Tabor Church Doctrines
The ultimate authority in all matters of faith, order, and morals is and must always be the BIBLE alone. Believers are bound by the Scripture and by nothing but the Scripture. However, we believe that a clear and concise statement of what the Bible teaches on major subjects can be useful. We see ourselves as holding to the essential doctrines of the Christian faith held by true followers of Jesus in all generations, as expressed in historic confessions of faith such as the Apostles Creed, the Philadelphia Confession of Faith of 1742, and the New Hampshire Confession of 1833. The following is a summary of truths we believe are most crucial.
The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God and are infallible and the authoritative rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.
All Scripture is in its original autographs the very Word of God and is therefore without error and utterly reliable with regard to fact and teaching.
The 66 books of the Old and New Testaments are complete and sufficient as God’s written revelation to man, containing all the words of God we need for salvation and godly living. No new revelation can or need be added to it, and no other religious writing or pronouncement is equal to it in divine authority.
Scripture References: II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:21; John 10:35; Daniel 9:24; Ephesians 2:20-21; Hebrews 2:4.
The Nature and Attributes of God
There is but one God, the Maker, Sustainer, and Ruler of all things, having in and of Himself all perfections and being infinite in them all. To Him all people owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience.
God exists eternally in three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each with distinct personal attributes but without division of nature, essence, or being.
God is self-existent and the Creator of all that exist outside of Himself, visible and invisible.
God from eternity decreed all things that come to pass and perpetually governs all creatures and events. However, He is in no way the author or approver of sin, nor does His decree in any way diminish or violate the responsibility of man.
Scripture References: I Corinthians 8:6; Matthew 28:19; John 1:14, 18; 14:9-11; 15:26; Hebrews 1:3; II Corinthians 13:14; Galatians 4:6; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 11:3; Psalm 33:6; Jeremiah 32:17; Isaiah 46:10; Ephesians 1:11.
The Fall of Man
Our first parents, Adam and Eve, created in the image of God in perfect innocence, through disobedience lost the righteousness in which they were created and became corrupt. The guilt of Adam’s first sin is imputed to all people who, being his descendants, are born in a sinful state and condition called original sin. From this corrupt nature, all transgressions proceed; all people being wholly inclined to all evil, and that continually, and opposed to all that is spiritually good in the sight of God. Therefore, although completely responsible to do so, people are unable of themselves to repent of sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. This is by no means to deny that a vast amount of virtue prevails through the common grace of God; yet people are essentially alienated from their Creator.
Scripture References: James 1:13-15; Genesis 3:11-13; Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:10-18; 5:12-21; 8:6-8.
The Person and Work of Christ
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the divinely appointed Mediator between God and man. Christ the eternal Word became flesh, partaking of human nature, yet without sin. He perfectly fulfilled the law in His life on earth, then suffered and died upon the cross for the salvation of sinners. He was buried, rose again the third day, and ascended to the Father at whose right hand He ever lives to make intercession for His people. He is the only Mediator, Prophet, Priest, and King of the Church, and Sovereign of the universe.
Scripture References: Matthew 1:23; I Tim. 2:5-6; 3:16; John 1:14; Philippians 2:7; Hebrews 1:2-3; 2:14; 4:15; 5:5-6; 7:26; Acts 1:9-11; 3:22; I Corinthians 15:3-4; II Corinthians 5:21; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:22; Psalm 2:6.
God’s Grace in Salvation
Election is God’s eternal choice to eternal life, not because of foreseen merit or faith in those who are chosen, but because of His mercy in Christ. Those whom God has chosen are called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.
By His Word and His Holy Spirit, God calls us into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ. In doing so, He enlightens our minds and renews our wills and affections by the Holy Spirit.
Repentance is a saving grace. The repentant person, by the enlightenment and power of Holy Spirit, recognizes his sinful state and turns from sin and self to Christ in faith.
Faith is a saving grace by which we receive and rest upon Jesus Christ alone for salvation as He is freely offered to us in the Gospel; by which also we believe the Word of God to be true and seek to appropriate its teaching to ourselves.
