Statement of Faith
Bread of Life Fellowship
A Community of believers devoted to the apostles' doctrinea and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers.
Except the Lord build a house, the laborer labors in vain. It is our calling to allow the Lord Jesus Christ to build His church. To that end, we seek a biblical foundation based on the first church established in the book of Acts. With no concern for modern modes of ministry and “pragmatism,” and with a commitment to systematically teach the entire Word of God in all of its power, and to foster fellowship based on genuine agape love, our purpose is to fulfill the Great Commission of Messiah to make disciples of all nations. This purpose will find its expression through a common dedication to Bible study, prayer, worship, fellowship, service and the highest standards of personal holiness, which is perfected by exalting a risen and sovereign Christ.
Statement of Faith:
- In one God, the sovereign, immutable, eternal God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and of all existence. Of whom, through whom, from whom and for whom all things exist, and to whom is due all honor, glory, worship, service, and obedience which He is pleased to require of man. He is omniscient, so that nothing is contingent or uncertain. He is most holy in His decrees, counsel, works and commands. In the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit -- united, equal and perfect in all attributes, yet with varying functions1. (Ge 1:1, Deut 6:4, 1 Cor 8:6, Ge 32:9, Rom 11:36, Rev 4:11, 1 Tim 6:15, Heb 4:13, Rom 11:33-34, Ps 147:5, Acts 15:18, Ez 11:5, Rev 15:12-15)
- In the word for word inspiration of all the Scriptures in their original languages, as the inerrant and infallible Word of God2. They are the ultimate, decisive and sufficient authority in all matters3, and the New Testament Scriptures, representing the final revelation4 and counsel of God constitute the ultimate, decisive and sufficient counsel in all matters. We affirm that a confession of the full authority, infallibility, and inerrancy of Scripture is vital to a sound understanding of the Christian faith, and that such confession is necessary for an individual’s increasing conformity to the image of Christ. Further we believe that Scripture is of no private interpretation, and therefore has one sense5 which its divine author intended. (2 Tim 3:16, Ps 19:7-11, Heb 4:12)
- That mankind after Adam’s fall is in a depraved6 state – sinners both in nature and by imputation, and as a result of that depravity, all men, as sinners, are self-willed, unwilling and unable to turn from sin. The will to respond to God’s grace is even beyond his ability; albeit his duty7. (Ge 6:5, 8:21, Jer 13:23, 17:9, Ps 51:5, 58:3, Jn 6:43-44, 8:34, 15:5, Rom 1:21-25, 3:10-18, 6:16, 8:6-8, 1 Cor 2:14, 2 Cor 2:16, 3:5, Eph 2:1-2, Col 2:13, 2 Pet 2:19)
- In Messiah, the Son, the Word made flesh, who died for our sins, was buried, and raised on the third day according to the Scriptures; whose atoning death, purchased redemption from sin and made efficacious propitiation for the sins of all who belong to Him8; and in whom the same are justified, sanctified and glorified. (Jn 6:68, 69, Mt 16:10, Jn 1:4,49, 1 Cor 15:3-7, Rom 1:4, 3:25, Rom 8:29-30, 2 Cor 5:21)
- That there is one way of salvation given to man. That it is by grace we are saved through faith, and this is a free gift, not attained by good works. That it is by God’s grace that He initiates His call to His children9. In salvation, God delivers His children from the penalty and power of sin in restoring them to a right relationship with Himself. So it is by this same gift of faith and grace that we repent and believe, turning completely to Jesus, trusting Him with our lives and treasuring Him above all other things10. (Jn 10:27, Jn 14:6, Acts 4:12, Tit 2:11, Eph 2:8,9, Is 65:1, Rom 10:20, Phil 2:13, Jn 3:27, 6:44, 1 Cor 4:7, Jn 1:12, Rom 1:5, 5:5, Phil 2:13, Tit 2:12, Col 2:6, Mt 13:46, Mt 10:37, Mt 19:24)
- In the fellowship and unity of the true Body of Christ11 – the brotherhood of all who are truly born of the Spirit, as manifested by a love for God and each other, obedience to the Word of God, whereby his commands are not burdensome, a disciplined life, conformity to the image of Christ and not to the world, prayer, and fellowship. (Jn 17:16-23, 1 Cor 12:13,1 Jn 5:1-5)
- In the separation12 from all pseudo-Christian cults (Latter Day Saints, Jehovah’s Witnesses, United Pentacostals, etc.), world religions (Islam, Catholicism, etc.), and professing Christian churches and para-church organizations that do not adhere to points 1 through 6 and 1413. (2 Cor 6:17, 7:1, Rom 16:17, 2 Th 3:14-15, Eph 5:11, Gal 1:6-8, Col 2:8)
- That Christ commissioned the church to make disciples of all nations teaching them to observe all that He commands14. That those who repent and believe should be baptized by immersion in water as a symbol of cleansing from sin. (Mt 28:19, Acts 2:38)
- That the church should regularly15 observe the communion of the Lord’s Table in remembrance of His broken body and shed blood, and as a time of introspection and personal repentance. (Lk 23:19-20, 1 Cor 11:23-28)
