Gospel Standard Articles of Faith
Gospel Standard Articles of Faith
I We believe in the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, and receive them as a gracious revelation of the mind and will of God (Deut. 4:2, Ps. 19:7, Prov. 30:5-6, 2 Pet. 1:19-21, Rev. 22:18-19, John 5:39); and we believe that therein are revealed all the doctrines and truths which we here state. (2 Tim. 3:15-17.)
II We believe that there is but one living and true God (Exod. 3:14, Deut. 4:35, Deut. 6:4, Num. 23:19, 1 Sam. 2:2-3, Ps. 90:2, Ps. 115:3, Ps. 135:5, Ps. 139:7-10, Prov. 15:3, Ecc. 3:14, Is. 40:28, Is. 45:22, Is. 46:9, Jer. 10:10, Jer. 23:24, Mal. 3:6, Mark 12:29, John 4:24, 1 Cor. 8:6, Col. 1:16); that there are Three Persons in the Godhead, - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost (Matt. 28:19, John 1:1, 2 Cor. 13:14, 1 John 5:7, Jude 20-21), and that these Three Persons are equal in nature, power, and glory; and we believe that the Son and the Holy Ghost are as truly and as properly God as the Father. (John 10:15, John 10:30, Eph. 2:22, Heb. 1:3, Heb. 9:14.)
III We believe in the everlasting and unchangeable love of God (Jer. 31:3); and that before the foundation of the world the Father did elect a certain number of the human race unto everlasting salvation, whom He did predestinate unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will (Gal. 4:5, Eph. 1:3-14, 1 Thess. 5:9, 2 Thess. 2:13, 2 Tim. 1:9, 1 John 3:1, 1 Pet. 1:2, 1 Pet. 2:9); and we believe that in fulfilling this gracious design, He did make a covenant of grace and peace with the Son and with the Holy Ghost on behalf of those persons thus chosen (2 Sam. 23:5, John 1:17), and that in this covenant the Son was appointed a Saviour, and all spiritual blessings provided for the elect, and also that their persons, with all the grace and glory designed for them, were put into the hands of the Son as their Covenant Head, and made His care and charge. (Ps. 111:8-9, Is. 42:6, Is. 54:10, Is. 55:4, Jer. 31:3, John 6:37, John 17:2, Acts 4:12, Rom. 8:29-30, Eph. 1:3, Eph. 2:13, Heb. 2:13, Heb. 6:17-18, Heb. 8:8-9.)
IV We believe in the Fall of our first parents, and that by it the whole of the human race became involved in, and guilty of, Original Sin; and that as they are born into the world, the whole of their posterity are, in consequence, actual transgressors against God. (Rom. 5:12-21, Ps. 58:3.) And we believe that by the Fall all men were rendered both unable and unwilling spiritually to believe in, seek after, or love God until called and regenerated by the Holy Ghost. (Gen. 6:5, Gen. 8:21, Job 14:4, Job 25:4, Ps. 51:5, Jer. 13:23, Jer. 17:9, Matt. 15:19, Rom. 3:10-24, Rom. 5:12-19, 1 Cor. 15:22, 1 Cor. 15:45-50, Eph. 2:3, 1 John 5:19.)
V We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, being set up from everlasting as the Mediator of the New Covenant, and having engaged to be the Surety of His people, did, in the fulness of time, really and truly assume human nature, and not before, either in whole or in part. (Prov. 8:23.) And we believe that, though He existed form all eternity as the eternal Son of God (John 1:18, Phil. 2:5-8, Heb. 1:5, Heb. 1:8, Heb. 13:8, 2 John 3, Rev. 1:8), the human soul of the Lord Jesus did not exist before it was created and formed in His body by Him who forms the soul of man within him, when that body was conceived under the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary. (Is. 7:14, Matt. 1:23, Luke 1:26-38, John 1:14, Gal. 4:4.) And we believe that Christ's human nature consists of a true body and reasonable soul, both of which, together and at once, the Son of God assumed into union with His Divine Person, when made of a woman and not before (Luke 2:40, Heb. 2:14-17), that this human nature was not sinful, peccable, or mortal (Ps.16:10, Acts 2:27), though capable of death by a voluntary act (John 10:17-18), but essentially and intrinsically pure and holy (Song 5:9-16, Heb. 7:26); and that in it He really suffered, bled, and died, as the Substitute and Surety of His church and people, in their room and stead, and for no others (John 10:15, John 10:26, John 17:9, John 17:13), whereby, together with His holy, spotless life, He fulfilled the law, and satisfied all the claims of justice, as well as made a way for all those blessings which are needful for His people, both for time and eternity. (Heb. 9:22-28.)
