The following comprise the scriptural beliefs of Tampa Theological Institute.
The Holy Scriptures. We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the verbally and plenary inspired Word of God. The Scriptures are inerrant, infallible, preserved and God-breathed and, therefore, are the final authority for faith and practice. The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments are the complete and divine revelation of God to Man. The Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal grammatical/historical meaning, and all issues of interpretation and meaning shall be determined by the pastor. The King James Version of the Bible shall be the official and only translation used by the church (II Tim. 3:16-17; II Pet. 1:20-21). We teach that God spoke in His written Word by a process of dual authorship. The Holy Spirit so superintended the human authors that, through their individual personalities and different styles of writing, they composed and recorded God’s Word to man (II Peter 1:20‑21) without error in the whole or in the part (Matthew 5:18; II Timothy 3:16). We teach that, whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation. The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently applies the literal grammatical‑historical method of interpretation under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 7:17; 16:12‑15; I Corinthians 2:7‑15; I John 2:20). It is the responsibility of believers to ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture, recognizing that proper application is binding on all generations. Yet the truth of Scripture stands in judgment of men; never do men stand in judgment of it.
The Fall. We believe that man was created in innocence and voluntarily transgressed God’s law and thereby fell from his holy and happy state, and that all men born thereafter are born in sin and are in need of a savior.
Dispensationalism. We believe that the Scriptures interpreted in their natural, literal sense reveal divinely determined dispensations or rules of life which define man’s responsibilities in successive ages. These dispensations are not ways of salvation, but rather are divinely ordered stewardships by which God directs man according to His purpose. At least three of these dispensations—the law, the church, and the kingdom—are the subjects of detailed revelation in Scripture. (Gen. 1:28; I Cor. 9:17; II Cor. 3:9-18; Gal. 3:13-25; Eph. 1:10; 3:2-10; Col. 1:24-25, 27; Rev. 20:2-6)
The Godhead. We believe in one triune God, eternally existing in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—each co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; II Cor. 13:14, John 14:10, 26). We teach that there is but one living and true God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5‑7, I Corinthians 8:4); infinite, and all‑knowing (John 4:24), perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; II Corinthians 13:14) – each equally deserving worship and obedience.
The Person & Work of Christ.
The Person & Work of the Holy Spirit.
Man. We teach that man was directly and immediately created by God in His image and likeness. Man was created free of sin with a rational nature, intelligence, volition, self‑determination, and moral responsibility to God (Genesis 2:7, 15‑25; James 3:9). We teach that God’s intention in the creation of man was that man should glorify God, enjoy God’s fellowship, live his life in the will of God, and by this accomplish God’s purpose for man in the world (Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11).
The Depravity of Man. We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God; but that in Adam’s sin the human race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God. Man is depraved and, of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition (Gen. 1:26-27; Rom. 3:22-23; 5:12; 6:23; Eph. 2:1-3; 4:17-19). We teach that, because all men were in Adam, a nature corrupted by Adam’s sin has been transmitted to all men of all ages, Jesus Christ being the only exception. All men are thus sinners by nature, by choice, and by divine declaration (Psalm 14:1‑3; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:9‑18, 23; 5:10‑12).
Salvation. We teach that salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redemption of Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not on the basis of human merit or works (John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8‑10; I Peter 1:18‑19). This forgiveness of sin is called the new birth (John 3:3), and all who are truly born again are kept by God. We believe that all sins, except blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, are forgivable (John 1:12; Eph. 1:7; 2:8-10; I Pet. 1:18-19; Matt. 12:31-32; I John 1:9).
Sovereignty, Foreknowledge, Election & Predestination. We teach that sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11; John 3:18‑19, 36; 5:40; Romans 9:22‑23; II Thessalonians 2:10‑12; Revelation 22:17).
