the Lord Christ, and every tongue is to glorify the Father.

ESCHATOLOGY / LAST THINGS

Jesus Christ will return, personally and bodily, at a time known to none but the Father Himself, and His return shall be in power and great glory. Those who are alive shall be changed; those who are dead shall be raised up with their bodies, and united again with their souls forever. At His coming, Jesus Christ will judge the living and dead, separating the just and the unjust. The righteous will go into life eternal in the kingdom of God; the wicked into everlasting destruction and eternal, conscious torment.