We believe the Bible to be God’s Word which reveals the only hope for humanity, Jesus Christ. Moreover, we believe Scripture to be entirely true in every sense because its author is God, who Himself is Truth. (Tit. 2:13, Is. 65:16, Heb. 4:12)
We believe that Scripture is God’s special revelation to humanity in a unified narrative that leads to Jesus Christ, our Creator, Redeemer, Judge, and Lord, and it has profound wisdom for the modern world. Ultimately, the Lord Jesus Christ is the point of the story of the Bible. (Luke 24:27)
We believe this epic story began with God creating the heavens and earth and will culminate with God creating a new heaven and new earth where His people will dwell with Him forever. This holy book shows us just how unholy we are, how Holy our God is, and how Jesus Christ’s sacrifice makes believers holy. (Ps. 51:5, Is. 6:3, Heb. 10:10) If you miss the Gospel, you miss the entire point of the Book. We further believe that if your faith isn't in the finished work of Christ—His perfect life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection—you will die in your sins. (1 Cor. 15:1-4, Eph. 2:8-9, Heb. 9:26, John 8:24)
We believe that every Word in the original manuscripts behind every book in the canon of Scripture was God-breathed without error, and is, therefore, useful for teaching, correction, reproof, and training in righteous living, such that the man or woman of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
We believe that the canon of Scripture has been closed for over 1,900 years and consists of 39 Old Testament and 27 New Testament books originally written in the languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Furthermore, we believe nearly 40 authors wrote in their own language and dialect according to their customs and culture, yet were simultaneously verbally carried along by the Holy Spirit such that humans wrote God's Word. (2 Pet. 1:21) This work of the Holy Spirit took place over 1,600 years, on three different continents, through shepherds, farmers, judges, kings, prophets, priests, fishermen, government officials, craftsmen, and even a doctor.
We believe that God did not stop His work of giving us His Word in inspiration but continued to ensure that accurate copies of the original manuscripts were preserved such that not even the smallest letter or stroke of His Word will ever pass away. (Mt. 5:18, Mark 13:31)
We believe God Sovereignly worked not only in inspiration and preservation but also in the discovery and revelation of the canonical books. We deny any suggestion that the church conspired to choose which books it wanted in the Bible or that inspired books are missing or lost.
We believe the Bible to be the sole authority for the church and our final authority for faith, practice, and conduct. We are commanded to read the Bible both privately and publically, and it must be the primary source document for all teaching and preaching in the church; we must preach the Word. (Ps. 1:2, 1 Thess. 5:27, 2 Tim. 2:4)
We believe that as believers, we should hide God’s Word in our hearts that we might not sin against Him and that His Word should be a lamp to guide our feet and a light for our path. (Ps. 119)
We believe that both copies and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent that they faithfully represent the original text. (2 Pet. 3:16) Furthermore, we believe that because the Bible is God’s Word, it is to be both believed and obeyed by all who profess Christ as Savior.
Finally, we believe that we are completely reliant upon the Spirit of God to give us understanding as we study Scripture and hear it proclaimed. (1 Cor. 2:6-16) Without the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we can never understand the mind of God as it's been revealed in His Word.
Presently, there is an article trending on Facebook by Gary Thomas titled ‘Enough is Enough Why the Church Has to Stop Enabling Abusive Men,’ and I need to speak to the article because I love and care about my sisters in Christ in Berean. In this short article, Gary Thomas describes situations in which Christian women are experiencing abusive behavior from their husbands and are remaining in the marriage because of the ‘long-standing Christian stigma’ associated with divorce. Gary writes, “I recently spoke at a long-standing North American woman’s conference and was overwhelmed by the quantity and horrific nature of things wives have to put up with in their marriages.” Gary argues that it would be more sinful to stay in the marriage than to be guilty of the sin of divorce. He purports that the evangelical church has put such a premium on marriage that Christian women feel stuck and sustain abuse from their husbands that they should never have to experience. Gary describes a situation in which a husband told his wife and baby to get out of the car on the side of a busy highway like I-95 and the woman’s internal struggle with putting up with that kind of behavior or pursuing a divorce.
