What We Believe
The following confession of faith is in three parts. The first (A) is a form of the Apostles' Creed. The second (B) is a general evangelical confession of faith. The third (C & D) is an abridged version of the first two chapters of the Westminster Confession of Faith. It is mandatory that all ACTS Board members subscribe to, and all tutors agree to teach consistent with, the confession of faith below in a manner and method prescribed by the Board of ACTS, either by written statement or by oral testimony before the Board.
[A] The Apostles Creed
We believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and was born of a virgin, Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hades, and on the third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, where He sits at the right hand of God the father Almighty. From Heaven He shall come to earth again to judge the living and the dead. We believe in the Holy Spirit, one holy Christian church, the communion of all true saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the gift of everlasting life.
[B] Confession of Faith
We believe the Bible to be the only inerrant Word of God. It is our only authoritative rule for faith and practice.
We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three Persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. In all things He is limited by nothing other than His own nature and character. We believe the God we serve is holy, righteous, good, loving, and full of mercy. He is the Creator, Sustainer, and Governor of everything that has been made.
We believe in the true deity and full humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father and in His personal return in power and glory.
We believe in the full deity of the Holy Spirit, acknowledging His work in creation and redemption, together with the Father and the Son.
We believe that because of Adam's sin all mankind is in rebellion against God. For the salvation of such lost and sinful men, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary.
We believe that salvation is by grace through faith alone, and that faith without works is dead.
We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit, by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; those who are saved to the resurrection of life, and those who are lost to the resurrection of damnation. We believe in the spiritual unity of all believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
[C] Of the Holy Scripture
The light of nature, and the works of creation and providence, clearly manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, so as to leave men inexcusable. Yet such manifestations are not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary for salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord, at assorted times, and in various ways, to reveal Himself, and to declare His will to His Church. And afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more certain establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, it pleased Him to commit this revealed will to writing. This makes the Holy Scripture to be most necessary, because the former ways of God's revealing His will to His people are now ceased.
Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God in written form, are all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are Genesis through Malachi, and Matthew through Revelation respectively. All these books are given by inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.
The books commonly called the Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of Scripture. Therefore they are of no authority in the Church of God, nor are they to be more approved, or made use of, than other human writings.
The authority of the Holy Scripture, on account of which it ought to be believed and obeyed, does not depend on the testimony of any man or church, but entirely upon God, who is Truth itself, and the author of truth. It is therefore to be received, because it is the Word of God.
We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverential esteem of the Holy Scripture. We may also be moved by the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all its parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full revelation it makes of the only way of man's salvation, its many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection of it. All these are arguments whereby it abundantly evidences itself to be the Word of God. Yet, notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority of the Word, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.
The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or it may by good and necessary consequence be deduced from Scripture. Nothing at any time is to be added to this, whether by "new revelations" of the Spirit, or by traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word. We also acknowledge that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and the government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.
All things in Scripture are not equally plain in themselves, nor equally clear to all. Yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and set forth in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but also the unlearned, in a normal use of ordinary means, may come to a sufficient understanding of them.
The Old Testament in Hebrew and Aramaic (which were the native languages of the people of God of old,) and the New Testament in Greek, (which at the time of writing was most generally known to the nations,) were immediately inspired by God, and by His singular care and providence were kept pure in all ages, and are therefore authentic. Therefore, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal to them alone. But these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right to, and interest in, the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them. Therefore they are to be translated into the common language of every nation to which they come. Thus the Word of God will dwell plentifully with all, and they will worship Him in an acceptable manner, and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, they will have hope.
The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself. Therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any passage of Scripture, it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.
The supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and under whose sentence we are to rest, can be none other than the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.
[D] Of God, and of the Holy Trinity
There is only one living and true God, infinite in being and perfection, a most pure Spirit, and invisible. He is without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, and most absolute. He works all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will, for His own glory. He is most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin. He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. In all, He is most just and terrible in His judgments, hating all sin, and He will by no means clear the guilty.
God has all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of Himself. He alone is in and unto Himself all- sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which He has made. He does not derive any glory from them, but only manifests His own glory, in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the only fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom, are all things. He has most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatever He pleases. In His sight all things are open and manifest; His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent of the creature. Nothing is to Him contingent or uncertain. He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works, and in all His commands. To Him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatever worship, service, or obedience He is pleased to require of them.
In the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Father is from none, neither begotten nor proceeding. The Son is eternally begotten by the Father; as the Word of God, He is eternally spoken by the Father. The Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father and the Son