FBFI Position Statements 2015ADOPTED JUNE 16, 2015
15.01: The Importance of Prophecy
Although many believers avoid the study of Bible prophecy because of the misuse of prophetic passages and because of differences among interpreters, prophecy is a very important component of Biblical revelation and properly understood is a great blessing to God’s people. We should preach the whole counsel of God, including prophetic portions. Promises and predictions of the future are an integral part of both Old and New Testament preaching.
Prophetic teaching serves as a warning to the unsaved. It is also profitable for the believer’s life and ministry. The Scriptures promise a special blessing on those who study and apply prophetic teaching. Specific benefits include a greater appreciation for the glory and trustworthiness of God, a fuller understanding of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, the promotion of evangelistic zeal, a motivation for holy living and mutual exhortation, comfort in sorrow, encouragement in affliction, and a calming of fears.
15.02: Hermeneutics and Bible Prophecy
We advocate the grammatical/historical approach to hermeneutics. This is also called literal or plain sense. Covenant theology is ambivalent on hermeneutics, using literalism to interpret most Scripture but employing a form of allegorism or figurative interpretation on much of prophetic literature. This is done to uphold the generic unity and continuity of Israel and the church as the one people of God in the outworking of the one redemptive covenant of grace.
We reject the non-literal position and advocate a consistent hermeneutic for the following reasons.
- Prophecy, indeed created language as a whole, was designed to convey a specific message. Without a consistent means of interpretation, there is no restraint on meaning.
- The fulfillment of prophecies concerning Christ’s first coming were literally fulfilled.
- An ambivalent literal/non-literal hermeneutic robs the Old Testament of its real authority by denying to the people of the Old Testament the key to unlock its truths. If the meaning was allegorical all along, how could the prophecies have been genuinely meaningful to those who heard them? For the covenant theologian this key cannot be the self-contained meaning of the words themselves, so it must be an outside factor. For the dispensationalist, prophecy means in the New Testament what it meant in the Old Testament.
15.03: The Premillennial Return of Christ
We affirm the premillennial return of Christ, that is, His future literal and bodily return in glory and His subsequent thousand-year reign over all the nations of the earth. We also affirm that His return and reign will bring about the spiritual and physical salvation of the nation of Israel and the fulfillment of the kingdom promised to the house of David. We affirm premillennialism and reject amillennialism and postmillennialism based on a literal understanding of Bible prophecy.
15.04: The Pretribulational Rapture of the Church
We believe in the pretribulational rapture of the Church to meet the Lord in the air and be with Him forever. We believe that nothing remains to be fulfilled prior to the rapture thereby making it an imminent event. We believe that this view of the rapture is correct for several reasons including the following:
- The Holy Spirit’s influence through the church is removed prior to the 70th Week of Daniel and the Wicked One being revealed (2 Thess. 2);
- The church will be kept from the time of wrath that is to come upon the earth (1 Thess. 5; Rev. 3:10);
- The church is absent from the earth in Rev. 4-18; and
- This view is consistent with the contextual Jewish messianic expectations and ancient marriage customs and language used by our Lord to describe the events surrounding His return (John 14).
15.05 Prophetic Views and Separation
Regarding the reality of the return of Christ: The doctrine of the second coming of Jesus Christ has always been considered one of the fundamentals of the faith. A denial of the return of Christ constitutes a denial of the veracity and faithfulness of Jesus Christ. We would call on all true Bible believers to separate ecclesiastically from anyone who denies the return of Christ. Regarding views on the millennium: We are committed to a premillennial position on the second coming of Jesus Christ. Orthodoxy has made room for various positions on the millennium. Nevertheless the difference in hermeneutic between the consistently literal approach of premillennialism and the partially allegorical approach of amillennialism and postmillennialism has an impact on ministry philosophy, cultural application and ecclesiology. Therefore this difference limits the level of cooperation between those who hold to these two views and those who hold the premillennial position.
Regarding the views on the rapture: While faithful people, implementing a normal, literal hermeneutic, have come to different conclusions regarding the timing of the rapture, we affirm the doctrine of a pretribulational rapture. We believe there is clear and compelling biblical evidence that the rapture will occur prior to a literal seven year tribulation period as described in Revelation 4-19.
