STATEMENT OF FAITH
The leadership of BSF, including the Board of Directors, is committed without reservation to this Statement of Faith.
- We believe that the 66 books of Holy Scripture as originally given are in their entirety the Word of God verbally inspired and wholly without error in all that they declare, and, therefore, are the supreme and final authority of faith and life.
- We believe in one Triune God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- We believe in the Virgin Birth and the Deity of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, who is also Son of Man, with two distinct natures in one Person forever.
- We believe the vicarious substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the cross made atonement for the sin of the world, efficient for all who repent and believe.
- We believe in the bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, which ensures the resurrection of all believers who have received God's gift of eternal life.
- We believe also in a resurrection of judgment in regard to unbelievers who reject the gospel.
- We believe in the imminent, visible and bodily return of Christ to this earth to set up His kingdom and to judge the world in righteousness.
- We believe that man was originally created in the image of God, that he fell into sin through the first Adam and that he is responsible for all sin he has committed. Sin causes him to be separated from God and lost eternally.
- We believe that salvation from everlasting punishment and entrance into a state of fellowship with God are secured only by a personal belief that Christ bore our sins in His own body on the cross and by a definite receiving of Christ, through the Person of the Holy Spirit, into one's inner being. This is to receive eternal life and to be sealed unto the Day of Redemption.
- We believe that the Holy Spirit thus indwells all who receive Jesus Christ as both Savior and Lord.
- We believe that the Holy Spirit is responsible for the quickening from death into life and for the continuing of the work of sanctification in the believer.
- We believe that the church is the body of Christ, a spiritual organism of born again believers who are called to be identified with Christ in baptism and to remember His death in the Lord's Supper.
- We believe that all believers are called to be in the world but separate from it.
- We believe that Christians are called to witness for Christ, to preach the gospel to all nations and to study the Bible personally through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) respects the different interpretations of Scripture regarding spiritual gifts. In an interdenominational ministry, it is important to avoid grounds for divisions within the leadership group. Persons who speak in tongues qualify for leadership if they agree to not exercise the gift in a BSF context since interpretation cannot be guaranteed.
Scripture does not prohibit the moderate use of alcohol (Deut. 11:13-14; 14:22-26; 1 Chron. 12:39-40; Luke 7:33-34; 1 Tim. 3:8; 5:23). If a BSF leader chooses to drink alcohol at home or in public, consideration should be given to honoring God’s temple, the body (1 Cor. 6:19-20), and one’s influence on both believers and unbelievers, having regard for culture and church community (1 Cor. 8:9-13).
Scripture clearly forbids drunkenness and causing others to stumble in exercising our freedoms (Eph. 5:18; Rom. 14:13-23). Because alcohol abuse is so common, many Christians give up this Christian liberty. Since the Bible both affirms the usefulness of alcohol and warns against its dangers, BSF leaders are asked to be discerning in their choices.
BSF believes a person’s biological sexuality has been created by God and therefore should be accepted as a gift and stewardship from God and not altered (Genesis 1:27). BSF affirms that God calls some to a life of marriage and some to lifelong singleness and celibacy. Each is a divine gift worthy of honor and respect (1 Corinthians 7:36-38).
BSF affirms the biblical standard that sexual behavior is moral only within the institution of heterosexual, monogamous marriage (Genesis 2:24, Malachi 2:14-15, Matthew 19:4-6, Mark 10:6-8, 1 Corinthians 7:39, Romans 7:2, Ephesians 5:31, Hebrews 13:4). Premarital sex is immoral, because it violates the exclusive claims of one’s future spouse (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8). Thus, BSF affirms that God established boundaries for sexual behavior that should not be changed according to the dictates of culture, tradition, law or personal preference. BSF leaders agree to and abide by this policy.
BSF welcomes all people, regardless of lifestyle choices, to attend its classes and study the Bible. BSF believes all persons are created in the image of God and deserve dignity and respect. Those who have differing opinions on human sexuality and marriage will be treated with love and compassion. BSF believes sexual temptations, whether heterosexual or same-sex attractions, are to be resisted. Forgiveness, redemption and cleansing from all sins are available to all who trust in Jesus Christ and turn to Him for the power to live a holy life. BSF proclaims the gospel of Jesus Christ and teaches biblical truth with the hope of healing a sexually broken world.
BSF leaders often find themselves in a position to give counsel to someone in a BSF class considering divorce. Many marriages have been saved when biblical principles are accepted and applied as a reflection of God’s truth and love. It is always best to suggest such a person seek the advice of their pastor. However, when giving counsel, the following principles should be followed:
● There is only one clear scriptural basis for divorce. That basis is marital unfaithfulness. However, a Christian is not obligated to divorce under these conditions.
● Even though there is a biblical basis for divorce (one’s spouse is guilty of porneia), the person should seek to persevere and protect the marriage as long as there is any possibility of repentance. (Malachi 2:16; Matthew 19:6; 1 Corinthians 7). The first steps are to pray, seek biblical counseling through a local church or an organization such as Peacemakers©, and trust God to bring reconciliation. God has done many miracles in marriages through this approach.
● In the event of physical abuse, temporary or continuing separation may be considered.
● Those seeking to remarry after divorce should stay single as long as there is any possibility of reconciliation (1 Corinthians 7:10-11). There is always this possibility until the offending person remarries or dies.
● One who is free to remarry should not marry anyone who is not a Christian (1 Corinthians 7:39) or who has been divorced and the first spouse has neither remarried nor died (Matthew 19:9 compared with 1 Corinthians 7:27-28).
● One who initiates divorce without scriptural basis is never free to remarry unless the other spouse has remarried or died (Mark 10:11-12).
● Where there has been marriage, divorce, and remarriage, the person should be sure that any past sins in this area have been confessed and then go on in the forgiveness that is in Christ.