Pastor Jake's Doctrines and Beliefs

Fundamental Doctrine

God-
The living God exists in transcendent triunity, fully three personhoods (hypostaseis/subsistences) while at the same time fully one being. He is the only true existent, upon which all other existents fully depend. Yet these existents are not created out of Him but by Him out of nothing. In revealing His Name to Moses as “I AM who I AM”, the living God proclaimed His infinitude in all His attributes. Therefore, as His eternality transcends time, so His omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence are infinite as they transcend all apprehension of power, knowledge, and space. God is not super-essential but supra-essential, and so His moral attributes are the infinite and absolute standard of the virtues. Therefore God is not good but rather Goodness, not loving but instead Love, not true but rather Truth, not just but Himself very Justice. Each member of the triune God performs an office: the Father creates and rules and sends the Son to fulfill His plan of redemption; the Son as Redeemer purchased salvation with His precious blood and was raised by the Father to glory, and the Son has been entrusted with the authority of final judgment; the Holy Spirit is sent by both Father and Son as an expression of their Love to guard and preserve the Saints who have been redeemed.

God has revealed Himself in various ways, of which 5 are primary: i) General/natural revelation through the created universe; ii) inscription on every conscience where knowledge of the Moral Law is written on every heart; iii) choosing for Himself a peculiar people in the nation of Israel and setting them apart by His covenant and Law; iv) Scriptural revelation; v) the sending of His very own Son.

the Father-
God the Father is the Creator of the universe and as such is its Ruler and Judge. He created the world ex nihilo in a state of good perfection, yet it was part of His sovereign plan that the creation would fall and need redemption, to the glory of His good pleasure. He is the source of all goodness, and in Him is no darkness at all, yet He so overrules the wills of angels and of men in such an infinite transcendent manner that they retain a responsible agency while performing His secret will in every event, whether great or small, including evil acts. Although evil occurs according to the transcendent will of God, in His infinitude He remains free from every taint, just as He remains just to punish men and angels for their wickedness. It is out of the creational love of the Father for His creation that He sent the Son of His (familial) Love into that creation, so that men might partake of the Father's salvific familial Love for His Son through faith in that Son.

the Son-
God the Son is the redeemer of humanity, sent by the Father out of love for the created universe. As the eternal Wisdom and creative Word of God the Father, the Son was the means through which the Father created the universe, and the Son sustains the universe. The Son is begotten of the Father in no carnal or temporal sense but rather as the eternal emanation—that is, there was no time when God began speaking the Word but has always been conveying forth His infinite Wisdom. The Word became flesh and pitched His tent among us. In a transcendent unity, Jesus the Anointed is fully God at the same time as He is fully man. Neither His deity nor His humanity are separated from or absorbed by the other. As God He could not die; as man he could not overcome death… so He perfectly united the two in His own person so that as God-in-Man the Redeemer He overcame the chains of sin and death. As to His divinity, He retained all the attributes of His deity, even while emptying Himself of His heavenly glory and humbling Himself to the level of humanity in obedience to the Father; as to His humanity, He was subject to all of our weaknesses, frailties, and temptations. While omniscient, He grew in knowledge; while perfect, He gained greater perfection through obedience; while omnipotent, He suffered. Jesus of Nazareth was born of a virgin, lived and ministered with 12 disciples, suffered under Pontius Pilate, died on a Roman cross, was buried, but on the third day rose to Life. The Son is co-eternal and co-substantial with the Father, yet is relationally submissive to the Father’s will and authority. It was the Son’s office to suffer and die a substitutionary atoning death on behalf of His elect Church, to which all people everywhere are invited. This atonement is eternally effective and so limited to the Elect. He died for our transgressions but was raised for our justification, redemption, sanctification, and glorification.

the Holy Spirit-
God the Holy Spirit is the Counsellor and Comforter of the elect. As He proceeds eternally from both the Father and the Son, He is also sent by the Father and the Son as the Paraclete of the Church to indwell the hearts of believers while we wait for the Lord’s return. The Holy Spirit is called the Paraclete because He comforts, advises, warns, chastises, encourages, convicts, and loves the Christian. He is the guarantee or deposit of salvation for everyone who believes, preserving the saint for eternity. The Holy Spirit comes upon the believer upon genuine conversion, and there is no separate or secondary “work of grace” or baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works holiness within the believer and convicts him of sin, conforming him to the image of Christ in a lifelong sanctification process. The Spirit is also the spiritual bond of connection between the resurrected Christ who reigns in heaven at the right hand of the Father and the soul of the Christian.

