In doctrine and in practice we are conservative evangelicals of Arminian-Wesleyan persuasion. The following paragraphs summarize the major points of our doctrinal position.
2.2 GOD There is but one living and true God (Deut. 4:35; I Cor. 8:4; II Sam. 7:22; I Kings 8:23, 60; Isa. 43:10, 11; Mark 12:32; John 17:3; Eph. 4:6; I Tim. 2:5); everlasting (Gen. 21:33; Rom. 16:26;) without body parts (John 4:24); of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness (Gen. 17:1; Matt. 19:26 Psa. 147:5; 34:8); the maker and preserver of all things visible and invisible (Psa. 19:1; John 1:3; Cot 1:16). In this Godhead there are three persons of one substance power and eternity - the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (I John 5:7; I Tim. 1:17; 3:16; Matt. 3:16; 17; 28:19). 2.3 JESUS CHRIST
The Son Who is the Word of the Father (John 1:1-3), is the very eternal God, of one substance with the Father, who took man's nature (John 1:14; 3:31; Heb. 2:14), in the womb of the Virgin, so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and manhood, were joined together in one person never to be divided, whereof is One Christ, very God and very man. He truly suffered, was crucified, died, and was buried. (I Cor. 15:3-6), to reconcile His Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for the actual sins of man (Heb.13:12; 2:9; II Cor. 5:18) Christ did truly rise again from the dead and took again his body (Matt. 28.6, 7; Acts 1:3 Luke 24:39-43), with all things pertaining to the perfection of man's nature (Eph. 4:11-13; I John 3:2. 3), wherewith He ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9; Eph. 1:20; 4:8; I Tim. 3:16).
2.4 THE HOLY GHOST
The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son (John 15:26 Acts 2:33; John 16:7), is of one substance, majesty and glory with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God (I John 5:7; Matt. 3:16; Acts 5:3, 4)
2.5 SUFFICIENCY AND INERRANCY OF SCRIPTURE
The Holy Scripture (that is, the 66 books of the Protestant Canon of the Bible) are the only written word of God. Every part of the Bible, as originally written, was inspired by God and was and is without error. The Bible contains all things necessary to salvation and is the only totally authoritative and infallible rule of faith and conduct (John 15:3 20: 31; II Tim. 3:15-17). Therefore, whatever is not written therein nor may be proved thereby is not to be accepted as article of faith nor be thought as essential to salvation (Eph. 5:6, I Tim. 6:3, 4).
2.6 NATIVE DEPRAVITY
The original sin of Adam caused his alienation toward God. The deprivation of the Spirit brought about an attendant depravation. This resulted in the depravity of all his offspring (Romans 5:12). This depravity is total extensively, and man is said to be "dead in sins" (Eph. 2:1), without righteousness (Romans 6:20), without hope (Eph. 2:12). It is not total Intensively, as wicked men and seducers shall wax worse and worse (II Tim. 3:13). This is sometimes referred to as Original Sin, Birth Sin, or Native Depravity.
2.7 FREE MORAL AGENCY
The condition of men since the fall of Adam is such that he cannot turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength and works to faith and calling upon God (Gen. 6:5; Luke 16:15; Heb. 11:16). For this reason he has no power to do good works (Isa. 64:6) pleasant and acceptable to God (Titus 3:5) without the grace of God by Christ, assisting him (I Tim. 2.5; John 15:15). That this grace is freely given to all men (I Tim. 4:10) making it possible for every man to turn and be saved is clearly taught in both Testaments (Joshua 24:15 Deut. 30:19; John 7:17; Rev. 22:17; I Kings 20:40).
Redemption implies someone doing for another, what that person cannot do for himself. Scripturally, it includes both man and the universe in which he dwells or of which he is a part. It will not be- completed until there is "a new heaven and a new earth" (II Peter 3:13; Rev. 21:l). As it pertains to man, it is accomplished by grace through faith, (Eph 2:8). God provides the atonement by setting forth His own Son to be a propitiation, (ROM 3:25), that man might be redeemed by faith in His blood. (ROM 3:25; Eph. 1:7; CoI. 1:14; I Pet. 1:18,19). It is a covenant redemption set forth by a sovereign God and is to be accepted and subscribed to or rejected by man, (Deut.7:9; Heb. 8:8-10; Luke 1:68-79; Gal. 3:17; Heb.12:24, 25). This atonement is the only grounds of salvation. (John 14:6; Acts 4:12); and it as sufficient for every individual (John 3:16; Heb. 2:9). The atonement is graciously efficacious to the salvation of the irresponsible from birth or the righteous who have become irresponsible, and to the children in innocency, but is efficacious to the salvation of those who reach the age of responsibility only when they repent and believe. (Luke 24:46, 47; Acts 17:30; ROM 5:18, 19; I Cor. 15:22). Redemption includes justification, which changes man's legal standing; regeneration, which changes a man's nature; and adoption, which changes man's relationship to God.
