Article 100-1 Preamble

100-1.1  The Bible Fellowship Church sets forth these Biblical Principles for Living to inform and guide disciples of Jesus Christ in making moral decisions and living lives of obedience.

100-1.2 The BFC acknowledges the Scriptures as the supreme and final authority of faith and conduct and the Holy Spirit as the source of power and guidance for the believer. These principles are summaries of the biblical truth that reveals the Lord’s directives in various aspects of life.

100-1.3 Increasing ethnic and cultural diversity in many of the churches and the prospect of new congregations being formed among various people groups have prompted the BFC to seek to state the principles so that they may be understood and applied by believers in any cultural context.

100-1.4 These principles are not exhaustive in that they do not cite all that the Bible says in any of the aspects included and that they do not cover all areas of life that the Scriptures address. In the future it may become apparent that additional aspects of life need to be addressed and that the current principles may need to be reconsidered with a view to amending them after further reflection on the biblical truth.

100-1.5 Every believer is accountable to God for all that the Bible says. Moral choices and actions should be based on the whole counsel of God. Each believer must faithfully read, study and review all parts of the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16, 17).

100-1.6 In seeking moral guidance, the believer should study the Old Testament books of the Law with special focus on the Ten Commandments (Exo. 20:1-17). The implications of the Law are explained and applied in the rest of the Old Testament.

100-1.7 The Lord Jesus summarized the Law in the Great Commandments (Mat. 22:34-40; Mark 12:30, 31) and explained the spiritual depth of the Law in the Sermon on the Mount (Mat. 5-7). The application of the Law in the individual life of the believer and the corporate life of the church is set forth in the New Testament letters.

100-1.8 Since each believer is indwelled and empowered by the Holy Spirit, there is an enabling to obey God’s requirements (Rom. 8:3, 4). The Spirit controlled person will demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23). He or she will receive and employ the gifts of the Spirit (1 Pe. 4:10, 11; Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:1-11). Where the life and power of the Holy Spirit are present in an individual or church, the three abiding qualities, faith, hope and love, will be evident (1 Cor. 13:13; 1 Thes. 1:3, Rom. 5:1, 2). The greatest of these is love, and “love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom. 13:10).

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Article 101-1 – Worship

101-1.1 Worship is response to God in all of life, whereby, in love, adoration, confession, thanksgiving, praise, and service God’s worth is declared.1 Worship is rooted in reverence for and awe of the Lord and deepens as knowledge of God increases.2 Worship is the privilege and responsibility of each individual, family, and congregation. For the believer, worship is a life style not limited by location or circumstance.

101-1.2 Worship is the ultimate purpose of the church. The mission of the church is to declare God’s glory and His salvation to all ethnic groups so that some from all the families of nations shall worship Him.3 Corporate worship is the assembled church celebrating the glory of God and ascribing to Him praise and honor. Christ, the head of the church, meets with and strengthens His people, who are called out from the world by the Holy Spirit.4

101-1.3 God declares that He alone is to be worshiped5 and this worship must be in spirit and truth.6 Such worship engages both mind and emotion, listening and responding to God in joyful obedience not simply in routine activity.7 For disobeying God’s instructions and substituting their own form of worship,8 Israel was severely punished. We therefore seek to learn from the Bible what kinds of worship please the Lord.

101-1.4 Worship in the Old Testament was a celebration of the mighty acts of the Lord, the covenant God of Israel. Corporate worship was highlighted through prescribed ritual: a priesthood, a sacrificial system looking forward to Christ’s atonement,9 and particular times and places when and where worship should occur.10 This ritual was not made valuable by its repetition.11 Its value came through heartfelt, thoughtful response to God, uniting the worshipers.12

101-1.5 Worship in the New Testament is a celebration of the finished work of Christ, His victory over Satan, sin, and death through His own incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension. Jesus claims for Himself authority over temple, Sabbath, sacrifice, and service.13 The former place, priesthood, and ritual were set aside14 as believers now observe15 a new day, the Lord’s Day,16 and new ordinances: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.17

101-1.6 Examples of corporate worship in the New Testament include: the reading of Scripture, prayer, praise, confession, singing, giving, thanksgiving, preaching and teaching, and the ordinances.18 The expression of these may be shaped by the cultural setting of a particular church and must be done in a fitting and orderly way.19

