Friday, June 24, 2011

My Personal Testimony and Doctrinal Statement

Personal Testimony of Andy Rupert

Since early childhood I had heard the gospel at home, church, and school. Although I had understood the gospel at an early age, sin kept me from having assurance that God had saved me. However, God brought me to repentance and faith during my first week of college during a revival meeting. It was at that time that I turned from my sin, called on God to save me, and chose to follow Christ.

After that, God changed me from the inside out (2 Cor. 5:17). I began to understand the Bible and to see specific answers to my prayers. At the end of my freshman year, I was convinced that the Lord wanted me to be a youth pastor. Since then, the Lord has used me in a variety of ministry positions working with adults, teens, and children. My ongoing desire has been to preach the gospel to everyone wherever God leads me and to help believers to grow more like Jesus.

Personal Doctrinal Statement of Andy Rupert

Section 1: The Bible

I believe the Bible, comprised of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired, infallible, and authoritative Word of God (Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). I believe that the Bible is inerrant in the original writings, God-breathed, and the complete and final authority for faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16-17). While still using the individual writing styles of the human authors, the Holy Spirit perfectly guided them to ensure they wrote precisely what He wanted written, without error or omission (2 Peter 1:21).

Section 2: God

I believe in one God, who is Creator of all (Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 6:4; Colossians 1:16), who is three Persons in One—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14), yet who is one in being, essence, and glory (John 10:30). God is eternal (Psalm 90:2), infinite (1 Kings 8:27), and sovereign (2 Kings 19:15). God is omniscient (Psalm 139:1-6), omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-13), omnipotent (Jeremiah 32:27), and unchanging (Malachi 3:6). God is holy (Isaiah 6:3) and just (Deuteronomy 32:4). God is love (1 John 4:8), gracious (Ephesians 2:8), merciful (1 Peter 1:3), and good (Romans 8:28).

Section 3: Jesus Christ

I believe in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is God in human form, the expressed image of the Father, who, without ceasing to be God, became man in order that He might demonstrate who God is and provide the means of salvation for humanity (1 Timothy 3:16; John 1:18; Colossians 1:15; Matthew 1:21).

I believe that Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and was born of the virgin Mary; that He is fully God and fully man; that He lived a perfect, sinless life; that all His teachings are true (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25). I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross for all (1 John 2:2) as a substitutionary sacrifice (Isaiah 53:5-6). I believe that His death is sufficient to provide salvation for all who receive Him as Savior (John 1:12; Acts 16:31); that our justification is grounded in the shedding of His blood (Romans 5:9); and that God’s approval is attested by the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead (Matthew 28:6; 1 Peter 1:3).

I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven in His glorified body (Acts 1:9-10) and is now seated at the right hand of God as our High Priest and Advocate (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1).

Section 4: The Holy Spirit

I believe in the deity and personality of the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4). He regenerates sinners (Titus 3:5) and indwells believers (Romans 8:9). He is the agent by whom Christ baptizes all believers into His body (1 Corinthians 12:12-14). He is the seal by whom the Father guarantees the salvation of believers until the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13-14). He is the divine Teacher who illuminates believers’ hearts and minds as they study the Word of God (1 Corinthians 2:9-12).

I believe that the Holy Spirit is ultimately sovereign in the distribution of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:11). I believe that the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, such as speaking in tongues, prophesying about the future, and healing the sick, were temporary signs gifts used by God for the early development of the church (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 13:8-12; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 2:20; 4:7-12).

Section 5: Angels and Demons

I believe in the reality and personality of angels. I believe that God created the angels to be His servants and messengers (Hebrews 1:13-14).

I believe in the existence and personality of Satan and demons. Satan is a fallen angel who led a group of angels in rebellion against God (Isaiah 14:12-17). He is the great enemy of God and man, and the demons are his servants in evil. He and his demons will be eternally punished in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).

Section 6: Humanity

I believe that humanity came into existence by direct creation of God and that humanity is uniquely made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27). I believe that all humanity, because of Adam's fall, has inherited a sinful nature, that all human beings choose to sin (Romans 3:23), and that all sin is exceedingly offensive to God (Romans 6:23). Humanity is utterly unable to remedy this fallen state (Ephesians 2:1-5, 12).

Section 7: Salvation

I believe that salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9). Only God can open the eyes of a blind sinner and give him the faith to believe (Ephesians 2:8-9). Each sinner who turns from his sin and puts his faith in the finished work of Jesus by his death and resurrection is saved by God (Romans 10:9-13; Acts 20:20-21). Christ’s death fully accomplished justification through faith and redemption from sin. Christ died in our place (Romans 5:8-9) and bore our sins in His own body (1 Peter 2:24) and rose again the third day.

I believe salvation is received by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Good works and obedience are results of salvation, not requirements for salvation (Ephesians 2:10). Due to the greatness, sufficiency, and perfection of Christ’s sacrifice, all those who have truly received Christ as Savior are eternally secure in salvation, kept by God’s power, secured and sealed in Christ forever (John 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Romans 8:1, 38-39; Ephesians 1:13-14; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24). Just as salvation cannot be earned by good works, neither does it need good works to be maintained or sustained. However, good works and a changed life are the inevitable results of salvation and will be evidenced in true believers (2 Corinthians 5:17; James 2).

Section 8: The Church

I believe that the universal Church, the Body of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all believers of this present age (1 Corinthians 12:12-14; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 1:22-23, 5:25-27). I believe that the local church is the visible expression of the universal church in any one place on earth and is made up of baptized believers in Christ who share a common body of doctrine. I believe in the ordinances of believer’s water baptism by immersion as a testimony to Christ and identification with Him, and the Lord’s Supper as a remembrance of Christ’s death and shed blood (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42, 18:8; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Through the church, believers are to be taught to obey the Lord and to testify concerning their faith in Christ as Savior and to honor Him by holy living. I believe in the Great Commission as the primary mission of the Church. It is the obligation of all believers to testify, by word and life, to the truths of God’s Word. The gospel of salvation through Jesus is to be preached to the entire world (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:19-20) and every believer is to make disciples.

Section 9: Things to Come

I believe in the blessed hope (Titus 2:13), the personal and imminent coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to rapture His saints (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) which will take place before the seven years of tribulation (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11; Dan. 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-11). I believe in the visible and bodily return of Christ to the earth with His saints to establish His promised millennial kingdom after which Satan will be defeated and cast into the lake of fire (1 Thessalonians 1:10; Revelation 3:10, 19:11-16, 20:1-10). I believe in the physical resurrection of all men—the saints to everlasting joy on the New Earth, and the wicked to eternal punishment in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:46; John 5:28-29; Revelation 20:5-6, 12-13).

I believe that the souls of believers are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where they await the physical resurrection when spirit, soul, and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23, 3:21; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). I believe that the souls of unbelievers remain, after death, in conscious misery until their resurrection when, with soul and body reunited, they shall appear at the Great White Throne judgment and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire to suffer everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:41-46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-26; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Revelation 20:11-15).

Section 10: Separation

I believe that all believers should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord; and, that separation from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices and associations, and unrepentant disobedient brothers is commanded by God (2 Timothy 3:1-5; Romans 12:1-2; 14:13; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1).

Note that this doctrinal statement has been adapted from www.gotquestions.org but truly represents my beliefs.

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