WHAT DO WE BELIEVE?
We believe the Bible to be verbally inspired of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. We believe in the eternal Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His substitutionary death on the cross for our sins, and in His bodily resurrection from the grave. We believe in salvation by faith alone through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. We believe that the true church is composed of all those who have been born again. We believe the Bible teaches separation from the world and from unbelief. We believe that all men are lost apart from the saving grace of Jesus Christ. We believe in the blessed hope, the return of Jesus Christ to this earth to establish His Kingdom.
BIBLICAL BASIS OF OUR BELIEFS
We believe the whole Bible from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, as the verbally inspired and infallible Word of God. We believe Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, and is the eternal Son of God. He always is 100% God and through the incarnation, became 100% Man. Truly, He is the sinless God-Man that alone can provide our redemption from sin and death (Matthew 1; Luke 2). We believe that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, the Just for the unjust that he might bring us to God (I Corinthians 15:3-4). We believe that He rose bodily from the grave the third day according to the Scriptures (I Cor. 15:3-4).
We believe that Christ is the great High Priest, and that He ever lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25).
We believe that in order to be saved, the soul must be born again; to be evidenced by a changed life that involves a continual separation from the world system (John 3; Ephesians 6:12).
We believe that every born again person should declare his faith by baptism with water, which pictures the cleansing that has already occurred (Matthew 28:18-20).
We believe that the mission of our Church is to preach and teach the Gospel of salvation to all that we meet, to worship God in truth and provide fellowship and edification for believers (Ephesians 4:16).
We believe that Christ will one day return for believers—the blessed hope of the church (I Thessalonians 4:13-18); and then return in judgment at the Second Coming of Christ (Revelation 19).
In our bulletin each week we go through the Westminster Standards written in the 1600’s in Westminster Abbey in London. The Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms codify the great Reformed doctrines that are clearly delineated in the Scriptures.
REFORMED IN FAITH
The Sixteenth Century Reformers like John Calvin and John Knox laid the foundations of Presbyterianism. Concern for their own salvation led them to open the Bible for themselves and see the plan of salvation.
Calvin based his teachings solely on God’s Word. The focus is the perspective that God intended. God maintains absolute sovereignty, and by virtue of his omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, He can do whatever He desires with His creation.
Because of this belief, we rest on the fact that God, by his sovereign grace predestined people to salvation. Jesus died on the Cross for their sins, and thus God is the one totally responsible for regeneration of the individual. It is impossible for those who are redeemed to lose their salvation.
Calvinism has been ably summarized by five distinct points, which form the acronym: T.U.L.I.P.
Total Depravity: Our hearts are evil (Mark 7:21-23) and as a slave of sin (Romans 6:20), we do not seek God. Since we are utterly lost and incapable of securing our own salvation, we are born again because of the will of God (John 1:12), who predestined us to salvation (Ephesians 1:1-11).
Unconditional Election: We are elected to salvation according to the kind intention of God’s will (Ephesians 1:4-8) without any consideration of our merits. God elected us out of His free grace.
Limited Atonement: Though Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross was sufficient for the sins of the entire world, it was efficient for only those who have been chosen for salvation. Ephesians 5:25-27 states that Jesus purchased the Church with His precious blood. Back in the Old Testament, we see that Isaiah 53:12 states that Jesus would bear the sins of many, not all people.
Irresistible Grace: The Holy Spirit is the One who works in the hearts and minds of the elect to bring them to repentance and regeneration whereby they freely come to God. We are told in Philippians 2:12-13 that God is the one working salvation in our hearts. It is God’s work, and we who have been elected to salvation cannot resist.
Perseverance of the Saints: Sin the Father has elected us, the Son redeemed us, and the Holy Spirit brought us to salvation, we who are saved are eternally secure. We rejoice in a verse like Philippians 1:6 that says that God is the One who will perfect us until the day of the return of Jesus.
EVANGELISTIC IN PRACTICE
Salvation does not come from trying to do the best you can, or just belonging to a church, or even from having a grandfather who was a preacher, Salvation is a personal relationship between you and Jesus Christ.
The plan of salvation is clearly delineated in the Bible, and especially in the book of Romans in the New Testament.
Consider these verses and seriously think through what is said:
1. Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Here God is simply telling us that everyone on earth is a sinner. That means that I am a sinner, you are a sinner, everyone in this world has sinned at least once. You realize you have sinned, don’t you?” We see everyone else doing these things that are wrong, so we feel we are not so bad. As long as we compare ourselves with one another, then our sins do not seem to be so great. But our sins are a great problem whether we realize it or not. You see, God says if we sin just one time, that one sin can destroy our souls. This is because God does not compare us with one another as we do. God compares us with His own glory. The Bible tells us in this verse that we have all come short of the glory of God. Jesus Christ is the visible presence of the glory of God. We are not as good as Jesus. No matter how good we may be, we are still sinners. We are lost and we need to be saved. Even if we commit only one sin in all our lives, we still fall short. Are you good enough for God if he compares you with Jesus? Now let’s see the results of our sins: 2. Romans 6:23a For the wages of sin is death . . .
