What We Teach

The following document outlines the position of the Cornerstone Bible Church Elders on the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith.

We recognize that there will be members of our church who do not agree in all points with our doctrinal teaching position, and while we welcome and encourage these members to participate, fellowship, and serve freely with us, at the same time we cannot allow doctrines to be taught within our body that are contrary to what we believe the Bible clearly communicates.

(revised 2004)

Outline:
I. God
II. The Bible
III. Man
IV. Salvation
V. The Church
VI. Angels
VII. The Future

I. God

Existence of God

  • There is only one living and true God. (Deut 6:4; Is. 45:5-
  • Scripture assumes the existence of God. (Deut. 6:4; Is. 45:5-7)
  • God is personal, spirit, infinite and perfect (John 4:24, I Tim. 1:17, Acts 17:28)
  • His incommunicable attributes are as follows: Self Existent, Eternal, Unity, Immutable, Omnipresent, Omniscient, Omnipotent and Sovereign.
  • His communicable attributes are as follows: Holy, Righteous, Just, Good, Merciful, Gracious, Love, Truth and Faithful.

Trinity

Unity

God is one in essence, eternally existing in three persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Is. 48:16; Gen. 1:1-2, Mat. 28:19, 2 Cor. 13:14).

Diversity

  • God the Father

    • He is the first person of the Trinity.
    • He is the Creator of all things. (Gen 1)
    • He is Sovereign Ruler. (Rom 11:33-36)
  • Christ

    • He is the second person of the Trinity
    • All things were created by Him and for Him. In Him all things hold together (Col. 1:16-17)
    • He is fully God. (John 1; 10:30, Heb. 1:3).
    • Incarnation-He is fully man-(Phil. 2:5-11, Col. 2:9)
    • He was born from a Virgin. Is. 7:14; Matt. 1:25, Luke 1:26-35)
    • Death-He voluntarily gave up His life as a substitute to redeem mankind. (Rom. 3:25; 5:8, I Peter 2:24).
    • Resurrection-He was literally and physically resurrected, ascended to the right hand of the Father, the believer's Advocate & High Priest. (Matt. 28:6; Luke 24:38-39; Heb 7:25; 9:24).
      *He is the Head of the Church-(Eph 1:22; 5:23, Col. 1:18).
  • Holy Spirit
    • He is the third person of the Trinity.
    • Personality: The Holy Spirit is a person, not merely a force.-(John 14:26, 16:13)
    • Deity: The Holy Spirit is fully God. (Acts 5:3,4; Heb 9:14; Cor 2:10; Romans 5:13; Psalm 139:7-10.
    • Salvation: At salvation, the Holy Spirit regenerates, baptizes, indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers, and seals. (I Cor. 12:13; John 16:8-11; Rom. 8:9; Eph. 1:13).
    • Inspiration: The Holy Spirit inspired the writers of Scripture. (II Tim. 3:16, 2 Peter 1: 20-21).
    • Illuminates: The Holy Spirit allows believers to understand God's Word. (I John 2:20,27).

II. The Bible

Revelation

Fundamentally "Revelation" is God's disclosure of Himself to mankind.

General

God's foundational revelation is based on creation and demonstrated in history, nature and the conscience (Rom. 1:18-20, Ps. 19:1-6, Romans 2:14-15).

Special

God's provisional revelation found only in Christ and the Bible (John 1:1, 14-18; Heb. 1:1-2; Rom. 1:16).

Inspiration

The Holy Spirit worked through the individual personalities and different styles of the human authors so that, they composed and recorded God's Word to man. This extends to every word of Scripture. (2 Peter 1:20-21, 2 Tim 3:16-17).

Inerrancy

The Scriptures are absolutely without error in any part of the autographs. (Is. 30:8; Matt. 5:18, 2 Tim 3:16).

Canon

The canon contains the 66 books of the Old and New Testament. (Heb. 1:1-2; Rev. 22:18-19). The inspired scriptures were finished with the completion of the New Testament/Revelation(2 Tim. 3:16-17; Jude 3, Heb. 1:1-2; 2:3-4; Rev. 22:18,19).

