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The University is aware of the potentially controversial nature of creeds and has no intention of adding to an already divided church. The essence of our belief is in the old saying, “No creed but Christ.” Therefore, any person who holds to the Lordship of Jesus and meets the other admission requirements is welcome at Johnson University. Yet, in order to understand the nature of the University, you should know that every trustee, administrator, and teacher holds the following items to be true, and that students may not use the campus as a place to actively promulgate teachings greatly out of line with these:
The God of the Old Testament, Israel’s God, is supreme as sole Creator and Ruler of all that exists (Genesis 1:1; Exodus 20:1-11; Deuteronomy 6:4-5). The New Testament reveals in Christ—incarnate in the world, in submission to God the Father, and exercising authority that belongs to God alone—and the Holy Spirit—sent by the Father and the Son, doing their will, witnessing to them, and doing what God alone can do—that God is Triune (John 1:1-18; 16:12-15; Colossians 1:15-20).
The faithful of Israel received the books of the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings as God’s word through the prophets, poets, and sages whom he inspired, as witnessed by their declaration that their message was God’s message (Exodus 20:1-2; Psalm 1; 119; Isaiah 1:10; Malachi 1:1). Thus the New Testament treats the Old Testament as the inspired, authoritative word of God, in continuity with the faithful of Israel (John 10:35; 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16). The church of Christ received Gospels telling the story of Jesus, letters applying that Gospel to the church’s faith and life, and the Apocalypse describing the church’s present and future in God’s plan, as bearing divine authority like Israel’s Scriptures (Matthew 28:18; John 16:13; Colossians 4:16; 2 Peter 3:15-16; Revelation 1:1-3).
Jesus’ virgin conception is consistently affirmed or assumed in the New Testament (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38; 2:1-7; 3:23; John 8:41; Galatians 4:4). He is identified by title and type as Israel’s divinely promised King who establishes God’s rule, that is, the Christ (Matthew 2:15; 16:13-17:8; Mark 1:1; Romans 1:1-7; Hebrews 1:1-4; Revelation 1:12-20; 5:1-14). As such he alone grants salvation (Acts 2:36-38; 4:12); he is the greatest of the prophets (Luke 11:29-32, 48-51); he is the great high priest (Hebrews 4:14-5:10); and the promised “anointed one,” “Son of David,” God’s promised King (Matthew 21:5; 25:31-46; 27:37; John 1:43-51; Acts 17:7; 1 Timothy 6:13-16; Revelation 17:14)
Jesus described his death and resurrection in terms that recalled the substitutionary nature of Israel’s temple sacrifices for propitiation and forgiveness of sin (Mark 10:45; Luke 22:14-23). The New Testament explicitly describes Jesus’ death and resurrection as offering forgiveness for all humanity (Romans 3:25; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:11-28; 1 John 1:5-2:2; 4:10).
Jesus’ death and resurrection is pivotal to the story of Scripture (Matthew 26-28; Mark 14-16; Luke 22-24; John 18-21; Acts 1:1-11; 2:22-41; Romans 1:1-7; 1 Corinthians 15). The New Testament affirms Jesus’ resurrection as an event in space and time, not merely an internal religious experience or private vision, using the term “resurrection” according to common Jewish usage and affirming that Jesus’ empty tomb and resurrected body were witnessed by many in a relatively brief span of time and narrow range of places, against their prior beliefs and expectations.
The Bible frames the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus as God’s victory over the forces of rebellious evil, the beginning of the restoration of his purpose for humanity. The work begun by Jesus is to be carried out by his followers who proclaim his message so that rebellious humanity can place faith in Jesus and thereby be restored to their Creator’s blessing and purpose (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:44-49; John 17:18; 20:21-23; Acts 1:6-8).
Sent in fulfillment of the promise that God would empower all of his people with his Spirit (Numbers 11:26-30; Isaiah 44:1-5; 59:14-21; Ezekiel 36:22-38; 37:1-14; 39:25-39; Joel 2:28-32), the Holy Spirit, given by Jesus to his followers (Luke 24:49; John 20:21-23; Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-21, 38-39; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13), empowers them to live out the true life of God’s people (Galatians 5:16-26) and thereby to be prophetic messengers of God’s good news (John 14:15-25; 16:5-15; Acts 4:29-31).
The Bible epitomizes the story of humanity in the pre-patriarchal narratives (Genesis 1-11), the patriarchal narratives (Genesis 12-50), and the grand narrative of Israel as one of headstrong rebellion against the Creator. Thus, all humanity is estranged from God and unable to redeem itself (Romans 3:9-20; Ephesians 2:1-3). Christ is the divinely provided solution to this dilemma (Romans 3:21-26; Ephesians 2:4-10). His gift is received by those who acknowledge their rebellion and helplessness, turning to God for mercy (Matthew 3:6; 4:17; Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; 26:20; Romans 10:9-10; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 1:8-9).
Faith (Acts 16:30-31), giving assent to the truth of the gospel and placing trust in it, is the foundational response in receiving Christ’s gift. Repentance (Matthew 4:17; Acts 2:38; 17:30), the turning from rebellion against God to seek God’s mercy, and confession (Romans 10:9-10), giving overt expression to faith, are immediate consequences of faith. Baptism by immersion, in which the passive supplicant calls out to God in Christ for cleansing and new life, expresses and encapsulates all these and is therefore consistently in the New Testament associated with conversion from the old life to the new (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Romans 6:1-6; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:11-14; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 3:21).
Jesus’ prayer for his followers’ unity (John 17:20-26) is founded on the unity of Father, Son, and Spirit and has the world’s reclamation as its final aim. That unity is revealed in the gospel, authoritatively delivered to us in New Testament Scripture that shows realization and fulfillment of God’s promises as revealed to Israel and authoritatively delivered to us in Old Testament Scripture. While deep, rich, diverse traditions inform Christians’ life and thought, Christians must continually test and reform those traditions with the authoritative deposit of Scripture.
Jesus’ death and resurrection inaugurate the fulfillment of God’s promises to reclaim rebellious humanity. The merciful offer of forgiveness and reconciliation through Christ is made through proclamation of the gospel which demands a response of repentant faith. In his mercy God restrains final judgment on rebellious humanity to give all the opportunity to turn to him (Acts 2:34-35; Ephesians 1:20-24; Colossians 3:1-4; 2 Peter 3:1-10). But realization of God’s final purpose will not be forever delayed. Therefore, Christ promises to return at a time known only to the Father, to bring final defeat on his enemies and blessing and vindication on his people (Matthew 24:29-44; Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 3:11-13; 4:13-5:11; Revelation 22:20).