What We Believe
Bet-Shalom Doctrinal Statement.
The Bible, both the Old and New Testament, was written by the different people who wrote it as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit and these scriptures are God’s message to man. It is God-breathed – the Holy Spirit, telling the authors what He wanted people to know (Acts 1:16; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20,21). These writings are truth that cannot be doubted, and without mistakes. When we have proved a doctrine by several scriptures there is nothing more to argue about for faith and life. The Bible is finished and cannot be added to. Christians must remain open to the truth in the Bible as the Holy Spirit leads. (Matt. 5:17; Luke 4:17-21; 24:27,44; John 5:39; 1 Cor. 14:37; 2 Pet. 3:15,16).
God is Spirit – infinite (unlimited), everlasting, uncreated, without beginning or end, unchangeable. All things have their beginning in Him. He supports everything and purpose,(John 4:24; Ps. 102:25-27; Gen. 1:1,26; John 1:1-3; Heb. 1:1-3; Col. 1:15-17).
There is one true God who has a three-in-one nature – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – all different personalities, yet all God (John 1:1,18,14; Heb 1:8; Acts 5:3,4). The Bible does not teach that there are three Gods, but teaches the Trinity – one God who reveals Himself in three persons – equal in power and glory (Gen. 1:26; Matt 3:16, 17; 28:19; Acts 10:38; 1 Cor. 12:4-6).
God, the Father, is the Father of all because He created all, but only those who have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour can be called His children and part of His family. (Mal. 2:10; Acts 17:28; John 1:12, 13; 8:41-44; 17:3; 20:17).
Jesus Christ is Lord and the Son of God – these titles tell us that He is God just as much as the Father is God. He is the Father’s only Son, in a different way to the way human beings can be God’s sons when they are born again. As God was always there and will always be there forever, so is Jesus. (John 1:1-3, 18; 17:5; Heb. 1:2-12; 13:8).
Jesus is The Word:
By taking on the form of a man, Jesus is the Word that became flesh. His birth was not natural like all other people. His mother was a virgin, and He had no human father (John 1:14,8; Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18-25).
Jesus Was Fully God and Fully Man:
The Bible states He was fully God and fully man at the same time.He lived a sinless life on earth; teaching, preaching and doing miracles with God’s authority (Matt. 16:13,16; Philip. 2:5-8; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb 2:14-18; 4:15; 2 Cor. 5:21; Matt. 4:23,24; Acts 2:22).
Jesus Was Crucified & Rose Again:
Jesus carried out God’s plan in history. He was crucified, died, was buried and went to hell for everybody. Christ rose bodily from the dead, not just as a spirit being, but it was a physical resurrection. The doctrine of the resurrection is most important for Christians (1 Cor. 15:3, 4, 14-21; Luke 24:6,39; Acts 4:33; Rom. 1:4; 5:10; 8:11).
Jesus Our Advocate in Heaven:
After His resurrection He went up to the Father in heaven. He is alive forever in His resurrected body, praying us before the throne of God as our High Priest and Advocate (like a lawyer) (1 Tim. 3:16; Mark 16:19; Philip. 3:20,21; Rom. 8:34; Heb. 4:14 – 16; 7:24,25).
The Holy Spirit:
The Holy Spirit is also God, the third Person of the Holy Trinity, different from the Father and the Son (Luke 1:35; 1 Cor. 2:10, 11; 2 Cor. 13:14). The clear teaching of Scripture is that the Holy Spirit is a person. He is not a force, nor a principle or influence, but has a full, distinct personality (John 14:16, 26; 16:7, 8; Acts 13:2, 4; 1 Cor. 12:11; Eph. 4:30).
The Creation and Fall of People:
Created in God’s Image
All people have been created equal and in the image of God, no matter what their race, colour, sex, age, language, culture or class (Gen. 1:26-28; 3:20; Prov. 22:2; Acts 10:34, 35; 17:26,27; James 3:9; Col. 3:10, 11; Gal. 3:28).
