As a Christian constituency of New Testament believers, we, The Pentecostal Church of Darden, subscribe to the following declaration of the things which are more surely believed among us (Luke 1:1), praying that there be neither harmful nor divisive difference of belief to the injury of any, nor the disturbance of the peace and harmony of the church, and that we maybe all of the same mind and same judgment, speaking the same things in love (1 Corinthians 1:10; Acts 2:42) and with one voice glorifying God, to the edification of His people, and to give Christian witness to the world.
1. The Scriptures
The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16) presenting to us the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men, and constituting the Divine and only rule of Christian faith and practice (2 Peter 1:21).
2. The Godhead
We believe there is but one true and living God, who is everlasting, infinite in power, wisdom and goodness; that He is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible, and Preserver of all things (Romans 1:20; Colossians 1:16). In the unity of this Godhead, there are three persons of one individual essence, who are co-equal, co-existent and co-eternal; namely, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (Matthew 3:16, 17; 28:18, 19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; John 1:1,2, 18; 10:33; 14:26; 15:26; Philippians 2:6; Hebrews 9:14). The Son is the eternally begotten of the Father, and accepted earthly limitations for the purpose of incarnation, being true God and true man; conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary. He died upon the cross, the just for the unjust as a substitutionary sacrifice, and all who believe in Him are justified on the grounds of His shed blood. He arose from the dead according to the Scriptures. He is now at the right hand of the Majesty on High as our great High Priest, and He will return again to establish His Kingdom of righteousness and justice. The Holy Spirit is a Divine Person, Executive of the Godhead on earth, the Comforter sent by the Lord Jesus Christ to indwell, to guide and to teach the believer, and to convince the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment (John 16:8).
3. Man, His Fall and Redemption
Man is a created being, made in the likeness and the image of God, but through Adam’s transgression and fall, sin came into the world (Romans 5:12). "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). "As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10). Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was manifested to undo the work of the devil, and gave His life and shed His blood to redeem and restore man to God (1 John 3:8).
Salvation is made possible through the meritorious work of Jesus Christ on the cross and through Holy Spirit conviction. Godly sorrow works repentance and makes possible the experience of the new birth, and Christ formed within us is the gift of eternal life (2 Corinthians 7:10; Titus 2:11; Romans 10:13-15; Luke 24:47; Titus 3:5-7). Salvation is the gift of God to man, separate from works and the Law, and is made operative by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, producing works acceptable to God (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Man is a free moral agent and can at any time after the new birth experience turn away from God and die in a state of sin, with the consequences of hell to look forward to.
5. The Church
The true Church, built upon the Foundation of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20), is the Body of our Lord (Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:27); Christ being the Head (Ephesians 1:22, 23; Colossians 1:18). Its earthly constituents are all true believers, born again of the Spirit (John 3:6) and of the Word (1 Peter 1:23), who are living an overcoming Christian life (Ephesians 5:27; Revelation 21:27). To the Church, through its members, are delegated the various gifts and offices of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 12:7-11, 27, 28) which are necessary for the successful evangelization of the world and the perfecting of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:7; Ephesians 4:11, 12). This universal, invisible, sanctified Church is the chaste virgin Bride of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:1, 2; Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 21:9b, 27). It is this Bride for whom Jesus Christ will return, just prior to the Great Tribulation, to catch her away and take her to heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
6. The Ministry
God, through the Holy Spirit, definitely calls such as He desires to serve as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, and specifically endues the one called with the talents and gifts peculiar to that office or offices (Ephesians 4:11, 12). Under no circumstances should anyone be ordained or set apart to any such office unless the calling is distinct and evident.
7. Water Baptism
Baptism in water is by immersion, a direct commandment of our Lord (Matthew 28:19), and is for believers only. The ordinance is a symbol of the Christian’s identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12; Acts 8:36-39). The following recommendation regarding the water baptism formula is adopted: "On the confession of your faith, I now baptize you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins."
8. The Baptism of the Holy Ghost
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire (Matthew 3:11), is a gift from God, as promised by the Lord Jesus Christ to all believers in this dispensation of time, and is received subsequent to the new birth (John 14:16, 17; Acts 1:8; 2:38, 39; 10:44-48). The Baptism of the Holy Ghost is accompanied by speaking in other tongues as the Holy Spirit Himself gives utterance as the initial physical sign and evidence (Acts 2:4).
The Bible teaches that without holiness no man can see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). We believe in the doctrine of sanctification as a definite, yet progressive, work of grace, commencing at the time of regeneration and continuing until the consummation of salvation (Hebrews 13:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2; Ephesians 5:26; 1 Corinthians 6:11; John 17:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:23).
10. The Lord’s Supper
The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper is a commandment of our Savior; and being a memorial to His death and resurrection, is strictly limited to Christian believers (1 Corinthians 11:27). The time and frequency of its observance is left to the discretion of each congregation (1 Corinthians 11:26). Only unfermented grape juice, the fruit of the vine, as recommended by our Lord (Matthew 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18) shall be used in connection therewith.
11. Foot Washing
Foot washing is recognized among many believers as a Christian practice, and the time, manner and frequency of its observance is left to the discretion of each local congregation (John 13).
12. Divine Healing
Healing is for the physical ills of the human body and is wrought by the power of God, through the prayer of faith, and by the laying on of hands (Mark 16:18; James 5:14, 15). It is provided for in the atonement of Christ and is available to all who truly believe.
13. The Resurrection of the Just
The Bible promises, "This same Jesus...shall so come in like manner" (Acts 1:11). His coming is imminent; when He comes, "The dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air" (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17). Following the tribulation, He shall return to earth as King of kings and Lord of lords, and together with His saints, who shall be kings and priests, He shall reign a thousand years (Revelation 20:6).
14. Setting a Time for the Lord’s Return
It is unwise to teach that the Lord will come at some specified time, thereby setting a date for His appearing. It is also unwise to teach, preach or publish visions of numbers and dates which would tend to fix the time of the second coming of the Lord (Mark 13:32, 33).
15. The Coming of the Lord
We believe the Bible presents the coming of Christ as personal, imminent, pre-tribulational and pre-millennial. We further contend that this position alone admonishes watchfulness, incites holy living, prevents spiritual declension, and provides maximum incentive and motive for urgency and zeal in evangelizing the unsaved. As demonic deception and satanic darkness deepens, we urge our ministers to maintain and proclaim this doctrinal viewpoint as the "blessed hope" of the Church. Furthermore, we recommend that should any of our preachers hold to the mid or post-tribulation doctrine, they refrain from preaching and teaching it. Should they persist in emphasizing this doctrine to the point of making it an issue, their standing in the fellowship will be seriously affected.
16. Hell and Eternal Retribution
The one who physically dies in his sins without Christ is hopelessly and eternally lost in the Lake of Fire, and therefore has no further opportunity of hearing the gospel or for repentance (Hebrews 9:27). The Lake of Fire is literal (Revelation 19:20). The terms "eternal" and "everlasting" used in describing the duration of the punishment of the damned (Matthew 25:41-46) in the lake of fire, carry the same thought and meaning of endless existence, as used in denoting the duration of joy and ecstasy of saints in the presence of God.
We recognize the scriptural duty of all our people, as well as ministers, to pay tithes as unto the Lord (Hebrews 7:8). Tithes should be used for the support of the active ministry and for the propagation of the gospel and work of the Lord in general and not given to charity or used for other purposes (Malachi 3:7-11; Hebrews 7:2; 1 Corinthians 9:7-11; 16:2).