Doctrinal Statement

This Doctrinal Statement is taken directly from the Doctrinal Statement of Kenneth D. Willis as submitted for his ordination, and from the Articles of Faith of Gospel Baptist Church, Greenville, SC as adopted in 2018. 

Section 1. The Holy Scriptures 

We affirm that the Bible is inspired by God, its author (II Tim. 3:16; I Cor. 2:13; Gal. 1:11-12) through plenary verbal inspiration, meaning every word is God-breathed (II Pet. 1:16-21). It is inerrant and complete (I Cor. 2:13; Matt. 4:4; Prov. 30:5; II Tim. 3:16). The LORD has preserved His Word; It is eternal (Psalm 119:89,152; I Pet. 1:25). It is not the product of partial preservation, meaning some was preserved, but some was lost. Nor is it the product of thought preservation, meaning God gave men the concept and they expounded. It is absolutely and totally of divine origin. Scripture will endure forever (Matt. 5:18; Isa. 40:8).

Section 2. The Authorized King James Version

We affirm the use of the King James Version of the Holy Scriptures because of its historical place as the only truly conservative and accurate English translation. This is due to its translation from the Received Text or Textus Receptus, and because of the historical fact that no group of more sanctified and qualified scholars has ever since been assembled. We believe the Holy Spirit orchestrated and supernaturally guided and directed the events surrounding the translation. We believe it is God’s chosen translation for the English-speaking people. It does not merely contain the Word of God; It is the Word of God. We reject and oppose the translations taken from the Alexandrian or Critical Text because of inferior, counterfeit manuscripts and apostate textual critics such as Westcott and Hort. The work of those men is unreliable because of their heretical beliefs, including but not limited to their denials of the infallibility of Scripture, the denial of Christ’s deity, the virgin birth and the literal interpretation of Genesis chapters 1-3.

Section 3. The Creation of The Universe

We affirm that God is the Triune Creator (Gen. 1:1). He created in six, literal, twenty-four-hour days (Gen. 1-2). The Trinity cooperated in Creation; we see the Father (Gen. 1:1), the Son (Jn. 1:1,3; Col. 1:16) and the Holy Spirit (Gen. 1:2). We reject any theory of Evolution and hold to the Young Earth position.

Section 4. God The Father

We affirm His eternal existence (Gen. 1:1; Psalm 14:1; James 2:19; Psalm 90:2), His infinity (I Kings 8:27; Psalm 139:7-12; 147:5; Isa. 55:8-9; Jer. 23:24), His immutability (Psalm 102:24-27; James 1:17; Mal. 3:6), His omniscience (Psalm 139:2; Isa. 46:10; Rom. 11:33-36), His omnipresence (Psalm 139:7-10), His omnipotence (Gen. 17:1; Rev. 4:8; Job 42:1-2; Jer. 32:17), His holiness (Ex. 15:11; Psalm 22:3; Rev. 15:4), His justice (Gen. 18:25; Micah 6:8), His righteousness (Gen. 18:25; Neh. 9:7-8), His love (Jn. 3:16; I Jn. 4:7-19), His mercy (Rom. 5:8; Micah 6:8), His grace (Eph. 1:6-7; 2:7), His goodness (Psalm 145:9; Matt. 5:45), His truth (Num. 23:19; I Kings 8:56; Jn. 17:17) and His sovereignty. He is in control of all things (Matt. 5:45; Jn. 1:17; Job 12:10, 23), but His sovereignty is permissive of sin (James 1:13-15; Rom. 1:21, 24) and man’s free will (Matt. 23:37; II Pet. 3:9).

Section 5. God The Son

We affirm the existence of Jesus Christ—both His deity (Matt. 16:16; Luke 22:70-71; Jn. 1:1-3) and His humanity (Heb. 4:15; Matt. 4:2; Jn. 19:28; Matt. 8:24; Jn. 4:6). He was and is completely God and completely man. We affirm His part in Creation (Col. 1:16), His virgin birth (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Luke 1:35), His sinless life (Heb. 4:15), His death on the cross for the sins of mankind (Jn. 3:16)—in which He was forsaken by God (Psalm 22:1) and took on the sins of mankind (Heb. 2:9; I Pet. 2:24) and His bodily resurrection from the tomb (I Cor. 15:20, 54; Matt. 16:21). We affirm His offices of Prophet (Luke 24:19), Priest (Heb. 4:14) and King (Rev. 19:16).

