Statement of Faith

Confessional Statement
Camelback Bible Church

(1) The Tri-une God

We believe in one God, eternally existing in three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who know, love and glorify one another. This one true and living God is infinitely perfect in his love and in his holiness. He is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible, and is therefore worthy to receive all glory and adoration. Immortal and eternal, he perfectly and exhaustively knows the end from the beginning, sustains and sovereignly rules over all things, and providentially brings about his eternal and good purposes to redeem a people for himself and restore his fallen creation, to the praise of his glorious grace.

(2) Revelation

God has graciously disclosed his existence and power in the created order, and has supremely revealed himself to fallen human beings in the person of his Son, the incarnate Word. Moreover, this God is a speaking God who by his Spirit has graciously disclosed himself in human words: we believe that God has inspired the words preserved in the Scriptures, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, which are both record and means of his saving work in the world. These writings alone constitute the verbally inspired Word of God, which is utterly authoritative and without error in the original writings, complete in its revelation of his will for salvation, sufficient for all that God requires us to believe and do, and final in its authority over every domain of knowledge to which it speaks. We confess that both our finitude and our sinfulness preclude the possibility of knowing God’s truth exhaustively, but we affirm that, enlightened by the Spirit of God, we can know it truly. The Bible is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it teaches; obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; and trusted, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises. As God’s people hear, believe, and do the Word, they are equipped as disciples of Christ and witnesses to the gospel.

(3) Creation of Humanity

We believe that God created human beings, male and female, and in his own image. Adam and Eve belonged to the created order that God declared to be very good, serving as God’s caretakers in the cultivation of creation, living in holy and devoted fellowship with their Maker. Men and women enjoy equal access to God by faith in Christ Jesus and both are called to move beyond self-indulgence to an active self-giving engagement with family, church and civic life. In marriage, husbands and wives enter into a one-flesh union which serves ultimately as a type of the relationship between Christ and his church, and establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations. In God’s wise purposes, husbands and wives are not simply interchangeable: they complement each other in mutually enriching ways, such that when each fulfills his or her own God-given role the glory of God’s own image is reflected in their marriage.

(4) The Fall

We believe that Adam, made in the image of God, perverted that image by falling into sin through Satan’s temptation and in so doing forfeited his original blessedness. As a result, all humans are alienated from God, corrupted in every aspect of their beings (i.e., physically, mentally, volitionally, emotionally, spiritually) and condemned finally and irrevocably to death – apart from God’s own gracious intervention. The supreme need of all human beings is to be reconciled to God under whose just and holy wrath we stand; and the only way forward is to receive the undeserved love of this same God, who alone can rescue and restore us to himself.

(5) The Plan of God

We believe that from all eternity God determined in grace to save a great multitude of guilty sinners from every tribe and language and people and nation, and to this end foreknew them and chose them, that he justifies and sanctifies those who by grace have faith in Jesus, and that he will one day glorify them – all to the praise of his glorious grace. In love God commands and implores all people to repent and believe, having set his saving love on those he has chosen and having ordained Christ to be their Redeemer.

(6) The Gospel

We believe that the gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ. Utter folly to the world, even though it is the power of God to those who are being saved, this good news is centered on the cross and resurrection of Christ: the gospel is not proclaimed if Christ is not proclaimed, and the authentic Christ has not been proclaimed if his death and resurrection are not central. This good news is biblical (his death and resurrection are according to the Scriptures), theological and salvific (in order to reconcile us to God Christ died for our sins), historical (if the saving events did not actually happen, our faith is worthless, we are still in our sins, and we are to be pitied more than all others), apostolic (the message was entrusted to and transmitted by the apostles, who were witnesses of these saving events), and intensely personal (where it is received, believed, and held firmly, individual persons are saved).

(7) The Redemption of Christ

We believe that, moved by love and in obedience to his Father, the eternal Son became human: the Word became flesh, fully God and fully human being, one Person in two natures. The man Jesus, the promised Messiah of Israel, was conceived through the miraculous agency of the Holy Spirit, and was born of the virgin Mary. He perfectly obeyed his heavenly Father, lived a sinless life, performed miraculous signs, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead on the third day, and ascended into heaven. As the mediatorial King, he is seated at the right hand of God the Father, exercising in heaven and on earth all of God’s sovereignty, and is our High Priest and righteous Advocate. We believe that by his incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus Christ acted as our representative and substitute, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God: on the cross he canceled sin, propitiated God, and, by bearing the full penalty of our sins, reconciled to God all those who believe. By his resurrection Christ Jesus was vindicated by his Father, broke the power of death and defeated Satan who once had power over it, and brought everlasting life to all his people; by his ascension he has been forever exalted as Lord and has prepared a place for us to be with him. We believe that salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. Because God chose the lowly things of this world, the despised things, the things that are not, to nullify the things that are, no human can ever boast before him. Christ Jesus has become our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.

