Southern California Seminary Doctrine
As a new student at Southern California Seminary you are not required to affirm your agreement with our Statement of Faith, but you are required to read and respect our doctrinal position(s) and those of our professors, as we in turn will respect yours. It is not even our goal to convince you of the Seminary’s position over the course of your time with us, but rather to equip you to study and be effective in “rightly dividing the word of truth…” (2 Timothy 2:15) for yourself.
If you are successful, as you conclude your educational goals here at the SCS, in being able to defend your theology with sound hermeneutics we will consider your Biblical and Theological education a triumph. If you have questions about anything covered in this document SCS will be happy to provide clarification upon request, simply ask your Dean or the Director of Admissions.
The Holy Scriptures
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the verbally inspired Word of God, the final authority for faith and life, inerrant in every matter in the original writing, infallible and God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
We believe in one Triune God, eternally existing in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections (Deuteronomy 6:4; 2 Corinthians 13:14).
The Person and Work of God the Father
We believe that the Father is the first person of the one, Triune God, a self-existent spirit, unseen by men, who shares one essence with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and possesses the same attributes of omniscience, omnipotence, love, truth, holiness, righteousness, and goodness (1 Corinthians 8:6; John 5:46; 6:26; 7:28; 14:9–10; 15:9; 17:11, 25; Matthew 6:8, 32; Ephesians 3:20;James 1:17). He receives worship and is the One to whom human beings relate through Christ, having sent Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to the earth (John 4:23; 8:42; 14:6, 26).
We believe the Father resurrects the dead, and that heaven belongs to Him (John 5:21; 14:2; Romans 6:4). He controls the timeline for eschatological events (Acts 1:6–7). He draws the elect to Christ, having chosen them before the foundation of the world (John 6:44; Ephesians 1:3). He predestines believers to adoption as sons and preserves them in their relationship to God (John 17:11;Ephesians 1:5).
We believe the Father is to be the focal point for believers in their Christian lives and in their fellowship (Romans 6:11; 1 John 1:3). He cares for them, comforts them, hears and answers their prayers, honors believers that serve Jesus Christ, leads them, and gives them gifts (John 12:26; 15:1; 16:23; Romans 6:11;2 Corinthians 1:3–4; 1 Thessalonians 3:11; James 1:17; 1 John 1:3).
The Person and Work of Christ
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, eternally God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful men (Luke 1:35; John 1:1, 2, 14).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice; and that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Romans 3:24–25; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:3–5; 2:24).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate (Acts 1:9–11; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1–2).
The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; revealing Christ to men and enabling them to believe; and, that He is the supernatural agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption (John 16:8–11; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:12–14; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13–14).
We believe that He guides believers into all truth, anoints and teaches them, and that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit (John 16:13; Ephesians 5:18; 1 John 2:20, 27).
The Creation and Man
We believe that the book of Genesis presents a historically accurate account of the origin of man, the fall of Adam and Eve, and consequently the entire human race, the worldwide flood, the call of Abraham, and the origin of God’s chosen people, Israel. Included in this is our belief that special creation of the existing universe, consisting of time, space, and matter, was accomplished in six literal, twenty-four hour days, as detailed in Genesis chapter one.
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that when man sinned the human race fell and became alienated from God. Man, thus, is totally depraved and of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition (Genesis 1:26–27; 5:2; Psalm 51; Romans 3:22–23; 5:12; Ephesians 2:1–3, 12).
We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal and purposeful faith in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of sins (1 Corinthians 15:1–5; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8–10; 1 Peter 1:18–19).
We believe that while the death and resurrection of Christ is sufficient provision for the salvation of all men, only those who exercise saving faith will have forgiveness of sin and receive eternal life. Those who so exercise faith are then regenerated, baptized by the Holy Spirit into Christ, and granted every spiritual blessing in Christ (Romans 6:3–4; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:3–4; 2:8–9; Philippians 2:13; Titus 3:5; 1 John 2:2).
The Eternal Security and Assurance of Believers
We believe that all the justified, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 6:37–40; 10:27–30; Romans 8:1, 38; 1 Corinthians 1:4–8; 1 Peter 1:5).
We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word; which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh (Romans 13:13–14; Galatians 5:13; Titus 2:11–15: 1 John 5:10–13).
The Two Natures of the Believer
We believe that the regenerated person retains his corrupt, sinful, depraved nature, but at the moment of salvation also becomes a partaker of the divine nature, capable of pleasing God through the ministries of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 6:13; 8:12–13; Galatians 5:16–25; Ephesians 4:22–24;Colossians 3:9–10; 1 Peter 1:14–16; 1 John 3:5–9).
We believe that it is the obligation of the saved to witness by life and by word to the truths of Holy Scripture and to seek to proclaim the Gospel to all mankind (Matthew 28:19–20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:19–20).
We believe that the church began on the day of Pentecost and is the one body into which all believers are baptized by the Holy Spirit. Christ is head of the church (Acts 2; 1 Corinthians 12:12–13; Ephesians 1:22).
