George Booker
What Are The First Principles?

11. The Apostolic Statement of Faith

We now have the raw materials with which to construct an apostolic statement of faith, using the approaches outlined above to determine which Bible teachings are essential for salvation.

The following statement leans heavily on the “Acts statement of faith”, and somewhat, for further support, on Paul’s Ephesians 4 summary, and the “sayings of faith” in the Pastoral Letters.

Further corroboration is found in the “gospel test”. Finally, the Apostles’ Creed and the earliest Christadelphian Statement of Faith were consulted as to any possible omissions.

Additional clauses (such as #s 6, 7, 8, 18, and 19) are added to the original 13 clauses of the Acts Statement. These additional clauses are the other “essential teachings” not immediately derivable from the Acts lectures, etc., but negatively inferred (in the most straightforward way) from the positives of the original “essential teachings”. As examples,

Only teachings supported by such direct evidence — either positive or negative — are included in the Apostolic Statement of Faith.

For ease of further comparison, the order now followed is as much as possible that of the common Christadelphian statement — the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith.

Bible proofs for each clause include those derived from the “essential doctrines” research outlined earlier (these are denoted by CAPITALS AND BOLD ITALICS) as well as other supplementary passages (in simple italics).

As much as is feasible, the statement uses the words of the Bible itself and commonly-understood terms rather than theological jargon and archaic words.

The Apostolic Statement of Faith

1. The Bible: The Bible is the Word of God, directly inspired by Him in all its parts. It is powerful to instruct man in righteousness, and to accomplish God’s purpose in those who believe. Neh. 9:30; ISA. 55:11; ACTS 3:18,21; 7:38; 2 TIM. 3:16,17; Heb. 1:1; 1Pet. 1:23-25; 2 Pet. 1:21.

2. God: There is only one God, the Father, who created all things. He is the Eternal King, all-wise and all-powerful. He has a definite plan which He will bring to pass by His mighty power. He desires that man might seek Him and be saved. DEUT. 6:4; ISA. 45:6,12; 55:8,9; Ezek. 33:11; Mark 12:29; John 17:3; ACTS 17:24-29; Rom. 11:36; 1 COR. 8:6; GAL. 3:20; EPH. 4:6; 1 TIM. 1:17; 2:5; 4:10; 6:15,16.

3. The Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is the power of God, the means by which He carries out His will. It is not a distinct “god” or “person”, but is part of the Father Himself. LUKE 1:35; ACTS 1:5-8; 8:18,19; 10:38; Eph. 4:4.

4. Jesus, the Son of God: God — in accordance with His eternal plan, and in His goodness and kindness and grace — manifested Himself through a Son. Jesus of Nazareth is that unique and holy Son of God, begotten of the virgin Mary by the power of God, without a human father. He is not the second person of a “trinity” of “gods”, and he had no pre-human existence except in the mind and purpose of his Father. PSA. 2:7; Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18-25; 3:16,17; 19:17; LUKE 1:26-35; John 14:28; ACTS 2:22-24,36; 8:37; 10:38; GAL. 4:4; PHIL. 2:8; 1 TIM. 3:16; 2 TIM. 1:10; TIT. 2:11; 3:4.

5. Jesus, the Man: Although he was the Son of God, Jesus was also truly and altogether a man; he shared our mortal nature, with all its sorrows and griefs. Gen. 3:15; ISA. 7:14; 53:3; Matt. 1:23; ACTS 2:22; 3:22; 13:23; 17:31; Rom. 8:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; GAL. 4:4; 1 TIM. 2:5; Heb. 2:14; 4:15; 1 John 4:2; 2 John 7.

6. Sin and Death: The first man was Adam, who disobeyed God and was condemned by Him. Adam was responsible for bringing sin and death into the world. Gen. 2:7; 3:17-19; Psa. 103:14; ROM. 5:12; 7:24; 1 Cor. 15:21,22; 1 Pet. 1:24; James 1:10,11.

7. The “Soul”: There is no consciousness or other existence in death. The “soul” simply means the body, mind, or life; it is not immortal. Souls die. Josh. 11:11; Psa. 6:5; 89:48; 146:3,4; Eccl. 3:19,20; 9:5,6; Isa. 38:17-19; Ezek. 18:4,20; ACTS 3:23; 1 TIM. 6:16.

