Statement of Faith
The gospel is the proclamation of the good news of the person and work of Christ, and the eternal benefit to me through repentance and faith.
Statement of Faith
January 1997 - Bethel Gospel Chapel, North Bay, Ontario, Canada
We believe that scripture, as originally given in its entirety, is the Word of God, verbally inspired and wholly without error. The Bible is the supreme and final authority of faith, life and assembly activity (2 Timothy 3:16,17 ; 1 Peter 1:25 ; 2 Peter 1:19-21 ; Matthew 5:18 ; 24:35).
We believe that One living true God eternally exists in three distinct persons; Father (Ephesians 1:3 ; Romans 8:15 ), Son (Matthew 1:23 ; Hebrews 1:1,2 ) and Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9,10 ), and that these Three possess the same nature, attributes and glory (Matthew 28:19 , 2 Corinthians 13:14 ; Ephesians 2:18 ).
His Life: We believe that Jesus Christ is God the Son, and that through His virgin birth, both true humanity and undiminished deity were united in one person (John 1:1,14 ; Matthew 1:21 ; 1 Timothy 3:16 ; Hebrews 1:3 ).
His Death:We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, and through the shedding of His own blood provided a full and perfect substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of all who repent and believe, and also for the sins of the whole world (Romans 5:8 ; 2 Corinthians 5:21 ; 1 Peter 2:24 ; 1 John 2:2 ; John 1:29 ).
His Resurrection: We believe in the death, burial and bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. His ascension into Heaven ensures the resurrection of all who have received God’s gift of eternal life through Him (Acts 4:10 ; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 ; John 11:25,26 ; Romans 6:5,8 ; 4:25; Hebrews 9:16-28 ).
His Return: We believe in the imminent physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the air, to take all who have received Jesus as Saviour to glory. Following a period of Great Tribulation, when He will judge the Nations, He will return to earth and set up His Kingdom and rule in righteousness. The duration of this reign on the earth will be one thousand years. The blessing of Heaven is only for those who have trusted Him for salvation (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ; Revelation 20:4-6,11-15 ; Matthew 25:31-33 ; John 14:3,6 ).
We believe that man was originally created (male and female) as a physical and spiritual being in the image of God for the purpose of relating meaningfully with Him. By Adam’s disobedience to God, we all have inherited a sin nature; we live in willful defiance of, and opposition to God because of this nature which is common to every human being. Each person is responsible for their own sin, but cannot save themselves. As a result, each individual is destined for eternal punishment and separation from God. However, every person has also been given a will, which is the soul’s power to choose between good and evil; between serving self and serving God; between everlasting life or separation from God. Every person will be held accountable to God for the choice made, the consequence of which will be endured endlessly (Genesis 1:26-28 ; 2:7,8,18-25; Matthew 10:28 ; Romans 1:18-32 ; 3:10-12,20,23; 5:12; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:11 ;Revelation 20:11-15 ).
We believe that salvation from eternal punishment and separation from God, is secured only through faith in Jesus Christ, believing that He bore our sins in His Own Body on the cross. By a willful act of receiving Christ into our inner being through the Holy Spirit we are saved and cannot lose our salvation. As "new creatures" we are called to live lives of separation to God and moral holiness. God’s purpose for each believer is to progressively develop in them the character of Christ by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:8,9 ; John 1:12 ; 3:16; 10:28,29; 1 Peter 1:3-5 ; Romans 6:1-23 ; 2 Corinthians 5:17 ; Galatians 5:22-25 ; Ephesians 1:13 ; 4:30; Philippians 1:21 ; Colossians 2:9-12 ; 3:1-4,10,12-17).
We believe that God the Holy Spirit has united every believer in the body of Christ by Spirit Baptism, and this takes place at the time of conversion and is not a second work of Grace. The filling of the Holy Spirit is different and ongoing. It relates to the Spirit’s control as He empowers and instructs the believer in godly living as he/she yields to Him. The Holy Spirit indwells all true believers. He is also active in the world convicting people of sin, righteousness and judgement (1 Corinthians 12:13 ; 6:19; John 14:16,17 ; 16:8-11,13,14; Galatians 5:16,22-25 ; Luke 3:16 , Ephesians 5:18 ).
We believe the Church is not a building but is composed of all who have personally received God’s gift of eternal life. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only Head of the Church which is made up of all true believers baptized by the Holy Spirit into one Body (Acts 2:47 ; Matthew 16:18 ; Colossians 1:18 ; Ephesians 1:22,23 ; 1 Corinthians 12:13,27 ).