Views on the millennium and rapture do not demand ecclesiastical separation but do limit cooperation. See Position Statement on limited participation (FBFI Resolution 09.03). We consider it legitimate for local churches, fellowships, and ministry institutions to include such a doctrine in their defining doctrinal statements as well as to make agreement on this doctrine a condition for membership or employment.
FBFI Position Statements 2013ADOPTED JUNE 11, 2013
13.01 Concerning Marriage and Sexual Morality
The following statement regarding marriage and sexual morality reflects the clear and consistent Biblical teaching, the consistent historical position of Christianity in general and of Fundamental Baptists in particular and has always been and remains the unwavering theological conviction of the FBFI. Adherence to the clear teaching of Scripture on marriage and sexual morality is and has always been fundamental to obedient, Biblical Christianity.
Definition of Marriage:
- Marriage is the exclusive God ordained institution between one man (husband) and one woman (wife) in a mutually consented “one-flesh” relationship, consisting of mutually supportive companionship and physical union (Gen. 1:27; 2:24; 1 Cor. 7:1–6; Rom. 1:26–27).
- Marriage is a monogamous, heterosexual, covenant relationship between the man and the woman, which is intended to be lifelong and which is publicly entered into before God as witness and enforcer (Prov. 2:17; Mal. 2:16; Matt. 19:6) and recognized by God’s institution of human government (Deut. 22:13–17; Gen. 29:25–26; Rom. 13:1; Matt. 22:21).
Biblical Sexual Morality:
- Sexual relations do not alone constitute a genuine marriage (John 4:17–18) due to the fact that sexual activity and relations outside the marriage bond as defined above are always considered to be sinful (Heb. 13:4; Matt. 19:9).
- All other forms of sexual activity outside of monogamous, heterosexual marriage are forbidden in Scripture, including fornication (“any sexual activity outside of marriage” 1 Cor. 7:2; 1 Thess. 4:3), adultery (“with someone other than one’s own spouse” Exod. 20:14; Matt. 5:28), homosexuality (“any same-sex sexual activity” Gen. 19:5–7; Lev. 18:22; Rom. 1:27; 1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:10; Jude 7), incest (“sexual activity with family members or relatives” Lev. 20:11–21; 1 Cor. 5:1), obscenity (Eph. 5:3–4), pornography (Matt. 5:28; Mark 7:21–22; 1 Thess. 4:5; Rev. 18:9), prostitution (Prov. 5:1–23; 7:4–27; 1 Cor. 6:15–18), transvestitism (Deut. 22:5; 1 Cor. 11:4–15), criminal sexual behavior (rape, molestation, pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia, pederasty, etc., Rom 13:1–6; Lev 18–22), and impurity (“moral filth in one’s heart and thoughts,” James 1:21; Rev 22:11; Rom 1:24; 2 Pet 2:10).
God’s Will for Sinners:
- It is the clear will of God for all human beings made in the image of God to abstain from immorality. This is especially true for professing believers in Christ (1 Thess. 4:1–8). His image-bearers must abstain from immorality and refrain from approving immoral behavior (Rom. 1:31–32). The practice or approval of these sins is inconsistent with a sincere and genuine profession of faith (Eph. 5:3- 5; cf. Gal. 5:19–21 and 1 Cor. 6:9–11).
- Thankfully, God in His grace offers His gospel to all sinners. All human beings are sinners (Rom. 3:23). Though sexual sin carries severe consequences in this life and eternal judgment in the life to come, all sin, including sexual sin, can be forgiven via the grace of God available on account of Christ’s infinite atonement for sin applied to those who repent and trust in Jesus Christ alone for their eternal salvation (1 Cor. 6:9–11; Acts 17:30; 1 John 1:9; Rom. 6:1–7).
- Because of human depravity, it is possible for anyone to commit any sin at any time. Therefore, we should humbly take every opportunity to help others by introducing them to Jesus Christ. In addition, we must help any professing Christian who is battling with sexual sin. We do so by accurately calling sin what it is and by encouraging genuine repentance in order to restore fellowship with Christ and the joy of one’s salvation (Ps. 51).
13.02 Concerning Child Protection
- The great evil of child sexual abuse has been much in the public consciousness in recent decades and particularly in the last few years. Much of value has been written and said from various sources, both secular and religious. Many individuals and groups have also provided advice and resources to facilitate a right response. Everyone should be horrified and appropriately angry over the revelations of the nature and extent of abuse, and should be committed to doing what we can to minister to past victims, rescue current victims and prevent future victims.