Interpretation

Any passage has many applications but one interpretation which is found by applying the grammatical-historical-literal method of interpretation. The Holy Spirit helps the believer to understand the Scriptures. (John 7:17; I Cor. 2:7-15; I John 2:20).

Authority

Scripture is the only infallible rule of faith and practice both for individual believers and the gathered church to follow (II Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 4:12).

III. Man

Created

  • Man is the Crown of God's creation. He was created by a separate creative act and free of sin. He is of great value and precious to God (Matt. 6:26b, 10:29).
  • Man was made in God's own image, yet distinct from God and distinct from His other creatures. With a spiritual and moral nature, man has the ability to choose between right and wrong (Gen. 2:17, 6:5). Man is created with an intellect, emotion and will.
  • Man was made for the purpose of fellowship with God and for God's own glory (Isa. 43:7; Col. 1:16).

Fallen

  • When tempted by Satan, Adam rebelled against God in disobedience. As a result, sin became a part of mankind (Gen. 3:12; Ps. 14:1-3, 51:5). When Adam died spiritually, he took on the nature of sinful man and became subject to physical death (Gen. 2:16-17, 3:3, 3:1-19, 3:22-23).

Man's Sin Nature

  • Man became inherently corrupt and incapable of doing good (John 3:35; Rom. 3:23; I Cor. 2:14; Eph. 2:1-3).
  • Man's spiritual state after the fall is spiritual death. (Eph. 2: 1-3).
  • All men except Christ had Adam's sin placed on their account, and the consequences of his sin have come upon all men. (Rom. 3:10-19; Rom. 5:12, 19)
  • All men are sinners by divine declaration, choice and nature (Ps. 14:1-3; Jer. 17:9; John 5:40; James 2:10).

Total Depravity

  • Unregenerate man is fundamentally evil to the core of his being. Man is definitely depraved. There is no part of us that is left untouched by sin. Our minds, wills, and bodies are affected by evil. We speak sinful words, do sinful deeds and have sinful thoughts. (Eph2:1-3;. 4:17-19; Romans 7:14; 7:23)
  • The Scriptures reject the false idea that all people struggle with sin yet are inherently good. (Romans 3:23).
  • Total depravity is not utter depravity. To be utterly depraved is to be as wicked as one could possibly be. We are not as wicked as we possibly could be.
  • Only by the quickening power of the Holy Spirit may we be brought out of this state of spiritual death. It is God who makes us alive as we become His craftsmanship (Romans 8:11; Ephesians 2:1-10, 1 John 1:8-10).

Free Will

  • God has given human beings the capacity to make choices between alternatives. Therefore, God has given mankind the freedom to choose what they desire. (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
  • No unregenerate human being desires God. The Fall left the human will intact in that as we still have the faculty of choosing, but have lost all desire for God. The thoughts and desires of our heart are only evil continuously. Because we can only choose according to our desires, we choose to sin and thus we become accountable to the judgment of God (John 8:34; Rom 8:5-8; Ps. 14:1-3).
  • Fallen human beings have free will but lack the freedom to choose their will. They are always free to choose as they will but are not free, however, to choose or select their nature. The true liberty of which the Bible speaks is the freedom or power to choose Christ as our own. But until our heart is changed by the Holy Spirit, we have no true desire for Christ. Without that desire we never will choose Him. God must awaken our soul and give us a desire for Christ before we will ever be inclined to choose Him (John 6:44; 65, James 1:13-15)
  • Therefore, sinful man does not have the freedom of the will to follow God. Only by the regeneration by the Holy Spirit can and will a man choose to love and follow God. The unregenerate are never forced against their will. Rather, their wills are changed when God changes the disposition of the heart and plants a desire for Himself within. That regeneration changes the desires so that a person will freely repent and be saved.( John 6:44; 65; Eph. 2:4-10)
  • For us to choose Christ, God must change our heart. He gives us a desire for Himself that we otherwise would not have. Then we choose Him out of the desire that is within us. We freely choose Him because we want to choose Him. (John 3:3).

