Dr. D. W. Ekstrand
THE PERSON OF GOD – There is one God (eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-present), the Creator of all things, who exists and manifests Himself to us in three distinct Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – one in essence, attributes, power, and glory. Genesis 1:1, 26; Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; John 1:1-4, 14, 18.
GOD THE FATHER – God the Father is an infinite personal Spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love. He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men and women, hears and answers prayer, and saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ. Deuteronomy 32:6; Psalm 103:13; Malachi 1:6; Ephesians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 8:6; James 1:17; 1 Peter 1:3.
JESUS CHRIST – Jesus Christ is God’s eternal Son, and has precisely the same nature, attributes, and perfections as God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, and is both true God and true man. He died upon the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sin of the world; He rose from the dead in the body in which He was crucified; He ascended into heaven in His resurrected glorified body, and now sits at the right hand of the Father making priestly intercession on behalf of His people. As His children, we await His personal, visible return from heaven, when He will set up His kingdom and judge the living and the dead. Matthew 1:18-25; 25:31-46; Luke 24; Acts 1:9-11; Colossians 1:15; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 2:5-8; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; Titus 3:3-8; Hebrews 4:14-16; 1 Peter 2:24-25; Revelation 11:15-17; 20:4-6, 11-15.
HOLY SPIRIT – The Holy Spirit is a divine person, equal with God the Father and God the Son. He convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgment; He is the agent in the work of regen-eration, sanctification, and preservation; He glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ and implements Christ’s work of redeeming the lost and empowering the believer for godly living and sacrifice; He baptizes all believers into the body of Christ at conversion, enlightens, indwells, equips, guides, teaches, sanctifies, and helps them. I believe the “sign gifts” of the Holy Spirit are completed and not applicable to the work of the Holy Spirit today. Psalm 139:7; John 14:16-17; 15:16; 16:13-14; Acts 16:14; Romans 8:9, 14-16; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 12:7-11, 13, 28-30; 14:1-40; Galatians 5: 16-17, 22-23; Ephesians 1:13; 4:11-16; Ezekiel 36:27.
HUMANITY – Man was created in the image of God, in His likeness, but the whole human race fell in the fall of the first Adam. As a result, all men are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, hardened in their heart, and are morally and spiritually dead through their trespasses and sins. Men and women cannot enter the Kingdom of God until they are born again of the Holy Spirit. Genesis 1:26-27; John 3:3; Romans 3:10, 23; Ephesians 2:1.
SALVATION – Men are justified (made righteous) on the single ground of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and upon the single condition of faith in Him. This salvation is based upon the sovereign grace of God, was purchased by Christ on the cross, and is received through faith apart from any human merit, work, or ritual; thus, salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Men are born again by the quickening, renewing, cleansing work of the Holy Spirit, through the instrumentality of the Word of God. All those who receive Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, and confess Him as such before their fellow men, become children of God and joint-heirs with Christ, and receive eternal life. The salvation of the believer results in righteous living, good works, and proper social concern. At death, their spirits depart to be with Christ in conscious blessedness, and at the Second Coming of Christ their bodies are raised and transformed into the likeness of the body of His glory. All those who persistently reject Jesus Christ in the present life shall be raised from the dead and throughout eternity exist in a state of conscious, endless torment in hell. Matthew 24:30-31; 25:46; Luke 20:37-38; John 1:12; 3:16; 11:24; 14: 1-3; Acts 4:2; Romans 8:16-17; 10:9-10, 13-17; 12:1; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 40-53; Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 1:21-23; 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10; 1 Peter 1:23; Revelation 20:11-15; 21:1-8.
THE CHURCH – The Church is the spiritual body of which Christ is the Head, and is composed of all persons who through saving faith in Jesus Christ have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and baptized by the same Spirit into one body. Its mission is to witness concerning its Head, Jesus Christ, preaching the gospel among all nations. This body expresses itself in local assemblies whose members have undergone water baptism upon a credible confession of faith, and have associated themselves for worship, instruction, evangelism, fellowship, stewardship and service. The Church of Jesus Christ is a distinct entity from Israel in the ongoing program of God, and consists of all people everywhere who truly believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ; it exists from Pentecost to the Rapture of the Church, and will ultimately represent every language, people and nation. The Church is also referred to as the body and bride of Christ, which Christ loves and for which He has given Himself, and will one day be caught up to meet the Lord in the air when He appears to set up His Kingdom. Matthew 24:30-31; 28:19-20; Acts 1:6-8; 2:41; 15:13-17; 1 Corinthians 12:1-7, 12-13; 15:50-53, 58; 16:1-2; Ephesians 1: 3-6; 2:20-22; 4:11-16; 5:25-29; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; 1 Timothy 3:1-15; Hebrews 10:23-25; 1 Peter 4:8-11; Revelation 2-3.
CHRISTIAN LIVING – The supreme task of every believer is to glorify God in life and conduct, be blameless before others, and be God’s agents of love and reconciliation in the world. Each Christian should be a faithful steward of all his possessions and seek to realize in every area of life the full stature of maturity in Christ. As believers we are to walk in the Spirit; love one another; show compassion to the needy; bear one another’s burdens; love in deed and truth; be kind, tender-hearted and forgiving; be subject to rulers & authorities; be faithful in using our gifts to help build-up the body of Christ; be cheerful givers of our money; discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness; share the good news of gospel in our sphere of influence; fight the good fight of faith; submit to God in all things; and combat the forces of evil and darkness in the world. Matthew 22:37-40; 28:19-20; John 13:34; Romans 12:;6; 13:1; 1 Corinthians 12:7; 2 Corinthians 9:7; Galatians 5:16; 6:10; Ephesians 4:12, 32; 5:18; 6:10-18; Colossians 3:23; 1 Timothy 4:7; 6:12; Titus 3:8; James 1:27; 4:7; 1 John 3:16-18; 4:7.
LAST THINGS – God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appro-priate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. Those who do not believe in God will be raised and judged according to their works and spend eternity separated from Him in hell. Those who believe in God will be transformed with resurrected, glorified bodies, receive their rewards, and taken to live and reign with Him forever in a new heaven and a new earth, to enjoy His eternal presence, and live in a realm in which His glorious purposes will finally be accomplished, without the slightest taint of sorrow, tears, or evil. These foregoing beliefs are absolute. I am also inclined to believe – though not in an absolute sense – in the Rapture of the Church, seven years of Great Tribulation, and the Coming of Christ to establish His earthly Kingdom for a thousand years. It is my belief that God, during the period of the Great Tribulation, will bring salvation to Israel and the nations while exercising judgment on unbelievers. Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Zechariah 14:4-11; Matthew 4:23; 13:1ff; 24:27-44; 25:31-46; 26:29; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 17:22-37; 21:27; John 3:3; 14:1-3; 18:36; Acts 1:6-7, 11; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, 35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5, 13; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:1ff; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff; 2 Timothy 4:1, 8; Hebrews 9:27-28; 11:10, 16; 2 Peter 3:7; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Revelation 20:1-22:13.