WHAT WE BELIEVE
18 Doctrinal Principles of the Apostolic Assembly.
1. THE CHURCH
We believe that the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is one, universal and indivisible, and composed of all men regardless of nationality, language, race or custom, who have accepted our Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and have been baptized into His Body by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13). The bonds of a common faith and love unite the members of the Church. The flag or banner of the Church is the Name of Jesus Christ before whose emblem the Church marches gallantly as an army on parade (Song of Solomon 6: 10).
2. THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD
We believe there is only one God who has manifested Himself to the world in various forms throughout the ages. He has specially revealed Himself as Father in the creation of the universe, as Son in the redemption of humanity, and as the Holy Spirit pouring out in the hearts of believers.
This God is the Creator of everything that exists, whether visible or invisible. He is eternal, infinite in power, and Holy in His nature, attributes, and purpose. He possesses an absolute and indivisible divinity. He is infinite in His immensity, inconceivable in His way of being, and indescribable in essence. Since an infinite mind can only be comprehended by itself, no one can completely know Him but Himself. He has neither body nor parts; therefore, He is free of any limitations.
The first commandment of all is, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord” (Mark 12:29 ; Deuteronomy 6:4). “But to us there is but one God…” (1 Corinthians 8:6).
3. JESUS CHRIST
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ was born miraculously from the womb of the Virgin Mary through the work of the Holy Spirit, and He is, at the same time, the One and only true God (Romans 9:5; 1 John 5:20). The God of the Old Testament took upon Himself human form (Isaiah 60:1-3). “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1: 14). “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16).
We believe that in Jesus Christ, God’s divine attributes and human nature were combined in a perfect and incomprehensible form.
We believe that the divine attributes and the human nature of God were incorporated in an incomprehensible yet perfect form in Christ Jesus.
He is called the Son of Man because He was born of the Virgin Mary in whose womb He took the form of man, and thus acquired His human nature.
He is called the Son of God because He was begotten of the Holy Spirit and thus partook of the Divine nature. He was human through Mary, in whose womb He took the form of man. He was divine through the Holy Spirit who fathered Him in Mary. Thus, He is called the Son of God and Son of man. Therefore, we believe that Jesus Christ is God “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9) We also believe that the Bible makes known all His attributes. He is the everlasting Father and, at the same time, a child born unto us (Isaiah 9:6). He is the Creator of all things (Colossians 1: 16-17; Isaiah 45: 18). He is Omnipresent (John 3:13 ; Deuteronomy 4:39 ). He performed wonders as the Almighty God (Luke 5:24-26; Psalms 86: 10). He has power over the seas (Mark 4:37-39; Psalms 107:29-30). He is always the same (Hebrews 13:8; Psalms 102:27).
4. THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit as promised by God in the Old Testament and as poured out after the glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ, who sends it (Joel 2:28-29; John 7:37-39, 14:16 -26; Acts 2:1-4, 16-18). Furthermore, we believe that the demonstration that the person has been baptized with the Holy Spirit are the new tongues or languages in which the believer can speak.And this sign applies also in our time.
We also believe that the Holy Spirit is power that enables us to testify of Christ (Acts 1: 8). The Holy Spirit helps us develop a Christian character more pleasing to God (Galatians 5:22-25).
The same Spirit endows men with gifts for the edification of the Church (Romans 12:6-8; I Corinthians 12:1-12; Ephesians 4:7-13). We do not believe, that any man has the power to impart the gifts of God, dividing to every man severally as he will.” (I Corinthians 12:11) “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:7) All members of the Apostolic Assembly must seek the Holy Spirit and strive to live constantly in the Spirit, as recommended in Romans 8:5-16, Ephesians 5:18, and Colossians 3:5.
5. BAPTISM IN WATER
We believe in baptism in water, by immersion in the Name of Jesus Christ and that it should be administered by an ordained minister. Baptism should be by immersion because only in this way can it represent the death of man unto sin, thus bearing similarity to the death of Christ (Romans 6:1-5). Baptism should be in the name of Jesus Christ because this was the practice of the Apostles and ministers who baptized during the early period of the Church, as recorded in the Holy Scriptures (Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:6, 22:16).
6. THE LORD’S SUPPER
We believe in the literal practice of the Lord’s Supper, which He himself instituted (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:15-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). This ordinance shall make use of unleavened bread that represents the sinless body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and unfermented wine that represents the blood of Christ, which consummated our redemption.
The object of this ceremony is to commemorate the death of our Lord Jesus Christ and to announce the day in which He shall return to the world, at the same time to give testimony of the communion that exists among believers. No person shall participate in this ceremony who is not a faithful church member or is not in full communion; if a person does participate without fulfilling these requirements, he or she will be unable to discern the body of Christ (1 Corinthians10:15-17, 11:27-28; 2 Corinthians 13:5).
