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Statement of Faith

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All Ukrainian Union of Churches

of Evangelical Christian-Baptists

 

Statement of Faith

of the Evangelical Christian-Baptists

 

Written by the AUU ECB council at the request of the ministers of the churches, it is a continuation of the creeds published by F.P. Pavlov (1906), I.I. Prohanov (1910), and received by the 43rd congress of the UECB (1985).

Intended for a wide circle of readers, it is designed to inform and acquaint, and does not in any sense replace the Bible—but only explains how it is understood and practiced by the Evangelical Christian Baptists.

Printed by authorization of the All Ukrainian congress of Evangelical Christian Baptists held in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, from September 6-9, 2000.

 
ECB Statement of Faith:

I. Holy Scripture{mosimage}

 II. God

 III. Man

     -The Creation of Man

     -The Fall into Sin

 IV. Salvation

     -Faith

     -Repentance

     -Regeneration

     -Justification

     -Adoption

     -Sanctification

V. The Church

     -The Universal Church

     -The Local Church

-New Testament Church Ordinances

            *Baptism

            *The Lord’s Supper

VI. The Spiritual Realm

     -Holy Angels

     -Fallen Angels

VII. Future Events

-The Second Coming of Christ

-The Resurrection of the Dead

     -The Last Judgment


We Believe:

 

I. HOLY SCRIPTURE

 

We believe that “all Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16), and by this we mean that the entire Bible is inspired of God, because holy men of God were moved by the Holy Spirit when they wrote it (2 Pet. 1:21).  This divine inspiration extends equally and fully to all parts of Scripture—including the historical, poetic, didactic, and prophetic books.  Thus the Bible is inerrant in the original text, authoritative, and sufficient for all time (2 Pet. 1:19; John 5:39).  It is Christocentric—telling about Christ.

The central focus of the entire Bible is Jesus Christ—Lord and Savior, His person and His work in the first and second coming.  In this way, no part of the Bible, including the Old Testament, can be considered properly read or perceived, if it does not point to Him (Luke 24:27,44; Acts 17:2-3, 18:28, 26:22-23, 28:23).  Therefore, having the authority of God and the power to impact people, Holy Scripture as the Word of God is given to us for practical instruction in all areas of our lives (Is.55:10-11; Ps.119:105; Ro.15:4; 1 Cor.10:11).

Our faith is built upon revelation:  God reveals Himself in human history, and the 66 books of the Bible (39—Old Testament and 27—New Testament) are the expression of His self-disclosure (Heb. 1:1-3).

We believe that, on the one hand, Scripture is the trustworthy testimony of pious men about God, whom they loved and whom they served; and on the other hand—through the means of the unique role of the Holy Spirit in its composition—Scripture is the testimony of God and divine knowledge in human form.  Absolute confidence that Holy Scripture comes from God and consists of His wisdom and truth comes only from Jesus Christ [through the testimony of] His apostles, who taught in His name.

  • Jesus Christ viewed the Bible (our Old Testament) as the written instructions of His Heavenly Father, to which He submitted (Mat. 4:4, 7:10, 5:19-20, 19:4-6, 26:31, 52-54).
  • The Apostle Paul described the Old Testament as fully “inspired,” coming forth from the Spirit of God, exactly as did all creation and the entire universe.
  • The Apostle Peter unequivocally asserts the divine origin of Biblical instruction (2 Pet. 1:21, 1 Pet. 1:10-12).
  • In as much as the apostolic teaching about Christ is true revelation in words inspired by God (1 Cor. 2:12-13), the church justly considers the authentic apostolic writings to have completed the Bible.

We believe that what Scripture says—God says, because the Bible is simultaneously both a human and fully divine book.  Thus all of its multi-faceted contents—history, prophecy, poetry, songs, wisdom, sermons, letters, and all others must be accepted as being from God.

