The following are the Bradenton SDB Church's Articles of Faith, along with a personal understanding of each as presented by Pastor Michael at his Ordination Service:
We believe in one God, self-existent, infinite in wisdom, power and goodness – the Creator and Governor of all things (Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 90:2; Isaiah 44:6; 1 Timothy 1:17)
Pastor Michael's Response: It is indeed wonderful to know that the Father of Jesus is my Father as well, that the God whom Jesus prayed to is the same God that I pray to.
Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father.
Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God. (John 20:17).
We believe that Christ possessed both a divine and a human nature, and was, therefore, in a true sense both the Son of God and the Son of Man. (Matthew 1:1; Psalm 2:7; Luke 1:35; Romans 1:3-4; Galatians 4:4; 2 Corinthians 5:19; John 1:1.)
Pastor Michael's Response: The testimony of Scripture shows that Jesus was different. He was God’s Son according to Mark; He was God’s spokesman and agent in creation according to John; he was the one who came into the world without a human father according to Matthew and Luke. He performed miracles throughout his ministry: miracles of healing, of exorcism; there were nature miracles such as walking on water and feeding multitudes from a handful of loaves. Jesus compassionately raised the son of a widow from the dead in a town called Nain, and also the daughter of Jairus, and then his good friend Lazarus. And finally came the greatest miracle of all—his own resurrection from the grave to a new quality of life, over which death no longer had any power.
When he dealt with a woman accused of adultery and a man with paralysis, he forgave their sins. Now what are we to make of that? The Pharisees knew very well what to make of that. “Who is this that forgives sins?” they asked. “There is only one who forgives sin, God.” That was precisely the point. Jesus was laying claim to what God does, to forgive people of their sins. When Mary was told that her baby must be called Jesus the explanation of his name was: “for he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). In Psalm 130:8 the authority to forgive sins is naturally seen to belong to God. And then, right at the start of his life, Jesus took on the job. The implication is obvious. In Jesus we meet someone who was both the Son of God and the Son of Man.
III. The Holy Spirit
We believe in the Holy Spirit, who inspired the prophets and the apostles, whose continual office is to lead humanity into knowledge of the mind of God, who is the great regenerator of mankind through the truth. (John 14:26; 2 Peter 1:21; Acts 2:4-5; John 3:5; Romans 8:2; Galatians 5:22.)
Pastor Michael's Response: Before conversion we looked to other things for fulfillment—material things like a new car, or a promotion, or a Caribbean cruise. But Christ ushered in a radical change.
Twenty-six hundred years ago, Ezekiel described it well, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezekiel 36:26,27). A new Christian is a new creation crowned with heavenly longings.
The words of Paul In Galatians 5:16,17: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”
Paul’s point is that before conversion the desires of the flesh had no competition. After conversion, the new desires from God’s Spirit stand up and oppose the desires of the flesh. The heart becomes a battleground between warringdesires—each looking to a different deity for ultimate satisfaction.
When we are converted, God unites us with Christ through his Holy Spirit. Our continuing responsibility is to appropriate the power of the Holy Spirit by abiding in that union with Christ. Do that and we will grow in holiness.
IV. The Holy Scripture
We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were inspired by the Holy Spirit and that, rightly interpreted; they provide a perfect rule of faith and practice. (Hebrews 1:1; 2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 2:16-17.)
Pastor Michael's Response: Is the Bible trustworthy? Is it reliable? I certainly believe so. When I was ministering in the Philippines in January I worshipped with people 2000 years removed from the Son of God’s first advent , in an area of the world certainly not directly connected to the events of Jesus’ day. Yet these dear saints had an absolute unshakable confidence in the authority of God’s holy inspired Word. It was the anchor of their faith. It is remarkable that when these people face the challenges in their world, the Word of God is what provides them with real confidence and hope.
