Coates Ministries Inc. was founded and continues to exist for the sole purpose of pleasing God and accomplishing His purposes. We praise God for his great salvation and rejoice in the fellowship he has given us with himself and with all believers in Jesus Christ. We are deeply stirred by what God is doing in our day, moved to penitence by our failures and challenged by the unfinished task of evangelization. We believe the gospel is God's good news for the whole world, and we are determined by his grace to obey Christ's commission to proclaim it to all mankind and to make disciples of every nation. We follow our Lord in placing high value on harmony, strongly emphasizing essential doctrines as enumerated here, and avoiding the promotion of extremes in secondary issues. We desire, therefore, to affirm our faith and our resolve, and to make public our covenant in this statement. While not comprehensive on every issue of Christian life and doctrine, this is the statement of faith and commitment of Coates Ministries Inc.
I. THE PURPOSE OF GOD
We affirm our belief in the one-eternal God, Creator and Lord of the world, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who governs all things according to the purpose of his will. He has been calling out from the world a people for himself, and sending his people back into the world to be his servants and his witnesses, for the extension of his kingdom, the building up of Christ's body, and the glory of his name. We rejoice that even when borne by earthen vessels the gospel is still a precious treasure. To the task of making that treasure known in the power of the Holy Spirit we desire to dedicate ourselves anew.
(Isa.40:28; Matt.28:19; Eph.1:11; Acts 15:14; John 17:6,18; Eph.4:12; ICor.5:10; Rom.12:2; II Cor.4:7)
II. THE AUTHORITY AND POWER OF THE BIBLE
We affirm the divine inspiration, truthfulness and authority of both Old and New Testament Scriptures in their entirety as the only written word of God, without error in all that it affirms, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice. We also affirm the power of God's word to accomplish his purpose of salvation. The message of the Bible is addressed to all mankind. For God's revelation in Christ and in Scripture is unchangeable. Through it the Holy Spirit still speaks today. He illumines the minds of God's people in every culture to perceive its truth freshly through their own eyes and thus discloses to the whole church ever more of the many-colored wisdom of God.
(IITim.3:16; IIPet.1:21; John 10:35; Isa.55:11; ICor.1:21; Rom.1:16; Matt.5:17,18; Jude 3; Eph. 1:17,18; 3:10,18)
III. THE UNIQUENESS AND UNIVERSALITY OF CHRIST
We affirm that Jesus Christ, God's Son, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, died a substitutionary atoning death on the cross, rose bodily from the dead and ascended to heaven. We affirm that there is only one Savior and only one gospel, although there is a wide diversity of evangelistic approaches. We recognize that all people have some knowledge of God through his general revelation in nature. But we deny that this can save, for men suppress the truth by their unrighteousness. We also reject as derogatory to Christ and the gospel every kind of syncretism and dialogue which implies that Christ speaks equally through all religions and ideologies. Jesus Christ, being himself the only God-man, who gave himself as the only ransom for sinners, is the only mediator between God and humans. There is no other name by which we must be saved. All men and women are perishing because of sin, but God loves all men and women, not wishing that any should perish but that all should repent. Yet those who reject Christ repudiate the joy of salvation and condemn themselves to eternal separation from God. To proclaim Jesus as "the Savior of the world" is not to affirm that all men and women are either automatically or ultimately saved, still less to affirm that all religions offer salvation in Christ. Rather it is to proclaim God's love for a world of sinners and to invite all men and women to respond to him as Savior and Lord in the wholehearted personal commitment of repentance and faith. Jesus Christ has been exalted above every other name; we long for the day when every knee shall bow to him and every tongue shall confess him Lord.
