God has called Symphony Ministries, together with one voice, to herald the Gospel of salvation, healing, and deliverance. The strongest bonds should be Gospel bonds. At Symphony Ministries, we share the same passion for an identity in the Gospel.
A symphony is “anything distinguished by a harmonious composition.” In the Bible, the Greek word sumphoneo means “together with one voice.” Sumphoneo is “a concord of voices as to be used for agreement in the deeper and more inward sense.”
Symphony Ministries refers to that stream of the Church flowing out of the Reformation that emphasizes the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of life. As heirs of the Reformation we live out our Christian lives in view of the biblical pillars of faith or the five solas which we believe are Scripture Alone, by Grace Alone, through Faith Alone, in Christ Alone, and to the Glory of God Alone. All the pillars of the Christian faith stand on the sovereignty of God. God reigns over all things. God especially demonstrated His sovereignty when He saved us from His wrath against our sins. He saved us completely, from beginning to end, showing us the greatness of His sovereign love. All of the pillars of our faith point to and stand on the sovereign love of God for us.
Symphony Ministries affirms the creeds of the historic Church which consist of the Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed, Chalcedon Creed, and Apostles Creed, and we believe them to be an accurate summary of the Apostolic faith. We believe these standards contain carefully worded summaries of the contents of sacred Scripture. Throughout Church history, there have been several confessions of faith that are truly based on God’s Word, the Bible. The Reformed confessions are documents of the faith of the Reformers of Europe, England and Scotland, which include, the Westminster Confession, the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dordt, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Second Helvetic Confession, the Scottish Confession, and the 39 Articles. The Lutheran confessions are documents of the faith of the Lutheran tradition proceeding from the Reformation which express the consensus of faith from their understanding of Holy Scripture. These confessions of faith guide our understanding of faith and shape its practice.
These confessions and creeds portray a theology and dynamic that defines Symphony Ministries as catholic (universal), historic evangelical, orthodox, Reformed Lutheran, and Spirit-filled. Therefore, we concur with the statement, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.”
The theology of Symphony Ministries is “catholic” and “orthodox” because it reaffirms the doctrines of historic Christian orthodoxy such as those defined by the Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed, Apostles Creed, and the great ecumenical councils of the first millennium of Christian history such as the Councils of Nicea, Chalcedon, Constantinople, and others. These catholic doctrines include such affirmations as the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the atonement of Christ, and other doctrines that are integral to historic Christianity.
Our theology is truly “Historic Evangelical” because it affirms with historic Christianity that the Bible, as the authoritative, inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God, is the sole written revelation that rules the faith and practice of the Christian community and alone can bind the conscience. This faith refers to the doctrine of justification by faith alone whereby the believer is justified before God by the free grace of God by which he is declared righteous and the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the believer (Rom. 5:18-19). The sole ground of our justification is the merit of Jesus, imputed to all who put their trust in Him. However, good works flow necessarily and immediately from all justified persons, these works are not the meritorious grounds of our justification (Eph. 2:8-10).
Our theology is “Reformed Lutheran” because of the distinctive teachings of the Reformation from its beginning with leaders such as Martin Luther, Philip Melanchthon, Johann Gerhard, Martin Chemnitz, and many others. Lutheran theology is centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ. We believe that God is three in one, or Triune. We believe that the Son of God became a human being to suffer and die for the sins of the world so that all who believe in Him will not perish but through His substitution for us on the cross we are given forgiveness and eternal life. Luther believed that salvation was made possible 100% by the work of Jesus Christ. Luther believed that we are saved by God’s mercy and forgiveness and not by works of righteousness to atone for our past or even by a personal action of deciding to follow Jesus. Rather, the work is entirely God’s. Luther believed that faith in Jesus is necessary for salvation. However, we understand that such faith is the work of God the Holy Spirit working through the Holy Scriptures and the Sacraments to create such faith. We understand that simple trust in the promises of God in Jesus Christ are sufficient to secure an individual’s salvation. Luther understood his beliefs based upon the Holy Scriptures. In the theology of Luther, He believed the Bible to be the inspired, inerrant, infallible, authoritative Word of God and is the only revelation for both belief and practice.
Luther believed it is important to proclaim their faith to the world in an understandable manner. And so Lutherans wrote down statements explaining what they believe and where they find these beliefs in the Bible. The most important of these statements are found in the Book of Concord, which is a collection of Lutheran theological declarations. These are sometimes referred to as the “Confessions” and Lutherans who believe that these writings are a correct explanation of what the Holy Scripture teaches on certain topics are often called “confessional”.
