The purpose of this webpage is to address issues that may not directly be addressed in the church's articles of faith but are relevant to issues the church of Jesus Christ faces in the 21st century. Issues are listed in alphabetical order and if you don't see an issue addressed that you would like to see addressed please send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. These opinions are those of the pastors of Berean.
Abortion: We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of unborn human life. Abortion is murder. We reject any teaching that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the mental well being of the mother are acceptable. Without regard to political parties we believe Christians should vote only for pro-life candidates (Job 3:16; Psalms 51:5; 139:14-16; Isa. 49:1, 5; Jer. 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44).
Absolute Truth: We reject as utterly false any suggestion that truth is relative, unimportant, unknowable, (John 8:32; 14:6; 17:3) or that the absolute truths of God cannot be fully articulated with words (2 Tim 3:16). Instead, we believe it is the duty of all believers to embrace truth with a passion and teach the truths of God to all who will listen (Deut 6: 7; Ezra 7:10). We believe the Bible is full of absolute truths which apply to all people in all cultures and in all languages and demographics throughout the world without exception. We believe absolute truth was fully revealed when the Word became flesh and dwelt with man (John 1:14)—in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Truth is also revealed through the writings of the prophets of God (2 Peter 1:21) and disciples of Christ (Ephesians 2:20) who were led by the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13; 1 John 4:6). Moreover, we conclude that any law, belief, conviction, revelation or theory which man concludes to be true must be judged against, and cannot conflict with the truths contained in the Bible's 66 canonical books.
Age of Accountability: We deny that the Bible explicitly teaches a specific age of accountability for all. We do believe that Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden (Gen 2-3); that he was spiritually separated from God and experienced "death" in this regard (Gen 2:17); that the record of human history is that “in Adam all die” (Gen 5; 1 Cor 15:22); and that all men sinned in Adam (Rom 5:12-13). Scripture shows Adam, the natural head of all sinful human beings, as the picture of Christ Who is the head of all who have believed on Christ for salvation (Rom 5:1; Rom 5:14-19). Consequently, just as those who wish to have Christ’s life must choose to “repent and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15), so also those who are doomed to Adam’s spiritual death (Gen 2:17) must first choose to disobey and thus become "morally accountable" (Deut 1:39; Isa 7:15-16; Jonah 4:11; Rom 2:15-16; Eph 2:1-3). Moreover, when a person of any age becomes able to discern good from evil and subsequently rebels against God (as all in Adam do; Rom 5:12), they are, at that moment, morally accountable (Rom 6:23), spiritually dead (Gen 2:17; Rom 7:9; James 1:14-15), and "without excuse" (Rom 1:18-20). It is at this time that they become truly in need of faith in a Savior (1 Tim 4:10; Titus 2:11). Both the sentence of Adam's sin and the righteousness of Christ's obedience are imputed (applied to the account of) to the morally accountable agents at the points of their initial "discernment of good and evil" and belief in Christ's redemptive work (the Gospel) respectively (John 3:18, 36). Listen to More
Atonement: While we acknowledge the truth that there is an “elect of God,” we believe the Bible teaches that Christ—the Lamb of God—died for the sins of the whole world and not just the “elect”(John 1:29, 3:16-18, 14:1; Rom 5:6; 2 Cor 5:15; Col 3:12; 1Tim 1:15, 2:4-5Heb 2:9; 1 John 2:2; 4:14; 1 Pet 1:21; 2 Pet 2:1). We believe the atonement becomes effectual for the individual based upon his repentant faith in the Person and salvific work of Christ at his moment of conversion (John 3:3; Acts 20:21; Rom 1:17; 10:9-14; Eph 2:8; 1 John 5:1). We reject the teaching that all men will eventually be saved (Universalism) and the doctrine that Jesus’ death and shed blood was only for the elect (pure Five-Point Calvinism). We believe the atonement is limited in the sense that not all will be made right with God because not all will believe in the Savior (John 4:42; 1 Tim 4:10), but we also believe that the atonement is unlimited in the sense that the potential exists for anyone who believes in the Truth of the Gospel to be declared righteous and reconciled to God (John 1:7, 14:6; Rom 1:16; Col 1:21). Only God can reconcile the paradox of an atonement that is both limited and unlimited.
Bible Translations: We have articulated our position on the King James Bible and other translations in a pastoral staff position paper (pdf). Believers should be cautious in purchasing any translation that does not diligently strive to maintain a word for word translation, gender distinctions and the supremacy of Christ's person and work. Click here for a detailed explanation of Bible preservation.
Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit: We believe this unpardonable sin is the persistent and unrepentant resistance against the work of the Holy Spirit concerning the Person and work of Jesus Christ in the life of the lost man (Matt 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-29; Luke 12:10; John 16:13; Heb 10:29). (The unpardonable sin is not necessarily the articulation of certain irreverent words.) This unpardonable sin can only be committed by an unsaved person through the continual resistance against the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51) and hardening of the heart towards His voice (Heb 3:7-15). The continual sin of rejecting Jesus Christ, of Whom the Holy Spirit bears witness, can result in being abandoned by God (Romans 1:28) while still living upon this earth. We believe those outside of Christ should seek Him immediately while He may still be found (Isa 55:6; John 3:7; 2 Cor 13:5; Titus 1:16) since no man knows when his persistent rejection of the Spirit locks him into an irrevocable course of rejection. Without the Spirit’s direct intervention, no man “seeks after God” or His Son (John 6:44; Romans 3:11). The Bible contains examples of people who rejected God’s message (Deut. 2:30; 2 Tim. 3:8) and were left to their own devices for the remainder of their lives (2 Tim 3:7-9).
Calvinism: We have chosen not to identify our theology with this system while maintaining a respect for the contribution calvinists like Jonathan Edwards, William Carey, Charles H. Spurgeon and others have made to the body of Christ. We believe in the sovereignty of God and that He has “chosen” and “elected” believers according to His will (Psa. 33:12, Jonah 2:9, John 6:44, Eph. 1:4–5). We also believe that Christ died for the sins of the whole world (John 3:16, 1 John 2:2). The way these great truths work together is a mystery that rests with God (Deut 29:29).
Catholicism: We believe it is possible for a “catholic” to be born-again (John 3:3; 3:7) if their faith for their righteousness is exclusively upon the Person and atoning work of Jesus Christ (John 3:15-18; Rom 3:24-28) to the exclusion of everything else including the sacraments and Catholic dogma (Gal. 2:21). A “saved catholic” cannot be dependent upon their infant baptism, Holy Communion, confirmation, reconciliation, marriage in the church, last rites or any other human effort for their salvation and must testify of repentance toward God and faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). A “saved catholic” rejects any suggestion that meritorious grace is obtained through any sacrament, and does not pray to Mary, a priest or any saint for the forgiveness of their sins (Mark 2:7). Finally, while we recognize that there are “saved Catholics” who have greatly contributed to the cause of Christ, we reject the official Catholic Church as unbiblical for its mixture of truth and error. Listen to More | Mariology: the Person and Work of Mary
Cohabitation: We believe that in all cases it is a sin before God for a man and woman to live together (cohabit) or to engage in sexual relations outside of marriage (Heb 13:4). Men and women cohabiting cannot be members of the church until they live apart and vow to abstain from sexual relations until they are married (Rom 13:14; 1 Thess 4:3). We believe Christians are not to associate with sexually immoral people who profess to be Christians to include those who cohabit (1 Cor 5:9-11, 6:9-10).
Discipline of Children: We believe that parents should train their children in light of the gospel. Remembering the love and forgiveness that God has shown them, parents in turn should train their children with the purpose of reflecting the Heavenly Father to their children. Parents should consider their responsibility to be the instrument of discipline in their child’s life (Prov. 19:18). At times this may include appropriate and reasonable physical means (Prov. 10:13) employed upon the fleshy portion of the child’s buttocks (Prov. 22:15; 23:13); that this method is to be viewed as correction rather than punishment (Prov. 23:13); and that this correction will result in the child’s physical and spiritual betterment (Prov. 23:14). We believe a parent should correct his child with other means as well, but that they should—as led by the Holy Spirit—model the chastening of God the Father (Prov. 3:11-12) Who corrects all of His children out of love (2 Sam 7:14; Prov. 3:12; Heb 12:6; Rev 3:19) and forgives them by virtue of His Son’s redemptive work on the cross (1 Pet. 3:18). The Father does this to develop His child’s reverence for Himself (Heb. 12:9) and likeness to His Son Jesus Christ (Rom 8:29; Heb 12:11). Moreover, just as the Heavenly Father disciplines His children physically for their benefit, it is in the best interests of a child to receive loving and proportional correction while under parental care (Heb. 12:10). Furthermore, we strongly caution the parent in the correcting of infants and younger children in this manner, and we reject the idea that bruising is ever the objective when disciplining a child. We also reject disciplining while angry (James 1:19-20) or causing public embarrassment to a child (Eph. 6:4). Lastly, we believe civil laws should be honored (Rom 13:1-4; Titus 3:1), and that the chastening ideal set forth in the Old Testament must be interpreted in light of the New Testament.
Divorce: We believe God intends marriage to last until one spouse dies (Mal. 2:14-17; Matt. 19:3-12; Rom. 7:1-3). We believe that after extensive efforts have been made to reconcile, forgiveness has been offered, and signs of repentance have been sought and anticipated to no avail, prolonged neglect of physical needs (Ex. 21:7-11), sexual immorality (Deut. 24:1-4, Ezra 10:1-5, Mal. 2:14, and Matt 5:32), and desertion (1 Cor. 7:15) are grounds allowing one to divorce his or her spouse. Although separation from the spouse is sometimes necessary, it is only until reconciliation can be attained or until it is determined that reconciliation cannot be attained (Hos. 2:14-23; 1 Cor. 7:11-15). We believe those who are in danger of sexual, physical, or mental abuse from their spouse should immediately seek refuge (separate) with the help of their church. How to Deal with Divorce
See Remarriage below.