Section 6. God The Holy Spirit

We affirm the existence of the Holy Spirit, who functions as our comforter (Jn. 14:26; Jn. 15:26), guide (Jn. 16:13) and intercessor (Rom. 8:26-27). His work was manifested in creation (Gen. 1:2;26; Psalm 104:30; Job 33:4), inspiration of the Scriptures (II Pet. 1:21) and the empowerment of individuals (Ex. 31:2-3; Judg. 6:34; Judg. 13:25; I Sam. 16:13). He indwells believers at the moment of salvation (I Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:30; I Cor. 3:16; I Cor. 6:19) for our sanctification (Eph. 5:18).

Section 7. The Trinity

We affirm that the doctrine of the Trinity is taught in the Old and New Testaments. The Trinity was involved at Creation—The Father (Gen. 1:1), The Son (Jn. 1:1,3; Col. 1:16) and The Holy Spirit (Gen 1:2). The Trinity is referenced in actions such as the creation of man (Gen. 1:26), the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:7) and in speaking to Isaiah (Isa. 6:3,8). It is also taught in the New Testament in Christ’s baptism (Matt. 3:16-17)—during which, the Father spoke, the Son obeyed and the Spirit descended, the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19), the apostolic benediction (II Cor. 13:14), from the mouth of Christ (Jn. 14:16-17) and based on the fact that all three persons are called “God” (Rom. 1:7; Heb. 1:8; Acts 5:3-4).

Section 8. Man 

We affirm that man was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27), given a free will (Gen. 2:16-17) and an eternal soul (Eccl. 12:7; Matt. 25:46; Rom. 2:7). Man became under the curse of sin when the serpent “Satan” tempted Eve (Gen. 3:1,4-5) and Adam disobeyed God (Gen. 3:6). Man’s disobedience resulted in the sin curse; Three types of death were passed upon all mankind: physical death (Heb. 9:27), spiritual death (Gen. 3:23; Isa. 59:2; Jn. 11:25) and eternal death (Jn. 8:24; Rev. 20:14-15; I Cor. 15:22). God’s judgment came as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin. Sin is transgressing God’s law (I Jn. 3:4; James 2:10-11; Rom. 3:23) and is punished by death (Rom. 6:23; Rev. 20:14-15).

Section 9. Eternal Salvation

We affirm that as result of man’s sin and fall, salvation became necessary for all mankind (Gen. 3:15). Even though God is revealed in His Creation, natural revelation is not sufficient for salvation (Rom. 1:20; Psalm 19:1). Saving faith can only come through reading or hearing Scripture (I Cor. 2:14; Rom. 10:13-15,17; Acts 10:1-2). Salvation was provided by God in Jesus Christ (Jn. 3:16). As result of accepting God’s salvation, believers are saved from the penalty of sin (Rom. 8:1; I Tim. 1:10) and the power of sin (Rom. 7:6; 8:9-11). The opportunity to accept Jesus Christ is limited to a man’s lifetime (II Cor. 6:2; Heb. 4:7; Luke 16:19-31). Faith is required in Christ alone (Rom. 3:28; I Jn. 5:10-11; Eph. 2:8-9; Jn. 3:14-18) and is accompanied by repentance (Acts 2:37-38; II Cor. 7:9-10). Salvation gives believers access to God (Eph. 1:6-7; 2:18; 3:12; Heb. 4:16) and victory over sin (I Jn. 5:4; I Jn. 4:4). We reject the teachings of Reformed Theology or Calvinism that make God the author of sin and evil, that teach predestination double (election and reprobation), that limit Christ’s atonement to an elect group, that teach salvation is achieved through works or sacraments or any other Reformed teaching that is contrary to the plain teaching of Scripture.

We affirm that Jesus Christ lived a perfect life, fully keeping the Law of God in the place of all men, who cannot keep it. He gave His life sacrificially in our place, and made a perfect atonement for our sin by His death on the cross–thus satisfying the wrath of God and purchasing all those who would confess Him as their Lord and believe on Him alone for salvation. He fulfilled the Mosaic Law by His death and spiritually entered into the Heavenly Temple and offered His own perfect blood once for all sin and therefore fulfilled the Levitical priesthood and now abides as our Great High Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. He now sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession continually for all the saints.

Justification is the act of God whereby He declares the believer righteous. This is based on the merits of Christ (I Jn. 2:1-2). It is not because of anything man can do to earn God’s favor or forgiveness (Eph. 2:8-9).

