We believe that dispensations are distinct administrations of God in human history in which the purpose of God is revealed through divine revelation. Human history is a sequence of divine administrations each having unique characteristics, as well as certain functions in common with other ages. God administers through delegated authority in each dispensation. Each designated authority, such as Israel in the Age of Israel and the Church in the Church Age, is to teach the gospel and explain God's purpose and will to mankind (Romans 3:2; Acts 15:14; Ephesians 3:2). The essence of dispensationalism is a consistent distinction between God's plan and purposes for Israel and his plan and purpose for the Church; a literal, plain system of interpretation applied to every area of Scripture, and an understanding that all of human history has the glory of God as its ultimate purpose. We reject the development known as Progressive Dispensationalism.
Rapture of the church
We believe in the blessed hope which is the personal, bodily, physical return of Jesus Christ in the clouds for His bride, the Church (Titus 2:11–14). He will return before the seven year tribulation period also known as "Daniel's Seventieth Week" or "Jacob's Trouble." He will appear in the clouds and the church will rise to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-15). His return is imminent, "at any moment," for no prophecy need be fulfilled prior to His return. The rapture is said to occur in the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:51–54). During which time the bodies of all spiritually born again believers will be changed into resurrection bodies and the dead in Christ shall rise first followed by the living believers. All unbelievers will remain on the earth to go into the tribulation period. Because Christ delivers His church at the rapture no believer will ever experience, participate in, or suffer any part or portion of the tribulation period (Revelation 3:10).
The last seven years of the Age of Israel is called the tribulation. It begins after the rapture of the church when the Antichrist signs a peace treaty with the nation Israel. This age is characterized as a time of judgment upon unbelievers (Revelation 5–19). Mankind has rebelled against the Lord and refused to accept Jesus Christ as the Savior therefore God's wrath begins to be poured out immediately after the rapture. The tribulation is also called the seventieth week of Daniel (Daniel 9:27) and the time of Jacob's trouble (Jeremiah 30:7, Matthew 24:15–21, Revelation 6:1–17) since it is also a time of judgment upon Israel.
We believe that anyone who accepts the free gift of salvation through faith alone in Christ alone receives eternal life at the point of faith or belief. As a child of God (John 1:12), member of the royal family of God and royal priest (1 Peter 2:5–7, 9) each believer is eternally secure in Christ. At no time can a believer forfeit his salvation by irresponsible, neglectful behavior, or any sin of the mind, speech, and behavior. Eternal security is based upon God's hold on us, not our hold upon Him (John 10:28–29; Jude 1:24).
Since we are saved by faith it is an act of God's grace to give eternal life (Ephesians 2:8–9; Titus 3:5). Therefore, it is God's responsibility to keep us in His love in which He is absolutely capable (Romans 8:38–39). Even if we fall away into sin and deny our salvation, the Lord cannot deny us our salvation although He will deny us rewards (2 Timothy 2:11–13). Believers are assigned titles such as "holy", "beloved", and "elect" to indicate their eternal security in Christ (Colossians 3:12; Ephesians 1:7, 2:8–20).
Satan and the fallen angels
We believe that Satan is real and a literal enemy of God. His former name was Lucifer (Isaiah 14). He rebelled against God by claiming to have a better plan for the angels (Isaiah 14:12–14). His rebellion is the basis for the ongoing angelic conflict between God and His elect angels and Satan and his fallen angels (demons).
Satan tempted man in the Garden of Eden and enticed Adam and Ishah (later renamed Eve) to sin. Through their fall Satan gained rulership of the world. He is called the prince and power of the air (Ephesians 2:1–4). He has been given a limited time by God to prove that his plan is superior to God’s plan. If he fails, and he will, he is destined to the lake of fire which was created for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). He will be judged and cast into the lake of fire to suffer for all eternity (Revelation 20:1–10). In the meantime he is loose on earth and is the father of evil and all rebellion against God. He seeks to control nations in order to promote his concept of a perfect world where he is god and receives the worship of mankind. He will not be bound until the time of Christ’s future Millennial Kingdom.
We believe in the separate, bodily, physical, resurrection of the dead. The justified ones (believers) will go to the Judgment Seat of Christ at the Rapture to receive their rewards (Romans 14:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:16–18, 1 Corinthians 3:11–16). They will spend eternity with the Lord with no more tears, no more sorrow, and no pain (Revelation 21:4—22:9) in a state of rejoicing and peace.