Mankind Fell and All Are Born Sinners:
God created all people in His own image, but that image has been damaged by sin. Human beings were given free will and through Satan’s temptation, chose sin, so they got the death penalty, which God had warned them about, both in their bodies and spirits. All human beings inherit a sinful nature which results, in the case of those who are old enough to make their own decisions, in their becoming guilty before God of sin. (Gen. 1:26-28; 3:1-6; Rom. 5:12; Eph. 2:1-3). All have sinned – so all would be going to hell if Jesus had not made a way for them to escape (Isa. 53:6; Rom. 3:9-12, 23; 1 Cor. 15:21, 22; Gal. 3:22).
The Bible describes sin in many ways – missing the mark, not meeting God’s standards, breaking His law, going against His will, disobeying Him, not believing Him, failing to do what is good, owing a debt, etc. Man’s sinful state can be seen in human character, will, thoughts, attitudes or acts. It is proud, self-willed rebellion against God in activity or inactivity (Dan. 9:5, 8, 9; James 2:8-11; 4:17; Rom. 14:23; 1 John 3:4; 5:17; Matt. 6:12).
The Salvation of People:
Jesus Died for Our Salvation
Jesus Christ gave His life instead of us all. We would have not only had to die in our bodies, but also go to the second death which is hell (1 Cor. 15:3; Matt. 20:28; 1 Tim. 2:3-6). His death on the cross and His shed blood fully paid the price required for sinners to go free. Through His death people can have forgiveness of sins; washing and cleansing from unrighteousness; justification (which means ‘just as if I had never sinned’), and favour with God; healing in body soul and spirit; the victorious life; and the gift of everlasting life (Gal. 3:13, 14; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19; 2:24; Col. 1:13, 14; Rom 3:22-26; 5:8-11, 17-19; Titus 3:4-7; 1 John 2:2; 3:8; Rev. 12:10, 11).
We Can Do Nothing to Save Ourselves:
People are not able to save themselves by works; by trying to keep the Law or the Ten Commandments; there is nothing anyone can do or pay that can help a person to get to heaven – no one can add anything to the what Jesus did for us (Isa. 64:6; Rom. 3:20, 28; Gal. 2:16; Titus 3:5).
Salvation is a Free Gift:
Salvation is the free gift of eternal life from God to all those who believe in Jesus Christ. We can get it by believing in Jesus and receiving Him as our Saviour and Lord, as so we are born again which is the only way to make the sinner a new creation in Christ Jesus and a child of God (Eph. 2:8, 9; Gal. 3:26; 10:9, 10; 2 Cor. 7:20; 5:17; John 3:3-5, 16; 1:12, 13; 1 John 5:1).
The Lord has told us to be baptised. The Bible tells us that all who accept Jesus into their lives must be baptised to show it, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Baptism is by dipping in water and is for believers only (Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38, 39; 8:36-39; 16:31-33). Baptism shows that we have been buried (in our spirits) and raised again with to walk in newness of life with Jesus, because we believe in Him and receive Him as Saviour. It is a public statement of the new believer’s faith in Christ; and we will not be guilty of disobeying God in this matter (Matt. 3:13-17; Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).
Communion is the regular sharing of the bread and the cup as symbolic of the Saviour’s broken body and shed blood. In following this commandment, believers are remembering the Lord Jesus Christ; showing His death; giving thanks for His broken body and shed blood; expressing their oneness with Him and one another; celebrating His resurrection; and expecting His return (Matt. 26:26-29; 1 Cor. 10:16, 17; 11:23-32).
The Baptism in the Holy Spirit:
The new birth is the work of making us new that the Holy Spirit does, by which He comes to live in the believer. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is not the same thing and comes after the new birth (Titus 3:5; John3:5,6; 14:16,17; Acts 8:14-17; 19:2). Jesus baptises in the Holy Spirit and according to His command all believers may ask for, and should expect the baptism in the Holy Spirit. This was the normal experience of Christians in the Church of the early days (Matt. 3:11; Acts 1:4,5; 2:38,39; 11:15,16). Through baptism in the Holy Spirit believers receive power for life and service; and with it come the supernatural gifts of the Spirit and their uses in the work of the ministry (Mark 16:17; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 12:4-11). The sign that a believer has been baptised in the Spirit, is speaking with other tongues as the Spirit helps them (Acts 2:4; 10:44-46; 19:6).