Sanctification is the process of being set apart from the world and being identified with God. Scripture teaches separation from the world (II Cor. 6:14-18; I Pet. 2:9) and separation unto God (Jn. 17:19-21; I Pet. 1:15-16). It is past, present and future in scope. When Christ’s blood is applied to a man’s heart, sanctification begins (Heb. 10:10). Believers are sanctified by holiness, adhering to the Word of God (Jn. 17:17; Eph. 5:26), submitting to God’s will (Rom. 12:1-2) and prayer—all of which are to take place daily, setting believers apart from sin and the world (Heb. 12:12-15; I Thess. 3:12-13; II Pet. 3:18).

Section 10. Angelic Beings, Demons and Satan

We affirm the existence of angelic beings, both righteous angels who serve God and fallen angels who serve Satan. Angels are unless otherwise specified(I Kings 22:19-24), spirits and messengers from God (Dan. 4:13-14; Luke 2:13). Characteristics of angels given in Scripture are that they are masculine (Matt. 22:23-30; Jn. 8:44; Gen. 18:2; Rev. 12:7) often in large groups (Psalm 68:17; Matt. 26:53; Heb. 12:22), travel quickly (Luke 1:11; Luke 2:13; Dan. 9:21), are powerful beings, but not all-powerful (II Kings 19:35; Psalm 103:20; II Pet. 2:11), have great wisdom (II Sam. 14:20) and are righteous (I Sam. 29:9).

The origin of angels is God. He created them (Col. 1:16; Ezek. 28:13-14; Psalm 104:4). The Bible gives three classes of angels: Angels—the general name given to Heavenly messengers, Cherubim—associated with God’s throne and holiness (Gen. 3:24; Ex. 25:18) and have wings (Ezek. 1 & 10) and Seraphim—associated with fire, holiness and ceaseless worship of God in Heaven (Isa. 6:1-3; Rev. 4:8).

The ministerial activities of angels are as follows: They minister to God (Isa. 6:3; Heb. 1:14; Mk. 1:13) and men as messengers (Luke 1:13), guardians (Psalm 34:7; Matt. 18:10) observers (Luke 15:10), guides (Ex. 14:19; Acts 8:26-40) and minister to the needs of believers (Heb. 1:14).

The counterparts to angels, demons are the fallen angels who joined Satan in his rebellion (Jude 6-7). They are also spirit beings (Mark 9:25; Eph. 6:12) and intelligent. They believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God (Mark 1:24), are aware of their coming judgment (Matt. 8:29) and believe in Jehovah as God (James 2:19). Their activities are to oppress, attack and incite fear (Eph. 6:11-12).

Satan was a cherub: “the anointed cherub” (Ezek. 28:14) who rebelled (Ezek. 28:15). He is called the “father of lies” (Jn. 8:44). Satan thought he could be like God (Isa. 14:12-14). He lied to Eve (Gen. 3:4-5). Scripture calls him the “prince of this world” (Jn. 14:30) and reveals his name was Lucifer (Isa. 14:12). He has the power to do miracles (Rev. 13:1-4), but is not omnipotent (Matt. 4:1-11; Mark 5:12), omniscient (Matt. 24:36) nor omnipresent (Job 1:7; I Pet. 5:8). He is described in the Bible as the enemy of God and of Christians (I Pet. 5:8), an accuser of believers (Job 1:9-11; I Cor. 10:13) and a tempter (Matt. 4:3; I Jn. 2:16). He will deceive many (II Cor. 4:4; Gen. 3:1; II Cor. 11:4; Eph. 6;11), but in the end, he will be cast into the Lake of Fire forever (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).

Section 11. The Church

Her Identity

We affirm the existence of Christ’s bride, the church. There is a distinction between the universal and the local church. The universal church is the collective group of believers on Earth (I Cor. 12:13; Matt. 16:18) called “the body of Christ” (Eph. 5:23). Christ is the cornerstone (Eph. 2:20) and also gave His life for the church (Eph. 5:25-32).

The local church is what we as believers interact in on a local level. The first local church was in Jerusalem (Acts 2:42-47); another local church was in Antioch (Acts 11:19-26). Paul established local churches in Ephesus (Acts 20:17), Corinth (I Cor. 1:1) and Thessalonica (I Thess. 1:1). Seven local churches were established in Asia Minor (Rev. 2-3). The purpose of the church is to glorify God (Eph. 3:21), to edify believers (Eph. 4:11-12), to sanctify believers (Eph. 5:25-27; I Cor. 5:7), to reach the lost (Matt. 28:19-20) and to be a light in the lost world (Matt. 5:13-14). From Scripture we also know the church must send and support missionaries (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 15:3; Acts 20:38; Phil. 4:16-18).

