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Article 4 Doctrine

4.1 The doctrine of the Church shall be in accordance with that system commonly called "the Reformed Faith" as expressed in the Confession of Faith as set forth by the historic Westminster Assembly together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. 

4.2 In abbreviated form, the chief tenets of the doctrine of the Church, apart from the Apostles’ Creed, shall be as follows:

4.2.1 We believe in the divine, verbal and plenary inspiration of the Scriptures in the original languages, their consequent inerrancy and infallibility, and as the Word of God, the Supreme and final authority in faith and life;

4.2.2 We believe in one God existing in three co-equal and co-eternal Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit;

4.2.3 We believe that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, and is true God and true man; 

4.2.4 We believe that man was created in the image of God, but sinned through the fall of Adam, thereby incurring not only physical death but also spiritual death, which is separation from God and that all human beings are born with a sinful nature and become sinners in thought, word and deed;

4.2.5 We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died a propitiatory and expiatory death as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice, and that all who repent of their sins and believe in Him are justified before God on the grounds of His shed blood;

4.2.6 We believe in the bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His ascension into Heaven, and in His exaltation at the right hand of God, where He intercedes for us as our High Priest and Advocate;

4.2.7 We believe in the personal, visible and premillennial return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to judge this world and bring peace to the nations;

4.2.8 We believe that salvation is by grace through faith, not by works, and that all who repent and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour are born again by the Holy Spirit and thereby become the children of God;

4.2.9 We believe that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and to convict and regenerate the sinner, and indwell, guide, instruct and empower the believer for godly living and service;

4.2.10 We believe that Christ instituted the Sacrament of Baptism for believers and their children and the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, which sacraments shall be observed by His Church till He comes;

4.2.11 We believe in the eternal security, bodily resurrection and eternal blessedness of the saved, and in the bodily resurrection and eternal conscious punishment of the lost;

4.2.12 We believe in the real, spiritual unity in Christ of all redeemed by His precious blood and the necessity of faithfully maintaining the purity of the Church in doctrine and life according to the Word of God, and the principle and practice of biblical separation from the apostasy of the day being spearheaded by the Ecumenical Movement (2 Cor 6:14-18, Rev 18:4). 

Article 6 Principle and Practice of Biblical Separation

6.1 The doctrine of separation from sin unto God is a fundamental principle of the Bible, one grievously ignored in the church today.

6.2 This doctrine arises out of the holiness of God. Both the purity and righteousness of God (Luke 1:75) are involved. "Be ye holy; for I am holy." (1 Pet 1:16, also 3:11; Exod 15:11; Isa 6:3; 2 Cor 7:1)

6.3 The Bible does speak of cooperation ("be of one mind," "that they may all be one," "labourers together," "keep the unity of the Spirit," "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord," also 1 Cor 12:25). However, biblical cooperation is based upon TRUTH. It involves the united effort of God’s people. This is not a cooperation borne of a spirit of undiscerning pluralism, or that of seeking "truth" in all religions.

6.4 We maintain that Scripture teaches a separation that is based on the holiness of God, producing purity in all of life, personal and ecclesiastical.

6.5 It is the duty of all true churches of the Lord Jesus Christ to make a clear testimony to their faith in Him, especially in these darkening days of apostasy in many professing churches, by which apostasy, whole denominations in their official capacity, as well as individual churches, have been swept into a paganising stream of modernism under various names and in varying degrees.

6.6 There has been a notable growth of autocratic domination on the part especially of modernistic leaders by whom the rightful powers of true churches are often usurped and are now being usurped.

6.7 The commands of God to His people to be separate from all unbelief and corruption are clear and positive: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers" (2 Cor 6:14; see also Matt 6:24; Rom 16:17; Gal 1; Eph 5:11; 2 Thess 3:6, 14; 2 Tim 3:1-7; Tit 3:10; 2 Pet 2:1-3; 1 John 4:1-3; 2 John 7-11; Jude 3:20-24; Rev 18:4). We reach out to those who are part of any human system which involves compromise with error, and who thus ought to "come out from among them" (2 Cor 6:17), separate themselves unto the "Father...the Lord Almighty" (2 Cor 6:18), thus "cleansing themselves" and perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Cor 7:1).

6.8 In loyalty to the revealed Word, we, as an organised portion of the people of God, are obliged to oppose all forms of modernism, cultism, Romanism and false religions. Dialogue for the purpose of reaching a compromise between all true Bible believers and representatives of such beliefs is impious, unbiblical, treasonous and unfaithful to the holy God, as He has revealed Himself to us in His infallible, inerrant Word.

6.9 We are opposed to all efforts to obscure or wipe out the clear line of separation between these absolutes: truth and error, light and darkness. (See Jer 5:20; 2 Cor 6:14-18.) We refer to such efforts by New Evangelicals, Charismatic Christians, promoters of ecumenical cooperative evangelism and of the social gospel, and all churches and other movements and organisations that are aligned with or sympathetic to the Ecumenical Movement.