(Gal.1:6-9; Rom.1:18-32; ITim.2:5,6; Acts 4:12; John 3:16-19; IIPet.3:9; IIThess.1:7-9; John 4:42; Matt.11:28; Eph.1:20,21; Phil.2:9-11)
IV. THE NATURE OF EVANGELISM
To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures, and that as the reigning Lord he now offers the forgiveness of sins and the liberating gift of the Spirit to all who repent and believe. Our Christian presence in the world is indispensable to evangelism, and so is that kind of dialogue whose purpose is to listen sensitively in order to understand. But evangelism itself is the proclamation of the historical, biblical Christ as Savior and Lord, with a view to persuading people to come to him personally and so be reconciled to God. In issuing the gospel invitation we have no liberty to conceal the cost of discipleship. Jesus still calls all who would follow him to deny themselves, take up their cross, and identify themselves with his new community. The results of evangelism include obedience to Christ, incorporation into his church and responsible service in the world.
(ICor.15:3,4; Acts 2:32:39; John 20:21; ICor.1:23; IICor.4:5;5:11,20; Luke 14:25-33; Mark 8:34; Acts 2:40,47; Mark 10:43-45)
V. CHRISTIAN SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
We affirm that God is both the Creator and the Judge of all men and women. We therefore should share his concern for justice and reconciliation throughout human society and for the liberation of men and women from every kind of oppression and suffering. Because mankind is made in the image of God, every person, regardless of race, religion, color, culture, class, sex or age, has an intrinsic dignity because of which he should be respected and served, not exploited. We do not regard evangelism, medical relief, and social concern as mutually exclusive. Although reconciliation with humanity is not reconciliation with God, nor is social action evangelism, nor is political liberation salvation, nor is physical healing spiritual conversion, nevertheless we affirm that evangelism and social involvement are both part of our Christian duty. For both are necessary expressions of our doctrines of God and man, our love for our neighbor and our obedience to Jesus Christ. The message of salvation implies also a message of judgment upon every form of alienation, oppression and discrimination, and we should not be afraid to denounce evil and injustice wherever they exist. When people receive Christ they are born again into his kingdom and must seek not only to exhibit but also to spread its righteousness in the midst of an unrighteous world. The salvation we claim should be transforming us in the totality of our personal and social responsibilities. Faith without works is dead.
(Acts 17:26,31; Gen.18:18:25; Isa.1:17; Psa.45:7; Gen.1:26,27; Jas.3:9; Lev.19:18; Luke 6:27,35; Jas.2:14-26; John 3:3,5; Matt.5:20; 6:33; 2Cor.3:18; Jas.2:20)
VI. THE CHURCH AND EVANGELISM
We affirm that Christ sends his redeemed people into the world as the Father sent him, and that this calls for a similar deep and costly penetration of the world. We need to break out of our ecclesiastical ghettos and permeate non-Christian society. In the church's mission of sacrificial service evangelism is primary. World evangelization requires the whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world. The church is at the very center of God's cosmic purpose and is his appointed means of spreading the gospel. But a church which preaches the cross must itself be marked by the cross. It becomes a stumbling block to evangelism when it betrays the gospel or lacks a living faith in God, a genuine love for people, or scrupulous honesty in all things including promotion and finance. The church is the community of God's people rather than an institution, and must not be identified with any particular culture, social or political system, or human ideology.
(John 17:18; 20:21; Matt.28:19,20; Acts 1:8;20:27; Eph.1:9,10; 3:9-11; Gal.6:14,17; IICor.6:3,4; IITim.2:19-21; Phil.1:27)
VII. COOPERATION IN EVANGELISM
We affirm that the church's visible unity in truth is God's purpose. Evangelism also summons us to unity, because our oneness strengthens our witness, just as our disunity undermines our gospel of reconciliation. We recognize, however, that organizational unity may take many forms and does not necessarily forward evangelism. Yet we who share the same biblical faith should be closely united in fellowship, work and witness. We pledge ourselves to seek a deeper unity in truth, worship, holiness and mission. We urge the development of regional and functional cooperation for the furtherance of the church's mission, for strategic planning, for mutual encouragement, and for the sharing of resources and experience.