After partaking of a supper with His apostles, the Lord washed their feet, an act that marveled them at that moment. When He was done, the Master explained to His Disciples the significance of this act, and
recommended that they wash one another’s feet. The Church practices this act in combination or indistinctly with the Lord’s Supper as an act of humility and Christian fellowship (1 Timothy 5: 10 ).
7. THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST.
We believe in the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ, which took place on the third day after His death as recorded in the Gospels (Matthew 27:60-64; Mark 16:1-20; Luke 24:1-12, 36-44; John 20:12-20). This resurrection had been foretold by the prophets (Isaiah 53:12), and is necessary for our hope and justification (1 Corinthians 15:20 ; Romans 4:25).
8. THE RESURRECTION OF
THE JUST AND UNJUST
We believe that there will be a literal resurrection of the dead in Christ and that they will be given a glorified and spiritual body in which they will live forever in the presence of the Lord (John 5:29; Acts 24:15; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Job 19:25-27; Psalms 17:15; 1 Corinthians 15:35-54). Christians who are living when Christ comes to take up His Church will likewise be transformed and taken to live forever in glory in the presence of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
We also believe that there will be resurrection of the unjust, but that these will awake from the tombs only to be judged and hear the harsh sentence that will make them heirs of eternal fire (Mathew 25:26; John 5:29; Revelation 20:12-15; Mark 9:44; Daniel 12:2).
9. THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH
AND THE MILLENNIUM
We believe that the Church, composed of the dead in Christ and the faithful living on earth at the time of the Rapture, will be lifted up to meet the Lord in the air and to take part in the wedding feast of the Lamb of God. Thereafter, the Church will descend with the Lord to earth to pass judgment upon the nations and reign with Christ for a thousand years. This period will be preceded by the Great Tribulation and the Battle of Armageddon, which the Lord will end upon descending on the Mount of Olives with all His saints (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; Philippians 3:20-21; Isaiah 65:17-25; Daniel 7:27; Micah 4:1-3; Zechariah 14.1-16; Matthew 5:5; Romans 11:25-27; Rev. 20:1-5).
10. THE FINAL JUDGMENT
We believe the Lord has prepared a judgment day in which all men who have died without Christ and those living upon the earth at the time of its verification will participate. This judgment, also known as the “Judgment of the Great White Throne,” will take place at the end of the Millennium. The Church will not be judged on this occasion, but will itself intervene in the judgment rendered to all men in accordance with the things written in the books that God has prepared.
At the end of this judgment, the present heavens and the earth will be renewed by fire and the faithful will dwell in the New Jerusalem. The Christian dispensation will have come to its end and God will be all things in all (Daniel 7:8-10, 14, 18; 1 Corinthians 6:2-3; Romans 2:16, 14:10; 1 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:5-15, 21:1-6).
11. DIVINE HEALING
We believe that God has the power to heal all our physical illnesses, if that is His will, and that divine healing is a result of the sacrifice of Christ, for He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4). The healing of the body takes place through a combination of the faith of the believer and power in the Name of Jesus Christ, whose Name is invoked when praying for the sick. The Lord Jesus Christ promised that those who believed in His Name would lay hands on the sick and the sick would recover (Mark 16:18 ). The sick shall be anointed with oil in the Name of Jesus Christ by ordained ministers for the Lord to fulfill His promises (John 14:13 ; Psalm 103:1-4; Luke 9:1-3; 1 Corinthians 12:9; James 5:14-16).
We believe that divine healing is obtained through faith. If, on occasion, a brother needs to submit himself to the care and ministration of medical science, he should not be criticized by his fellow church members, who must weigh the matter and consider themselves lest they be condemned by what they themselves approve (Romans 14:22). We recommend that all members and
ministers of our Church abstain from improper criticisms of medical science, whose advancements cannot be denied and originate in the ability that God has given men to discover the secrets of the functioning of the human organism. We also advise against opposing government campaigns for hygiene, vaccination, and cleanliness; instead, we advise that they cooperate in these campaigns decidedly wherever possible.
We believe that all members of the Body of Christ should be holy; that is, separated from sin and consecrated for the service of the Lord. For this reason they must abstain from all practices, entertainment, and filthiness of flesh and spirit (Leviticus 19:2; II Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 5:26?]27; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 2 Timothy 2:21 ; Hebrews 12:14 ; 1 Peter 1:16 ).
However, in the practice of holiness we believe that we must avoid all extremes, asceticisms and deprivations with reputation of wisdom in self-imposed worship and humility, and unsparing severity of the body, all which are but a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ (Colossians 2:17, 23). Regarding food, we note that “every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving” (1 Timothy 4:4).
