Statement of Faith (from The New Life Churches of New Zealand website)
1. The Doctrine of the Scriptures:
We believe in the complete inspiration of the accepted canon of Scripture as originally given. We believe that the Bible not only contains the Word of God, but is the Word of God to man. The Scriptures of the Old Testament and the New Testament were given by inspiration (God-breathed) of the Holy Spirit, using the faculties of the various writers but overruling their imperfections, thus giving to us the only inspired, infallible and authoritative revelation – The Word of the living God. The Scriptures therefore are the final authority for all matters of faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Psalm 138:2; 1 Chronicles 28:11,19).
2. The Doctrine of God:
We believe in the Eternal Godhead, Trinity in Unity (Tri-une) who has revealed Himself as one God existing in three Persons, even the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: distinguishable but indivisible; co-eternal, co-equal and co-existent in attributes, nature, power and glory. This Self-revelation of God in His tri-unity is revealed in the Scriptures alone. The one true Self-existent God is Eternal, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient and Immutable (Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; 2 Corinthians 3:14; 1 John 5:7-8; Ephesians 2:18; Isaiah 48:16; John 14:16-17; Genesis 1:1; Romans 1:20; Hebrews 11:6).
3. The Doctrine of Christ:
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Eternal Son of God, who pre-existed with the Father, and by His incarnation and virgin birth He took on Himself the form of man and was revealed as the God-man. We believe that in Him the Divine and Human natures are so united that He is truly and properly God and truly and properly man, thus constituting Him as the only mediator between God and Man, and the Saviour of all men (John 1:1-3, 14-18; Matthew 1:18-23; Luke 1:30-33). This is to say that we believe in His Pre-existence, His Divinity, His Virgin Birth, and His Sinless Humanity. Upon these facts stand His Substitutionary Death, Burial, Resurrection, Ascension and Exaltation and Glorification to the throne of God, from whence He will come again “in like manner” the second time without sin unto salvation (Acts 2:34-37; Psalms 110; Micah 5:2; John 17:5; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Philippians 2:5-11; Acts 1:10-11).
4. The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit:
We believe that the Holy Spirit in the third Person in the eternal Godhead, is Deity, and co-equal in nature, power, attributes and glory with the Father and the Son, proceeding from the Father through the Son. The Holy Spirit is not merely an influence, but the very Personality of the Godhead and executor of the will and plan of God (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; John 14:16-17; 15:26).
5. The Doctrine of the Covenants:
We believe that the God of the Bible is a Covenant-making, Covenant-keeping and Covenant-revealing God; that man can either accept or reject the Covenants but cannot change them. Man does not originate the Covenants but is simply the recipient of such. The great Covenants of the Bible are the Edenic, Adamic, Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Palestinian, Davidic and New Covenants. The major dealings of God with man are summed up in the Old Covenant of LAW and the New Covenant of GRACE. All Covenants are founded on and are the expression of the Everlasting Covenant made in the counsels of the Eternal Godhead before sin, and cover God’s purpose for man in Creation and Redemption (Genesis chapters 1; 3; 8; 12; 15: Exodus 19-24; Deuteronomy 29-32; 2 Samuel 7; Matthew 26:26-28; Hebrews 8; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 13:20).
6. The Doctrine of Creation:
We believe that God is the Creator, preserver and Sustainer of Heaven and Earth and everything therein, and that all creation and creatures were created by Him and for His pleasure and all are dependent upon the Creator for their existence. None are independent but all are beneficiaries of Divine providence and care (Genesis 1:1; 2:1-4; John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16-17; Revelation 4:11; Acts 17:23-31).
7. The Doctrine of Angels:
We believe that God created angelic beings, spirit beings, who are ministering spirits doing the will of God, and are servants to the heirs of salvation. Their chief delight is to worship God, not be worshipped, and to do His good and perfect will (Hebrews 1:7; 14: Psalm 91:11; Matthew 25:22,41; 1Timothy 5:21; Hebrews 12:22-24; Psalm 104:4; Revelation 4-5).
8. The Doctrine of Satan and Demons:
We believe in the reality and personality of Satan and fallen angels. The Bible shows that there were fallen angels who sinned along with their leader, Satan. Also that there are angels who did not rebel and these are spoken of as Elect Angels. Satan and his fallen angels, and demonic spirits, are reserved unto judgment of the great day, and will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire and Brimstone, which was prepared for them (Matthew 25; 14; 2 Peter 2:4: Jude 6; 1 Timothy 5:21; Revelation 2:7-9; 20:11-15; 14:9-11).
