Statement of Faith
Note from Ed M. Smith
I fully recognized that the Body of Christ is very diverse in its biblical theological understanding and will never fully agree this side of eternity. However, the core teaching of TPM can be applied in most settings regardless of the reality of diversity in theological viewpoints. Since I am a Southern Baptist ordained and licensed minister, what you will read in this Statement of Faith is very similar to the Baptist Faith and Message (a summary of belief held by the convention of Southern Baptist Churches.) Also know my statement of faith is not an all-inclusive statement of all that I believe about all aspects of the Bible or living the Christian life, but a summarization of the crucial elements of my theology. Here again, one does not have to adopt or embrace the SBC statement of faith or all of what I hold personally as biblical theology and doctrine to apply the principles of TPM. I do however, seek to make Christ the center of all that is done in a ministry session.
1. There is one true God, eternally existing in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—each of whom possesses equally all the attributes of Deity and the characteristics of personality. The Father sent His only Son to become the redemption for lost mankind. The Holy Spirit was sent to continue the mission of Christ through His body, the Church.
2. Jesus Christ came in the flesh, fully God and fully man, yet without sin. As God the Son, He came to earth as a man, born of a virgin, and fulfiled all He was sent to accomplish. He died on the cross for the sins of the world, after three days he rose from the dead, and He rules today at the right hand of God the Father. He will return in the clouds on the appointed day of the Father to call up all those who have been washed and regenerated by the atoning work of the cross of Christ. Jesus Christ is central to all true mind renewal and freedom. "Apart from Him we can do nothing" (John 15:5).
3. The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity. He lives within the heart of the true Christian, providing the power to obey God's word, convicting of sin, teaching and leading into all truth, renewing the mind, providing comfort in time of distress, and unifying all true believers in a bond of love. The Holy Spirit is the way that God communicates with His people through inspiration of the written Word and through inner communication of the heart. It is believed that the Holy Spirit is the One who reveals truth to the person during a Theophostic Prayer Ministry session. The Holy Spirit has come into the world to reveal and glorify Christ and to apply the saving work of Christ to men. He convicts and draws sinners to Christ, imparts new life to them, continually indwells them from the moment of spiritual birth, and seals them until the day of redemption. His fullness, power, and control are made available in the believer's life by faith. Every believer is called to live in the power of the indwelling Spirit so that he will not fulfill the lust of the flesh but will bear fruit to the glory of God.
4. The Bible is the inspired Word of God and is "profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16 NASB). It is timeless and relevant for all circumstances and without error in its original form. It is the fullness of God's divine inspired revelation to man. The Word of God must be allowed to interpret itself by itself in its accurate historical and literary context
5. Man was originally created in the image of God. He sinned by disobeying God; thus, he was alienated from his Creator. This original fall brought all of mankind under divine condemnation. Man's original nature is corrupted, and he is thus totally unable to please God in his fallen flesh. Every man is in need of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. The salvation of man is wholly a work of God's free grace and is not the work, in whole or in part, of human works or goodness or religious ceremony. God imputes His righteousness to those who put their faith in Christ alone for their salvation, and thereby justifies them in His sight. It is the privilege of all who are born again of the Spirit to be assured of their salvation from the very moment in which they trust Christ as their Savior. This assurance is not based on any kind of human merit, but is produced by the witness of the Holy Spirit, who confirms in the believer the testimony of God in His written word. Since all people are born in a fallen state, separated from God, those who do not respond in faith to God's gracious free gift through Christ live in a fallen state and will be eternally separated from God in an eternal hell. Those who come to Christ in faith are made new creatures and will live in heaven for all eternity. Jesus took on our sin that we might become His righteousness. God is actively at work through the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer, renewing his mind and maturing his Spirit "till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (Eph. 4:13–14).
6. Sanctification is the "setting apart" of the believer from a life of sin unto a life of godliness and holiness. Sanctification cannot be understood outside of the context of salvation. The Baptist Faith and Message (Ed Smith is Southern Baptist) states it this way,
"Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.
A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior.
B. Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.
C. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God's purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person's life.
D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.
Theophostic Prayer Ministry assists in this sanctifying work, but is in not in any manner all that is involved in the sanctifying process. Sanctification is a work of God and a cooperation of man. The Apostle Paul says, "may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass" (1 Thess. 5:23-24). But Paul also says, "in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth" (Eph. 4:22-24).
8. Salvation is an ongoing process. It was, it is and it shall also be. We were saved (became new creatures, redeemed, made right with God, etc) when we came to Christ in faith. We are being saved moment-to-moment from the lies we believe and the sinful propensity of the flesh. We will be saved when we receive our immortal glorified bodies and have all that is not holy and of Christ removed when we meet the Lord in the air.