The recognition of the Bible as the authoritative and inerrant Word of God obliges us to:

-be grateful to God for the gift of His written Word (2 Cor. 9:15);

-be zealous in building our faith and lives wholly and exclusively upon Scripture (Rom.10:17, Jd.1:20)  

We believe that the interpretation of Scripture—as a divine book [given] on behalf of man, must start with a literal understanding (Luke 10:26).  Therefore the use of allegory, which does not pay attention to the author of the book or the historical background of its composition, is unacceptable. 

Every book of the Bible was written, not in coded language, but in such a way that it could be understood by the readers to whom it was addressed.  This applies also to those books which widely use symbolic language—the books of Daniel, Zechariah, and Revelation. 

When reading and interpreting Holy Scripture, we must adhere to two principles:

- To accept the facts, commands, promises, and warnings which God communicates to us exactly as they are written (literal interpretation) –Luke 8:5-8;

- To prayerfully, on the basis of Scripture, meditate upon and discover that which God desires to reveal to us. –Luke 8:9-15.

 

II. GOD

 

We believe that there is one and only one God (Duet. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:4): living (Duet. 32:39-40), true (Ex. 34:6) and perfect (Matt. 5:48).

He reveals Himself as an infinite, incomprehensible, self-sufficient, eternal, and immutable Personal-Being (Ex. 3:14, Ps. 45:6).

God is:                        -Holy (Ps. 22:3; 1 Pet. 1:16)

                        -Omnipotent (Gen. 17:1, 18:14; Job 42:2; Luke 1:37)

                        -Omniscient (Ps. 94:11, 139:2; Pr. 5:21)

                        -Omnipresent (Gen. 28:16; Ex. 3:5)

                        -The Creator and Sustainer of everything which exists (Rev. 1:8)

                        -The only One worthy of glory and worship (Ex. 20:2-7; Mt. 4:10; Rom. 16:27)

 

We believe that God is Triune:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Gen.1:1-2; Lk 3:21-22; Heb. 1:1-2; Rev. 3:22).

Each Person of the Trinity possesses the full totality of Divine attributes.  The Triune God in His essence and characteristics is equal and undivided, so that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God—not, however, three gods—but One God (John 10:30, 14:26).

We believe that God the Father is uncreated, is without beginning, is not begotten, and is the One through whom all things began to exist (John 1:1-4).  He is holy (1 Pet. 1:16), good (Mt. 19:17), and just (Ps. 7:11, 71:19; Rev. 3:19).

God is the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Mt. 3:17, 17:5).

We believe that God the Son is uncreated, but is the only begotten “who is in the bosom of the Father” (John 1:18).  He is one essence with the Father and possesses all the attributes of God.  In order to save people He was incarnated and became a man (Phil. 2:7), without losing His Divine nature.  He became truly human, in whom the Divine and human natures were perfectly united (unmixed, unchanged and undivided).  In this way, Jesus Christ is truly God (1 Jh. 5:20) and truly man (Rom. 5:15; 1 Tim. 2:5). 

Jesus Christ:  -was immaculately conceived by the Holy Spirit (Mt. 1:20; Luk 1:35)

                        -was physically born of the virgin Mary (Mt. 1:21; Luk 2:7)

                        -lived a perfect, sinless life (1 Pet. 2:22; Heb. 4:15)

                        -died on the cross for the sins of mankind (Mt. 27:50; Rom. 8:34)

                        -rose from the dead (Mt. 28:5-6; Acts 1:3)

                        -ascended and sat down at the right hand of the Father (Mk. 16:19; Acts 1:9)

He is:              - the sole advocate and mediator between God and man (Rom. 8:34; 1 Tim. 2:5)

                        -will come again in power and glory (Acts 1:10-11; Jh 14:1-3).

 

We believe that God the Holy Spirit is uncreated, but proceeded from the Father through the Son (Jn.15:26).   He is equal to the Father and the Son and possesses all the attributes of God.

