1. The Bible
We believe that the Bible constitutes the only infallible rule for our faith and practice, and is without error in all that it says.
A. The uniqueness of the Bible: The Bible is the collection of sixty-six books from Genesis to Revelation, which as originally written, (known as the autographa), does not only contain and convey the Word of God but IS the very Word of God.
B. The inspiration of the Bible: God interacted with the human writers of the Bible so that every word of the original texts was exactly as He wanted. The Holy Spirit so superintended the human authors that, through their individual personalities and different styles of writing, they recorded God’s Word to man without error in the whole or in the part.
C. The preservation of the Bible: God, by his care and providence has, and continues to keep His Word pure in all ages.
D. The interpretation of the Bible: We teach that, whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation. The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently applies the normal, literal, grammatical, historical method of interpretation under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. It is the responsibility of believers to ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of the scripture in order to correctly apply the Word to their daily living. The teaching of Blue Ridge Community Bible Church is based then on the following hermeneutic (interpretive) principles:
1. Normal – understanding the words of the Bible in their common usage unless otherwise indicated by the context.
2. Literal – understanding the meaning of the Bible in its ordinary sense unless the context requires a figurative interpretation.
3. Grammatical – using the recognized rules of grammar to interpret the text.
4. Historical – understanding the words of the Bible in light of the times in which they were written.
5. Contextual – understanding the words of the Bible in light of the surrounding verses and passages.
6. Systematic – categorizing and comparing the teaching of the Bible with the whole of God’s Word in view.
Psalm 12:6-7; Psalm 19:7-11; 119:105, 152,160; Matthew 5:18; Matthew 24:35; Luke 24:25-27; John 5:45-47; 17:17; Romans 3:4; 15:4; II Timothy 3:16-17; I Peter 1:23; II Peter 1:19-21; Revelation 22:18, 19
We believe in one God who eternally exists in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These three are one in essence, but distinct in person and function.
A. God the Father:
We teach that God the Father, the first person of the Trinity, is the sovereign creator of all things. He is the absolute and omnipotent ruler of the universe and has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass. In His sovereignty He is neither author nor approver of sin. He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own. All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith, and all who come in faith the Father will receive. He saves from sin all those who come to Him; and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own.
Genesis 1:1-31; Psalm 103:19; Psalm 145:8,9; Habakkuk 1:13; John 1;12; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:4-6, 11; 3:9; Hebrews 12:5-9.
B. God the Son:
We teach that Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, is coequal and coeternal with the Father. We teach that God the Father created according to His own will, through His Son, Jesus Christ, by whom all things continue in existence.
1. We teach that in the incarnation (God becoming man through the virgin birth) Christ maintained His divine essence while accepting all the essential characteristics of humanity and so became the God-man. The purpose of the incarnation was to reveal God, redeem man, and rule over God’s kingdom.
2. We teach that Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross. His death was voluntary, vicarious, substitutionary, propitiatory, and redemptive. We teach that this atonement for sin was effectual for all who have believed in ages past, and for all who will believe in the present and future ages.
3. We teach that all who receive Jesus Christ by faith are freed from the punishment, the penalty, the power, and one day the very presence of sin; and that he is declared righteous (justified), given eternal life, and adopted into the family of God.
4. We teach that the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus guarantees both the redemption and salvation of all who trust Him as savior.
5. We teach that Jesus ascended bodily into heaven, and there lives for us as our High Priest and Intercessor.
Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Matthew 1:18-20; 23-25; 28:5-6; Luke 1:35; John 1:1-3, 14,18; 10:30; 14:9; Acts 1:9; Romans 3:24-26; 4:24-25; I Corinthians 15:3-4,12-29; II Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2; 4:14-16; 7:23-25; 9:24; I John 2:1-2
C. God the Holy Spirit:
We teach that the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is a divine person, equal with God the Father and God the Son. He was active in the creation; that He convicts of sin, of judgment, and of righteousness; that He bears witness to the Truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony; that He is the supernatural and sovereign Agent in regeneration (the New Birth): that He seals, enables, guides, teaches, sanctifies, and helps the believer. Every believer possesses the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation, and it is the responsibility of all those born of the Spirit to be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit.
Genesis 1:1-3; Matthew 28:19; John 3:5-6; 14:16-17,26; 15:26-27;16:8-11; Romans 8:9-11; 14-16,26-27; II Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; II Thessalonians 2:7,13; I Peter 1:2
We teach that the Holy Spirit bestows spiritual gifts upon each believer for Christian service and the edification of the Body of Christ. We also teach that the church age was initiated with miracles and other sign gifts (apostles, prophets, healing, miracles, and tongues) to authenticate the message of Christianity. We affirm that God continues to demonstrate His miraculous power; but the sign gifts, as given to the early church, are not in effect today.
