We at BBF are evangelical Christians. To be evangelical has always meant, along with a personal devotion to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, affirming a cluster of essential doctrines. As evangelical Protestants, we align ourselves with three such affirmations born of the Reformation:
- Scripture, not the church and not personal anecdotal experience, is the final authority for Christian faith and practice
- Faith in Christ, not in works, is the means to salvation
- All believers in Christ, not only clergy, are the Church’s true priesthood.
Butte Bible Fellowship’s core beliefs express our theological positions on the essentials of Christian faith. Ours is a biblical theology grounded in Old and New Testament teachings rather than a theology that is speculative, subjective, or merely traditional.
Revelation, Scripture, and Authority
We believe that God is revealed in creation, in the Holy Scriptures, and in Jesus Christ, the apex of revelation. The Scriptures (Holy Bible), all sixty-six Old and New Testament books, are divinely authoritative in all they affirm. (Psalm 19:1-6; Hebrews 1:1-2; John 17:17)
We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of Scripture. This means the Holy Spirit dynamically/authoritatively superintended (“God-breathed”) the verbal expressions of the human authors of Scripture so that the very thoughts God intended were accurately penned in the wording of the original manuscripts. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; 1 Corinthians 2:13)
We believe the Scripture is infallibly trustworthy as to truth, and should be interpreted in context and with an appreciation for genre to determine each author’s intended meaning. Our present Bible continues to bear the final authoritative instruction of God for the Church and the world. (John 10:36b; Psalm 19:7; Matthew 5:17-18)
The Divine Trinity
We believe in God, the one triune, infinite, personal spirit who created and governs all things and who is the sole object of our worship. This one God has always existed in eternal relationship as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ― identical and equal in substance (essence), distinct in subsistence (function). The three persons of the Trinity are coeternal in being, coeternal in nature, coequal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfection.
God the Father
We believe that God the Father is the holy and loving Creator of all things. Unlimited in time, space, knowledge, and power, the Father intends all that comes to pass. Although distinct from His creation, He is immanently at work in it. (Psalm 139: 1-16; 1 Corinthians 8:6; John 5:7)
God the Son
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. He became man, without ceasing to be God, and was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary in order to redeem sinful humanity. He satisfied God’s holy and just demands by dying on the cross as our substitute. He assured our redemption by His resurrection from the dead in the same, though glorified, body in which He was crucified. (John 1:1-2; Luke 1:35; Romans 3:24-25; 1 Peter 1:3-5)
We believe Jesus Christ ascended to heaven and is exalted at the right hand of the Father (i.e., to Him has been given all authority on heaven and on earth [Matthew 28:18]). As High Priest for His people, He serves as our Intercessor and Advocate (Hebrews 7:25, 9:24; /Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1-2)
God the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the transforming agent who effectively imparts Christ’s new life to all who believe. He convicts men and women in this age as to sin, regenerates the believing and repentant sinner, baptizes them into the body of Christ, dwells within all believers, seals them for the day of redemption, and empowers them in holiness and love to serve God and His Church. (Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; Ephesians 1:13-14; Galatians 5:22-25)
The Creation and Fall of Humanity
In the beginning, God demonstrated His power, wisdom, and goodness by creating the world, everything in it, and everything beyond it. He is a being of unimaginably wonderful power, goodness and love. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 118:1; Psalm 145:1-9; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14)
We believe that all human beings are created in the imago dei (image of God). Through Adam’s disobedience, we by nature become alienated from God, acquire a destructive disposition to sin (imputed sin), and come under the judicial sentence of death. (Genesis 1:25-27; Genesis 3; Romans 3:22-23; 5:12-21; Ephesians 2:1-3, 12).
The central purpose of God’s revelation in Scripture is to call people into reconciled fellowship with Him. We believe God does not intend for sin and suffering to get the last word, nor does He desire that any would perish, but is at work through His Spirit to redeem and reconcile what He has made. (Isaiah 11:6-9; Colossians 1:21-23; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 21:1-5)
We believe that salvation (i.e., saved from God’s wrath (1 Thessalonians 1:10) is the gift of God offered to all humanity by grace and received through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This faith produces sanctification (see below).
All who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are united with Him as members of His body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, a spiritual community of all believers ―the one true Church.
Scripture demands believers to gather for worship, prayer, fellowship and the teaching of the Word; to observe Baptism and Communion as established by Jesus Christ; to offer service to the body through development and use of talents and gifts and outreach to the world.
The local expression of the Church is wherever God’s people meet regularly in obedience to this command. Cared for and led by Elders and leaders, church members are to work together in love and unity for the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ. (Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:25-27; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14)
Death seals the eternal destiny of each person. All humanity will experience a bodily resurrection and a judgment that will determine the fate of each individual. God will honor the heart of those who have rejected Him in this life with an eternal, conscious separation. God will honor the heart of those who have embraced His Son in this life with his eternal presence. (Mark 9:43-48; Revelation 20:15; 22:3-5, 11)
In an unannounced moment in time, Christ will come again (the Parousia … Presence). We believe in the “blessed hope,” the personal, imminent, coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His redeemed ones (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) initiating final judgment (Revelation 19) and the establishment of a new heaven and a new earth. (Revelation 21:1).
We therefore live in hope because one day Jesus will return, love and justice will prevail, and God will set the world right. (Matt. 24:30-31; Luke 12:40; Romans 8:37-39; Revelation 21:1-5).
Sanctification (footnote to Salvation)
Positional sanctification – justification. The Apostle John tells us that “…to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” (John 1:1:12). Salvation has been made available to those who have chosen to “believe in his name.” At salvation, believers are justified, declared righteous in conformity to the image of Jesus Christ. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren” (Rom. 8: 29). This is entirely a work of God.
Experiential sanctification – spiritual maturity. The goal is Christlikeness, the result of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in producing godliness (the character of Christ) in the life of the believer. In essence, progressive sanctification is becoming in experience what we already are positionally in Christ. The Holy Spirit operates in believers to free them experientially from the power of sin and death. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2).
The progress of sanctification, or spiritual maturity, is marked by conflict, spiritual warfare, because our new life in Christ is on a collision course with the world, is opposed by Satan, and fought by the sinful nature within us. It is the presence of the Holy Spirit that produces the tension or conflict in our life. This conflict in the life of a believer, rather than being proof of sanctification’s absence, is evidence of its work.
Progressive sanctification is accomplished by the Holy Spirit as the believer is filled with the Holy Spirit through the life-long practice of confession and repentance. It is an act of God that involves cooperative participation on the part of the believer. “Grace is opposed to merit, but not to effort” (Willard). See 1 Peter 1:13-16, Philippians 2:12-13, Colossians 3 and other texts that call for participation on the part of the believer.
Ultimate sanctification – glorification. The final stage in the salvation process is the ultimate sanctification of the believer—the future glorification of the believer. It is realized at resurrection when the believer will be transformed into the likeness of Christ and presented to the Lord as holy. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer is both the promise of and the agency for this future glorification, which includes 1) the redemption of the body, 2) an inheritance undefiled and eternal, and 3) deliverance from the future wrath of God.
“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:13-14; cf. 1 Cor. 1:22).
Justification delivers from the penalty of sin
Sanctification delivers from the power of sin
Glorification delivers from the presence of sin