The Bible itself teaches that the Bible is true. In the book of Psalms we read:
Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous
judgments endureth for ever. (Psalm 119:160)
In the New Testament, John writes this:
Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. (John 17:17)
Jesus declared the enduring truth of biblical law when he said:
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. (Luke 21:33)
V. Man and His Attainment of Eternal Life
We believe that mankind possesses both a physical and a spiritual nature, that in order to be saved one must be born of the Spirit, that this salvation is the gift of God, and that when men and women thus become regenerated children of God, they become heirs of eternal life. (2 Corinthians 4:16; Romans 7:22; Ephesians 3:16; 2:5; Romans 3:24-25; 4:16; Ephesians 2:8; Colossians 3:10; 1 Peter 3:4; Genesis 1:26; John 3:3, 5, 7; Acts 26:17-18; Romans 8:14-18; Galatians 3:29; 4:7.)
Pastor Michael's Response: For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18).
Jesus died to place the righteous in the place of the unrighteous. Peter understood what the cross was all about. The cross settles our debts. It sweeps them aside. It means our sins will never be raised against us again. Christ has paid the account to the last penny. He traveled to that bitter cross to settle our debt. Nothing we can do can change our guilty past. But Jesus’ gave the supreme gift, his life, and that has changed everything.
VI. Repentance, Faith and Baptism
We believe it to be the duty and privilege of all mankind to repent, believe in Christ the Savior, and be baptized. (Matthew 28:19; Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38, 41; 8:12; 10:47; 16:15; 16:33; 18:6; Mark 16:16; Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12.)
Pastor Michael's Response: The first century church had a couple of special characteristics that identified a believer as a Christian. One of them was a Christian baptism. You went down into a river, repenting of your sins, professing your faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. You were immersed. You climbed out the other side. What did it mean? Simply this. You, as a disciple, were linked to your Lord who went down into the dark river of death and came up the other side. It was an initiation ceremony that would have been meaningless apart from the resurrection of Jesus.
VII. The Lord’s Supper
We believe the Lord’s Supper to be an appropriate ordinance of the Christian Religion, which should be perpetuated in the Church. (Matthew 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.)
Pastor Michael's Response: A second characteristic identifying a believer as a Christian is the Lord’s Supper. This simple meal of bread and wine is shared by Christians in memory of Jesus’ body, broken (like a loaf) for us; his blood poured out (like wine) for us. But it is even more. Christians believe that Jesus who died is alive and present in our midst. Death itself is conquered and the conqueror is with us in all his risen power.
We believe the seventh day of the week to be the sacred Sabbath of the Lord, and that it should be kept holy—in recognition of God’s will, in conformity with both the example and the teachings of Christ, as a fitting memorial of creation, and as a type of the saints’ rest in Heavenly Home. (Genesis 2:2; Exodus 20:8-11; 31:13; Isaiah 59:13; Ezekiel 20:12; 44:24; Mark 2:27; 3:1-5; Matthew 5:17-19; Luke 14:6; Hebrews 1:11.)
Pastor Michael's Response: When did the Lord bless and hallow the seventh day? You can read in Genesis 2:3 that the Lord did this blessing and hallowing on the seventh day of the original creation week. The Sabbath command in Exodus 20:10,11 says plainly that, “The Lord blessed the seventh day which is the Sabbath day.”
The Lord Jesus Christ, as the “Logos” of John 1:1, made everything that was made. He was the agent that God used to create creation. Since the Sabbath was made (as plainly stated in Mark 2:27), then it was one of the things the Lord Jesus Christ made—and it was made on the seventh day of the very first week—creation week. The Sabbath existed from creation, and God’s Son commanded his people to keep it holy. There is no where in God’s Word where Jesus Christ ever directs any person or any religious group to transfer God’s blessing on the Sabbath to the first day of the week.
I always hear the same rationalization: “It doesn’t make a difference.” If there was no God I would agree. But God does exist and he is the supreme authority. The Sabbath day is God’s holy day, it’s not my day. And so I chose to keep God’s commandment and honor his Sabbath day.