6.10 The Church, having been founded on the principle of Biblical Separation, and being affiliated with the B-P Church of Singapore, which is a member of the International Council of Christian Churches (ICCC), is likewise affiliated with the ICCC as long as the ICCC faithfully maintains its stand on Biblical Separation.

* * *

IN ADDITION to Article 4 “Doctrine” and Article 6 “Principle and Practice of Biblical Separation” of theConstitution of Life Bible-Presbyterian Church, we affirm our position on (i) Bible versions, (ii) Bible translations and the KJV Bible, (iii) Biblical interpretation, (iv) Biblical separation, (v) the account of creation, (vi) the nature of the Genesis Flood, (vii) the virgin birth of Christ, (viii) the second coming of Christ and the millennium, and (ix) the sufficiency of the Scriptures and power of the Gospel in personal counselling and in guiding church growth, as follows:

1.   We do believe that the Hebrew and Greek texts that were used for the King James Version of the English Bible (KJV) were providentially preserved by God and are therefore closest to the original autographs of the Bible.

2.   We do believe that the KJV is a true, faithful, and accurate translation of these Hebrew and Greek texts, and is therefore better than all of the other English Translations. We can without apology hold up the KJV and say, ‘This is the Word of God!’ while at the same time realising that, in some verses, we must go back to the underlying Hebrew and Greek texts for complete clarity, and also compare Scripture with Scripture.

3.   We do employ the KJV alone as our primary scriptural text in the public reading, preaching, and teaching of the English Bible.

4.   We do consider as unreliable all Bible versions (e.g. The New International Version or NIV) that modify or change the meaning of the original text or interpret it, instead of giving a literal and accurate translation, and which cast doubts and/or omit verses.

5.   We do believe “the Bible is none other than the voice of Him that sitteth upon the throne. Every book of it, every chapter of it, every verse of it, every syllable of it, every letter of it, is direct utterance of the Most High. The Bible is none other than the Word of God, not some part of it more, some part of it less, but all alike the utterance of Him that sitteth upon the throne, faultless, unerring, supreme”.

6.   We do dismiss the theories of Liberal and Modernist scholars who claim that the books of the Bible were edited compilations of stories, legends and ancient writings of many unknown human authors that were gradually adapted, edited, modified and compiled over hundreds of years until they reached their present form.

7.   We do believe that the only correct way to interpret Scripture is by comparing verses with each other and harmonising their meaning. No part of the Bible ever contradicts another, and the verses that are difficult can be understood with the help of related verses that are easier to understand.

8.   We do reject the method of interpreting the Scriptures that make the following claim: That one must use only verses that were written earlier than the Bible text being studied in order to shed light on its meaning, since using verses that are written at a later time to do this would result in reading into the text.

9.   We do reject the teaching of Hyper-Calvinists that God loves only the elect, not the whole world (John 3:16), and claims that one cannot say to a whole crowd of sinners, “God loves you and wants you to live and not die”, since not all of them are elected to salvation.

10.  We do believe in the biblical doctrine and practice of personal and ecclesiastical separation from all forms of unbelief and apostasy, viz., Romanism, Ecumenism, Modernism, Charismatism, and Neo-evangelicalism.

11. We do reject as false the tongues-speaking, demon-casting, faith healing, dreams and visions, words of wisdom/knowledge/faith, prophecies, slaying of the Spirit, holy laughing and dancing of the Pentecostal Charismatic, or Vineyard Movement.

12.  We do believe that God created the universe out of nothing (cf. John 1:3; Col 1:16; Heb 11:3).

13.  We do believe God created all things perfectly and very good in six literal or natural, and not figurative or poetic days.

14.  We do believe the Genesis Flood was global or universal, and reject all other views which attempt to limit the geographical extent of the Flood.

15.  We do believe Isaiah 7:14 is a strictly messianic prophecy historically fulfilled only by Jesus Christ who was conceived supernaturally in the womb of the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit as announced by the angel (Matt 1:22-23; Luke 1:26-35).

16.  We do subscribe to the premillennial view of Christ’s second coming (i.e. that Christ will return and then reign on earth for 1,000 years) that recognises that the specific promises God made to Israel concerning restoration to their land, with the Temple rebuilt, will be literally fulfilled to the Israelites, and not fulfilled spiritually in the Church.

17.  We do reject the so-called “Biblical/Christian Counselling” of today (as taught by Gary Collins, Larry Crabb, Frank Minirth, et al) that is influenced by Freudian or humanistic methods which essentially question the sufficiency of Scriptures, and the power of the Gospel.

18.  We do reject the modern-day Church Growth movement (as promoted by George Barna, Bill Hybels, C. Peter Wagner, et al) which advocates worldly techniques or carnal methods to increase church membership.

19.  We do uphold and promote the good name, doctrine, and ethos of the Life B-P Church in accordance with God’s Word, and do protect her from detractors and enemies from without and within.