1 Psa.96:7-9; Rom.12:1
2 Psa.96:4, 2:11
3 Psa.96; Rom. 16:25-27; Rev.7:9-10
4 Eph.1:22,23
5 Exo.20:1-4
6 John 4:24
7 Mat. 15:7-9; 1 Cor. 14:15, 16
8 1Ki.12:25-13:10
9 Heb.9:13,14
10 Exo.20-40
11 Isa.29:13
12 Psa.51:16,17; 84:1,2
13 Mark 2:18-28
14 Heb.10:8-18
15 Heb. 10:19-25
16 John 20:19,26; Acts 20:7
17 Mat. 28:18-20; 1Cor.11:23-26
18 Acts 2:42-47; 4:23-37; 1 Tim. 4:13
19 1 Cor. 14:40

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Article 101-2 – Prayer

101-2.1 Prayer is a drawing near in our hearts to the living and triune God.1  In prayer we express our praise2 and thanksgiving3 to our sovereign God. We confess our sin4 and ask Him to give to us what we need and desire5 according to His will. 

101-2.2 Prayer is the natural way that the child of God communicates with his heavenly Father.6  This relationship was formed because of the death and resurrection of Christ, by whom we have bold access to the Father.7   Without this union in Christ, we could never hope to speak to and be heard by the sovereign God of the universe.8  The believer’s prayer, offered in the name of Jesus,9 by the power of the Holy Spirit,10 is a means of receiving the promises of God’s Word.11 While God may hear the prayer of an unbeliever,12 the unbeliever has no assurance or guarantee that the Lord will answer his prayer.

101-2.3 The Scriptures give much instruction on prayer.  Jesus Himself demonstrated the need for prayer in his earthly life and ministry. The Lord taught His disciples a model prayer.13 In the model prayer Jesus revealed that the believer is privileged to address God as Father.  Jesus taught that we should pray for God’s name to be seen as holy.  Jesus emphasized praying about the plan of God in the world.  Jesus instructed believers to pray that their daily, physical needs would be met.  Jesus also instructed believers to pray that our sins be forgiven, temptation be avoided and the evil one be resisted.14

101-2.4   Prayer that is acceptable to God is not so much the right words but the right heart.15 This includes freedom from known sin,16 an unforgiving spirit,17 and selfish desires.18  Acceptable prayer includes asking in faith19 with an attitude of never giving up.20  Right prayer is both powerful and effective.21

101-2.5 God’s people are encouraged to come together to pray.22  In the Old Testament, the assembling of Israel for prayer was for dedication,23 worship,24 confession,25 and for petition in time of great need and crisis.26  In Acts, the Church came together corporately for times of devoted prayer.27  Therefore, the local church ought to gather together to worship the Lord in prayer,28 to seek God’s guidance,29 to ask God’s protection in times of persecution,30 to pray for one another31, and to pray for openness to the gospel.32

101-2.6 The practice of fasting in Scripture is often associated with prayer. To fast is to voluntarily abstain from food,33 or from anything else that is legitimate in and of itself,34 for the purpose of spending more time and intensity in prayer and worship.35 Fasting is a statement that we want our appetite for God to be greater than our physical appetites. The reasons that may prompt us to fast include a personal or national crisis,36 a sense of contrition and repentance over sin,37 and a desire to seek the Lord and His help.38 The New Testament does not require believers to fast, but in His teachings, Jesus expects that they will fast.39 The early church practiced corporate fasting at times.40

101-2.7 God hears and responds to the prayers of the righteous.41  God often responds differently than we ask,42 but always according to His perfect plan and will.43  Our joyful responsibility is to submit to His answers and trust His grace.  Prayers that magnify the name of God, glorify Him, and seek to fulfill His purposes in this world,44 are prayers that He answers according to His timing for His glory and our good.45 While God is fully capable of accomplishing these purposes on His own, He chooses to use the prayers of His children to fulfill them. 

