The intent of the POSITION STATEMENTS is to provide a format at Sugar Land Bible Church for addressing theological and/or ethical issues in addition to those addressed in Article II (Philosophy) and Article III (Statement of Faith) of the CONSTITUTION OF SUGAR LAND BIBLE CHURCH. Although agreement with the POSITION STATEMENTS is not required for membership, they are taught in this church.
The POSITION STATEMENTS are not meant to prohibit honest and healthy discussions concerning what the Bible teaches about these issues; however, we believe that such discussions must be conducted under the guiding principle that believers are to strive to maintain unity.
These POSITION STATEMENTS are subject to modification, deletion, or addition at the sole discretion of the Board of Elders. However, the Elders must issue a draft copy of each Position Statement in order to receive comments from the members. Thirty days will be allowed for comments before a final version is published.
- SANCTITY OF LIFE – We believe that the fetus, from the moment of conception, is a person (Psalm 139:13-18). We also believe that all persons are created in the image of God regardless of age, health, function and/or condition of dependency.
- MARRIAGE/DIVORCE/REMARRIAGE – We believe that the Bible teaches a very high view of marriage. It was designed by God to be an honorable, holy and permanent union. Unfortunately sin has affected this relationship and, as a result, divorce has become an option to some people. We believe that in a marriage composed of two believers, divorce is definitely discouraged but is allowed only in the case of adultery. In this situation the innocent spouse has the option to remarry. A Christian who acquires a divorce for reasons other than adultery is not free to remarry. In the case of a mixed marriage (a believer married to a non-believer), the Christian partner is not to seek a divorce but is to grant it should the unbelieving spouse desire it. In such a case the person would have the option to remarry. Above all, it should be noted that we strongly discourage divorce for it is our desire that couples make every effort to stay together. However, we also believe that it is incumbent upon all believers to show mercy and compassion to those who have been divorced. (February 1985. Reinstated October 2013).
- HERMENEUTICS – Hermeneutics is the art and science of interpretation. The goal of the Biblical interpreter is to discover what the text (the Bible) meant in the mind of its original author for his intended audience. The means of accomplishing this is by applying a literal, grammatical, historical approach to interpretation. By literal, grammatical, historical we mean the customary, socially acknowledged meaning of a word or phrase within its context. The Bible uses figurative and poetic language and these portions should be interpreted accordingly. However, we reject any attempt to allegorize or spiritualize scripture which is not so intended.
- DISPENSATIONS – A Dispensation is a specific manner in which God governs during a particular period of time. We are a dispensational church. That is, we believe that God has chosen to administer or govern His purpose on earth through man under varying dispensations. These changes in government are a result of God’s choice, and do not indicate that His character ever changes. At least three of these dispensations are mentioned in the Bible and are the subject of extended revelation, viz.: the Dispensation of the Mosaic Law, the present Dispensation of Grace, and the future Dispensation of the Millennial Kingdom. In interpreting the Bible, we believe that these are distinct and should not be intermingled or confused.
- ESCHATOLOGY – Eschatology is the doctrine of future things. As a framework for interpreting and teaching prophesy, we hold to a pre-tribulational, pre-millennial position. That is, we teach that a literal thousand-year period of time (the millennium) lies ahead in the future (Rev. 20:1-8). At the conclusion of this time period, there will be a final judgment of non-Christians and then the eternal state will begin (Rev. 20:11-15). Immediately preceding this millennial period, a period of tribulation, lasting seven years, will dominate the earth (Dan. 9:27; Rev. 6:1-19:21). However, just prior to this, all believers will be removed from the earth (the rapture) and thus escape this period of tribulation (1 Thess. 4:13-18).
- REPENTANCE – The New Testament word for repent (metanoao) means to “change one’s mind.” It does not mean to “turn from sin”, a current day definition. We believe that salvation is based upon the one condition of faith of which repentance is a vital part. In the New Testament when a person heard the gospel and agreed with it, he was changing his mind, thus in the process of repenting. He was going from doubt, confusion, or unbelief to belief in Christ as Savior. It is in this way that repentance is related to salvation. It should be made clear that it is possible for a person to understand the gospel and yet refuse to accept Christ as Savior. However, one cannot truly believe in Christ without having first repented. Additionally, turning from sinful acts may and should result from repentance and faith in Christ, but is neither a requirement for nor a part of salvation. In the same way, a sorrow for sin is neither a requirement for nor a part of salvation. Were this the case, then our salvation would rest, at least in part, on our own works and merit, something that is quite foreign to the Scriptures. (For more information, see J. Dwight Pentecost, Things Which Become Sound Doctrine, pp. 61-72.) (February 1985. Reinstated October 2013).
- TEMPORARY SPIRITUAL GIFTS – This church teaches that the miraculous sign gifts, including the gift of tongues, (always the ability to speak in a previously unlearned, known language) along with the gift of healings were temporal gifts, given by the Holy Spirit solely to authenticate both the apostles and their message before the close of the canon of Scripture (1 Cor. 13:8-10). We do not believe that these are active as gifts today. However, we affirm that God is sovereign and may heal and/or give someone the ability to speak in a tongue (foreign language) today. We believe that the majority of what is termed “miraculous” within the contemporary charismatic movement is something other than the Biblical gifts of tongues or healing.
- THE DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE – Sugar Land Bible Church values God’s gift of marriage between one man and one woman, which God created in His own image. As a church committed to providing its members and regular attendees with biblical truth, the Elders at Sugar Land Bible Church believe the biblical teaching about marriage and operate according to that faith commitment. We abide by Jesus’s teaching on marriage when He said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let no man separate” (Matthew 19:4–6). This definition of marriage provided by Jesus includes several important truths that will comprise one of the position statements of Sugar Land Bible Church as follows: Marriage is a covenant designed by God. This biblical definition of marriage is not conditioned by culture or personal perspective but ordained by God from the beginning and expected to continue until eternity. Marriage is intended to be between one man and one woman as God biologically created them male and female from conception. Hence, any other proposals for marriage are outside of God’s intended design (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26–27; 1 Corinthians 6:9–11; 1 Timothy 1:9–10). The marriage covenant is sealed through sexual intercourse reserved for one husband and one wife after they have entered into the holy covenant of marriage. God’s design is for marriage to last until the death of one of the spouses. Therefore, Sugar Land Bible Church defines marriage as a divinely designed biblical covenant between one man and one woman with the marriage bond representing the lasting relationship of Christ and the church. This view of marriage is affirmed in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament (Genesis 1:27, 2:23–24; Malachi 2:14; Song of Solomon 2:7, 16; 1 Corinthian 7: 1–16; Ephesians 5:22–33; Hebrews 13:4). Pursuant to Position Statement Number Two, Sugar Land Bible Church acknowledges valid grounds by which a marriage can be dissolved. However, we continue to maintain that these exceptions, while Biblically valid, do not constitute God’s originally intended design and pattern for marriage, which we have expressed in this Position Statement. (Instated May 2015).