20.  We do love all who disagree with our doctrinal positional statement, even as God so loved the world (John 3:16) and as Christ has commanded us to love our enemies (Matt 6:44), and do pray that those who disagree with us will seek the truth diligently as God will draw near to those who draw near to Him (James 4:8) and His truth shall make them free (John 8:32).

21.  We do serve the Life B-P Church because we love Jesus Christ who has called us to be members of this Church, and do intend with the Holy Spirit’s help to faithfully declare “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), and to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3), speaking the truth in love (Eph 4:15), to the glory of God the Father.

Explanatory Notes

1.   “We do believe that the Hebrew and Greek texts that were used for the King James Version of the English Bible (KJV) were providentially preserved by God and are therefore closest to the original autographs of the Bible.”

a.    It is often claimed that the Greek source text used by the translators of the KJV for translating the New Testament is of inferior quality. This subjective opinion was popularised by Westcott and Hort, who were trying to elevate a different source text above the Majority Text, which is the source text for the KJV. The thorough research of John Burgon however has brought this opinion into serious question. It can be demonstrated that the Majority Text is of far superior quality to the Westcott and Hort text.

b.   The Westcott and Hort text present in a weakened form many of the passages of Holy Scripture which speak most plainly of the deity of Christ (e.g. 1 Tim 3:16). This made it appealing to Liberal scholars who tend to play down this doctrine. It omits many verses that are familiar to us, e.g. Mark 16:9-21, John 7:53- 8:11 (the woman caught in adultery), and 1 John 5:7, which gives clear teaching on the Trinity.

c.   The Westcott and Hort text represents only a small family of documents which the Church as a whole rejected before the end of the 4th century and were not used for making copies. The more reliable Majority Text was multiplied and copied from generation to generation, and the great majority of existing documents (about 99.44 % of the 5,000 documents) exhibit a faithful reproduction of the true text.

d.   The implication of accepting the Westcott and Hort text is that for 15 centuries (AD 330 to 1881) the true Church of God has not had the Word of God, but has been using a very faulty text all along!

2.   “We do believe that the KJV is a true, faithful and accurate translation of these Hebrew and Greek texts, and is therefore better than all of the other English translations. We can without apology hold up the KJV and say, “This is the Word of God!” while at the same time realising that in some verses, we must go back to the underlying Hebrew and Greek texts for complete clarity, and also compare Scripture with Scripture.”

a.    Fifty-four men, including the greatest Hebrew and Greek scholars of the age, formed six companies to undertake the task of translation of the KJV. Using their Greek sources and the best commentaries of European scholars, and referring to Bibles in Spanish, Italian, French and German, they expressed the sense of the Greek in clear, vigorous and idiomatic English.

b.   The KJV translators were men of unquestioned faithfulness to the Scriptures, godly men whose one burden was to render a translation as close to the text as possible. They were men of impeccable integrity, with no hidden agenda of injecting some personal or sectarian views into their scripts. In contrast to this, some of the people who were involved in the new versions are definitely of questionable background. For example, the Revised Version, which was the first modern English translation of the Bible, had a Unitarian scholar named Dr G. Vance Smith on its committee. Dr Smith denied the deity of Christ and this infuriated the church so much that they demanded his removal from the committee. However, the influential Bishop Thirwall threatened to leave the revision project if Dr Smith was removed, and so the Unitarian scholar remained.

c.   The KJV has clearly stood the test of time for nearly 400 years and has seen abundant blessings poured out from God when it was used in the Revivals in England (Wesley, Whitefield), Scotland (Burns) and America (Jonathan Edwards), and in the powerful preaching of preachers like Spurgeon. The KJV has an excellent track record. Thousands of lives have been saved and blessed through it. In contrast to this, the short time that the NIV has been used by Neo-evangelicals, has seen greater compromises made by the movement as a whole. The signs and wonders movement which began at Fuller Theological Seminary, the birthplace of Neo-evangelicalism is a case in point. The signing of the Evangelicals and Catholics Togetherdocument in 1994 is another. Overall, the NIV does not seem to have a good track record.

d.   It is claimed by some that the New King James Version (NKJV) is as good as the KJV, if not better than it, since it is also based on the Majority Text. Many of members of the committee for the NKJV were godly men. Among all the modern versions this is one that perhaps comes closest to the KJV. But there are also some serious deficiencies in the NKJV. The godly men in the committee had little control over how it finally turned out. They hoped to follow the KJV closely and just update the archaic words, but in the end it has unfortunately not just updated the archaic words but also altered many more words. (It has changed the KJV text in about 60,000 places) Some of the changed words were perfectly good terms in the KJV that should have remained unchanged. For example, the Comforter (Holy Spirit) in John 14:16, 26 and 15:26 and 16:7 has been changed to “the Helper” (following the NASV, and this is the same term used by Jehovah’s Witnesses).