VI We believe that the eternal redemption which Christ has obtained by the shedding of His blood is special and particular (Gal. 3:13, Heb. 9:12-15); that is to say, that it was intentionally designed only for the Elect of God, the Sheep of Christ, who therefore alone share in the special and peculiar blessings thereof. (Isa. 35:10, John 10:15, John 10:25-28, Acts 2: 47, Acts 13: 48, Acts 20:28, Rom. 5:8-10, 8:33-34, Rom. 9:13, Rom. 9:15-16, Rev. 14:4.)
VII We believe that the justification of God's elect is only by the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ imputed to them (Isa. 45:24, Isa. 64:6, Jer. 23:6, Matt. 7:18, Luke 18:13, Acts 13:39, Rom. 4:4-5, Rom. 5:19, Rom. 10:4, 1 Cor. 1:30, 2 Cor. 5:21, Phil. 3:9, Tit. 3:5), without consideration of any works of righteousness, before or after calling, done by them, and that the full and free pardon of all their sins, past, present, and to come, is only through the blood of Christ, according to the riches of His grace. (Rom. 3:20-27, Rom. 4:22, Rom. 9:11, 2 Tim. 1:9, Heb. 1:3, Heb. 9:22, 1 Pet. 3:18, 1 John 2:1.)
VIII We believe that the work of regeneration is not an act of man's free will and natural power, but that it springs from the operation of the mighty, efficacious and invincible grace of God. (Jer. 50:20, Ps. 110:3, John 1:13, John 6:29, John 6:63, John 6:65, John 14:8, Rom. 8:16, Rom. 11:4, Rom. 11:6, James 1:18.)
IX We believe that all those who were chosen by the Father and redeemed by the Son, and no others, shall, at the appointed time, certainly be convinced in their hearts of sin, by the Spirit (John 16:8, 1 Cor. 2:14, Eph. 2:1), be brought in guilty before God, and made the recipients of eternal life, coming to Christ for salvation, and believing on Him as the Anointed of the Father, and the only Mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5, Heb. 8:6, Heb. 9:15, Heb 12:24); but that none can spiritually come to Christ unless drawn by the Father (John 6:44, John 6:65); and that all the elect shall be thus drawn to Christ, and shall finally persevere; so that not one of the elect shall perish, but all arrive safely in glory. (Job 17:9, Matt. 24:34, John 4:14 ; John 5:24, John 6:37, John 6:44-47, John 10:28, John 17:6, John 17:12, John 17:24, Acts 2:47, Rom. 8:29-39, Phil. 1:6, 1 Pet. 1:3-5.)
X We believe that all men are by nature so completely dead in trespasses and sins that they cannot, while in that state, know or feel anything of God in Christ, spiritually, graciously and savingly. (Eph. 2:1-3). And we believe that, when quickened into everlasting life in Christ (as the elect alone are, or can be, or will be), the vessel of mercy then first feels spiritually the guilt of sin, and is taught to know in his own experience, the fall and ruin of man. (1sa. 1:6, Rom. 3:10-19, Rom. 7:18.) Thus every quickened child of God is brought, in God's own time and way, through the Spirit's teaching, from necessity to depend for salvation on Christ's blood and righteousness alone. (John 6:68, John 10:9, John 14:6, Acts 4:12, Eph. 2:8-10, Heb. 6:18.) And we believe that this teaching will not lead him to licentiousness, but make him willing to walk in good works, to which he is ordained, and which are acceptable to God only through Jesus Christ. (Rom. 8:14, Gal. 5:16-25, Gal. 6:14-16.)
XI We believe that man can never do a good work, properly so called, until the grace of God is implanted in his heart (Rom. 8:8), and that nothing is spiritually good but what God Himself is pleased to communicate to, and work in, the soul, both to will and to do of His good pleasure. (Phil. 2:13.) And we also believe that man's works, good or bad, have not anything to do with his call, or being quickened, by the Holy Spirit. (2 Cor. 3:5, Eph. 2:3-9, Tit. 3:5, Heb. 13:21.)