While the Holy Spirit bestows gifts for ministry on individuals as He wills, His primary purpose is to produce in the believer the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and self-control. Therefore, the presence of the Holy Spirit at work in the renovation of the believer’s heart is evidence of the Christian life.

Man-
Created in perfection, the original Man and woman were given a “free” will, insofar as this will was free toward sin, to choose either obedience or disobedience to the prime Law. This will was not free with regard to the transcendent and secret will of God, who so rules the wills of men and of angels in such a transcendent way that their actions are theirs but happen according to His infinitely sovereign will for the purpose of His good pleasure and glory. Adam and Eve enjoyed both the creational love and the familial Love of God. In rebelling against His decree, they received the punishment of ejection and separation from His presence and Sabbath-Rest, losing God’s familial Love, which is the only true joy.

Although the first humans were created in the image of God, the fall of Adam has completely wrecked that image, which can only be recreated by Jesus Christ. Their descendants, the human race, suffer under the bondage of sin, spiritually dead, utterly ruined and totally depraved and completely corrupted in their heart, mind, and will. Their will is held in bondage to sin, rendering all utterly helpless to achieve the pleasure and Love of God and therein find salvation. Yet out of His creational love where all receive mercy and temporal care, God has provided the only true Life and Way back into His familial Love.

Salvation-
The only achievement of salvation is through absolute obedience to God's Law. The smallest failure earns the full weight of God's just wrath. As all have sinned and fall short of God's glory, in our unregenerate state we are all enemies of God whom God hates (ie. separated from God’s familial Love). By His pure innocence and absolute obedience, Jesus fulfilled salvation and the familial Love of God through His life and obedient death, achieving the eternal high priesthood of the order of Melchizedek. But He offered up Himself as the eternal sacrifice, the unblemished Lamb of God, to receive the penalty of a criminal's death, receiving the curse of the Law, enduring the full forsaking of the Father, even descending into Sheōl, experiencing utter separation from God. But on the third day God raised Him up in glory and ultimately sat Him at His right hand, vindicating Him as the Son of His familial Love. Therefore, whoever believes in the Son receives the salvation that Jesus earned, and to dwell in Christ by faith is to dwell in the familial Love of God, for only Christ possesses that Love. To reject Christ, then, is to attempt to earn God's favour on one's own efforts and to remain under the curse and enmity of disobedience. Salvation comes through faith alone by Grace and is the work of God from beginning to end, such that a true believer can have confidence and assurance that his salvation cannot be lost.

Faith and Works-
Faith is not true unless it works, but works of obedience to Law cannot serve as the substitute for faith. The only saving faith is in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in whom resides all of the Father’s familial Love and good pleasure. To dwell not in Jesus is to dwell outside of the Father’s familial Love … it is the attempt to earn the Love and favour of God by the work of my hands, hands that are unclean to the uttermost. The creational love of God does not lead to salvation since it is temporal and provisionary and universal, where God cares and provides for the human with as much affection as for a blade of grass and all of His created works. But Christ was the pure innocent and unblemished Lamb of God, and as the eternal sacrifice and propitiatory substitute provides full cleansing to those who receive it with the simple faith of acceptance and not with the payment of works. True gratitude and thanksgiving must produce service and the pursuit of holiness.

the Church-
The Bible describes the Church as making up the people of God, the body of Christ, the true Israel, and the bride of Christ. As the people of God, the Church is to shine as a light in a dark world. The Church relates to God as His people, dearly loved. As the body of Christ, the Church is the hands and feet of Christ, each part doing its work, both to edify the other parts of the body and to go into the world to share Christ’s love. Love is the primary commandment for the Church. As the true Israel, the Church fulfills the covenant of God, His commandments, and His promises. As the bride of Christ, the Church is called to be holy and wait in eager expectation for her Bridegroom. The local church exists where the family of God has gathered together to practice love toward each other and to hear the Word truly preached and to receive the sacraments duly administered. I affirm that according to Scripture there are only two sacraments (or holy ordinances): the Lord’s Supper and believer’s baptism by immersion.