(John 17:21,23; Eph.4:3,4; John 13:35; Phil.1:27; John 17:11-23)
VIII. EVANGELISM AND CULTURE
The development of strategies for world evangelization calls for imaginative pioneering methods. Under God, the result will be the rise of churches deeply rooted in Christ and closely related to their culture. Culture must always be tested and judged by Scripture. Because men and women are God's creature, some of their culture is rich in beauty and goodness. Because they are fallen, all of it is tainted with sin and some of it is demonic. The gospel does not presuppose the superiority of any culture to another, but evaluates all cultures according to its own criteria of truth and righteousness, and insists on moral absolutes in every culture. Missions have all too frequently exported with the gospel an alien culture, and churches have sometimes been in bondage to culture rather than to Scripture. Christ's evangelists must humbly seek to empty themselves of all but their personal authenticity in order to become the servants of others, and churches must seek to transform and enrich culture, all for the glory of God.
(Mark 7:8,9,13; Gen.4:21,22; ICor.9:19-23; Phil.2:5-7; IICor.4:5)
IX. SPIRITUAL CONFLICT
We believe that we are engaged in constant spiritual warfare with the principalities and powers of evil, who are seeking to overthrow the church and frustrate its task of world evangelization. We know our need to equip ourselves with God's armor and to fight this battle with the spiritual weapons of truth and prayer. For we detect the activity of our enemy, not only in false ideologies outside the church, but also inside it in false gospels which twist Scripture and put humans in the place of God. We need both watchfulness and discernment to safeguard the biblical gospel. The church must be in the world; the world must not be in the church.
(Eph.6:12; 2Cor.4:3,4; Eph.6:11,13-18; 2Cor.10:3-5; IJohn 2:18-26; 4:1-3; Gal.1:6-9; 2Cor.2:17;4:2; John 17:15)
X. THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Father sent his Spirit to bear witness to his Son; without his witness ours is futile. Conviction of sin, faith in Christ, new birth and Christian growth are all his work. Further, the Holy Spirit is a missionary spirit; thus evangelism should arise spontaneously from a Spirit-filled church. A church that is not a missionary church is contradicting itself and quenching the Spirit. World-wide evangelization will become a realistic possibility only when the Spirit renews the church in truth and wisdom, faith, holiness, love and power. We therefore call upon all Christians to pray for such visitation of the sovereign Spirit of God that all his fruit may appear in all his people and that his gifts may enrich the body of Christ. Only then will the whole church become a fit instrument in his hands, that the whole earth may hear his voice.
(ICor.2:4; John 15:26,27; 16:8-11; ICor.12:3; John 3:6-8; 2Cor.3:18; John 7:37-39; IThess.5:19; Acts 1:8; Psa. 85:4-7; 67:1-3; Gal.5:22,23; ICor.12:4-31; Rom.12:3-8)
XI. THE RETURN OF CHRIST
We believe that Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly, in power and glory, to consummate his salvation and his judgment. This promise of his coming is a further spur to our evangelism, for we remember his words that the gospel must first be preached to all nations. We believe that the interim period between Christ's ascension and return is to be filled with the mission of the people of God, who have no liberty to stop before the End. We also remember his warning that false christs and false prophets will arise as precursors of the final Antichrist. We therefore reject as a proud, self-confident dream the notion that humankind can ever build a utopia on earth. Our Christian confidence is that God will perfect his kingdom, and we look forward with eager anticipation to that day, and to the new heaven and earth in which righteousness will dwell and God will reign forever. Meanwhile, we rededicate ourselves to the service of Christ and of men in joyful submission to his authority over the whole of our lives.
(Mark 14:62; Heb.9:28; Mark 13:10; Acts 1:8-11; Matt.28:20; Mark 13:21-23; John 2:18; 4:1-3; Luke 12:32; Rev.21:1-5; 2Pet.3:13; Matt.28:18)
Therefore, in the light of this our faith and our resolve, we enter into a solemn covenant with God and with each other, to pray, to plan, and to work together for the evangelization of the whole world. May God help us by his grace and for his glory to be faithful to this our covenant! Amen, Alleluia!
This Statement was adapted from the Lausanne Covenant for World Evangelization and accurately expresses the core beliefs of CMI