- That Jesus is the Head of the church, and that no man can occupy that position. That He appoints and ordains a plurality of under-shepherds (pastors, elders or overseers) to direct, minister, teach His Word, and exercise discipline as necessary within the local church. (Acts 11:30, 14:23, 20:17-38, 21: 17-26, 1 Th 5:12,13, Phil 1:1, 1 Tim 3:1-7, 3:10, 4:14, 5:17-25, Tit 1:5-9, 1 Pet 5:1-5, Ja 5:13-15, Heb 13:17)
- That God establishes unique gifts and roles to every member of His body for the general edification of the church, as He wills. That every member is different but equal, exercising different functions according to the gifts given them. This includes unique roles for men and women including but not limited to leadership and teaching roles which are solely for men16. (Rom 12:4-8, 1 Cor 12:6-12, Eph 4:11-13, 1 Tim 2:12)
- That God has not forgotten or replaced His calling and promises to national Israel and that He will literally bring them all to pass17. (Rom 11:11, 25-29)
- In the physical, literal, and historical return of Christ to the earth to save, restore, judge, usher in God's Kingdom, and reign upon the throne of David. (Zech 12:10, Jn 14:1-4, 18-23, Acts 1:11, 1 Th 4:16-18, Heb 9:28)
- In the physical, literal, and historical resurrection of the dead; the unsaved to the eternal punishment of hell18, and the justified to everlasting fellowship with God, eternal life, joy, peace and heaven, where as Christ’s bride, we will serve Him and give Him unending praise, glory and honor. (Mt 10:28, 25:46, Mk 9:43-48,Jn 3:16,36, 5:29, 2 Th 1:8-10, Rev 20:10-15)
a To teach the “apostles' doctrine” it is necessary that the eldership be committed to teaching the Word of God systematically, and in its entirety (see Statement 2 and corresponding footnotes 2-5 & 15).
1 The Father is the author of creation (Eph 3:9, Heb 12:9), election (Eph 1:4, 1 Pet 1:2), and redemption (Jn 6:37, 17:4-7), who sovereignly determines all things (Eph 1:5, Jn 5:30). The Son, the Word, eternally God, and one and only Son of the Father, became man without ceasing to be God (Jn 1:1,2,14,18); conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin (Lk 1:34-35), that he may be the perfect sacrifice to satisfy God’s righteous judgment against sin (Rom 3:24-26), sealed and demonstrated by His resurrection from the grave. The Holy Spirit is the Divine Person who convicts the world of sin (Jn 16:8), effects the new birth in those otherwise spiritually dead (Ez 11:19, Jn 3:3-8), baptizes every believer into the true church (1 Cor 12:13), provokes change, growth, and obedience (Ez 36:27) empowers for service (1 Cor 12:7-11), and in whom we walk (Gal 5:16) – demonstrated by a life of increased fruitfulness of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-23).
2 Inerrancy signifies the quality of being free from all falsehood or mistake and so confirms the truth that Holy Scripture is entirely true and trustworthy in all its assertions. Similarly, infallibility signifies the quality of neither uncertainty nor being misled and so confirms absolutely the truth that Holy Scripture is a sure, safe, and reliable rule and guide in all matters. The canonical Scripture should always be interpreted on the basis that it is infallible and inerrant. Further, the truth of Scripture is not negated by the appearance in it of irregularities of grammar or seeming discrepancies between one passage and another. Scripture cannot contradict itself. Apparent inconsistencies should not be ignored, however. Convincing solution of them will encourage our faith, and where for the present there is no convincing solution, we shall honor God by trusting His assurance that His Word is true, despite appearances. History must be treated as history, poetry as poetry, metaphor, hyperbole, and generalizations as what they are, etc. Differences between literary conventions in Bible times and in ours must also be considered. Scripture is inerrant, not in the sense of being absolutely precise by modern standards, but in the sense of making good its claims and achieving the truth at which its divine author aimed.
3 General revelation is not to be compared with the special revelation of Scripture. So any “truth” discovered outside of Scripture, including claims of so-called science, is subject to man’s fallible judgment of what “truth” is. The Scriptures are accurate and completely sufficient, and as such, any human wisdom and understanding that would attempt to add to matters of life and godliness including all matters of the soul, argue against sufficiency and therefore must be rejected.
4 Inasmuch as all Scripture is the product of a single divine mind, interpretation, while progressive, must refrain from ideas whereby one would correct one Biblical passage by another, whether in the name of progressive revelation or of the imperfect enlightenment of the inspired writer's mind. So while the New Testament supercedes the Hebrew Scriptures, and thus fulfills and reveals it, it does not deny or replace it.