Symphony Ministries recognizes that God’s Word does not address every matter of life. Our position is that if God’s Word has spoken to a matter we must follow God’s Word on that matter. But where God’s Word is silent, there can be liberty regarding that matter as long as it is without sin, not contrary to Holy Scripture, and there is responsibly for the sake of proclaiming the Gospel to the world.
These teachings distinguish the conservative Lutheran Reformation from the Reformed theology of Calvin and others. In a word, Reformed theology is centered on the sovereignty of God. The concept of God’s grace, sovereignty, and glory supplies the core of this theology. Simply put, it is a theology of the Protestant Reformers who followed Luther and is a part of conservative historical evangelicalism. C.H. Spurgeon once said, “Reformed theology is nothing other than biblical Christianity.”
Our theology is “Spirit-filled” because we believe in being filled with the Holy Spirit, or operating in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, according to the Scriptures. This was the normal experience of the entire early Christian Church. We believe that Baptism is the baptism with the Holy Spirit; when we are regenerated, we receive the Holy Spirit, because He is the clothing of power for life and service, and He bestows spiritual gifts for our use in the work of ministry as He wills. (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:9, Luke 3:16; 24:49; Acts 1:8, 2:4, 2:38-39, 8:12-17, 10:44-46, 11:14-16, 15:7-9; 1 Corinthians 12:4-10, 13 & 28, 14:1-19.)
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The Five Solas
Sola Scriptura: Scripture Alone – The Bible is the sole written divine revelation, our only infallible rule for faith and life, and alone can bind the conscience of believers absolutely (Matt. 4:4; 2 Tim. 3:16).
Sola Fide: Faith Alone – Justification is by faith alone. By God’s free grace, the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to us by faith and is the sole ground of our acceptance by God, by which our sins are pardoned (Rom. 5:1; Gal 2:16).
Sola Gratia: Grace Alone – Our salvation rests solely on the work of God’s grace for us (Rom. 2:4; Eph. 2:8-10).
Solus Christus: Christ Alone – Jesus Christ is the only mediator through Whose work we are redeemed (John 14:6; John 3:16).
Soli Deo Gloria: The Glory of God Alone – Salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, therefore to God alone belongs the glory (Isa. 42:8; Col. 3:17).
Holy Scripture (God’s divinely inspired Word) within the canon of our Holy Bible is the sole written divine revelation and alone can bind the conscience of believers absolutely (Matt. 4:4; 2 Tim. 3:16).
Justification is by faith alone. The merit of Christ imputed to us by faith is the sole ground of our acceptance by God, by which our sins are remitted (Rom. 5:1; Gal 2:16).
Our salvation rests solely on the work of God’s grace alone (Rom. 2:4; Eph. 2:8-10).
Christ is the only mediator through Whose work we are redeemed (John 14:6; John 3:16).
The Glory of God
To God alone belongs the glory (Isa. 42:8; Col. 3:17).
The Leadership of the Ecclesia (Church):
Bishops, Elders and Deacons
Our form of leadership is biblical eldership. The Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ established leadership in the Body of Christ, the Church, with a ministry of bishops, elders, and deacons.
Episkopos is the Greek word meaning, “an overseer, supervisor, ruler, especially used with reference to the supervising function exercised by an elder/presbyter of a congregation.” Overseeing elders or bishops, operating in the power of the Holy Spirit are set in place to lead the Body of Christ, His Church. They are in place to equip, to build up, to establish unity in the faith, to aid in the growth toward Christian maturity, to aid in the transformation into Christ likeness, and to guard and protect the Apostolic doctrine once delivered unto the Saints from the enemy of our souls. (Acts 14:23; 20:17-28; Ephesians 4:11; Philippians 1:1)
Presbyteros is the Greek word meaning, “elder.” Paul emphasized a plurality of elders in the early church (Titus 1:5; Acts 20:17). An elder is a biblically qualified man or woman who has been nominated, trained, examined, and ordained to oversee specific affairs of the church. The Bible gives explicit qualifications for elders (1 Tim. 3:1-7).
Diakonos literally means, “one who executes the commands of another, especially of a master, a servant, attendant, minister, specifically a teacher or pastor; the office assigned by the church, caring for widows and the poor; one who has charge of and distributes the money collected for their use.” A deacon is a biblically qualified man or woman who has been nominated, trained, examined, and ordained to minister to the physical needs of the church. We view a deacon and their ministry to that like St. Stephen’s. This man was full of the Holy Spirit, he knew God’s Word, preached the Gospel, and spoke in the demonstration of the authority and power of the Holy Spirit! The Apostles appointed the first deacons so that the Apostles could better attend to prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6). The Bible gives explicit qualifications for deacons (1 Tim. 3:8-13).