To answer the question “Has the Church replaced Israel?”, there is required precise definitions for both terms. True Israel has always been the Church, so the gentile church was in-grafted into true Israel, the Church. This does not mean that God does not have a plan for “the braches that were cut off”, that is, rejecting Israel, for once the full number of Gentiles come in, we share Paul’s confidence that all Israel will come to faith in Christ. Concerning women in church leadership, the Scriptures clearly demonstrate their complementing role. Egalitarian models and interpretive schemas impose modern cultural biases upon God’s Word. All are equal in terms of salvation and co-heirs with Christ, but in terms of church leadership—as in the family, complementary roles have been assigned for the sake of order and discipline. These roles were present in the created order but made even more necessary by the Fall. The Bible consistently maintains that a woman is not to hold spiritual authority over men in the spheres of the family and of the church.

Eschatology-
I believe in the imminent return of Jesus Christ, when the dead shall rise, the books open, and the final judgment commence. I believe the Bible clearly teaches that this will happen “like a thief [in the night]”. It is the blessed hope that Christ shall return to judge the living and the dead at the Final Resurrection. For the Saints He returns in salvation... for the wicked, judgment. Christ shall not return halfway (as if partially “to the clouds”), neither will His return be secretive or invisible, nor will there be a "Third Coming (Parousia)". As persecution and martyrdom for the name of Christ is a profound honour for the Christian, the Church will not be raptured away to avoid tribulation but will instead be afforded the honour of suffering right up to the end.

The word "rapture" is only used a single time in an eschatological context, in 1Thessalonians 4:13-5:9. In 1Thess 4:15, Paul uses the Greek word parousia, which is usually rendered improperly as "coming" when literally it means "being beside/present". This is the regular word used to describe Jesus' return (as it is in 2Thess 2:1,8; Matt 24:30,37,39; 1Pet 1:5; 2Pet 3:4) [see Appendix A of the Excursus].

The word parousia cannot refer to a partial coming "to the clouds", since it denotes a coming and remaining. In 1Thess 4:16, the last clause is often translated "the dead in Christ will rise first" (cf. NIV), but the word is not "rise" egeiro, but "resurrect" anistemi... "the dead in Christ will resurrect first." Therefore Paul clearly has the general resurrection in his mind (just as he does in 1Cor 15:42, 52), though for the purposes of encouraging the Thessalonians, he does not mention the resurrection of the wicked at the same time (as he believes from Acts 24:14-15), since he is focussing on the joy of meeting Christ.

Paul’s thought in 1Thess 4 and 1Cor 15 are the same: the dead are resurrected, the Church is united, the Church is transformed, the Church meets Christ. As the living Church is reunited with the resurrected Church, we shall all be metamorphed in “the twinkling of an eye” (1Cor 15:51-52) so that our lowly bodies are transformed into the likeness of Christ’s glorious body (Phil 3:21), and then we shall be raptured up together to meet Him in the air. The passage in 1Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 is militaristic, so the idea is not that Christ will gather His saints to take them back to heaven but rather that He is gathering them as He descends to earth with the heavenly host to deliver the wrath of God on the Day of the LORD, the Day of Judgment (2Thess 2:2). 1Thessalonians 5:2 clearly marks this resurrection/rapture day as the "Day of the LORD", a phrase which in the Old Testament always indicated the Day of Judgment. Paul describes this day in terms of “inescapable destruction” (5:3; cf. 2Thess 2:8) and in which the wrath of God is manifested (5:9).

The millennial reign in Revelation 20 is John’s figurative preservation of the Jewish expectation of a Messianic Golden Age. Since this era is not corroborated by any other NT writer or by Christ Himself, and since Paul et al. present Christ as reigning in the heavens at the right hand of the Father, we must interpret the millennial age in terms of Christ’s present heavenly reign, after which will commence His return (parousia), the final Resurrection, and the Judgment. [See also Excursus which is available for more detail]

Election/Sovereignty-
I believe in the full, absolute, and free sovereignty of the infinite, immanent, and transcendent God. To say that God is sovereign means not merely that He can do all things but that God does do all things by His transcendent providence. God in His infinite transcendence is absolutely sovereign over all space and time. The cilium of the amoeba waves in no direction other than what God has ordained; neither does an electron speed around an atom in a path other than what God has commanded. Since God transcends time, all events are eternally fixed in terms of His immutable and sovereign will. Therefore, by a transcendent synergy of wills, according to His secret will that transcends all possible human intellectual capacity, God has elected those who choose to come to Him in faith while reprobating those who reject Him in wickedness. This election is without any condition or contingency (such as foresight of faith), for then it would not be by Grace from beginning to end, and the act of faith or choosing would become a work to boast in.

