Some time ago, Thabit Anyabwile, wrote about “Principled Cooperation” where he laid out the type of people he’d “like to partner with.” As a ministry that works in the broadly evangelical world we make decisions like this on an almost daily basis. We continually evaluate if will we work with certain churches and which partnerships will we intentionally pursue.
This Ministry Convictions and Beliefs statement is part of the framework on which these decisions are based. As the preamble to this document states:
“It is the desire of Children’s Hunger Fund and the Rethink Mercy initiative to partner with faithful, gospel churches and ministries whenever and wherever God providentially allows. In order to partner in a way that glorifies God and upholds the centrality of the gospel, certain doctrinal distinctions are absolutely essential and necessary.
Scripture reveals some truths which are of first importance and in which there is no room for compromise. But because all churches may not agree on every point in secondary matters and some churches may be coming to clearer articulations of belief, the process of determining the best partnerships will be done on a case by case basis.”
Over the next few months, we will expand on our rationale and intent of this statement. Here are the convictions and beliefs in full.
We believe that mercy is an expression of God’s good, loving, and unchanging character most demonstrably seen in the life, substitutionary death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. We also affirm that Christians are to display mercy as an evidence of the work of the gospel in the lives of God’s people, the Church. As such, and in order to reflect this, we believe that gospel-centered mercy ministry must:
Prioritize the Gospel—promoting the verbal proclamation and ministry of the gospel which leads to salvation, spiritual growth, and discipleship
Elevate the Church—working through the local church in such a way as to help local congregations reach their own communities
Pursue Relationships—building loving relationships with those in need which truly help by encouraging self-sufficiency whenever possible
In order to faithfully serve in this capacity, we affirm the following beliefs to be true and fully in agreement with God’s Word.
(Bold sentences are from CHF’s Statement of Faith. Subsequent paragraphs are fuller explanations and implications of those statements.)
We believe the Bible to be the inspired, and only infallible authoritative Word of God.
We believe that the Holy Spirit superintended human authors to write the Bible, which consists of 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, so that it is without error or contradiction in the original manuscripts.
We believe the Bible is the sole authority of the Church, completely sufficient and trustworthy to direct its ministry, beliefs, and practice with no need for additional revelation. The ministry of the Word is to be cherished and prioritized in the local church through expositional preaching and public reading of Scripture.
We believe in the perspicuity of Scripture, that it is clear in what it says and can be understood by people through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit as God’s people search the Scriptures. The biblical authors’ intended meaning of a passage is the true meaning.
We believe that local churches must have biblically qualified leadership. While all churches may not agree in every detail, we maintain that Scripture provides clear direction for the requirements of local church leadership: qualified, godly, male pastors. We welcome and are open to discussions about the possibility of partnering with those that disagree with this position.
We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We believe that God is spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.
We believe each person of the Godhead is distinct, co-equally and fully God, co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power, and equally deserving of worship and obedience. God is infinitely perfect, holy, omnipotent, and omniscient, knowing all things past, present, and future.
We believe that the Trinity is a foundational and distinctively Christian teaching. We reject anti-Trinitarian views of the Godhead such as modalism, Oneness, and that God is a single person merely manifesting himself in three ways.
We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, His virgin birth, His sinless life, His miracles, His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, His bodily resurrection, His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
We believe that all people are by nature and by choice under God’s holy wrath because of their sin but that God mercifully calls them through the proclamation of the gospel to repent of their sin and to trust in Christ alone for forgiveness.
We believe all those, and only those, who personally repent of their sin, place their faith in Christ, and believe the gospel are saved from God’s judgment. They are justified by God and not by their own works, receive Christ’s imputed righteousness, and given new and everlasting life.
We believe salvation frees people from the guilt, power, and dominion of sin and that those who believe the message of the gospel will live a life marked by faith, repentance, discipleship, and sacrifice in this present life. The gospel is not a promise or conditional guarantee of health or financial prosperity and those who teach such are teaching a false gospel.
We believe regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential for the salvation of lost and sinful man.
We believe that the Holy Spirit carries out the divine will and is active in creation, the incarnation, written revelation, and salvation. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment; He glorifies Jesus Christ.
We believe regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit wherein the divine nature and divine life are given. The Holy Spirit baptizes all believers into the body of Christ, the church, and indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them until the day of redemption.
We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
We believe God the Holy Spirit sovereignly gives spiritual gifts to every believer for the building up of the body of Christ. The gifts of the Spirit do not glorify the Spirit or the gifts themselves, but always bring glory to Christ’s work of salvation and edify believers.
We believe the Spirit indwells each believer, giving strength to obey God’s Word and producing fruit worthy of repentance. As believers obey God’s Word and submit to the control of the Holy Spirit they will live faithful, obedient lives which are marked by increased holiness. Although each believer stands justified and forgiven on the basis of God’s declaration and not good works, each believer is to grow in the grace of God, becoming progressively sanctified, and more like Christ.
We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost: they that are saved unto the resurrection of life, and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation. We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in Christ.
We believe physical death brings about the separation of the soul and the body, but there is no loss of immaterial consciousness. The soul of the redeemed are immediately ushered into the presence of Christ and will remain with him until his physical return to earth and the physical resurrection of their body. At that time, body and soul will be reunited in a glorified state forevermore to live in an eternal state of glory with God.
We believe the souls of the unsaved at death are kept under punishment until their soul and body are reunited at judgment. At that time, they will be cast into hell, cut off from God, and existing in eternal conscious punishment.