Biblical Distinctions at Big Sky Bible Church
What are distinctions and why are they important? Distinctions are those things which help a person easily identify or recognize something. If one were to fail to distinguish the color of a stoplight the consequences could be disastrous. Conversely, when the color of a stoplight is distinguished by a driver and adhered to, there is safety and order. Distinctions can be features or highlights of something specific. The desire of Big Sky Bible Church (BSBC) is to share or highlight the distinctions we make which are arrived at, we believe, through the literal, grammatical, and historical study of the Word of God. This serves a number of purposes:
*Distinctions will help those who may read our web-site to know where we stand. With around 116 churches listed on the Billings, Montana Church Finder Web-Site it helps when distinctions are made. Big Sky Bible Church may or may not be the church for you, but we would like to give you the information you might need to help you make that decision. We want to be easily recognized by what we believe and teach.
*Distinctions help clear up much of the confusion surrounding Bible interpretation. Have you ever considered the fact that there are seven baptisms taught in the Bible and not all have to do with water? Or have you ever considered that when you read the word “saved”, or any variation of it, that it is not always referring to justification? Have you ever considered that a person is either “in Christ” or “in Adam”? In other words, there is no in between state where a person is in the process of being declared righteous. Have you ever taken the time to trace the word “believe” through the New Testament and note the relation between it and eternal life? Have you ever noted that when the word “Israel” is used it is referring to…Israel? Though there are many more, making the distinctions the Bible makes not only clears up confusion, but it is important to sound interpretation of the Bible.
*Distinctions will help identify or highlight how we interpret and teach the Bible. Please note the following distinctions we make in our teaching ministry at BSBC. This is not an exhaustive list.
Do we take the Bible literally in all of its parts to include unfulfilled prophecy dealing mainly with Israel, their land, and Jesus’ return to rule and reign for 1,000 years on this earth? Yes, we do.
Do we mainly teach the Bible verse by verse? Yes, we do.
Do we consider the context of a passage to be that which controls the interpretation of a passage? Yes, we do.
Do we believe and teach that justification is by grace through faith alone in Christ alone apart from works, law, or religious ritual? Yes, we do.
Do we teach that the justification of the believer happens at a moment in time (when the sinner trusts in Jesus Christ)? Yes, we do.
Do we believe and teach the eternal security of the one who has placed their faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation? Not only do we teach it without reservation or apology, we celebrate it as a birthright of every believer.
Do we believe or teach that a believer in Jesus Christ can lose their salvation under any circumstances? No, we do not.
Do we believe and teach identification and positional truths as found mainly in the epistles as the greatest motivators to living the Christian life? Yes, we do.
Do we believe and teach that salvation in the Bible is in three “phases” or “tenses” to include justification, sanctification, and glorification? Yes, we do.
Do we take a dispensational approach to the Bible? Yes, we do.
Do we make a distinction between the nation of Israel (Jews) and the Body of Christ- the Church (Jewish and Gentile believers in the crucified and resurrected Son of God) as separate programs that God is working out for His glory, in His time, and according to His will? Yes, we do.
Do we at BSBC adhere to either of the systems commonly referred to as “Arminianism” or “Calvinism”? No, we do not.
As you can see, distinctions are important for a number of reasons: In the local church context they can highlight how one interprets and teaches the Bible. Not only that, distinctions can also clear up confusion in personal Bible study and help others know where we stand as a body of believers. This can be helpful when someone is looking for a church. Maybe BSBC is the place for you?
MORE TO COME…
In the installments to come we will be considering what we believe the Bible teaches about the following:
The Clarity of the Gospel- What is the sole requirement given in the Bible in order for someone to be declared righteous? Why does man attempt to “accessorize” the gospel? Have people bought into the “accessories”?
Moment in Time Justification- What does the Bible teach about when a person is saved? Is justification a process or an act? Does the Bible teach a “probationary” salvation where the believer tries out for eternal life and if they don’t make the cut they are doomed? How does this view fit with the grace of God?
The Eternal Security of the Believer- Is Eternal Security really taught in the Bible? Why do we champion this doctrine that is so loathed by religion? What is a better motivator: fear or freedom? Does this doctrine “encourage” licentiousness or is there something else to consider?
Dispensations- Is this a view worth defending and holding to? Is it outdated and antiquated? What benefit is there to holding to a dispensational view of the Bible?
Calvinism and Arminianism Would we classify ourselves as one of the two, a mixture of both, or neither? When it comes to salvation, are Calvinism and Arminianism wedded to Catholicism? If so, can it be proven?