This doctrinal statement reflects the broad, mainstream, conservative evangelical tradition which is consistent with the teachings of the bible and which has stood the test of history and experience. We specifically affirm the following doctrinal truths:
We believe that the entire Bible is the inspired Word of God and that men of God “were moved by the Holy Spirit” to write the very words of Scripture. The Bible is therefore without error (inerrant) in its original manuscripts. God has supernaturally preserved the Bible and it is the sole and final authority for faith and life providing encouragement, guidance, comfort and instruction for training in righteousness (2 Ti. 3:16-17; 2 Pe. 1:20-21).
2.THE GOD HEAD TRINITY
We believe in one true God eternally existing in three distinct persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) each of Whom is fully and equally God; possesses all of the divine nature and attributes, and is totally worthy of our worship and service (Dt. 6:4; Mt. 28:19; Jn 1:14; 10:30; 2 Co. 13:14).
3.GOD THE FATHER
We believe that God the Father is the first person of the Trinity and is the eternal, unchanging, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise, all-loving, completely just and perfectly holy, sovereign Ruler and Sustainer of the universe. He is the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the Father of all true believers (Gen. 1:1; Eph. 4:6; Jn. 1:12-13; Jn. 5:19-21; 17:1-5; Isa.40:21-28; 43:10-13; 46:8- 11; Ro.8:14-16)
4.GOD THE SON
We believe that Jesus Christ is the second person of the Trinity and is the only begotten eternal Son of God Who became flesh to reveal God to man, to fulfill prophecy, and to become the Savior of the lost world. In becoming man Jesus did not cease in any way to be God so that He is fully God and fully man inseparably united in one person forever. Jesus was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit; born of the Virgin Mary; lived a sinless life; died on the cross as the substitutionary, all-sufficient atoning sacrifice for all of the sins of all men of all time; was buried; bodily rose from the dead; physically ascended into heaven in His glorified, resurrected body; is seated at the right hand of the Father performing His ministry of intercession; will return in the air to claim His bride the church; and will come again to earth in bodily form, personally and visibly, to conclude human history and consummate God’s eternal plan by executing judgment and ushering in His Millennial Kingdom reign to be followed by the eternal state (Jn. 1:1, 14, 18; 3:16; Lk. 1:30-35; Php. 2:5-8; Col. 2:3, 9; Mk. 10:45; Ac. 2:22-24; Jn. 1:29; Ro. 3:25- 26; Heb. 10:5-14; 1 Pe. 2:24; 3:18; Jn. 20:20; Php. 3:20-21; Heb. 1:3; Ro. 8:34; 1 Jn. 2:1; Ac. 1:11; Heb. 9:28; 1 Th. 4:13-18; 2 Th. 2:7; Mt. 24:44; Rev. 19:11-21; Rev. 21-22 ).
6.GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity Who specially came into the world on the day of Pentecost to glorify Christ and to enable men to appropriate the salvation wrought by Christ. He is the primary agent for the conviction of sin and for regeneration. Simultaneously with salvation, the Holy Spirit imparts new life, baptizes the believer into the body of Christ (His church), permanently indwells the believer, and securely seals the believer unto the day of redemption. The Holy Spirit fills (directs and controls) those believers who are yielded to Him, enables believers to bear fruit, and empowers believers to live a life free from sin’s dominion. We also believe that the Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to believers for the purpose of edifying the church in accordance with the teachings of scripture ( 1 Co. 13:8; 14:22; Jn. 16:7-15; 1 Co. 6:19; 12:13; Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30; Gal. 5:16-17, 22-23; Ro. 8:5-13; 1 Pe. 4:10-11; Ro. 12:3-8 ).
We believe that man was created in the image of God by direct act of God and did not come into being as the result of evolution. Man was created to glorify God, worship and serve Him, and have fellowship with Him. Man fell through sin by disobeying God, thus incurring both physical and spiritual death, which alienated him from God. Man’s nature was thus corrupted and he is utterly lost, “dead in trespasses and sins,” and totally incapable of saving himself and coming back into right relationship with God by his own merit or effort ( Ge. 1:26; 2:6,17; 3:17-24; Isa. 59:1-2; Ro. 3:9- 19, 23; 5:6-8; Lk. 18:26-27; Eph.2.1-3 ).
We believe that Satan is the instigator of evil and a real spirit being, not simply the personification of evil. He is a fallen angel who, under the sovereign permission of God, has been given temporary rulership of the earth. He was utterly defeated at the cross, but the execution of his judgment has been postponed by God until after the Millennial Kingdom when he will be cast into the eternal lake of fire. In the meantime, he deceives the world and seeks to establish his counterfeit kingdom on earth to discredit and blaspheme God and to tempt, accuse, attack and destroy believers. He can be resisted by the believer through faith and reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit (Ge. 3: 1-5; Isa. 14:12-17; Eze. 28:11-19; Job 1-2; 1 Jn. 5:19; 2 Co. 11:14; 1 Ti. 3:6; 1 Pe. 5:8-9; Jas. 4:7; Rev. 12:9; 7-10 ).
