What We Believe

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Statement of Belief

The Church is “the pillar and support of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). It is the responsibility of the leadership and every member of the Church to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

God’s truth has always been questioned, attacked, and perverted. The Bible warns us that such deception will continue, and history has demonstrated the accuracy of these warnings. It is no wonder, then, that in our day, truth is rare while error is rampant.

We publish this statement of faith, not as something new or profound, not as a response to any single system of false doctrine, but rather as a simple and sincere attempt to proclaim and defend God’s inerrant Word.

We pray that the reader, whether in agreement or disagreement, will emulate the fair-minded people of Berea who “searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

Therefore, in agreement with and coming alongside of the Lutheran Confessions, the following is a clarifying comprehensive treatment of the doctrinal foundation we believe here at Symphony Ministries:

We believe the Holy Scriptures, the original canon of the Bible, to be the plenary, verbally inspired, infallible, authoritative, and inerrant Word of God (II Timothy 3:15-17, II Peter 1:21).

We believe there is one true God, both Holy and loving, Creator and Preserver of all things, of One Essence and Nature, eternally existing in three Persons: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:1, Deuteronomy 6:4, Matthew 28:19, John 10:30).

We believe in God the Father, Who is the Source of all that exists, whether of matter or spirit. With the Son and the Holy Spirit, He made man, male and female, in His image and likeness. By intention, He relates to people as Father, thereby forever declaring His goodwill toward them. In love, He both seeks and receives penitent sinners (Psalm. 68:5; Isaiah. 64:8; Matthew. 7:11; John 3:17; Romans. 8:15; 1 Peter 1:17).

We believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, and in the deity of Christ (John 10:33); His virgin birth {the Incarnation} (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:34-35); His sinless life (Hebrews 4:15, 7:26); His miracles (John 2:11); His vicarious and atoning death (I Corinthians 15:3, Ephesians 1:7, Hebrews 2:9); His resurrection (John 11:25, I Corinthians 15:4); His ascension to the right hand of the Father (Mark 16:19); His personal return to earth in power and glory (Acts 1:11, Revelation 19:11-16).

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity, Whose present work is of convicting the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment; in the Holy Spirit’s present ministry by Whose indwelling and empowering the believer is enabled to live a holy life. That the Holy Spirit baptizes believers into the Body of Christ (Romans 8:13-14, I Corinthians 3:16, 6:19-20, 12:13, Ephesians 4:30; 5:18).

We believe in the providence of God, in that God orders and directs His universe in every detail. Every event in nature and every human action and decision is according to His decretive will and purpose. In God’s infinite wisdom and power, all things work together for the benefit of His loving people, and for His glory. (1 Chronicles 29:11-12; Job 38:4-41; Proverbs 16:33; Isaiah 46:9-11; Romans 11:36; Ephesians 1:11; Acts 17:25, 28; Hebrews 1:3 Exodus 4:21; 5:2; 7:2-5; 9:15-16 (cf. Romans 9:17-21); Proverbs 16:9; 21:1, Daniel 4:25, 35; Matthew 10:29; John 6:37-40; Acts 4:27-28; 13:48; Philippians 2:12-13 Romans 8:28; Hebrews 12:5-11 (cf. Deuteronomy 8:15-16) Exodus 9:16 (cf. Exodus 7:3-5); Isaiah 60:21; Ezekiel 28:20-24; Romans 9:22-24; 11:33-36; Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-14)

We believe that for anyone to receive what God’s sovereign grace has made possible, the Holy Spirit produces a voluntarily response of repentance and faith. The gift of faith comes completely from God, and with that gift of faith we trust in, and rely upon Jesus Christ, receiving Him into their hearts by faith obtain salvation to which we have been called. (2 Corinthians 7:9-10; Romans 2:4)

We believe in the absolute necessity of regeneration by the Holy Spirit for salvation because of the exceeding sinfulness of the human nature, and that all are justified on the single ground of faith in the shed blood of Christ, and that only by God’s grace through faith alone are we saved. That regeneration is the sole work of God through the Holy Spirit. (John 3:16-19; 5:24, Romans 3:23; 5:8-9, Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:5).

We believe that the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit prompts repentance. It involves a willful change of mind that renounces sin and longs for righteousness, a godly sorrow for and a confession of past sins, proper restitution for wrongdoings, and a resolution to reform the life. Repentance and faith must come together, yet, repentance is the precondition for saving faith, and without it, saving faith is impossible. Faith, in turn, is the only condition of salvation. It begins in the agreement of the mind and the consent of the will to the truth of the Gospel; issues by the work of the Holy Spirit in a complete reliance of the whole person in the saving ability of Jesus Christ, and a complete trusting of oneself to Him as Savior and Lord. Saving faith is expressed in a public acknowledgment of His Lordship and identification with His Church (Mark 1:15; Luke 5:32; 13:3; 24:47; John 3:16; 17:20; 20:31; Acts 5:31; 10:43; 11:18; 16:31; 20:21; 26:20; Romans 1:16; 2:4; 10:8-10, 17; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 2:8; 4:4-6; Philippians 3:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:25; Hebrews 11:6; 12:2; 1 Peter 1:9; 2 Peter 3:9).

We believe in being filled with the Holy Spirit, according to the Scriptures. This was the normal experience of the entire early Christian Church. We believe that being filled with the Holy Spirit is the result of being clothed with power for life and service. The Holy Spirit bestows spiritual gifts for use in the work of ministry and the building up of the Body of Christ. The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is NOT distinct from and subsequent to the experience of the new birth; it occurs simultaneously with the new birth. Speaking in tongues is NOT the ONLY evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:9, Luke 3:16; 24:49; John 1:33; Acts 1:8, 2:4, 8:12-17, 10:44-46, 11:14-16, 15:7-9; 1 Corinthians 12:4-13 &2 8, 14:1-19.)

We believe that humanity was created in the image and likeness of God but fell from its original sinless state through willful disobedience and Satan’s deception, resulting in eternal condemnation and separation from God. In, of themselves, and apart from the grace of God human beings cannot think, neither will, nor do anything good, including believe. The sovereign grace of God prepares and enables sinners to receive the free gift of salvation offered in Christ through His Gospel. Only by means of the grace of God are sinners regenerated by the Holy Spirit and so believe unto salvation and spiritual life. It is also the grace of God that enables believers to continue in faith as well as good in thought, will, and deed, so that all good deeds or movements that can be conceived must be ascribed to the grace of God.

Furthermore, the Bible declares that man and woman were created by God as distinct acts of creation, and that being male and female was an aspect of how they were created in His own image (Genesis 1:27 and 2:7, 18-19). Marriage is the joining of these distinct genders into one flesh. Marriage is indeed a holy mystery, where the sacramental reality is portrayed in the unity of Jesus Christ with His bride the Church (Romans 7:4, Ephesians 5:31-32). Thus marriage is between one man and one woman. Even more so, the Bible teaches that while sex within marriage is pure and honorable, sex outside marriage is sinful and will be judged by God (Hebrews 13:4). God gave the seventh commandment saying, “You shall not commit adultery,” which protects the sexual relationship between a man and woman who are united in marriage by forbidding marital infidelity, premarital sex, sexual immorality, homosexuality, bestiality, and the use of pornography (Exodus 20:14).

We believe that Jesus Christ is the Gospel, the good news revealed in his birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension. Jesus Christ and Him crucified (the message of the Cross) is the heart of the Gospel, His resurrection is the power of the Gospel, and His ascension is the glory of the Gospel. Christ’s death is a substitutionary and propitiatory sacrifice to God for our sins. It satisfies the demands of God’s holy justice and appeases His holy wrath. It also demonstrates His mysterious love and reveals His amazing grace. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man. Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved. At the heart of all sound doctrine are the Cross of Jesus Christ and the infinite privilege that redeemed sinners have of glorifying God because of what He has accomplished. (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:21-22; Col. 2:13-15)

We believe that man’s response to the Gospel is rooted and grounded in the mercy and grace of God for His own pleasure and glory. It is also true that the message of the Gospel is only effectual for those elect and called who genuinely repent of their sins and, by God’s grace, place their faith in Christ. This Gospel of grace is to be sincerely preached to all men in all nations. Biblical repentance characterizes a changed life, and kingdom service or works evidence saving faith. While neither repentance nor works save, it is clear that unless a person is willing to deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow Christ, he has not become His disciple. (1 John 5:1; Acts 16:14b; Acts 13:48; John 10:24-26; Ezekiel 36:26-27; John 6:37; John 1:13; 1 Cor. 4:7; 1 Cor. 15:10; Jas. 1:17; John 3:27)

We believe there are two important doctrines of Holy Scripture, Law and Gospel, and they must be constantly and diligently proclaimed in the church of God until our Savior’s return.

The Law, as the expression of God’s immutable will, is to be used by the church to bring people to knowledge of their sins as well as to provide Christians with instruction about their relationship with God and other human beings.

The Gospel receives the primary emphasis in the ministry of the New Testament, for it is the message that God forgives the believer all their sins through Christ, adopts them for His sake as God’s children, and out of His merciful grace, without any merit of their own, justifies and saves them.

We therefore reject those teachings:

1) That teach the Gospel is a message or action which brings good news to a bad situation.

2) That teach the Gospel is a rule or principle for the Christian life, or that the Gospel, in effect, imposes a new law upon the Christian.

3) That teach what God’s Law declares to be sinful (for example, adultery or theft) need not be regarded as sinful at any time or in any situation.

4) That teach Christians, as people who have been freed from the curse of the Law, no longer need the instruction of the Law to know what God’s will is for their life and conduct.

We believe that the Christian Church is the entire body of believers in Jesus Christ, Who is the founder and only Head of the Church. The Church is the Body of Christ. The Church includes both those believers who have gone to be with the Lord and those who remain on the earth, having renounced the world, the flesh and the devil, and having dedicated themselves to the work, which Christ committed unto His Church until He comes. The Church exists to glorify the Sovereign Lord. The Church is on earth to preach the pure Word of God, the Gospel, properly administer the Sacraments according to Christ’s instructions, and live in obedience to all that Christ commands. A local church is a body of believers formally organized on Gospel principles, meeting regularly for the purposes of evangelism, nurture, fellowship, and worship (Matthew 16:18; 18:17; Acts 2:41-47; 9:31; 11:22; 12:5; 14:23; 15:22; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 12:28; 16:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:2; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:9-10, 21; 5:22-33; Colossians 1:18, 24; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 12:23; James 5:14).

We believe it is the mandate of the whole Church to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing the disciples, and teaching them to observe everything that Jesus commanded. (Matthew 28:19-20)

We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ established only two holy and apostolic sacraments (sacred mysteries) in their purest form, and they are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

We believe that Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the only Sacraments of the Church commanded by Christ and ordained as a means of grace when received through faith. They are professions of our Christian faith and mysteries of God’s gracious ministry toward us. By them, He works within us to quicken, strengthen, nourish, and confirm our faith.

We believe that Baptism is a Sacrament of the church, the sign and seal of God’s everlasting covenant, commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ, and administered to a believer by immersion in water, into the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. That baptism was established by Jesus Christ through His apostles, and that it is required by all such persons who desire to partake of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.  Baptism is both God’s act of testifying to His everlasting covenant promise, which itself is the means through which the Holy Spirit creates persevering faith in His elect, the forgiveness of sins, and the believer’s act of personal response testifying to the faith which is received. Therefore, baptism is an act of faith in Jesus Christ, Who established the New Covenant in His blood, and is the reception of the benefits of the atonement of Jesus Christ by means of the Holy Spirit with the Word. (Matthew 3:13-17; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 3:5, 22, 26; 4:1-2; Acts 2:38-39, 41; 8:12-17, 36-38; 9:18; 16:15, 33; 18:8; 19:5; 22:16; Romans 2:28-29; 4:11; 6:3-4; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27-29; Colossians 2:11-12; Titus 3:5).

We believe in the laying on of hands (with prayer) immediately after believers are baptized. That the end of the laying on of hands is for the reception of the Holy Spirit of promise, and for the additional graces of the Spirit, and His influences upon the believer; to confirm, strengthen, and comfort them in Jesus Christ. The laying on of hands was ratified and established by the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit in the early Church and is to abide within her, as meeting together on the first day of the week was, that being the Christian Sabbath. Likewise, under the Gospel; and as preaching the Word was, and as baptism was, and the prayers were, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs was. Therefore, as the whole Gospel was confirmed by signs and wonders, and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit in general, so everything done by the Apostles was confirmed particularly in this manner.

During the laying on of hands, the believer is anointed with oil on certain parts of the body, and in the Name of the Holy Spirit, signifying the Seal of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the grace of sanctification to strengthen the spiritual life. The anointing of the forehead signifies the sanctification of the mind, or thoughts. The anointing of the chest signifies the sanctification of the heart, or desires. The anointing of the eyes, ears, and lips signifies the sanctification of the senses. The anointing of the hands and feet signifies their sanctification to good works and the walk in the way of His commandments. (Acts 8:14-17; Ephesians 1:13-14; 2 Corinthians 2:1, 21-22; 1 John 2:20, 27)

We believe that the Lord’s Supper is a Eucharistic meal, a Sacrament of our redemption by Christ’s death and of our hope in His victorious return, a feast of thanksgiving in celebration of the love that believers have for each other. We believe that Jesus Christ is truly present in the sacrament. Those who receive this mystery humbly, with a proper spirit and by faith, the Lord’s Supper is made a means through which God nourishes our spirit, gives the forgiveness of sins, and communicates life and grace to the heart (Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; John 6:48-58; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8; 10:3-4, 16-17; 11:23-29).

We believe in the spiritual unity of all true believers in our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:9, I Corinthians 12:12-13, Galatians 3:26-28).

We believe that we as Christians are examples of the love of God in this world. It is this (agape) love that we desire to possess and without which we have no right to call ourselves Christians (I John 4:16-17).

We believe that every person is created in the image of God, and that human sexuality reflects that image in terms of intimate love, communication, fellowship, subordination of the self to the larger whole, and fulfillment. God’s Word makes use of the marriage relationship as the supreme metaphor for His relationship with His covenant people and for revealing the truth that this relationship is of one God with one people. Furthermore, God instituted marriage between a man and a woman as a natural common grace available to all people, at all times, in all places. It is available not only to Christians, but to all people (Genesis 2:24). Biblical marriage is a sacrament and a lifelong covenant between one man and one woman (Matthew 19:4-6). Biblical marriage promotes the bearing and rearing of children and exercise of stewardship over creation (Genesis 2:27-28). The essence of a Christian wedding is the Divine blessing of the bride and groom as they exchange vows while God receives the worship of the congregation as they witness those vows and as they offer Him prayer and praise.  Therefore, God’s plan for human sexuality is that it is to be expressed only in a monogamous lifelong relationship between one man and one woman within the framework of marriage. This is the only relationship, which is divinely designed for the birth and rearing of children and is a covenant union made in the sight of God, taking priority over every other human relationship. (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:18, 20, 23-24; Isaiah 54:4-8; 62:5b; Jeremiah 3:14; Ezekiel 16:3ff.; Hosea 2; Malachi 2:14; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:9; John 2:1-2, 11; 1 Corinthians 9:5; Ephesians 5:23-32; 1 Timothy 5:14; Hebrews 13:4; Revelation 19:7-8).

We believe that outside the biblical sacrament of marriage, God’s standard for sex is celibacy, saying “no” to both heterosexual and homosexual lusts (Matthew 5:27-30). Celibacy is a gift of God that allows the unmarried to live a life of purity and contentment, so that a person does not have to engage in sex to have a full and satisfying life (1 Corinthians 7:7-9). Homosexual behavior is sinful and unnatural (Romans 1:24-28). Like other sexual temptations to sin, homosexual lust is highly addictive and difficult to stop. God’s grace is sufficient to forgive and cleanse us from all sin, and God can deliver the “forgiven and cleansed” homosexual from the evil spirit of homosexual lust and feelings.

We believe in the literal Second Coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We believe that the Father only knows the day and the hour. We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; those who are saved unto the resurrection of life, and those who are not unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28-29).

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