Effeminacy: We believe males dressing and/or behaving in an effeminate manner is an act of rebellion against the God who created the gender distinctions of male and female. We believe men should dress and act like men, and Christian parents should raise boys to become godly men and girls to become godly women. We believe the gospel is powerful enough to deliver a man from effeminacy and that those whose lives are characterized by effeminate dress and behavior shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Deut. 22:5, 1 Cor. 6:9-10). (We believe a woman dressing and/or behaving like a man is also a sin before God).
Election: We believe that God’s election of sinners unto salvation is a marvelous display of his compassion, mercy and grace toward the redeemed and should exclude boasting and promote humility in the body of Christ both now and for eternity (Eph 2:8-9). We believe this election of sinners unto salvation does not remove man’s responsibility to “make his election sure” (Mark 1:14-15; Acts 20:21; 2 Cor 13:5; 2 Pet 1:10). There are none that desire to be “elect” whom God turns away (John 6:37). We reject the suggestion that God’s election is based upon His foreknowledge of certain actions taken by man This would imply some merit within man worthy of election. Finally, we believe that “ordain” and “predestine” are synonyms for “election” (Acts 13:48; Rom 8:29-30, Rom 11:7; Eph 1:5-11; 1 Thess 1:4-5; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Pet 1:1; Rev 17:8). Election is God's guarantee that there will be some success in evangelism untll the end (John 6:37; 2 Tim 2:9-10). Listen or Watch this Introduction to the Doctrine of Election from Pastor Sean Listen to Election in Exodus
Eternal Security: This is often referred to as "once saved, always saved." While this phrase appears to be a haphazard way of encapsulating the grace of God in keeping a soul saved, it is also the very well-known label attached to this biblical doctrine. Please see what Berean believes the Bible teaches here: See paragraph 7. Listen to Assurance of Salvation
Evolution: We accept the Genesis account of creation that God created the earth in six literal days, (Gen. 1:1; Ex. 20:2-3) and we believe that man came by direct creation of God and not by evolution (Gen. 1:26; Col. 1:16, 17; John 1:3; Rev. 4:11). We believe the genealogies of Gen. 5, Gen. 11, and Matt. 1 offer sufficient proof that the earth is thousands--not tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions or billions--of years old. Furthermore, we believe as Adam and Eve fell, all creation fell into corruption (Rom 5:12; 8:20-22). There was, of necessity, no death or corruption on earth before mankind's existence. This makes good sense in light of their being only six days of history prior to mankind's special creation (Gen 1:26, 31).
Family Planning: We believe the Bible does not prohibit married couples from limiting the number of children they have through appropriate methods of birth control which prevent the conception of an egg, such as condoms, diaphrams and permanent medical procedures. We cannot endorse the use of birth control pills because of the rare possibility the BCP will act as an abortifacient if it fails to prevent conception. We reject the use of “morning after pills” and other devices which facilitate an abortion of the fertilized egg instead of preventing conception. We believe the Bible encourages married couples to have children (Gen. 1:28) and that parents should have as many children for whom they can properly provide. We reject the interpretation that Gen. 38:8-10 teaches that God does not approve of natural or artificial birth control methods.
Freemasonry: We believe that true followers of Jesus Christ should not be members of the Masonic Lodge because freemasonry does not insist upon a belief in the one true Trinitarian Creator God of the Bible to the exclusion of all “supreme beings” (Gen 1:1; 1 John 5:7). We reject any Masonic teaching that suggests the existence of a celestial lodge and the possibility of entrance into eternal life outside of repentance toward the one true Trinitarian God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 17:30; 20:21). We believe Christians should not relate to those outside of the body of Christ as eternal “brothers” when those who are not born-again will not inherit the Kingdom of God (John 1:12-13; 3:3-7). We believe that participation in masonry is a pseudo religion which detracts from one’s full allegiance to Jesus Christ and the gospel of His Kingdom (Mark 1:15). We believe it is wrong for believers to make oaths or swear by anything especially to gain entrance into a secret organization (Jam 5:12). We do not permit those who are part of freemasonry to be members of the church because of these conflicts to essential orthodox Christian doctrines.
Freewill: We believe the personal freedom that God gives mankind is perhaps the most difficult concept for humans to understand when one attempts to reconcile man’s freedom with God’s sovereignty. The complexity of man, as the only being on the planet made in God’s image, is most seen in the fact that man is both a person and a created being. As a person, he is capable of making choices (Josh 24:15), setting goals, accomplishing objectives, searching the Scriptures (John 5.39), choosing God (with God’s grace), hardening his heart, rebelling against or worshipping God (or idols) and coming to Jesus (Matt 11:28). As a creature, man is clay--completely dependent on God the Potter for the air he breathes and the life he has (Job 12:10; Rom. 9:21; James 4:15). We believe that the Bible addresses man, the person, with a duty and capacity to respond to compelling invitations (Luke 14:23; Matt 22:8; Rev 22:17), persuasion (Mark 16:15-16; 2 Cor 5:14); commandments (Matt 4:10; Mark 12:30; Acts 17:30), and conviction from the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:37). We also believe the Bible addresses man, the created being, with a complete inability to seek God (John 6:37; Rom 3:11), repent (Acts 11:18), confess Jesus as the Christ (Matt. 16:16-17), or come to Jesus (John 6:44) without the Father’s drawing him. Moreover, we believe this total inability will not remove man’s responsibility and accountability for his failure to obey the Gospel at the final judgment (2 Thes. 1:8).