3.   “We do employ the KJV alone as our primary scriptural text in the public reading, preaching and teaching of the English Bible.”

a.    Most of the elements of our church worship service are based on the KJV. How moving it is to hear our whole congregation saying the Lord’s prayer together with the words, “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name...” Any church that abandons the KJV for the NIV would have to end their Lord’s prayer without the words “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” if they want to be consistent with their text! If we were to remove the KJV from our worship service many words and phrases in our worship would gradually lose their significance. For example, the “Holy Ghost” which we mention when we sing our Gloria Patri and Doxology would become obscure to those who use modern versions which do not have this term at all. Besides this, the lyrics of many of our best-loved hymns and old-time gospel choruses follow the KJV. For example,“Great is Thy Faithfulness” which is based on Lamentations 3:22-23.

b.   Some dislike the KJV on the grounds that its English belongs to the 17th century and is archaic. Those who have studied literature would know that Shakespeare’s English is even more difficult to understand than KJV English. In almost any thick book there is always bound to be some words that the reader will not know. The KJV is the same. In most cases, the surrounding context of a word will give a good idea of what it means to the reader, who needs only to make the extra effort to learn and explain some of the old English words in the KJV. For example, “froward” means “wayward”, “usury” means “interest”.

4.   “We do consider as unreliable all Bible versions (eg. The New International Version or NIV) that modify or change the meaning of the original text or interpret it, instead of giving a literal and accurate translation.”

a.    The KJV translators adhered to the “formal equivalence” or “verbal equivalence” method of translation. This means that they followed the text very closely and did not modify or change the meaning. They took no liberties with God’s Word, and only rephrased certain expressions, when changes were really necessary. The KJV reading may sometimes be hard to understand but that is only because it has given aliteral translation of the wording of the Greek or Hebrew text. And the wording of the original text of a particular verse may itself be difficult to understand and may be interpreted in several ways as commentaries on that verse will show. Modern translators overcome the difficulty by interpreting the verses for the reader. But this totally obscures all other possible ways of interpreting them. What we read then may not be God’s Word any more but what some people think it means.

5.   We do believe “the Bible is none other than the voice of Him that sitteth upon the throne. Every book of it, every chapter of it, every verse of it, every syllable of it, every letter of it, is direct utterance of the Most High. The Bible is none other than the Word of God, not some part of it more, some part of it less, but all alike the utterance of Him that sitteth upon the throne, faultless, unerring, supreme.”

a.    We must declare the KJV Bible to be nothing less than God’s powerful inspired Word, just as any faithful translation of God’s Word into any language can also be presented as being His inspired word. In 2 Timothy 3:15-17, Paul refers to the Scriptures that Timothy had and calls them inspired despite the fact that he had only a copy. It is possible that he had the Old Testament in Hebrew, but it is more likely that he had the Greek translation of the Old Testament, since his father was a Greek and he lived in Lystra, which was definitely Greek-speaking. We can therefore confidently say, when we hold the KJV in our hands, that what we are holding is God’s inspired word.

b.   We need to be firmly convinced that it is important to keep on promoting and using the KJV. As more and more English-speaking churches around us abandon the KJV for one or more of these newer versions, it is important to understand the reasons why Bible-Presbyterians should continue to hold on to it. We live in the end times and we cannot afford to be blind to the forces that are working around us in the Christian world. Our theological position is recognised by the version we use. For example, if a person promotes and uses the Douay version or Jerusalem Bible, he is probably a Roman Catholic. If a person promotes and uses the RSV or NRSV, he is probably Liberal. If a person promotes and uses The TEV, NIV or Living Bible he is probably a New Evangelical. In fact the NIV can with full justification be called the “New Evangelical Version” (NEV) because of the deep involvement of the National Association of Evangelicals in its production and promotion.

6.   “We do dismiss the theories of Liberal and Modernist scholars who claim that the books of the Bible were edited compilations of stories, legends and ancient writings of many unknown human authors that were gradually adapted, edited, modified and compiled over hundreds of years until they reached their present form.”

a.    One example of this is their theory regarding the writing of the first five books of the Bible (Genesis to Deuteronomy). While we believe that these books were factual, historical, inspired by God and written by Moses in the 15th century BC, Liberal scholars speculate that the events described in them did not take place, but were merely made up to explain the origins and reasons behind existing phenomena, and that they evolved as documents (named J, E, D & P) written between the 9th and 4th centuries by unknown writers and were gradually compiled into one. The same approach has been used on the four Gospels and other books of the Bible. The result of these theories is that the Bible is no longer regarded as being the Word of God, but as the words of men.

7.   “We do believe that the only correct way to interpret Scripture is by comparing verses with each other and harmonising their meaning. No part of the Bible ever contradicts another, and the verses that are difficult can be understood with the help of related verses that are easier to understand.”

a.    According to The Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter I, para. IX, “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.”

b.   This results naturally from the fact that all 66 books of the Bible were written by one author, God Himself, and would therefore be completely consistent.