Justification. We teach that justification before God is an act of God (Romans 8:33) by which He declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ, repent of their sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Romans 2:4; II Corinthians 7:10; Isaiah 55:6‑7) and confess Him as Lord (Romans 10:9‑10; I Corinthians 12:3; II Corinthians 4:5; Philippians 2:11). This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Romans 3:20; 4:6) and involves the imputation of our sins to Christ (Colossians 2:14; I Peter 2:24) and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us (I Corinthians 1:30; II Corinthians 5:21). By this means God is enabled to “be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus (Romans 3:26).”
The Eternal Security and Assurance of Believers.
Sanctification/Separation. We teach that separation from sin is clearly called for throughout the Old and New Testaments, and that the Scriptures clearly indicate that in the last days apostasy and worldliness shall increase (II Corinthians 6:14 7:1; II Timothy 3:1 5). We believe that all Christians are called from a life of worldly and sinful practices, to be separated unto God and to a life that is useful unto Christ. We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord. God commands His people to separate from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices, and associations, and to refrain from all immodest and immoderate appearances, piercings, and bodily markings (Rom. 12:1-2; 14:13; II Cor. 6:14-7:1; II Tim. 3:1-5; I John 2:15-17; II John 9-11; Lev. 19:28; I Cor. 6:19-20).
The Rapture of the Church. We believe in that blessed hope, the personal, imminent return of Christ Who will rapture His church prior to the seven-year tribulation period. At the end of the Tribulation, Christ will personally and visibly return with His saints, to establish His earthly Messianic Kingdom which was promised to the Nation of Israel. (Ps. 89:3-4; Dan. 2:31-45; Zech. 14:4-11; I Thess. 1:10; I Thess. 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; Rev. 3:10; 19:11-16; 20:1-6)
The Tribulation Period. We believe that immediately following the removal of the church from the earth (John 14:1‑3; I Thessalonians 4:13‑18) the righteous judgments of God will be poured out upon an unbelieving world (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:27; 12:1; II Thessalonians 2:7‑12; Revelation 16), and that these judgments will be climaxed by the return of Christ in glory to the earth (Matthew 24:27‑31; 25:31‑46; II Thessalonians 2:7‑12). At that time the Old Testament and tribulation saints will be raised and the living will be judged (Daniel 12:2‑3; Revelation 20:4‑6). This period includes the seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 9:24‑27; Matthew 24:15‑31; 25:31‑46).
The Second Coming and the Millennium. We believe that, after the tribulation period, Christ will come to earth to occupy the throne of David (Matthew 25:31; Luke 1:31‑33; Acts 1:10‑11; 2:29‑30) and establish His messianic kingdom for 1,000 years on the earth (Revelation 20:1‑7). During this time the resurrected saints will reign with Him over Israel and all the nations of the earth (Ezekiel 37:21‑28; Daniel 7:17‑22; Revelation 19:11‑16). This reign will be preceded by the overthrow of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and by the removal of Satan from the world (Daniel 7:17‑27; Revelation 20:1‑7).
The Judgment of the Lost. We teach that following the release of Satan after the 1,000‑year reign of Christ (Revelation 20:7), Satan will deceive the nations of the earth and gather them to battle against the saints and the beloved city, at which time Satan and his army will be devoured by fire from heaven (Revelation 20:9). Following this, Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10), whereupon Christ, who is the Judge of all men (John 5:22), will resurrect and judge the great and small at the Great White Throne Judgment.
Eternity. We believe that after the closing of the millennium, the temporary release of Satan, and the judgment of unbelievers (II Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 20:7‑15), the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God, after which the elements of this earth are to be dissolved (II Peter 3:10) and replaced with a new earth, wherein only righteousness dwells (Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 20:15; 21:1‑27; 22:1‑21). Following this, the heavenly city will come down out of heaven (Revelation 21:2) and will be the dwelling place of the saints, where they will enjoy forever fellowship with God and one another (John 17:3; Revelation 21‑22). Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father (I Corinthians 15:24‑28), that in all spheres the triune God may reign forever and ever (I Corinthians 15:28).
The Eternal State.