The Bible teaches us to live a life of holiness. Believers are called to be separated from the things of the world and dedicated to God (1 Pet. 1:14-16; 1 Thes. 3:12; 13; 4:3-7; 5:23; Heb. 12:14).
Christ’s holiness is given to the believer like a cloak to cover his nature, but this is not his own holiness, and in the course of time, the Holy Spirit will work in him to make him more and more like Christ (holy) in the way he thinks and acts. So when we receive Jesus, we become sanctified. That means set apart for God’s use, yet there must be growth in this for the rest of the believer’s life (1 Cor. 1:2; 6:11; Heb. 10:10,14; Philip. 3:12-14; 2 Cor. 3:18; 1 John 3:2,3).
Sanctification (being made holy) is the Holy Spirit’s work from the time a person accepts Christ until the end, when he is made perfect and is the process of removing the person from all that is evil and dedicating him to God (2 Cor. 7:1; Eph. 4:22-24; 2 Tim. 2:21,22). The more the believer sees and desires to live the kind of life Jesus lived, counting himself dead to sin and alive to God, the more he will become like Jesus. (1 Cor. 1:30; Rom. 6:11-14, 18-22; Gal. 5:16-25; John 17:17; James 1:21).
Divine Healing and Miracles:
Divine healing (this is not faith healing, which often has to do with evil spirits, it is ‘God healing’) was provided for in the Old Testament and is a part of the Gospel. The New Testament tells us that through Christ’s suffering, He has provided for us to be healed in our bodies, souls and spirits. It is His gift to believers today (Ex. 23:25; Isa. 53:4,5; Matt. 8:16,17; 1 Pet. 2:24; Gal. 3:13, 14; Luke 10:9). Healing is for the human body and is by God’s power in different ways, like the laying on of hands; the prayer of faith; anointing with oil; or the gifts of healing (Mark 16:17, 18; 6:13; Acts 28:8,9; James 5:14-16; 1 Cor. 12:9). Miracles are supernatural works, signs or wonders of God, and are possible in the present day (Mark 16:17-20; John 14:12, Acts 6:8; 8:6; 1 Cor. 12:10; Rom. 15:18, 19; 2 Cor. 12:12).
Laying on of hands:
To minister healing to the sick. To help those seeking the baptism in the Holy Spirit. To impart spiritual gifts. To send out apostles. To ordain deacons, elders etc. in the local church. (Acts 6:5-6, 8:17, 13:1-3, 28:8, 1 Tim 4:14)
Resurrection Of The Saved – First Fruits
Jesus rose from the dead in His physical body. At that time many of the Old Testament saints rose and were seen In Jerusalem (Mat 27:52-53, John 2:19-21, 1 Cor 15:20)
Resurrection Of The Saved – The Harvest:
Jesus will return visibly to earth. Christians will be raised from the dead when Jesus returns. There will be a rapture (being caught up into the clouds with Jesus) (Acts 1:11; 1 Cor 15:51-54; 1 Thes 4:14-17)
Resurrection Of The Saved – the gleanings
There will be the resurrection or catching away of those who accept Jesus during the tribulation period like the gleanings of a harvest (Rev 6:9-11; 20:4)
Resurrection Of The Wicked
The wicked dead will be resurrected to face the final judgement at the great white throne. (Mat 25:4; Rev 20:5; 11-15)
Judgement For Sin
Sin was judged once and for all at Calvary on the cross. (Rom 8:1-2; Gal 3:13; 1 Pet 2:24)
Judgement For Works
Christians will pass before the judgement seat of Christ to have their works judged (1 Cor 3:11-15; 2 Cor 5:10; Jam 1:12; Rev 2:10; 1 Pet 5:2-4; 1 Thes 2:19-20; Phil 1:4; 2 Tim 4:8; 1 Cor 9:25-27)
Judgement of the Jews
The tribulation period is a time of God’s judgement on mankind here on earth and more especially on the Jews. (Jer 30:4-7; Dan 12:1; Zech 14:1-11; Matt 24:21-31)
Judgement Of The Nations
At the end of the tribulation period when Christ reigns here on earth, the nations will be judged. (Matt 25:31-46)
There will be a final judgement. Those who reject Jesus will go to Hell. Hell is a place of fiery punishment. Hell is eternal. The unsaved go to hell forever. Satan will be cast into the lake of fire. The damned will be thrown into the lake of fire too. ( Matt. 25:41, 46, 2 Pet. 3:7, Rev. 19:20, 20:10-15, 21:8)