The Holy Spirit:     -is the One who inspired Holy Scripture (2 Pet. 1:21)

-took part in the act of creation (Gen. 1:2), the salvation of mankind (Heb. 3:7), and the building of the Church (Eph. 2:22)

-glorifies Christ (Jh 16:14)

-convicts of sin (Jh 16:8)

-regenerates a person (Jh 3:5-7)

-guides on the path of sanctification (Jh 16:13)

 

We believe that the Divine Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—took part in the creation of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible, and also of mankind itself.

We believe that the Divine Trinity takes part in the creation of the new heaven and the new earth, where truth resides, and of a new humanity to live in them (2 Pet. 2:13)

            -Jesus Christ—forgives the sinner (Gal. 4:4)

            -The Father—accepts [them] as sons and daughters (Gal. 4:5)

            -The Holy Spirit—fills, sanctifies, and makes them heirs (Gal. 4:6-7)

 

III. MAN

 

We believe that God created man “of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Gen. 2:7).  In this way, man is a triune being (spirit, soul, and body) –Job 12:10; Is. 57:16; 1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 14:12—and belongs to the physical (visible) and spiritual (invisible) realms.

God created man immortal according to His own image and likeness, which consists of intellectual, moral, volitional, and other characteristics (Gen. 1:26-27, 5:1; James 3:9).

God created man innocent, for the purpose of:

            -direct fellowship between man and his Creator (Gen. 3:8; Ecc. 7:29)

            -worship of God (Ps. 67:3)

            -continuation of the human race and to “fill the earth” (Gen. 1:28; Acts 17:26)

            -to govern the world around him and to cultivate the earth (Gen. 1:28, 2:15; Ps. 8:6)

 

God created man with free will.  He had the right to independently choose between good and evil (Gen. 2:16-17; Deut. 30:19; Josh. 24:15; Jer. 21:8)

The Fall of Man into Sin

We believe that man, by means of the enticement of the Devil, freely chose the path of rebellion against his Creator, and in so doing sinned against Holy God (Gen. 3:1-6; Is. 59:2; Jh. 8:44).

At the moment of his fall into sin, man died spiritually and began to die physically (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:1; Col. 2:13).

As a consequence of man’s sin, the curse of God fell upon the earth and creation (Gen. 3:17; Ps. 90:10; Rom. 8:20-21).

Because the first people fell into sin, all humanity inherited a sin nature and death (Gen. 6:3; Ps. 51:5, 58:3; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 5:12).

A result of the fall is that man cannot independently find God (1 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 3:11).

 

IV. SALVATION

 

We believe that God foresaw the fall of the first people into sin, and for this reason prepared the plan of salvation in which Christ would be the Lamb, predestined to be slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8).  Christ, at the time determined by God, took upon Himself the sin of the whole world, experiencing because of this the righteous judgment of God; and having perfectly satisfied divine justice, completed full redemption and salvation (Jh 1:29; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Cor. 5:21).

Salvation is accomplished by God according to grace on the basis of redemption in Jesus Christ.    Man receives salvation only through personal and individual conversion to God.  Therefore there is “no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Faith

We believe  that for the conversion of a sinner to God faith is necessary, which is given to a man by the work of the Holy Spirit through hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17; Heb. 11:6; Acts 4:4).  Faith has three basic elements:

            -understanding of God, His Word, and His will (2 Tim. 1:12)

            -submission to God and His Word (Jh 10:27; James 4:7)

            -receiving that which God offers (Jh 1:12; Rom. 8:15)

 

    The Holy Spirit through faith leads a person to repentance, awakening him to turn away from dead works and turn to God (Acts 11:21; 26:18; Eph. 2:8).  Personal recognition of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is the confirmation of true faith, which is accompanied by the works of faith (2 Cor.4:13; Jn.20:28; Rom.10:9-19; Mt.10:32,33; Lk.12:8-9; Acts 8:37).

Repentance and Conversion

We believe that repentance is granted only by God according to His mercy and grace (Mk 1:15; Acts 2:37-38, 11:18; Rom. 2:4).  Repentance and conversion consist of: sorrow for sin, acknowledgement of sin before God, leaving sin and receiving Jesus Christ as one’s personal Savior (Pr. 28:13; 2 Cor. 7:10; Acts 26:20).