The Personality of Satan. We believe that Satan is a person, the author of sin and the cause of the Fall of Man; that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man; and that he shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire (Job 1:6-7; Isa. 14:12-17; Matt. 4:2-11; 25:41; Rev. 20:10).
Creation. We teach the literal, grammatical‑historical interpretation of Scripture which affirms the belief that the opening chapters of Genesis present creation in six literal days (Genesis 1:31; Exodus 31:17). We reject evolution, the Gap Theory, the Day-Age Theory, and Theistic Evolution as unscriptural theories of origin. (Gen. 1-2; Ex. 20:11)
Civil Government. We believe that God has ordained and created all authority consisting of three basic institutions: 1) the home, 2) the church, and 3) the state. Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and governed by His Word. God has given each institution specific biblical responsibilities and balanced those responsibilities with the understanding that no institution has the right to infringe upon the other. The home, the church, and the state are equal and sovereign in their respective biblically assigned spheres of responsibility under God. (Rom. 13:1-7; Eph. 5:22-24; Heb. 13:17; I Pet. 2:13-14)
Divorce and Remarriage. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids divorce and intends marriage to last until one of the spouses dies. Divorce and remarriage is regarded as adultery except on the grounds of fornication. Although divorced and remarried persons or divorced persons may hold positions of service in the church and be greatly used of God for Christian service, they may not be considered for the offices of pastor or deacon. (Mal. 2:14-17; Matt. 19:3-12; Rom. 7:1-3; I Tim. 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6)
Abortion. We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of unborn human life. Abortion is murder. We reject any teaching that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the physical or mental well-being of the mother are acceptable. (Job 3:16; Ps. 51:5; 139:14-16; Isa. 44:24; 49:1, 5; Jer. 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44)
Love. We believe that we should demonstrate love for others, not only toward fellow believers, but also toward both those who are not believers and those who oppose us. We are to deal with those who oppose us graciously, gently, patiently, and humbly. God forbids the stirring up of strife, the taking of revenge, or the threat or the use of violence as a means of resolving personal conflict or obtaining personal justice. Although God commands us to abhor sinful actions, we are to love and pray for any person who engages in such sinful actions. (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 5:44-48; Luke 6:31; John 13:34-35; Rom. 12:9-10; 17-21; 13:8-10; Phil. 2:2-4; II Tim. 2:24-26; Titus 3:2; I John 3:17-18)
Lawsuits Between Believers. We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians or the church to resolve personal disputes. We believe the church possesses all the resources necessary to resolve personal disputes between members. We do believe, however, that a Christian may seek compensation for injuries from another Christian’s insurance company as long as the claim is pursued without malice or slander. (I Cor. 6:1-8; Eph. 4:31-32)
Missions. We believe that God has given the church a great commission to proclaim the Gospel to all nations so that there might be a great multitude from every nation, tribe, ethnic group, and language group who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. As ambassadors of Christ we must use all available means to go to the foreign nations and not wait for them to come to us. (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; II Cor. 5:20)
Giving. We believe that every Christian, as a steward of that portion of God’s wealth entrusted to him/her, is obligated to support his/her local church financially. We believe that God has established the tithe as a basis for giving, but that every Christian should also give other offerings sacrificially and cheerfully to the support of the church, the relief of those in need, and the spread of the Gospel. We believe that a Christian relinquishes all rights to direct the use of the tithe or offering once the gift has been made. (Gen. 14:20; Prov. 3:9-10; Acts 4:34-37; I Cor. 16:2; II Cor. 9:6-7; Gal. 6:6; Eph. 4:28; I Tim. 5:17-18; I John 3:17)
Summary. A Bible Christian is one who believes in a supernatural Bible, which tells of a supernatural Christ, Who had a supernatural birth, Who spoke supernatural words, Who performed supernatural miracles, Who lived a supernatural life, in supernatural splendor, Who intercedes as a supernatural priest and Who one day, will return in supernatural glory to establish a supernatural kingdom on earth.