2.8.1 Justification. As a sovereign, God is judge and must justify or condemn. To avoid the necessity of condemning, He "set forth" His own Son "to be a propitiation" (ROM 3:25), "that he might be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus" (ROM 3:26). We are accounted righteous before God only by the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (ROM 3:24-26; 4:25), by faith (Gen. 15:6; ROM 3:28 4:5 5:1), and not for our own works or deserving (ROM 4:6; 5:11, 16; Acts 13:39). Wherefore, that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine and very full of comfort (ROM 1:16, 17; 5:1).
2.8.2 Regeneration. Concomitant with justification is the impartation of life "in His Son" (I John 5:11; ROM 8:32; Eph. 2:1). This New Birth is the result of receiving Christ (John 1:12), manifesting itself in a changed deportment (II Cor. 5:17); without which man cannot see or enter into the Kingdom of God (John 3:3, 5; I Cor. 2:14).
2.8.3 Adoption. Also concomitant with justification and regeneration is adoption by which man's relationship to God Is changed (ROM 8:15; Gal. 4:4, 5). From being "children of wrath" (Eph. 2:3); "children of the wicked one" (Mat. 13:38), "children of this world" (Luke 16:8); man becomes a child of God (ROM 8:15-17; Gal. 3:26; II Cor. 6:17, 18)
2.9 ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION As all justified believers are sanctified in Christ (I Cor. 1:2; 1:30), so all may be sanctified by Christ (Eph 5:25, 26; Heb. 13:12). Entire sanctification follows regeneration as circumcision follows birth. It is to enable us to "Love the Lord thy God with all thine heart" (Deut. 30:6). By this circumcision " made without hands", the "body of the sins of the flesh" is put off (Col. 2:11). Love is made perfect (I John 4:17); Holiness is perfected (II Cor. 7:1).
2.9.1 Relationship to Regeneration. Entire sanctification is subsequent to regeneration (John 17:9 -17) and is effected by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:16. 17: I Pet. 1:2; ROM 15:16). It is for all believers (John 17:20; I Thess. 4:2, 7; 5:23, 24), and is an instantaneous experience, received by faith (Acts 2:1-4; 15:8, 9). It cleanses the heart of the recipient from all sin (I John 1:7, 9; Acts 15:8, 9), sets him apart and endows him with power for the accomplishment of all to which he is called (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8).
2.9.2 Evidence of the Experience. Those who teach that some special phenomena such as speaking with unknown tongues constitutes a witness to the Baptism with the Spirit expose themselves and their hearers to peril of dangerous fanaticism. Perhaps no wiser counsel has been given on this matter then that of John Wesley who wrote long before the modern "tongues" movement appeared: "The grounds of a thousand mistakes is the not considering, deeply that love is the highest gift of God - humble, gentle, patient love - that all visions, revelation, manifestations whatsoever are little things compared to love. It were well you should be thoroughly sensible of this. The heaven of heavens is love. There is nothing higher in religion; there is in effect, nothing else. If you look for anything but more love you are looking wide of the mark, you are getting out of the royal way. And when you are asking others, "Have you received this or that blessing," if you mean anything but more love you, you mean wrong; you are leading them out of the way, and putting them upon a false scent. Settle it then in your heart, that from the moment God has saved you from all sin, you are to aim at nothing but more of that love described in the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians. You can go no higher than this till you are carried into Abraham's bosom."
2.10 SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER
Ours is a covenant keeping God: "There hath not failed one word of all his good promises" (I Kings 8:56) He has made "a better covenant" by Christ than the Moses (Heb. 8:6). It is an "everlasting covenant" (Heb. 13:20). The blood of the "everlasting covenant" is incorruptible (I Peter 1:18, 19). Both the covenant and the blood by which it was sealed are as enduring as our need. The incorruptible blood propitiates God and His law (ROM, 3:25-26), enabling the sovereign God to enter into covenant with man, to pardon (Eph.1:6), to fellowship (I John 1:3), and to keep these who covenant with Him.
This security is adequate and sure, but there are conditions. "If we walk in the light" there is cleansing (I John 1;7); "If we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end" (Heb. 3:14). "If any man draw back my soul shall have no pleasure in him" (Heb. 10:38). "If a man abide not in me he is cast forth as a branch" (John 15:6).
There are also warnings. II Peter 2:20, 21 warns that if after having "escaped the pollutions of the world" any of us "are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning" until "it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness."
By keeping ourselves "in the love of God" (Jude 21) we will be "kept by the power of God" (I Pet. 1:5).
2.11 SIN AFTER JUSTIFICATION
Not every sin willfully committed after justification is the sin against the Holy Spirit and unpardonable (Mat. 12:31,32). Wherefore, the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after justification. After we have received the Holy Ghost we may depart from grace given and fall into sin and by the grace of God rise again and amend our lives. Therefore, they are to be condemned who say they can no more sin as long as they live here or deny the place of forgiveness to such as truly repent (Mal. 3:7; Matt. 18:21; I John 1:9; 2:1)
2.12 THE CHURCH The ecclesia, the church, is composed of the called-out people who have separated themselves from the world and have a living faith in Christ as their personal Saviour (II Cor. 6:17 18, ROM 12:2; Jas. 4:4; I John 5:19; Heb. 11:6; ROM 10:10). Her mission is the proclamation of the full gospel (Acts 1:8). salvation from all sin (Heb. 7:25), divine healing (Jas. 5:14-16; Acts 4:10; Luke 9:2; 10:9), and the premillennial coming of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:9-11; Matt. 25:6; I Thess. 4:16-18; Rev. 19:7; 20:5, 6). Her field is the world (Mark 16:15).