Our Final Home
There will be a new heavens and a new earth. (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1)
The one true Church is all believers who have been saved by Jesus and are born again by the Holy Spirit. It is believers from any nation and from all ages. Each Christian is a part of the Church whose names are written in heaven (Matt. 16:16-19; Eph. 4:3-6; 1 Pet. 2:5,9,10; Heb. 12:23). Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church and the Bible calls the church by names like the Body of Christ, His bride, the family of God, the building and dwelling of God (Eph. 1:22,23; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25-27; 3:15; 2:19-22). The church is also a group of believers meeting in a certain place. The church on earth should encourage one another to walk in holiness before God (Matt. 18:15-17; 1 Cor. 1:2; Heb. 10:24,25).Therefore, the most important things for membership are the new birth and confession of faith in Christ. It is not merely the attending of church services or having a name on the membership list that makes one a member of Christ’s true Church. Only the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the sinner makes one a member in the body of Christ (Acts 2:38-41, 47; Eph. 2:13,18,19). The Bible teaches us to be in submission to authority. So it is understood that church members shall submit to the leaders in the local church in as far as how the church should be run, doctrine and behaviour. (Heb. 13:17; 1 Thes. 5:12.13; 1 Pet. 5:2-5).
The Bible teaches marriage is for a natural man and a natural woman and no sexual activities outside of it. Sticking to this kind of sexual behaviour is required of members in this local church. (Gen. 1:27,28; Lev. 18:22; Rom. 1:27). The first mission of the Church is to evangelise the world; to be a body bringing praise and worship to God; to be a gathering where the saints can be taught, encouraged and grow to be more like God’s Son; to show God’s love and goodness to all; to be a rock upholding God’s wisdom and truth; to be a the start of healthy social change and justice in the community, ministering to the poor and oppressed; and to be used to force Satan’s defeat through God’s power (Matt. 28:19,20; Acts 1:8; Eph. 1:6, 12, 14; 4:11-16; 3:10; Gal. 5:13,14; 6:9,10; 1 Tim. 3:15; Matt. 25:35-40; Acts 20:35; Rom. 16:20).
Every Christian is a priest – to bring sacrifices of praise, worship and service to God, and one another through love; a steward – to use the trust God has put in him; and a worker in God’s kingdom (Rev. 1:6; Heb. 10:19-22; 13:15,16; 6:10; 1 Pet. 2:5,9; 4:10,11; Eph. 4:7, 12; 2:10; Matt. 25:14). Christ has given different ministries to the Church – apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers – which are all important to equip the saints for the work of ministry and to build up the Body of Christ (Eph. 4:11,12; 1 Cor. 12:28; Rom. 12:4-13).
Angels, Satan and Demons:
God created all things including the angels. Angels are not a race but a host. They are the sons of God, not of other angels. They were created at some point in time before the creation of the physical world. The angels were created in a state of holiness. They are innumerable. They are ministering spirits for the heirs of salvation (Job 1:6, 38:6-7, Col 1:15-17, Heb 1:14, 12:22, Jud 6)
The devil is a fallen being cast down from heaven because of his rebellion. He is just as much a person as the Holy Spirit, but completely sold out to evil – personal names and pronouns are used when referring to him, he is spoken of as a person he is said to act in certain ways (Isa. 14:12-17; Rev. 12:9). He is the real enemy of Christians; and together with his demons seek to deceive, tempt, afflict, oppress and destroy people. The believer, however, has been given authority over them in the name of Jesus Christ (John 8:44; Luke 10:17-20; Acts 10:38; Eph. 6:11,12; James 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8,9; 1 John 3:8).