Freewill Baptists: There are many Freewill Baptist Churches in this part of the country and they generally subscribe to a particular doctrine perspective articulated in the Treatise of Faith and Practice of Freewill Baptists (1935). They have many Christian distinctives in common with Berean; however there are several marked contrasts between many Freewill Baptists and Berean. Freewill Baptists generally believe that each person has a natural ability to choose Jesus Christ and His salvation. They also believe that, in addition to baptism and the Lord’s Supper, “foot washing” is an ordinance of the local church. Two other noticeable contrasts are their beliefs that one can lose their salvation if they lose their saving faith, and that a person becomes one of the “elect” upon choosing Christ and His salvation. We do not believe that someone who is born again can lose their salvation; or, that election is based on anything other than the grace of God; or, that there are additional ordinances other than baptism and the Lord’s Supper; or, that a person has a natural ability to choose salvation apart from being called by God. These differences, however, do not interfere with our ability to fellowship with them or call them brethren.
Homosexuality: We believe homosexuality is a rejection of God and the natural order He established for procreation and the multiplication of families throughout the earth (Gen 1:26-27, 2:18-24, Eph 5:31). We reject any teaching that males or females are born with a natural homosexual orientation from God (Rom 1:26-27). We strongly reject as heretical any teaching or church that suggests one can be a Christian and an active or passive homosexual. We believe that the gospel is powerful enough to deliver a homosexual from this destructive lifestyle and that a person cannot remain an unrepentant homosexual and inherit eternal life (1 Cor 6:9, Gal 5:19-21). We strongly reject any suggestion that two homosexuals living together constitute a family. We believe homosexuality is the kind of sin that could result in divine judgment on those involved with or sympathetic to this behavior while on earth (Gen 19:24, Jude 7).
Islam: We believe the "One True Creator God" of the Bible and Universe is not Allah as revealed in the Quran--Mohammad is a false prophet. The God of the Bible has revealed Himself through the person and work of Jesus Christ as God the Son (Heb 1:2; John 1:14, 18). All true prophets ministered before the close of the writing of Revelation (1 Cor 13:8-12; Rev 22:18), and they accentuated the truth that Jesus is the Christ (Rev 10:11) rather than revealing more truth about God (1 Pet 4:11). Furthermore, the "One True God" is the God Who promised to bless the seed of Abraham through Jesus Christ (Gal 3:16) who is His natural-born Son (Luke 1:34-35; Acts 20:28; Gal 4:4). Those who claim to worship the "One True God" without addressing the Lordship of Jesus Christ are worshiping a false god (John 8:42; John 14:6; 1 John 4:1-3), are the children of the devil (John 8:44), and are condemned before God (John 3:18; 3:36; 5:40; 8:24) to an eternity in "everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt 25:41) unless they "repent and believe the Gospel" (Mark 1:15).
Jehovah’s Witnesses: We reject that the only name for God is "Jehovah”; that Christ is a created being or that He is a “god” (as stated in their “New World Translation” in John 1:1-3); or that the Holy Spirit is a sort of “force” (Acts 6:3-4). We reject the New World Translation because of its denial of the Deity of Christ (John 1:1-3, 14; Col 1:16), its presentation that the death of Christ was upon a stake, and its claim that the Archangel Michael was “the Christ” before He came to earth. Moreover, we reject their doctrine that Christ was raised spiritually then “materialized” a fleshly body to make himself visible (much like God did in the Old Testament), that God emptied the tomb of Jesus’ natural body at His resurrection, and that the end-times began when the downfall of Satan occurred after October 1, 1914. We reject their teaching that Heaven will be limited to 144,000 people who will rule with Christ as kings and priests over the earth (Heb. 7:24-26; 1 Peter 1:3-4). We disregard any and all proclamations and predictions of dates they have and will make concerning the Second Coming of Christ. We also reject their teaching that eternal life is achieved “simply by placing faith in Jesus Christ and learning about Jehovah and obeying his requirements” (Gal 2:16; Eph 2:8-9). Finally, we completely deny that the Bible can only be interpreted by the Watchtower Society (John 16:13; 1 John 2:27). Listen to More
Lawsuits: We believe Christians are biblically prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against other believers or the Church to resolve personal disputes (1 Cor 6:1-8). The Church possesses all the resources necessary to resolve personal disputes between its members (Matt 18:15-18; Eph. 4:31-32). If there are disputes between opposing insurance companies, this seems acceptable to the body of Christ so long as there remains a "Spirit of unity in the bond of peace" (Eph 4:3).