September 2002 - Bethel Gospel Chapel, North Bay, Ontario, Canada
A paper on the Biblical basis of believer’s fellowship at Bethel Gospel Chapel in North Bay, Ontario, Canada
What is NT fellowship? New Testament fellowship is a concept based on the Greek word koinonia: that which is shared in common. The Bible teaches that we share in common with the Lord, as a result of our salvation: "and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:3 ). Our partnership together as believers is also based on our common relationship to Christ, and our obedience to His Word: "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another..." (1 John 1:7 ).
From Acts 2 , we see that the early Church partnered together in what they held in common in Christ: teaching from the Word, worship and prayer. Therefore, in the local church we share together our faith, our new life in Christ, and our ministry together as we seek to reflect the light of Christ to our dark world.
What does NT fellowship look like? Ephesians 4 explains fundamentally how the Lord expects each of us in the local Church to contribute to corporate ministry. Contrary to what many Christians seem to believe, the purpose of leadership in the Church is not to do the work in fulfilling the Church’s mandate, but rather to facilitate in the "equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry" (v.12). The NIV translates "to prepare God’s people for works of service."
Verse 13 articulates three purposes for the Body of Christ to be engaged in His ministry under the leadership that He has provided through gifted leaders; in our local context, we as believers are to be characterized as:
- possessing and demonstrating "unity of the faith",
- growing in our "knowledge of the Son of God",
- progressively developing into "a perfect man", or incrementally growing in our spiritual maturity "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" ("attaining the full measure of perfection found in Christ" NIV).
In other words, Paul in this passage links spiritual service to spiritual growth. At Bethel, we believe that you cannot be united with other believers in learning the truth of God’s Word, in really knowing Christ, and in growing to be more like Christ, unless you are active in obediently serving the Lord by serving others. This is a necessary and fundamental component of Christian growth, maturity and fellowship.
Paul, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, then promises three results in v.14. Proper spiritual growth and obedience in rightly motivated Christian service, will result in you no longer being:
- immature ("that we should no longer be children");
- unstable and confused ("tossed back and forth by the waves" NIV);
- gullible or unable to maintain firm footing on God’s truth ("carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men").
At Bethel, we believe the New Testament does not contemplate a follower of Christ who is not part of a local Church fellowship. This passage is clear that fellowship presents a responsibility to each of us: "whole body...every joint supplies...every part does its share" (v.16). Our individual service to the Lord may be visible or largely invisible to others; it may be part of a formal Bethel ministry, involvement in a para-church organization, or be a personal spiritual desire manifested in a vital role of prayer, comforting, encouraging, or helping others in a practical way. The important common denominator in biblical fellowship, is that each motivation should come from the Holy Spirit of God as we seek to obey Christ and serve Him in the way that He has called us to minister. ("...Those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires...the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace..." Romans 8:5,6 )
What does this local NT fellowship believe? Biblical fellowship also involves holding, teaching and defending the doctrines of our faith. The following are the essential truths that we at Bethel hold in common. We do not seek to impose these beliefs to qualify for inclusion, however, to be in "full fellowship" at Bethel, each individual would confirm their assent to these fundamental Bible teachings which we hold in common.
the inspiration and infallibility of Scripture. The Scripture as originally given in its entirety, is the Word of God, verbally inspired and wholly without error. The Bible is the supreme and final authority in all aspects of life for everyone. (Isaiah 40:8 ; Matthew 5:18 ; 24:35; Luke 24:44 ; John 10:35 ; 12:48; 16:12-15; 17:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13 ; 2 Timothy 3:16,17 ; Hebrews 4:12,13 ; 1 Peter 1:25 ; 2 Peter 1:19-21 ) the Trinity: One God, existing eternally in Three Persons. The Bible clearly portrays One living true God eternally existing in three distinct Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and that these Three possess the same nature, attributes, and glory. (Deuteronomy 6:4 ; Isaiah 48:16 ; 61:1; Matthew 1:23 ; 28:19; John 1:1,2 ; Acts 5:3,4 ; Romans 8:15,26 ,27; 1 Corinthians 2:9,10 ; 2 Corinthians 13:14 ; Ephesians 1:3 ; 2:18; 4:6,30; 1 Timothy 2:5 ;Hebrews 1:1,2 ; 9:14)