We believe that the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross provides the sole basis for forgiveness of sins and salvation, which is the free gift of God’s grace. Salvation is effected by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit and cannot be secured by man’s works or personal merit. Salvation is only appropriated by a person placing his faith in the finished work of Christ. Repentance is a turning toward God and away from sin and is a part of but not separate from believing faith. “The Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” and those who receive Jesus Christ by faith are born again, have their sins forgiven, become children of God, are a new creation in Christ, and “are sealed by the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption”, being kept by the power of God ( Eph. 1:7, 13-14; Jn. 1:12-13; 3:1-7, 14-16; 2 Co. 5:17; Ro. 1:16; 10:9-10; Eph. 2:8-10; Ro. 8:14-17, 31-39; Jn. 10:27-29; 14:6; Ac. 26:20; 1 Pe. 1:3-5 ).
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10.THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
We believe that every Christian should live for Christ and not for himself and should, by the power of the indwelling Spirit, allow Christ to manifest His life through him to God’s glory. By ever increasing obedience to the Word of God, each believer should mature and progressively become more like Jesus. In the power of the Spirit, each believer should live a holy life; not fulfill the lusts of the flesh; exercise his spiritual gifts to build up the body of Christ; witness for Christ; be personally involved in making disciples to fulfill the great commission; perform good works and bear fruit to the glory of God ( Gal. 2:20; 1 Pe. 1:15-16; 2:11; 2 Co. 5:14-15; Ro. 6:11-13; Eph. 2:10; 4:11-12; 4:22-24; 1 Pe. 4:10-11; Ac. 1:8; Mt. 28:18-20; Col. 1:10; Jn. 15:8, 16 ).
We believe that the church is the body of Christ of which Jesus is the Head and whose members are those who have truly received Christ by faith. The local church is a tangible expression of the body of Christ in a particular location. Since all members of the body of Christ are united in Christ by the same Spirit, they should live in love, harmony and unity, being intent on the same purpose and accepting those sectarian or denominational practices which are based on a sincere interpretation of the Bible, which do not relate to substantive doctrinal matters, and which do not in practice cause disunity or hinder the ministry. The purpose of the church is to make Christ known to lost men, to make disciples, and glorify God on earth ( Ac. 1:8; 1 Co. 12:12-27; Eph. 1:20-23; 4:1-6, 4:12-16; Mt. 28:18-20; Jn. 17; Col. 1:24-29 ).
We believe that the only two ordinances of the church recognized by Scripture are water baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Water baptism by immersion is an act of obedience following salvation which symbolically pictures the believer’s death to sin, burial of the old life, and resurrection to new life. The Lord’s Supper celebrates fellowship and communion with Christ, symbolically commemorates His death, and anticipates His second coming ( Mt. 28: 19; Ac. 10:47-48; Lk. 22:19-20; 1 Co. 11:23-28; Ro.6:3-4 ).
13.ETERNAL DESTINY OF MEN
We believe that at death every believer consciously and immediately enters into the presence and fellowship of the Lord to wait for the physical resurrection and glorification of his body at Christ’s return. The believer will thus enjoy life eternal with God – fellowshipping, serving and worshipping Him forever ( 2 Co. 5:6; 1 Co. 15: 12-58; Lk. 23:39-43; 1 Th. 4:13-18; Jn. 3:16; Rev. 21-22). We believe that at death every unbeliever consciously and immediately enters into separation from the Lord to wait for the physical resurrection of his body to everlasting condemnation, judgment and punishment ( Lk. 16:19-31; Jn. 3:18,36; Rev. 20:5, 11-15; 2 Th. 1:5-10).
We believe the next prophetic event will be the rapture of the Church when the Lord Jesus Christ will return in the air to receive unto Himself all Church Age believers ( Jn. 14:1-3; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Co. 15:51-52; 1 Th. 4:13-18; Php. 3:20-21). The rapture of the Church will be followed by the seven-year Great Tribulation period in fulfillment of Dan. 9:24-27 and as described in Rev. 6:1-19:21 during which Israel will be purified, the whole world tested, and the wrath of God poured out against sin ( Jer. 30:7; Mt. 24; Rev. 3:10; 1 Th. 5:9-11). We believe that at the end of the Great Tribulation the Lord Jesus Christ in His second coming will personally and physically return to the earth just as He ascended with great power and glory to execute judgment and usher in the Millennial Kingdom, during which He will reign on earth for 1000 years with righteousness, justice and peace to fulfill God’s covenant promise to Israel ( Ac. 1:8-11; Rev. 19: 11-21; Eze. 37:21-28; Isa. 11:9; Rev. 20:1-6 ). We believe that the 1000-year reign of Christ on earth will be followed by the final judgment of Satan when he is cast into the lake of fire forever; the Great White Throne Judgment and bodily resurrection for unbelievers; the creation of a new heaven and new earth; and the eternal state ( Rev. 20-22; 2 Pe. 3:1-14) .
Light of Hope Missions accepts students from independent churches and from a wide range of denominations. However, student applicants are required to affirm in writing their substantial agreement with this statement of faith. Where differences are indicated, the student may be conditionally accepted for training upon his agreement not to teach, promote or exercise such doctrinal differences or practices while he is an active student.