The Bible is the inspired Word of God, the product of holy men of old who spoke and wrote as the Holy Spirit moved them. We accept the New Covenant, as recorded in the New Testament, as our infallible guide in matters pertaining to conduct and doctrine.
(II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:21; I Thessalonians 2:13)
Our God is One, but manifested in three persons • the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Philippians 2:6; John 14:21-26)
God the Father is greater than all • the Source of the Word (Logos) and the Begetter. (John 14:28; John 16:28; John 1:14)
The Son is the Word flesh-covered, the One Begotten, and has existed with the Father from the beginning. (John 1:14; John 1:18; John 1:1)
The Holy Spirit, Who is eternal, proceeds forth from both the Father and the Son. (John 15:26)
MAN, HIS FALL AND REDEMPTION
Man is a created being, made in the likeness and image of God; but through Adam's transgression and fall, sin came into the world. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. As it is written, there is none righteous, no not one. Jesus Christ (the Son of God) was manifested to undo the works of the devil. He gave His life and shed His blood to redeem and restore man back to God.(Romans 5:12; Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10; I John 3:8)
Salvation is the gift of God to man, separate from works and the law. It is made operative by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, producing works acceptable to God. (Ephesians 2:8)
ETERNAL LIFE AND NEW BIRTH
Man's first step toward salvation is godly sorrow that works repentance. The new birth is available to all mankind. When Jesus Christ is accepted as Savior, salvation takes place; man becomes born again; and his spirit becomes eternally alive to God. (II Corinthians 7:10; I John 5:12; John 3:3-5)
Baptism in water is by immersion. It is a direct commandment of our Lord for believers only. This ordinance is a symbol of the Christian's identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. (Matthew 28:19; Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12; Acts 8:36-39)
The following recommendation regarding the water baptismal formula is adopted to wit:
"On confession of your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and by His authority, I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen."
BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe the need for the Holy Spirit’s power and presence in a believer’s life is as critical today as it was in the day of the Apostles. We do not teach a dispensational view of the Holy Spirit’s power and the expression of gifts. Rather we hold the position, supported by Scripture, that the Holy Spirit’s presence and power are for every believer until Jesus returns.
We recognize that the families and members of ELM come from varied and diverse backgrounds. As such, we extend the opportunity for people to grow in their understanding of the person and power of the Holy Spirit as well as their understanding of His work in their lives. Everyone at Exchanged Lives is encouraged to seek the power, presence and gifts of the Holy Spirit for themselves in a manner with which they are comfortable. No one will ever be forced to receive the Holy Spirit or any of His gifts, but all are taught the contemporary work of the Holy Spirit from Scripture and encouraged to grow in love and intimacy with God.
As we minister to individuals, we will use all the gifts available to us from God to see healing, deliverance and freedom developed in a person’s life. Public expressions of the gifts of the Spirit will be demonstrated in an orderly manner as directed by church leadership. Appropriate expression of a gift of the Holy Spirit in a corporate setting includes submission to pastoral authority and involves expression of the gifts with dignity and order so that it can be received by all.
Jesus promised His Church that they would receive a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit after Jesus’ own death and resurrection. It is our view that God desires every Christian to experience this same encounter with the Holy Spirit’s power. In Luke 11:13, Jesus explains that it is our heavenly Father’s pleasure to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. Just like salvation, the Holy Spirit is a free gift from the Father, which is received by faith.
• Ephesians 1:13 •1 Corinthians 12:4–11 • Luke 11:13 • Matthew 7:7–11 • John 1:32–33 • Acts 2:1–4
The Bible teaches that without Holiness no man can see the Lord. 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 12:14; I Thessalonians 5:23; II Peter 3:18; II Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 3:12-14; I Corinthians 1:30)
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. It is provided for in the atonement of Christ, and it is the privilege of every member of the church today. (Mark 16:18; James 5:14-16; I Peter 2:24; Matthew 8:17; Isaiah 53:4-5)
RESURRECTION OF THE JUST AND THE RETURN OF OUR LORD
The Angels said, "...this same Jesus shall so come in like manner...". 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" (Acts 1:11; I 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 19:16; Revelation 20:6)
We believe Scripture declares that every person needs to surrender their life to God through Jesus Christ. Nicodemus was a man who faithfully attended church, prayed, memorized scriptures, tithed, fasted, believed in God and acknowledged Jesus as someone sent from God, yet Jesus told him, “You must be born again”! In other words, being a good and religious person doesn’t meet the requirements for having a relationship with a holy and righteous God, which is what salvation is all about.
Not every encounter with God is a salvation encounter. Some have had a seed conceived in them, and they have called that salvation. When they responded to God’s prompting, a seed was planted; but later in their life, an encounter with God resulted in a response where some might say they “totally sold out,” “gave up” or “rededicated” their life. That is when a change in their thinking and behavior occurred. Jesus spoke of repentance as involving a change in behavior, and He associated that change with salvation.
We believe that new birth in Christ produces a change. Scripture is clear that we are not saved by what we do because salvation has been provided by Jesus Christ as a free gift which we receive by faith. However, when we receive Christ, it is evidenced by the fruit of change in our thinking and behavior in response to confessing our sin, acknowledging our need for a Savior and accepting Jesus Christ as God’s provision for our lost condition.
The answer for those who want to know if they’ve been born again is found in their response to a simple question, “When you received Christ, was there a change evidenced in your life?” In other words, “When did you stop going your way and start going God’s way?” The answer may point to a specific date or to a specific event or to a general point in life where a change was noticed in response to a decision to surrender to God and to accept His provision of forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus Christ. It is God’s stated desire that no one should spend eternity apart from Him but rather that all should obtain salvation. Scripture is also clear that nothing can separate us from His love.
It is our conviction that when a person has been truly born again to new life in Christ, that person’s relationship with God is eternally secure and His love for us is without question. As a loving Father, He disciplines disobedience and brings correction through a variety of means, but He never leaves us, rejects us or withdraws His promise of eternity with Him.
HELL AND ETERNAL RETRIBUTION
The person 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. The lake of fire is literal. The terms "eternal" and "everlasting" used in describing the duration of the punishment of the damned in the lake of fire carry the same thought and meaning of endless existence as used in noting the duration of joy and ecstasy of the saints in the presence of God. (Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:15)