Our Beliefs

Statement of Faith
for Shepherd of the Hills
effective as of 2/2011

 

1.     We believe that the Bible, with its 66 books of the Old and New Testament, is the very Word of God. It’s inspiration extends fully and equally to all parts of the writing (i.e.,historical, grammatical, doctrinal, prophetical, and poetical) as it appeared in the original autographs. This divinely inspired Book was also inerrant in the original manuscripts and is the authoritative standard for every person. The Scriptures are the only sufficient, certain, and infallible standard for all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience (2 Tim. 3:15-17). The individual books of the Bible were written by a process of dual authorship. The Holy Spirit superintended the human authors, so that through their own individual personalities and different styles of writing, they composed and recorded without error in the original autographs God’s revelation to people (Ex. 17:14; 1 Thess. 2:13; Isa. 30:8; 2 Pet. 1:20f; Mtt.5:18).
2.     We believe that there is only one living and true God who is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. He is an infinite, intelligent Spirit, perfect in all His attributes, one in essence but eternally existing, and subsistent in three Persons, i.e., God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (Dt. 6;4; Isa. 45:5-7; Gen. 1:26; Ps. 139:8; Mtt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14). Each member of the Godhead has the same nature, attributes, and perfections, and each is worthy of precisely the same worship, confidence, and obedience (Acts 17:24-29; 1 Cor. 8:6; Rev. 19:10).
3.     We believe God the Father, the First Person of the Trinity, orders and accomplishes all things according to His own purpose and grace (Ps. 145:8,9; 1 Cor. 8:6). As the absolute and highest Ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Ps. 103:19; Job 1:6; Rom. 11:33). He created the universe apart from preexisting materials and without means. He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass, and continually upholds, directs and governs all creatures and events (1 Chron. 29:11).
4.     We believe Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, possesses all of the divine attributes and is coequal, consubstantial, and coeternal with the Father (Jh. 10:27-30; 14:9). Jesus Christ was virgin born (Isa. 7:14; Mtt. 1:25; Lk. 1:26-35), led a sinless life (1 Pet. 2;22; 1 Jh. 3;5), performed miracles exactly as described in the four Gospels, was crucified, died as a penalty for our sins (Rom. 5:6,8; 1 Pet. 3:18), was bodily raised from the dead on the third day (Jh. 21:14; 1 Cor. 15:4), ascended to the Father’s right hand (Acts 1:9-11) where He is now ministering as our Advocate and High Priest (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25; 9:24). He will return to receive the Church, which is His Body, unto Himself at the Rapture, and, returning with His Church in glory, will establish His millennial kingdom (1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 20).
5.     The Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross. His death was voluntary, vicarious, substitutionary, propitiatory, and redemptive (1 Pet. 2:24; Rom. 3:25; 5:8). On the basis of the efficacy of His death, the believing sinner is freed from punishment, the power, and one day from the presence of sin, declared righteous, given eternal life, and admitted to the family of God (Jn. 10:15; 2 Cor. 5:14,15; 1 Pet. 2:24, 3:18; Rom. 3:25; 5:8).
6.     We believe the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, is a divine Person, eternal, underived, possessing all the divine attributes. He is coequal with the Father and the Son, and is consubstantial with them (Acts 5:3,4). The broad scope of His special activity includes convicting the world, glorifying the Lord Jesus and transforming believers into the likeness of Jesus Christ (Jn. 14:16-17; 15:26; 16:7-9; Acts 1:5; 2:4; 1 Cor. 12:13; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 2:22). The Spirit’s work in believers involves that of regeneration, baptism into the body of Christ, sealing, indwelling, sanctifying, instructing, empowering for service, and preserving to the day of Christ (Jn. 3:5-7; 16:13-15; Rom. 8:2,9; 1 Cor. 6:19; 12:4-13; Eph. 1:13, 14; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Jn. 2:20, 27). It is the duty of all those born of the Spirit to be filled with the Spirit (Zech. 4:6; 1 Cor. 2:1-5; Eph. 5:18).