Redeemable

  • Mankind is dead in his trespasses and sins, thus only God must, could and did initiate the redemptive process by Christ's work on the Cross (Rom. 5:10, 8:6-8 John 6:40; I John 3:8) This was done for God's further glory and for man's salvation (see salvation).

IV. Salvation

What is Salvation?

Salvation is that gracious act of God where by a sinful man is granted eternal life through the atoning blood (death) of Christ. He redeems and reconciles certain individuals to himself; not on the basis of their merit, or works (John 1:12, 3:3; Rom. 3:24; 8:15, 23; Gal. 4:4-7; Eph. 1:7; 2:8-10; Col. 1:14; Heb. 9:15; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 2 Peter 1:4).

Regeneration

  • Regeneration is that instantaneous work of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, which enables a person to believe the Gospel and imparts new life to them (Jo 1:13; 3:3-8; 2 Cor. 5:17;1 Pet. 1:23; 1 Jo 2:29; Titus 3:5).
  • Good works and a transformed life are the genuine evidences and fruits that regeneration has occurred (1 Cor. 6:19-20; Eph. 2:10).

Election

  • That eternal act of God where on the basis of His sovereign will He chose certain persons who had no merit to be the recipients of His special grace and eternal salvation. (Mark 13:27; Romans 8:28-33; Eph. 1:4-11, 2 Thess. 2:13).
  • The elect are chosen undeservedly. Based nothing on the person but wholly on the will of God. (2 Timothy 1: 9, Titus 3: 5).
  • God's election is consistent with man's responsibility (John 6:37, 44; Acts 13:48).

Saving Faith

  • Saving faith is that God enabled choice which a man makes to follow Christ (Rom. 10:9-10).
  • It is totally based on God's grace rather than man's works. (Acts 3:16, Eph. 2:8-9, Phil. 1:29, II Peter 1:1)
  • Genuine Faith has several main aspects:
    • Knowledge of the Facts -- Faith must be based on the content of the Word of God.-(Rom. 10:17, II Tim. 3:15)
    • Assent to this Knowledge -- A person must agree that the facts of the Scriptures are true-(He 11:6) Repentance-Saving faith includes a voluntary turning from sin and turning towards God.-(Acts 2:38, Acts 20:21, Acts 26:20, I Thess. 1:9).
    • Submission to Christ -- True saving faith implicitly involves a subjection to the person and will of Christ with a desire and willingness to obey-(Rom. 10:9, Luke 6:46, John 3:36, John 20:28, Acts 2:36, Phil. 2:9-11, Rev. 19:16, James 2).

Justification

  • The act of God where he declares righteous those who believe in Christ.(Rom. 3:20; 5:1; 8:33, Philippians 3:9).
  • It's apart from any virtue or work of man. (Col. 2:14; I Peter 3:18).
  • The believer's sin is imputed to Christ and Christ's righteousness to the believer. (Col. 2:14; I Peter 3:18; Rom. 4:6; I Cor. 1:30; II Cor. 5:21).

Sanctification

  • Positional: The act where the believer is set apart unto God by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.-(Acts 20:32; I Cor. 1:2, 30 6:11; Heb 2:11).
  • Practical: The ministry of the Holy Spirit where He progressively brings the believer into conformity with the character of Christ.-(John 17:17,19; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 5:26, Rom. 8:29).
  • Completion: When believers are united with Christ for all eternity, they will be like Him-perfect and blameless without spot or blemish (Rom. 8:23 ; I Cor. 15:5; Phil 3:21; 1 John 3:2).

Security

All of the redeemed are kept by God's power and are secure in Christ forever. (John 5:24; 10:27-30; Rom. 5:9-10; 8:1, 31-39; Eph 4:30).

Assurance of Salvation

There are two sides to a believer's assurance of Salvation. Objective and Subjective.

