Bethlehem is an Evangelical Church, which means that we’re not ashamed to say we believe the Bible is entirely trustworthy and without error, and we live in the light of that.
We express our substantial agreement with the amended 1823 Calvinistic Methodist Confession of Faith that has been the historical doctrinal position of Bethlehem Evangelical Church, but draw particular attention to the following truths:
We believe in the Trinity of the Godhead as revealed in the Scriptures – the Father being God, the Son being God, and the Holy Spirit being God. We believe in the personality and distinctiveness of each person in the Godhead, these being equal in power and glory, one Lord Almighty – Sovereign in Creation, Providence, and Redemption.
God has revealed Himself in the Bible, which consists of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments alone. Every word was inspired by God through human authors, so that the Bible as originally given is in its entirety the Word of God, without error and fully reliable in fact and doctrine. The Bible alone speaks with final authority and is always sufficient for all matters of belief and practice.
The Scriptures constitute the complete revelation of God written down in all its fullness. There are no new revelations today, as the canon of Scripture is now closed.
All men and women, being created in the image of God, have inherent dignity and worth. Their greatest purpose is to obey, worship and love God. As a result of the Fall of Adam and Eve, our first parents, every aspect of human nature has been corrupted, and all men and women are by nature without spiritual life, guilty sinners, and hostile to God. Every person is therefore under the just condemnation of God and needs to be born again, forgiven and reconciled to God in order to know and please Him.
We believe in the essential, absolute, and eternal Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ; His conception by the Holy Spirit; His birth of the Virgin Mary; His real but sinless humanity; the total authority of His teaching, and the infallibility of all His utterances; His voluntary submission in life as a Man of Sorrows climaxing in His substitutionary and atoning death by which He shed His precious blood as the only sacrifice for sin; His bodily resurrection on the third day; His ascension into heaven as the only and eternal Mediator between God and man; His present High Priestly intercession at the right hand of the Father; and His future personal return in power and glory.
We believe in the Personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit, through whom alone the sinner is born again to saving repentance and faith. He convicts sinners, imparts spiritual life, and gives a true understanding of the Scriptures. He indwells all believers, brings assurance of salvation, and produces increasing likeness to Christ. He builds up the Church, and equips and empowers its members for worship, service and mission.
Salvation is entirely a work of God’s grace and cannot be earned or deserved. It has been accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ and is offered to all in the gospel. God in His love forgives sinners whom He calls, granting them repentance and faith. All who believe in Christ are justified by faith alone, adopted into the family of God and receive eternal life. Justification is an act of divine grace whereby God pardons our sins and declares us righteous.
The universal Church is the body of which Christ is the Head, and to which all that are saved belong. It is made visible in local churches, which are autonomous congregations of believers who are committed to each other for the worship of God, the preaching of the Word, the administering of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, for pastoral care and discipline, and for evangelism. The unity of the Body of Christ is expressed within and between churches by mutual love, care and encouragement. True fellowship between churches exists only where those churches are faithful to the gospel.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper have been given to the churches by Christ as visible signs of the Gospel. Baptism is a symbol of union with Christ and entry into His church but does not impart spiritual life. The Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of Christ’s sacrifice offered once for sinners, involves no change in the bread and wine, and is in no sense a sacrifice for sin. All of its blessings are received by faith.
We believe in the spiritual unity of all who truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and in their duty to maintain in themselves and in the church a standard of life and doctrine that is in conformity to the teaching of God’s Holy Word. It is the duty of every Christian and every church of Christ to seek to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. This is to be done by personal witness, the preaching of God’s Word, and all other methods sanctioned by the Word of God.
The Lord Jesus Christ will return in glory both visibly and publicly. He will raise the dead and judge the world in righteousness. The wicked will be sent to eternal punishment in Hell and the righteous will be welcomed into a life of eternal joy in fellowship with God in Heaven. God will make all things new and be glorified forever.