What We Believe

Doctrinal Statement of Dennis and Bonnie Slothower

Concerning the Scriptures
We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as originally written were God-breathed, both verbally and in every part. We believe God, who is Truth, communicated through Spirit-controlled men so that the Scriptures are without error and therefore authoritative in all they teach and in all matters they touch. We believe the Bible is the supreme revelation of God's will for man and constitutes the only infallible guide for faith and life.

Matthew 5:18; 15:4-6                            Galatians 3:16
Mark 12:36                                           2 Timothy 3:16
John 10:34,35                                      Hebrews 4:12
Acts 1:16                                            Romans 3:1-4
2 Peter 1:19-21                                    Revelation 22:18,19

Concerning the True God
We believe in one God, the Creator of heaven and earth; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three Persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, equal in power and glory, and executing distinct and harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.

Genesis 1:1                                           John 1:1-3; 5:36-40
Exodus 20:2,3                                       Romans 1:1-6
Deuteronomy 4:35; 6:4; 32:39                 1 Corinthians 8:6
Isaiah 45:14; 46:9                                  Ephesians 1:3-10; 4:3-6
Matthew 3:16,17; 28:19,20                     Psalm 2:7-9

Concerning the Lord Jesus Christ
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He is very God of very God, being ?God manifest in the flesh.? He lived a life of absolute sinlessness and in His death made a full and vicarious atonement for our sins, dying not as a martyr, but as a voluntary substitute in the sinner?s place. He rose from the dead on the third day and ascended bodily into heaven. He is coming again to rapture His saints, and to set up the throne of David and establish His kingdom. The rapture is imminent and will be personal, pre-tribulational and pre-millennial.

Isaiah 7:14                                      Acts 15:16
Matthew 1:18-25; 28:6                     1 Thessalonians 4:16
John 1:1; 14:3                                 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8
1Peter 2:21,22; 3:18

Concerning the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person possessing all the attributes of personality and of deity. He is equal with the Father and Son and is of the same nature. His relation to the unbelieving world is that He convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment. He is the agent of the new birth, and His work among believers is that He seals, indwells, infills, guides, and teaches them the ways of righteousness. We believe there is a distinction between the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and His ministry in the New Testament. There is a new and unique work of the Holy Spirit in relation to the Body of Christ, that is, the baptism of the Holy Spirit by which He places each believer into the body of Christ at the moment of salvation. In addition, we believe that the Holy Spirit endows believers with service gifts upon conversion. We believe the Bible does not support the authenticity of the sign gifts of prophecy, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, miracles and healing for today and repudiates the experience-oriented theory and ecumenically-oriented practice of the charismatic movement.

John 7:39; 14:16-17,26                              Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:7-11
Acts 1:5                                                   Hebrews 9:14
Romans 12:3-8                                         Revelation 22:18-19
1 Corinthians 12:8-13, 28-31; 13:8-12

Concerning Man
We believe the Scriptures teach that man was created by a direct act of God and not from any previously existing form of life. By voluntary transgression he fell from his state of innocence, in consequence of which all men are now sinners by nature and by choice, utterly devoid of the holiness required by law, positively inclined to evil, and therefore under just condemnation to eternal punishment and everlasting existence separated from God without defense or excuse.

Genesis 1:27                                 Romans 3:23; 5:12-19
Isaiah 53:6

Concerning Salvation
We believe the Scriptures teach that salvation of sinners is divinely initiated, wholly of grace, and accomplished only through the mediatorial work of the Son of God; that it is wholly apart from works and is upon the sole condition of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and never without genuine repentance; that in order to be saved the sinner must be born again, being regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit through faith in God?s Word and becoming the recipient of a new nature; that the great gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in Him is justification, the judicial act of God accompanied by the pardon of sin and the imputation of divine righteousness, not because of any works of righteousness on our part, but solely through faith in the Redeemer?s blood; that the believer who has exercised personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is completely justified and in possession of a salvation which is eternally secure.