  • Objective

    • The objective side is the promise of the Scripture that everyone who believes in his heart and confesses that Jesus is Lord will be saved. (Rom 10: 9-10, Acts 16: 31)
    • The believer can have assurance of salvation by the objective testimony of the Bible.
    • The mere assurance of salvation by outward assent to the objective promises of the Scriptures is not complete. (Matt. 7: 21-23, 2 Cor. 13: 5)
  • Subjective

    • Assurance of salvation also has a subjective and experiential side. It is the producing of fruits, (humility, holiness, love for God's Word, devotion to God's glory) in a believer's life by the Holy Spirit.
    • Though sin still resides in the flesh of the believer, his nature has been transformed. Therefore the direction and love of his life will be Godward. (1 John 2: 15-16, All of 1 John)
    • These are confirming evidences that a person has genuinely trusted in Christ and has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 6:15-22; 8:16; 1 John 1:6, 8; 2:3, 9, 15, 23; 3:9, 17, 24; 4:7, 13, 20; 5:1, 10).

V. The Church

Origin

Began on the day of Pentecost; (Acts 2:1-21, 38-47).

Organism

  • The church is fundamentally the body of Christ; (Eph. 4:14-16).
  • It consists of born again believers of this age; (Eph. 2:11-3:6)
  • It is distinct from Israel; (I Cor. 10:32)

Organization

  • Christ is the Head.; (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph 1:22).
  • Local Assemblies are the N.T. pattern; (Acts 14:23,27; 20:17, 28; Gal. 1:2; Phil. 1:1;I Thess. 1:1, 2; 2 Thess. 1:1).

Leadership

Elders - A plurality of qualified men who shepherd, oversee and lead the local body of believers; (Acts 20:28; I Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). An Elder is the same as a Pastor, Shepherd and Overseer (Acts 20:28, I Peter 5:2). Some Elders are financially supported by the church, others are self supporting (I Timothy 5:17-18, I Cor. 9:9-14).

Priorities of the Church

  • Exalting God-Everything the church does should be an act of worship to God. This should be evidenced both in the lives of individual believers as well as in the corporate body. (I Peter 2:5)
  • Equipping the Saints- One of the primary ways to make people like Jesus Christ is by "equipping." This is accomplished as the gifted men of the Church pour their lives into others. (Eph. 4:11-12)
  • Evangelizing the lost is at the heart of Christ's commission to the church is a command to go to the unreached of the world and establish churches. (Acts 1:8, Matt. 28:19-20)

Gifts

  • All spiritual gifts were given for Christian ministry and mutual edification. (1 Co 12: 7ff)
  • Permanent edifying gifts. Each believer has been given spiritual gifts in order to edify and build up the body. (Eph. 4:11-13; I Cor. 12:7, I Peter 4:10-11).
  • Temporary Confirming/Sign Gifts (Tongues, miracles)-Gradually ceased as the N.T. Scriptures were completed, and they were no longer needed. -(I Cor. 12; 13:8-10; 14) (See Doctrinal Issues: Sign Gifts).

Ordinances

  • Practices established by Christ, practiced by the New Testament church and taught in the Epistles. (Mt 28: 19-20, Mt 26: 26-29, Acts 2: 41-47, 1 Cor 11: 23-34)
  • The ordinances are for believers only. (2 Cor 6: 14)
  • Baptism: By Immersion for anyone who confesses faith in Christ. (Acts 2:41; 8:36-39; Rom. 6:1-11).
  • Lord's Supper: This is a remembrance and a proclamation of Christ's death until He comes again. (I Cor. 10:1-16; 11:28-32).

Church Discipline

This is the first commandment given to the church by our Lord Jesus Christ. It teaches us the holiness of God, the importance of the purity of the church, God's view of Sin and the transformed nature of a true Christian.

This practice is important because:

  • It is a command of God.
  • It promotes genuine Christian fellowship and love.
  • It is a purifying power in the life of the church.
  • It promotes holiness in the lives of believers.
  • It reminds the church of the authority of the Scriptures.
  • It is used to call a wayward Christian to repent.
  • It is also used to invite a false Christian to trust in Christ.

The Plan: God the Father is involved in disciplining His children and expects churches and individuals to participate with Him (Heb. 12:5-11, Prov. 3:11-12, Rev. 3:19). Therefore, He has ordained the practice of Church Discipline and given authority to the church in practicing it.

The Purpose: The ultimate goal of church discipline is restoration of the sinning individual. It also purifies the church and prevents others from sin (Gal. 6:1, Matt. 18:15, I Cor. 5:7, I Tim. 5:20).