XII We believe in the effectual calling of all the elect vessels of mercy out of the ruins of the Fall in God's appointed time, and that the work of regeneration, or new birth, is the sovereign work of God, and His work only, the sinner being as passive therein as in his first birth, and previously thereto dead in trespasses and sins. (John 3:3-8, John 6:37-65, Rom. 8:30, 1 Cor. 1:26-29, Eph. 2:4-5.) We believe in the application of the Law to the elect sinner's conscience by the Spirit of God (Rom. 7:7, Rom. 7:9, Rom. 7:12), showing the sinner how greatly he has broken that law, and feelingly condemning him for the same; and in the manifestation of mercy and pardon through Christ alone made known to the soul by God the Holy Ghost. (Ps. 30:3 ; Ps. 130:7, Isa. 40:2, Jer. 33:8, Mic. 7:18, Rom. 7:5-10.)
XIII We believe that faith is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8), as well as true spiritual repentance and hope (Acts 5:31, Rom. 15:13, 2 Thess. 2:16, 1 Pet. 1:3), and a manifestation of pardon to the soul ; that through faith Christ is made precious to the soul (1 Pet. 2:7), and the soul drawn out in love to God (1 John 4:19); that all are the fruits and effects of the blessed Spirit, and that they will most certainly be productive of good works, and a walk and conversation becoming the Gospel. (Gal. 2:16-21, Gal. 5:22-26.)
XIV We believe in the Resurrection of the body, both of the just and the unjust (Acts 24:15), that the just (the elect) shall be raised up in glory and honour (Matt. 24:31, Matt. 25:31-40), and be openly acknowledged and fully acquitted in the Judgment Day, before angels, devils and sinners, and made fully and eternally blest both in body and soul; and that the wicked shall be raised up to be condemned, body and soul, to the unspeakable torments of hell for ever and ever. (Isa. 26:19, Dan. 12:2, Matt. 25:31-46, John 5:28-29, Acts 23:6, Rom. 6:23, Rom. 8:11, Rom. 8:23, Rom. 14:10-12, 1 Cor. 15:52, 2 Cor. 5:10, Rev. 20:12-15.)
XV We believe that Baptism and the Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 11:2, 1 Cor. 11:26, 1 Cor.14:40, Col. 2:5-8) are ordinances of Christ, to be continued till His Second Coming; and that the former is requisite to the latter; that is to say, that those only can scripturally sit down to the Lord's Supper who, upon their profession of faith, have been baptised by immersion in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and that, therefore, what is called "Mixed Communion" (Rom. 16:17) is unscriptural, improper, and not to be allowed in the churches of Christ. (Matt. 3:13-16, Matt. 28:19-20, John 3:22-23, Acts 2:37-42, Acts 8:12, Acts 9:18, Acts 10:47-48, Acts 16:14-15, Acts 16:30-33, Acts 18:8, Acts 19:1-6, Rom. 6:3, Col. 2:12.)
XVI We believe that the Believer's Rule of conduct is the gospel, and not the law, commonly called the Moral Law, issued on Mount Sinai, which hath no glory in it by reason of the glory that excelleth; that is to say, the gospel (Gal. 6:15-16, 2 Cor. 3:10, Rom. 7:2-4); the gospel containing the sum and substance and glory of all the laws which God ever promulgated from His throne, and the Jews, because of the hardness of their hearts, being permitted some things which the gospel forbids. (Deut. 14:1, Matt. 19:8-9.)
XVII We deny and reject, as unscriptural and erroneous, the baptism of infants, whether by immersion, sprinkling, pouring, or any other mode. (Heb. 11:6, Acts 8:12, Acts 8:37.)
XVIII We reject as blasphemous the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration; that is, that the person baptised is or can be regenerated in, by or through baptism, much less, if possible, by infant sprinkling. (John 1:13, 1 Pet. 1:23.)
XIX We believe in the sanctification of God's people, the term sanctification signifying a separation and setting apart by and for God. This, in the child of God, is three-fold: i, by election by God the Father (Jude I); ii, by redemption by God the Son (John 17:19); and iii, by the almighty regenerating operation of God the Holy Ghost (Rom. 15:16.) We believe that the blessed Spirit is the Author of what is styled in Scripture the new creature, or creation (2 Cor. 5:17, Eph. 4:24), or new heart (Ezek. 36:26); being, in truth, an implantation of the Divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4), through which the child of God would, according to the inner man (Rom. 7:22), be holy as God is holy, and perfectly fulfil all the good pleasure of the Father's will; but groans being burdened, being constantly opposed by the contrary workings of the old man. (Rom. 7, Gal. 5:17.) We reject the doctrine of progressive sanctification, or that a child of God experiences such a gradual weakening, subduing, or rectification of the old nature, called in Scripture the old man (Eph. 4:22, Col. 3:9), or such a continued general improvement as shall make him at any time less dependent upon the communications of the Spirit and grace of Christ for all goodness, or less a poor, vile, wretched, helpless sinner in himself, and in his own estimation. (John 15:part of 5, 2 Cor. 3:5, Rev. 3:17.)