8.   “We do reject the method of interpreting the Scriptures that make the following claim: That one must use only verses that were written earlier than the Bible text being studied in order to shed light on its meaning, since using verses that are written at a later time to do this, would result in reading into the text.”

a.    This method of interpretation is Neo-evangelical and originated from Walter C. Kaiser, who calls it “the Analogy of Antecedent Scripture.” Using this, Kaiser made an erroneous interpretation of the prophecy of the virgin birth of Christ given in Isaiah 7:14, claiming that the child who was born miraculously in Ahaz’s lifetime was his son, Hezekiah, who became the next king of Judah. (The Promise Single-Meaning Hermeneutic, Evangelical Journal 6 [1988]: 55-70).) We believe that Matthew’s interpretation that the prophecy was fulfilled only in the birth of Jesus must be used to interpret Isaiah 7:14.

9.   “We do reject the teaching of Hyper-Calvinists that God loves only the elect, not the whole world (John 3:16), and claims that one cannot say to a whole crowd of sinners, “God loves you and wants you to live and not die,” since not all of them are elected to salvation.”

a.    Hyper-Calvinism is the term used to describe a distorted form of Calvinism that goes beyond what John Calvin himself has taught. It teaches that God hates all unbelievers, and works all things towards their destruction. Both Calvin and the Scriptures however, teach that God relates favourably to the non-elect in two ways:

b.   First, by the common grace that He shows to all men whether elect or non-elect. This common grace is seen in giving them gifts and talents, sunshine and rain, and time to repent of their sins. Consider Calvin’s words in his Institutes 2.2.14, “The power of human acuteness also appears in learning these [i.e. the arts] because all of us have a certain aptitude. ... Hence, with good reason we are compelled to confess that its beginning is inborn in human nature. Therefore this evidence clearly testifies to a universal apprehension of reason and understanding by nature implanted in men. Yet so universal is this good that every man ought to recognize for himself in it the peculiar grace of God.”

c.   Second, by sincerely inviting everyone, elect and non-elect, to repentance and salvation in Christ. In his commentary on John 3:16, “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish”, Calvin wrote, “The outstanding thing about faith is that it delivers us from eternal destruction. For He especially wanted to say that although we seem to have been born for death sure deliverance is offered to us by the faith of Christ so that we must not fear the death which otherwise threatens us. And he has used a general term, both to invite indiscriminately all to share in life and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers. Such is also significant in the term ‘world’ which He had used before. For although there is nothing in the world deserving of God’s favour, He nevertheless shows He is favourable to the whole world when He calls all without exception to the faith of Christ, which is indeed an entry into life.” 

d.   Hyper-Calvinists are unable to see how God can be gracious to all, and yet at the same time be gracious to some, and willing to save all when He has already willed that only the elect would be saved. To them, it is a contradiction that God Himself cannot reconcile. It must be stated that there is no contradiction in the gospel offer, and in the grace God shows to both the elect and reprobate. In order to properly understand those concepts we must distinguish God’s decretive will from His desiderative will as Calvin himself did.

10. “We do believe in the biblical doctrine and practice of personal and ecclesiastical separation from all forms of unbelief and apostasy, viz., Romanism, Ecumenism, Modernism, Charismatism and Neo-evangelicalism.”

a.    There are two kinds of separation, personal and ecclesiastical. Personal separation is that purposeful removal of oneself from all worldly philosophies and sinful activities. Ecclesiastical separation is that disciplinary measure exercised by a Christian or church against another Christian or church due to doctrinal impurity or positional compromise.

b.   But many regard biblical separation as a negative, critical, judgmental, unloving and unkind practice. Many others are confused about it, and wonder why it is needed at all, not being informed about the ecclesiastical movements working in the world today. One needs to have courage and conviction then both to teach biblical separation as part of the whole counsel of God, and also to put it into practice.

c.   Contrary to what many have thought, separation is not a minor point of doctrine or a denominational distinctive. This commandment is not limited to just one passage in the Bible, but can actually be traced through the Scriptures from beginning to end! For example, the Epistles abound with commands on separation: “Be not conformed to this world” (Rom 12:1-2), “Mark them... avoid them” (Rom 16:17), “evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Cor 15:33), “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Cor 6:14), “come out...be ye separate” (2 Cor 6:17), “cleanse yourselves from all filthiness”(2 Cor 7:1), “Have no fellowship with...but rather reprove” (Eph 5:11), “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thess 5:22), “Withdraw...have no company with...admonish” (2 Thess 3:6, 14-15), “Withdraw from...shun” (1 Tim 6:3-5, 2 Tim 2:16-21), “not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts...But be ye holy” (1 Pet 1:14-16), “Receive not those who abideth not in the doctrine of Christ” (2 John 7:11),“Earnestly contend for the faith” (Jude 3).

d.   In our present time, the application of this would include separation from Romanist, Eastern Orthodox, Liberal, Modernist, Pentecostal, and Charismatic teachers and churches, as well as those from any cults that deny the deity or work of Jesus Christ.