8. “Hell”: “Hell” means the grave, or absolute destruction. There is no eternal torture for the wicked. The wages of sin is death. PSA. 16:10; 31:17; 37:20,34; 116:3; Isa. 66:24; Matt. 10:28; Mark 9:43; ROM. 6:23.

9. The Sacrifice of Christ: Although he was of our weak and sinful nature, Jesus was enabled, through faith in and love for his Father, to overcome all temptation and to live a righteous and sinless life. His crucifixion — accomplished by wicked men but according to God’s plan — was the means by which he was saved, and by which those who believe in him may be saved, from sin and death. God was working in the sacrifice of His Son to express His love and grace and forbearance toward all men — not His wrath against them. ISA. 53:5; John 1:29; 3:16; ACTS 2:23; 7:52; 10:39; ROM. 3:23-29; 5:6; PHIL. 2:8; 1 TIM. 1:15; 2:6; TIT. 2:14; Heb. 5:7,8; 7:27; 9:12,26.

10. The Resurrection of Christ: Because of his perfect righteousness, it was not possible for Jesus to be held by death. God raised him from the dead and glorified him. Later Jesus ascended to heaven. GEN. 22:17; PSA. 16:10,11; 110:1; Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51; ACTS 1:3,9; 2:24,31; 3:15; 5:30,31; 7:55,56; 10:40; 17:31; 26:23; ROM. 1:3,4; 6:9; Eph. 1:20; PHIL. 2:9-12; 2 TIM. 1:10; 2:8; Heb. 13:20; Rev. 1:18.

11. The Mediatorship of Christ: Being exalted to God’s right hand in heaven, Jesus is the only priest and mediator between God and men. PSA. 110:1,4; ISA. 53:12; John 17:9; ACTS 4:12; 1 TIM. 2:5; Heb. 4:14,15; 7:24,25; 1 John 2:1.

12. The Second Coming of Christ: Christ will remain in heaven until the time for restoring all things, including the kingdom to Israel. Then he will return to the earth in glory — personally and visibly — to fulfill the hope of all true believers. PSA. 110:1,2; Zech. 14:3,4; Matt. 16:27; ACTS 1:10,11; 3:20,21; PHIL. 3:20; Col. 1:5; TIT. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:13; 1 John 2:28.

13. Resurrection: After his return, Jesus will raise many of the dead, the faithful and the unfaithful. He will also send forth his angels to gather them together with the living to the great judgment. Dan. 12:1,2; John 5:29; 11:24; 12:44-48; ACTS 10:42; 24:15,21; 26:8; Rom. 14:10-12; 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Thes. 4:14-17; 2 TIM. 4:1.

14. Judgment and Reward: The unfaithful will be punished with a second, eternal death. The faithful will be rewarded, by God’s grace, with everlasting life on the earth, receiving glorified and immortal bodies. DEUT. 18:15,19; PSA. 110:3; Matt. 5:5; 7:26; 8:12; 25:31-46; Luke 20:37,38; ACTS 24:15; 1 Cor. 15:13,14, 53,54; Phil. 3:20,21; 2 Thes. 1:8; Tit. 3:7.

15. The Promises to Abraham: The promises made to Abraham, confirmed to Isaac and Jacob, and fulfilled in Jesus Christ, require a literal inheritance in the earth for Christ and all the faithful, who are the spiritual “seed of Abraham”. The righteous do not go to heaven at death. GEN. 12:1-3; 13:14-17; 26:2,4; 28:13,14; Psa. 37:9,11,22,29; ISA. 45:18; Matt. 1:1; Luke 13:28; John 3:13; ACTS 3:25; 7:5; 13:32,33; 26:6,7,18; ROM. 4:13-18; 8:17; GAL. 3:8,16, 26-29; Tit. 2:13; Heb. 11:8,9,39,40; Rev. 5:9.

16. The Promises to David: The promises made to David, and fulfilled in Jesus Christ, require Jesus to sit on David’s throne and rule over God’s Kingdom, which is the kingdom of Israel restored. Jerusalem will be the capital of this kingdom. 2 SAM. 7:12-14; 1 CHRON. 17:10-14; PSA. 2:6-9; Isa. 9:6,7; 24:23; 55:3,4; Jer. 3:17; 33:15; Ezek. 21:27; Zech. 14:16; Matt. 1:1; 5:35; 19:28; LUKE 1:30-33; ACTS 1:6,11; 2:29,30; 3:19-21; 13:23,34; 2 TIM. 2:8,12; Tit. 2:13.