XX We believe that the grace of God produces a real change in a man and teaches him to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live godly (Tit. 2:11-12), and that there is a growth in grace (2 Pet. 3:18, Phil. 3:8-10, Mark 4:26-29, 1 John 2:12-13), which consists principally in a growing experimental knowledge of a man's sinful self (1 Kings 8:38, Ezra. 9:6, Job 40:4-6, Ps. 73:22, Dan. x. 8), the vanity of the creature, the glory of God, the spirituality of His law, and the want and worth of Jesus Christ. This is accompanied by a deepening distrust of everything but the grace and love of God in Christ for salvation, and is not a growth in conscious goodness, but in felt necessity and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (John 3:30, 1 Cor. 2:2, Tit. 3:3-8, Eph. 3:8, 1 Tim. 1:15.)
XXI We reject the doctrine of perfection in the flesh, or that the believer ever becomes free from indwelling sin in this life, or whilst in the body. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1 John 1:8, 1 Kings 8:46, Job 9:2, Job 15:14, Ps. 119:96, Prov. 20:9, Ecc. 7:20, Rom. 7:18.)
XXII We reject the doctrines that the children of God cannot backslide, and that God does not chastise His people for sin. (1 Cor. 11:32.) For, though we believe that a child of God is called from a death in sin to a life of righteousness, and would, according to the law of his mind, or new nature, in all respects obey God's holy will as declared in the Scriptures, yet through the temptations of Satan, the allurements of the world, and the power and deceitfulness of indwelling sin, he may fall for a season like David, Peter, and other Bible saints did. (Jer. 3:14, Jer. 3:22, Hos. 14.) But we believe that when the children of God thus sin against God, and transgress His holy revealed will, God does in various ways and degrees chastise them for it (Ps. 89:30-33, Prov. 3:11-12), not in vindictive anger, but in tender love, as a father does the son in whom he delighteth. (Job. 5:17, Ps. 94:12, Ps. 119:67, Isa. 54:7-8, Heb. 12:5-11.) We believe, too, that in this matter of chastisement for sin God will deal in a most sovereign way, and as a God of judgment; so that, though the punished child shall be made to discern the reason of the rod (Mic. 6:9), it is seldom safe for others to judge according to the outward appearance. We further believe that no man living in habitual sin gives any proof that he is a child of God, and we cannot, therefore, have fellowship with him, be his profession what it may.
XXIII We believe, as expressed in Article IX., in the doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints, and that, however much the elect of God may be tried by sin, and opposed by Satan, they shall all eventually attain to everlasting glory. Not one of them shall perish, for none can pluck them out of the Father's hand. (Isa. 51:11, John 10:28-29.)
XXIV We believe that the invitations of the Gospel, being spirit and life,* are intended only for those who have been made by the blessed Spirit to feel their lost state as sinners and their need of Christ as their Saviour, and to repent of and forsake their sins. (Isa. 55:1, John 7:37, Prov. 28:13, Matt. 11:28-30, John 6:37.)
Note - * That is, under the influence of the Holy Spirit.XXV We deny that Christ died for all mankind. (Matt. 25:31-46, John 10:11, John 10:15, John 10:26.)
XXVI We deny duty faith and duty repentance - these terms signifying that it is every man's duty spiritually and savingly to repent and believe (Gen. 6:5, Gen 8:21, Matt. 15:19, Jer. 17:9, John 6:44, John 6:65.) We deny also that there is any capability in man by nature to any spiritual good whatever. So that we reject the doctrine that men in a state of nature should be exhorted to believe in or turn to God of themselves. (John 12:39-40, Eph. 2:8, Rom. 8:7-8, 1 Cor. 4:7.)
Note - The words supplied in italics (of themselves) are suggested by Mr. J. K. Popham in the Gospel Standard for December 1906, to clarify the intended meaning of the Article.XXVII We deny that the Holy Spirit ever enlightens the non-elect, to make them capable at all of receiving grace. (1sa. 6:9-10, John 14:17, Rom. 11:7-8, Mark 4:11-12, Luke 8:10, John 12:39-40.)
XXVIII We reject the doctrine called "Baxterianism"; that is to say, that while all the elect shall assuredly be saved, there is a residuum of grace in Christ for the rest, or any of the rest, if they will only accept it. (John 3:27, 1 Cor. 2:14.)