e.    About 40 years ago, the majority of Protestant churches in Singapore did not regard Catholics as Christians. But over the last few decades, many Protestant churches began to accept the Catholic Church as being a valid Christian Church. And so they have stopped evangelising Catholics. Today the Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist Churches would not mind having joint worship and evangelism crusades with the Catholic Church. They claim that the Catholic Church has changed its teachings at the 2nd Vatican Council and come closer to what we believe.

f.    One important application of this principle is to refrain from any involvement in the ecumenical movement, known today as the World Council of Churches. We affirm the words of our Lord Jesus Christ recorded in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

11.  “We do reject as false the tongues-speaking, demon-casting, faith-healing, dreams and visions, words of wisdom/knowledge/faith, prophecies, slaying of the Spirit, and holy laughing and dancing of the Pentecostal Charismatic or Vineyard Movement.”

a.    The present-day Pentecostal Movement came into being in 1901, emphasizing “speaking in tongues” and “divine healing.” Their failure to “rightly divide the Word of Truth” led to many false teachings regarding the ministry of the Holy Spirit and produced confusion in the minds of the saved and unsaved alike.

b.   In the 1960’s, a new movement took shape, sharing the basic doctrines of Pentecostalism but advocating a “stay in” rather than a “come out” policy with regard to church affiliations. This movement is commonly known as the “Charismatic Movement.” It involves not only various Protestant churches but Roman Catholic churches as well. In fact, if one is able to “speak in tongues” or if he has experienced “healing,” he is accepted by the Charismatics with little or no regard to his church affiliation or doctrinal deviation.

c.   In the 1980s, the Signs and Wonders Movement appeared on the religious scene which made the Pentecostal/Charismatic false teachings even more appealing and dangerous. Why? Because this movement promoted the same, basic unscriptural doctrines held by Pentecostals and Charismatics while, in its inception, disclaiming any relationship to either of these groups, thus making it especially attractive to evangelicals and fundamentalists who did not want to wear the label of either group because of their deviant teachings and practices.

d.   These movements are dangerous because they place experience above God’s word in authority. There is little emphasis on Bible study in Vineyard churches. The movement takes a pragmatic approach which is concerned with results and the results determine the truth. It places unscriptural and undue emphasis onphysical healing. This stumbles many precious believers who are falsely taught that it is always God’s will to heal. Both the Scriptures and experience teach that God may use physical afflictions for refining, correcting and chastening (Heb 12:3-11, Job 23:10).

12.  “We do believe that God created the universe out of nothing (cf. John 1:3, Col 1:16, Heb 11:3).”

a.    Thus we reject the theory of evolution, or the theistic evolution that is advocated by Neo-evangelicals and by the Roman Catholic Church which teaches that God created all things, but used the process of evolution to do it. Therefore Adam and Eve were apes that God “transformed” into humans.

b.   Till today, evolution is an unproven hypothesis developed by 19th-century men, Lamark, Darwin and Wallace, who were influenced by humanist philosophy. Evolutionists do not all agree on what really happened.

c.   Because we are created and not creatures that evolved out of pre-existing material, our existence is planned and purposeful; we are responsible to our Creator, human life is precious and marriage is not man-made, but ordained by God.

d.   Many scientists are now convinced that the facts of science and biblical truths combine to declare that creation took place. The Institute of Creation Research (ICR) is steadily gaining ground.

13. “We do believe God created all things perfectly and very good in six literal or natural, and not figurative or poetic, days.”

a.    Some attempt to reconcile the creation account of Genesis to the billions of years of evolution by propounding that each day was actually an age. But theistic evolution cannot be reconciled with the biblical creation account: Birds existed (5th Day) before Land Creatures (6th Day). Whales existed in the seas (5th Day) before mammals on land (6th Day).

b.   Each day must have been a literal 24-hour day because of the phrase, “And the evening and the morning were the...” (Gen 1:5ff). Furthermore, Exodus 20:11 says, “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” The six days of creation are not distinguished in length from the six-day work week.

14. “We do believe the Genesis Flood was global or universal, and reject all other views which attempt to limit the geographical extent of the Flood.”

a.    Many today doubt the historicity of a Universal Flood, and to make the biblical account more credible, have postulated that the account just describes a local flood—one that affected only the Mesopotamian region. Those who advocate this, believe that the writer was using “the language of appearance,” that is, the Flood appeared to be universal because it covered everything within man’s immediate scope of observation. The following confirms that the Flood was universal and not local:

i.          The Depth of the Flood (Gen 7:19-20).

            If the Flood were only restricted in area, it is difficult to comprehend the fact that it covered the highest mountains, even in a small area, without overflowing to other areas. The fact that water seeks its own level seems to be decisively against a local flood.

ii.          The Duration of the Flood

            It appears that the Flood lasted for over one year in all from the time Noah entered the ark until he left it; most of that time the water was upon the earth. No local Flood in history ever lasted that long. Any flood which endured for such a long period would, therefore, have to be universal.

iii.         The Size of the Ark

            Why would Noah build a vessel large enough to accommodate all the land species on earth when all he needed was one large enough to save the species indigenous to Mesopotamia, of which there must have been very few?

iv.         The Need For an Ark at All

            More fatal to the local Flood theory is the utter lack of any need for an ark in such an event, for Noah could easily have walked from the scene of the impending disaster, taking with him any animals which were in any danger of drowning. Why spend 120 years building a boat for which there was no real need?

v.         The Testimony of Peter

            In 2 Peter 3:3-7, Peter argues that at the end of this age God will destroy the world with fiery judgment. He bases his arguments for the extensiveness of this judgment on the analogy of the destruction by water in Noah’s time. If Peter is trying to teach a universal devastation by fire, which he assuredly is, why would he compare it to merely a local Flood in Noah’s time?

vi.         The Testimony of Rock Strata

                        The great thicknesses of sedimentary rock strata found throughout the world, and the existence of huge canyons (eg. the Grand Canyon) can be best explained as the results of a Universal Flood.

15. “We do believe Isaiah 7:14 is a strictly messianic prophecy historically fulfilled only by Jesus Christ who was conceived supernaturally in the womb of the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit as announced by the angel (Matt 1:22-23, Luke 1:26-35).”

a.    Liberal scholars deny that this was the case, claiming that the Hebrew Word for “virgin” (ha‘almah) should be translated “young woman” (cf. RSV) and claiming that the word bethulah would have been used if “virgin” was meant (cf. Gen 24:16). Hence, Isaiah had no intention of predicting the Messiah’s supernatural virgin birth, and Matthew misquoted this verse in Matthew 1:22, 23. Another view that removes the supernatural element is found in the Ryrie Study Bible which claims that the virgin was a woman that Isaiah was going to marry (Isa 8:3) and who would bear his child, but who was still a virgin at the time the prophecy was made.

b.   It can be proven that the Hebrew word “almah” was a common term never used in the Old Testament for anything else except for an unmarried and sexually undefiled girl (Gen 24:43, Ex 2:8, Ps 68:25, Song of Sol 1:3, Prov 30:19). The word “sign” implies a miraculous occurrence. It was to be wrought by “The Lord Himself.” Hence, it could not have been an ordinary birth due to Isaiah’s marriage to a virgin.

c.   The view commonly held by many Neo-evangelicals today is that Isaiah was prophesying a virgin birth, but one which was to take place in Ahaz’s lifetime, as a visible sign for him, that God is with His people (Immanuel) to deliver them. This miraculous birth of a child in Ahaz’s lifetime would be a type of another virgin birth in the future, ie. the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. There were therefore two virgin births in history, not just one! This view is based on linking this verse with verse 16 of the text.

d.   This view is unacceptable as it removes the uniqueness of Christ’s virgin birth, which is one of the main proofs of His Divinity and sinlessness. The name “Immanuel” (God with us) implies the very incarnation of God Himself. No one but Jesus Christ can appropriately bear such a name. The sign need not be fulfilled in Ahaz’s lifetime, as it was given to the “House of David” (Isa 7:13). The word “(to) you” in Isaiah 7:14 is in the plural form, and therefore cannot refer to Ahaz alone. The house of David continued to exist up till the time of Jesus Christ (Mary and Joseph were both descendants of David). There have been no other virgin births in history. The Strictly Messianic View is the only view that is scriptural.

16.  “We do subscribe to the premillennial view of Christ’s second coming (i.e. that Christ will return and then reign on earth for 1,000 years) which recognises that the specific promises God made to Israel concerning restoration to their land, with the Temple rebuilt, will be literally fulfilled to the Israelites, and not fulfilled spiritually in the Church.”

a.    The other views are Postmillennialism and Amillennialism. According to those in the postmillennialist position, Christ will return after the thousand years and not before it. According to those in the amillennialist position, there is no literal 1,000 years. It is just a symbol for the present long period of time between Christ’s first and second coming.

b.   The Premillenial view is preferred because it is based on a plain and literal interpretation of Scripture. If the plain sense of a passage makes good sense, there is no need for us to seek some hidden or symbolic meaning. The other views are based on spiritualising or allegorising the text. Furthermore, Premillennialism is the view that has stood the test of time. It was dominant during the first three centuries of church history, continued during the Middle Ages, among certain groups of faithful believers who were against the Roman Catholic Church, revived in the 17th century by a Calvinist theologian named Johann Heinrich Alsted, and promoted widely in the last two centuries by the Dispensationalists.

c.   The Dispensationalists, however, believe that biblical history is split into many dispensations. While we disagree with them on this, we do hold to the same brand of Premillennialism. Their brand is Futuristic and not Historic. This means that the promises God made to Israel will be fulfilled in Israel, not the Church.

d.   Those who hold the Historic brand of Premillennialism believe that the Church is now Israel in a spiritual sense. Israel is permanently displaced. God is not interested in them in a special way any more. Jews can only partake of the promises of God by becoming part of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since the Church has no part in the land of Israel, all promises of physical blessings like the land, peace and prosperity are then spiritualised away to mean heaven and the Christian life.

e.    The position we take is that there is only One New Covenant and it was meant for the nation of Israel. But because of Israel’s rejection of their Messiah, the Church has come to benefit from the New Covenant, and only from its spiritual blessings. The physical blessings are not for the Church, but for Israel alone. The Bible foretells a time however when Israel will also benefit from the New Covenant, at the time when Christ returns and saves them. Then they will benefit both from the spiritual blessings as well as the physical blessings of the new covenant. Thus we believe that God has not given up on Israel. He still has some plans for them, that are different from His plans for us.

f.    We believe that this view is the one that is most biblically based of all. In Romans 11:17-27, the apostle Paul used the analogy of an olive tree to illustrate this. Let me summarise what he wrote: The Covenant is represented by an olive tree. The Israelites are the natural branches of this olive tree. But because of their unbelief they were broken off from the tree. We, who are branches from a wild olive tree,were then grafted into the olive tree. And when the Israelites turn to Christ, they will be grafted back into their own tree again. And it is certain that this is going to happen one day.

17.  “We do reject the so-called “Biblical/Christian Counselling” of today (as taught by Gary Collins, Larry Crabb, Frank Minirth, et al) that is influenced by Freudian or humanistic methods which essentially question the sufficiency of Scriptures, and the power of the Gospel.”

a.    This brand of Christian counselling is not derived from the Bible but from psychology and from Sigmund Freud who taught and advanced the idea that people’s conscious thoughts and actions are driven by a powerful reservoir of repressed memories no longer directly accessible to the conscious mind. Freud invented psychoanalysis to uncover these hidden regions of the psyche through free association and dream analysis.

b.   Such psychological notions filter down into the church through writers such as Larry Crabb, Frank Minirth, Paul Meier, Gary Collins, James Dobson, Charles Solomon and many more psychologically trained individuals. People then read, interpret and teach what they suppose is biblical, without recognising that their presuppositions are from psychology rather than from Scripture.

c.   It promotes the idea that professional counsellors are better able than pastors, elders and other lay people, and that the Bible is not enough, to counsel Christians who have deep personal and emotional problems. It also encourages people to put the blame for their problems on their circumstances or on others, instead of bearing it themselves.

d.   True biblical counselling (such as taught by Jay Adams) is based on the following: That Scripture is sufficient for all the needs of man (2 Pet 1:3), that the ultimate cause of all problems is sin, that a person must acknowledge his personal responsibility to deal with sin, and that the Gospel alone can deliver a person from sin and gradually transform him through the work of the Holy Spirit and prayer.

e.    There are however medical causes for certain mental illnesses. There are great numbers of individuals erroneously referred to psychotherapy who are really suffering from physical disorders. A number of people, whose neurotic and psychotic behaviour has been caused by undiagnosed physical problems, have been treated by psychotherapy because the real cause was not recognized. Once the physical problem is correctly diagnosed and treated, the mental illness is also cured.

18.  “We do reject the modern-day Church Growth movement (as promoted by George Barna, Bill Hybels, C. Peter Wagner, et al) which advocates worldly techniques or carnal methods to increase church membership.”

a.    George Barna is a researcher and writer whose books—A Step-By-Step Guide to Church Marketing,Turning Vision Into Action—are based on studies of effective churches and conducting polls to learn their methods of church growth, rather than on the Bible.

b.   Bill Hybels, author of Honest to God, is the senior pastor of the 12,000-plus member, Willow Creek Community Church located in Northwest-suburban Chicago. Hybels programmed his Sunday morning service to non-believers, and his service to believers on another day or evening. By this means, he hoped the newcomers would feel welcome, unthreatened and entertained through multimedia presentations, drama and sketches.

c.   The premise of Barna, Hybels and others is that the church must cater to the desires of the unchurched multitude.

19.  “We do uphold and promote the good name, doctrine, and ethos of the Life B-P Church in accordance with God’s Word, and do protect her from detractors and enemies from without and within.”

            By God’s grace Life B-P Church has faithfully held forth the Word of Life (Philippians 2:16). Many movements and churches in history have deviated from their original conservative position after several generations. May the Lord help us to remain firm and steadfast.

20.  “We do love all who disagree with our doctrinal positional statement, even as God so loved the world (John 3:16) and as Christ has commanded us to love our enemies (Matt 6:44), and do pray that those who disagree with us will seek the truth diligently as God will draw near to those who draw near to Him (James 4:8) and His truth shall make them free (John 8:32).”

             We believe that true love demands that we help others who are in error to see their errors, since love “rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6)

21.  “We do serve the Life B-P Church because we love Jesus Christ who has called us to be members of this Church, and do intend with the Holy Spirit’s help to faithfully declare “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), and to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3), speaking the truth in love (Eph 4:15), to the glory of God the Father.”

            May the Lord enable all Lifers to remain faithful to pursue these objectives!

 

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

May 21 & 28 - Looking for the Saviour

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:20