Writing Your Statement of Faith, by Dr. William Mounce
An introduction to what a statement of faith is, and what it is not.
2 Article One: Scripture
The Bible is the infallible word of God, the supreme rule for faith and practice.
The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament came from the very mouth of God and are without error in the originals. Scripture is therefore the unique and supreme guide for all it affirms, including both belief and behavior.
The teachings of the Bible are sufficient for salvation and sanctification. While there are questions of meaning and application over which we may agree to disagree, there is nothing for which we are responsible to God in terms of our salvation and sanctification that is not expressed in Scripture, either in precept or principle.
From these convictions flow the following articles of faith.
3 Article Two: God
There is one God, infinitely perfect, without change, creator of all yet not created, distinct from His creation yet everywhere present, perfectly balanced in all His attributes, omniscient over all time, wholly sovereign. He alone is the sole object of worship.
God exists eternally in three persons -- Father, Son, Holy Spirit -- equal in essence and divine perfection, all three uncreated, executing distinct but harmonious offices.
4 Article Three: God the Son
God the Son is fully God and fully human, without confusion or mixture, the unique and only Son. He existed before time, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, died on the cross as the sacrifice for our sins, was physically raised from the dead as prophesied, ascended into heaven, and is now exalted, sitting at the right hand of God the Father, interceding for the saints as the sole mediator. He will return to earth, and ultimately every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
5 Article Four: God the Holy Spirit
God the Spirit is sent to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He fully indwells every true believer as a guarantee of his inheritance, guides and empowers them, gifts them for ministry, interceding in accordance with the will of God, witnessing to Jesus.
6 Article Five: Anthropology (doctrine of man)
Adam and Eve were both created in the image of God, Adam from the dust of the ground and Eve from his side. They disobeyed God and died, spiritually and physically. Therefore, all people are objects of wrath, sinners by nature and by choice. They are dead in their sins and incapable of pleasing God. Without the direct intervention of God, they will live separated from God, die in their sins, and receive the condemnation that their sin deserves.
7 Article Six: Soteriology (doctrine of salvation)
Salvation from sin and access to God is available only through the work of Christ on the cross, given by God’s grace, mercy, and love, received solely by faith in Jesus Christ. In conversion, the believer is drawn by God to Himself, repents and turns from his sins, is redeemed, declared wholly righteous, born again, made alive in Christ as a new creature, reconciled to God, becomes a child of God, and is filled with the fullness of the Holy Spirit through whom he is empowered for a life of obedience. The cross is sufficient to cover the sins of all who believe.
8 Article Seven: Sanctification (doctrine of holiness)
God’s will for every believer is his sanctification. It is the necessary and certain fruit of salvation, yet not meritorious; it is God alone who saves. Through the work of the Spirit, saints are called and enabled to live lives of holiness, “in” but not “of” the world, fully dedicated disciples of Jesus Christ, persevering to the end. Disciples are declared to be sanctified through the work of Christ and are also called to become sanctified in the experiences of life. The disciple's life will be characterized, among many, by battle with sin, repentance, sexual purity, gracious speech, prayer, suffering, persecution, being different from the world, living for the glory of God. Growth toward holiness brings with it assurance of salvation and a desire to share the gospel with sinners.
9 Article Eight: Ecclesiology (doctrine of the church)
The church consists of all true disciples of Jesus Christ. All things exist under the supremacy of Christ, and therefore Christ and Christ alone is the head of the church. The local expression of the church is comprised of disciples gifted for the work of building up the body of Christ, living in unity, bound together by love. While different local expressions may have different emphases, all are commanded to make disciples, which includes both evangelism and teaching obedience to all that Jesus taught. The church is to be committed to the reading of Scripture, the exhortation to obedience, and teaching of the doctrinal truths of Scripture, as well as to all that is necessary for the edification of the body, including worship, singing, prayer, and service, all to the glory of God.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances to be valued and observed. They are visible signs representing spiritual truths; they do not accomplish salvation. Baptism is the washing of the believer, signifying that in conversion he has died to his old life and has been raised with Christ into a newness of life in which the power of sin is broken. The Lord’s Supper is the present proclamation of Christ’s atoning death, and looks forward to his return.
10 Article Nine: Eschatology (doctrine of last things)
Jesus will return — personally, visibly to all, suddenly — and all disciples living and dead will be bodily caught up to meet Him. At the final judgment, the unrepentant will be raised to the resurrection of judgment and permanent punishment in hell. Believers, while already having passed from darkness to light, will be raised to the resurrection of life, and will enjoy the everlasting, personal presence of God in His heavenly kingdom. God’s plan of creation, redemption, and glorification will be complete.
This is the hope for which we long, which helps to motivate us now toward godly living, and which propels us to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with a lost and dying world.