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The articles listed below outline the doctrinal positions of Virginia Beach Theological Seminary. VBTS faculty members annually affirm in writing their commitment to the seminary’s Biblical Foundations Statement.
We believe and teach that the Bible, consisting of a total of sixty-six books in the Old and New Testaments, is without error in the original manuscripts.1 The author of the Bible was God the Holy Spirit who guided the human writers using their various personalities in such a way that the writings they produced were also the very words of God.2 By His providence the Scriptures are being preserved so that we have the authentic Word of God today.3 We believe that the Bible is the sole authority for faith and practice,4 and is fully sufficient for every spiritual need.5
1Ps. 19:7-9; Prov. 30:5-6; John 17:17. 2II Pet. 1:20-21; II Tim. 3:16. 3Matt. 5:18; Jn. 10:35. 4Acts 17:11; I Cor. 10:6-12; Eph. 6:17; II Tim. 3:15-17; I Jn. 4:1. 5Ps. 119:1-12; II Tim. 3:15-17; Jas. 1:21; I Pet. 1:23.
2A: Concerning the True and Living God.
We believe and teach that there is only one true and living God,1 the eternal, self-existing, perfect Spirit,2 who is to be worshipped, adored, and obeyed.3 He is the Creator and Upholder of the universe, and as a personal Being cares for the smallest of all details within the world He has created.4 Though one God, He exists in three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.5 These Persons are equal in essence and in every divine perfection,6 but each has His own distinct work (ministry) to perform.7
1Deut. 6:4-5; Jer. 10:10; I Tim. 3:15. 2Hab. 1:12; Jn. 4:24; Jas. 1:17. 3Ps. 2, 8, 9, 100; Rev. 5:1-14. 4Gen. 1:1-25; Lk. 12:6-7; Col. 1:15-17; Heb. 1:3, 10. 5Matt. 3:16; 28:10; II Cor. 13:14. 6Jn. 10:30; 14:10; 17:5; I Cor. 8:6; Phil. 2:5-6. 7Jn. 14:26; 15:26; Eph. 1:3-4, 6-7, 13-14.
2B: Concerning God the Father.
We believe and teach that God the Father, the first Person of the Tri-unity, orders and administrates all things according to His gracious purpose.1 As the holy, absolute, and omnipotent Ruler of the universe, He is sovereign in creation, history, and redemption and has decreed that all things come to pass for His own glory.2 Within the Tri-unity, the Father directs the work and ministries of the Son and Spirit to accomplish that glory.3
1Ps. 19:1-3; 111:1-10; 115:1-3; 139:13-18; Rev. 4:11. 2Isa. 6:1-3; 44:6-8; Eph. 1:11, 3:8-11; Rom. 11:33-36. 3Jn. 1:14-18, 7:16, 28-29; 14:16-17, 26.
2C: Concerning God the Son
We believe and teach that the Lord Jesus Christ, the second person of the Tri-unity, is the eternal Son of God.1 All things were created by Him and for Him, and He is supreme over all things visible and invisible.2 At His incarnation (physical birth) His human body was miraculously conceived in the womb of a virgin3 by the power of the Holy Spirit,4 and He became the God-Man with two natures, divine (fully God) and human (fully human).5 He lived a sinless life on earth, died on the cross as a substitute for sinners bearing the judgment of their sins, and was raised bodily from the tomb as a testimony to the sufficiency of His sacrifice and as a guarantee of His people’s future resurrection.6 Upon His resurrection, the Father seated Him at His right hand, put all things in subjection under Him, and made Him Head of the Church.7 He now not only reigns in Heaven as King of kings and Lord of lords,8 but also graciously serves as the great High Priest of His people.9 He will soon return at the Rapture for His Church, and later to the earth to set up His Kingdom following the Tribulation Period.10
1Heb. 1:1-2; Jn. 10:30; Ps. 2. 2Phil. 2:6-9; Col. 1:15-20. 3Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18-25. 4Lk. 1:26-38. 5Jn. 1:1-2; Rom. 1:2-4. 6Lk. 24:1-6; I Cor. 15:1-7, 23-26; I Pet. 2:21-24. 7Eph. 1:20-22. 8Phil. 2:10-11; Rev. 1:12-18; 19:14-16. 9Heb. 2:17-18; 4:14-16. 10Jn. 14:1-4; I Thess. 4:14-17; I Cor. 15:51-52; Rev. 19:11-21.