Angels-
The Scriptures describe angels as spiritual ministers and servants of God who do His bidding and protect His people. They are the highest order of creation in terms of glory, but second to humanity in terms of God’s love. They are a reminder of God’s care and protection. The satan, that ancient serpent, is the accuser and enemy of God’s people, yet he too is subservient to God’s will and power. With respect to humans, the devil is the great archenemy, terrible in his opposition and wrath. But with regard to God, the devil is a speck of insignificant dust. The Scriptures are not clear how and when the devil fell, but this too was under God’s sovereign plan… as is his ultimate defeat and destruction.

Heaven and Hell-
While heaven is often described in the Scriptural testimony as being a kingdom or a place, there are also expressions of a relational nature, where heaven is conscious spiritual union with Christ in God until the Resurrection. The New Testament writers preserve the Jewish hope in a bodily resurrection and present Christ as the first fruits of that resurrection, so that ultimately all shall be resurrected before the Judgment Seat of Christ. Those whom Christ knows as His own will live with Him in glorious resurrected bodies in the new heaven and new earth. Those whom Christ knows not will be eternally punished in conscious separation from Him and disunion with God, a state justly described as filled with “wailing and gnashing of teeth”.

the Scriptures-
I believe in the inspiration of Scripture by the Holy Spirit in the original autographs. Therefore it is also infallible and inerrant. I consider Holy Scripture to be the final authority in all things, the standard by which all Christians are called to order their lives, and the only absolute Truth as revealed by God.

The Holy Scriptures of 66 books in the Old and New Testaments reflect the transcendent unity of Jesus as Son of God and Son of Man in that the Bible is fully divine and fully human. As the very breath of God, the Scriptures are infallible, inerrant and authoritative in all matters, not just those pertaining to faith. Yet as a human composition at the same time, it is grounded in cultural contexts and human biases and limited understanding. God in His infinite wisdom for His glory was well-pleased to reveal His infallible Word through fallible men. Therefore we eschew any mechanical divine dictation on the one hand while rejecting the suggestion of error or contradiction in the Scriptures. The primary interpretive posture, grounded in historical context and literal exegesis, seeking the original author’s intent, must always be humble piety, thirsting to know God out of love for Him.

EXTRA ISSUES:

Signs and Wonders-
The miracles, signs and wonders performed by the Apostles in the early Church pointed to the truth of the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With the closing of the Scriptural canon over the next few centuries, God’s Word has become the primary standard of divine Truth for the Gospel. Therefore, without limiting at all God’s ability to act supernaturally in history up to our modern day, especially in circumstances requiring a powerful demonstration of His power in order to confirm the truth of the Gospel, I affirm that God works primarily through providential means. Many so-called manifestations of signs and wonders today are heretical at worst and tomfoolery at best, insulting the majesty of God. The glory and honour of God must be paramount in all Christian conduct. The so-called “gift of Tongues” should properly be known as the gift of Languages. The primary dispensation of Languages occurred on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), and it is clear in context that these were known earthly languages, recognizable even to unbelieving ears. If this was the first manifestation, then it is also the standardizing manifestation by which all others are measured. Paul makes it clear that Languages are always to be accompanied with interpretation for the orderly edification of the church. This gift was granted for the purpose of evangelism as a sign for unbelievers and is nowhere described in terms of worship or prayer. Our Saviour forbade babbling in prayer.

Creation and Evolution (Faith and Science)-
The Christian faith is founded on the most unscientific premise possible: that a dead man came back to life. Therefore, whatever one says about Genesis 1-3 is inevitably linked with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The fundamental premise of Darwinism is motivated by atheism. Therefore, any attempt to balance or mix Biblical Creationism and “Scientific” Evolution is the attempt to syncretize theism with atheism, Christ with Belial. Let one choose and there take his stand, for no one can serve two masters (Mt 6:24).

The “Day-Age” theory attempts to accommodate inter-species macro evolution with the Biblical account, yet evolution requires much death, and it is foundational to Christian theology that death came into reality through the moral failure and rebellion of Adam. Therefore, to syncretize Darwinism with the Creation account requires Adam and Eve to be non-historical figurative characters in a moral cosmogonic myth. If the earth appears much older than the Biblical history allows, it is of no contradiction for God to have created a mature earth, just as He created vegetation, animals, and even humans in a mature state. True scientia pursues God and His works, perfectly harmonizing with faith.