John 3:3-6, 16; 10:28,29                                 Ephesians 2:8-10
Acts 13:39                                                    1 Timothy 2:5,6
Romans 2:4                                                  Hebrews 4:2
2 Corinthians 7:9,10                                       1 Peter 1:18-23
2 Peter 1:4

Concerning the Church
We believe the Scriptures teach that the Church of Jesus Christ, distinct from Israel in the Old Testament, was inaugurated at Pentecost and must be considered in two aspects; the local church and ?the church which is His body.? The local church is a congregation of baptized believers, associated by a covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel, observing the ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, and exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by His Word. Its Scriptural officers are pastors, sometimes called bishops or elders, and deacons, whose qualifications, claims and duties are defined in the epistles to Timothy and Titus. The pastoral office is clearly limited to men. God specifically assigned the headship and authority in the local church to men. This definition of the local church leads to these Scriptural distinctives:
1. Sole authority of the Scriptures for faith and practice;
2. Autonomy of the local church;
3. Believer? baptism by immersion before church membership;
4. Two offices, pastor (elder, bishop) and deacon;
5. Two symbolic ordinances, baptism and the Lord?s table;
6. Individual priesthood of the believer and soul liberty;
7. Separation of church and state.

The ?church which is His body? is the entire company of believers in Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, regardless of denomination affiliation and present position in heaven or on earth.

Matthew 28:19,20                                Ephesians 1:22,23
Acts 1:5; 2:1-4, 41,42;                         1 Timothy 2:11-14; 3
10:44,45; 11:15,16                               Titus 1
1 Corinthians 12:13                              Hebrews 12:23

Concerning Baptism and the Lord?s Supper
We believe the Scriptures teach that Christian baptism is the single immersion of a believer in water, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem his identification illustrating the believer?s death to sin and his resurrection to a new life. It is prerequisite to membership and privileges in a local church. We believe that the Lord?s Supper is the commemoration of His death until He comes, and should be preceded by solemn self-examination. Observance of the Lord?s Supper is for believers only. The ordinances of baptism and Lord?s Supper must be observed under the discipline of the local church.

Acts 8:36-39 1                                    Corinthians 11:23-28
Romans 6:3-5

Concerning the Eternal State
We believe the Scriptures teach the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust. All those who through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will spend eternity in full enjoyment of God?s presence, and those who through impenitence and unbelief refuse to accept God?s offer of mercy will spend eternity in everlasting punishment.

Psalm 16:11                                   John 5:28,29; 14:2
Matthew 25:46                                Revelation 20:14,15; 21:4

Concerning Satan
We believe the Scriptures teach that there is a personal devil who is ?the god of this age? and ? the prince of the power of the air,? who is full of all subtlety, who seeks continually to frustrate the purposes of God and to ensnare the sons of men, and who was conquered by Christ on the cross and condemned to everlasting punishment.

2 Corinthians 4:4; 11:13-15                          Hebrews 2:14
Ephesians 2:2                                            Revelation 12:9

Concerning Personal Separation
We believe the Scriptures teach that every believer should be separated unto God from the world, and by the aid of the Holy Spirit, should walk in Christian love and holiness, exhibiting qualities of honesty, integrity, forgiveness and loving-kindness. We further believe that any achievement in these characteristics will be evidenced by sincere humility and genuine zeal for the advancement of the cause of Christ. We also believe the Scriptures admonish every believer not to love the world or the things of the world, but rather to flee evil desires, avoid every kind of evil and refrain from questionable practices which destroy one?s testimony, offend one?s brother and fail to glorify God.

Proverbs 15:33                                         Ephesians 4:32; 5:1-2, 15-20; 7:10
Romans 14:19-21                                     Philippians 4:8
1 Corinthians 6:18-20; 8:9-13: 10:23,33      1 Thessalonians 4:7
2 Corinthians 7:1                                      1 Peter 5:5,6
Galatians 5:22-25                                     1 John 2:15-17

Concerning Ecclesiastical Separation
ABWE stands firmly in opposition to doctrinal error and separates from those organizations and individuals that sanction theological compromise, or who promote unity without regard to doctrinal integrity. This doctrine is based upon God?s eternal principle of division between truth and error and His specific command to be separate from unbelievers and disobedient brethren. This truth is to be practiced with an attitude of devotion to God, humility, and compassion, yet with conviction, to create the proper condition and atmosphere for the main objective, i.e., the salvation of the lost through the gospel of Christ. We believe ecumenical evangelism that involves false teachers and disobedient brethren violates the principles taught in God?s Word.

Matthew 10:34-39; 18:15                                  1 Timothy 6:3-6
Romans 16:17                                                2 Timothy 2:16,17
1 Corinthians 5:7-13                                        Titus 3:10
2 Corinthians 6:14-18                                      2 John 9-11
Galatians 1:8-9