(8) The Justification of Sinners

We believe that Christ, by his obedience and death, fully discharged the debt of all those who are justified. By his sacrifice, he bore in our stead the penalty due us for our sins, making a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice on our behalf. Inasmuch as he was given by the Father for us, and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in our stead, and both freely and not for anything in us, this justification is solely of free grace, in order that both the exact justice and the rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.

(9) The Power of the Holy Spirit

We believe that salvation, attested in all Scripture and secured by Jesus Christ, is applied to his people by the Holy Spirit. Sent by the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ and is present with and in believers. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and by his powerful and mysterious work regenerates spiritually dead sinners, awakening them to repentance and faith, baptizing them into union with the Lord Jesus, such that they are justified before God by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. By the agency of the Holy Spirit, believers are renewed, sanctified, and adopted into God’s family; they participate in the divine nature and receive his sovereignly distributed gifts. The Holy Spirit is himself the down payment of the promised inheritance, and in this age indwells, guides, instructs, equips, revives, and empowers believers for Christ-like service.

(10) The Kingdom of God

We believe that those who have been saved by the grace of God through union with Christ by faith and through regeneration by the Holy Spirit enter the kingdom of God and delight in the blessings of the new covenant: the forgiveness of sins, the inward transformation that awakens a desire to glorify, trust, and obey God, and the anticipation of their glory yet to be revealed. Good works constitute indispensable evidence of saving grace. Living as salt in a world that is decaying and light in a world that is dark, believers should neither withdraw into seclusion from the world nor become indistinguishable from it: rather, we are to do good to the city, for the glory and honor of the nations is to be offered up to the living God. Recognizing whose created order this is, and because we are citizens of God’s kingdom, we are to love our neighbors as though they were ourselves, doing good to all, especially to those who belong to the household of God. The kingdom of God is an invasive power that plunders Satan’s dark kingdom and regenerates and renovates through repentance and faith the lives of people rescued from that kingdom. It therefore inevitably establishes a new community of human life together under God.

(11) God’s New People

We believe that God’s new covenant people have already come to the heavenly Jerusalem; they are already seated with Christ in the heavenlies. This universal church is manifested in local churches of which Christ is the only head; thus each ‘local church’ is, in fact, the church, the household of God, the assembly of the living God, and the pillar and foundation of the truth. The church is the body of Christ, the apple of his eye, graven on his hands, since he has pledged himself to her forever. The church is distinguished by her gospel message, her sacred ordinances, her discipline, her great mission, and, above all, her love of God, and her members’ love of one another and of the world. Crucially, this gospel we cherish has both personal and corporate dimensions, neither of which may properly be overlooked. Christ Jesus is our peace: he has not only brought about peace with God, but also peace between alienated peoples. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both Jew and Gentile to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. The church serves as a sign of God’s future new world where its members live for the service of one another and their neighbors, rather than for self. The church is the corporate dwelling place of God’s Spirit, and the continuing witness to God in the world.

(12) Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

We believe that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordained by the Lord Jesus himself. The former is an outward symbol of the inner reality of entrance into the new covenant community, the latter a symbol of ongoing covenant renewal and a means of spiritual nurture and growth. Together they are simultaneously God’s pledge to us, divinely ordained means of grace, our public vows of submission to the once crucified and now resurrected Christ, and anticipation of his return and of the consummation of all things.

(13) The Restoration of All Things

We believe in the personal, glorious and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ with his holy angels, when he will exercise his role as final Judge, and his kingdom will be consummated. We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the just and the unjust – the unjust to judgment and eternal conscious punishment in hell and the just to eternal blessedness in the presence of him who sits on the throne in the new heaven and the new earth, the home of righteousness. On that day the church will be presented faultless before God by the merits and triumph of Christ, all sin purged and its wretched effects forever banished. God will be all in all and his people will be enthralled by the immediacy of his ineffable holiness, and everything will be to the praise of his glorious grace.

(14) Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality

We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. (Gen 1:26-27) Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.

We believe God instituted marriage to be between one man and one woman for life and was designed to reflect the relationship between Christ and the Church and to bring great glory to the triune God. We believe sex is a gift from God to be enjoyed exclusively within the marriage relationship. Participation in other forms of sex (fornication, homosexuality, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, adultery, pornography) or sex alteration (changing one’s sex) is a perversion of God’s gift and is to be summarily avoided. We believe God hates divorce, and as a result will always counsel troubled marriages to seek reconciliation and renewed commitment to one’s marital vows. We recognize in a fallen world that divorce and remarriage might be permitted under certain conditions. Any exceptions must be in accord with the teaching of Scripture as determined by the elders.

We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of Camelback Bible Church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the Camelback Bible Church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by Camelback Bible Church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by this Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality. (Matt 5:16; Phil 2:14-16; 1 Thess 5:22)

We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. (Acts 3:19-21; Rom 10:9-10; 1 Cor 6:9-11)

We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31.) Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of Camelback Bible Church.

(15) Sanctity of Human Life

We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life. (Psalms 139)

(16) Final Authority

The statement of faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe. For purposes of Camelback Bible Church’s faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our Board of Directors is Camelback Bible Church’s final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application.

October, 2015
Adapted from The Gospel Coalition