9. The Doctrine of Man:
We believe that man is the highest creation of God, made in the image and likeness of God: that man was created in a state of innocence and dependency upon God: that man is a triune being, consisting of spirit, soul and body: that God, for God, to be filled with, created man God. We also believe that man was created with a free will and is therefore a moral, responsible and accountable creature (Genesis 1:26-29; 2:7; 16-17: 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Psalm 8:5-8; Deuteronomy 30:15-19; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Romans 14:12).
10. The Doctrine of Marriage and Family:
We believe that marriage was established by God and confirmed by Jesus Christ as a life-long relationship between one man and one woman. We believe that a Christian should marry within the community of faith. Christian marriage is a reflection of the love, purity and permanence between Christ and the Church. We therefore discourage divorce as a solution to marital difficulties and encourage husband and wife to devote themselves to God and find nurture in the instruction of the body of Christ. Children are regarded as “a heritage of the Lord”. Raising them is therefore considered as a sacred trust. (Eph 5.25-6.4)
11. The Doctrine of Sin:
We believe that sin and “the mystery of iniquity” began in Lucifer, the Archangel and anointed Cherub covering the throne of God, and that sin entered the human race by this fallen angel, who became known as the devil or Satan (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezek. 28; John 8:44; 1 John 3:8). The devil brought about the Fall of Man under probation, and thus man fell from his state of innocence and “in Adam” all men became sinners, totally depraved in spirit, soul and body, unable to attain Divine righteousness and hence all are under the death penalty which is the “wages of sin” (Genesis 2:16-17; Romans 6:23).
In this fallen state, man is totally incapable of recovering himself or of redeeming himself from sin and death or out of the kingdom of darkness into which all of Adam’s unborn race had been sold. Sin is missing the mark: sin is transgression: sin is rebellion and lawlessness (1 John 3:4). Man by nature is a rebel, lawless, self-willed and seeks to be independent of God (Romans 5:12-21; 3: 9-23).
12. The Doctrine of Grace:
We believe in the grace of God which is manifested towards sinful men. Grace is defined as the undeserved, and unearned favour of God bestowed upon sinful men. Man does not deserve it; he cannot earn it; there is nothing in him that merits it. The grace of God includes His love, kindness, goodness and mercy and power by which he builds His church, which comes to men and is through Christ (John 1:14-18; Ephesians 2:7-9; Titus 3:4-7).
13. The Doctrine of the Atonement:
We believe that the Atonement is the all-comprehensive plan of God in and for the redemption of fallen man. The old English word “atone” means “to cover, to pardon, to appease, to reconcile” and it is a most comprehensive word in its full ramifications. It was foreshadowed in the Old Testament by the sacrifice of animals, whose blood temporarily “covered” sin. It is fulfilled in the New Testament by Christ’s perfect, sinless, human and once-for-all sacrifice, His sinless, incorruptible blood not only “covered” sin. It is fulfilled in the New Testament by Christ’s perfect, sinless, human and once-for-all sacrifice, His sinless, incorruptible blood not only “covers” but fully “cleanses” sin (1 John 1:5-7; John 3:16-17; 1:29, 36; Hebrews 9:1-24).
A. The Atonement was made necessary by God’s holiness against man’s sinfulness which produces wrath, and wrath can only be averted by atonement, the appeasement, the sacrifice upon which judgment is placed (Ezekiel 18:4; Romans 1:18; 4:15; Isaiah 53:5-6; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:25).
B. The Nature of the Atonement was:
- An Atonement, Appeasement. A sin offering (John 1:29, 36).
- A Propitiation (Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10).
- A Substitution (1 Peter 3:18; Romans 5:8). Christ died in our stead.
- A Redemption (Colossians 1:14). Christ bought us from sin’s slavery.
- A Ransom (Mark 10: 45; 1 Timothy 2:5-6). Christ paid the price.
- A Reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-21; Hebrews 2:17).
None of these words on its own, but all of them together, constitute the full truth of the Atonement. In the Atonement, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was sinless, took our sins and iniquities, and suffered the righteous wrath of a holy God, receiving the penalty of sin which was death. His death was not an accident but an accomplishment, making salvation available for all mankind, to “whosoever will” (John 3:16).