Sacraments ordained of Christ are not only badges or tokens of Christian profession, but rather they are certain signs of grace and God's good will toward us by which He works invisibly in us, and not only quickens, but also strengthens and confirms our faith in Him. The sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but to be duly used by us.
2.13.1 Baptism. This is an outward sign of an inward work wrought by the Holy Ghost in the soul. As to the mode let everyone be fully persuaded in his own mind, and no preacher or layman shall insist on any certain mode (Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:28; Col. 2:12; Acts 8:36-38; 16:33; I Pet. 3:21).
2.13.3 The Lord's Supper. This is an ordinance whereby the body and blood of Christ are given, taken, and, eaten, only after a heavenly and spiritual manner, and their benefits accrue only to those who, with a clear conscience, partake in faith of the material elements - wine and bread. But they that receive them unworthily purchase unto themselves condemnation, as St. Paul says (I Cor. 11:29). This sacrament represents our redemption through Christ's blood, our spiritual nourishment through His body (I Cor. 11:24-29), and the expectancy of our faith in His return (Titus 2:13; I Cor. 11:26).
We embrace the scriptural doctrine of healing for the body, and believe that it is the privilege of every child of God, to be healed in answer to the prayer of faith according to Jas. 5:14, 15; yet we are not to sever our fellowship from or pass judgment upon those who use other providential means for the restoration of health (Jas. 5:16; Acts 4:10; Matt. 10:8; Luke 9:2; 10:9; I Cor. 12:9, 28; Acts 4:14; John 9:1-34)
2.15 CHRIST'S RETURN
We believe that the coming of our Lord is be personal and premillennial; also that it is imminent (Acts 1:9-11; I Thess. 4:14-17; Matt. 24:27; 25:13; 26:29; Rev. 22.12) We must distinguish between the Rapture - His coming in the air to receive His saints, which may occur at any moment and the Revelation - His coming down to earth with His saints (I Thess. 4:14-17; Matt. 24:27; 25:l3; 26:29; Rev. 20:4), which latter will not occur until after the gathering of Israel (Exec. 36:24; 37:21), the manifestation of antichrist, and other prophesied events (II Thess. 2:2-10; Rev. 19:20).
2.16 RESURRECTION AND JUDGMENT?
According to the scriptures, Christ truly did rise again from the dead (Matt. 28; Mark 16; Luke 24) and took again His body (John 20:27), wherewith He ascended into heaven, where He intercedes for the truly penitent and the blood-washed until He returns again to judge His saints for reward and to take His kingdom (Heb. 7:25).
2.16.1 Resurrection. The Scriptures also teach that there is a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust (Acts 24:15; John 5:28, 29), and that God has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ Whom He has ordained (Acts 17:31).
2.16.2 Judgment and Rewards. Furthermore, the Word of God indicates that the just shall be raised in their glorified bodies at Christ's second coming (Luke 20:36; I Cor. 15:35), to receive their rewards and to reign with Christ on the earth a thousand years (Rev. 20:4, 6), and to be forever in the presence of the Lord. The unjust are to be raised at the end of the millennium (Rev. 20:5), to be judged and go into everlasting punishment (Matt. 25:46), banished from the presence of God.
2.16.3 Penance. Finally, because of the teaching of the Bible, we do not believe in doing penance for sin (Acts 13:38, 39; Eph. 2:8, 9; ROM 1:16, 17), nor in a purgatory for cleansing from sin (I John 1:7), nor in a chance after death, but in a punitive judgment for the resurrected unjust (Heb. 9:27).
We are all destined to spend eternity in one of two places, heaven or hell, according to our relationship to God when He calls us to give account (ROM 14:12).
2.17.1 Heaven. Everyone who has a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord, on departing from this life goes to be in felicity with Him, and will share the eternal glories of His everlasting kingdom, the fuller rewards and the greater glories being reserved until the final judgment (Phil. 1:23, 24; II Cor. 5:6, 8,10; John 14:2, 3; Matt. 25:34, 46).
2.17.2 Hell. While the saint goes from the judgment to enjoy eternal bliss, the impenitent sinner is turned away into everlasting condemnation, punishment, and misery. As heaven is described in the Bible as a place of everlasting happiness, so hell is described as a place of endless torment "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Matt. 25:41, 46; Luke 13:3; John 8;21, 23; Mark 9:44-48).
First Edition - 1971 Second Edition - 1975 Third Edition -1990
Pilgrim Holiness Church of New York, Inc. 32 Cadillac Avenue Albany, New York 12205
Last modified 12/15/2000
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