Tuesday, May 31, 2005

An Old Statement of Faith.....

I came across this Statement of Faith that I wrote in 1999 on the first step of my journey out of the WOF Movement. Even though I've taken many steps after this one and do not currently ascribe to many of the listed statements, I thought it would be beneficial to those taking that first step.

(Note: Since we began as a Word of Faith church, this was written from that perspective to show shifts we've made in doctrines specific to the Word of Faith Movement).

Christianity is Christ centered. All our beliefs should have God and not man at the center. If we make man the center of our beliefs then we will develop a "works" based theology.

What we believe about Faith

We believe that our faith is IN GOD and not in ourselves or our abilities or our works. Mark 11:22 begins by saying "Have faith in God." IN is a key word in this verse. It does not say we're to have the faith OF God. In fact, in Matthew 17:20, Jesus said that all we need is "faith as a grain of mustard seed."

Faith is simply trusting God. God is the object of our faith not our confessions, methods, etc. If we make those things the focus of our faith then our faith becomes a "work". In Hebrews 4, it states that faith will cause us to enter into God's rest. When we make faith a "work", are we trusting in God or our own abilities? 2 Timothy 2:13 states that even "if we are faithless, He remains faithful."

We are to be doers of the Word but that comes as a result of the faith in our hearts. "We are created in Christ unto good works" (Ephesians 2:9). Good works comes as a result of us being in Christ. In the same way, our confessions, actions, etc. will come as a result of our faith. They are not our faith. We tend to complicate faith when it is very simply trusting God and placing our lives into His hands.

What we believe about Prosperity

Matthew 6:33 sums up our belief about Prosperity. Jesus said "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you." The Bible does not teach us to seek after wealth. We are to SEEK GOD.

In 1 Timothy 6:10, it states that the "love of money is the root of all kinds of evil." It talks about those who are "eager for money" and it's results. In fact, many reference to "riches" and "wealth" in the New Testament are from a "warning" perspective.

The Bible teaches us that God will "supply all our needs according to His riches in glory" (Philippians 4:19). We are encouraged to be content. In Philippians 4:11-12, Paul states "for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what is is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." The secret was that his strength came FROM God.

Do we believe that God wants us to prosper (by His definition of prosperity)? Yes. Do we believe that we are to seek that prosperity? No. Let's keep God in the center and seek Him.

What we believe about Church leadership.

We believe in servant leadership (following Jesus' example) and that leadership is there to "equip the saints for the work of ministry" (Ephesians 4:11). We believe that the church is a place where the leadership rallies around the visions of each individual vs. the individuals "hooking up" with the Pastor's vision.

We believe in accountability and that the New Testament gives examples of a more "pluralistic" type leadership vs. a one man show. The New Testament church does not follow the "Moses" type of leadership when God only spoke through His prophet, priest, or King. We do not support the teachings that intimidate people into submission by using examples of God's judgment in Old Testament stories that DO NOT apply to today. We are all now a part of the "royal priesthood" (1 Peter 2:9).

We encourage people to ask questions. In Acts 17:11, the Bereans were commended as being more "noble" than the Thessolonicans because the "searched the scriptures daily" to check up on Paul's teachings. It's ok to question the teachings and decisions of leaders and to seek clarifications on issues pertaining to the church.

We believe that the Holy Spirit is our Guide (see John 14-16). As leaders, we should not attempt to take the place of the Holy Spirit in the lives of individuals when it comes to areas of guidance and direction.

We believe that a leader should lead by example hence we need to have a relationship with those to whom we minister. We do not ascribe to the "sin of familiarity" teaching and that leaders should not associate with those to whom they minister. Jesus certainly did not give us this example and, in fact, the ones that knew only of Him could not receive from Him (Mark 6:5). Those who knew Him intimately could.

We subscribe to the Leadership principles of SAFEchurch.com.

What we believe about Giving

We believe that the New Testament teaches us to be givers in every area of our lives. 2 Corinthians 9:7 sums up our belief on how we are to give in relation to money "So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver." (NKJV). "You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully." (NLT).

The principle of tithing is an Old Covenant principle that was not renewed in the New Testament. The argument that tithing was before the law since Abraham tithed before the law is used inconsistently because Abraham also sacrificed animals, etc. before the law. In the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15), tithing was not listed as one of the aspects of the law that we are to continue. Paul wrote many letters to young churches and young ministers. Not once, did he mention this "important" principle of tithing even when writing to the Gentile church that was not familiar with the tithing principles.