the absolute Sovereignty of God. God is without beginning and is the creator of everything, the Source of all life and intimately involved with all He has created. He is eternally the Sovereign authority of all things, and nothing occurs outside of His ultimate control. He alone is all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present in all places. God can be known only to the extent that he chooses to reveal Himself, and is revealed only through the methods of His choosing. (Genesis 1:1-31 ; Job 12:9-25 ; Proverbs 21:1 ; Isaiah 40:18-29 ; Daniel 4:35,37; John 1:18 ; Romans 9:15,18-24 ; 11:33-36; 16:25-27; 1 Timothy 6:15,16 )
the deity of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is equal with God, and is declared in the Bible to be God. As such Christ possesses the attributes of God, and receives the honour and worship due only to God. (John 1:1-18 ;Philippians 2:5-11 ; Colossians 1:15-20 ; 2:9; 1 Timothy 3:16 ; Titus 2:13 ; Hebrews 1:1-13 )
the incarnation of Christ. Jesus Christ is God the Son, and that through His virgin birth, both true humanity and undiminished Deity were united in one Person. As God He was perfect, and as man He was sinless. (Matthew 1:21 ; John 1:1,14 ; Romans 1:3,4 ; 8:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21 ; Galatians 4:4 ; Philippians 2:6-8 ; 1 Timothy 3:16 ; Hebrews 1:3 )
the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit indwells all true believers, sealing them as belonging eternally to Christ. The Spirit has united every believer in the body of Christ by Spirit Baptism, which takes place at the time of conversion. The filling of the Holy Spirit is different and ongoing. It relates to the Spirit’s control as He empowers and instructs the believer to godly living as he/she yields to Him. The Holy Spirit is active in the world convicting people of sin, righteousness and judgement. (Luke 3:16 ; John 14:16,17 ; 16:8-11,13,14; Romans 8:2 ; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12 ; 6:19; 12:13; Galatians 5:16,22-25 ; Ephesians 1:13 ; 4:30; 5:18; Colossians 2:9-12 )
the depravity of man. Man was originally created (male and female) as a physical and spiritual being in the image of God for the purpose of relating meaningfully with Him. By Adam’s disobedience to God, we all have inherited a sin nature, which affects our entire person: mind, emotion, and will. We live in willful defiance of, and opposition to God, because of this nature which is common to every human being. Each person is answerable to God for their own sin, but cannot save themselves. As a result, each individual is destined for eternal punishment and separation from God, unless the offer of salvation through the Person and work of Christ, is accepted. (Genesis 1:26-28 ; 2:7,8,18-25; 5:3; Matthew 10:28 ; John 3:16-18,36 ; Romans 1:18-32 ; 3:9-26; 5:12; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:11 ; Galatians 3:22 ; Revelation 20:11-15 )
Christ’s substitutionary death, burial, resurrection, ascension. The Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, and through the shedding of His own blood provided a full and perfect substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of any and all, who repent and believe. This sacrifice was made available to the whole world. (John 1:29 ;Romans 5:8 ; 2 Corinthians 5:21 ; 1 Peter 2:24 ; 1 John 2:2 )
The Bible declares the historical fact of the death, burial and bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. His ascension into Heaven ensures the resurrection of all who have received God’s gift of eternal life through Him. (John 11:25,26 ; Acts 4:10 ; Romans 4:25 ; 6:5,8; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 ; Hebrews 9:16-28 ) Salvation is by grace alone, through faith, and apart from works or merit. Salvation from eternal punishment and separation from God, is secured only through faith in Jesus Christ, believing that He bore our sins in His Own Body on the cross. By repenting of our sin, and deciding to receive Christ into our inner being through the Holy Spirit, we are saved. No one can ever merit God’s salvation, as it is totally an offer of God’s grace. (John 1:12; 3:16; 10:28,29; 2 Corinthians 5:17 ; Galatians 5:22-25 ; Ephesians 2:8,9 ; 1 Peter 1:3-5 )
the eternal security of the believer. Once a believer is united with Christ, and regenerated and sealed by the Holy Spirit, nothing can occur to terminate eternal life. Because salvation is effected totally on the merit and work of Christ, the believer, once saved, can do nothing to put their salvation in jeopardy. (John 10:27-30 ;Romans 8:28-39 )
the Lord’s coming. The Bible teaches the physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ. He will judge the nations, will set up His Kingdom, and rule in righteousness. The blessing of Heaven is only for those who have trusted Him for salvation. (Matthew 25:31-33 ; John 14:3,6 ; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ; Revelation 20:4-6 )
the Church, the Body of Christ. The Church is not a building, but is spiritual organism composed of born-again believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, who have personally received God’s gift of eternal life and been baptized by the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only Head of the Church, and all believers are under His direct authority through: (a) His Word, (b) the leading of the Holy Spirit of God, and (c) the leadership of elders in the local church. (Matthew 16:18 ; 18:20; John 3:3 ; 16:13; Acts 2:47 ; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 12:13,27 ; Ephesians 1:22,23 ; Colossians 1:18 ; Titus 1:9 ; Hebrews 13:17 )