On the other hand, the unbelievers will be gathered at the end of the Millennium at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11–15). Since their names do not appear in the Book of Life, they will have to stand on their own works. Their works will not be an adequate substitute for faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His imputed righteousness so they will be condemned and cast into the lake of fire where they will spend eternity in agony. (Revelation 19:20; 20:15).
We believe that immersion is the only method of water baptism taught and commanded in the Scriptures. While it is an important ritual, it has no saving or delivering or sanctifying power. As a ritual it portrays the believer's new position in Christ and his belief in his own future bodily resurrection. Spiritual rebirth is necessary before water baptism is to be performed. When a believer is taken into the water he is publicly identifying with the death and burial of Christ. When he comes up out of the water he is identifying with the resurrection of Christ and his own future bodily resurrection.
We believe that the Lord's Supper is a memorial of Christ's spiritual substitutionary death on the cross in payment for our sins. This is the basis for mankind's reconciliation with God (1 Corinthians 11:23–25, 2 Corinthians 5:17–21). Believers are to partake of the elements of communion which are unleavened bread and and wine (non fermented grape juice may be substituted). Communion is a time when Christians express their faith and positive volition to God in worship as well as time of intimate fellowship with God.
The unleavened bread symbolizes the perfect sinless humanity of Christ who was tempted in all ways but was without sin. He never went against the Father's will at any time and therefore arrived at the cross sinless. The cup symbolizes the last three hours of Christ's spiritual substitutionary sufferings as He bore our sins and was violently judged by the Father (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:21–24, Isaiah 53:10–12). The unleavened bread and the cup are symbols of these things and never actually become the physical body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We believe that the local church is the pillar and ground for all church age doctrines (1 Timothy 3:15).The local church is a body of called out believers in Christ who assemble for teaching and fellowship with God which consists in prayer and the Lord's Table (Acts 2:42). The local church is to protect the Word of God through sound bible based teaching. The local church is also the base from which missionaries are sent forth to teach the gospel (Acts 1:8, 20:1ff, Hebrews 10:25). Paul and his team were missionaries sent out to preach the gospel (Galatians 1:2, 1 Corinthians 1:2, Ephesians 1:1, Philippians 1:1, Acts 13-28).
We believe the Bible teaches that the offices of Pastor-Teacher and Deacons are to be filled by males only. We do not believe in females holding the position of pastor or deacon. Any other office in the church may be held by an appointed man or woman. ( 1 Timothy 3:1-16, Acts 6, 1 Timothy 2:12, Ephesians 4:11-16, Acts 20, Titus 1:6-9, 1 Peter 5:1-5, Revelation 2-3). The moderator of all business meetings will be the chairman of the Board of Deacons.
The head of the Board is the Pastor-Teacher and he appoints deacons as the congregation makes known their candidates. He seeks to appoint men of integrity and who are trustworthy based upon their past performance, attendance in prayer and Bible classes, enthusiasm about the ministry and reputation among the congregation members.
The Pastor-Teacher shall work with the Deacons in the decision making processes required to keep the ministry operating.
We believe that the universal church to be the body of spiritually born again believers in Christ. The universal church will become the bride of Christ at the Rapture (Ephesians 1:22-23, 5:25-27, 1 Corinthians 12:12-14).
We believe that all believers are called into a life of biblical study and mental separation from the views of the world system. There is no agreement with the righteousness of God and the unrighteousness of the world, between God's light and the world's darkness, between belief and unbelief (2 Corinthians 6:11–14).
Believers are to maintain spirituality by confession of sins (1 John 1:9) which enables the Holy Spirit to lead the believer into biblical truth. The believer submits to God and is able to reject Satanic viewpoint, human good, human arrogance, sin patterns, cults and religious trends (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15–17, Romans 6:13; 2 Timothy 2:3–4; 14–26; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Hebrews 13:13; Romans 16:17–18; 2 Corinthians 6:11–12; Proverbs 1:10–19).
We reserve the right to separate from any person or religious organization, fellowship, or denomination and any secular group, organization, or fellowship who disagrees with any part of the West Houston Bible Church Constitution.