XXIX While we believe that the gospel is to be preached in or proclaimed to all the world, as in Mark 16:15, we deny offers of grace; that is to say, that the gospel is to be offered indiscriminately to all. (2 Cor. 4:3-4.) See Articles XXIV., XXVI.
XXX We believe that the glorified body of the Lord Jesus Christ is the same flesh and bones now in heaven as that which hung upon the cross. (1 Cor. 15:16, 1 Cor. 15:20, Luke 24:39, Acts 1:9, Acts 1:11.)
XXXI We reject the doctrine of the annihilation of the wicked, and believe that all who die out of Christ shall be turned into hell, the fire of which shall never be quenched, the wicked there suffering for ever the torments of eternal fire. (Matt. 25:46, Rev. 19: last part of 20, Rev. 14:10-11, Rev. 20:10, Rev 20:15.)
Note - It is the same word in the Greek which, in Matt. 25:46, declares the eternity of life for the sheep which declares the eternity of punishment for the goats. So (Rev. 20:15), those who are "not written in the book of life" are "cast into the lake of fire," where they are "tormented for ever and ever." (Rev. 20:10.) Now the same words which are there translated "for ever and ever" are also used in Rev. 10:6, where the angel "sware by Him that liveth for ever and ever." Therefore if God is "to live for ever and ever," the torment in the lake of fire is to be for ever and ever; for the words are exactly the same in both passages.XXXII We believe that it would be unsafe, from the brief records we have of the way in which the apostles, under the immediate direction of the Lord, addressed their hearers in certain special cases and circumstances, to derive absolute and universal rules for ministerial addresses in the present day under widely-different circumstances. And we further believe that an assumption that others have been inspired as the apostles were has led to the grossest errors amongst both Romanists and professed Protestants.
XXXIII Therefore, that for ministers in the present day to address unconverted persons, or indiscriminately all in a mixed congregation, calling upon them savingly to repent, believe, and receive Christ, or perform any other acts dependent upon the new creative power of the Holy Ghost, is, on the one hand, to imply creature power, and, on the other, to deny the doctrine of special redemption.
XXXIV We believe that any such expressions as convey to the hearers the belief that they possess a certain power to flee to the Saviour, to close in with Christ, to receive Christ, while in an unregenerate state, so that unless they do thus close with Christ, etc., they shall perish, are untrue, and must, therefore, be rejected. And we further believe that we have no Scripture warrant to take the exhortations in the Old Testament intended for the Jews in national covenant with God, and apply them in a spiritual and saving sense to unregenerated men.
XXXV We believe that there are various degrees of faith, as little faith and great faith (Matt. 6:30, Matt. 15:28), that when a man is quickened by the blessed Spirit, he has faith given to him to know and feel he is a sinner against God (Luke 18:13), and that without a Saviour he must sink in black despair. And we further believe that such a man will be made to cry for mercy, to mourn over and on account of his sins (Matt. 5:4), and, being made to feel that he has no righteousness of his own (Isa. 64:6, Phil. 3:9), to hunger and thirst after Christ's righteousness being led on by the Spirit until, in the full assurance of faith, he has the Spirit's witness in his heart that his sins are for ever put away (Rom. 8:16, Eph. 4:30, Heb. 9:12, Heb. 9:26, Heb. 7:27, Heb.10:14); but that the faith is the same in nature as is imparted in his first awakenings, though now grown to the full assurance thereof.
Now all and each of these doctrines and ordinances we can honestly say it is our desire to maintain and defend in one spirit and with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel.
And we desire, by the grace of God, that our conversation, both in the world and in the church, may be such as becometh the gospel of Christ, and that we may live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world.
And, as it regards each other in church communion, we desire to walk with each other in all humility and brotherly love; to watch over each other's conversation, to stir up one another to love and good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, but, as we have opportunity, to worship God according to His revealed will; and when the case requires, to warn and admonish one another according to God's Word.
Moreover, we desire to sympathise with each other in all conditions, both inward and outward, into which God, in His providence, may bring us; as also to bear with one another's weaknesses, failings, and infirmities; and particularly to pray for one another, and for all saints, and that the gospel and the ordinances thereof may be blessed to the edification and comfort of each other's souls, and for the gathering in of vessels of mercy unto Christ.
And for every blessing and favour, both temporal and spiritual, we, who are as deserving of hell as the vilest of the vile, desire to ascribe all the praise to the glory of the grace of a Triune God.