Lottery: We believe Christians should not purchase lottery tickets. Buying lottery tickets is a form of gambling in which a person spends money based on an extremely remote chance that they will win--seeking to make a quick return on their money (Prov 28:22). Christians are commanded to glorify God in whatever they do and it is difficult to imagine how spending money on lottery tickets could be God-glorifying (1 Cor. 6:12; 1 Cor 10:31). The Bible is very clear that Christians are to be wise in the way they manage their resources. Buying lottery tickets is a foolish expenditure of money (Prov 15:27; Eph 5:15). Moreover buying lottery tickets can become addictive, and we encourage Christians to trust in God instead of riches and the "god of materialism" (Prov 30:9, Matt. 6:28-34; 1 Tim 6:6-10). An appreciation for man's God-ordained function called "work" (Gen 2:15; 2 Thes 3:7-13) and an attitude of contentment (Phil 4:11; 1 Tim 6:6) can do much to curb the believer's desire to get rich quickly through avenues like the lottery. Listen to More
Mormons: We reject any suggestion that The Church of Latter-day Saints is the restored true church of Jesus Christ based on its heretical view of the Trinity, the person and work of Christ, the restored gospel, the Book of Mormon (and other scripture), eternal marriage, baptism for the dead, and salvation by faith and works. We believe LDS modern-day prophets are actually some of the false prophets predicted by Jesus Christ (Matt 7:15). Listen to More
Music: We believe that everything we enjoy should glorify God—including our music (1 Cor 10:31). We believe that God created human beings to create and enjoy music, and we believe God enjoys worship in a variety of forms--to the point of His own singing (Zeph 3:17). We reject the idea that music is amoral because we are aware of the power it has in Christians' lives to refresh spirits (1 Sam 16:23), to clear minds (2 Kings 3:15-16), to motivate to action (2 Sam 22:50; Psa 9:11; 144:9), to evangelize the unbeliever (Psa. 40:3), to dispense doctrine (Eph 5:19), and to show excellence (Phil 1:10). While respecting the freedom Christians have to enjoy different kinds of music, we believe followers of Christ should not listen to music which does not glorify God or which does promote ungodly behavior. We are mindful of the fact that Lucifer was the first musician and that music has the potential to be very corrupt (Ezek 28:13-15). Godly music is refreshing and can create joy, peace, and promote a passion for God. It can place a person in a mindset to think clearly on things that are godly (Psalm 100:2, Phil 4:8).
The Nation of Israel: We believe that God chose the nation of Israel, God’s elect, to be the carrier of His blessing to all mankind (Gen 12:2; Deut 7:6-7; Isa 45:4; Rom 9:1-5). According to Acts 13:46 and Acts 28:23-28, Israel’s rejection of the gospel resulted in an apostolic focus upon bringing the new covenant to all of mankind and a temporary blindness upon Israel (Romans 11:7-10). Humanly speaking, the blame for the death of Jesus the Messiah belongs to the nation of Israel (John 19:15; 1 Thes 2:14-15) by their own admission (Mat 27:25). However, this disobedience did not nullify the divine, unilateral, irrevocable covenants that God made with Israel. We reject the suggestion that God has transferred the promises He made to Abraham and David to the church of Jesus Christ (Gen 12:3; 2 Sam. 7:16). According to Jeremiah 31:31, we believe God is still going to establish the new covenant with the ethnic descendents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Rom 11:26-27; Eph 2:11-19) and in that day all the people of the earth will be blessed through this covenant through Christ. We reject the doctrine that God has two “chosen peoples,” but rather we affirm that all who believe (Gal 3:7), Jew and Gentile (Gal 3:28), are a part of the one “covenant people” of God (Rom 2:28-29; Eph 2:11-3:5; Phil 3:3; Gal 6:16; Rev 3:9). We look forward to a literal 1000 year, distinctively Jewish kingdom on this earth (Rev 20:2-7) with Christ ruling in Jerusalem as promised in the Old Testament (Isa 65; Ezek 40-44; Zech 14:16-19). We reject any eschatological system, such as amillennialism or postmillennialism, which spiritualizes or interprets these divine promises with Israel in a strictly figurative sense. Moreover, we believe salvation is possible for any Jew [Israelite] who will repent and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Mk 1:15; Acts 2:38; Rom 1:16). Listen to More
Polity: In the church, we believe that the essential element of glorifying God in the way we govern ourselves is an active, participating, regenerate church membership under the Lordship of Jesus Christ (Titus 3:5, Col. 1:18). While we are a Pastor-led church (Heb 13:17), the Pastors of Berean do not lord over God’s people within the church (1 Peter 5:3). Under the leadership of the pastors, the church is to act in accordance with the will of God as revealed in Scripture in matters of business and spiritual accountability. We believe that the collective congregation must remain as the final earthly authority to govern the church and that each member should have an equal vote (Titus 1:5, Matt 18:17). Moreover, we believe in the autonomy of individual churches and the voluntary cooperation among churches to accomplish specific tasks and objectives. We reject as unbiblical any suggestion that one man/woman should be appointed over multiple churches as a bishop [overseer] in a hierarchical structure; we also reject as unbiblical the practice of admitting people into the membership who have not demonstrated any evidence of conversion to Christ.