We believe in the autonomy of the local church (Acts 13:1–4, 20:28; Romans 16:1; 1 Corinthians 3:9,16; 5:4–7,13; 1 Peter 5:1–4). [SEE UNDER MINISTRY AND SPIRITUAL GIFTS]
We recognize water baptism and the Lord’s Supper as scriptural ordinances. They are a means of Christian testimony for the church today (Matthew 28:19–20; Acts 2:41–42, 18:8; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26). [SEE UNDER MINISTRY AND SPIRITUAL GIFTS]
Ministry and Spiritual Gifts
We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts; that the gifts of evangelist and pastor-teacher are given to the church for the equipping of the saints today; that each believer has a spiritual gift for the purpose of ministry to others, such as the gifts of ministry, helps, leadership, administration, exhortation, giving, mercy, and teaching; that the gifts of prophecy, speaking in tongues, and the working of sign miracles ceased as the New Testament Scriptures were completed and their authority became established (Romans 12:6–8; 1 Corinthians 12:4–11; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:7–12; 1 Peter 4:10).
We believe that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith, in accord with His own will, for the sick and afflicted (John 15:7; James 5:14–15; 1 John 5:14–15).
We believe in the autonomy of the local church (Acts 13:1–4; 20:28; Romans 16:1; 1 Corinthians 3:9, 16; 5:4–7; 1 Peter 5:1–4).
We recognize the ordinances of water baptism and the Lord’s Supper as a scriptural means of testimony for the church today (Matthew 28:19–20; Acts 2:41–42; 18:8; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26).
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 administrations of God. These dispensations are divinely ordered stewardships by which God directs man according to His purpose. Three of these—the dispensation of law, the dispensation of the grace of God, and the dispensation of the kingdom—are the subjects of detailed revelation in Scripture (John 1:17; 2 Corinthians 3:6–18; Galatians 3:13–25;Ephesians 1:10; 3:2–10; Colossians 1:24–25; Hebrews 7:19; Revelation 20:2–6).
The Personality of Satan
We believe that Satan is a person, the author of sin and cause of the fall; 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; Isaiah 14:12–17; Matthew 4:2–11; Revelation 20:11).
The Rapture and Second Advent of Christ
We believe that the “blessed hope,” is the personal, imminent, pre-tribulational rapture of the church (1 Thessalonians 1:10, 4:13–17; Titus 2:13).
We believe that after the seven-year tribulation Christ returns to the earth, with His saints, to establish His Millennial Kingdom (Isaiah 9:7; Zechariah 14:4–11; Luke 1:32; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 4:13–18; 5:9; Revelation 3:10; 19:11–16; 20:1–6).
We believe that only then will He reign on the throne of David (Luke 1:32b).
The Eternal State
We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46; John 5:28–29; 11:25–26; Revelation 20:5–6; 22:12).
We believe that the souls of the justified are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where in conscious bliss they await the first resurrection, when soul and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; 3:32; 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17; Revelation 20:4–6).
We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain, after death, in conscious misery until the second resurrection, when with soul and body reunited they shall appear at the Great White Throne Judgment, and shall be cast into the lake of fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting conscious punishment (Matthew 25:41–46; Mark 9:43–48; Luke 16:19–26; 2 Thessalonians 1:7–9; Jude 6–7; Revelation 20:11–15).
Statement of Faith
A statement of faith is a summary of core beliefs held by the persons who affirm it. A statement of faith helps persons of like faith to identify one another. The trustees, administrators, and faculty of SCS affirm the following statement of faith while recognizing that only the Word of God is the final authority for faith and practice.
The SCS Statement of Faith has been refined from time to time, most recently in 2001 to include a statement regarding the person and work of God the Father. Dr. Otto Reese, founder of Linda Vista Bible College and Seminary, was probably its original author, at least in part.
Southern California Seminary
Ethical Values & Standards
Each Christian is to be Christlike in attitude and action. This is neither automatic nor instantaneous, but a growth process. Christlikeness does not come by observing certain outward expectations, but comes from within as the indwelling Spirit of God energizes the believer submitted to God (Romans 12:1-2; Philippians 2:12-13). As believers walk in fellowship with the Lord, being controlled and enabled by the Holy Spirit, they are changed to be more and more like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 2:12-13, 1 John 1:4-7).
Believers are to glorify God in their bodies and are to live holy lives (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Peter 1:13-16). Love toward God is evidenced by love for those without Christ—note Paul’s example in 2 Corinthians 5:14 and Acts 18:5—and by love for fellow believers (1John 3:16; 4:7-8).
Living by God’s grace, believers are to avoid even the appearance (every form) of wrongdoing (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Believers are called to freedom, but this is not to be an opportunity for the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:13).
Individuals who, after spiritual instruction (Galatians 6:1), continue to dishonor the Lord by persisting in un-Christlike behavior or unruly conduct may, after due process, be dismissed from SCS (1 Thessalonians 5:14).