We believe therefore, that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again the third day, and personally appeared to His disciples showing Himself alive by many infallible proofs (Acts 1:3; Romans 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). We believe that He ascended bodily to Heaven, and that He will return the second time, actually, personally, bodily and gloriously “in the like manner” as He went into Heaven (Acts 1:9-10; John 14:2-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
C. The Benefits of the Atonement are:
- Pardon – the forgiveness and remission of sin’s penalty (Acts 10:43; 13:38-39).
- Justification – the pronouncing just, a declaration of righteousness and right standing before God through Christ (Romans 5:1; 3:24-26).
- Regeneration – by which one is born again into the family of God and can call God “Our Father”. (John 3:1-5; Matthew 6:9; 1 Peter 1:23).
- Adoption – whereby one is placed as a son in the family of God (Romans 8:15, 23; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:4-13).
- Assurance – whereby one has the witness of the Spirit that he is secure in obedience to the Word of God (Hebrews 5:8-9; 6:10-12; 10:38-39).
- Sanctification – whereby one is set apart unto the Lord and His holy service and use (John 17:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; Ephesians 5:26-27).
D. The Doctrine of Predestination:
We believe that predestination and election are based upon God’s foreknowledge. God has not predestined some men to salvation and others to damnation against the free will He gave them. Prophecy concerning persons (such as Judas) was not predestination but foreknowledge. Because God foreknew and foresaw, He (through the prophets) foretold. Prophecy is not predestination but foreknowledge. God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). There is a difference between Provision and Application. Provision for Salvation has been made available for all mankind (John 3:16); but Application of salvation is upon God’s terms. God foreknows who will and who will not respond to the conviction and converting power of the Holy Spirit and on that basis He has fixed the destiny of all men, which is either Heaven or Hell. God will never do with His creatures that which is inconsistent with His holy, righteous, and loving character or moral attributes (1 Peter 1:2; Romans 9:11; Ephesians 1:5, 11; Romans 8:28-29).
E. The Doctrine of Salvation:
We believe in the salvation of sinners by grace, through repentance and faith in the perfect and sufficient work of Christ on Calvary by which remission of sins is obtained. The word “salvation” includes the meaning of “safety, security, deliverance, and preservation,” and “health, wholesome, soundness.” It is a comprehensive word and includes in itself God’s complete work in the redeemed sinner, reaching in its entirety from regeneration to perfection and glorification.
F. The Doctrine of Sanctification:
We believe that the redeemed should be wholly sanctified in spirit, soul and body; that they should live a life that is Spirit-filled, a life of separation from sins of the world, the flesh, and the devil. We believe that the work of sanctification in the life of a believer results in a life characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This kind of life rejects pride and rebellion and all behaviour stemming from this, such as homosexuality, sexual immorality, and sexual perversion, lust, incest, idolatry, envy, murder, strife, drunkenness, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, insolence, arrogance, boasting, promoting evil deeds, disobedience, greed, covetousness and all forms of moral depravity. Because God is holy he can demand no less from His creatures and all who desire to live with Him in His holy heaven throughout eternity (1 Peter 1:16-18; Ephesians 5:18; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Hebrews 12:14; Ephesians 5:23-27; Leviticus 11:44).
Necessary steps in going on to maturity (Heb 2:3; 6:1-2) and perfection are:
- A. Repentance from Dead Works (Matthew 3:2: 4:17; Acts 30:20-21; 2:37-39).
- B. Faith towards God (Hebrews 11:6; Romans 10:17; Hebrew 12:2; Romans 1:16-17).
- C. Water Baptism (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:36-38; 8:12-16; 19:1-7; Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:11-12; Galatians 3:27). This is by immersion into the Triune God, as in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is the Name of the eternal Godhead.
- D. Holy Spirit Baptism (Acts 2:1-4; 1:5-8; 8:14-17; 10:44-46; 19:1-7; Galatians 3:14-15). We believe the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is an experience at or subsequent to salvation, with the Scriptural evidence of speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance.
- E.Laying on of Hands (Leviticus 4:15, 23-33; Mark 16:18; Numbers 27:18-23; 2 Timothy 1:6; 1 Timothy 1:14-16; Acts 9:17). This ordinance is found in both Old and New Testaments and includes in itself impartation, identification, substitution and imputation, and is used for blessing, healing and ordination.
- F. Resurrection from the Dead (1 Corinthians 15; John 5; Revelation 20:1-6). This includes the resurrection of all men, either to a resurrection of life or resurrection of damnation.
