A Firm Foundation
Founded on the Word, Focused on the World
At a prayer meeting in 1943, dozens of church leaders established the Conservative Baptist Foreign Missions Society (CBFMS) to be “Founded on the Word, Focused on the World.” Today, WorldVenture follows in our founders’ footsteps as we revise our doctrinal statement on the firm foundation of Christ and the authority of the Bible.
The Need for Translation
The Language of the Gospel is Translation
In the same way that WorldVenture global workers translate the message of the gospel into local languages, WorldVenture’s board of directors reviewed our original doctrinal statement and saw the need to update some of the verbiage to better reflect definitions and descriptions as they are understood in contemporary American English. Not only that, the board has established a new rhythm to empower future boards to periodically review and update our doctrinal statement to clearly reflect the definitions of terms as widely understood.
The Message of the Gospel is Unchanging
WorldVenture’s board of directors did not embark on this effort lightly. WorldVenture is not changing the substance of our doctrinal statement. We remain founded on the Word. We take seriously Paul’s warning of anathema (condemnation) for those peddling false gospel and Jude’s exhortation to contend earnestly for the faith given once and for all. Deep in the DNA of WorldVenture is the memory of the sacrifices our CBFMS founders made to fight against the theological drift of the times. Those realities contribute to our desire to make sure that WorldVenture doctrine is clear and without compromise in contemporary American English.
Does Not Change
Entrusted to Faithful People
- Jason Post, Task Force Chair – Church Planter, Ireland
- Debbie Dodd – Church Planter, Taiwan
- Caleb Hutcherson – Theological Educator, MENA
- Scott Klingsmith – Theological Educator, USA
- Larry Renoe – Church Partner Pastor
- Pat Cottrell – WV Board Member and Church Partner Pastor
- Andy Spohrer – WV Board Member and Retired WV Staff
Criteria for Serving
on the Task Force:
- Theological Acumen
- Theological Teaching Experience
- Global Knowledge
- History with WorldVenture
- Experience with Communicating Abstract Concepts Practically
PREVIOUS: No statement on the Trinity in original Doctrinal Statement
UPDATE: We believe in one God, creator and sustainer of all things, eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; that, sharing the same nature, they are equal in every divine perfection and they act in distinct yet harmonious ways in the work of creation, providence, and redemption.
PREVIOUS: We believe that the Bible is God’s Word, that it was written by men divinely and uniquely inspired, that it is absolutely trustworthy and has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
UPDATED: We believe in the divine inspiration, truthfulness, and authority of the Bible as the only written Word of God, and the final rule in faith and practice. God has revealed Himself through human authors in the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments.
God The Father
PREVIOUS: We believe in God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth, perfect in holiness, infinite in wisdom, measureless in power. We rejoice that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of people, that He hears and answers prayer, and that He saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ.
UPDATED: We believe in God the Father, perfect in holiness, infinite in wisdom, measureless in power and love. We rejoice that He concerns Himself mercifully and justly in the affairs of people, that He hears and answers prayer, and that He saves from sin and death unto everlasting life all who come to Him through Jesus Christ.
PREVIOUS: We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, sinless in His life, making atonement for the sin of the world by His death on the cross. We believe in His bodily resurrection, His ascension into heaven, His high priestly intercession for His people, and His personal, visible return to the world according to His promise.
UPDATED: We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s eternal begotten Son, the God-man, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, sinless in His life, making atonement for the sin of the world by His death on the cross. We believe in His bodily resurrection, His ascension into heaven, His ongoing high priestly intercession for His people, and His personal, visible return to the world according to His promise.
The Holy Spirit
PREVIOUS: We believe in the Holy Spirit who came forth from God to convince the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment, and to regenerate, sanctify and comfort those who believe in Jesus Christ.
UPDATED: We believe in the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father and the Son, to convict the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. He regenerates, indwells and empowers for godly living all those who believe in Jesus Christ.
Sin & Salvation
PREVIOUS: We believe that all people by nature and by choice are sinners, but that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NIV). We believe, therefore, that those who accept Christ as their Lord and Savior will rejoice forever in God‘s presence and those who refuse to accept Christ as Lord and Savior will be forever separated from God.
UPDATED: We believe that God created humanity, male and female, in the image of God and, therefore, all people possess inherent dignity and are worthy of love and respect. In the fall of Adam and Eve, we believe that all people became sinners by nature and by choice. We believe that those who repent of sin and trust Jesus Christ alone as their Lord and Savior will rejoice forever in God’s presence and those who refuse will be forever separated from God.
PREVIOUS: We believe in the church – a living spiritual body of which Christ is the Head and of which all regenerated people are members. We believe that a visible church is a company of believers in Jesus Christ, buried with Him in baptism and associated for worship, work and fellowship. We believe that to these visible churches were committed, for observance “till He comes,” the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper; and that God has laid upon these churches the task of persuading a lost world to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and to enthrone Him as Lord and Master. We believe that human betterment and social improvement are essential products of the gospel.
UPDATED: We believe in the Church universal – the spiritual body of which Jesus Christ is the head and of which all those regenerated by the Spirit are members. We believe that, as a visible expression of the universal Church, a local church is an assembly of believers in Jesus Christ, identified with Him in baptism and gathered for worship, witness, work, and fellowship, mutually submitted to one another in love. We believe that to these local churches were committed, for observance “until He comes,” the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper; and that God sends His Church into the world as witnesses and ambassadors of His kingdom. As God’s ambassadors, we share His passion for justice, reconciliation, and blessing of all peoples.
