STATEMENT OF FAITH
These are the beliefs of Open Door Fellowship. From this we derive our mission, vision and philosophies of ministry.
A. THE BIBLE
We believe that the Bible is God’s written Word of revelation to man and that it is verbally inspired, authoritative for Christian faith and life, and without error in the original manuscripts.
Paul writes, “All Scripture is God-breathed…” (2 Timothy 3:16). While God used human authors to write down his Word, the Word originated with God. Peter writes, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet 1:20,21).
As God’s Word to us, the Bible is the authoritative guide to life for all true Christians. Used properly, it will never lead astray, but will be a “lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Ps 119:105). It will lead us to a living faith in a Living Lord. (John 5:39, 40; 2 Tim 3:15) Then, as people of faith read and study the Word, they find it “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16,17).
B. THE LIVING GOD
We believe that there is one God (Deut 6:4) infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Rom 8:1-17; 2 Cor 13:14; 1 Tim 3:16)
The Bible opens with “In the beginning God…”. It never attempts to prove the existence of God; God is assumed. While this is a faith declaration, it is not a blind faith: God has revealed himself to us. When Philip said, “Show us the Father,” Jesus answered, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8,9).
According to the Bible, the one true God, Yahweh, exists in three persons. God the Father revealed himself to Moses as “I AM” in Exodus 3:13-15. In the Revelation, when John fell down to worship at the feet of the angel, the angel rebuked him; “Do not do it!…Worship God” (Rev 22:8, 9)! Yet, when John fell at the feet of Jesus, his response was, “Do not be afraid” (Rev 1:17). In Rev 4:8-14, the four living creatures and the elders fell down and worshiped before the one on the throne and the Lamb! Concerning the Holy Spirit, Paul writes, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you” (1 Cor 3:16). This doctrine of the Trinity is a divine mystery; it will never be fully comprehended by mortals.
C. THE SON JESUS CHRIST
We believe that Jesus Christ is true God and true man (Phi 2:5-11; Rom 1:4; Rom 5:14-21), having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary (Lk 1:26-35). He is the Head of the church (Eph 1:22; Eph 5:23). He lived a sinless life (2 Cor 5:18-21; 1 Pet 2:21-22), did miracles, died on the cross to provide for our redemption, was bodily resurrected and ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of Almighty God (Mk 16:19) where He is presently interceding for us (Rom 8:34), and awaiting His return to earth in power and glory. Other passages: (Jn 1:18; 3:16).
D. THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe in the personality and deity of the Holy Spirit. God the Father completed his work of creation, and then he rested (Gen 2:2). Jesus the Son completed his work of redemption, and is now seated with the Father in heaven (Eph 1:20). The Holy Spirit is now the active presence of God in the world (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus, thus his work is consistent with that of Jesus (Phi 1:19; Jn 16:12-15).
What is the present work of the Holy Spirit? He convicts the world of its sin and of the righteousness of Jesus (Jn 16:5-11). He performs the miracle of new birth in an unbeliever (Jn 3:1-8). He comes to each believer to indwell them and bring spiritual life (Jn 3:5-8; Rom 8:11; Gal 5:25). He unites believers into the church (1 Cor 12:12, 13). He leads believers into the truth (Jn 16:12-15). He brings spiritual gifts to believers (1 Cor 12:4-11). And, as believers turn over control of their lives to the Holy Spirit, they are baptized, filled, or clothed with the Spirit. This empowering enables them to live holy and fruitful lives, operate in the gifts of the Spirit, and walk daily in the supernatural realm as Christ did while he was here on earth. For the believer, the result of this empowering will be a life characterized by faithful service in the kingdom of God, being a faithful witness of Jesus and the honoring of God in worship (Acts 1:4-9; Gal 5:16-26).
We believe that God is the Creator of all things in heaven and on earth. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1). The world we live in is the handiwork of God; it is not a cosmic accident. And when it was created, it was very good! (Gen 1:31) The human race was the crown of creation, created in the image of God. Thus, we are spiritual beings as God is. (Gen 1:27; Gen 2:7) Life was a life of shalom, a perfect harmony of relationships spiritually, psychologically, socially, and physically. It would remain this way as long as humankind remained in right relationship with God (Gen 2:8, Gen 15-18,25).
As the crown of creation, the human race was given a four-fold responsibility over the creation. They were to “increase in number and fill the earth”; they were to “subdue”, or develop the earth; they were to “work it and take care of it”; and they were to “rule over,” or manage it. (Gen 1:28; Gen 2:15)
F. THE FALL
We believe that sin entered the world through Adam and Eve alienating humanity from God. The human race was given a great deal of freedom to carry out their God-given responsibilities, but there was a limit to that freedom. God retained the responsibility of determining good and evil, right and wrong (Gen 2:16, 17). Satan, one of God’s created angels who tried to take God’s place and was banished from heaven (Ezek 28:12-15; Isa 14:12-14), came to Adam and Eve and tempted them to become “like God”, to be their own gods, to determine right and wrong themselves (Gen 3:1-5). With their rebellion, sin entered the world separating humankind from God, and harmony became disharmony; wholeness became brokenness. The way to life as God designed it, shalom, was barred (Genesis 3:6-24).
Furthermore, when the human race rebelled, the dominion or rule over the earth that had been given to them by God, passed on to the one they listened to, Satan. The entire creation came under a spiritual bondage to Satan and his demons, the fallen angels who joined Satan’s rebellion against God. The earth became the “dominion of darkness”, instead of the kingdom of God (Col 1:13; 1 John 5:19).
We believe that God is a redeeming God. He did not leave the human race in the condition they were in; he immediately set out to bring redemption to his fallen world. God chose Abraham to be the one through whom he would begin this redemptive process (Genesis 12:1-3). He entered into a covenant with the nation of Israel, descendants of Abraham. It would be through Israel that God would bring redemption (Exodus 19:1-8). When they strayed from their calling, God sent the prophets to call them back to faithfulness (Hosea 8:1; Micah 6:6-8;Zechariah 7:1-14; Ezekiel 36:22-38).
Finally, God sent his Son Jesus, conceived by the Holy Spirit, descendant of Abraham and David (Luke 1:26-35). Jesus perfectly fulfilled everything that Israel was meant to be, demonstrating the reign of God on the earth by walking in complete obedience to the Father. Thus in Him, the kingdom of God was present (John 6:38; Luke 11:20). Then, after living a sinless life himself, he laid down his life for the sins of the human race (Matt 26:26-29;2 Cor 5:17-21). His resurrection verified that he had accomplished his work of redemption (Jn 2:18-22; Rom. 1:4).
We believe that salvation can only come to those who accept by faith Jesus Christ as both Savior and Lord because of his death and resurrection.
When the angel of the Lord told Joseph of the coming birth of Jesus, he said, “…you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matt 1:20, 21). Salvation comes to us only through Jesus (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). All other “saviors” will ultimately prove false.
How has Jesus saved us? He paid the price of sin, reconciling us to God (Rom 3:21-26). He overcame the power of Satan, breaking his hold on all of creation (John 12:31; Col 2:13-15; Heb 2:14, 15). He brought us fullness of life, shalom (John 10:7-10). He promised to send the Holy Spirit to live in us (Jn 14:15-21).
This salvation is offered as a free gift of God’s grace and cannot be attained through good works (Eph. 2:4-9). How do we receive it? First, by faith we put our trust in what Jesus has already done, not in what we can do (Prov 3:5-6; 28:26). Second, we confess our sins and are willing to repent, to turn away from them (Acts 3:19; 1 Jn 1:9). Third, we welcome Jesus into our lives as Lord and Savior, committing ourselves to follow him for the rest of our lives (1 Tim 1:15; Rom. 10:9, 10).
