Statement Of Faith For D. Eric Williams
I believe that all Scripture (the Old Testament in the Hebrew and Aramaic and the New Testament in the Greek) is inspired ("God breathed"), by God (2 Tim. 3:16), and is without error or contradiction. The Holy Spirit guided the writers to write the very words of God (2 Pet. 1:19-21, 1 Cor. 2:13, Matt. 5:18, John 17:17), yet the writers where not merely stenographers, but wrote in accordance with their individual talents, abilities and character even as the Holy Spirit directed them. The focus of the Bible is Jesus Christ; the Bible informs us concerning Him and leads us to Him (Luke 24:27, 44, John 5:39, Acts 17:2-3). Finally, all Scripture is "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim.3:16-17, cf. Luke 24:27, Rom. 15:4, 1 Cor. 10:11).
I believe that there is only one true God who is the Creator of heaven and earth. God is one God and three persons; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, of one substance, power and eternity. (Matt.3:16-17, 28:19, 2 Cor. 13:14). These three are equal in their deity, perfection and essence, and yet are separate persons having distinct roles within the Godhead (John 5:17-19, 10:30, 15:26, Rom. 8:28-30, 1 Cor.6:11). Moreover, God is spirit, pure, holy, and good and is worthy of our love, confidence, honor, and obedience (Deut. 6:4, Ps. 83:18, 90:12, 147:5, Jer. 10:10, John 4:24, Eph. 4:6).
According to the eternal decree of God and in the fullness of time, the Word (the Eternal Son), became flesh, taking on the form of sinful man (John 1:1, 14, Phil. 2:5-8) yet without sin (Heb. 2:9-18, 4:15), being two natures in a single person (Micah 5:2, Isa. 7:14, 9:6-7, Matt. 16:16, John 1:1, 14, 10:30-31, 20:28, Gal. 4:4, Titus 2:13, 2 Pet. 1:1, 1 John 5:20), without any confusion of the two, being called Jesus the Christ, the Son of God. He was born of the Virgin Mary having been miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18-23, Luke 1:26-35). Having been born under the law He lived a life of perfect obedience to God's law. Furthermore, I believe that the Lord Jesus paid the full penalty for our sins when He died on the cross as our substitute (1 Pet. 3:18, Rom. 5:8, 1 Cor. 15:3, 2 Cor. 5:21). He bore our sins in His own body (1 Pet. 2:24, Luke 22:19) and shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins (1 Pet. 1:18-19, Matt. 26:27-28, Eph. 1:7, Col. 2:13). Christ's death was the Perfect and final sacrifice and I can add nothing to it by my own efforts (Heb. 1:3, 10:10-14, 1 Pet. 3:18). The death of Christ is sufficient to save all men (1 Tim. 2:6, 4:10, 1 John 2:2, 2 Cor. 5:19) but is applied only to those whom the Holy Spirit draws to confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their hearts that God has raised Him from the dead (Rom. 10:9, 1 Tim. 4:10, John 1:12, 3:16). Moreover I believe that Jesus died and was buried and then arose from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures and that the bodily resurrection of Christ was an actual (not symbolic), event (Matt. 28:1-10, 1 Cor. 15:4-20). I believe that Christ ascended into heaven and that He is now exalted at the Father's right hand (Acts 1:9-11, Phil. 2:9-11, Eph. 1:20-23, Heb. 1:3, 9:24). There He is continually representing His people as our High Priest, Intercessor and Advocate (Rom.8:34, Heb. 4:14-16, 7:25, 10:21-22, 1 John 2:1-2).
The Holy Spirit
I believe that the Holy Spirit is a person, not an impersonal force. He is God, equal in nature with God the Father and God the Son (Matt. 28:19, John 14:16, 17, 15:26-27, Acts 5:3-4). He was active in creation; He restrains sin and Satan in the world; He convicts unsaved men of sin, of the righteousness of Christ, and of the future judgment of sin as the Gospel is proclaimed; He draws men to Christ in salvation; He indwells, seals, guides, teaches, assures, and helps the believer (Gen. 1:1-3, John 3:5-6, 14:26, 16:8-15, Rom. 8:9, 14-16, 26-27, 1 Cor. 6:19-20, Eph. 1:13-14, 2 Thess. 2:7, Heb. 9:14). Additionally, the Holy Spirit glorifies Christ in and through the believer (John 16:14) by reproducing the character of Jesus Christ in the believer's life (Gal. 2:20, 4:19).
I believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God from the dust of the ground on the sixth day of the creation week (Gen. 1:26-27, 2:7). Man is not in any way the product of an evolutionary development from lower forms of life but was created directly by God and for God (Isa. 43:7, Col. 1:16, Rev. 4:11). Man was created holy but, through sin, fell from that state (Gen. 3:1-19), Because Adam was the federal or covenantal head of Mankind, the entire human race fell with him and inherited a sinful nature and became alienated from God (Rom. 5:12-21, Ps. 51:1, Gen. 5:3, Col. 1:21, Eph. 4:17-19). Therefore, all men apart from Christ are totally sinful (Ps. 14:1-3, Rom. 3:10-23, 1 Kings 8:46), wicked, lost, blind, and dead in sin (Luke 19:10, 1 Cor. 2:14, Eph. 2:1, Rom. 8:5-8). As a result, man is utterly unable to remedy his own lost condition. Man's heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9) and his only hope is salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.
The salvation of sinful men is the work of God and is totally of grace (Eph. 2:8-9, Acts 15:11). Salvation is the gift of God (Rom. 6:23) which is received through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His work on our behalf (sinless life lived under the law, death on the cross and resurrection on the third day - John 1:12, 5:24, 3:16, 6:47, Acts 16:31). The moment a person confesses Christ as Lord (Rom. 10:9), and believes in Him as Savior, that person passes from death to eternal life and stands before God in the righteousness of Christ. The true believer is assured of God's acceptance and love forever because of Christ's work, and not because of the believer's efforts (1 John 3:14, Eph. 2:9-10, Rom. 5:1). Salvation is based on the finished work of Christ in bearing the penalty and guilt of our sin;. Jesus Christ is the only Savior, and apart from Him there is no salvation (Acts 4:12). Those who do not receive God's free gift of eternal life will perish under the wrath of a holy God (John 3:16-18, 36, 8:24).
Water baptism is administered "in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19). Baptism is the outward expression and testimony of faith in Christ and symbolizes the believer's baptism by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ (Rom. 6:3-4, 1 Cor. 12:13). Baptism may be administered by immersion or by sprinkling to believers in Jesus Christ and to their children. Baptism replaces circumcision as the rite of covenant inclusion (Col. 2:11-13), and there is no indication that the Apostles withheld the sacrament from the children of Believers. When Peter Preached the Gospel to the household of Cornelius and the "Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word" the entire household was baptized (Acts 10:44-48). Lydia a seller of purple from Thyatria, believed the message of salvation and "she and her household were baptized" (Acts 16:14-15). Paul told the Philippian Jailer to "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." As a result "he and all his family were baptized" (Acts 16:30-34). Paul also baptized the "household of Stephanas" while ministering in Corinth (1 Cor. 1:16). None of these passages indicate that the children and infants in the households were excluded from the rite of baptism. This is in keeping with the Abrahamic character of the covenant as discussed in Galatians. 3:13-14, 16, and 29. As a pastor I present this understanding of baptism to my congregation and allow believing parents to decide when their own children will be baptized (those who do not hold to infant/child baptism are encouraged to have their babies dedicated).
The Lord's Supper is the commemoration of Christ's death (1 Cor. 11:26), wherein we proclaim His sacrifice on our behalf and the establishment of the New covenant in His blood. It is a renewal and fulfillment of the Passover celebration with Jesus Christ being our Paschal lamb (1 Cor. 5:7). Just as the Passover event and participation in the Passover celebration signaled the validation of the nation of Israel as God's chosen, forgiven, protected people, likewise, the Lord's supper proclaims that (through Christ's death), we are part of a new nation of priests, chosen, forgiven, and protected (1 Peter 2:9-10). In the Lord's Supper we partake of the broken bread representing His body to commemorate His body "broken" for us, and we partake of the wine which is the blood of the new Covenant. The broken bread (in which His body is spiritually present),reminds us that Jesus took upon Himself the punishment for our sins (He was "wounded for our transgressions and crushed for out iniquities" Is. 53:5-6 ), and the wine (in which His blood is spiritually present), recalls the sealing of the covenant - indeed the creation of the covenant relationship - by the blood of the Sacrifice (Ex. 24:8, Matt. 26:28, Mark. 14:24, Luke 22:20, Heb. 9:22). As with the Passover celebration (which the Lord's supper replaces), every member of the covenant family is allowed to partake (Ex. 12:3-4, 26, 13:8, 14).
