ARTICLES OF FAITH OF SALEM EVANGELICAL CHURCH:
WE believe the Bible to be inspired of God, the infallible Word of God. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Timothy 3:16) The Bible is the only God-given authority which man possesses; therefore, all doctrine, faith, hope, and all instruction for the church must be based upon, and harmonize with, the Bible. It is to be read and studied by all men everywhere, and can only be clearly understood by those who are anointed by the Holy Spirit (I John 2:27). “No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Peter 1:20-21).
The basic and fundamental doctrine of this ministry shall be the Bible standard of full salvation, which is repentance, baptism in water by immersion in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the initial sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance.
We shall endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit until we all come into the unity of the faith, at the same time admonishing all brethren that they shall not contend for their different views to the disunity of the body. THE ONE TRUE GOD.
We believe in the one ever-living, eternal God: infinite in power, holy in nature, attributes and purpose; and possessing absolute, indivisible deity. This one true God has revealed Himself as Father; through His Son, in redemption; and as the Holy Spirit, by emanation (I Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6; II Corinthians 5:19; Joel 2:28).
The Scripture does more than attempt to prove the existence of God; it asserts, assumes and declares that the knowledge of God is universal (Romans 1:19, 21, 28, 32; 2:15). God is invisible, incorporeal, without parts, without body, and therefore free from all limitations. He is Spirit (John 4:24), and “a spirit hath not flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39).
“The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord” (Mark 12:29). (See also Deuteronomy 6:4.) “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:6).
Before the incarnation, this one true God manifested Himself in diver’s ways. In the incarnation, He manifests Himself in the Son, who walked among men. As He works in the lives of believers, He manifests Himself as the Holy Spirit.
THE SON OF GOD
The one true God, the Jehovah of the Old Testament, took upon Himself the form of man, and as the Son of man, was born of the Virgin Mary. As Paul says, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (I Timothy 3:16). “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). This one true God was manifest in the flesh, that is, in His Son Jesus Christ. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them” (II Corinthians 5:19). We believe that, “in him [Jesus] dwelled all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell” (Colossians 1:19).
Therefore, Jesus in His humanity was man; in His deity was and is God. His flesh was the lamb, or the sacrifice of God. He is the only mediator between God and man. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5).
Jesus on His Father’s side was divine, on His mother’s side, human; thus, He was known as the Son of God and also the Son of man, or the God-man.
“For the hath put all things under his feet. But when he said, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all” (I Corinthians 15:27-28).
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, said the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). * God used different titles, such as “God Elohim,” “God Almighty,” “El Shaddai,” “Jehovah,” and especially “Jehovah Lord,” the redemptive name in the Old Testament.
“Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: . . . and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). This prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled when the Son of God was named. “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
CREATION OF MAN AND HIS FALL.
In the beginning, God created man innocent, pure, and holy; but through the sin of disobedience, Adam and Eve, the first of the human race, fell from their holy state, and God banished them from Eden. Hence by one man’s disobedience, sin entered into the world (Genesis 1:27; Romans 3:23, 5:12).
The Lord Jesus came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). This divine act of atonement is dependent on the blood of the Lamb of God and is the foundation that makes salvation possible. For “without the shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7). “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5). Salvation is by grace through faith based on the atonement provided in Jesus Christ by His death, burial, and resurrection. (See Acts 2:38; 20:28.)
Pardon and forgiveness of sins is obtained by genuine repentance, a confessing and forsaking of sins. We are justified by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). John the Baptist preached repentance, Jesus proclaimed it, and the apostles emphasized it to both Jews and Gentiles (Acts 2:38, 11:18, and 17:30). The word repentance means a change of views and purpose, change of heart, change of mind, change of life, transformation, etc. Jesus said, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). Luke 24:47 says, “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
The scriptural mode of baptism is immersion and is only for those who have fully repented, having turned from their sins and a love of the world. It should be administered by a duly authorized minister of the gospel, in obedience to the Word of God, and in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the Acts of the Apostles 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5; thus obeying and fulfilling Matthew 28:19.
THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
John the Baptist, in Matthew 3:11, said, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” Jesus, in Acts 1:5, said, “Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” Luke tells us in Acts 2:4, “They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues [languages], as the Spirit gave them utterance.” The terms “baptize with the Holy Ghost and fire,” “filled with the Holy Spirit,” and the “gift of the Holy Ghost” are synonymous terms used interchangeably in the Bible. It is scriptural to expect all who receive the gift, filling, or baptism of the Holy Spirit to receive the same physical, initial sign of speaking with other tongues. The speaking with other tongues, as recorded in Acts 2:4, 10:46, and 19:6, and the gift of tongues, as explained in I Corinthians, chapters 12 and 14, are the same in essence, but different in use and purpose. The Lord, through the Prophet Joel, said, “I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28). Peter, in explaining this phenomenal experience, said, “Having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he [Jesus] hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear” (Acts 2:33). Further, “the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39).
The first covenant that the Lord (Jehovah) made with the children of Israel after they were brought out of Egypt was a covenant of healing. The Lord said, “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord [Jehovah-Rapha, the Lord that health] thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee” (Exodus 15:26).
Our Lord Jesus Christ went about Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing all manner of sickness and disease among the people (Matthew 4:23-24).
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
The vicarious suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ paid not only for the salvation of our souls but also for the healing of our bodies. “With his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). Matthew 8:17 reads, “Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” (See also I Peter 2:24.) We see from this that divine healing for the body is in the atonement.
Jesus said of believers, “They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Later, James wrote in his epistle to all the churches: “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availed much” (James 5:14-16).