The Church’s Beliefs

From the February 2002 Trumpet Print Edition

Here is a brief summary of the main beliefs and doctrines of the Philadelphia Church of God:

• We believe in one God, eternally existing, Creator of the heavens and Earth and all that is in them (Gen. 1:1). The Godhead is actually composed of two personages: the God who became the Father of Jesus Christ, and the Word who was made flesh and became God’s Son (John 1:1-14).

• We believe Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, the Christ, the divine Son of the living God, begotten of the Holy Spirit, born in the human flesh of the virgin Mary. Christ came to Earth the first time to qualify to replace Satan on the throne of the Earth (Matt. 4). He also came to establish and build His Church (Matt. 16:18) and to train those who would rule under Him in the Kingdom of God. He proclaimed the gospel: the good news of the future establishment of the Kingdom of God on Earth (Mark 1:14-15), which will be made up of the family of God, administering the government of God, based upon God’s law.

• We believe the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God and of Christ Jesus—the power of God (Acts 1:8; Rom. 15:19) by which all things were created and made.

• We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are God’s revelation and complete expressed will to man, inspired in thought and word, and infallible in the original writings; that they are of supreme and final authority, and the source of truth (ii Tim. 3:16). We believe all teachings contrary to the Holy Bible are false.

• We believe Satan is a spirit being and, as the devil, is the adversary of God and the children of God (i Pet. 5:8). God has allowed Satan dominion over the world for 6,000 years, leading the children of Adam into rejection of God’s law and rebellion against God. Satan’s power is merely to influence and lead, not to force humans arbitrarily against their will. He has ruled by deception (Rev. 12:9) with the aid of a host of demons which are rebellious angels, spirit beings, who have followed Satan in his rebellion.

• We believe man was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), and is wholly mortal, subject to corruption and decay, without eternal life inherent in himself, except as the gift of God under God’s terms and conditions as expressed in the Bible. Adam and Eve sinned, thereby incurring the death penalty without having received eternal life. God then allowed Satan to sway all their children, influencing mankind to sin, thus bringing upon themselves the penalty of death (Rom. 6:23).

• We believe sin is the transgression of God’s law (i John 3:4); that the law is spiritual, perfect, holy, just and good (Rom. 7:12), summed up in the word love (i John 5:3); that it involves the two great principles of love to God and love to neighbor, and that the Ten Commandments compose the ten points of that law (Matt. 22:37-40). We believe this fundamental spiritual law reveals to us the only right and true way to life—the only possible way of happiness, peace and joy; that it is immutable and binding throughout eternity; and that all unhappiness, misery, poverty, anguish, and woe has come from its transgression.

• We believe God so loved this world of helpless sinners that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16), who, though in all points tempted as we are, lived without sin in the human flesh (Heb. 4:15) and died for us as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice (Heb. 10:12). This made it legally possible for man’s sins to be forgiven and for God to release him from their penalty, since Jesus, whose life was of greater value than the sum total of all other human lives (because it was He who brought them into being), has paid the penalty in man’s stead.

• We believe Christ was raised from the dead after His body reposed three days and three nights in the grave (i Cor. 15:3-4), thus making immortality possible for mortal man; that He thereafter ascended into heaven where He now sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate (Heb. 8:1; i John 2:1-2).

• We believe that all who truly repent of their sins in full surrender and willing obedience to God, faithfully accepting Jesus Christ as personal Savior, are forgiven their sins by an act of divine grace (Eph. 1:7). They are justified, pardoned from the penalty of past sins, reconciled to God (Rom. 5:9-10) and given the gift of the Holy Spirit upon baptism (Acts 2:38) into the body of Christ, which is the true Church of God. The Holy Spirit abides within such a person, effecting a true change in life and attitude, supplying the divine love which alone can fulfill the law and produce righteousness. At baptism a Christian is begotten of God and will be born into the family of God at the resurrection (John 3:6; i Cor. 15:52). We believe God’s greatest purpose is to expand His family.

• We believe that from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, the seventh day of the week, is God’s Sabbath (Exod. 20:8-11). On this day we must rest from our labors, following the commands and example of the Apostle Paul, the New Testament Church and Jesus. The Sabbath is a sign between God and His people (Exod. 31:13).

• We believe the seven annual holy days, as given to ancient Israel by God through Moses (Lev. 23)—kept by Christ, the Apostle Paul and the New Testament Church—are to be kept today. These festivals picture God’s plan and purpose for mankind. The Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread occur every spring; Pentecost is observed in early summer. In the fall, we observe Trumpets, Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. The sacrifices, which were added and later superseded by Christ’s sacrifice (Heb. 9:22-10:10), are no longer to be kept on those days nor at any other time.

• We believe Christians are forbidden to kill (Exod. 20:13) or in any manner directly or indirectly take human life. We believe bearing arms is contrary to this doctrine; we therefore conscientiously refuse to bear arms or to come under military authority. Christians are, in fact, citizens of another government (John 18:36; Heb. 11:13-16).

• We believe the promises were made to Abraham and his “seed,” Christ (Gal. 3:16), and that the covenants (including the New Covenant) and the promises pertain to Israel. The national phases of the promises—material blessings—have been given to the modern physical descendants of the Israelites (Gen. 22:15-18), but the spiritual phase of the promises—salvation—is through Christ alone, and is freely open to Gentiles also who, through Christ, become Abraham’s spiritual children and heirs according to the promises (Gal. 3:7-9, 29).

• We believe the Church is that body of believers who are being led by the Holy Spirit; that the true Church of God is not a denomination; that the inspired name for this spiritual organism is “the Church of God” (Acts 20:28); that the mission of the Church today is to preach the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God to all nations as a witness (Matt. 24:14), with emphasis on the warning to America and Britain of the prophecies pertaining to them (Ezek. 33:7); to reconcile to God, and to save, through Christ, such people as are now called (John 6:44); and to minister to the Church of God. Members of the Church are being specially trained in this life to rule with Christ in the Millennium (Rev. 20:6).

• We believe the only hope of eternal life for mortal man lies in the resurrection. At the end of the Millennium, all who have lived not knowing God will be raised to physical life and given the opportunity for salvation (i Cor. 15:22; Rev. 20:5). We believe that there shall be a resurrection of the just and unjust (Acts 24:15; Dan. 12:2)—the just to eternal life as spirit beings upon Earth, the unjust to the second death in hell (Gehenna) fire in which they shall perish in eternal punishment (Rev. 20:13-15).

• We believe in the imminent return of Jesus Christ to rule the Earth as King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16); that at that time He will sit upon the throne of David, restoring all things during a thousand-year reign upon Earth and establishing the Kingdom of God, forever to be headquartered on Earth.