PREVIOUS: We believe that every human being is responsible to God alone in all matters of faith.
UPDATED: Recommendation is to delete this statement and combine with the following statement
Authority and Independence
PREVIOUS: We believe that each church is independent and autonomous and must be free from interference by any ecclesiastical or political authority; that, therefore, church and state must be kept separate as having different functions, each fulfilling its duties free from dictation or patronage of the other.
UPDATED: We believe that every local church has, as its highest authority, the Lord Jesus Christ, and, therefore, that each local church should be free to obey the Word of God without interference by any human political authority. We believe that all people are ultimately responsible to God in matters of faith and life according to His Word.
Doctrinal Statements’ FAQs
What is different with the amended doctrinal statement from the original?
For the sake of transparency, we’ve provided the previous and updated statements together above. The differences are:
- Updated phrasing for clarity
- Inclusion of a statement of belief concerning the Trinity which was not included in the original statement
- Expanded statements concerning humanity and the church
- Incorporation of Article 8 (Individual Responsibility) into the amended Article 9 (Authority and Independence)
All amendments were made for clarity. The board is not trying to communicate anything different than originally intended.
Where is the statement about God the Father as Creator?
The phrase “Creator of heaven and earth” in Article 3 in the former doctrinal statement is newly articulated in the statement on the Trinity in Article 1. Note the phrases “We believe in one God, creator and sustainer of all things…” and “…they act in distinct yet harmonious ways in the work of creation, providence, and redemption.” Given that the Trinity was involved in the work of creation, the Board felt that the former wording of Article 3 was not necessary and thus was removed from the new statement on God the Father.
Why did the WorldVenture Board amend the mission's doctrinal statement now?
One of the Board discussions after the WorldVenture 75th Anniversary celebration was to ask the question: does our historic doctrinal statement communicate today what the founders intended to say 75 years ago? As we well know, English words and terms change meaning over time. Additionally, an explicit statement on the core theological belief of the Trinity was missing from the original doctrinal statement. Subsequently, the Board resolved that a task force be commissioned every ten years beginning in 2023 to review and propose to the Board any edits or amendments to ensure that our doctrinal statement clearly communicates our organizational core beliefs.
Who served on the WorldVenture Doctrinal Statement Task Force?
In seeking God for task force members, the Board intentionally sought men and women with theological acumen, global knowledge and history of WorldVenture and our partners, and who are in positions of having to communicate theological truths in ways people can understand and live out. Subsequently, Mark Hanke (WorldVenture Board Chair) and Jeff Denlinger (WorldVenture President) asked the following people to serve on our Doctrinal Statement Task Force:
- Jason Post, WV church planter, Ireland, Task Force Chair
- Debbie Dodd, WV church planter/theological educator, Taiwan
- Caleb Hutcherson, WV theological educator, Lebanon
- Scott Klingsmith, WV theological educator, Denver, CO
- Larry Renoe, Pastor, Waterstone, Littleton, CO
- Pat Cottrell, Pastor, Calvary Baptist, Huntington Beach, CA, WV Board Member
- Andy Spohrer, WV Board Member and Retired WV Missionary and Staff
The WorldVenture Board received the Task Force’s final report on January 25, 2023, and interacted with Jason Post on the process, rationale, and specific proposed amendments to the original doctrinal statement. The Board and the executive leadership team of WorldVenture then entertained discussion and additional edits on each of the nine articles in the amended doctrinal statement. The decision was made at that time to delay the Board vote until the March 22, 2023 Board Meeting to allow the Board and leadership to continue to prayerfully reflect on the amended doctrinal statement before the Lord.
What are the practical implications of amending WorldVenture's doctrinal statement?
With the Board motion to adopt the amended doctrinal statement dated March 22, 2023, the amended doctrinal statement will be in immediate effect and communicated across the WorldVenture family and to partnering individuals, churches, other agencies and entities, with a full implementation within the organizational documentations and practices by June 30, 2023. As usual, every board member, global worker, and staff member within WorldVenture must affirm the doctrinal statement each year, either electronically or in writing.
Is a voting constituency of churches required to change the doctrinal statement?
The short answer is “no, a voting constituency is no longer required.”
A more comprehensive explanation is that WorldVenture’s Board has the authority to amend the core documents of the mission. Over the decades since our founding, constituent church participation in board elections has declined precipitously to less than 10%. Various boards have taken steps over the years to address this decline while providing leadership for the mission. More recently in 2018, the WorldVenture Board of Directors approved the transfer of our incorporation from Delaware to Colorado requiring a reincorporation. The reincorporation process dovetailed with Board work on updating the WorldVenture Bylaws and its Board Governance Manual in 2018 with formal adoption in January 2019. But though a voting constituency is no longer required, it was important to our current WorldVenture Board to be unified and faithful to the intent of the founding of CBFMS. And in a beautiful echo of that first prayer meeting in 1943 that led to the founding of CBFMS/WorldVenture, the WorldVenture Board delayed the adoption of the edits to the doctrinal statement for the sole reason of providing additional time for prayer.
Who do I contact if I have additional questions?
We invite you to send additional questions directly to the WorldVenture Board of Directors: