What Pastor James Believes
Only the 66 books of the Bible are the word of God. It is the final authority for everything we believe, and how we are expected to live our lives, in this world and beyond (Heb 4:12, Deut 11:19, 1 Pet 2:25, Ps 119:89). God’s word is infallible, without error, and never contradicts itself (2 Tim 3:16, 2 Pet 1:21, Ps 19:7, Ps 12:6, Prov 30:5). No translation can be considered singularly superior to all others, because the essential element which decides its effectiveness is not a perfect translation, but rather a perfect revelation from the Holy Spirit…who’s goal is not to help you know the Bible, but to help you know Jesus Christ (Jn 5:39, Jn 1:1, Jn 14:6, Jn 16:13, Jn 14:26, 1 Jn 2:27).
There is only one true God (Is 45:21, Is 43:10, Deut 4:35, 1 Kings 8:6, Joel 2:27, Eph 4:6) who is eternal. He exists in three distinct parts, with distinct functions, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as one whole being (Matt 28:19) – and, being one God they are equal in deity, power and glory. God created the world and everything in it for His own purpose and all things in existence are sustained by the life that is in Him (Col 1:17, Jn 1:3-4, Acts 17:24-28). God has chosen to reveal Himself through the Nation of Israel and He alone is worthy to receive worship and prayer (Ex 34:14).
Jesus is God incarnate, He is fully God, but walked fully as a man while in this world in a human body (Titus 2:13, Phil 2:6, Is 9:6, Jn 10:33, Jn 20:28, 2 Pet 1:1, Heb 2:10, Jn 17:5, Matt 28:17, Is 44:6). He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born to a virgin (Is 7:14, Luke 1:27), lived a sinless life (2 Cor 5:21, Heb 4:15) and willingly received the punishment for all the sins of mankind (Jn 1:29, Heb 10:1-18, 1 Cor 5:7). His blood alone satisfies the demand of justice for every human being’s sin (Rom 5:8). Jesus Christ and His sacrifice are the fulfillment of the law (Matt 5:7). There is salvation in no other name and no one can come to Father God except through Him (Acts 4:12, Jn 14:6).
The Holy Spirit:
The Holy Spirit is a person with thoughts and feelings (Eph 4:30). As the pledge of our redemption, He is ever-present, and eternally present, dwelling within those who surrender their will to Jesus Christ (Eph 1:13-14, Jn 14:16). As the spirit of God, He empowers us to fulfill God’s every purpose, and overcome the flesh nature and the temptations of this world (Jn 16:8, Lk 24:49, Acts 1:8, Eph 3:16). He empowers the people of the Church with spiritual gifts in order to carry out the continuing ministry of Jesus (Eph 3:7). All of the gifts and offices displayed in the early Biblical church are still available today to govern the church, and to make the authority of Jesus Christ known (1 Cor 12).
Salvation is a gift of God by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and no amount of works or deeds can save a man from God’s judgment (Eph 2:7-9). Salvation is not a one time experience, but rather an on-going relationship with Christ (Jn 17:3). That salvation includes the process of holiness, being made more and more into His image as we learn to obediently surrender more and more to His will (Heb 12:14, Heb 5:9). Works are an outward manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s salvation work within (Ezek 36:26-27), which results in a desire to worship God with our entire life – thoughts, words and deeds (Rom 12:1-2). Salvation will always result in recognizable, good fruit (Jn 15:1-8, Gal 5:22, Matt 7:16-20). The fruit of good works is not a means to salvation, but rather the evidence of a changed heart, as a result of a salvation.
The Church consist of all believers, as a corporate body, working together for one common goal: Glorifying God (Jn 4:23-24), building each other up so we can better glorify Him (Eph 4:11-14, 1 Thes 5:11, Heb 10:24-25), and preaching the gospel, and making disciples (Mark 16:15, Matt 18:20, Eph 1:22-23, Matt 28:19) in hopes that all men would glorify Him. Anyone who recognizes Jesus Christ for who He is as God and savior, worships Him in spirit and truth (Jn 4:24), and doesn’t add to or take away from His word (2 Cor 11:4, Gal 1:8, Rev 22:19), is a part of that church (1 Cor 12:13). The church and the Kingdom are synonymous, but the Church is an earthly institution which represents and embodies the eternal spiritual Kingdom (2 Pet 1:10-11, Luke 17:20-21).
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper:
These two ordinances are not a means to salvation, but rather outward displays of worship that symbolize the spiritual benefits received from Jesus Christ through His sacrifice (1 Cor 11:24, Rom 6:3-4). Though not requried for salvation, these displays of affection should be regarded as important because they have deep symbolic meaning in God’s heart (the same as one cherishes their wedding ring, even though the ring doesn’t make you married).
Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell:
Human beings are eternal beings, and after experiencing the death of their physical bodies, will face Jesus as the Judge of their life (Heb 9:27, 2 Cor 5:10, Rev 20:13, Heb 10:31, Matt 12:36, Matt 16:26-27). They will face Him either as a forgiven friend, resulting in eternal life, or as a guilty enemy, resulting in eternal death (Matt. 25:46, Rom 6:23, Dan 12:2, Gal 6:8, Jn 5:29, Ez 18:4) Heaven is a place of perfect bliss, free from sin, affording those who love Jesus, and value worshiping Him above all else, the opportunity to be with Him unhindered and unending (1 Cor 2:9). Hell is a real place of separation from God and punishing torment which will never cease (2 Thess 1:9, Matt 13:50, Mark 9:43, Jude 1:7, Matt 25:41, Rev 19:20, Matt 10:28, Luke 16:24, Jude 12-13, Rev 14:11, Rev 20:10, Rev 21:8, Matt 13:41-50, Mark 9:48, Matt 23:33, 2 Pet 2:17, Lk 16:23, Matt 3:12, Mark 9:48).