1 Psalm 62:8; Heb. 4:16, 10:22
2 1 Chron. 29:10-13
3 Phil. 4:6
4 Psalm 32:5, 139:23-24; Acts 8:22
5 Matt. 7:7-11; 1 Tim. 2:1
6 Matt. 6:9; Rom. 8:15
7 Heb. 4:14-16, 6:19, 10:19-22
8 Psalm 66:18; John 9:31
9 John 14:12-14; 16:23-24
10 Rom. 8:26-27; Eph. 6:18; Jude 20
11 Neh. 1:8-11
12 Gen. 20:4-5; 1 Kings 8:41-43; Acts 10:2-4
13 Matt. 6:9-13
14 1 Peter 5:8-9
15 Psalm 66:18-19
16 Prov. 15:29, 28:9; Isa. 1:15, 59:1-2
17 Mark 11:25
18 James 4:2-3; 1 Peter 3:7
19 Mark 11:23-24
20 Luke 18:1, Rom. 12:12; Col. 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:17
21 James 5:16-18; Eph. 3:20-21
22 Col. 4:2-4; Matt. 18:19
23 1 Chron. 29:10-20
24 2 Chron. 6:12-42
25 Ezra 9:4-15
26 2 Chron. 20:5-13
27 Acts 1:14, 2:42, 12:5, 12
28 Acts 13:2-3
29 Acts 1:24
30 Acts 4:24-31
31 Col. 1:9
32 Col. 4:2-4; 2 Thess. 3:1
33 Matt. 4:2 cp. Luke 4:2
34 1 Cor. 7:5
35 Luke 2:37
36 Neh. 1:4; Esther 4:3
37 Joel 2:12
38 2 Chron. 20:3; Ezra 8:21-23
39 Matt.6:16, 9:15
40 Acts 13:2-3, 14:23
41 Prov. 15:29
42 Luke 22:42; Heb. 5:7
43 1 John 5:14-15
44 Matt. 6:9-10, John 14:13-14
45 2 Cor. 12:7-9

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Article 101-3 – Spirit World

101-3.1 God is spirit1 and has created everything, including the visible and the invisible.2 The invisible includes a great number3 of spirit beings. Among these are angels who are without flesh4 and remain invisible except when supernaturally revealed.5 Angels surround God’s throne to worship and serve Him.6 They are powerful7 and are sent as God pleases8 to provide and care for,9 to protect and deliver,10 to instruct and guide,11 to discipline and punish.12 They long to comprehend fully the grace of salvation and rejoice over each sinner who repents.13 God also created human beings who are spirit 14 and flesh to worship and serve Him as God alone.15

101-3.2 A created angelic being, later known as the devil or Satan, rebelled against God.16 Within limits allowed by the sovereign God,17 Satan leads a powerful world system of wickedness which is hostile toward God and His purposes.18 Satan may inflict pain, suffering, emotional problems and may cause death.19 He can control people to oppose the work of God, blind their minds to prevent their understanding the Gospel, and oppress the servants of God.20 Anyone not led by the Holy Spirit is open to Satan’s influence.21 He seeks to influence nations and governments.22 Satan is a masterful deceiver appearing at times as an angel of light and called the father of lies.23 False prophets, false religions, and cults are instruments of deception.24 Those blinded and deceived by Satan live a life-style that is opposed to God.25

101-3.3 Other angels followed Satan in his rebellion against God. These fallen angels, also known as evil spirits or demons, serve Satan, the god of this evil world system.26 Satan and evil spirits can influence the believer27 and possess unregenerate people and animals.28 God has enabled believers to cast out demons by His Spirit.29 God may continue to give this enablement, however, the casting out of demons is not in itself reason for boasting and not necessarily an evidence of an individual’s relationship with Christ.30

101-3.4 Believers are commanded to stand against the evil spirit world31 and are warned against such detestable things as divination, witchcraft, sorcery, interpreting of omens, casting of spells, and consulting the dead. These things are devices that Satan uses to lure people toward destruction. People who practice these things are under the condemnation of God.32 Because of Satan’s power, victory is possible only through our Lord Jesus Christ.33 Through the blood of Christ that was shed on the cross, God has provided victory over this world system for those born of God.34 In prayerful dependence upon God, they are protected from and victorious over the powers of darkness as they use all the armor God provides, submissively draw near to Him, and resist the devil.35

101-3.5 The sovereign God is in control of the entire social, political, and spiritual realm.36 God will cast Satan and all his followers into the lake of fire which has been prepared for them where they will remain forever.37 The kingdom of this world will one day become the kingdom of our Lord and He will reign forever and ever.38