Her Government

The Scriptures teach local church government. The human offices are the pastor and deacons. The Pastor is the under-shepherd and overseer (Acts 20:28; I Pet. 5:2). Requirements in Scripture (I Tim. 3:1-7) dictate he must have a God-given call,  be blameless, be a husband of one wife, be sober, be given to hospitality, be apt to teach, be not given to wine, be no striker, be not greedy of filthy lucre, be one that ruleth well his own house, be not a novice and be of good report. His duties include being an example of the believer (I Pet. 5:2-3), ruling the local church (I Tim. 5:17), guarding and contending for doctrine (Tit. 1:9-11), edifying the saints, maturing the saints (Eph. 4:12) and preaching the Bible (II Tim. 4:2).

Deacons are helpers of the pastor (Acts 6:2-3). Their requirements are the same as the pastor, except for teaching ability (I Tim. 3:8-13). They have no ruling authority, but are servants of the Church and ease the burden of the pastor to free him for prayer and studying the Word.

Her Ordinances

There are two church ordinances commanded by Scripture: Baptism and the Communion. Baptism by definition of the Greek word means “to dip under water”; it is a sign of one’s obedience in identifying with Christ and is a public testimony that they have repented of their sins, trusted in Christ alone for salvation and are now living as new creatures in Christ (Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:12). The prerequisite for Baptism is faith in Christ alone for salvation (Acts 2:41; Acts 8:37). We therefore reject any teaching of baptismal regeneration or infant baptism (paedobaptism).

Communion is described in four Bible accounts (Matt. 26:26-30; Mk. 14:22-26; Luke 22:17-20; I Cor. 11:23-26). It was an explanation of Christ’s of the Jewish Passover Feast in which Christ revealed He was the object lesson of the unleavened matzah and the third cup of Redemption. Communion was instituted as a memorial of Christ’s blood atonement on the cross. The prerequisites for participation are that it is for believers only (written to saved members of the church) and then only those worthy of the table (I Cor. 11:26-28). Frequency of its observation is to be determined by each local church (Acts 2:46; 20:7). The elements used are only unleavened bread (Ex. 12:15; I Cor. 5:7-8) and grape juice (Matt. 26:29).

Her Financial Support

The church derives its funding by sacrificial giving of the congregation (Heb. 7:9; Lev. 27:30; Deut. 14:22). We do not believe fundraisers and sales projects follow the Scriptural example for church business, but that the Lord will provide financially within the congregation’s giving.

Her Display of Christian Love

We affirm that we should demonstrate love for others, not only toward fellow believers, but also toward both those who are not believers, those who oppose us, and those who engage in sinful actions. We are to deal with those who oppose us graciously, gently, patiently and humbly. God forbids the stirring up of strife, the taking of revenge, or the threat or use of violence as a means to resolve personal conflict or obtaining personal justice–except in the case of self defense or defense of another life in a life-threatening situation. Although God commands us to abhor such sinful actions, we are love and pray for any person who engages in such sinful actions (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 5:44-48; Luke 6:31; John 13:34-35; Rom. 12:9-10,17-21; 13:8-10; Phil 2:2-4; II Tim. 2:24-26; Titus 3:2; I John 3:17-18).

We also affirm that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians or the church to resolve personal disputes. We believe the church possesses all the resources necessary to resolve personal disputes between members. We do believe, however, that a Christian may seek compensation for injuries from another Christian’s insurance company as long as the claim is pursued without malice or slander (I Cor. 6:1-8; Eph. 4:31-32).

Her Exercising of Spiritual Gifts

We affirm that God has given every believer a spiritual gift or gifts, but of those named in the New Testament, such as that of evangelists, pastors and teachers–these are sufficient for the perfecting of the saints today. We believe that the gifts of speaking in tongues and working of sign miracles gradually ceased as the New Testament Scriptures were completed and the canon of Scripture closed (I Cor. 12:4-11; I Cor. 14:21-22; Isa. 28:11-12; I Cor. 13:8,11; II Cor. 12:12; Eph. 4:7-12).

