Statement of Faith
The following Statement of Faith constitutes a guide to the fundamental beliefs of Encounter Church. The Church is open to any further truth that the Holy Spirit may illuminate from the Scriptures. Please read through this Statement of Faith in order to familiarize yourself with the basic beliefs upon which membership of the Church is founded.
The Scriptures in their original form, both the Old and New Testament, are divinely inspired and are the revelation of God to man. All Scripture is God-breathed – the Holy Spirit inspired the authors, revealing to them what He wanted written.
(Acts 1:16; 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:20,21)
These Scriptures are Infallible truth, containing no contradiction or error. It is the final authority for faith, doctrine and life. The canon of the Bible is closed. Christians must remain receptive to the illumination of Scriptural truth by the Holy Spirit.
(Matt 5:18; John 17:17; Rom 10:17; 15:4; 1 Cor 10:11; 2:13; James 1:21)
The Old Testament was endorsed by Jesus Christ as God’s Word. The New Testament is not a contradiction, but a culmination and consummation of Old Testament truth.
(Matt 5:17; Luke 4:17-21; 24:27, 44; John 5:39; 1 Cor 14:37; 2 Pet 3:15,16)
God is a Spirit – infinite, eternal, uncreated and unchangeable in His being or attributes. In Him all things have their source, support and end.
(John 4:24; Ps 102:25-27; Gen 1:1,26; John 1:1-3; Heb 1 :1-3; Col 1 :15-17)
There is one true God who has a plural nature – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – all distinct personalities, all designated God.
(John 1:1,18,14; Heb 1:8; Acts 5:3,4)
The Bible does not teach that there are three Gods, but upholds the doctrine of the Trinity – one God who reveals Himself in three persons – equal in power and glory.
(Gen 1:26; Matt 3:16, 17; 28:19; Acts 10:38; 1 Cor 12:4-6)
God, the Father, is the Father of all in a creative sense, but only those who have received Jesus Christ can be called His children in a redemptive sense. He Is the Father of all Christians in a special, intimate relationship.
(Mal 2:10; Acts 17:28; John 1:12, 13; 8:41-44; 17:3; 20:17)
Jesus Christ is Lord and the Son of God – these titles proclaim His deity. He is the Only Begotten of the Father, not that He is a son of God in a general sense, but the Son of God in a unique sense. As God He existed eternally and will exist forever.
(John 1:1-3, 18; 17:5; Heb 1:2-12; 13:8)
By taking on the form of a man, Jesus is the Word that became flesh. His birth was supernatural and not natural as in the case of all other human beings. He was miraculously ‘virgin-born’ of the Holy Spirit, without a human father.
(John 1:14, 8; Isa 7:14; Matt 1:18-25)
The Bible declares His absolute deity and His complete humanity. He lived a sinless life on earth; teaching, preaching and performing miracles with divine authority.
(Matt 16:13, 16; Philip 2:5-8; 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 2:14-18; 4:15; 2 Cor 5:21; Matt 4:23, 24; Acts 2:22)
Jesus fulfilled God’s plan In history. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, was buried and descended to Hades. Christ died for all and rose bodily from the dead. He did not only rise spiritually, nor just as a spirit being, but it was a physical resurrection. The doctrine of the resurrection is foundational for Christianity.
(1 Cor 15:3, 4, 14-21; Luke 24:6, 39; Acts 4:33; Rom 1:4; 5:10; 8:11)
After His resurrection He ascended to the Father in heaven. He is alive forevermore in His resurrected body and exalted position, representing us before the throne of God as our High Priest and Advocate.
(1 Tim 3:16; Mark 16:19; Philip 3:20, 21; Rom 8:34; Heb 4:14-16; 7:24, 25)
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is a divine person, the third person of the Holy Trinity, distinct from the Father and the Son.
(Luke 1:35; 1 Cor 2:10, 11; 2 Cor 13:14)
The clear and unmistakable teaching of Scripture is that the Holy Spirit is personal and is God. He is not an impersonal force, nor a mere principle or influence, but possesses full, distinct personality.