7.     We believe the angels were all created simultaneously by God as a great host of sinless spirit-beings, most of whom kept their first estate of holiness and presently worship God and serve His purposes (Ps. 148:2-5; Matt. 26:53; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:14). We believe that one of the angels, Lucifer, fell through the sin of pride and influenced a large company of angels to follow him (Isa. 14:12-17; 1 Tim. 3:6; James 2:19; 2 Pet. 2:4). The work of Lucifer (i.e., Satan) and the demons is the attempted subversion and supplanting of the work of God (2 Cor. 2:10-11; 11:13-15; Eph. 6:12, 16; 1 Pet. 5:8; Rev. 12:10). Satan was judged at the cross, though the sentence was not then executed, and he will finally be consigned to the lake of fire at the end of the Millennium (Gen. 3:15; Isa. 14:12; Matt. 25:41; Lk. 10:18; Jn. 12:31; 16:11; Heb. 2:14; Rev. 12:9; 20:10).
8.     We believe that man was directly and immediately created in the image of God, free from sin. He was created with a rational nature, great intelligence and moral responsibility to God (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 1 Thess. 5:23; Jam. 3:9). However, man subsequently fell into sin by a voluntary act of personal disobedience to the revealed will of God (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:1-19; 1 Tim. 2:13-14). As a consequence, man became subject to the wrath of God, inherently corrupt, and incapable of choosing or doing that which is acceptable to God apart from divine grace. As a result, he is hopelessly lost apart from the salvation which is in the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 3:36; Rom. 3:23; 6:23; 1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 2:1-3; 1 Jn. 1:8.). The fall of humanity was an historical and non-repeatable act, the effects of which are transmitted to all people of all ages, Jesus Christ excepted. As a result, all people are sinners by divine pronouncement, nature, and deed (Ps. 14:1-3; 51:5; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3:10-12,23; 5:12-19; Jam. 2:10).
9.     We believe that the salvation of a person consists in the satisfaction of divine justice, the forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, the imputation of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, the gift of eternal life, every spiritual resource needed for life and godliness, and the guarantee that this saved person will never perish (Jonah 2:9; Isa. 53:6,10; Jn. 10:27-29; Rom. 3:24; 5:8-10; 8:38-39; 2 Cor. 5:18,19,21; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 1:7; 2 Pet. 1:3; 1 Jn. 4:10). This salvation is based upon the elective grace of God, was purchased by Christ on the cross, and is received by grace through faith, apart from any virtue or work of a person, through the instrumentality of the Word of God as applied by the Holy Spirit (Jn. 1:12; 3:16; Acts 16:31; Rom. 8:29-30; 9:14-24; 10:8-13; Eph. 1:4-5; 2:8-10; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; Heb. 11:6). A person becomes a Christian by acknowledging his or her sinfulness, God’s standard of holiness, and by exercising saving faith in Jesus as personal Lord and Savior. The salvation of a Christian results in righteous living and good works as its proper evidence. Fruit will be experienced to the extent that the believer submits to the control of the Holy Spirit in his life through interaction with the Word of God. This is accomplished by conformity of the believer to the image of Christ, culminating in his glorification at Christ’s coming (Jn. 5:24; 10:28; Rom. 8:35-39; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 2:10; 5:17-21; Phil. 2:12-13; Col. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:4-10; 1 Jn. 3:2-3). We maintain a “once saved, always saved” doctrine. The entire Trinity guarantees the eternal security of every believer (Isa 53:5; Jh. 3:16; 5:24; 10:29; 11:25; Rom. 8:9,35-39; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:3-5,13f; Tit. 3:5; Heb. 7:25; 12:5-11.