We believe that marriage is sacred, since it was instituted in the beginning, and honorable among all people (Genesis 2:21-24; Matthew 19:1-5; Hebrews 13:4). Marriages must be verified in accordance with the laws of the respective countries, and later solemnized in church in accordance with approved practices. Couples who have not legalized their union and wish to be baptized must first meet the requirements of civil laws.
We believe that when a couple unites in marriage, they should remain united as long as both live. When either one dies, the other is free to remarry and does not commit sin if he or she remarries in the Lord (Romans 7:1-3; 1 Corinthians 7:39 ).
We also believe that marriages shall take place solely among faithful church members. No minister shall perform a marriage ceremony between a church member and an unbeliever. Church members in full communion who marry unbelievers shall be judged by their pastors.
14. CHURCH AND STATE
We believe in the separation of Church and State and that neither should intervene in the internal affairs of the other since this fulfills the biblical precept “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17 ). Christians should participate in civil activities according to their abilities and political inclinations, always reflecting their own personal ideas and opinions, and not those of the Church. The Apostolic Assembly is always neutral and has room for men of all political creeds. Nevertheless, all Christians must obey civil authorities and the laws and ordinances issued by these authorities, unless these laws contradict religious principles or force Christians to act against their conscience (Romans 13:1-7).
15. MILITARY SERVICE
The Apostolic Assembly recognizes human government as ordained by God (Romans 13:1-2). Therefore, the Apostolic Assembly admonishes its members to affirm loyalty to their country. As disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, Christians must obey His precepts and commandments as follows: “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil” (Matthew 5:39). “Follow peace with all men” (Hebrews 12:14). (See also Romans 12:19; Matthew 26:52; James 5:6; Revelation 13: 10). Given these scriptures, it is believed and interpreted that the followers of our Lord Jesus Christ shall neither destroy someone else’s property nor take someone’s life.
It is considered a sin to participate in acts contrary to those recommended by the Holy Word of God, after having received the knowledge of the truth and having been made new creatures in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17; Hebrews 6:4-9, 10:26-27).
All members, therefore, are advised to follow their conscience in freely serving their country, whether in time of peace or war, and in any capacity no matter how hard or dangerous it may be, as long as
it is of NONCOMBATANT CHARACTER. Doctrine teaches us to pray that we may always have men of God in authority. It teaches us to pray for them that they may receive divine guidance so that we as a nation might steer clear of any war and live continually in honor and peace (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
16. SIN UNTO DEATH
We believe, by the light of the Word of God, that there is a sin unto death and that if this sin is committed in the terms expressed in the Bible, the right to salvation is lost (Matthew 12:31-32; Romans 6:23; Hebrews 10:26-27; 1 John 5:16-17). Therefore, we recommend that the faithful abstain from giving ear to doctrines that promise eternal security to the Christian regardless of his conduct and the idea that “once saved, always saved.” The Bible teaches that it is possible to be reproved and that we must remain faithful unto the end
(Romans 2:6-10; 1 Corinthians 9:26-27).
17. ECONOMIC SYSTEM OF THE CHURCH
We believe that the system that the Bible teaches us to obtain the funds necessary to carry out the work of the Lord is that of tithes and offerings, and that this system must be practiced by ministers and believers alike. (Genesis 28:22; Malachi 3:10; Matthew 23:23; Luke 6:38; Acts 11:27, 30; 1 Corinthians 9:3-14, 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8:1-16, 9:6-12, 11:7-9; 1 Timothy 5:17-18, 6:17-19; Galatians 6:6-10; Philippians 4:10-12, 15-19; Hebrews 13:16 ).
Knowing that the work of the Lord is not only spiritual but also of a material nature, we believe that it is necessary to regulate the acquisition and distribution of the necessary funds to meet the material needs of the work.
18. THE MINISTERIAL BODY
We believe that the ministry is a calling of God and that the Holy Spirit confers upon each minister the faculty of serving the church in distinct capacities and with distinct gifts, the manifestations of which are all for the edification of the Body of Christ (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:5-11; Ephesians 4:11-12).
We believe that the calling to the ministry is of divine origin and the Word of God contains sufficient teaching regarding the requirements that must be met by the person who is to serve in the ministry. Therefore, duly organized ecclesiastical governments are responsible for examining candidates for the ministry to determine whether these candidates should be approved and what tasks they shall be assigned (Acts 1:23-26, 6:1-3; 1 Timothy 3:1-10, 4:14, 5:22; Titus 1:5-9).We also believe that the Holy Spirit uses the minister in various ways according to the needs of the work of the Lord and the capability and personal disposition of the ministers. No one can be placed in a higher position than that of which he is worthy (1 Timothy 3:13 ; Romans 12:3). We believe that the bishopric is the highest office work in the ministry. Bishops shall therefore receive special respect and consideration, but without detriment to those who occupy lesser positions.