I. THE CHURCH
We believe that the church is all persons who through saving faith in Jesus Christ have been redeemed by the Holy Spirit.
It was Jesus who established the church and gave to it the keys to the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 16:13-20). He is the head of the church (Eph 1:22, 23). The church is the body of Christ, consisting of many members united together to carry out Jesus’ ministry (1 Cor 12:27-31). The church exists both as the church universal and as the church local.
The church universal consists of all true believers all over the world (Acts 9:31; Eph 3:10, 11). Within the church universal, there are many different denominations, networks, and groups which are best understood as different families of the faithful, similar to the different tribes within the nation of Israel.
The church local is the manifestation of the church in a particular time and locale. It consists of small groups and congregations of believers who have assembled together to be accountable to each other (Rom 16:3-5; Col 4:15, 16). It is God’s intent that every true believer be an active member of a local assembly; the idea of a Christian who is not a part of the local church is totally foreign to the New Testament. It is clear from Scripture that the early church met in two different settings, in the temple courts and in their homes (Acts 2:46), “publicly and from house to house” (Acts 20:20). In each setting the transforming power of God is manifested in unique ways. Therefore, we meet in the large group setting for worship and teaching, where we receive inspiration and information. We also meet in the small group setting where we apply Biblical truth to our lives through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, so that we may be changed into Christ’s image and equipped to carry out his purpose and ministry to one another. It is here, in this small group setting, that we experience Christian community extending love, intercession, healing and God’s grace to one another.
We believe that the apostolic mission of the church is to invade the world of darkness with the good news that Jesus has defeated Satan and won freedom for those held captive by their sins (Luke 4:14-21; Eph 3:10, 11). We are to proclaim and be a sign of the Kingdom of God in the world. We have been commissioned to extend the loving kindness of Christ to every human need, to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey all things He has commanded. (Matt 28:18-20)
We believe in the ultimate reign of God with its fulfillment coming in the day when Christ will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. What God began with Abraham, he will bring to conclusion (Phi 1:6). The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of this (Eph 1:13, 14). This fallen creation will be delivered from the bondage that sin has brought upon it (Rom 8:18-21). Jesus will return (Acts 1:9-11). The dead in Christ will rise and all believers will replace their mortality with immortality (1 Cor 15:50-54; 1 Thess 4:16-18).
Satan and his host of evil spirits are fallen angels (Ezek 28:12-15; Isa 14:12-15; Rev 12:7-9). They are adversaries of God and His people. God’s judgment against them is sealed and they will spend eternity in the lake of burning sulfur (Rev 19:20; 20:10).
All those who have refused to receive the salvation offered in Jesus, who have insisted on going their own way, will receive the logical conclusion of their choice; they will be eternally separated from God (Rev 20:11-15). All true believers who have welcomed Jesus into their lives as Lord and Savior await God’s final victory, the end of this present age of struggle, the resurrection of the dead, and a new heaven and a new earth. There the people of God, whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life, will reign with Christ in justice, righteousness, and peace, experiencing the fullness of God’s kingdom forever. Eternity will be spent in the presence of God (Rev 21)!
L. FAITH AND WORKS
We believe that the Scriptures teach that faith without works is dead. We believe that nothing can be genuinely believed without there being an accompanying and corresponding action. Our faith is an active faith that requires the doing of deeds in the world. Our faith is not a passive or complacent system of intellectual belief or assent to doctrine, but is an active force in our lives that requires and results in actions being taken. A living, active faith will be manifested not only in belief and mental assent but in actions expressed and based upon that belief. If a belief is truly held, it will be acted upon. The act is as much a fundamental aspect of our faith as the belief upon which the act is based. (Acts 26:20; James 2:14-16; Ephesians 2:8-10; Matt 7:24-27; Matt 5:16; 2 Cor 5:10; Mat 16:27;Rev 2:23; 22:12)