Section 12. Missions and Evangelism

We affirm that God has given the church a great commission to proclaim the Gospel to all nations, all ethnic groups and all manner of men and women that walk the earth. As ambassadors of Christ, we must use every Biblical and legal resource to spread the gospel from our church door to the ends of the earth. This means we will all engage in personal evangelism everywhere we go in life, but also that we will send and support missionaries as we are able (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; II Cor. 5:20).

Section 13. Music

We affirm that the purpose of music in the church is to honor and glorify the LORD and to edify Christians (Eph. 5:18-19; Col. 3:16; I Cor. 10:31); that the LORD is holy and therefore all music and lyrics used in the church must deliver a message that is in keeping with His holy character (Eph. 5:10-11; I Pet. 1:14-16; I Jn. 2:15-17). We believe we are called to come out from this world and be separate; this includes our music choices. Therefore we reject the use of any music associated with the genres of Rock, Country, Jazz, CCM and like genres. We believe that God deserves the best we have to offer in worship and therefore our choice in music ought to be the most excellent possible. Therefore, we choose not to use worship music that reflects the styles of Bluegrass, Country or Southern Gospel.

Section 14. Israel

We affirm the existence of national Israel as God’s chosen people to whom He chose to reveal Himself, to bless and to sanctify; He also promised them an eternal land. This covenant was originally founded with Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3), continued with Isaac (Gen. 26:2-5), continued with Jacob (Gen. 28:13-15) and renewed with Moses and the children of Israel (Ex. 3:6-10; 23:20-31). God has not forsaken Israel, nor has the church replaced Israel (Rom. 11). God has promised national revival in the last days (Mal. 4:5-6; Rev. 11).

Section 15. Eschatology 

We believe that the next event on God’s prophetic calendar is the Rapture of the church. Although the word “rapture” does not appear in Scripture, it is derived from the Greek word in I Thessalonians 4:17 meaning “to catch up or be caught away”. The New Testament teaches the Rapture will be the time when Christ calls up the dead and living saints to meet Him in the air (I Thess. 4:13-18; I Cor. 15:51-53; Rev. 4:1). The Rapture is pictured in the Old Testament (Gen. 6-7; 7:1; Gen. 18:23-25; 19:22).

Following the Rapture, believers will stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ (II Cor. 5:8-10; Rev. 22:12; Luke 14:14; Luke 19:11-26). This judgment decides not eternal destiny or judgment of sin, but rewards for believers (Jn. 5:24; I Jn. 2:28; Rom. 14:10-12; II Cor. 5:10). The believer may receive several types of crowns (I Cor. 9:25; II Tim. 4:8; James 1:12; I Pet. 5:4) all of which will be cast at Christ’s feet (Rev. 4:10). This judgment is followed by the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19).

While believers stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ and enjoy the marriage supper, the unsaved who remain on Earth will undergo seven years called the Tribulation (Dan. 9:24-27). Its purpose is to judge the world (Rev. 15:1; 16:1; 19:15), to reveal Satan’s true nature (Rev. 12:7-12), to reveal the extent of human evil (Rev. 16:8-9), to cause national revival in Israel (Jer. 30:7-11; Zech. 12:9-14:5), to save those who will repent and believe in Christ (Matt. 24:14) and prepare Earth for Christ’s millennial reign (Rev. 19:1-6).

After the close of the Tribulation will be the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Luke 17:22, 24; Rev. 19:11-16). He will appear in glory and destroy all his enemies at Armageddon (Rev. 19:13-21).

After Christ returns, so will begin the literal reign of Christ for a thousand years (Rev. 20:4-6). After a thousand years, all those who remain unsaved and all unsaved from all time will stand condemned at the Great White Throne Judgment. If their names are not found in the Lamb’s Book of Life, they are sent to the Lake of Fire forever (Rev. 20:11-15).  God will finally cast Satan into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:20-21).

Section 16. Eternity 

We affirm the existence of a literal Heaven and Hell. Those who die in Christ or are raptured up with Him will live forever with Him in a literal place called Heaven (Heb. 13:14; Rev. 21:2,11). It will be a place of paradise, glory and unimaginable joy and wonder (Rev. 21:4-6; 10-21, 25, 27; 22:1-5). Those who die without Christ and reject Him will endure the torment of a literal place called Hell. They will be forever separated from God with no hope in the Lake of Fire (Luke 16:19-31; Rev. 20:15; Mark 9:43-44).