Repentance is a change of mind, of the emotions, and especially the will of man (Ac.2:37-38, 9:6,20: Lk.15:20; Mt.21:29). The confirming-signs of true repentance are “deeds worthy of repentance” (Ac.26:20; Lk.19:8-9).

Regeneration

We believe that the result of conversion and receiving Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord is the new birth from the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, which is a necessary condition of adoption and entrance into the Kingdom of God (Jh 1:12-13, 3:3; James 1:18; 1 Cor. 4:15; Gal. 3:26).

We believe that through the birth from above a man receives a new nature and the Holy Spirit lives in him (1 Cor.3:16;6:19)

Regeneration is not a mere alteration of the sinful nature of man, but a resurrection of him from a condition of spiritual death, and a resurrection to new life (Jh.3:3,5-6; 1 Cor.6:19; 2 Cor.5:17; Gal.5:17; 1 Pet.2:9; 2 Pet 1:4).

The true signs of regeneration are: a fundamental change in one’s life, love for God and His Word, love of the church and of people, hatred towards sin, thirst for fellowship with God through prayer, and likeness to Christ (1 Jh 3:1, 5:1; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 2:5; Gal. 4:19, 5:13).

Those who have been born again have assurance of salvation which is based upon the Word of God (1 Jn 5:13), the testimony of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:16), and the fact of having received Jesus Christ (Jh 1:12).

Justification

We believe that man, having believed in Jesus Christ, receives justification by faith, not dependent upon the works of the law (Rom. 3:28; 2 Cor. 5:21).   By means of justification, the position of the believer before God is changed, which frees him from the consciousness of guilt and fear of condemnation for sin, because Christ took all guilt upon Himself and bore the punishment for it.   The righteousness of Christ is credited to the believer, just as if he had never had been guilty.  The converted person receives peace with God and the right to posses a glorious inheritance with Christ (Rom. 4:5, 5:1,9, 8:1,17,30).

Adoption

We believe that through the new birth a person receives a new nature and the Holy Spirit dwells in Him (1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19).  On the day that a man believes, he becomes a child of God and receives all the rights, responsibilities, and privileges of a Kingdom heir (Jh 1:12; 1 Jh 3:1-2; Gal. 4:1-7).  Therefore Scripture does not require a seeking of extraordinary “signs” of salvation (Acts 13:39; Rom. 5:1; 1 Cor. 3:21-23; Eph. 1:3, 4:30; Col. 2:10; 1 Jn 5:11-13).

Having received adoption, the child of God becomes the special object of God’s love (Jn. 17:23), parental care (Lk 12:27-33) and discipline (Heb. 12:5-11), and also has the right of inheritance (1 Pet. 1:3-5; Rom. 8:17) and free access to the Heavenly Father (Eph. 3:12).  Children of God are lead by the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:4; Gal. 5:18), and submit to God in everything (1 Jn 5:1-3).

Sanctification

Sanctification is separation from sin, consecration of oneself to God and transformation into the image of Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 4:7; Phil. 2:15; Col. 3:5-8; 2 Cor. 6:17-18).

Growth in Sanctification

INITIAL sanctification is received by a person on the day of his repentance, in which he becomes positionally holy in Christ, having fellowship with Holy God (1 Cor. 1:2, 6:11; Rom. 1:7; Heb. 10:10).

PROGRESSIVE sanctification begins from the day of conversion and continues throughout all of life as a process of being freed in practice from the power and authority of sin, and becoming like the Lord Jesus Christ in life and character (2 Cor.3:18; Eph.4:11-15, 5:27; Phi.3:10-15; 1 Thess.4:1; 2 Pet. 3:18; Rev.22:11).

For this, God has given gracious means:

-The Word of God—is light, spiritual food, and active power for sanctification (Josh. 1:8; Ps. 1:1-2; Mt. 4:4; Jh. 13:8; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).

