This article is the doctrinal statement of GRACE LIFE FELLOWSHIP, Baton Rouge, Louisiana - the church Don Hammatt attended for years. It serves as the statement of faith for the ministry of Praise Works. It is not exhaustive and does not cover all the points of doctrine that can be established through the study of the Bible. Rather, it focuses on the central issues, i.e., those that are essential to finding and experiencing life with God through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
1. THE HOLY SCRIPTURES We believe God inspired the Bible, including both the Old and New Testaments, in the original manuscripts. The individual writers, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote down in those original manuscripts the infallible, inerrant Word of God as a final and authoritative guide for faith and conduct.
2. THE NATURE AND EXISTENCE OF GOD We believe in one God who eternally exists in three Persons - the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
3. THE PERSON AND WORK OF JESUS CHRIST We believe Jesus Christ (God, the Son), who always existed, became a man (without diminishing His Deity) by birth through the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life and, as the infinite God-Man, took upon Himself the sins of all mankind, died in their place and satisfied God’s holy wrath against their sin.
4. THE HOLY SPIRIT We believe the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person who convicts the world of sin, righteousness. and judgment. As such, He is the Supernatural Agent in accomplishing our regeneration into life with God. He subsequently indwells believers to fill, empower, teach, and seal them until the day of redemption. He also baptizes every believer into the body of Jesus Christ - the Church.
5. SATAN We believe Satan is a real created being, a fallen angel, who is the open and declared enemy of God and mankind. He is aided by a host of evil spirit beings called demons (other fallen angels), whose goal is to destroy believers, their families, and their churches. Though they are powerful and every believer is subject to their attack, victory over them is available through the person and work of Jesus Christ on the believer’s behalf. They shall ultimately be removed and tormented forever in the Lake of Fire.
6. THE TOTAL DEPRAVITY OF MAN We believe man was created to be the image bearer of God, having been uniquely made in the image and likeness of God. In Adam's rebellion and sin, the human race was plunged into sin, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God. Mankind in this natural state is therefore totally depraved, which means that of himself, he is utterly unable to remedy his lost condition. Mankind’s ultimate end in this lost state is eternal separation from God.
7. SALVATION We believe man's salvation from his lost condition is the gift of God brought to man entirely by the grace of God apart from any work of man. It is received only by faith in Jesus Christ, whose blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of sins. Upon placing faith in Jesus Christ, the believer receives eternal life (Jesus Christ), thereby becoming a partaker of God’s own life and is saved from his sins. He is now a new creation of God and has a new identity as a child of God (a saint.)
8. THE ETERNAL SECURITY AND ASSURANCE OF BELIEVERS We believe all who have come to rely upon the work of Jesus Christ for their salvation will never lose this relationship. They are kept by God's power and are secure in Jesus Christ forever. This assurance rests upon the testimony of God in the Bible rather than upon feelings.
9. SANCTIFICATION We believe that by placing their faith in Jesus, believers were united with Jesus Christ in His death, burial, resurrection and enthronement. This does not mean the believer was atoning for his own sin, but that God in His grace provided through the cross of Jesus Christ for the death of the old man (Adamic heritage or sin nature). Man could now be raised up in Jesus Christ a brand new creation. For this to become an experiential reality, the believer must choose to walk by faith in dependence on the Holy Spirit, thereby subduing the flesh against which he now struggles and defeating the power of sin. Sanctification, then, is Jesus Christ living His life out through the believer, not the believer living his life for God. This is not passivity, sinless perfection, co-atonement, the deification of man, or the eradication of the personality of man.