What We Believe
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
Statement of Faith
We at Ararat-Rainier East-West Fellowship are firmly committed to the truths of the historic Old and New Testaments, and will thus uncompromisingly defend them with grace and great reverence as Peter commissioned us to do right before his death, “And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence (1 Pet 3:14-15).” We thus need to “remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 1:17),” and “contend for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints (Jude 1:3).” While we certainly cannot personally remember the spoken words of the apostles like the early church could that Peter and Jude were writing too, we nonetheless can recover their memory through the historical study of the Scriptures, “be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15).” Even the apostle Paul, on the eve of his own death, sternly warned Timothy, “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths (2 Tim 4:1-4).”
Inspiration of the Scriptures
We believe that the Bible is fully inspired of God, and hence inerrant in all that it affirms, and this includes not only the individual words themselves (Matt 4:4; 2 Ptr 1:21), but also the whole Bible as well (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Ptr 3:16).
The Person of God
We believe that the Triune God of Scripture, consisting of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is the eternal (Ps 90:2; Isa 40:28), sovereign King of the universe (Ps 47:7; Heb 6:13), who is both love (John 3:16; 1 John 4:7-19) and righteously holy without sin (Ps 145:17; Isa 45:21). He is omniscient (Isa 40:13-14; Col 2:3), omnipresent (Pr 15:3; Ps 139:7-12), omnipotent (Luke 1:37; Heb 1:3), and immutable (James 1:17; Heb 13:8). He is One God sharing the exact same divine essence, yet is also three distinct divine personalities (Deut 6:1-4; Heb 13:8; Ps 139:7). Thus we call the God of the Bible a Trinity, but this is not tri-theism.
The Person of Christ
We believe that Jesus Christ, God the Son, is both fully God and fully man, the perfect representative and mediator, who was born of the virgin Mary and effectively wrought peace between both parties by His own death on the cross (Ps 110; Isa 7:14; 9:1-7; Matt 1:18-25; 22:41-45; John 1:1-14; Matt 1:18-25; Eph 2:14; 1 Tim 2:3-6; Tit 2:11-13).
Man & Sin
We believe that man was originally created in God’s image, holy and innocent (Gen 1-2), but fell into sin through the transgression of Adam who independently sinned against the will of God (Gen 3; Rom 5:12-21). While man did not lose God’s image through the fall (Gen 9:6; Jam 3:9), he is deeply marred by the catastrophic consequences of sin (Rom 1:18-3:20; 7:14-24; 1 John 1:8). Thus man is under the judgment of God, destined for Hell, in desperate need of salvation (John 3:16-21, 36; 2 Thess 1:8-9).
Salvation by Grace & Eternal Security
We believe that salvation is a free undeserved gift given to man through childlike faith in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross (Luke 18:16-17; Rom 3:21-31). This means that no works of any kind, whether those done before or after salvation, in the flesh or in the power of the Holy Spirit, can be seen as a condition of salvation (Rom 4:1-8; 11:5-6; Gal 3:1-5). Thus we also strongly believe in the eternal security of the saints (John 6:35-40; 10:27-29; Rom 8:31-39). Good works are a consequence of salvation commensurate with God’s commands in light of eternal reward, but are not in anyway the basis upon which a man is saved (Eph 2:8-10; Tit 2:11-3:7; Col 3:12-24).
The Work of Christ on the Cross
The Bible describes the work of Christ on the cross as one of substitution in which He sacrificially died for our sins in our place (Mark 10:45; John 1:29). Substitution is a total 100% one for one replacement – the just man for the unjust man – so that God may graciously exchange His righteousness for our sins if we but believe that Christ died for our sins (2 Cor 5:19-21; 1 Pet 3:18). His crosswork is further described as perfect and finished (Heb 10:10-18; John 19:30). It was also necessary and sufficient for sinners who desperately need salvation (Luke 7:41-42; Gal 2:21; Col 2:9-14). Thus faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross is what saves people from their sins, not their own religious works (Gal 3:1-14; Rom 3:21-4:8).
The Resurrection of Christ
We believe in the historic resurrection of Jesus Christ in which He first visibly appeared to Mary Magdelene and other women followers before He appeared to His disciples (which would have certainly been embarrassing to them – thus showing great authenticity to the resurrection narratives), and then later to 500 other believers at one time, then to James His brother, and lastly to the apostle Paul (Luke 24:1-49; 1 Cor 15:1-8). The resurrection of Jesus Christ is thus the historic basis for our future hope and victory (1 Cor 15:1-19; 1 Pet 1:3-4).
Basic Theological Position
Contrary to popular theological opinion these days, we believe in a dispensational view of Scripture, which should be seen as the natural outgrowth of the Protestant Reformation in the application of the historical-grammatical interpretive method of Bible study to all Scripture passages equally and consistently, including prophetic passages about the end times in both the Old and New Testaments. We thus believe in the basic distinction between Israel and the Church (Acts 1:6-7; Rom 11; Gal 6:16; Rev 2-3; Rev 7), and between law and grace (Rom 4:14-16; 6:14-15; Gal 3:1-12; 5:13-18, 23). We believe in the pre-wrath rapture of the church (1 Thess 1:10; 4:13-5:9; 2 Thess 1:6-7), and this event will at some point be followed by the seven year Great Tribulation (Dan 9:24-27; 2 Thess 1:8; 2:1-12; Rev 6-19). We believe that God will finally fulfill all of His promises to Israel (Acts 1:6-7; Rom 11:11-25) on the earth during the Millenium immediately following the Second Coming of Christ to the earth (Isa 2:1-4; 11:1-10; Ezk 37; Mic 4:1-7:20; Matt 23:37-25:46; Rev 20:1-10), which will later be transformed into the new heavens and the new earth after the Great White Throne Judgment (Isa 66:22; Rev 20-22).