|The Niles Grace Brethren Church,
as part of the Conservative Grace Brethren Churches, in harmony with our
historic position, believing the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but
the Bible to be our infallible rule of faith and of practice, and feeling
our responsibility to make known the divine message of the Bible, present
the following articles as a statement of those basic truths taught in the
Bible which are common to our Christian faith and practice:
The Bible: the Word of
God, the sixty-six Books of the Old and New Testaments, verbally inspired
in all parts, and therefore wholly without error as originally given of
God (II Tim. 3:16; II Peter 1: 21). This record is final, authoritative,
and unchanging! We believe the Bible to be the all-sufficient rule
for faith and conduct (apart from integration with any other discipline)
through the power of the Holy Spirit to regenerate, sanctifiy, and equip
the believer for life and service (John 17:17; Heb. 4:12; James 1:18-27).
The One True God: existing
eternally as three persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Luke
3:22; Matt. 28:19; II Cor. 13:14). This tri-unity is clearly set
forth in the form and formula of Christian baptism (Matt. 28:19-20).
The Lord Jesus Christ:
His pre-existence and deity (John 1:1-3), incarnation by virgin birth (John
1:14; Matt. 1:18-23), sinless life (Heb. 4:15), substitutionary death (II
Cor. 5:21), bodily resurrection (Luke 24:36-43), ascension into heaven
and present ministry (Heb. 4:14-16), and coming again (Acts 1:11).
Further scriptural evidence of His pre-existence as God the Son is found
in John 8:58; His diety, John 20:28 and I John 5:20; and His coming again,
The Holy Spirit: His personality
(John 16:7-15); and deity (Acts 53-4); and His work in each believer:
baptism and indwelling at the moment of regeneration (I Cor. 12:13/ Rom.
8:9); and filling (Eph. 3:16; Acts 1:8; Gal. 5:33-23). We believe
that the Holy Spirit provides to each believer one or more spiritual gifts
"for serving one another' (I Peter 4:10); and gifted men to the Church
for perfecting (Eph. 4:11-13). However, apostolic sign-gifts and
miracles, even in the early Church, were not for all believers (I Cor.
12: 28-30) and ended with the apostolic era (I Cor. 13:8; II Cor. 12:12;
Heb. 2:3-4). We also believe that Spirit baptism is a once for all
action, at the moment of regeneration (Eph. 4:5; I Cor. 12:13).
Man: his direct creation
in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-28), his subsequent fall into sin resulting
in spiritual death (Gen. 3:1-24; Rom. 5:12), and the necessity of the new
birth for his salvation (John 3:3-5). We believe in the recent, direct
creation of the heavens, the earth, and all their hosts, without pre-existing
material, in six literal 24-hour days (Gen. 1:1-2, 25; Exod. 20: 11; John
1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 11: 3). We believe in the sanctity of human
life (Gen. 9:6; Ps. 139:13-16) and in the distince function of men and
women in the home and the church (Eph. 5:22-33; I Tim. 2:8-15).
Salvation: a complete
and eternal salvation by God's grace alone, received as the gift of God
through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work (Eph.
2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7; I Peter 1:18-19).
The Church: one true Church,
the body and bride of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:25-32), composed of all true
believers of the present age (I Cor. 12:12-13); and the organization of
its members in local churches for worship, for edification of believers,
and for world-wide witness, each local church being autonomous but cooperating
in fellowship and work (Eph. 4:11-16). We believe confession of faith
and triune immersion to be the two essential scriptural requirements for
membership in the local church (Matt. 28:16-20; Acts 2:38). Each
local church shall determine its own additional membership requirements
(Acts 2:42-47), and the discipline of its own members (I Cor. 5:3-5).
Triune immersion may not be circumvented except for medical reasons of
a physical nature.
Christian Life: a life
of righteousness, good works, and separation unto God from the evil ways
of the world (Rom. 12: 1-2), manifested by speaking the truth (James 5:12),
maintaining the sanctity of the home (Eph. 5:22-6:4), settling differences
between Christians in accordance with the Word of God (I Cor. 6:1-8), not
engaging in carnal strife but showing a Christ-like attitude toward all
men (Rom. 12:17-21), exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23),
and maintaining a life of prayer (Eph. 6:18, Phil. 4:6), including the
privilege, when sick, of calling for the elders of the church to pray and
to anoint with oil in the name of the Lord (James 5:13-18). Not engaging
in carnal strife is understood to include not only war but also church
and personal relationships. This is to reaffirm the Biblical teaching
on nonresistance (not to be equated with pacifism) in war and peace (Matt.
5:39-41; Luke 6:27-29; John 18:36).
Ordinances: the Christian
should observe the ordinances of our Lord Jesus Christ, which are (1) baptism
of believers by triune immersion (Matt. 28:19) and (2) the threefold communion
service, consisting of the washing of the saints' feet (John 13:1-17),
the Lord's Supper (I Cor. 11:20-22, 33-34; Jude 12), and the communion
of the bread and the cup (I Cor. 11:23-26). We believe that only
triune immersion and only threefold communion meet the Biblical mandates
of our Lord Jesus Christ concerning ordinances (Matt. 28:20; John 13:13-17).
Satan: his existence and
personality as the great adversary of God and His people (Rev. 12:1-10),
his judgment (John 12:31), and final doom (Rev. 20:10).
Second Coming: the personal,
visible, and imminent return of Christ to remove His Church from the earth
(I Thess. 4:16-17) before the tribulation (I Thess. 1:10; Rev. 3:10), and
afterward to descend with the Church to establish His millennial kingdom
upon the earth (Rev. 19:11-20: 6). We believe the tribulation will
be a seven-year period (Dan. 9:24-27) following the rapture of the Church;
and we believe the thousand-year kingdom will include the literal fulfillment
of God's covenant promises to etnhic Israel (Jer. 33:14-26; Ezek. 36:25-28,
40-48; Rom. 11:23-32).
Future Life: the conscious
existence of the dead (Phil. 1:21-23; Luke 16:19-31), the resurrection
of the body (John 5:28-29), the judgment and reward of believers (Rom.
14:10-12, II Cor. 5:10), the judgment and condemnation of unbelievers (Rev.
20:11-15), the eternal life of the saved (John 3:16), and the eternal punishment
of the lost (Matt. 25:46; Rev. 20:15). We understand eternal punishment
to be a conscious state (Rev. 14:11).