10.     We believe that the true church (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 4:4-6; 5:25; Heb.12:28) comprises all who have been justified by God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone (Jh. 3:16; Acts 16:31; Rom. 3:21-26; 5:1,21; 8:1; 10:4,9,10; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-9). They are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13-27), of which He is the Head (Eph. 1:22-23; 4:15; Col. 1:18). The true church is manifest in local churches (Acts 9:31; 20:28-30; Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 1:2; 16:19; 2 Cor. 1:1; 1 Thess. 1:1; Philem. 1-2), whose membership should be composed only of believers (Matt. 18:15-20; Acts 2:41,47; 14:23; 1 Cor. 1:2,9; 11:20). The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism (Matt. 28:18-20) and the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26:26-29; Mk. 14:22-25; Lk. 22:15-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26), which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer (Jh. 6:55,56; 1 Cor. 10:16).
11.     In terms of Christian living, we believe that God’s justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose (Eph. 2:10; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Cor. 5:17; 1 Jh. 2:29; 3:9; 5:18; 2 Cor. 3:18; 1 Cor. 6:11; Rom. 6:11,14; 1 Pet. 1:15; Phil. 2:12-13; Heb. 12:14; Rom. 6; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Pet. 1:3-11). God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially (Dt. 6:5; Lev. 19:18; Matt. 22:37-39; Mk. 12:30,31; Lk. 10:27) and to live out our faith with care for one another (Rom. 12:10; 14:13; 15:7,14; Eph. 4:32; 1 Thess. 3:12; 5:11,15; Heb. 10:24,25; 1 Pet. 4:9), compassion toward the poor (Dt. 15:11; Psa. 82:3,4; 140:12; Prov. 14:31; 19:17; 22:9,16,22,23; 28:8; 29:7; 31:8,9; Jer. 22:16; Gal. 2:10), and justice for the oppressed (Ex. 23:6; Lev. 19:15; Psa. 82:3; 140:12; Prov. 29:7; 31:9; Isa. 1:17; Jer. 9:24; Mic. 6:8; Zech. 7:9,10; Matt. 23:23). With God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name (Eph. 6:10-18), we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil (2 Cor. 10:3-5; Eph. 6:11,12; 2 Tim. 4:7). In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people (Matt. 28:19; Jh. 20:21; Rev. 7:9), always bearing witness to the gospel (Acts 1:8) in word and deed (Matt. 5:13-16).
12.     We believe that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are sovereign in the bestowal of spiritual gifts to God’s people today (1 Cor. 12:11; Eph. 4:7-11). Spiritual gifts are not natural abilities or talents, but are God-given abilities through which the Holy Spirit can minister. They are distributed for the “equipping of the saints for the work of service to the building up of the Body of Christ” (Eph. 4:11f).
13.     We believe that at death, the souls of the redeemed pass immediately into the presence of Christ and there remain in joyful fellowship until the first resurrection, that is, their bodily resurrection unto life. The souls of the unsaved at death descend immediately into Hades where they are kept under punishment until the second resurrection, that is, their bodily resurrection unto damnation (Luke 16:22-23; 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1-3).
14.     We believe in the personal, bodily (Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Acts 1:11) and pre-millennial (Rev. 20:1-10) return of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 25:31; Tit. 2:13; 2 Thess. 1:7,8; Rev. 19:11-19). Jesus will visibly come back from heaven with great glory and majesty (Matt. 25:31; Mark 8:38; 2 Thess. 1:10; Rev. 1:7). The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God (Matt. 24:36; Mk. 13:32), requires constant expectancy (Matt. 24:42-51; 1 Thess. 5:1-11; Jms. 5:8,9; 2 Pet. 3:10-14; Rev. 3:3) and, as our blessed hope (Titus 2:13), motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission (Matt. 24:44; 2 Thess. 1:6-8; Titus 2:13,14; 2 Tim. 4:8; Heb. 9:28; 2 Pet. 3:10-14; 1 Jh. 3:2,3). Because of the diverse opinions among Christians regarding the rapture, we consider pre-trib rapture, mid-trib rapture, and post-trib rapture beliefs to be within the scope of Christian orthodoxy.