Let me go on the record and say very clearly: I do believe there are situations in which a spouse is justified in leaving a marriage; I do NOT believe any spouse should have to experience abuse in their marriage; husbands do not have ANY biblical right to abuse their wives. Husbands are to love their wives—even as Christ loved the church. If you are such a man, repent. If you are such a woman and are experiencing abuse, seek help immediately from the church office. Sometimes it may even be necessary to call 911 and get to a safe place (separate). I did not say ‘divorce.’ What Gary does not address is the time between separation and divorce. Divorce is a last resort, not the next option. Separation is critical to get out of an abusive situation. In the article, the author did not address two important points that I believe are essential to consider.
First, the author does not address who defines abuse. If I tell you “you suck’ or “you are stupid,” are you the victim of verbal or emotional abuse? Any spouse who has been told “you suck” or called the b-word should not for a moment put up with that from their husband or wife. The victim must confront this type of sinful behavior. Sometimes this may even require that you call 911 in the case of an emergency and criminal behavior. Sin cannot be left unchecked. And if it does not stop, the spouse should seek help from a pastor, a family member, perhaps an attorney, and/or church office. Someone from the office staff (a pastor) can even help you with the complexity of how to address the sinful behavior without making things worse. Your church is a resource for you. It will help you get the needed assistance. Husbands abusing their wives should be held accountable for their sinful behavior, even to the point of church discipline. And in rare situations, this may require the involvement of the magistrate for criminal and unlawful behavior. If the husband denies being abusive, it may be necessary to follow the protocol of Matthew 18:15-18. Defining what is and isn’t verbal abuse may require a panel of church members (2 or 3 witnesses v. 16) but physical abuse and endangerment always requires immediate action for the safety and well-being of the victim and children.
Second, the author does not address when the spouse is considered free to divorce. Certainly, everyone can agree that time must be given to the abusive spouse to repent and for God to work, and during this period of separation both spouses must focus on God, their marriage, their children, the church, prayer, the Word of God and reconciliation. To engage in any type of interest in a potential new spouse during this time of separation would be inherently sinful. Restoration and reconciliation must be the focus. The Bible does NOT speak to how long that period must be before a divorce is permitted. In the state of NC, it is 12 months. Twelve months is a long time. I believe if a pastor was involved in trying to facilitate reconciliation and repentance for 12 months and the abusive husband (or wife) would not cooperate with the work of the Lord, a person would be free to divorce based on the hardness of the heart of the abusive spouse.
It has been my experience that in many cases when one spouse starts to insult and call the other nasty names, the other spouse retaliates and both become sinfully abusive. Both spouses must realize that at the point in which you respond in kind, you lose the moral high ground of claiming you are the victim and are no longer following Christ.
Finally, there seems to be confusion on what it means to forgive. Forgiveness is not the acceptance of sinful behavior. We can forgive an individual for their actions without condoning their actions. The expectation to forgive is NOT a call to remain in a legitimately abusive situation. In an emergency call 911; seek immediate help. When the Apostle Paul was being whipped and abused for the cause of the gospel, he was able to forgive the ones whipping him, but he left the abusive situation and went to a different city. If your spouse is hitting you (in addition to calling 911) someone from the church office (a pastor) needs to know about it. Your church wants to help you. To be a Christian spouse is not a call to be a whipping post for an out of control husband (or wife).
If you are the victim of abuse in your marriage, the first step is to protect yourself and your children. Your second step is to let your spouse know you believe that what he or she is doing is abusive and if it doesn’t stop you will have to separate. Your third step is to let your pastor know that your marriage needs help. Any pastor worth his title of shepherd will help his sheep get out of harm’s way. Your final steps in this process are to hold the moral high ground, pray, and actively participate in gospel-centered counseling. Divorce is positively the last resort, but may eventually be necessary. If you are in doubt, seek help today. In an emergency call 911 and get to safety. If you need help, the church office can help you get the resources you need.