5 We affirm the necessity of interpreting the Bible according to its literal, or normal, sense, which is most precisely accomplished by applying the grammatical-historical hermeneutic, that is, determining the meaning which the original writer expressed. Interpretation according to the literal sense will take account of all figures of speech and literary forms found in the text. We accept the historical record of the whole Scripture as accurate and reliable. Although Holy Scripture is nowhere bound by culture, in the sense that its teaching lacks universal validity, it must at times be culturally considered in light of the customs of a particular period, so that the application of its principles today would call for an analogous but different practice.
6 Mankind is dead in sin, completely and radically impacted by the fall. He is the enemy of God, incapable of saving himself. “Depravity” refers to the corruption sin inflicts within man; that every part of man’s being has been corrupted by sin. Sin’s corruption prevents man from the ability to do anything meritorious for salvation, and makes him hostile toward God. This does not mean that man is as sinful as he could be (utterly sinful). It also does not mean that he can do nothing “good;” nor does it mean that the image of God is destroyed, or that the will is done away with; but rather that the will is enslaved to the sinful nature. As a result of Adam’s sin, man is born spiritually dead, having a corrupted nature which desires to sin and which hates God, and has no ability to do anything truly
pleasing to God. Everything man does comes from a heart that is at enmity with God, and therefore everything man does is unacceptable in God’s sight. This is why man in his natural state can never be good enough to save himself, and can never accept the gospel of his own accord. See Ge 6:5-6, 8:21, 1 Kings 8:46, Job 15:14-16, Ps 130:3, 143:2, Eccl 7:20, 8:11, 9:3, Is 53:6, 64:6, Jer 17:9, Rom 1:28-32, 3:11,19,22,23, 8:7, 1 Cor 2:14, Gal 3:22, Eph 2:1,3,5, 4:17,18.
7 This view is consistent with all of Scripture. Man’s inability does not negate his obligation before God. God gave the law to man as a standard of righteousness, fully aware that man could not keep it. Rather than unjust, it reveals God’s justice as the very law that we could not keep is a constant reminder of our own inability and lack of power, which in turn leads us to Christ. Further, we are commanded to love God perfectly, but know that such perfect love is beyond our power. Also, while we would cherish the freedom of being truly holy as He is holy, we rather find ourselves, wretches in a body of death. It is clear from Romans chapter 1, that while it is God who turns the unbeliever over to a depraved mind, they remain fully responsible and without excuse before God. Some may argue that the command to “repent” and “believe” implies that man may somehow have the ability to do so on his own; but this implies nothing more than to state what man is obliged to do – with no mention of his ability. It is clear that nothing can be done of man’s will without God’s enablement. See Jn 1:13, 6:44, 15:4-5, Rom 7:4-6, 8:7, 2 Cor 3:5, Eph 2:8-9.
8 Propitiation is the satisfaction of God’s righteous indignation against sin. This is the basis of our reconciliation. The Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience and sacrifice has fully satisfied the justice of God, procured reconciliation, and purchased an everlasting inheritance, which is made effective unto salvation to all of those whom the Father has given Him.
9 God exercises His sovereignty in the eternal salvation of men. That is, God can either bestow salvation on any of the children of men, or refuse it, without any prejudice to the glory of any of his attributes. He did this of old, when he chose but one people, to make them his covenant people, to give them the means of grace, passing over all others, giving them over to darkness to perish from generation to generation. While the group that God first covenanted with rejected Him, John 1:12 states that God’s children are “as many as received Him.” Receiving Him, or believing on Him, is the responsibility of humanity, that is, it is the human response to the work of God. But even that is generated by God, for by grace are you saved through faith...even that is not of yourselves but it is the gift of God (Eph 2:8, Phil 1:29). It is God who gives us the power to believe in Christ. It is God who opens our ears to hear the message of the truth, to hear the gospel of salvation and believe. Hence, it is all of Him. He predestined us as adopted children according to the good pleasure of His will. (Rom 10:20, Phil 2:13, Jn 1:13, 3:27, 6:44, 15:5, 1 Cor 4:7, 1 Cor 2:14, 12:3, Eph 1:5).
10 This does not suggest that believers attain perfection in this life. The believer, as a new creation continues to struggle with the flesh which wars against the spirit. Sinful conduct finds its source in the flesh and thus the Christian who sins is guilty of carnality, of which he must repent of and mortify. Holiness is progressive process whereby every Christian must bear fruit and reproduce Christlikeness in their life. We absolutely and vehemently refute the idea of a third way – that is one of the “Carnal Christian” between the unbeliever and disciple. All believers are disciples by virtue of the gift of salvation and their subsequent relationship with Christ. And true faith in Christ is expressed by a fruitful, God-pleasing life characterized by faith and repentance.
