Dan and Joy Nichols

Church-Planting in Wilkes-Barre

Beliefs

Statement of Faith

Bible

We believe the Christian Bible is complete and made up of 66 books, including 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books. The original words that the authors of the Bible wrote down are directly from God and thus without error (2 Tim. 3:14-17). The finished product of the original manuscripts were inspired (2 Pet. 1:12-21). We believe in the authority of the Bible. Jesus upheld the authority of God's Word (John 10:30-38). Christians should respond to the authority of the Bible with humility, love (Psalm 119), and obedience (Deut. 8:6).

God

There is one true God who has always existed, still exists today, and will exist forever. He is Creator and Ruler of everything (Gen. 1:1, Deut. 6:4). God exists as one unified essence while at the same time co-existing in three distinct eternal persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:20, Matt. 3:13-17). This is the Christian doctrine known as the Trinity. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus Christ was the Word who was with God and was God (John 1). The Holy Spirit was involved in creation and is now involved in salvation (Gen. 1:2, Eph. 1:3-14).

Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ has always existed as God. He is Creator and Sustainer of the universe (John 1:1, Col. 1:15-17). Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in a godly young virgin named Mary (Matt. 1:20, Is. 7:14). Jesus came to earth fully human and fully God at the same time (John 1:14, 1 John 4:2). He restricted some of his rights and privileges as God (Phil. 2:5-11), but he maintained complete deity and sinless humanity while he lived on earth. Jesus claimed to be God, accepted worship, and forgave sin (Luke 5:17-26, Matt. 16:16, John 10, John 20:28). He died as our substitute taking the wrath of God for us on the cross (Romans 5:8-9). Jesusí bodily resurrection from death is the foundation of the Christian faith. Without his resurrection our faith is in vain (1 Cor. 15). Jesus now stands as our Prophet full of truth, intercedes for us as our Priest, and rules over the universe as our King (John 14:6, Phil. 2:9-11, 1 John 2:1, Heb. 1:1-2, 4:15-16).

            Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit has always existed as God (Acts 5:3-4). He is not an impersonal force, but instead a person who has intellect, (I Cor. 2:10-12), will (1 Cor. 12:1), and emotions (Eph. 4:30). The Holy Spirit convicts mankind of sin (John 16:8-11) and witnesses to men about Jesus (Acts 5:30-32). To believers, the Holy Spirit regenerates our previously dead souls (Eph. 2:1-5). He lives inside us (I Cor. 6:19). He spiritually baptizes us into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13, Eph. 4:4-6). He seals us as a guarantee of our salvation in Christ (Eph. 1:13-14, Eph. 4:30). He also unifies all of us who are true Christians (Eph. 4:1-3). The Holy Spirit transforms us and makes us more like Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).

Humanity

Man was created by God on the sixth day of creation in sinless existence and perfect relationship with God (Gen. 1-2). Man was made in the image of God and has value (Gen. 1:26-31, James 3:9). God created two different genders Ė male and female. Both equally reflect the image, beauty, and creativity of God. Man has a spiritual existence (soul/spirit) and a physical existence (body) that simultaneously co-exist here on earth. So we are both spiritual and physical at the same time. As a result of the fall, our physical bodies will die (Gen. 2:7, Rev. 20-22). The main purpose of man is to glorify God by loving him above all things and loving other people like Jesus loves them (Matt. 22:37-40). Human sexuality is beautifully designed by God! As the Creator, God designed human sexual relations for a male and female within the covenant relationship of marriage.