-Prayer—through which the believer fellowships with God, praises and honors Him, confesses sins he has committed, opens his desires before God, and always and for everything gives thanks and intercedes for the repentance and salvation of other people (Mt. 26:41; Jh. 4:23-24, 16:23; 1 Jh. 1:9; 1 Thess. 5:17-18; Phi. 4:6; 1 Tim. 2:1-4).

-The leadership of the Holy Spirit—which consecrates the person and produces fruit in him (1 Pet. 1:2; 2 Thes.  2:13; Eph. 3:16; Gal. 5:22-23), and guides the believer in life in such a way that all things work together for good (Rom. 8:28).

-Constant abiding in Christ by faith—like the branch on a grape-vine, or a member of the body of Christ (Jh. 14:2,5,8; 1 Cor. 12:27).

 

PERFECTED or entire sanctification occurs at the rapture of the Church, when the resurrection of the dead in the Lord and the transformation of those children of God who are living on earth takes place, and when they receive resurrected bodies without the presence of sin, like the glorified body of the Lord (1 Thess. 3:13, 4:17, 5:23; 1 Jh. 3:2).

The saved will share with Christ in His glory eternally (Jh.17:22; 1 Pet.5:10; 1 Th.2:12; Heb.2:10; 2 Tim.2:10).

Therefore, “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb.12:14).

 

V.  THE CHURCH

 

The Universal Church

We believe that the universal church is an invisible gathering in heaven and on earth of spiritually born-again people, redeemed by Jesus Christ from all peoples and all ages, who have been united with the Body of Christ through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which takes place at the time of the new-birth (Jh. 3:3; 1 Cor. 12:13; Heb. 12:33).

The universal church of Christ is not a continuation of Old Testament Israel, but was born in the torments of Calvary and created by Jesus Christ on the Day of Pentecost on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.  The universal church reveals itself as a new people of God, an invisible temple of the Lord, a living spiritual organism, whose head is Jesus Christ, and His body is all believers (Mt 16:18; Acts 2; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 1:22-23, 2:19-22; Col. 1:18).

The universal church of Christ, after the completion of the age of grace, will be raptured to meet the Lord in the clouds to be with Him thereafter forever (1 Thess. 4:16-17).

Belonging to the universal (invisible) church does not exempt a person from the responsibility to belong to a local church, for only in the local church can he fulfill his responsibilities towards his brothers and sisters in Christ (Heb. 10:25; Mt 18:17).  

The Local Church

We believe that the local church is a component part of the universal church, and is a visible gathering of born-again people who live in the same area, and are united by one faith on the basis of the Word of God and constant “devotion to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42; Phil. 1:1; Eph. 4:4-6).

The local church is called to establish the Kingdom of Christ on earth by means of preaching the Gospel to the world (Mt 28:19; Mk 16:15), jointly worshipping and glorifying the Lord (Eph. 5:18-20), and mutual love and unity between believers in agreement with the High Priestly Prayer of Christ (Jh. 17:21-23).

In the local church God teaches ministers and endues each church member with the necessary gifts for ministry and for the building Christ church (Eph.4:11-13)

Christians join to the local church through the Baptism by faith (Acts 2:41)

New Testament Ordinances

Baptism by faith

We believe that baptism is a commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was established for those who have been converted from their sins, believed in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, and been born again.  It is an act of obedience to God and a testimony of one’s faith to people around him (Mt 28:19).

Baptism by faith is an external sign which symbolizes the death of the believer to sin and his resurrection with Christ unto new life (Rom. 6:3-11; Gal. 3:27).

Baptism by faith is performed by ministers of the churches (presbyters) by means of full immersion in water of people who, being of mature age, consciously confess their faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and God, who have been taught in the church the fundamentals of the faith, and who adhere to the commands of the Word of God in their practical lives (Mk 16:16; Acts 2:41, 8:36-38; 1 Pet. 3:21).

The Lord’s Table

We believe that Communion is a commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was established in order to remember and proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes (1 Cor. 11:23-26; Lk 22:17-20).