11 The church, that is the corporate body of universal believers, is the agency established and ordained by God for fellowship, and the local church or fellowship is her normal manifestation. We affirm that all Christians must not be without a local body in which to fellowship; participation in para-church organizations or media churches (radio and television) do not replace ones’ fellowship or duty to the local body of Christ.
12 On a personal level, we believe that every Christian should separate from the world - in it, but not of it. We must be ready to discuss and defend the true faith with cultists and apostate Christians, which requires loving and teaching even our enemies; however, while we become all things to all people to reach them, we do not participate in their ungodly practices or join with them in worship or prayer to their gods. By “separation” in point 7, we are referring to “ecclesiastical” rather than “personal.” That the local church and its members should not be in any alliance or fellowship with churches or organizations professing to be “Christian” that in effect, aid or abet apostasy. This would include ecumenical evangelical or social outreaches, prayer gatherings or services that would require joining with cults, psuedo-Christian groups, and denominations with liberal, modernist, neo-orthodox, “word of faith,” or Roman Catholic doctrines. In addition, any guest speaker or minister who would speak to or on behalf of this fellowship, must be in full agreement with these points of doctrine and with the overall spirit of this point.
13 The “Church” has long been separated over doctrinal matters. It is necessary that doctrine divide and separate the true gospel and Christianity from professing apostate “Christianity” that is rampant in these end days. However, we must be careful, as it was the Lord’s final prayer that His true body be unified. On one hand, we are required to separate from false brethren, on the other hand we want to be careful not to broaden the definition of what a true Christian is or is not. Points 1 through 6 and 14 of this Statement of Faith are generally accepted as orthodox Christian doctrine; most doctrinally aberrant cults and professing Christian denominations deny or reject in word or practice one or more of these points. We believe that the true body of Christ has also been sinfully divided over historically debated issues such as the doctrines of election and sovereignty. While we would categorically affirm the doctrine of sovereign election, we cannot affirm absolute agreement with Augustine, John Calvin, Martin Luther, or any other fallible man or the “isms” derived from the doctrines of these men. Issues of Divine Sovereignty and Human Freedom have long been debated throughout the history of the church leading to sin in both camps. To honor the Lord’s will for unity, we believe that holding to a belief system which includes “free will” in the making of a “decision” to follow Christ, is in and of itself, no reason to separate, as long as these beliefs do not lead to excesses sometimes associated with the teaching (such as “Pelagianism,” “relativism,” the “prosperity gospel,” “word of faith,” etc.) or to the overall denial of clearly prescribed doctrines such as depravity, election, sovereignty and predestination. The basis of unity in fellowship is that one must agree that these are Scriptural concepts; however one need not necessarily agree in how they are understood or applied.
14 The single imperative command of the Great Commission of Messiah is to “make disciples,” which is accomplished through teaching the Word. We affirm that systematic and expository preaching which accurately conveys the divine revelation and its proper application to life is the manner by which the Holy Spirit instructs hearts and makes disciples. We deny that the “quick prayerism” and “decisional regeneration” associated with modern altar calls has anything to do with the Great Commission as it is not the Biblically prescribed means of making disciples. Rather good preaching, based in good hermeneutics where, in preaching the preacher faithfully expounds the Word of God, fulfills the Great Commission wherever it is being done – home or abroad.
15 The regularity by which the ordinance of communion should be practiced should be determined by the elders of the church with the consideration of its importance and power. It cannot be practiced too often, as long as it does not become mere tradition and thus lose its purpose.
16 Leadership and teaching are responsibilities given to the men of the church except as prescribed in Titus 2:3-4, where older women are told to teach and participate in the sanctification of younger women. We do not believe that this command limits a woman’s ability to be involved in the instruction of men or women privately or in the context of evangelism or the mission field.
17 By no means is this to suggest that there is a different plan of salvation for the Jewish people. And we would not deny that many of the promises given to the covenant people apply to the church today. Neither would we deny that in many ways the church fulfills the role of the ‘Israel of God.’ However, there are some promises made and given to national Israel and specifically the Jewish people that whether they apply to the church or not, we believe are yet to be completely fulfilled, and will be at a future time determined by God.
18 The Scriptures teach that man was created an eternal soul, so that the punishment of the unjust in hell is eternal. What infinite glory, purity and holiness God must have, that endless suffering is a just and fitting punishment for disobeying his word! We vehemently deny the doctrine of “annihilationism” which reduces sin from high treason to a misdemeanor. Rather than offensive, this doctrine should fill us with awe that the death of one man, Jesus Christ could bear the infinite penalty as a substitute for everyone who repents and trusts in him. Hell reveals the greatness of the glory that has been rejected and the greatness of Jesus' suffering because he bore that hell for all who believe.