17. The Kingdom of God: Jesus will be assisted by his immortal brothers and sisters in ruling over the mortal peoples in the Kingdom of God. This kingdom will result in everlasting righteousness, happiness, and peace. Finally all sin and death will be removed, and the earth will at last be filled with the glory of God. The earth will not be literally burned up or destroyed. Psa. 67:4-7; 72:4,17; 115:16; Isa. 2:4; 11:1-5,9; 25:6-8; 32:1-6; Dan. 2:44; 7:13,14,18,27; Mic. 4:2; Hab. 2:14; Luke 13:28,29; 22:30; 1 Cor. 15:24-28; Rev. 2:26,27; 3:21; 5:10; 11:15; 20:6; 21:4.

18. The “Devil”: The “devil” is another name for sin in human nature; it is not a separate supernatural being or fallen angel. Christ overcame this “devil” in himself by defeating the tendencies to sin in his own nature. Therefore he can provide us with a covering for our sins. John 6:70; 1 TIM. 3:11; TIT. 2:3; 2 TIM. 3:3; Heb. 2:14; 9:26; James 1:14,15; 4:7,8; 1 John 3:5,8.

19. “Satan” and “Demons”: “Satan” is a Hebrew word which means an adversary; it is used about people and circumstances which oppose God’s will. “Devils” (Greek “demons”) are not agents of any supernatural “devil” or “god” of evil. In New Testament times, people who had mental illnesses or disorders were referred to as having “demons”. ISA. 45:5,7; Matt. 12:22; 16:23; 17:15-18; Mark 8:33; 9:17; Acts 5:3,9; 17:18.

20. Justification by Faith: Man can obtain justification, or righteousness, only by the grace and mercy of God, through faith in Christ. Man cannot save himself by his own works alone, no matter how good or numerous. ROM. 4:13,21-25; GAL. 3:26; EPH. 2:8,9; 2 TIM. 1:9; TIT. 3:6,7; HEB. 11:6.

21. Baptism: There is only one true gospel, which cannot be altered. Belief of this gospel, true repentance, and baptism (total immersion in water) are essential for salvation. In baptism we turn to God, our sins are forgiven, we become heirs of the promises to Abraham and his spiritual “seed”, we identify with Christ in his life and death, and we are born again in him. The sprinkling of babies is not true Scriptural baptism. MATT. 7:13,14; 22:14; 28:18-20; MARK 16:16; John 3:5; ACTS 2:38-41; 3:19; 8:12,36-38; 10:43,47,48; 22:16; 26:20; ROM. 6:4; GAL. 1:8; 3:27-29; EPH. 4:5; 2 TIM. 2:11; 1 Pet. 3:21.

22. The One Body: Those who believe the gospel and are baptized into Christ become “brethren in Christ”, without regard to nationality. They also become a part of the “one body”, with Christ as their head. God calls them His children, and they become partakers of His grace and love. Psa. 103:13-18; John 1:12; ACTS 10:34-36; 26:17-23; ROM. 8:14-17; 12:4,5; 1 COR. 12:12-27; GAL. 3:16-29; EPH. 2:16; 4:4,12-16; Col. 1:2; 2 TIM. 1:9; 1 Pet. 1:23; 1 John 3:1.

23. The Breaking of Bread: The breaking of bread and drinking of wine, in remembrance of Jesus, was instituted by him for his true followers. It is a means of affirming their status as members of the “one body” of Christ. It is a commandment to be obeyed whenever possible. Luke 22:19,20; ACTS 2:42; 1 COR. 10:16,17; 11:23-29; Heb. 10:25.

24. The Jews: The Jews are God’s chosen people. Though scattered because of disobedience, they will be purified (after repentance and faith), regathered, and made ready for the coming of the Messiah. Jer. 31:33; Ezek. 37:12,22; Joel 3:2; Zech. 8:23; 12:10; ACTS 3:19-21; Rom. 1:25-29.

25. The Commandments of Christ: All those who believe these teachings should strive also to live godly, Christ-like lives. This involves the keeping of Christ’s commandments, and separateness from the affairs of this world, including its politics and police and military service. The commandments of Christ, including those of his apostles, are therefore an important part of any Statement of Faith.

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