“An Affirmation of Faith”
(Taken from pages 8-11 of “Welcome to Friends,” compiled and edited by Dr. Charles Mylander, General Superintendent for Friends Church, Southwest)
1. We believe in the one holy and loving God, who exists eternally in three persons–Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, and the final judge of everyone who lives within it.
2. We believe in the deity and the humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is at the same time fully God and fully man. We believe in His Virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood on Calvary’s cross, in His bodily resurrection from the dead, in His ascension, in His being seated (enthroned) at the right hand of the heavenly Father, and in His second coming to earth in power and great glory.
3. We believe in the Bible, the holy scripture of the Old and New Testaments, to be the fully inspired, infallible, authoritative, written word of God. God is the source of truth and apart from His revelation no spiritual insights or principles are binding upon us. The Holy Spirit illuminates the scriptures and applies their truth to our lives, bur never leads individuals or groups contrary to their teachings. We are obligated to obey what the scriptures teach and to subject all our doctrines and traditions to their authority.
4. We believe that God created the human being, male and female, in His own image. When Adam and Eve fell into disobedience and rebellion toward God, they were alienated from Him and the perfect image of God was warped, marred, stained and corrupted. As a result all people inherit a pervasive sinfulness that invades every part of their beings. Further, all people sin by their own willful choices, falling short of both their own personal standards and also of God’s moral law. This moral depravity means that everyone is sinful and separated from God and needs to be redeemed and regenerated through Christ’s by the power of the Holy Spirit.
5. We believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross, shedding His blood for us and for our sins and rose again from the dead to make us right with God. A person receives salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and not by being good enough to deserve it. To those who receive Christ, God grants forgiveness of sins, the gift of eternal life and ultimately the resurrection of the body to live forever in the new heavens and new earth. Rejecting Jesus Christ and His provisions for salvation and forgiveness of sins results in the penalty of eternal death in hell. The presence of saving faith is revealed by a life lived in obedience to the will of God and results in the good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do.
6. We believe that Christ lives in us and we live in Him. Living in this union with Christ we find out true identity in Him. We are crucified, buried, made alive, raised up and seated with Christ at the right hand of the Father. As a result our actual identity is no longer in outward appearances such as performance, looks, intelligence ability or wealth but rather that each of us is a child of God, a new creation in Christ Jesus. We believe that we can experience Christ directly and intimately without the intervention of human priests or required rituals. Our experience is that we commune with Christ daily as Lord, Savior, Teacher and Friend.
7. We believe the Holy Spirit lives within every person who truly receives Jesus Christ. He satisfies our deepest longings for grace, truth, love power and righteousness. We respond to these riches of Christ with faith, hope, love, obedience and holy living. The Holy Spirit counsels and helps the Christian to train for godly living. He also gives one or more spiritual gifts to every saint (Christian) to serve God with a fruitful life. Within each true believer in Christ He grows the fruit of loving character qualities. We believe that every Christian is commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit, yielding heart, mind, spirit, soul and body as God’s holy temple.
8. We believe that in living union with Christ every Christian has the authority to overcome the three major spiritual enemies of this life–the world, the flesh and the devil. The world is the system that is organized to leave God out and to applaud those who violate Christian values. The flesh is the inner weakness within each of us that finds temptation attractive and desires what is evil instead of what is good.The devil is Satan, along with his forces of evil, fallen angels sometimes called demons, that deceive, accuse and harass Christians. Christ has already defeated Satan and all his evil powers at the cross and in the resurrection. Our Lord Jesus is now exalted to the highest place with absolute authority over all His enemies. In Christ we have all the resources we need to win the battle for our minds and overcome the evil one. These resources include God’s Spirit, God’s Word, God’s Works, and God’s people.
9. We believe the church is composed of all people who through repentance and faith receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and become His devoted followers in fellowship with like-minded believers. This church, universal in scope, unites all true Christians in spirit to love one another, live holy lives and proclaim the gospel to all the world. It has local expressions in individual congregations and in families of churches called denominations or movements. Our denomination is called Friends, from the words of Jesus, “You are my friends if you do what I command you. (John 15:16 NIV)” The church gathers to worship God, encourage believers, preach the gospel, teach the Bible, equip the saints, serve the needy, and pray for God’s best. The church then fans out into the community and the world to demonstrate the love of Christ and the presence of His reign in the daily routines and crises of life. As a body the church uses its material, organizational and spiritual resources to obey its Head, Jesus Christ, until His coming kingdom finds fulfillment in His return.
10. We believe in the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and all the great events of the end times prophesied in scripture. We refuse to divide fellowship over disputed questions of eschatology that are not clear in the scriptures. We believe in the great resurrection of both the saved and the lost. We believe everyone will stand before Christ in the final judgment to receive their just due. Those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life will inherit their eternal rewards in the new heavens and the new earth, freed forever from selfishness, sin, demonic influence, control and all evil. The finally unrepentant wicked will suffer the eternal condemnation of hell prepared for the devil and his angels. At that time Christ will reign fully over the restored universe and God the Father will be fully glorified.
11. We believe the chief end of men and women is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.