When we teach giving as "10% of your income", we miss the higher principle of giving that Jesus wants us to have. Many of the giving scriptures we use do not refer to money only. In Luke 6:38 "Give, and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be put into your bosom" is in reference to giving forgiveness, mercy, and love.
We cannot preach that we are "free from the curse of the law" (Galatians 3:13) yet preach that we are still subject to the curse that comes on us from not tithing (Malachi 3). We should not use tithing as a way to get people to give out of necessity or in response to pressure. Let's teach the principles of giving that is laid out in the New Testament.

What we believe about Worship and the Anointing

Our worship should be God centered. We worship God out of our hearts. It's us to God with no expectations in return. We do not worship in order to "get the anointing". We worship God because He is worthy of our worship and praise.

The word "anointing" is mentioned 28 times in the KJV. 20 times it is in reference to anointing oil. In 1 John 2:27, it states the we all have the "anointing" in us. This scriptures parallels John 14:26 which refers to the Holy Spirit.

We believe that the touch of God can and will initiate change in our lives. It is not, however, the end but the beginning. We will not ultimately mature unless we fill our hearts with the Word of God and allow our minds to be renewed.

What we believe about the Devil

Satan, Devil, and Lucifer are mentioned in a little over 100 verses in the Bible and many of the reference are repeated in the 4 different gospels. To get this in perspective, note that Psalms 119 has 176 verses.

We are not to be ignorant of the Devil and his schemes but we are to realize that he is not an equal to God and there was no 'battle' to speak of between God and the devil. God simply cast him out of heaven (Luke 10:18).

The Devil and his kingdom is not an organized army as we sometimes preach but it's in chaos. Since it is based on lies and deceit, there is no trust and order.

We need to "submit to God and resist the Devil and he will flee from us" (James 4:7). The key is submission to God and His Word. As we renew our minds into thinking in line with the Word of God, the devil will lose his control of areas of our lives.

We do have an real enemy but he has no power over us if we resist him and his lies.

What we believe about the Sovereignty of God

We believe that God is Sovereign. It's not having a "whatever will be ... will be" attitude to say that God is in control. Jesus taught us to pray for the will of Father in our lives. 1 John 5:14 says that "this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." When we learn to trust in the Sovereignty of God, it brings a confidence and rest in our lives.

What we believe about Healing

  • Healing is a Provision of God. God healed in the O.T. He healed through the ministry of Jesus. He healed in the early church. He heals today!!!!!
  • Jesus came and provided redemption from our SINS with His redemptive work on the cross.
  • Isaiah 53 prophecies about the "healing from our transgressions" and also physical healing.
  • The physical healing aspect of the Is. 53 prophecy was fulfilled in the healing ministry of Jesus NOT in His redemptive work on the cross. (Matthew 7:16,17.... this is the INSPIRED WORD OF GOD not a mistake!!! "...and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: "He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses." )
  • Reading 1 Pet 2:24 IN CONTEXT would lead you to conclude that he was talking about sins NOT sickness..... who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness - by whose stripes you were healed.
  • There is no instances in the N.T. where Paul taught the church to receive healing by 'claiming it' 'standing for it' 'confessing it' etc. Any reference to healing was in response to 'laying on of hands' 'gifts of healing' in operation, etc. James doesn't say "Is anyone among you sick? claim your healing" but it says "Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them PRAY over him ...."
  • In Phil. 2:25-32 describing the healing of the almost-dead Epaphroditus, Paul never mentions 'standing' saying that Epaphroditus will 'live and not die' etc. He simply said that God had mercy and healed him. Why did he not use this situation to teach the church how to stand for healing?
  • You cannot use what Jesus said the the leper in Matthew 8 to determine the will of God for healing for everyone. Remember that the 'gifts of healing' are in operation as the Spirit wills.
  • The WOF movement (and others) have muddied the waters by combining healing and salvation. They are two distict works of God. One (salvation) is a finished work in Jesus.
  • The other (healing) is a continuing work based on the mercy of God.
  • Because of the healing ministry of Jesus, ALL believers can now 'lay hands on the sick'. We should all pray for the sick (in ministering the gospel)
We live in a fallen world where sickness is present. Christians get sick; not by their choice (as it is with sin) but because of the presence of viruses, disease, etc. Is sickness God's will? Of course not, but neither are earthquakes, natural disasters, etc. However, it's all a part of this fallen world which, thank God, will be redeemed someday!!!! We are thankful that our sins (what separated us from God) are forgiven and we look forward to the 'redemption of our bodies' and to eternity in Heaven!!!!!

(NOTE: The above summaries are not intended to be a complete study on any of the listed subject but just to give you a flavor on what we believe.)