Positive Confession: We reject the positive confession (Word-Faith) movement as utterly unbiblical because its application of the Bible proclaims that man has the ability to create things with spoken words. We believe television evangelists like Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Robert Tilton, Charles Capps, Creflo Dollar, and Joel Osteen are not true evangelists; instead, they are the false prophets in sheep’s clothing our Lord Jesus warned us about (Matthew 7:15). We believe that only God has the power to create matter with words (Psalm 33:6). Man can no more speak things into existence than he can control the weather or interfere with the orbit of the planets around the sun (Job 38:31-35). We believe these false teachers often subordinate God’s Sovereignty to man’s “faith” in faith itself—leaving God impotent and often helpless to intervene in the affairs of men—which is never the case. If a man lacks faith, and God chooses not to intervene; that is God’s prerogative (Mark 6:5-6). Lacking faith does not diminish His absolute Sovereign power in any way (Psalm 147:5). We recognize the importance of maintaining a positive attitude and having faith in God’s promises during sickness, trials, battles, periods of testing, and tribulations (Proverbs 23:7), but we will never deny that man is always dependent upon God for strength and power to be victorious (Proverbs 21:31). Finally, we believe all petitions for God’s intervention in the affairs of man must be made in faith-but also in accordance to His will-as revealed in the sixty-six canonical books of the Bible (1 John 5:14-15). Moreover, we believe “asking in the name of Jesus” is the same as asking in accordance with God’s will as opposed to a magical incantation of words that gives man the power to speak authoritatively to the god of this world and his fallen angels (John 14:13-14; 15:7). Listen to More
Predestination: See Election.
Proselytizing: We believe it is the responsibility and privilege of all who are saved to seek to win others to Christ (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Rev 22:17): even those of other nationalities (Acts 1:8) and those of other religions (2 Cor 10:3-5). Moreover, we believe all believers must be prepared to defend the Christ faith (1 Peter 3:15; Jude 3). If those around us die without a Gospel witness, it is a shame to the believer (1 Cor 15:34).
Popery: We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, arose bodily from the dead (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:20; Acts 2:32), and that He ascended to heaven (Heb 1:3), is seated at His Father’s right hand (Heb. 1:13), and that He is now the Head over all things to the Church (Eph 1:22-23). He leads His flock (Acts 20:28) from His throne (Rom 8:34; Hebrews 8:1) through His messengers, local church pastors (Hebrews 13:7; Rev 1:20), in the person of His Spirit (Matt 28:20; John 16:7; Rom 8:9), and that He does not need any man to speak in His place as His "vicar." We reject any authority an earthly apostle, bishop, cardinal, prophet or pope may claim over the church. Listen to No Hope in the Pope
Prosperity Gospel: We reject the prosperity gospel as another gospel contrary to the true gospel of the Lord Jesus which does not promise riches to every believer in Christ (Gal 1:8-9; 1 Timothy 6:6-8).
Reformed Baptists: Reformed Baptists normally adhere to a particular confession of faith, and these churches are often part of an association. Much of what these Baptists believe to be true would be very similar to Berean’s Articles of Faith. In fact, the framers of Berean’s original Articles of Faith probably drew from the Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) and the New Hampshire Confession of Faith (1833). Berean is an independent Baptist church and has chosen not to affirm any particular confession of faith or unite with any association; nevertheless, we find the scripture to be silent on prohibitions to do so. Instead, we have chosen to communicate what we believe to be the essential doctrine of the church in our own covenant and articles of faith. As our members move away, we would encourage them to evaluate reformed Baptist churches in the same way they would evaluate any other Baptist church—is Christ being exalted, is the Word of God being preached, is the church Gospel-centered and evangelistic, and are the members being challenged to become more like Christ? We do not believe there is any need to attach the word “reformed” to our name. We believe that the word “Berean” says all that needs to be said (Acts 17:11).
Remarriage: We believe that after the death of a spouse, the surviving spouse is free to marry again (Romans 7:1-3). We also believe that any Scriptural reason to divorce constitutes a Scriptural provision for remarriage (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). However, people who have remarried in any case are nonetheless married and should remain married to their current spouse. Honoring one's marriage vows is always the perfect will of God, and is the most God-honoring outcome (Malachi 2:16).