We believe that spirituality is an absolute. A believer is either spiritual or carnal at any given moment in time. One cannot be both spiritual and carnal simultaneously. When a believer confesses his sin(s) to God the Father then he is forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). The filling of the Spirit then occurs and the Spirit is then able to teach the believer the truths of the Word of God (Ephesians 5:18; Romans 5:5). The filling of the Spirit is not an emotional or ecstatic experience. It has nothing to do with speaking in tongues, seeing visions, or hearing voices. Rather, it is an absolute which is described in the Bible by synonyms such as "yield" (Romans 6:11-13), "confess" (1 John 1:9), "present" (Romans 6:13), "mortify yourselves" (Colossians 3:5), "strengthen the hands that hang down" (Hebrews 12:12), "walking in the light" (1 John 1:7), "awake you that sleep" (Ephesians 5:14), and "judge yourselves" (1 Corinthians 11:31–32). All spiritual production in time depends upon the filling of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23).
Love is a fruit of the Spirit and therefore true spirituality is described in 1 Corinthians 13.
We believe that all spiritual gifts were given by Christ during His ascension (Ephesians 4:8) and that the Holy Spirit assigns as He desires (1 Corinthians 12:13). There are temporary and permanent spiritual gifts. The temporary gifts ceased in 96 A.D. with the completion of the Canon of Scripture. The documentation for these ceasing of temporary gifts is found in 1 Corinthians 13:8 where the word "perfect" is in the neuter gender which refers to the completion of the Bible. In James 1:25 the Bible is referred to as the "perfect law of liberty". The gifts that ceased were: Apostle, prophecy, wisdom, knowledge, miracles, healings, tongues, interpretation of tongues, distinguishing of spirits, and the gift of faith. Anyone claiming to have any or all of these gifts today is misinformed and into false doctrine.
The permanent spiritual gifts still in use after A.D. 96 are: Evangelist, pastor-teacher, teacher, administration, exhortation, financier or giving, counseling or showing mercy, helps for men, helps for women. The purpose of these permanent gifts is to insure the cooperation and smooth function of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27–31; Romans 12).
Second Coming or Second Advent of Christ
We believe that the Second Coming of Christ will be seven literal years after the beginning of the tribulation (Zechariah 14:4–11; Matthew 24:27-51; 2 Thessalonians 1:7–10, Revelation 20:6). He returns to set up His millennial kingdom upon the earth which was offered at the first advent but postponed due to rejection by the Jewish nation. Those believers who survive the Tribulation will enter into His kingdom and will rule the earth. Those who are unbelievers will be cast into Hades for 1,000 years to await the Great White Throne Judgment.
We believe that the soul and human spirit of those who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation at death will immediately pass into His presence and remain there in conscious bliss until the resurrections. At the rapture, the dead church age believers will be joined with their resurrection bodies and then the living church age believers receive their resurrection bodies. At the second coming, the Tribulation and Old Testament believers receive their resurrection bodies. At the end of the Millennium the millennial believers receive their resurrection bodies (1 Corinthians 15:23–24, 2 Corinthians 5:8, Philippians 1:23). All these believers will remain with the Lord throughout eternity in a state of happiness.
The unbelievers from all human history will be collected, judged at the Great White Throne judgment, and sentenced to the lake of fire where they will spend eternity in conscious agony. They will not be annihilated but will be punished in everlasting flames in complete separation from the glory and fellowship of the Lord. (Luke 16:19-26, 23:43; 2 Thessalonians 1:7–9, Jude 1:6-7; Revelation 20:11–15)
The responsibility of believers
We believe that each believer must grow in grace doctrine and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The believer's daily life must be consistent with the Lord's plan and will. This brings glory to the Lord. (2 Peter 3:18).
Every believer is responsible to be an ambassador for Christ which means witnessing to the lost when the opportunity arises. (2 Corinthians 5:17–21).
Every believer is a royal priest and therefore responsible to function in prayer for himself and others (1 Peter 2:5, 7, 9). The believer priest will offer spiritual sacrifices to the Lord in order to fulfill his priesthood (Hebrews 13:10–18).
Every believer is responsible to fulfill the laws of divine establishment, nationalism, and patriotism to his country. We are told to pay our taxes and uphold the laws of the land. (Romans 13:1–8; 1 Peter 2:13–20). Believers are told to be submissive to the government and laws of the land (1 Peter 2:13–20, 1 Timothy 2:1–2). In application to this principle we honor and respect the Constitution of the United States, the three branches of government, the laws of the land, and we pray for those who have promised to protect and serve the people of this land.