Genesis 17:1; Exodus 15:11; 20:1-5; Psalm 83:17-18; 90:2; 147:5; Isaiah 43:10-11; Jeremiah 10:10; Matthew 28:19; Mark 12:30; John 4:24; 10:27-30; 15:26; 17:5; Acts 5:3-4; Romans 11:33; I Corinthians 2:10-11; 8:6; 12:4-6; II Corinthians 13:14 Ephesians 2:18; 4:6; Philippians 2:5-6; I Timothy 1:17; Revelation 4:11; Romans 12:3-8; I Corinthians 12:4-11,28-31; 13:8-10; 14:1-28; II Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:3-4; I Peter 4:10-11; II Peter 1:12-21
We believe the literal account of creation found in the book of Genesis which teaches that God created the universe in six literal 24 hour days. We reject evolution as an unscriptural theory of origin.
Genesis 1; 2:21-23; Exodus 20:11; Psalm 19:1; Nehemiah 9:6; Jeremiah 10:12; Acts 4:24; 17:22-26; Romans 1:20; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 11:3; Revelation 10:6
4. The Fall of Man
We believe that man, as originally created by God, existed in a sinless state, but by voluntary transgression fell from his sinless condition. Adam’s sin of disobedience to the revealed will and Word of God, man lost his innocence, incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death, became subject to the wrath of God, and became inherently corrupt and utterly incapable of choosing or doing that which is acceptable to God. Consequently, all men are sinners by nature and are under just condemnation without defense or excuse. Therefore, no one is able to remedy his lost condition apart from the grace of God.
Genesis 3:1-6, 24; Romans 1:18-20, 28-32; 3:10-19; 5:12; Galatians 3:22; Ephesians 2:1-3
A. We believe that we receive redemption from sin and its penalty as a free gift from God that can be obtained only through faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone, totally unaided by human effort. The death of Christ is full payment for the sins of His own, and satisfies the just requirement of God. Made alive by God, we are no longer slaves to sin, but are children of God, disciples set apart to a life of spiritual growth, ministry, love and good works. We have forgiveness for every sin and rest secure in the reality of eternal life.
Psalm 51:3-4; Isaiah 53:11; Matthew 28:19; John 1;12; 3:16,36; 5:24; 10:27-30; 14:6; 16:1-13; Acts 13:38-39; Romans 1:17; 3:23-26; 5:1-10; 6:23; 8:1,29,30,38,39; 10:9-10; II Corinthians 5:17-21; Ephesians 1:4-14; 2:8-9; 4:30; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 4:14-16; 7:25-27; 10:1-10; I Peter 1:2-5,18-21,23; 2:5-10; I John 2:2; 5:9-13.
B. We believe that God in His elective purpose eternally secured salvation for all believers, and that this assurance is their portion from the very day of their trust in Christ. We believe that this security is in no way dependent upon works performed by the believer, although we acknowledge that the natural outflow of a changed heart will produce good works. John 3:16; 10:28, 29; Ephesians 2:10; Hebrews 10:22; Romans 8:28-39.
6. The Church
A. Universal: We believe that all who have received God's gift of salvation are members of the true Church. This church is the Body and Bride of Christ which began at Pentecost in Acts 2. We are placed into the Church by the Holy Spirit upon salvation and made one body, that is Christ's, whether Jews or Gentiles.
B. Local: We believe a local New Testament Church is a congregation of baptized believers, observing the ordinances of Christ, and adhering to the rights, privileges and responsibilities vested in them by His Word. We hold that the local church is free from any external authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations. We teach that the one supreme authority for the church is Christ and that church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed through His sovereignty as found in the Scriptures. The biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the assembly are elders (also called bishops, pastors, and pastor-teachers) and deacons, both of whom must meet biblical qualifications. The will of the local church as determined through the appointed elders, is final on all matters of membership, policy, government, discipline and benevolence. We teach that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other for the propagation of the faith. Each local church, through its leadership should be the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation.
Matthew 18:15-20; 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42; 15:22-23; I Corinthians 5:11-13; 6:1-3; 11:3; 12:12-13; 16:1-2; II Corinthians 8:23-24; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:3-6; 5:23-24; Colossians 1:18; I Timothy 3:14-15
C. Ordinances: We believe that two communal observances have been committed to the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
1. Baptism: We believe Christian baptism, as described in scripture, is the immersion in water of a believer, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, by the authority of the local church. Shown in this solemn and beautiful picture is our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, resulting in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life. Baptism is a prerequisite of church membership.
2. Lord's Supper: We believe the Lord's Supper is a solemn reflection of the Lord's death, a celebration of His resurrection, and a joyful anticipation of His imminent return. We teach that the Lord’s Supper should be always preceded by solemn self-examination. The elements of the Lord's Table (the bread and the fruit of the vine) are symbols which represent the broken body and shed blood of Christ.