2D: Concerning God the Holy Spirit
We believe and teach that the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Tri-unity, is a divine Person, co-equal with God the Father and God the Son.1 The Old Testament teaches that He was active in creation,2 in the spiritual life of Israel,3 in revealing the words and will of God to humanity (prophecy),4 and active in the affairs of mankind.5 The New Testament is also rich with truth about the Spirit, and explains His unique coming, ministries, and purpose upon the earth since the glorification of Jesus.6 Those ministries, the New Testament explains, include convicting men of sin, of righteousness, and of future judgment.7 In addition, He regenerates (gives spiritual life to the spiritually dead) those who believe the Gospel,8 baptizes each believer into the Body of Christ at the moment of their salvation,9 and permanently indwells each believer.10 He also performs significant ministries through each believer such as sanctifying, empowering, and gifting.11
1II Cor. 13:14. 2Gen. 1:1-2. 3Isa. 63:10-14. 4II Sam. 23:1-2; Isa. 61:1-3. 5Ps. 139:7-12. 6Jn. 7:37-39; Acts 2:1-39. 7Jn. 16:8-11. 8Jn. 3:1-16. 9I Cor. 12:12-13. 10I Cor. 6:19-20. 11Acts 1:8; I Cor. 6:19-20; 12:4-7; II Cor. 3:18; Eph. 1:13-14, 17; I Jn. 2:18-27.
We believe and teach that the Genesis account of creation is to be accepted literally and not figuratively.1 The six days of creation mentioned in Genesis chapter one were literal days, each being termed “evening and morning,”2 and all animal and vegetable life follows God’s law in multiplying “after their kind.”3
We also believe and teach that the entire human race comes from one man, Adam, and one woman, Eve, literal people, who were directly created by God according to his likeness; meaning in part, they did not evolve from any lower form of life.4
1Gen. 1:1-2:25; Neh. 9:6; Ps. 33:6-9; Jn. 1:3; Heb. 11:3; Col. 1:16-17. 2Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31; Ex. 20:11; 31:17. 3Gen. 1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25. 4Gen. 1:26-27; 5:2; Rom. 5:12-21.
We believe and teach in the existence of angels who are mighty spiritual beings that were created by God. They serve Him in various ways and are specially appointed to watch over and minister to God’s people.1
We also believe and teach that at some time in the past a large number of angels, under the leadership of the angel called Satan (Literally: “the Adversary”), rebelled against God and were removed from His presence.2 They now roam the universe and are especially active on earth, opposing God and His purposes and ruling over the spiritual darkness of this world.3 Satan, also called the Devil (Literally: “the Slanderer”), is a real personality who has extraordinary power to deceive the nations and is the enemy of God’s people.4 He is destined to be punished by Christ at His return and finally to be eternally incarcerated in the Lake of Fire.5
1Heb. 1:5-14; Rev. 1:20. 2Isa. 14:12-15; Ez. 28:11-19; II Pe. 2:4; Rev. 12:4. 3I Tim. 4:1; Eph. 6:12. 4Job 1-2; I Pet. 5:8-9; Rev. 13:1-18. 5Matt. 25:41; Rev. 12:7-12; 20:1-3, 10.
We believe and teach that man was originally created a sinless being.1 By voluntary transgression he fell from that sinless state by rejecting God’s word and submitting to the deception of Satan,2 and as a result, all mankind are now sinners by nature and by conduct3 and are justly under divine condemnation.4
1Gen. 1:27, 31; 2:16-17; Eccl. 7:29. 2Gen. 3:6-7; Rom. 5:12, 19. 3Ps. 51:5; Isa. 53:6; Rom. 3:9-18, 23; 5:15-19; Jas. 2:10. 4Jn. 3:36; Rom. 1:20.
We believe and teach that God’s plan of salvation is made available to all by the Gospel.1 Salvation is initiated by God through election and is accomplished by grace apart from any human works.2 It is man’s responsibility to repent of his sin and accept the Gospel by personal faith in Jesus Christ.3 All who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are forgiven (their sins are judicially imputed to Christ) and justified (Christ’s perfect righteousness is judicially imputed to each believer).4 The new life given to all believers at regeneration will be nurtured in spiritual growth and produce spiritual fruit (see Articles 7-8).5 True believers are saved forever and can never be eternally lost.6
1Rom. 1:16-17; I Cor. 15:1-8; I Tim. 2:3-6. 2Eph. 1:3-6; 2:1-10. 3Lk. 24:45-47; Jn. 3:1-16; Acts 16:31. 4Rom. 3:23-26; 5:1; Eph. 1:7; Rom. 3:21-22; 4:5-8; II Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:8-9. 5Gal. 2:20; 5:16-24; I Pet. 1:23-25; II Pet. 3:18. 6Jn. 10:27-30; Rom. 8:1-2, 31-39.