1 John 4:24
2 Neh. 9:6; Psa. 148:2-6; Col. 1:16
3 Dan. 7:9-10; Rev. 5:11
4 Luke 24:39; Eph. 6:12; Heb. 1:14
5 Gen. 28:12; Luke 2:8-13; Mat. 28:1-6
6 Psa. 89:5-7; Isa 6:1_8; Rev. 7:11-12
7 2 Chr. 32:21; Acts 12:5-11; 2 Pe. 2:11
8 Psa. 103:20-21
9 Gen 24:7, 40; 1 Kgs. 19:5-8; Gen. 21:17-19; Luke 22:43
10 Exo. 23:20; Psa. 91:11-13; Dan. 6:22; Num. 20:15,16; Psa. 34:7; Acts 5:19-20
11 Luke 1: 26-37; Acts 27:23-26; Rev. 1:1; Mat. 2:13; Acts 8:26; 10:3-6
12 Luke 1:18-20; 2 Sam. 24:16-17; Acts 12:23
13 1Pe. 1:10-12; Luke 15:10
14 Rom. 8:16; 1Thes. 5:23
15 Exo. 20:3-5; John 4:23-24
16 Eze. 28:13-16; Rev. 12:9
17 Job 1:10-12; Psa. 103:19; Pro. 21:1; Col.2:9-10
18 Eph. 6:11-12; 1Jo 2:15-17; 5:19
19 Job 1:8-20; Luke 13:10-16; John 8:44
20 Mat. 16:23; Luke 22:3_4; 2 Cor. 4:4; 2 Tim. 2:25-26
21 Mat. 12:43_45; Acts 5:3; Eph. 4:27
22 Acts 4:25_26; Rev. 20:3
23 2 Cor. 11:13-15; John 8:44
24 Acts 13:6-11; 2Thes. 2:9-10
25 John 8:37-38, 41; Eph. 2:1-3
26 Mat. 25:41; Eph. 6:11-12; Rev. 12:9
27 2 Cor. 11:12-15; Eph. 4:25-27; 1 Pe. 5:8, 9
28 Mat. 8:28-32; Mark 5:2, 6-13
29 Mark 3:14_15; Acts 8:6-7; 16:18, Mat.12:28
30 Mat. 7:22-23; Mark 9:38-40; Luke 10:20
31 Eph. 6:10-14; James. 4:7; 1Pe. 5:8-10
32 Exo. 20:4, 5; Lev. 19:26; Deu. 18:10-14, 20; Isa. 8:19,20
33 Rom 8:37-39; 2 Thes. 3:3; 1 Pe. 1:3-7
34 1 Cor. 15:57-58; Col. 2:13-15; 1Jo. 5:4_6
35 Eph. 6:13-18; James 4:7-8; Rev. 12:10_11
36 Job 1:1 – 2:13; Psa. 2:1-12
37 Mat. 25:41, 46; Rev. 20:10, 14-15
38 Dan. 7:13-14; Zec. 14:9; Rev. 11:15

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Article 102-1 – Holiness

102-1.1 God is holy.1 He is separate from and superior to all creation.2 He is absolutely pure and good.3 He cannot sin and hates sin.4 Because He is holy, He calls people to holiness.5

102-1.2 Holiness involves a setting apart, a dedicating or devoting, of someone or something for a special purpose.6 Believers are set apart for God and called saints, or holy ones.7 The Bible reveals the holiness of God and declares His standard for a holy life.8 God’s law teaches all people are sinners and His Spirit convicts of sin.9 All those who belong to God are, through the work of Christ, declared holy and are responsible to live holy lives.10 God’s purpose is that every believer through the experiences of this life be changed into the likeness of His Son.11

102-1.3 Sanctification, or holy living, is progressively realized by the power of the Holy Spirit.12 For Christians, there is to be a separation from all forms of evil, and a full surrender to the Lord.13 Believers should not participate in any group which demands behavior or an affirmation of beliefs that are opposed to our allegiance to Christ.14 They are not to continue any longer in the sinful ways of the world but should rather seek to have all thoughts and actions conformed to the revealed will of God.15 Sin’s control and its continued practice must cease.16

102-1.4 The church is also called to holiness.17 Believers are to encourage one another to live righteously,18 warn against the dangers of all sin,19 confess and repent of all individual and corporate sin,20 and submit to discipline as taught by the Lord.21 Christian leaders have a particular responsibility to set proper examples of holy living.22