Sin

Sin is anything that opposes Godís nature, character, or communicated moral standard. There are sins of commission (doing what we shouldnít Ė Gal. 5:17-21) and sins of omission (not doing what we should Ė James 4:17). Sin entered the universe through an attack of the fallen angel Satan (Gen. 3, 2 Pet. 2:4, Jude 6). Our parents Adam and Eve sinned against God, and the human race fell from perfection. The main consequence of sin is death Ė both spiritually and physically (Gen. 3, Rom. 6:23). Every man and woman is a sinner by nature and by choice (Rom. 5:12). We inherit a sin nature as a result of the fall in the garden. We are totally depraved and cannot meet Godís standard of goodness on our own (Rom. 3:10-12). Sin leaves us totally unable to save ourselves from its darkness and terrible consequences (Eph. 2:1-3). God is not the author of sin. He did not create sin, but instead allows it. God is not pleased by the effects of sin (2 Pet. 3:9), but he is totally just in his character and therefore has to punish sin (Deut. 32:4, Heb. 2:2). Hell is a place of eternal torment and existence apart from God for those people who are not rescued from sin through faith in Jesus Christ (Matt. 25:31, 41, 46).

Salvation

The Bible teaches that man is spiritually dead and in desperate need of salvation (Rom. 3:10-12, Eph 2:1-3). Godís wrath remains on all people because of their rebellion against him (John 3:36). He is holy and just; he must punish sin (Ps. 5:4-5, 1 Pet. 1:15-16). But because God is also loving and gracious, he sent Jesus Christ to earth to take the wrath of God as the righteous substitute for the sins of the whole world (John 3:16, John 1:7, John 1:29, 1 John 2:2, Rom. 5:8, 1 Tim. 2:3-6). Because men love darkness rather than light (1 John 3:19-20), no person will ever choose God on their own (Is. 53:6). So God in his infinite mercy and love predestined a divine rescue mission (Eph. 1:3-6). The only means of salvation is through faith in Jesus Christís perfect life, substitutionary death, and resurrection from death (Eph. 2:4-10, Rom. 3:21-26). We are saved by recognizing our lost condition, believing in Jesus, and repenting of our sin (Rom. 10:9-10, 1 Thess. 1:9-10). Those who are saved through faith in Jesus receive all the spiritual blessings that come to children of God (Eph. 1:3-14). One of the spiritual blessings that Godís children receive is eternal security Ė meaning that they will never lose their salvation. It is held secure by God (John 10:27-28, Rom. 8). Good works are a result of salvation Ė not the reason for salvation (Eph. 2:8-9). However, salvation has never taken place if there is no spiritual fruit (I John, James 2:14-26).

Church

The church is the body of Jesus; he is the head of the universal church which includes all believers in Jesus (Col. 1:18). He is also the head of the local church (Eph. 4:4-6). The Bible has ultimate authority in the local church (2 Tim. 3:14-17). Every local church should be self-governing (1 Pet. 5:2). Every individual believer is a member of Godís royal priesthood because of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 2:5,9). Members of the local church must be saved and baptized by immersion after salvation (Acts 2:42-27). There are two offices assigned to the local church: pastors and deacons (1 Tim. 3:1-13). There are two ordinances assigned to the local church: baptism by immersion and communion which are sacred memorials for believers (Matt. 28:19-20, 1 Cor. 11:23-32). The purpose of the local church is to train, encourage, and strengthen each other while representing Jesus as ambassadors to unbelievers (Matt. 28:19-20, Eph. 4:1-16).

Angels

Angels are created beings who are persons with intellects (1 Peter 1:12), emotions (Luke 15:10), and wills (2 Peter 2:4). They live in Godís presence and serve him (Isaiah 6:1-7). Since they have free will, some chose to rebel against God and are now called demons (James 2:19). Their leader is Satan who blinds the mind of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4), tempts believers (1 Pet. 3:8), and accuses believers (Revelation 12:10). The ultimate destiny of Satan and his demons will be everlasting torment and punishment (Rev. 20:1-10).

Future Events

We believe that at any time there will be a rapture of the church (I Thess. 4:13-18), then a great tribulation (Matt. 24), the second coming of Jesus (Rev. 19:11-21), a literal kingdom on earth that is ruled by Jesus and lasts for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:1-7), a rebellion of Satan after the millennial kingdom (Rev. 20:7-10), a final judgment of all people (Rev. 20:11-15), and an eternal state of joy for believers and torment for unbelievers (Rev. 20:15-21:8).