Matthew 3:16; 28:19-20; Acts 2:38-42; 8:36-39; Romans 6:3-5 11:28-32; I Corinthians 11:2;17-34; Colossians 2:12
7. The Future
We believe that at death the soul of the believer passes instantly into the presence of Christ. There, the believer remains in conscious bliss until the resurrection of their physical body. After this, the soul and glorified body are united to remain in God’s presence forever in glory. The souls of unbelievers remain after death in conscious misery in Hell until the final judgment - the Great White Throne at the close of the Millennium. At this time, the reunited soul and body of the unbeliever shall be cast from the presence of the Lord into the Lake of Fire.
Luke 16:19-26; 23:43; II Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; II Thessalonians 1:7-9; Revelation 19:1-10; 20:11-15; 21:1-8
B. The Second Coming of Christ:
We believe in the bodily, personal, imminent return of Jesus Christ for all Christians. Although we acknowledge that there are many godly people who hold differing views regarding the timing of Christ’s return, we hold to a premillennial rapture of the church.
Daniel 9:20-27; Matthew 24:4-28; Romans 11:26-27; I Corinthians 15:51-57; I Thessalonians 1:10; 4:14-17; 5:9-11; Titus 2:13; Revelation 19:11-16; 20:1-3; 20:11-1
8. The Devil or Satan
We believe Satan was once holy, and enjoyed heavenly honors; but through pride and ambition to be as the Almighty, fell and drew after him a host of angels. He is now the prince of the power of the air, and the god of this world. We hold him to be man's great tempter, the enemy of God, the accuser of Christians, the author of all false religions, the chief power of the present apostasy, the head over the Antichrist, and the author of all the powers of darkness. Satan has been defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and will face final defeat at the hands of God's own Son and the judgment of an eternal justice in the Lake of Fire, a place prepared for him and his angels.
Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-17; Matthew 4:1-3; 25:41; John 14:30; II Corinthians 4:1-4; 11:13-15; Ephesians 2:2; 6:10-12; I Thessalonians 3:5; I Peter 5:8; II Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 12:7-9; 13:13-14; 19:11,16,20; 20:1-3,10
9. Civil Government
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society. Leaders are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed, except in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ as conveyed in the scriptures.
Exodus 18:18-22; II Samuel 23:3; Psalm 72:11; Daniel 3:14-18; Matthew 22:21; Acts 4:13-22; 5:17-32; 23:5; Romans 13:1-7; Philippians 2:10-11; I Timothy 2:1-2; Titus 3:1-2; I Peter 2:13-17
10. Biblical Unity and Separation
Each believer should recognize that they belong to Christ. We should live in such a manner as to glorify and honor Him. We should not confuse or cause a brother, weaker in the faith, to stumble or violate his own conscience in the exercise of our Christian liberty. We should be separated from worldly and sinful practices, and any such ecclesiastical associations and relationships that would not reflect obedience to the Word of God.
We seek to cooperate with other churches and para-church organizations whose doctrine and policies are in harmony with our church. We believe that it is the duty of the people of God to maintain the unity of the faith. However, we recognize that the Lord has commanded believers to separate from religious apostasy and from believers who have seriously deviated from Biblical doctrine or proper Christian behavior and persist in willful disobedience.
Every proposed alliance must be considered in light of our church's commitment to Biblical separation. As we seek to be consistent in this difficult area, our purpose is to emphasize the necessity of purity in ministry and testimony. It is our desire to maintain an attitude characterized by Christ's righteousness, love and humility.
Matthew 18:15-17; Romans 12:1-2; 16:17; I Corinthians 5:7-13; 6:19-20; II Corinthians 6:14-18; Ephesians 4:1-6; Phil. 2:5-11; II Thessalonians 3:11-15; II Timothy 3:1-5; Titus 2:11-15; 3:9-11; James 4:4-5; I Peter 2:9; I John 2:15-17; II John 9-11
We believe that God created the family (through the marriage covenant) as the foundation of society. Marriage unites one man and one woman in a lifetime commitment to each other, and excludes any societal or cultural definitions of marriage that fall outside of the biblical model. Marriage provides for intimate companionship, pure sexual expression and procreation. Most importantly, marriage reflects the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church.
We believe that children are a gift from God and are fully human from conception, and that any effort to end this life at any point in the gestation period, regardless of the circumstances of conception, would be considered ending a human life, and is therefore incompatible with the teaching of scripture.
Parents are to train their children by modeling a godly life, teaching them the Bible, disciplining them in love, and providing them a resource of wisdom and counsel. Parents are to care for the needs of their children as well. Children are to obey their parents with respect and honor, caring for them in the time of their dependency and old age.
Genesis 2:18-25; Exodus 20:12; Leviticus 19:32; Deuteronomy 6:4-7; Psalm 127; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8-9; 5:15-19; 13:24; 22:6; Matthew 19:4-6; I Corinthians 7:1-5; Ephesians 5:22-33; 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20; I Timothy 5:8