1 Exo.15:11; Psa.99:9; Isa.6:3
2 Psa. 89:5-8; Isa.57:15; Rev.15:4
3 Psa.33:5; Hab.1:13; James 1:13
4 Exo.34:6-7; Psa. 5:4-6; 1Jo.1:5
5 Lev.10:3; 19:2; Acts 17:30, 31
6 Exo.20:8; Deut.7:6; 1Pe.2:9-10
7 1Cor.1:2; Rom.1:7; Heb.12:14
8 Exo.20:1-17; Mat.22:37-40; James.2:10
9 Rom.3:19-20; John16:7-14; 1Tim.1:8-11
10 Rom.3:23-26; Rom.8:1-17; Heb.10:10
11 Rom.8:28-29; Phil.1:6; 2Pe. 1:3-4
12 Rom.8:26-30; 2Cor.3:18; 2Thes.2:13
13 2Cor.6:14-7:1; Eph.4:17-5:14
14 Mat. 6:24; Acts 4:19, 20; Rom. 12:1, 2; 1 Cor. 7:23; Eph. 5:11
15 Rom.12:1-2; Col.3:9-10; 1Pe.1:13-16
16 Rom.6:1-14; Tit.2:11-14; 1Pe.2:11-12; 1Jo.2:13
17 1Cor.3:16-17; Eph.5:25-27
18 Gal.6:1-2; Heb.10:23-25
19 1Thes.5:14; James 5:19-20
20 Pro.18:13; 1Cor.5:1-2; 2Cor.2:5-8; 1Jo.1:9; Rev.3:19
21 Mat.18:15-17
22 Phil.3:17; Heb.13:7; 1Pe.5:1-3

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Article 102-2 – Justice

102-2.1 By nature God is morally perfect and righteous in every way. To say that God is just is to affirm the rightness of His law and His faithful and consistent adherence to that law in His judgments.1 Justice is the perfect application of His law in the lives of human beings. Both human law and the application of that law can distort God’s justice and therefore be sinful and produce sin. Sin causes human beings to enact and apply laws in ways that are unjust.2 Because God is just, He abhors the distortions of His law.3

102-2.2 In a world of sinful people, injustice results when human beings are judged by such things as color of skin, ethnicity, gender, age, social, economic and occupational status. To evaluate people based on such external characteristics is inconsistent with faith in Jesus Christ.4 Those who value people in this way are acting out of ungodly cultural biases and sinful pride.5 Injustice also results when persons allow their own sinful motivations, such as greed,6 jealousy,7 and envy,8 to shape their relationships with other people. In Jesus Christ such wicked and false distinctions or motivations are abolished.9

102-2.3 God’s love for humankind knows no racial, national, economic, age, or gender boundaries and God’s people must demonstrate this same impartial love.10 The proclamation of the gospel to every person regardless of location or status will be a matter of great priority among those who love justice.11

102-2.4 Those who value justice will seek consistent and upright applications of human law so that no one is denied due process because of sinful distinctions.12 Those who love justice will seek truth and act with integrity in all relationships.

102-2.5 The quest for justice in a world distorted by sin will often yield imperfect and incomplete results. The people of God who love justice will repent when they recognize their failure to do justice and will renew their efforts to bring justice to those who have been denied it.13

1 Deut.10:17,18; Isa.5:6
2 Deut.16:19,20
3 Isa. 10:1, 2
4 James 2:1-4
5 Lev.19:5
6 Col. 3:5
7 James 3:14
8 Gal. 5:25, 26
9 Gal.3:28; Eph.2:14-16
10 Acts 10:34-36
11 Rom.3:9; 1Tim.2:3,4
12 Gen.18:19
13 Mic.6:8

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Article 102-3 – Mercy

102-3.1 Mercy, the unmerited response to human need,1 finds its source and highest expression in God, in Whom justice and mercy meet in perfect harmony.2 Rather than overlook sin, God showed His mercy most clearly and fully by giving His beloved Son to die in our place.3

102-3.2 God the Father, demonstrated His mercy in providing salvation.4 God the Son, became the supreme example of that mercy in offering Himself for our sins.5 Jesus offered forgiveness to the sinner,6 acceptance to the rejected,7 healing to the afflicted,8 food to the hungry,9 comfort to the bereaved,10 and life to the dead.11

102-3.3 God’s intention is that mercy characterize His people.12 In extending mercy, we should pattern ourselves after our Head, Jesus Christ.13 The church and its individual members are called to a ministry of mercy-giving,14 which aids in our growth and assurance of salvation.15

102-3.4 Our ministry of mercy may be limited by our resources, our discernment, and the Word of God,16 but it must never be limited by our bias against any group or individual.17 In all humility, each congregation ought to search itself for the presence of any cultural arrogance, of social or racial prejudice, or of ungodly complacency, all of which will hinder the offering of mercy. In some cases a congregation will need to repent of its sinful attitudes.

1 Titus 3:5-7
2 Exo. 34:6,7; Psa. 89:14
3 Rom. 3:21-26
4 Eph. 2:4,5
5 Heb. 2:17
6 Mat. 9:2-6
7 Mat. 9:9-13
8 Mat. 9:35,36
9 Mat. 14:13-21
10 John 11:32-38
11 John 11:25,26,43,44
12 Micah 6:8; Matthew 23:23
13 Phil. 2:1-4