Jesus declared that the generation in existence at the close of His earthly ministry would see the fulfillment of His prophecy as recorded in Matthew chapter twenty-four (Matt. 24:34). Therefore we should not be surprised to find that the events that took place ca AD 66 to AD 70 perfectly correspond to Christ's prophecy and the majority of The Revelation. Moreover, the writer of the book of Hebrews makes it clear that Jesus accomplished His work during the last days of the old covenant (Heb 1:1, 9:26) and Paul indicates that he and his contemporaries where living in the last days of the old covenant (Rom. 13:12, 1 Cor. 10:11). In addition, we see from the Old Testament examples (Ps. 18:7-15, Is. 13:1-ff, Jer. 4:23-26, Ezek. 32, Joel 2:10, and etc.), that the predictions of cosmic phenomena coinciding with the last days are prophetic language describing the dissolution of the strictly Jewish "church" and the ingrafting of the Gentiles, resulting in a new order of things in the universe (Matt. 24:29, Rev. Chapter 6 and so on). In short "the coming of Christ in AD 70 was a coming in judgment on the Jewish nation, indicating the end of the Jewish age and the fulfillment of a day of the Lord. Jesus really did come in judgment at that time, fulfilling His prophecy in the Olivet Discourse" (R.C. Sproul). There is however a day in the future when Christ will bring an end to this present age and defeat Satan once and for all (Rev. 20:7-10).
I believe that the revelatory gifts of the Spirit (speaking in tongues, prophecy and "knowledge"), were given to the Church only during it's infancy (1 Cor. 13:8-13). Thus, when the Gospel first penetrated the first century culture, the manifestation of the revelatory gifts were given as a validation of the message preached, as encouragement to the new members of Christ's body and as a sign of coming judgement to unbelievers. However, as the Church matured (1 Cor 13:10 - the Greek term teleios as used here does not refer to moral perfection, but to a "grown up" condition, i.e., when adulthood comes, childhood is done away with), these things were to pass away and be replaced by the orderly, mature ministry (including healing), of a mature church (James 5:13-18, 1 John 5:14-15).
I believe that the Bible is clear in stating that God is the author of our salvation. We do not chose Him, but He chooses us. He has mercy on whomever He wills and withholds mercy from whomever he chooses (John 6:37, 44, 65, Rom. 5:8, 9:14-ff, 1 Jn. 4:19). At the same time, I believe too much emphasis is often placed upon this side of the story. The fact is, we exercise free will according to our nature even while God sovereignly directs the process (Prov. 16:1, 9, 33, Phil. 2:12-13).
The Bible clearly teaches that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God's power and are safe and secure in Christ forever (John 5:24, 6:37-40, 47, 10:27-30, Rom. 8:28-39, Eph. 1:13-14, 4:30, 1 Pet. 1:5, 1 Cor. 1:4-8, Heb. 13:5). Therefore, it is impossible for someone who is born again to loose their salvation (John 10:28). On the other hand, the person whose life is devoid of Christian character ought to make certain of their calling and election (2 Pet. 1:3-10) and should examine themselves to see whether they are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). The question, therefore is not whether a saved person can be lost (which is impossible), but whether one who professes belief is truly saved (1 John 2:4, 6, 9).
The Apostle's Creed
The Nicene Creed
The Athanasian Creed
Conservative Congregational Christian Conference Statement of Faith and Polity
The Heidelberg Catechism with Scripture Proofs
Westminster Shorter Catechism with Scriptutre Proofs
The Savoy Declaration of Faith and Order
The Commission Creed of 1883
The Book of Common Prayer (PDF)