We believe and teach that at salvation each believer is positionally sanctified, that is, he is set apart for God, and that throughout the believer’s life the Holy Spirit works to progressively conform each believer into the image of Christ.1 It is the believer’s privilege and responsibility to work out his salvation being empowered and shaped by the Spirit, and though the believer will never experience the eradication of his sinful nature in this life, he may presently enjoy victory over specific sins through the power of the Spirit.2 The believer lives in anticipation of God’s finalization of the sanctification process, that is, the glorification of his body, and this will take place either at the believer’s death or when Christ comes for His own.3
1I Cor. 1:2; II Cor. 3:18; I Thess. 5:23. 2Rom. 6:12-14; 7:18-25; II Cor. 3:18; 7:1; Gal. 5:16-26; Eph. 5:11-18; Phil. 2:12-13. 3Rom. 8:23-25; I Thess. 5:23; Phil. 3:20-21.
We believe and teach that the result of the Spirit’s work of conforming a believer’s life into the image of Christ is a life of personal godliness.1 Each believer learns to forsake worldliness and its patterns of life and thought2 and to present himself as a living sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.3 True believers must guard against the two extremes that holiness is produced by mere willful adherence to rules and regulations, or that life under grace permits the believer to indulge his flesh.4 Each Christian is under a divine mandate to be holy, just as the Lord is holy.5 A fruitful Christian life is produced through daily fellowship with the Lord and the control of the Holy Spirit.6
We also believe and teach that sexual intimacy outside the marriage bond is morally unacceptable.7 The marriage bond is holy and defined by the Scriptures as a life-long union between a husband (male) and wife (female).8 This marriage union will bring glory to Jesus Christ when the biblical roles of the husband and wife are fulfilled.9
1II Cor. 7:1; Tit. 1:1; II Pet. 1:3-8. 2Tit. 2:11-12; I Jn. 2:15-17. 3Rom. 12:1-2. 4Rom. 6:1-2, 12-13; 8:5-13; Tit. 2:11-14. 5I Pet. 1:16. 6Gal. 5:16-24. 7Gen. 2:24-25; Ex. 20:14; Lev. 18:20, 22, 23-29; Prov. 5:1-14; Rom. 1:26-27; Eph. 5:3, 5; I Cor. 6:9-11, 15-20; Heb. 13:4. 8Gen. 2:22-25; Prov. 5:15-23; Mk. 10:1-12; Heb. 13:4. 9Eph. 5:22-33; I Pet. 3:1-7.
We believe and teach that the Church, the Body of Christ, is composed of all true believers who are placed into that Body by the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit at the moment of their salvation.1 The Church is distinct from Israel having been formed by the grace of Christ beginning with the descent of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2.2
The local, visible church is an organized congregation of immersed believers, associated together by a common faith and fellowship in the Gospel.3 Such a church is to be governed by the Word of God,4 and to observe the two ordinances of baptism (the immersion of true believers in water publicly identifying with the Father, Son, and Spirit) and the Lord’s Table (a memorial celebration by true believers of the Lord’s death, burial, resurrection, and coming again through the physical elements of the fruit of the vine and bread).5 Its Scriptural officers are male believers referred to in Scripture as elders/pastors and deacons, and their qualifications are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.6
A local church is autonomous – not to be subject to the control of any outside persons or organizations – and, on all matters of membership, polity, government, missions, discipline, and benevolence, the will of the congregation of the local church, being in accord with the Scriptures and exercised in grace and unity, is final.7
We also believe and teach that at the core of the church and its membership is a biblical theology of grace8 which should be represented in the life of the local church through five New Testament grace essentials: Text (knowing Christ by learning God’s Word and applying His truth through the power of the Spirit),9 Community (showing Christ to one another through caring relationships, mutual accountability, and loving acts of service),10 Equipping (serving Christ by equipping every member to mutually edify one another),11 Worship (adoring Christ through God-exalting, Word-saturated, Spirit-led worship),12 and Mission (proclaiming Christ to our generation from our neighborhoods to the nations).13
1Matt. 16:18; I Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:22-23. 2Acts 2; 11:15-17; Eph. 3:1-6. 3Acts 2:41-42. 4I Tim. 3:14-16; II Tim. 3:16-17. 5Matt. 28:19-20; Rom. 6:1-7; I Cor. 11:23-34. 6I Tim. 3:1-16; Tit. 1:5-9. 7Matt. 18:15-18; Acts 13:1-3; I Cor. 5:4-5, 13; I Tim. 3:15. 8Eph. 2:1-3:12. 9II Tim. 3:15-17. 10Acts 2:42-47. 11Eph. 4:11-16. 12Col. 3:16-17. 13Acts 1:8.
