The following statements are here to clarify the Biblical position taken by the Bear Valley Bible Institute and its staff on various issues facing the church today. These statements represent the most frequently asked questions posed to our faculty and staff. This document does not represent a complete list and in no way replaces the authority of the Scriptures. It is simply provided as a means to understand what positions are taught at the Institute.
What is taught concerning the inspiration of the Scriptures?
The Bear Valley faculty believes in and teaches the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures. It is our conviction that the entire Bible is God breathed (2 Tim. 3:16) and that the very words recorded are exactly what God wanted expressed (1 Cor. 2:13; Eph. 3:3-4; 1 Cor. 14:37). Equally, since the entire Bible is inspired, we also believe that it is our responsibility to obey it. We do not dismiss New Testament teachings by using such modern “hermeneutical” methods that regard the New Testament commands as applicable only to the churches to which they were written. We believe the New Testament is the complete revelation from God to man, and only in the New Testament do we have everything that pertains to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3; cf. Gal. 1:8,9; Rev. 22:18,19).
What is taught concerning the distinct nature of the church? What is taught concerning there being Christians in all denominations?
The church is that which was built by Christ (Matt. 16:16-18), was purchased with His blood (Acts 20:28), and that which He will save (Eph. 5:23-25). The New Testament teaches that the church is the body of Christ (Eph. 1:23; Col. 1:18), and that Christ is the head of that body (Eph 1:22). Therefore, all authority belongs to Christ. It is the church’s responsibility to obey the commands of Christ and to be a pillar and support of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15). Since the church is the body of Christ, He naturally has only one body. We do not make a monstrosity out of Christ (one head with many bodies). Ephesians 4:4 teaches that there is only one body, and that one body is the church. Therefore, every church which is a man-made organization does not belong to Christ. And, if they do not belong to Christ, they will not be saved (Eph. 5:23-27). The true church today is comprised only of those congregations who pattern themselves after the church built by Christ and established by the apostles in the New Testament.
What is taught concerning unity and fellowship?
As John instructed in 1 John 1:3-7, we can only have fellowship with those who have fellowship with God. Those who have fellowship with God are those who are “walking in the light” (1 John 1:7). Thus, it is impossible for us to have unity with, or to offer fellowship to those who do not “obey His commandments” (1 Jn. 2:4). We believe the New Testament teachings are clear enough that we can distinguish those who are in the light from those who are in darkness (Eph. 5:8-17). We equally will not fellowship those who do not abide by the teachings of Christ (2 John 9).
What is taught concerning marriage, divorce, and remarriage?
It is our position that the Bible teaches the following truths concerning marriage, divorce and remarriage:
1. God’s original plan, from the beginning, was one man and one woman for life. (Matt. 19:3ff).
2. If one marries another, while the first mate lives, he/she is guilty of adultery (Rom. 7:1ff).
3. Fornication is the only exception Jesus offers to the above situations. If one’s mate is sexually unfaithful, the innocent party has the right to divorce his/her mate and marry another (Matt. 19:9). We do not teach that the guilty party has the right to remarry. He (or she) forfeited his right when he was unfaithful.
4. The so-called “Pauline privilege” of 1 Cor. 7:15 is not an additional reason to divorce and re-marry. Paul is allowing one to leave his or her mate under an extreme circumstance, but does not provide an additional reason for remarriage. Earlier Paul had stated that if one left his or her mate it left but two options: (1) remain unmarried, or (2) be reconciled to his/her mate (1 Cor. 7:11).
For further information of our position on Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage here is a 5 part series on the subject that Denny Petrillo, President of the Bible Institute gave to our students in chapel:
When considering the movement of those who are calling for “change in the church,” what position is taken by your school?
It is our position that the command, example, necessary inference hermeneutic is sound, and has served God’s people faithfully. It has allowed us to arrive at clear Biblical teachings regarding a host of topics. Therefore, we do not believe that a “new approach” to the Bible is necessary; neither do we believe the church is in need of radical change. While we may believe the church needs to become more aggressive in evangelism and more vocal on the moral woes of our age, we do not advocate or support the changes suggested by many today.
What is taught about the nature of music used in worship, i.e. use of instruments, choirs, leader groups, etc.?
The New Testament teaches that in the worship assemblies there should be congregational singing. This singing should be with the instrument of the heart, without the use of mechanical instruments (Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19). Therefore, only a cappella singing is taught at Bear Valley, and that the entire congregation should engage in that singing. Having a choir replace the congregational singing is not authorized in the Scriptures. In addition, the New Testament teaches that men are to assume the leadership roles in the assembly (1 Tim. 2:8-15; I Cor. 14:34-35), therefore we do not believe it is appropriate to have women serve as group leaders in the
What is taught concerning the role of women in the church, i.e. during worship services, leadership positions of elders/deacons, etc.?
It is not a part of God’s plan for women to assume leadership roles in the assemblies of His church. Based on the teachings of 1 Timothy 2:8-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, both men and women have divinely specified functions. Those functions include the men leading the worship and the women assuming a submissive position (1 Tim. 2:12). We do not believe these teachings indicate an inferior status for women. We are all one in Christ (Gal. 3:28). However, that “oneness” in Christ does not eliminate the various roles God has in mind for His church (or in the family). The man has been designated by God as the “head” of the wife (Eph. 5:23), and the men are to be the leaders of the church. The New Testament recognized no women as elders. The teachings (1 Timothy 3, Titus 1) are clearly speaking to male leadership, and the examples in the New Testament support this. The Bear Valley faculty also does not consider the teachings of 1 Timothy 3:11 to refer to deaconesses, or that Romans 16:1 is recognizing an office of “deaconess” in the early church.
What is taught concerning salvation by grace and man’s part in salvation?
The grounds for man’s salvation is the blood of Christ, and God’s grace is manifested by what He did for our salvation (Eph. 2:8-9). Therefore, God determines to whom He extends His grace. He is not going to give His gift of grace to one who disregards His commands in the Gospel, or one who continues in sin (Rom. 6:1-2). God has given man His grace when he came to God through faith and obedience. Therefore, the acts of obedience we do are not to merit or earn our salvation. Those are simply the loving acts done by those wanting to please God (John 14:15). Our works are done to demonstrate our faith (Jas. 2:14-26).
What is taught concerning the role of baptism in salvation, and what is taught concerning denominational baptism?
The Scriptures teach that one receives forgiveness of sins when he is baptized (Acts 2:38; 22:16). There is no other point in one’s initial obedience where he/she receives forgiveness. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that one be baptized (immersed) to be saved. Otherwise his/her sins will not be forgiven. While there are clearly other Biblical steps necessary (hear-Rom. 10:17; believe-Jn. 8:24; repent-Acts 2:38; confess-Rom. 10:9-10), it is when one emerges from the waters of baptism that he is united with Christ (Rom. 6:3-4; Gal 3:27), and has received the benefits of His shed blood on the cross.
All faculty members are in full agreement with the above stated positions. The President of the Bear Valley Bible Institute and the Director of International Studies affirm that we and all of our respective staffs have read and have signed a letter of affirmation in agreement with these answers. We have all signatures on file.