Justification is an act of God’s free grace whereby He pardons our sins and accounts us righteous in His sight. This is based not on anything we have done but only on the righteousness of Christ imputed to us and received by faith alone.
For the sake of His only Son, Jesus Christ, God has been pleased to make all justified persons sharers in the grace of adoption, by means of which they are numbered with, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of, the children of God.
Those who are united to Jesus Christ are by regeneration renewed in their whole nature after the image of God and are set apart by God to share in His holiness: this is definitive sanctification. But because of the remaining effects of the former corrupt nature, there is a progressive aspect to sanctification whereby the Holy Spirit, indwelling the believer, promotes growth in grace and true holiness of life.
Those whom God has accepted in the Beloved and sanctified by His Spirit will never totally or finally fall away from the state of grace but will persevere to the end.
Scripture References: Ephesians 1:4,11; 2:5; II Thessalonians 2:13; II Timothy 1:9; I Peter 1:2; Romans 8:30; John 3:3-8; Eph. 4:23-24; Col. 3:10; II Thessalonians 2:14; I Peter 1:3, 23; I John 1:3; Luke 18:13-14; 24:46-47; Acts 2:37-38; 5:31; 20:21; I Thessalonians 1:9; Ephesians 2:8; Romans 4:3; 10:9-10,17; Hebrews 11:6; Romans 3:20-30; 4:5; 8:33; Luke 18:13-14; John 1:12; Ephesians 1:5; Romans 8:15-16; I John 3:1; II Corinthians 5:17; I Corinthians 1:2; 6:11; II Cor. 3:18; Galatians 5:16-18; I Thessalonians 5:23; Philippians 2:12-13; John 17:17; I Peter 1:2; Romans 8:30; Philippians 1:6; John 10:27-29; Hebrews 10:39
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church which is composed of God’s elect. According to His commandment, Christians are to gather in local churches. To each of these churches He has given authority and responsibility for administering order, discipline, and worship.
Baptism is an ordinance of the church obligatory for every believer. Water baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is a symbol of union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.
The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of the church, to be administered with the elements of bread and fruit of the vine, and to be observed by His Church until He returns. It is in no sense a re-sacrifice of Christ. Its purpose is to commemorate Christ’s death, to confirm the everlasting covenant in Christ’s blood, and to strengthen union with Christ in His love as well as union and communion with each other.
It is the duty of every church and every Christian to participate in the task of extending the Gospel to all men everywhere. As faith comes by hearing the Word of God, we are to seek by all methods sanctioned in the Word of God to persuade men to seek Jesus Christ and His salvation. The church is the steward of the Gospel message to be proclaimed to all nations: Jesus Christ, crucified, risen and coming again.
Scripture References: Matthew 28:18; Revelation 1:13; 2:1; Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18; Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38,41; Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12; Acts 22:16; I Corinthians 1:13; I Corinthians 11:23-26; Luke 22:19-20; Matthew 28:18-19; Romans 10:14-17; I Corinthians 9:22
The Return of Christ and the Eternal State
We believe in the visible, personal, and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ to this earth to consummate the kingdom, end the suffering of His people, judge the world, glorify the saints, and fulfill every promise of the Gospel, to which we look forward with glad anticipation.
The bodies of men after death return to dust, but their spirits return immediately to God–the righteous to rest with Him, the wicked to be reserved for judgment until the bodies of all the dead, both just and unjust, will be raised.
God has appointed a day in which He will judge every person according to their response to Jesus Christ, made evident by their deeds. The wicked will go into everlasting punishment in Hell with the Devil and his angels. The righteous, with glorified bodies, will live and reign with Christ forever.
Scripture References: Matthew 24:27,30; Acts 1:11; I Thessalonians 4:16; Rev. 1:7; Genesis 3:19; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Acts 3:36; Luke 23:43; II Corinthians 5:1-10; Philippians 1:23; I Cor. 15:35-54; I Thessalonians 4:13-17; Acts 17:31; Hebrews 9:27; Romans 14:10,12; II Corinthians 5:10; Matthew 25:31-46; Mark 9:48; II Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelation 20:10-15; 22:3-5.