The Procedure: Church discipline is the process of confrontation of sin, seeking repentance and restoration. It is carried out privately between two Christians (Matt. 18:15), at times with 2-3 witnesses, at times with Elders, or as a congregation, depending on the severity, kind, and length of sin, it may involve a 4, 3, 2 or 1 step process. *See Doctrinal Implications and Issues: Church Discipline

VI. Angels

  • Angels were created by God (Neh. 9:6, Ps. 148:5, Col. 1:16).
  • Angels were created holy, but some sinned (2 Pet. 2:4, Jude 6).
  • Angels are innumerable (Rev. 5:11).
  • Angels are spiritual and incorporeal beings (Heb. 1:14, Luke 24:39, Matt. 22:30).
  • Angels are rational, moral, and immortal beings (Matt. 24:36, I Pet. 1:12, 2 Pet. 2:4, Luke 20:34-36).
  • Angels were created to an estate higher than man (2 Pet. 2:10-11, Heb. 2:6-7).
  • Yet, man will judge angels (I Cor. 6:3). Elect Angels
  • Angels were created by God to serve and worship Him (Heb. 1:6-7, 14, Isa. 6:3, Ps. 103:20-21, Ps. 148:2).
  • Angels serve men (Heb. 1:14)
  • Angels have a role in the Second Coming (Mark 13:27, 2 Thess. 1:7b).

Fallen Angels

  • Satan rebelled against his Creator, and led numerous angels in his fall (Job. 1:6-7; Is. 14:12-17; Ez. 28:11-19).
  • Satan was defeated by Christ (Rom. 16:20)
  • Satan will be eternally punished in the lake of fire (Rev. 10:10)
  • Satan and demons are active in the world (Matt. 8:16; Eph. 6:12)

VII. The Future

Death

  • Believers
    • Physical: There is a separation of the physical and immaterial, and the spirit of the believer immediately passes into the presence of the Lord-(Luke 23:43; Phil.1:21-24).
    • Resurrection- At the first resurrection, the believer's spirit and body are reunited to make a complete living person to be glorified forever. (Phil 3:21; I Th 4:16-17)
  • Unbelievers
    • Physical-At death, the souls of the unsaved descend immediately into Hades.-(Job 3:11-19; Luke 16:19-26; Rev. 20:1-15).
    • Spiritual-At the second resurrection they will be united with their body, judged, and cast into the lake of fire to be separated from God forever-(John 5:28-29; Rev. 20:11-15. Dan. 12:2).

Rapture

  • Christ will return personally and bodily.-(I Thess 4:16; Titus 2:11-12).
  • Believers will meet the Lord in the air, and be with Him forever (I Thess. 4:16, I Cor. 15:50-51).
  • Believer's will be rewarded according to their works-(I Cor. 3:11-15).

Tribulation

  • It will occur after the Rapture-(I Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 3:10).
  • The judgments of God will be poured out. (Dan. 9:27; Rev. 16:1-21).
  • Christ will return at the end (Second Coming-Matt. 25:31) at which time the O.T. and tribulation saints will be raised, and the living will be judged. (Dan. 12;2-3; II Thess. 2:7-12; Rev. 6:9-11; 20:4-6).

Millennium

  • The Antichrist and False prophet will be overthrown and Satan will be removed from the world- (Dan. 7:17-27; Rev. 20:1-7).
  • There will be a literal thousand year Kingdom on earth-(Rev. 20:1-7).
  • The saints will help Christ rule and reign-(Ez. 37:21-28; Rev. 19:11-16).

Final Judgment

  • Satan will be released following the Millennium-(Rev. 20:7).
  • He will lead a final rebellion and will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone forever. (Rev. 20:7-10).
  • Great White Throne judgment-The unsaved dead will be resurrected, and will be committed to eternal conscious punishment. (Ro. 14:10-13; Mt. 25:41; Rev. 20:11-15).

Eternity

  • Believers will be with the Lord eternally-(John 17:3; I Thess. 4:17).
  • A new heaven and a new earth will be created-(Rev. 21:1).