Repentance: We believe that repentance—a change of mind and purpose toward God—and faith in Christ is required for salvation in the New Covenant (or dispensation of grace) and that repentance is not a natural possession of man (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30, 20:21; 2 Peter 3:9). We reject any suggestion that repentance is a work of man or that it can be separated from faith in Christ. Repentance is a gift from God (Acts 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25) that results from mankind having their eyes opened (Acts 26:18) to the goodness of God (Romans 2:4), the hopelessness of their sin (Luke 18:13-14), and the exclusiveness of the Person and work of Jesus the Christ (Matthew 16:16; Acts 4:12) as man’s only hope to be righteous. Within the context of people getting saved, we believe that when lost people are experiencing God’s call on their heart and conscience to believe the Gospel, they must repent of their sins according to the specific conviction of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:37; 1 Thess. 1:5,9). We do not believe a person can ignore the Holy Spirit’s convicting work concerning sin and still receive faith to believe the Gospel (John 16:8; Acts 7:51; Hebrew 3:7-8, 15). Nor do we believe that repenting from sin always means immediate victory over the sin. However, those who experience authentic repentance understand that their sin is an affront to a Holy God and deserves punishment. Consequently, we believe that repentance means experiencing a desire to turn from darkness to the light (Matthew 3:8; Acts 26:18; 2 Corinthians 7:8-10). Moreover, we believe all Christians will be characterized by a spirit of repentance from sin and that they will continue to confess sin until God calls them home (Psalm 51; 1 John 1:9-10).
Sinner’s Prayer: We believe prayer is an important part of the believer’s life (1 Thessalonians 5:17); that it is as natural as breath for a believer (Romans 8:15-16), and that the will of God is accomplished through prayer (James 4:1-3). However, we reject the teaching that salvation is gained by one’s “asking God to save” them or by their “asking Jesus into their hearts.” We furthermore reject the notion that any particular prayer works like a sort of incantation or that there is a particular group of right words to get one saved. We believe salvation is given to men and women because of their repentant faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ upon the cross without praying a prayer (John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Romans 3:25; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 John 5:13), and that saved people consequently profess this saving faith in Christ both to God (Luke 23:42; John 9:35-39; Romans 10:9-14) and to man (Matthew 10:32-33) through baptism (Acts 2:38) and verbal witness (1 Corinthian 12:3). Although praying eventually results from true belief in the person and work of Christ, and many that are converted will, of their own initiative, express this repentance and faith in prayer, we believe that faith in prayer is still a work of man and is therefore not effective to save one’s soul. Finally, we believe it is unbiblical for tracts, websites, or people to communicate that one can be assured of salvation if a prayer is voiced sincerely. Listen to More Part 1 of 4
Sovereignty: The word sovereignty can be used to describe God’s absolute, supreme authority and control over every realm, world, universe and all events, at all times, whether good or evil (Job 9:12; Daniel 4:32-35), leaving nothing to chance, in a most amazing, mysterious, and comforting way to the believer (Deut 29:29; Prov 16:33; Rom 8:28; 1 Tim 6:15; James 4.15). We believe that whatever authority and power Satan, demons, antichrists, angels, rulers, governing authorities and all humans possess is exactly what God permits them to possess (Job 1:12; 2:6; Prov 21:1; Dan 5:21; Rev 6:10; 12:9-10), and at no time is God struggling to accomplish His eternal decrees from the beginning to the end according to His good counsel, pleasure and purpose (Isaiah 46:9-10; Eph 1:11). We reject any suggestion as unbiblical that God’s sovereignty leads to a fatalistic worldview or that His sovereignty is subordinate to His foreknowledge or that there is anything God does not know. Neither is God ever directly responsible for evil or man’s sinful actions (Psalm 76:10); His sovereignty over evil and sin is demonstrated in His ability to use it to accomplish His will, especially in the death of Christ, as He chose before the beginning (Gen 45:5; 50:20; Isaiah 46:10; Luke 22:22; Acts 2:23; 1 Peter 1:20). We believe there is an amazing mystery between God's sovereignty and human responsibility (free agency) that no man can fully comprehend (Deut 29:29). Listen More
Suicide: We believe there is enough confusion concerning when a Christian takes their life that it warrants a brief word on this webpage. First, it must be emphasized that it is never God’s will for a person to kill themselves. Second, this does not mean that one looses their salvation when they commit suicide. The willful killing of one’s own life is not an unpardonable sin. Those who are born again before suicide remain born again after their physical death (John 3)—nothing shall be able to separate them from the love of God including suicide; either God has given them eternal life before their death or God has not and suicide does not change that (John 10:28-29; Romans 8:33-39).