9. The Church universal is made up of all people who believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for their sins and who are partakers of the divine nature. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the determining factor of one's authentic faith relationship with God, not one's denomination, religious practice, or performance in Christian disciplines. For "if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him" (Rom. 8:9). The primary call and mission of the church is to go forth and proclaim the good news of freedom in Christ to all the world (Matt. 28:19–20), to bring truth to those held captive by the kingdom of darkness, and to prepare the way for His second coming by making ready His bride (Luke 4:18).
10. Satan was rendered powerless in the life of the believer through the death of Christ apart from the person's willful cooperation in succumbing to the deceivers schemes and temptations. The Apostle Paul declared "...no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes." (2 Cor. 2:11).
Much unnecessary attention is given the devil when we engage him in battle and fail to recognize the finished and completed work of Christ. The Apostle Paul commanded us to "stand" in the completed work and resist the schemes of the devil, but we are not commanded to fight an enemy who is already defeated (Eph. 6). Much "theology" about the devil and what he can and cannot do is based upon people's experience as opposed to sound biblical teaching. When my expereince is contrary to the Bible then my expereince is contrary no matter how authentic it may appear. Much deliverance is based and modeled upon the Gospel account of how the devil was contended with which all occurred prior to the Cross and Resurrection. Some decisive occured at the Cross of Jesus that put the devil in a different place. To approach him as though he was still in the pre-Calvary position is to deceptively reinstate him to a place he has lost.
The post-Resurrection passages are clear; the Satan is defeated, we are seated with Christ in the heavenly places and Satan has been relegated to a subordinate place. "...(God) raised Him (Christ) from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all" (Eph. 1:20-23).
Nevertheless, Satan is alive and well just not as powerful as some have made him out to be and certainly no where near omnipotent or any threat to God. Hebrews 2:14 declare that he was rendered powerless by the death of Jesus Christ. He has limited abilities and is totally under the sovereign rule of His owner and creator. This does not mean that he is without great skill in trickery and deception for he is. However, he cannot violate the will of man and requires willful participation from humankind to accomplish evil in the world.
Martin Luther elucidates this clearly when he says, "Why should you fear? Why should you be afraid? Do you not know that the prince of this world has been judged? He is no lord, no prince any more. You have a different, a stronger Lord, Christ, who has overcome and bound him. Therefore let the prince and god of this world look sour, bare his teeth make a great noise, threaten, and act in an unmannerly way; he can do no more than a bad dog on a chain, which may bark, run here and there, and tear at the chain. But because it is tied and you avoid it, it cannot bite you. So the devil acts toward every Christian. Therefore everything depends on this that we do not feel secure but continue in the fear of God and in prayer; then the chained dog cannot harm us. But this chained dog may at least frighten him who would be secure and go ahead without caution, although he may not come close enough to be bitten… Though devils all the world should fill, all eager to devour us, we tremble not, we fear no ill, they shall not overpower us. This world's prince may still scowl fierce as he will, he can harm us none, he's judged; the deed is done; one little word can fell him." (What Luther Says, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959.) Satan lost his place in the spiritual realm and was relegated to a subordinate position beneath the true believer in Christ. For God the Father gave all authority to Jesus who was given to the Church, His body that is the fullness of Him. God "raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all" (Eph. 1:20-23.)
Satan's deceptive "power" is totally related and dependent upon the lies that each person's holds. Any demon thought that passes through the mind of a man has only as much impact as it is believed. People are not victims of the devil that need to be rescued as is seen in the Gospels prior to the Cross, but rather are being held captive by their own false belief. Lasting freedom does not come by fighting a defeated devil (which makes little logical sense anyway), but rather by turning to the Lord of truth. Paul said it this way, "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God…but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away…" (2 Cor. 4:3-4, 2 Cor. 3:16). It does not say the veil is removed by warfare or even fervent praying, but by the deliberate choice of the one blinded to turn to Christ. Paul says it in another fashion in his letter to Timothy concerning helping people held captive by the devil's snare (the snare is the falsehood) when he says, "with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will" (2 Tim. 2:25-26). Here again freedom comes not by fighting a defeated foe, but through the person receiving repentance "granted" from God (change of thinking) leading to the knowledge of the truth. It is the Truth that sets us free. Satan is not a creature that we are called to fight but only to resist his schemes and to stand in the finished work of Christ. Jesus did not start something 2000 years ago but rather finished something that we are called to rest in. There are many other areas of Christian thought not included in this statement such as; the Lord's Supper, the ordinance of baptism, social justice, war and peace, missions and evangelism, the kingdom of God and stewardship, etc. which Ed Smith hold's traditional protestant views.
However, though each are important for matters in theology, these and other theological issues fall outside the scope of this training and are not a part of the core teaching of TPM. A TPM facilitator may not fully embrace Ed Smith's particular theological tenet and still be able to effective do this ministry. The Body of Christ is very diverse in what she believes and may never come to terms in all areas this side of heaven.
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