- G. Eternal Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15; 2 Peter 3:7; Matthew 11:20-25; Acts 17:30-31). The purpose of resurrection is that all men might be judged as to their works done in the flesh, whether they be good or bad, and all will be rewarded accordingly by the supreme judge of all mankind (Romans 14:12; 1 Corinthians 3:9-15; Revelation 20:11-15). This settles the eternal destiny of all men. Believers will be judged at the Judgment seat of Christ and rewarded. The unbelievers will be judged at the Great White Throne and rewarded accordingly.
- H. Perfection (Psalm 138:8; John 17:23; Ephesians 4:11-16; 5:23-32; Matthew 5:48). The whole purpose of redemption is to bring man back to the perfection from which he fell. The perfection that man will be brought to through the blood of Christ will be a sinless perfection from which it will be impossible to fall. The believer is to go on to perfection (Hebrews 6:1-2).
17. The Doctrine of Divine Healing:
We believe in the healing of the body by Divine power, or Divine healing in its various aspects as practiced in the Early Church. God has ordained various means by which he heals; including the laying on of hands, anointing with oil; the prayer of faith by elders of the Church; the gifts of the Spirit; etc (Acts 4:30; Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 12:9; James 5:14; Mark 16:15-20; 1 Corinthians 12).
18. The Doctrine of the Kingdom of God:
We believe that Christ came to inaugurate the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom is therefore already present but is not yet fully realized. It is seen wherever God’s reign is extended and is a present reality in the hearts and lives of believers. The Church is empowered by the Holy Spirit as the agency by which the Kingdom is extended. The Kingdom will be seen in its fullness when Christ returns at the end of the age.
19. The Doctrine of the Church:
We believe that the Church is the Body of Christ, and that every genuinely born again believer is called to function as a member in that place set by God in that Body (1 Corinthians 12; 12-31).
A. The Church exists for:
- The worship and glorification of God and Christ.
- The edification of the saints.
- The propagation of the Gospel of the Kingdom and grace of God with signs following.
- The subjugation of Satan and his wicked hosts (Matthew 24:14; Mark 16:15-20; 1 Peter 2:24; Revelation 4:10-11; 5:9-10; 1 Corinthians 11-12-13-14; Ephesians 4:1-16).
B. We also believe that:
- God has set the five-fold ascension ministry-gifts in the Church, of the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher (Ephesians 4:9-16).
- God has ordained the Church be governed in His order, having Elders and Deacons (Philippians 1:1; Hebrews 13:7; 17, 24; Acts 14:23; 1 Timothy 3). These must be qualified persons before ordained and appointed to office.
- The nine-fold fruit of the Spirit is the evidence of the Divine nature and character, and should be in every believer’s life (Galatians 5:22-23).
- The nine gifts are operations of the Spirit and reveal the attributes and power of God in the Church and are given to the members of the Body as He wills, and are still for the Church today (1 Corinthians 12:1-13).
- Every believer is a member of the Body of Christ and is called to function and operate in the Body where the Lord has placed them (1 Corinthians 12). Every believer is to find their place in a Local Church.
- God has ordained that the Church be supported by the tithes and offerings of its members, which are used in support for the God-ordained ministry and general expenses of the Local and/or Universal Church (Genesis 14:20; Matthew 23:23; Hebrews 7:1-4; Numbers 18).
- The Lord’s Table or the Communion is the ordinance in which members discern the Body of Christ, naturally and spiritually. It is the point of unity, not of division. Failure to properly discern brings weakness, sickness and death, while strength, life and health come through proper discerning (1 Corinthians 11:28-32; Matthew 26:26-28). The Lord’s Table is a Covenant Table for the Covenant community.
- The Lord’s purpose concerning the Church will be fulfilled and He will present to Himself a glorious Church, a perfect Church without spot, or blemish, or wrinkle, or any such thing. The Church will be a victorious Church and a suitable bride to be married to Christ (Matthew 16:18-19; 2 Corinthians 11:1-3; Ephesians 5:23-32; Revelation 12; Revelation 19:7-9).
- All who are added to the Church should continue steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine, in fellowship, in breaking of bread and in prayers (Acts 2:42).
- The Church should maintain the Divine standard of Christian life, taking care of the flock of God, by caring, feeding, teaching, preaching, exhorting and disciplining its members (1 Timothy; 2 Timothy; Titus Epistles; Acts 20:20-28).