(John 14:16, 26; 16:7, 8; Acts 13:2, 4; 1 Cor 12:11; Eph 4:30)
THE CREATION AND FALL OF HUMANKIND
All people have been created equally and in the image of God, irrespective of race, ethnicity, colour, gender, age, language, culture or class.
(Gen 1:26-28; 3:20; Prov 22:2; Acts 10:34, 35; 17:26, 27; James 3:9; Co! 3:10, 11; Gal 3:28)
God created humankind in His image, but that image has been marred by sin. Humankind was given a free will and through satan’s temptation sinned, thereby incurring the penalty of death, both physical and spiritual. All human beings inherit a sinful nature, which results, in the case of those who reach moral responsibility, in actual transgression involving personal guilt.
(Gen 1 :26-28; 3:1-6; Rom 5:12; Eph 2:1-3)
All have sinned – therefore humankind is in a lost sinful state, fallen from original righteousness.
(Isa 53:6; Rom 3:9-12, 23; 1 Cor 15:21, 22; Gal 3:22)
The Bible describes sin in many ways – missing the mark, not meeting God’s standards, breaking His laws, going against His will, disobeying Him, acting in unbelief, failing to do what is good, owing a debt, etcetera. Sin is humankind’s fallen condition evident in man’s character, will, thoughts, attitudes or acts. It is proud, self-willed rebellion against God in active or passive form.
(Dan 9:5, 8, 9; James 2:8-11; 4:17; Rom 14:23; 1 John 3:4; 5:17; Matt 6:12)
THE SALVATION OF HUMANKIND
Jesus Christ gave His life as a substitutionary sacrifice and ransom for all.
(1 Cor 15:3; Matt 20:28; 1 Tim 2:3-6)
His atoning death on the cross and His shed blood fully paid the price of redemption required for the release of sinners. Through His death people can obtain the forgiveness and remission of sins; washing and cleansing from unrighteousness; justification and the pardon from the guilt of transgressions; righteousness and right standing with God; propitiation and reconciliation which restores fellowship and favour with God; healing and wholeness; the victorious life; and the gift of eternal life.
(Gal 3:13,14; 1 Pet 1:18, 19; 2:24; Col 1:13, 14; Rom 3:22-26; 5:8-11, 17-19; Titus 3:4-7; 1 John 2:2; 3:8; Rev 12:10, 11)
People are not able to save themselves by works; by trying to keep the Law or the Ten Commandments; by personal merit in themselves; by self-effort; or by natural development from within – no one can add anything to the completed atoning work of Christ.
(Isa 64:6; Rom 3:20, 28; Gal 2:16; Titus 3:5)
Salvation is by grace, the free gift of eternal life from God, to all those who believe in Christ. It is received by faith in the crucified and risen Saviour resulting in the supernatural work of the new birth, which is essential to make the repentant sinner a new creation in Christ Jesus and a child of God.
(Eph 2:8, 9; Gal 3:26; Rom 6:26; 10:9, 10; 2 Cor 7:10; 5:17; John 3:3-5, 16; 1:12, 13; 1 John 5:1)
Water baptism is a direct commandment of our Lord. Scripture requires that all who have become disciples through repentance and faith in Christ as Saviour and Lord are to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Baptism is by immersion in water and is for believers only.
(Matt 28:19; Acts 2:38, 39; 8:36-39; 16:31-33)
The ordinance of baptism is an act of obedience; a symbol of the Christian’s identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection; a declaration that the believer has died with Christ and has been raised with Him to walk in the newness of life; a public confession of the new believer’s faith in Christ; and the answer of a good conscience toward God.
(Matt 3:13-17; Rom 6:3-5; Col 2:12; 1 Pet 3:21)
Communion is the regular partaking of the emblems of the bread and the cup as symbolic of the Saviour’s broken body and shed blood. In following this ordinance believers are remembering the Lord Jesus; proclaiming His death; giving thanks for the benefits of His broken body and shed blood; expressing their communion with Him and one another; celebrating His resurrection; and anticipating His return.