Tongues: We believe a Christian does not have to speak in tongues to intercede in prayer, experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit or be secure in their salvation. In fact, the Bible does not teach that speaking in tongues gives evidence of salvation. Moreover, we believe there are many spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit to the believer in this age (Rom 12:3-8; 1 Cor 12:4-11, 28; Eph 4:7-12), but the signs gifts of speaking in tongues and the gift of healing, were given to validate those writing Scripture and/or proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ (1 Cor 1:22; 13:8; 14:21-22). This authentication became unnecessary when the New Testament and the apostles' ministry were complete (Mark 16:16-18; 2 Cor 12:12; Hebrews 2:4). Furthermore, true love is far more desirable than tongues (1 Cor 13:1, 13). Listen to More
The Tribulation Period: We believe this is a period of time known as “Daniel’s 70th week” (Dan 9:24-27 cf. Gen 29:27-28). We understand this “week” to be comprised of seven 360-day years (Rev 11:3; 12:6), culminating with the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ along with His bride, the church (Luke 12:36; Col 3:4; Rom 8:19; Rev 19:14). At the time of this second coming, Jesus Christ will bring an everlasting kingdom to rule the earth (Psalm 2:6-12; 9:7-8; 45:6-7; 96:13; Isaiah 11:1-5; Dan 2:34-35; 2:44; 4:3; 4:34; 6:26; 7:14; 9:24; Acts 17:30-31; 2 Tim 4:1; Rev 12:10; 19:11). We believe that the beginning of this period is marked by the seven-year covenant made between the anti-christ and Israel (Dan 9:27) and the 3½-year ministry of the two witnesses in Jerusalem (Rev 11:3). The middle of the “week” will be marked by the anti-christ’s betrayal of the covenant followed by his claim to be deity (Dan 9:27; Mat 24:15; 2 Thes 2:4). Consequently, we believe this “70th week” will end with 3½ years (Daniel 7:25; Rev 12:6, 13-14) of “Jacob’s Trouble” (Jer 30:7) and “Great Tribulation.” (Mat 24:21) During this time of Great Tribulation, Satan’s wrath will be poured out upon Israel (Rev 12:13-17), thus drawing Israel to God (Rom 11:25-27). God’s wrath will also be poured out upon planet earth to punish the wicked (Isa 13:11; Rev 7-10; Rev 14:10; 15:1; 16-17) who have given their allegiance to the anti-Christ (Rev 16:2). We also believe that Christians are promised a life with persecution (John 15:20; 2 Tim 3:12), but that God’s wrath is not intended for them (1 Thes 5:9; Rev 15:1). He has promised protection for them (Isa 26:20; Rev 3:10) just as He protected Noah’s family during the time of God’s wrath in the days of the Flood (1 Pet 3:20; 2 Pet 2:5, 9). People who are converted during these seven years (Mat 25:31-46) will endure the time of the anti-christ without taking the mark (Mat. 24:13; Heb 10:34-39; 1 John 5:4; Rev 12:11; 13:7-8), and many will be martyred for their faith (Rev 7:14).
Unpardonable Sin: See Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
Voting Church Membership: We believe the body of Christ, as revealed in a local church, is to consist of a voting membership that unites in a covenant under the Lordship of Christ. The membership of Berean is made up of those who have been saved, baptized, and instructed through Berean’s membership class. Upon recommendation by the Pastors, the church votes to accept or deny membership. We are Theocratic both individually and corporately. When the members of Berean vote on an item of business, they are to set aside their personal preferences and submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit within the body of Christ (Acts 13:3-4). Scripture speaks of the collective church having a responsibility to conduct business and hold believers accountable (Mat 18:15-20; 1 Cor 5:3-13). We believe the Bible states very clearly that the voting membership should be sensitive to the leadership God has placed over them in the form of pastors [bishops; elders] (Acts 20:28; 1 Thes 5:12-13; Phil 1:1; 1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; Heb 13:17).
War: We believe service in the military is a legitimate profession and there may be times when it is God’s will for a nation to wage war. Christ did not condemn soldiers for their service in the military or advise them to discontinue their service (Matt 8:5-13); instead, He indicated there could be a need for His disciples to own a sword (Luke 22:35-38). However, it is never right to compel people to follow Christ against their will (Matt 26:52-55, 1 Peter 2:14). Only when our Lord returns will it be permissible to participate in a religious crusade (Rev 19:11-21). Additionally, throughout the NT Paul uses positive soldier metaphors which would seem inappropriate if service in the military was unbiblical (Eph 6.11, 2 Tim 2.3). We do not believe that loving one’s enemies prevents the willful taking of life or defending one’s self or property against those who seek to do us harm. Paul taught that God uses nations to accomplish His sovereign will which may include the lawful taking of life. Both unbelievers and believers may be acting as servants of God when they kill on behalf of a governing authority (Rom 13:1-6). We believe Christian warriors should not violate their conscience when they judge that the taking of a life is not the will of God and acting on behalf of the state does not remove individual responsibility for Christ-like behavior (Acts 4:19-20; Rom 14:10-12, 19-23).
Women in the Pastorate: We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God (Galatians 3:28) but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home (Colossians 3:18; 1 Timothy 3:4-5, 12) and church (I Timothy 2:8-15). The husband is to be the leader of the home, and men are to lead the church as pastors/elders (Titus 1:5, James 5:14). Accordingly, only men are eligible for licensure and ordination by the church. We believe there are many ways women can serve the church in positions of influence. Listen to More
Word of Faith Movement: See positive confession movement.