Who We Are
We are a non-denominational, self governing body of Bible believers not bound to any organization. Our purpose is twofold: (1) To evangelize the community and (2) To edify the Saints of God. As an independent Bible Church we are free from denominational programs and religious hierarchy. This gives us liberty to structure our ministry after Scriptural patterns. We believe the Bible must be Rightly Divided according to the dispensational principle set forth in 2 Timothy 2:15. Therefore, our emphasis is on the Message of Grace committed to our trust by our risen Lord through the ministry of the Apostle Paul, and on the Grace-life this message produces.
We affirm that the sevenfold unity expressed in this passage is the Holy Spirit’s DOCTRINAL STATEMENT for the Church, which is the Body of Christ. We believe that all expressions of doctrinal position and requirements for this dispensation of the grace of God must be in full accord with the Holy Spirit’s outline. We recognize other doctrinal unities for other dispensations, but we affirm that Ephesians 4:4-6 stands alone as the doctrinal unity for this dispensation. Therefore, the ultimate doctrinal position of this fellowship rests in the Scriptures and their interpretation according to a mid-Acts dispensational viewpoint. No brief document such as this could adequately convey the entire scope of doctrine contained in God’s Word. However, in an effort to present those points of doctrine that represent the principle beliefs of our fellowship, the following items are listed and defined:
- One Faith: We believe that the content of our faith is contained in the Word of God as Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Therefore, we believe that God gave the words of Scripture by inspiration without error in the original autographs (2 Tim. 3:16-17). God promises that He will preserve the words of scripture. (Psa. 12:6-7; Mat. 24:35). We believe God has kept His promise by preserving His infallible words in the Received Text of the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, and that the Authorized King James Version is an accurate translation of the preserved words of God in the English language, without error. We do believe that the preserved words of God are available in other languages when accurately translated from the correct text. The only way to understand and enjoy the Bible is to “rightly divide the word of truth” as instructed in 2 Timothy 2:15. The Word of God alone furnishes the believer unto all good works. (2 Tim. 3:15-17).
- One God: We believe in one God eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 John 5:7). Southwest Bible Fellowship‘ text graphic
- One Lord: We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, and is true God and true man. (Luke 1:35; Rom. 1:3-4; Phil. 2:6-9). He suffered and died as the propitiation of God for sin (Rom. 3:25) and three days later rose bodily from the dead. We no longer “know” him in his earthly ministry but as the resurrected Head of the Church, which is his body. (2 Cor. 5:16; Rom. 15:8; Eph. 1:20-23) Therefore, we believe that people today are saved by grace through faith alone and that at that moment of salvation are sealed and eternally secure. (Eph. 2:8-9; Eph. 1:13-14). Man is depraved, utterly sinful and his works, regardless of how well intended, can never earn nor keep God’s grace; hence, salvation is a free gift made available only by faith in the complete payment for sin through Christ’s death on the cross. Salvation is a willful decision to rely exclusively in the person and work of Jesus Christ. (Rom. 3:9-28; 4:1-8; 1 Cor. 1:18-31, 15:1-4). We believe in the conscious, eternal damnation of the lost. Today, in this age of grace, the lost are all those who have not relied exclusively in the person and work of Jesus Christ. (Rom. 2:1-11; Eph. 5:6; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 20:11-15, 21:8).
- One Spirit: We believe that the mission and work of the Holy Spirit today is to conform the Body of Christ into the image of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor. 3:17-18). The Holy Spirit works in the life of the believer through the effectual working of the Word of God, to effect an inward change in character. (Eph. 5:18-19; Col. 3:16; Gal. 5:16-25). The prophetic work and sign gifts, including the ministerial gifts, of the Holy Spirit are not in operation today. (1 Cor. 13:8-13, 12:1-31; Rom. 12:68; Eph. 4:8-11). The Word of God alone furnishes all believers to serve God, as they desire to serve. (2 Tim. 3:15-17).
- One Body: We believe that the church of this dispensation is the Body of Christ. (Eph. 1:22, 23; 3:1-6). The church today is to be distinguished from the prophesied, earthly kingdom of Christ. The Body of Christ had its historical beginning with the salvation and commissioning of the Apostle Paul. (1 Tim. 1:15-16; Eph. 3:1-9; Col. 1:25-26). We believe that the Apostle Paul’s pattern of establishing identifiable local churches in various geographic areas (Acts 14:21-23) is God’s method of carrying on the ministry of reconciliation. Local churches are comprised of saints that gather for edification and scatter for evangelization. These churches are to be autonomous. Therefore, we believe the mission and commission of the Church, the Body of Christ, is to proclaim the message of reconciliation, (2 Cor. 5:14-21), and to preach Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery, first revealed in history to the Apostle Paul. (Rom. 16: 25; Eph. 3:1-9; 1 Tim. 1:16). In Paul’s writings alone do we find the doctrine, position, walk and destiny of the Church, the Body of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ revealed to the Apostle Paul the doctrines of grace, which is according to Godliness. (1 Tim. 6:3; Titus 1:1; Titus 2:11-14). In Paul’s writings we learn that the believer today:1) has total forgiveness and is not instructed to confess sins as taught in 1 John 1:9.
2) can know that the will of God for life is the same for every believer, made known through the scriptures and that there is no preordained individual will of God for each believer.
3) does not receive a spiritual gift from the Holy Spirit but is free to function as adult sons of God, serving in the spirit.
4) can pray in line with the work of God today, through His word, with understanding and not as the Lord Jesus Christ taught the nation of Israel to pray.
5) does not experience special intervention from God. God intervenes in the life of the believer through the effectual working of His word.
6) does not experience chastising from God. God’s Word alone is sufficient for reproof, correction and instruction.
- One Baptism: We believe that every believer, in this age of grace, is baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). This baptism is not the water baptism of the prophetic program. It is a dry, spiritual baptism performed by the Holy Spirit alone. (Col. 2:11-12; Rom. 6:1-4).
- One Hope: We believe in the pre-prophetic appearing of Jesus Christ for the purpose of catching up the church, the Body of Christ, in the air, where the saints of this age will receive resurrected bodies fashioned like unto the glorious body of Jesus Christ. This event is commonly referred to as the Rapture, which will precede the seven-year tribulation and the second coming of Christ to the earth for the purpose of establishing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. This means that the church, the Body of Christ, will not be on the earth during the time of Jacob’s trouble. (1 Thess. 4:13-16, 5:1-11; 2 Thess. 2:1-17; Rom. 13:11). We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; those that are saved unto the resurrection of eternal life and those who are lost unto the resurrection of eternal damnation.
We acknowledge that the above Doctrinal Statement does not exhaust the essentials of our faith, which is the entire Word of God. However, we believe that this list distinguishes some basic truths, which are commonly disregarded today. It is not meant to exclude anyone from attending Southwest Bible Fellowship who does not agree, but is intended to distinguish our ministry as Pauline in pattern and doctrine (I Cor. 11:1; I Cor. 3:10; 1 Tim. 1:16).