(Matt 26:26-29; 1 Cor 10:16, 17; 11:23-32)
THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
The new birth is the work of regeneration that the Holy Spirit executes, by which He then indwells the believer. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is an experience distinct and subsequent to the new birth.
(Titus 3:5; John 3:5, 6; 14:16, 17; Acts 8:14-17; 19:2)
Jesus baptizes in the Holy Spirit and according to His command all believers are entitled to and should expect the Promise of the Father – the baptism in the Holy Spirit. This was the normal and needful experience of Christians in the Church of the early days.
(Matt 2:11; Acts 1:4, 5; 2:38, 39; 11:15, 16)
Through the baptism in the Holy Spirit believers are empowered and equipped for life and service; and with it comes the bestowment of the supernatural gifts of the Spirit and their uses in the work of the ministry.
(Mark 16:17; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor 12:4-11)
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is witnessed by the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance.
(Acts 2:4; 10:44-46; 19:6)
The Scriptures demand a life of holiness. Believers are called to separation and consecration unto God.
(1 Pet 1:14-16; 1 Thes 3:12, 13; 4:3-7; 5:23; Heb 12:14)
Christ’s holiness is imputed to the regenerated believer, but this positional holiness must be worked out as practical sanctification in the believer’s conduct. Sanctification is a definite, yet progressive work of grace, commencing at the new birth and continuing throughout the life of the Christian.
(1 Cor 1:2; 6:11; Heb 10:10, 14; Philip 3:12-14; 2 Cor 3:18; 1 John 3:2, 3)
Sanctification is an act of purification and separation from that which is evil; and of dedication unto God.
(2 Cor 7:1; Eph 4:22-24; 2 Tim 2:21, 22)
Sanctification is realized in the life of believers by recognizing their identification with Christ in His death and resurrection; by faith reckoning daily upon the fact of that union; and by offering every faculty continually to the dominion of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word.
(1 Cor 1:30; Rom 6:11-14, 18-22; Gal 5:16-25; John 17:17; James 1:21)
DIVINE HEALING AND MIRACLES
Divine healing was provided for in the Old Testament and is an integral part of the Gospel. The New Testament declares that through Christ’s redemptive work, full provision has been made for physical healing and health. It is the privilege of believers today.
(Ex 23:25; Ps 103:2-5; Isa 53:4, 5; Matt 8:16, 17; 1 Pet 2:24; Gal 3:13, 14; Luke 10:9)
Healing is for physical ills of the human body and is wrought by God’s power in different ways, like the laying on of hands; the prayer of faith; anointing with oil; or the gifts of healing.
(Mark 16:17, 18; 6:13; Acts 28:8, 9; James 5:14-16; 1 Cor 12:9)
Miracles are supernatural interventions in the ordinary courses of nature. These are works, signs or wonders of the unchangeable God and they are possible in the present day.
(Mark 16:17-20; John 14:12; Heb 2:4:; Acts 2:22, 24; 6:8; 8:6; 1 Cor 12:10; Rom 15:18, 19; 2 Cor 12:12)
The one true Church is the whole company of all believers who have been called out of sin and the world, redeemed by Jesus and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. It is universal in the sense that it includes all true believers out of all nations from all generations. Each Christian is an integral part of the general assembly and Church of the firstborn registered in heaven.
(Matt 16:16-19; Eph 4:3-6; 1 Pet 2:5, 9, 10; Heb 12:23)
Jesus Christ is the Head of the church and the Bible describes it in different terms, for example, the Body of Christ, His bride, the family of God, the building of God and habitation of God.
(Eph 1:22, 23; 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:25-27; 3:15; 2:19-22)
The Church also has a visible, local expression – a company of believers voluntarily fellow-shipping together in a given locality. The local church on earth should take its character from the conception of the Church universal.
(Matt 18:15-17; 1 Cor 1:2; Heb 10:24, 25)
Therefore, the essentials of Church membership are the new birth and personal confession of faith in Christ. It is not merely the attending of church services or having a name on the membership list that makes one a member of Christ’s true Church. Only the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the repentant sinner qualifies one for membership in the Body of Christ.
(Acts 2:38-41, 47; Eph 2:13, 18, 19)
CHURCH DISCIPLINE AND RESTORATION
Members of this local church are those who freely and voluntarily subscribe to the basic principles set out in this Statement of Faith, understanding and consenting to the fact that should they violate such principles, they may be required by the leadership of the local church to either accept the leadership’s counsel and discipline or to forfeit their membership. The leadership of the local church has the authority from the Scriptures to withdraw the membership of any member for serious, unrepentant misconduct or similar cause.
(Matt 18:15-18; Rom 16:17; 2 Thes 3:6, 14; 1 Tim 6:3-5; Titus 3:10, 11; 1 Cor 5:11, 5; 1 Tim 1:19, 20)
Encounter Church also believes a primary responsibility of leadership is to model and maintain a standard of biblical behaviour in the local church. We believe according to scripture that the Lord has given appointed leaders in the church the responsibility to provide spiritual oversight for those who join the church. His command in 1 Peter 5:1 to “shepherd the flock of God” is something we take seriously. Although we do not believe God has given the appointed leaders absolute responsibility or authority in an individual’s life, we believe there are three specific areas in which we are responsible to give spiritual oversight. Because we believe we are responsible before God to provide this spiritual oversight, we will confront our members on their behaviour in these areas. If the situation is not subsequently resolved in a satisfactory fashion, a formal process of church discipline will be initiated as set out in the Encounter Church Statement of Faith. The areas of spiritual oversight are as follows:
Area 1: Open and Blatant Sin
1 Corinthians 5:1–2 “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who had done this deed might be taken away from among you.” (NKJV)
Area 2: Issues Involving Doctrinal Error
1 Peter 2:1–3 “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.” (NKJV)
Area 3: Divisive and Contentious Behaviour Within the Congregation
Titus 3:9–11 “But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition…” (NKJV)
Every effort will be made to meet with the member who is involved with any of these issues. Our desire is to help our members grow to maturity through compassionate mentoring. The biblical model of confrontation and correction is not meant to punish people but rather to protect the body of Christ from the wages of unrepentant sin. Biblical authority is not a license to exert control; it is a responsibility to exert influence for God’s will to be accomplished.
Matthew 18:15–17 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” (NKJV)
Our approach to confronting a member of the church involves the following steps:
• Begins with personal confrontation.
• Expands to church leadership confrontation. • Broadens to group confrontation.
• Ends in removal of membership privileges.
In confronting sin, it is vital for us to remember:
• The purpose is redemption.
• The attitude is humility.
• The result is accountability.
The Bible teaches the principle of being in submission to authority. As such, it is understood that church membership shall be subject to submission to authority in matters pertaining to church governance, doctrine and personal behaviour.
(Heb 13:17; 1 Thes 5:12, 13; 1 Pet 5:2-5)
The Bible teaches heterosexual relationships between a natural man and a natural woman within the confines of lawful matrimony. Adherence to this stated principle of sexual behaviour is an inherent requirement for membership in this local church. God’s original intent for marriage was one man joined with one woman in a legal union for life. Jesus came to confirm, endorse and restore this ideal.
(Gen 1:27,28; 2:24, 25; Lev 18:20, 22; 20:10, 13; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:9, 10; 1 Tim 1:8-11; Matt 19:4-6; 1 Tim 3:2, 12)
The primary mission of the Church is to be a corporate body bringing praise and worship to God; to be a gathering where the saints can be equipped, edified and perfected in the image of God’s Son; to be an agency of God for evangelizing the world; to be a demonstration of God’s love and goodness to all; to be a foundation upholding God’s wisdom and truth; to be a catalyst of constructive social change and justice in the community, ministering to the poor and oppressed; and to be an instrument enforcing Satan’s defeat through God’s power.
(Eph 1:6, 12, 14; 4:11-16; 3:10; Matt 28:19, 20; Acts 1:8; Gal 5:13, 14; 6:9, 10; 1 Tim 3:15; Matt 25:35-40; Acts 20:35; Rom 16:20)
Biblical government is designed to represent heaven accurately and attack hell successfully. The governmental DNA of the Church is produced by pure biblical standards that have not been distorted or damaged by negative influences. The local church is the hope of the world and the hope of the local church is the Lordship of Christ through biblical government that operates under the blessing and favour of God.
Every Christian is a priest – to bring acceptable spiritual sacrifices, by full and equal access, to God through Christ; a minister or servant – to serve God and one another through love; a steward – to profitably use the trust granted by God; and a worker – to fulfill the labour of love in God’s kingdom.
(Rev 1:6; Heb 10:19-22; 13:15, 16; 6:10; 1 Pet 2:5, 9; 4:10, 11; Eph 4:7, 12; 2:10; Matt 25:14)
The ascended Christ has given various ministers to the Church – apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers – which are essential to equip the saints for the work of ministry and to build up the Body of Christ.
(Eph 4:11, 12; 1 Cor 12:28; Rom 12:4-13)
The devil is a fallen being cast down from heaven because of his transgression. He is not an impersonal force, or the principle of evil personified – personal names and pronouns are used with reference to him, while personal attributes and acts are ascribed to him.
(Isa 14:12-17; Rev 12:9)
He is the real enemy of Christians; and together with his demons, they seek to deceive, tempt, afflict, oppress and destroy humankind. The believer, however, has been given authority over them in the name of Jesus Christ.
(Matt 6:13; John 8:44; Luke 10:17-20; Acts 10:38; Eph 6:11, 12; James 4:7; 1 Pet 5:8, 9; 1 John 3:8)
Satan’s ultimate destiny is that he will be cast into the lake of fire forever.
(Matt 25:41; Rev 20:10, 14)
THE DESTINY OF THE UNBELIEVER
All who deny God or His plan for humankind; who reject Jesus Christ and the offer of salvation, will stand guilty before God when He will judge the living and the dead.
(John 3:16-19, 36; Rom 1:18-21; 2:2-6; 2 Thes 1:8; 2 Tim 4:1)
Those who physically die in their sins without Christ are hopelessly and eternally lost; and therefore have no further opportunity of hearing the Gospel or for repentance. They will be resurrected from the dead to immortality and will be judged at the great white throne judgment.
(Heb 9:27; John 5:28, 29; Rev 20:11-13)
Those who are guilty before God will receive the eternal death penalty for sin. They will be separated from Him and will be damned in hell forever. The Scriptures describe this as the lake of fire, which is a place of torment. The lake of fire is literal and eternal. The terms ‘eternal’ and ‘everlasting’ used in describing the duration of the damned in the lake of fire, carry the same thought and meaning of endless existence as used in noting the duration of joy and ecstasy of the saints in the presence of God.
(Rom 6:23; 2 Thes 1:7-9; Matt 25:41, 46; 13:49, 50; Luke 16:23, 24; Rev 20:10-15; 21:8)
THE DESTINY OF THE BELIEVER
Jesus Christ is coming back to the earth in glory, majesty and power. His return will be literal, visible and personal; and is the blessed hope of the believer. At His coming, those who have died in Christ will be resurrected to incorruptibility; and will be caught up, together with the transformed believers who are alive, to meet the Lord in the air.
(John 14:3; Matt 24:30; Acts 1:10, 11; 2 Thes 1:10; 2:1-3; Titus 2:13; Rev 1:7; 1 Cor 15:22, 23, 51-54; 1 Thes 4:13-17)
Christians will not be judged on the grounds of salvation – whether they have eternal life – this is a free gift of God through Jesus Christ. There will be a judgement of rewards according to the believers’ works.
(John 5:24; 1 Cor 3:11-15; Rev 22:12)
The Bible teaches that there will be a new heaven and a new earth. The redeemed will live in eternal blessedness in God’s presence.
(2 Pet 3:12, 13; Rev 21:1-7, 21-27; 22:1-5)
The following documents are available at a reasonable request from our Headquarters.
Church governance documents pertaining to discipline.