We believe and teach that it is a New Testament pattern to set apart the first day of the week for spiritual purposes insofar as possible on the part of the individual believer.1 It commemorates the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead and is a time for local believers to assemble for biblical worship, instruction, fellowship, prayer, and spiritual growth.2
1Acts 20:6-7; Heb. 10:24-25. 2Acts 2:41-42; 20:7-12; I Cor. 16:1-2.
We believe and teach that God has given a commission to every Christian to be a personal witness of the resurrected and living Christ. The unity and evangelistic aggressiveness of believers within a local church will best fulfill the commission mandates of Christ to His disciples as follows:1
- The strategy of the commission is located in Matthew 28:19-20 and calls for the making of disciples of all nations through baptism and teaching.
- The substance of the commission is outlined in Luke 24:44-48 as the proclamation of repentance and forgiveness of sins based upon the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and this must be announced from Jerusalem to the nations (i.e. “from our neighborhoods to the nations”).
- The submission to the commission by each believer is explained in John 20:21 as following the pattern of Christ’s submission to the will of the Father.
- The strength of the commission is described in Acts 1:8 as reaching the present generation in all corners of the earth by relying upon the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish this great task. As seen in Acts, this commission is most effective when the Spirit works through the united community of the believers in their local assemblies (e.g. 2:42-47; 9:31; 13:1-3).
1Matt. 28:19-20; Lk. 24:44-48; Acts 1:8.
We believe and teach that the Word of God predicts widespread departure from the revealed Word of God in these last days before Christ returns,1 and that the local church must practice separation from those who deny the faith, or who distort the faith either by their continual, personal disobedience or by their false beliefs and teaching.2
1I Tim. 4:1-3; II Pet. 2:1-3; I Jn. 4:1. 2Rom. 16:17; II Cor. 6:14-17; I Tim. 1:3-8; II Tim. 3:1-5; Tit. 3:9-11; II Pet. 3:15-18.
We believe and teach that the modern day Pentecostal and Charismatic movements are theologically incorrect.1 The miraculous signs and supernatural events occurring in the New Testament church were gifts that authenticated the ministry of the apostles, were necessary because the early church was without the written New Testament documents, and were not intended to continue with regularity in the post-apostolic church.2
1I Cor. 12-14; II Cor. 12:7-12; II Tim. 3:16-17; I Pet. 4:7-11; II Pet. 3:15-17. 2II Cor. 12:12; Heb 2:3-4; I Cor. 13:8-13.
We believe and teach that civil government is of divine appointment and necessary for the maintenance of good order in human society.1 Believers are to pray for, honor, and obey civil authorities2 except where to do so would be to violate plain commands and principles of the Word of God.3 The Church and the State have separate spheres of authority and neither have jurisdiction over the other.4
1Rom. 13:1-7. 2I Tim. 2:1-3; Tit. 3:1; I Pet. 2:13-14. 3Acts 4:18-20; 5:29. 4Matt. 22:21.
We believe and teach that there is a radical and essential difference between the eternal conditions of the righteous and the wicked. Those who are righteous will enter into eternal delight with Christ (Heaven), and those who are unrighteous will be lost forever (Hell).1
We also believe and teach that at death the believer will pass into the presence of Christ and remain in conscious joy until the resurrection of the body when Christ comes for His own.2 The New Testament affirms that the hope of the believer is the imminent, personal appearance of Christ when He will gather all the Church, His Bride, to Himself in the air, and so they will always be with the Lord. This blessed hope will happen prior to the seven-year Tribulation Period, and will include the Judgment (Bema) Seat of Christ for all those who have been gathered to Him.3 God’s righteous judgments will then be poured out upon the earth during the Tribulation Period.4 The climax of this fearful era will be the physical return of Jesus Christ to the earth with His Bride in great glory to establish the Kingdom of God on earth for 1,000 years (the Millennial Kingdom),5 and the ethnic people of Israel will finally enjoy the prophetic announcements of the Old Testament, being restored as one nation.6 Following this thousand-year reign of Christ several events will take place, culminating in Satan being cast into the Lake of Fire where he will be tormented forever,7 and the Great White Throne judgment at which time the bodies and souls of the unrighteous shall be reunited, judged, and cast into the Lake of Fire for eternal torment.8 The saved will enter into the new heaven and new earth, and they will live with the Lord in glorified bodies forever.9
1Jn. 5:24-29. 2I Cor. 15:51-57; II Cor. 5:8. 3Dan. 9:24-27; II Cor. 5:1-10; I Thess. 4:13-18; Tit. 2:13; Rev. 3:10. 4Rev. 6:1-17; 16:5-7. 5Rev. 19:11-20:6. 6Ez. 37:1-28; Isa. 65:17-25; Jer. 33:14-26. 7Rev. 20:7-10. 8Rev. 20:11-15. 9Phil. 3:20-21; Rev. 21:1-22:5.