- Child sexual abuse is a great evil in God’s eyes for a number of clear reasons: First it victimizes those who are the most vulnerable among us (Matt. 19:14; see Jer. 23:1–3). Second, it violates the principle of trust that is essential to the adult/child relationship (Eph. 6:1–2; Prov. 23:26). Third, as a sexual sin it strikes at the victim in a very intimate and personally damaging way (See 2 Sam. 13:19). Fourth, it can greatly damage the victim’s view of God and receptivity to spiritual truth (See Matt. 18:6). And fifth, if it occurs in connection with a church or other ministry, it can greatly damage the testimony of Jesus Christ (2 Sam. 12:14). To be sure it is not the only sin, but it is a very egregious one.
- As a society we have been learning many things regarding child sexual abuse. These include the very common and widespread occurrence of child sexual abuse; the depth and extent of the damage that this sin does to victims and their loved ones; and the highly manipulative nature and “likeability” of many sexual predators; the natural reluctance of victims to tell what has happened to them, and the vulnerability of any institution that looks after children, including Biblebelieving churches and families to the presence of sexual predators.
- Therefore we encourage all Bible-believing churches and other ministries to do the following:
a. Develop a Scriptural understanding of the issues involved, including God’s hatred of abuse, the importance of protecting children, the nature of genuine repentance, and the real help that is available in Christ Jesus;
b. Educate themselves, their staff, and their members to the great need and key truths concerning this subject and the resources that are available to help;
c. Develop and implement an appropriate child protection policy that includes provisions for the screening and selection of workers, the organization and supervision of children’s ministries, the establishing of reasonable boundary policies, procedures for reporting suspected abuse, appropriate safety procedures, and encouragement and counseling for victims and their families;
d. Educate leaders and members to take seriously and respond appropriately to accusations or suspicion of abuse and to encourage victims and potential victims to tell if they have been treated in a way that is sexually inappropriate.
13.03 Concerning the Kingdom
- The FBFI affirms both a universal kingdom and a mediatorial kingdom.
- The FBFI affirms a present, universal kingdom of God, which is God’s sovereignty over the world demonstrated providentially in His involvement in the affairs of mankind, politically in the raising up and putting down of kingdoms and spiritually in the lives of believers (Dan. 2:37–45; Psalm 45:6; 145:13; 1 Cor. 6:9- 11).
- The FBFI affirms a mediatorial kingdom demonstrated nationally in the rule of the kings over Israel and eschatologically in the reign of Christ in the millennium. Scripture teaches the reality of a future, literal, earthly reign of Christ. Based on the Davidic Covenant, Christ will sit on David’s throne, in the city of Jerusalem, and rule and reign with a rod of iron for a thousand years. The FBFI acknowledges that some within the Fellowship also include a present spiritual aspect of the mediatorial kingdom (2 Sam. 7:8–16; Isa. 9:7; Rev. 19:11–16).
- The FBFI affirms the Biblical teaching of the pretribulation rapture of the Church, which will be followed by the 70th Week of Daniel, at the end of which Christ will return to earth to establish the Millennial Kingdom. The FBFI affirms that the millennium will follow this glorious, visible return to Earth (Matt. 24:29–31; Titus 2:13; Eph. 1:18; 2 Tim. 4:1; Rev. 20:4).
- The FBFI affirms that during the millennial kingdom the promises given in the Old Testament to the nation of Israel will be literally fulfilled. National Israel will serve their God, possess the land and receive the blessings promised to them in the Abrahamic Covenant and reaffirmed through the New Covenant (Jer. 31:29- 33; Zech. 14:6–9; Matt. 19:28; Rom. 11:11–21).
- The FBFI rejects the postmillennial teaching that Christ’s kingdom will be inaugurated through the efforts of the church and that after the kingdom has been established, Christ will return.
- The FBFI rejects the amillennial teaching that the promises of a kingdom made to Israel in the Old Testament are being fulfilled in the present-day church. Any assertion that the church is to be equated with Old Testament Israel or that it is a permanent replacement for Israel is contrary to the plain teaching of Scripture.