the believer’s life of holiness. At the point of salvation, the believer is justified by God because of the believer’s union with Christ. This involves a legal declaration of righteousness based on the finished work of Christ, and the righteousness of Christ imputed to the believer. As "new creatures", followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, are called to live a new, regenerated life of separation and moral holiness as defined by the New Testament. The power for living this sanctified life is supplied by the indwelling Holy Spirit. God’s purpose is that as a result of the Spirit’s work, each believer’s life would increasingly reflect the character of the Lord Jesus - that something of Christ would be seen in the believer. (John 3:3-7 ; 14:15-21,26,27; 16:5-16; Romans 4:1-8 , 22-25; 5:1,18,19; 6:1-23; 8:3-16; 12:1,2,9-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ; Galatians 5:16-25 ; Ephesians 5:1-16,22-33 ; Colossians 3:1-25 ; 1 Timothy 4:12-16 ; James 1:18 ; 1 Peter 1:23 ; 4:1-6)
January 1997 - Bethel Gospel Chapel, North Bay, Ontario
1. We, the believers who regularly gather at Bethel consider ourselves to be a spiritual organism of born again believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are under His direct authority through: (a) His Word, (b) the leading of the Holy Spirit of God, and (c) the leadership of elders (Matthew 18:20 ; John 3:3 ; 16:13; Colossians 1:18 ; Hebrews 13:17 ).
2. The purpose of the assembly is to: (a) Proclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. (b) Promote the worship of God in accordance with His Word, the Bible. (c) Edify and encourage believers toward maturity in Christ. (d) Cultivate a loving, caring fellowship. (e) Cooperate with other Evangelical Christians. (f) Provide relief for believers and others in need. We seek to follow the example of the first century church...in fellowship, breaking of bread, prayer, praise, and Bible study (Ephesians 4:11-16 ; Acts 2:41-42,46 ,47; 20:7; Matthew 28:18-20 ).
3. Christians are welcome to become partners in the local church ministry, providing their conduct and doctrine are consistent with the Word of God and are committed to the goals of the local body and maintaining the Unity of the Spirit (Romans 15:7 ; Acts 2:41-42 ; Romans 12:2 ).
4. We observe two ordinances: (a) Baptism by immersion, on a personal confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18,19 ; Acts 8:12,13 ,36-38; 10:47,48). (b) The Lord's supper on the first day of each week by believers who at peace with each other, in unbroken fellowship with their Lord. This is a time of corporate worship and remembrance (Matthew 28:18-20 ; Romans 6:3,4 ; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29 ; Luke 22:19,20 ).
6. The elders are responsible and accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ to care, teach, counsel, encourage, lead, feed, protect and discipline all who are part of the local body in all spiritual matters and conduct (Acts 20:28 ; 1 Peter 5:2-4 ;Hebrews 13:17 ; Titus 1:5-9 ).
8. Men and women are equal in position as children of God but have different roles in the assembly. Men are responsible to lead and teach when the assembly is gathered together. Women also, are encouraged to develop spiritual gifts and to teach other women and to serve in other areas of service to the Lord in the assembly. We teach and encourage men to remove head coverings during assembly meetings and women to wear a head covering as a personal act of submission to God's Divine order, authority, headship, and distinction of roles between men and women (Galatians 3:26-28 ; 1 Timothy 2:8,11 ,12; Romans 16:1,2 ; 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 ; Titus 2:1-4 ).
9. We preach the gospel of the grace of God -- that Salvation is through faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross -- and His triumphant resurrection. We emphasize that the individual's eternal destiny in heaven or hell is determined by a personal response to repent from sin and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Saviour or reject Him (Ephesians 2:8,9 ; Romans 1:16 ; Acts 4:12 ; John 1:12 ; 3:36).
10. We encourage all believers to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the assembly and to live Christ-like in the world. As servants of God, we are witnesses of Him to all peoples, in all places, at all times (1 Corinthians 1:10 ; Matthew 18:15 ; 28:19; Titus 2:1-15 ).
11. This assembly takes action together in all matters of discipline (1 Corinthians 5 ).
12. Free will offerings of the Lord's people are prayerfully distributed to carry on the Lord's work at Bethel Gospel Chapel in North Bay, as well as to support home and foreign missions. We are committed to preaching the gospel and the making of disciples of all men and women, young and old (1 Corinthians 16:1,2 ; Philippians 4:18 ; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 ; Matthew 28 ;18-20).