Communion is an expression of gratitude and the union of believers with Christ and each other (1 Cor. 10:16-17).

The bread and wine signify the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and while receiving these signs, the believer has spiritual communion with Him (Mt. 26:26-28).

 

VI. THE SPIRITUAL REALM

 

Holy Angels

We believe that special spiritual beings exist—angels—who were created by God (Ps. 34:7, 91:11, 103:20; Mt 1:20, 8:16, 12:45; Lk 7:21, 8:2, 11:26; Acts 1:10-11; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:14; Rev. 16:14).

  • Angels are superior to people in power and knowledge (2 Kg.19:35; Ps.103:20; 2 Pet.2:11; Jm.2:19; Rev.12:12).
  • Angels do not marry (Mt 22:30) and do not die (Lk 20:36).
  • The Lord created all angels holy (Gen.1:31; Mt 25:31; Mk 8:38; 2 Pet 2:4).
  • Angels are not equal to God, for they are ministering spirits (Heb.1:4-7; Ps 104:4). It is forbidden to worship them or to give them honor like God. (1 Kings 11:4-8,33; 2 Kings 1:3; 1 Cor. 10:20).

Angels are organized hierarchically by God and fulfill different functions:

-angels (Mt 1:20)                                                                        -cherubim (Gen 3:24; Ex 26:1; Ez 1:4-5, 10:15-20)

-archangels (Dan.10:13,21,12:1-2; Jd.9; 1 Th. 4:16)              -seraphim (Is 6:2-6)

                                              

The majority of angels remained obedient to God and fulfill His will (Mt 25:31, 26:53; Lk 2:9-14; Heb 1:14).  They praise God (Ps 147:1-2; Is 6:3), worship God (Heb. 1:6; Rev 5:8-13), and serve God (Ps 103:20; Rev 22:9; Mt 1:20; Lk 1:26-28, 2:13-14).  Angels also serve the churches and all who will inherit salvation (Lk.16:22; He.1:14; 1 Cor.4:9,11:10; Ep.3:10; 1 Pt.1:12; Ac.12:11, 27:23-24).  In the future the holy angels will be in glory (Mt.25:31).

Fallen Angels

We believe that the rest of the angels are demons (Mt 8:28-31), unclean spirits (Mk 1:23), who did not keep their own domain (Jude 6), and sinned (2 Pet 2:4).  Some of them are imprisoned in the dark abyss (2 Pet 2:4; Jude 6), but others operate in freedom (Lk 8:30-31; Eph 2:2; Heb 6:12).  These angels oppose the plans of God (Dan 10:10-14; Rev 16:13-16), promote the spread of false doctrines (1 Jh. 4:1-4; 1 Tim 4:1), and bring physical and spiritual suffering to people (Mt 9:33, 12:22, 17:15-18; Mk 9:22, Lk 8:27-29, 9:37-42).

Fallen angels are also organizational [structure], and their head is a former cherubim (Ez 28:14-15).  He is called Satan (“the adversary”-Zech 3:1-2; Job 1:6, 2:1; Mt 4:10; Lk 22:31), the devil (“the accuser”-Mt 4:1, 13:39; Jn 13:20; Rev 13:9-10, 20:1), and the prince of this world (Jh. 12:31).

Judgment (1 Cor 6:3; 2 Pet 2:4; Jude 6) and punishment in the lake of fire (Mt 25:41; Rev 20:10) has been prepared for Satan and his demons.

 

VII. Future Events

 

The Second Coming of Christ

We believe that Christ will come soon to earth a second time—in power and glory (Mt 25:31; Acts 1:11).  Of the day and hour of His arrival no human being knows (Mt 24:31). 

There are two distinguishable phases of the second coming of Christ:

-The arrival (appearing) for His Church, invisible to the world, during this time the rapture of the church will take place (1 Thes. 4:16-17).

-Arrival with His Church for the millennial reign (Rev 19:11-21), when every eye will see Him (Rev 1:7)

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