You might say we have worked for sin; now sin pays us a wage. The wage that we receive is death. This word death does not mean just physical death, but rather spiritual death. It means separation from God forever. It means hell. We have all sinned. Our sins have separated us from God. The sins we have committed must be punished. The wages of sin must be paid. Could there be a way of escape from this? Look at this verse:
3. Romans 5:8 But God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God saw us in our sins but He loved us. Even while we were sinning against Him, He loved us. He declared that our sins must be punished. But because of His love, He made a way for our sins to be forgiven. When Jesus Christ came to earth and died on the cross 2,000 years ago, He made salvation possible. When Christ died on the cross, He died for YOU. He took every evil thing you ever thought, every wrong thing you ever did, every sin you ever committed. He was punished for your sins. It was just as though He had committed the sins that you actually committed. He became guilty for you. He took your place. When Jesus died for you He made it possible for you to have forgiveness of sin, and the gift of eternal life. But just because Christ died for you does not automatically save you. You see, Jesus received your punishment for sin in the experience on the Cross. Now you must receive Him through an experience of salvation. As this next verse shows, there is the offer of a free gift: 4. Romans 6:23b But the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. The gift is eternal life. Eternal life comes through Jesus Christ. This is the place where so many people fail to see what salvation really is. They feel that they have to do something to earn salvation. But God says salvation is a gift, and if you could earn it, salvation would not be a gift. There are many people today who believe if they live a good life, pay their debts, and do the best they can, they will be all right. But God says it is a gift. There are other people who believe if they go to church and are baptized they will get into heaven. They do not realize they need an experience of salvation. But being a church member will not earn you salvation. God’s salvation is a gift. The only thing you can do with a gift is accept it or reject it. Just as you can’t earn a gift, you can’t feel the pleasure of a gift until you take it. Many people are waiting for some feeling before they receive Christ as their Savior. But the Bible does not teach anything about feelings before you are saved. There must come a moment in your life when you accept Jesus into your heart as your own Savior. There are two more verses written just for you, that you can know how to accept Christ: 5. Romans 10:9, 13 If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. God’s Word says to call upon the name of Jesus. If you will simply confess your sin and ask Christ to forgive you of your sins, He will do it. He will come into your heart and save you. God’s Word says you must confess your sin and ask Jesus to forgive you of your sin in order to be saved. When you do this, Jesus comes into your heart and life and saves you.
There is no greater joy for us at Bethany than to see another soul receive the gift of God, eternal life through Jesus Christ. We invite you to pray and receive Christ. We would be happy to speak with you further, and to pray with you. If you are ready now, these words given in sincere prayer express what God’s Word has said about salvation:
“Dear Lord Jesus, I confess that I’m a sinner, and I know that You died on the Cross for my sins. Through Your blood shed for me, forgive me of all my sins, and come into my heart. Dear Lord Jesus, save me right now. In Your precious Name I pray, Amen.”
We at Bethany and all who are a part of the Reformed Faith find that the Scriptures teach two basic sacraments: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. A sacrament is a visible symbol of the grace that God gives to us.
If you have been saved, the Bible clearly teaches that you should be baptized. It is an identification with Christ and an outward testimony of the new life in Christ that has begun within you. We see this in Acts 2:38, and know that a part of the Great Commission given by Christ at His ascension was that we are to baptize in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We at Bethany accept immersion, sprinkling, and pouring—we recognize that water is the key ingredient in baptism! Sprinkling as a method of baptism seems best to fit the scene in Acts 2 where 3,000 were baptized in an arid location on one day. Just as the Mercy Seat was sprinkled with the blood in the Old Testament Day of Atonement, so also sprinkling is symbolic of the cleansing that comes from the blood of Christ that washes away our sins.
THE LORD’S SUPPER
John Calvin and other Reformers believed that Christ is spiritually present (but not physically) in the bread and the cup—the two elements of the Communion Service. In partaking of Communion, we are remembering Christ’s death (I Corinthians 11:25-26); celebrating a present fellowship with Christ and the Church (I Corinthians 10:16-17); and anticipating the return of Christ for His Church (Matthew 26:29; Mark 14:25; I Corinthians 11:26).
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF THE BIBLE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH?
The Bible Presbyterian Church comes out of the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversies of the 1920’s and 1930’s. In 1923, William Jennings Bryan (a Fundamentalist who had three times been the Democratic nominee for President of the United States) was defeated in his attempt to become the head of the Presbyterian Church. Liberals (people who deny that the Bible is God’s Word) took charge, and then began changing the direction of the entire church. In 1924, over 1000 Presbyterian pastors signed the Auburn Affirmation that denied the Virgin Birth of Christ. They also believed that most of the history in the Bible was just fables written to teach moral lessons, and that Jesus was just a good person who became a martyr for his beliefs. Fundamentalists like J. Gresham Machen, New Testament Professor at Princeton, J. Oliver Buswell, President of Wheaton College, and pastors like Carl McIntire stood against this change in the Presbyterian Church and started the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions in 1933. They received all the missionaries that wanted to spread the Gospel, not teach the white man’s culture that would change society without preaching Christ’s message of salvation. The Presbyterian denomination put the Independent Board members on trial, and then voted to remove (excommunicate) them from the very church they were seeking to save!
They then formed a new denomination of Bible believers, but soon found differences among themselves. One group attempted to force Amillennialism on all the pastors, a view which denies any future to Israel and spiritualizes or assigns to the past the book of Revelation. This group also favored the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages, which was an important issue in the days following the repeal of the 18th Amendment (Prohibition). They also taught determinism—that we should not pray for specifics since God has determined all things. The second group believed in freedom to choose their view of eschatology, saw the dangers of alcohol abuse in America, and believed that God works in our daily lives through the power of prayer. In 1937, the second group formed the Bible Presbyterian Church. We proudly continue this tradition in our church today. Pastor Ron Vandermey is the current Moderator of Faith Presbytery—Bible Presbyterian Church.