Cascade School of Theology Doctrinal Essentials
Ours is a confessional institution, and These Doctrinal Essentials, coupled with our Doctrinal Distinctives, represent the positions of those offering instruction or serving in any kind of leadership with Cascade school of theology. Our partner churches and students affirm our doctrinal essentials, without reservation.
Scripture. The Bible is God’s self-disclosure to humanity, with Jesus at the center of that self-disclosure. We affirm that the the entire Bible, comprised of the 66 books of the Old and New Testament, is fully inspired by God, and inerrant in everything it says. Thus, it is the lens by which we understand reality and our final authority on all matters. The Bible is totally sufficient and must not be added to, superseded, or changed by later tradition, extra-biblical revelation, or worldly wisdom. Every doctrinal formulation, whether of creed, confession, or theology must be put to the test of the full counsel of God in Holy Scripture. We affirm The Chicago Statement on Inerrancy.
The Holy Trinity. There is one God: infinite, eternal, almighty, and perfect in holiness, truth, and love. In the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, co-existent, co-equal, co-eternal. The Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Holy Spirit, yet each is truly Deity. One God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—is the foundation of Christian faith and life.
God the Father. God the Father is the Creator of heaven and earth. By his word and for his glory, has freely and supernaturally created the world from nothing. Through the same word he daily sustains all his creatures. He rules over all and is completely Sovereign. His plans and purposes cannot be thwarted. He is faithful to every promise, works all things together for good for those who love him, and in his unfathomable grace gave his Son, Jesus Christ, for humanity’s redemption. He made people for fellowship with himself, and intended that all creation should live to the praise of his glory.
Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of God, the eternal Word made flesh, supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary. He was perfect in nature, teaching, and obedience. He is fully God and fully man. He was always with God and is God. Through him all things came into being and were created. He was before all things and in him all things hold together. He holds up the universe by the word of his power. He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation, and in him dwells the fullness of the God. He is the only Savior for the sins of the world, having shed his blood and died a vicarious death on Calvary’s cross. By his death in our place, he revealed the divine love and upheld divine justice, removing our guilt and reconciling us to God. Having redeemed us from sin, the third day he rose bodily from the grave, victorious over death and the powers of darkness, and for a period of 40 days appeared to more than 500 witnesses, performing many convincing proofs of his resurrection. He ascended into heaven where, at God’s right hand, he intercedes for his people and rules as Lord over all. He is the Head of his body, the Church, and should be adored, loved, served, and obeyed by all.
The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Through the proclamation of the gospel, he persuades people to repent of their sins and confess Jesus as Lord. By the same Spirit a person is led to trust in divine mercy. The Holy Spirit unites believers to Jesus Christ in faith, brings about the new birth, and dwells within the regenerate. The Holy Spirit has come to glorify the Son, who came to glorify the Father. He will lead the Church into a right understanding and rich application of the truth of God’s Word. He is to be respected, honored, and worshiped as God the Third Person of the Trinity.
Anthropology. God has created all humans in his own image. Thus, all human beings are image-bearers and worthy of dignity and respect, from the moment of conception. God also created them male and female, completely equal in worth and value, yet intentionally distinct in a way designed to complement each other. The created distinction between men and women also includes complementary roles and God given responsibilities. Marriage, created by God, is a vital partnership between a man and woman. In the home, husbands are to be servant-hearted leaders, sacrificially giving of themselves that their wives might flourish, imaging Jesus’ care for his bride, the Church. In the context of the local church, God has ordained that qualified men lead in the church sacrificially giving of themselves as the chief servants of the community. Therefore, the role of elder and the activities of biblical instruction to men and the task of exercising authority are areas of service designated for men.
Special Creation. Both the Old and New Testaments affirm that Adam and Eve were historical human beings, created by a special act of God. The entire human race descended from these two human beings. Adam and Eve were created by the direct, divine action of God rather than through natural processes.
State of Humanity. Tempted by Satan, humans rebelled against God. Being estranged from our Maker, yet responsible to him, we became subject to divine wrath, inwardly depraved and, apart from a special work of grace, utterly incapable of returning to God. This depravity is radical and pervasive. It extends to our mind, will, and affections. Unregenerate humans live under the dominion of sin and Satan. We are at enmity with God, hostile toward God, and hateful of God. As slaves to sin, fallen humans, whatever their character or attainments, are lost and incapable by their own faculty to chose God. Apart from Jesus every human is without hope apart from salvation in Christ.