Section 17. Men, Women and The Family

We affirm that men and women are spiritually equal before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church. The husband is to be the leader of the home, and men are to be the leaders of the church. Accordingly, only men are eligible for ordination to preaching ministry (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:18; I Tim. 2:8-15; 3:4-5, 12).

We affirm that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. The wife is to submit herself to the Scriptural leadership of her husband as the church submits herself to the headship of Christ. Children are a gift and heritage from the LORD. Parents are to love their children and teach them spiritual and moral values and lead them through a consistent lifestyle and discipline–which includes Scriptural corporal correction. The Father is the ultimate bearer of this responsibility (Gen. 1:26-28; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 6:4-9; Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; Mark 10:6-12; I Cor. 7:1-16; Eph. 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Col. 3:18-21; Heb. 13:4; I Pet. 3:1-7).

Section 18. Marriage

We affirm that marriage is a picture of Christ and His bride, and is only between one biological man and one biological woman (Gen. 2:24; Rom. 7:2; I Cor. 7:10; Eph. 5:22-23).

We affirm that God disapproves of and forbids divorce and intends marriage to last until one of the spouses dies. Divorce and remarriage is regarded as adultery except on grounds of fornication or abandonment, or by abandonment of an unbelieving spouse. Although divorced and remarried persons may hold positions of service in the church and be greatly used of God in His service, they may not be considered for the offices of pastor or deacon (Deut. 24:1-4; Mal. 2:14-17; I Cor. 7:15; Matt. 19:3-12; Rom. 7:1-3; I Tim. 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6).

We affirm that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between one man and one woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance (Gen. 2:24; 19:5, 13; 26:8-9; Lev 18:1-30; Rom. 1:26-29; I Cor. 5:1; 6:9; I Thess. 4:1-8; Heb. 13:4).

Section 19. The Sanctity of Human Life

We affirm that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of unborn human life. Abortion is murder. We reject any teaching that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the physical or mental well being of the mother are acceptable. All human life is precious, regardless of the circumstances in which it began (Job 3:16; Psalm 51:5; 139:14-16; Isa. 44:24; 49:1,5; Jer. 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44).

We believe that the direct taking of innocent human life is moral evil, regardless of the intention. Life is a gift from God and must be respected from conception until natural death. Thus we believe that an act or omission which , of itself, or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder contrary to the will of God. Discontinuing medical procedures that are extraordinary or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be a legitimate refusal of overzealous treatment (Ex. 20:13; 23:7; Matt. 5:21; Acts 17:28).

Section 20. The Civil Government

We affirm that the administration of local churches should be completely free from any form of state control; that civil government is of Divine appointment for the interests and good order of human society; that government officials should be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed–except only in things opposed to the will of God on earth or that violate the clear teaching of Scripture. Our ultimate authority are the Holy Scriptures and Almighty God, yet we must try to live in peace and harmony with human government whenever possible (Matt. 22:20-22; Mark 12:14-17; Luke 20:20-26; Rom. 13:1-7; II Sam. 23:3; Ex. 18:21-22; Acts 23:5; Titus 3:1; I Pet. 2:13-14; Matt. 10:28; I Peter 2:17; Acts 5:29; Acts 4:19-20; Dan. 3:17-18; Matt. 23:10; Rev. 10:6; Phil. 2:10-11; Psalms 72:11).

Section 21. Alcohol

We affirm that the Scriptures teach against the consumption of alcohol for refreshment. It was used in Bible times to keep water and other drinks safe for drinking, but the content of alcohol was such that one would have to drink massive amounts to become drunk. The beer and wine of today is much higher in alcoholic content and designed for intoxication. Therefore, we know that verses speaking positively of “wine” in the Bible are referring to grape juice and not strong beverages. The Jewish fermentation practices were such that one would have to intentionally make alcoholic wine and deliberately allow enough fermentation and deliberately consume it for the purpose of being intoxicated. Therefore Jesus could not have made alcoholic wine nor distributed it, as this would have been a violation against the Law in four instances: No prophet, priest or king was to drink alcoholic wine. And for Christ to distribute such would have been encouraging the sinning of others. Therefore we affirm that Jesus made fresh grape juice, which is referred to in Scripture many times as “wine”. The word “wine” in Scripture can refer to grape juice or alcoholic wine, but the context of each verse reveals which meaning is being used (Eph. 5:18; Prov. 20:1; I Tim. 5:23; Isa. 5:11, 22: Ecc. 9:7; Lev. 10:9; Prov. 23:20-21; Gal. 5:19-21).