The Gospel. The gospel is the good news of Jesus the Messiah. The good news is revealed in the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of God’s Messiah at the proper time in redemptive history. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is the heart of the gospel. His death is a substitutionary and propitiatory sacrifice to God for our sins. His resurrection is the power of the gospel, and his ascension is the glory of the gospel. It satisfies the demands of God’s holy justice and appeases his holy wrath. It also demonstrates his mysterious love and reveals his amazing grace. Christ Jesus is the only mediator between God and humanity. There is no other name by which men must be saved. At the heart of all sound doctrine is life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the infinite privilege that redeemed sinners have of glorifying God because of what he has accomplished. Therefore, we want all that takes place in this school proceed from and be related to the the Christ Event.
Response to the Gospel. Our response to the gospel is rooted and grounded in the free and unconditional election of God for his own pleasure and glory. It is also true that the message of the gospel is only effectual to those who genuinely repent of their sins and, by God’s grace, put saving faith in Jesus. This gospel of grace is to be sincerely preached to all people in all nations. Biblical repentance is characterized by a changed life, and saving faith is evidenced by kingdom service of works. While neither repentance nor works save, unless a person is willing to deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow the Messiah, he cannot become Jesus' disciple.
Inheritance Through the Gospel. Salvation, the free gift of God, is provided by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, for the glory of God alone. Anyone turning from sin in repentance and looking to Christ and his substitutionary death receives the gift of eternal life and is declared righteous by God as a free gift. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to those who receive him. He is justified and fully accepted by God. Through Christ’s atonement for sin an individual is reconciled to God as Father and becomes his child. The believer is forgiven the debt of his sin and, via the miracle of regeneration, liberated from the law of sin and death into the freedom of God’s Spirit.
The Spirit’s Empowering. All genuine believers are indwelt and sealed by the Holy Spirit at conversion. The Baptism of the Spirit is experienced by all Christian people at the time of conversion. At the same time, the New Testament indicates the importance of an ongoing, empowering work of the Spirit subsequent to conversion as well. The Holy Spirit desires to fill each believer continually with increased power for Christian life and witness, and imparts his variegated gifts for the edification of the Body and for various works of ministry in the world. This ongoing work of the Spirit does not constitute a second conversion experience, nor is it marked out by a specific gift or action in the life of the believer.
Sanctification. The Holy Spirit is the active agent in our sanctification and seeks to produce his fruit in us as our minds are renewed and we are conformed to the image of Christ. Though indwelling sin remains a reality, as we are led by the Spirit we grow in the knowledge of the Lord, freely keeping his commandments and endeavoring to so live in the world that all people may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven. All believers are exhorted to persevere in the faith, knowing they will have to give an account to God for their every thought, word, and action. The spiritual disciplines, especially Bible study, prayer, and confession, are a vital means of grace in this regard. Nevertheless, the believer’s ultimate confidence to persevere is based in the sure promise of God to preserve his people until the end, which is most certain.
The Church. God by his Word and his Spirit creates the Church, calling sinful people out of the whole human race into the fellowship of Christ’s Body. By the same Word and Spirit, he guides and preserves that new redeemed humanity. The Church is not a religious institution or denomination. Rather, the Church universal is made up of those who have become genuine followers of Jesus Christ and have personally appropriated the gospel. The Church exists to worship and glorify God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Upon conversion, newly redeemed men and women are added to a local church, in which they devote themselves to worship, teaching, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper, and prayer. All members of the Church universal are to be a vital and committed part of a local church. In this context they are called to walk out the New Covenant as the people of God, and demonstrate the reality of the kingdom of God.
The Consummation. The consummation of all things includes the visible, personal and glorious return of King Jesus, the resurrection of the dead and the translation of those alive in Christ, the judgment of the just and the unjust, and the fulfillment of Christ’s kingdom in the new heavens and the new earth. In the Consummation, Satan with his hosts and all those outside Christ are finally judged, enduring eternal punishment, but the righteous, in glorious bodies, shall live and reign with Him forever. Married to Christ as his Bride, the Church will be in the presence of God forever, serving him and giving him unending praise and glory. Then shall the eager expectation of creation be fulfilled and the whole earth shall proclaim the glory of God who makes all things new.
Humility. While our school upholds a number of convictions, such as those presented in our Doctrinal Essentials and Distinctives, we also understand that ours are not the only theological convictions held by true Christians. While we firmly believe in our biblical and theological interpretation on these key doctrines, we do not disregard Christian brothers and sisters who legitimately love Jesus and believe the Bible who have come to conclusions that we disagree with. Likewise, we value the study of theology and the preparation of the ministry for the purpose of demonstrating a love for God and his gospel, which includes embodying the kind of servant-hearted leadership Jesus has called his leaders to. While we come to our own convictions earnestly, we attempt to lovingly respect and understand others view points and present their views with Christian courtesy, scholarly ethics, and academic honesty, as part of our gospel witness.