The Family International is an international Christian community committed to sharing the message of God’s love with people around the globe. We believe that everyone can have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, which affords happiness and peace of mind, as well as the motivation to help others and to share the good news of His love. Our fundamental beliefs are generally in accordance with those held by Christians the world over; we also embrace some untraditional doctrines. Our application of the foundation principle of God’s Law of Love that Jesus taught—to love God, and to love our neighbor as ourselves, which He said fulfills “all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40)—is a defining feature of our lives and our faith.
The Word of God
God’s Word is the cornerstone of our beliefs and practices. We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, written by men of faith who were inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). Its timeless principles are the foundation of our faith, and its truth is the basis of the message we share with others.
We believe that God is a living God who continues to speak to His people today and to impart His message through ongoing revelation, prophecy, and words of spiritual direction and counsel.
God’s Word explains His plan for humankind, teaches us how to live in harmony with God and others, guides our actions and decisions, and is essential to our spiritual strength and growth.
John 1:1; Matthew 24:35; John 8:31–32; Matthew 4:4; Romans 10:17, 15:4; Acts 2:17; Amos 3:7; Proverbs 1:23
We believe in one God, who is the all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present, eternal Being that created and sustains the universe and everything in it. The Bible teaches us that “God is a spirit” (John 4:24) and “God is love” (1 John 4:8). We believe that He loves and cares for each person with an eternal, unending love, and seeks to bring every man, woman, and child into a personal relationship with Him.
God exists eternally in the Trinity of three distinguishable but inseparable Persons: God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah 43:10–11; John 4:24; John 14:23; 1 John 4:19, 5:7; Matthew: 28:19; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11
God’s love for the world was so great that He gave His one and only son, Jesus Christ, to bring salvation to the world (John 3:16) and to teach humankind about His love. Jesus is the manifestation of the love of God, and He suffered the death of crucifixion in order to atone for the sins of humanity, so that humankind could be reconciled to God (Isaiah 53:4–6).
We believe that Jesus was miraculously conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He took human form and lived a human life, so that He could become a mediator between God and humankind (1 Timothy 2:5). Three days after His death on the cross, Jesus was resurrected, and 40 days later, He ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:3). We believe that He will return to the world in the future to establish His kingdom of love and righteousness on Earth (Revelation 11:15).
1 Timothy 3:16; John 1:14; Philippians 2:5–11; Hebrews 4:14–15; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24–25; 1 Corinthians 15:3–6; Matthew 28:18; Acts 1:9–11
The Holy Spirit
Before Jesus ascended to Heaven, He promised to send the Holy Spirit to His followers, to strengthen and guide them in their spiritual lives and relationship with God, and to remain with them always (John 14:16).
The Holy Spirit guides believers into all truth, helps them to understand God’s Word, assists them in prayer, and empowers them to witness the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others (Acts 1:8). We believe that any believer can receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit, simply by asking God for it. The Holy Spirit’s presence may be manifested in believers’ lives through different spiritual gifts, which include wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, and prophecy (1 Corinthians 12:4–11).
John 16:7,13; Acts 1:5,8; John 14:15–18,26; Luke 11:13; Romans 8:26–27; 1 Corinthians 12:4–11; Proverbs 8:1,23,30
We believe that God created the universe in accordance with the Biblical account of Creation. God formed the first man and woman in His image and breathed into them the breath of life (Genesis 2:7); thus they became living souls by divine creation and not by random evolution. God’s visible creation provides clear testimony of His invisible existence (Romans 1:20).
We believe that God gave humankind the responsibility to care for the Earth and its inhabitants.
Genesis 1:1,26–27, 2:15; Psalm 8:4–8, 33:6–9; Jeremiah 32:17; Hebrews 11:3
Salvation by Grace
We believe that God created the first man and woman without sin. He granted them free choice, and they fell into sin through their choice to disobey God. Through this entrance of sin into the world, all people became sinners by nature (Romans 5:12–14) and separated from God. But God, in His infinite love and mercy, reconciled humanity to Himself by giving the world His only Son, “that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). We believe, therefore, that anyone who accepts God’s pardon for sin through Jesus Christ will be forgiven and redeemed and will live forever in God’s presence in the afterlife.
Salvation (redemption from sin) is a gift of God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness, and can only be attained through belief in Jesus. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5). Having received the gift of salvation, the believer is saved forever; after death, his or her soul will live forever in Heaven. “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28). Believers continue to be fallible people in need of God’s forgiveness, but despite their shortcomings and sins, they will never lose their salvation.
Genesis 3:17–19; 1 Corinthians 15:21–22; Romans 3:23, 6:23; Ephesians 2:7–9; 1 John 1:8; Acts 4:12; 1 John 5:12; Romans 5:8–9, 8:38–39
The Bible says that God honors and rewards those who draw near to Him in faith (Hebrews 11:6). Faith grows and is strengthened through the study of God’s Word (Romans 10:17), and a living faith is one that is translated into action (James 2:17). We believe that our faith should be integrated into every aspect of our lives and interactions with others. “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17).
We believe that God cares for each of His children, and seeks to guide, support, comfort, strengthen, and provide for them. Our faith empowers us to trust Him for the challenges of life, even if we don’t always understand His ways or why He allows the difficulties we face. As we commit our lives, hopes, and future into His loving hands, we trust that God will fulfill His promises to us. He will cause everything that those who love Him encounter in life to ultimately work together for their good (Romans 8:28).
Hebrews 11:1,6; Mark 9:23; Matthew 8:24–26; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Matthew 9:29; Hebrews 10:35; Proverbs 3:5–6; Isaiah 55:8–11; Psalm 27:13–14, 23:1–4, 34:15,17–19, 91:14–16
Living a Godly Life
We believe that the life of a Christian should be a living example of God’s love, both in word and in deed. Our lives should manifest the spiritual virtues enumerated in the Bible, such as love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22–23).
We adhere to the scriptural admonition to “not love the world or the things in the world” (1 John 2:15). We understand this to mean that the believer should avoid pursuits and practices of secular society that are incompatible with Christ’s teachings, as well as avoid conformity to attitudes and values contrary to God’s teachings.
While we firmly believe that salvation is eternal and cannot be lost regardless of a person’s actions, when our actions aren’t in harmony with Jesus’ command to love God and others, we can distance ourselves from Him. We believe that we should strive to follow in Christ’s footsteps, to live according to the principles in His Word, and to overcome personal weaknesses and sins that would interfere in our relationship with Him and others.
Because our bodies belong to the Lord and are the living temples in which the Holy Spirit dwells, we believe that Christians should also strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle (1 Corinthians 6:19–20).
1 John 2:5–6; James 2:26; 1 John 2:15–17; Romans 12:1–2; Proverbs 16:6; James 3:17–18
Communicating with God
Prayer is the means by which we communicate with God. Through prayer we manifest our dependence on God; we express our praise and gratitude to Him; we present our petitions for our needs and the needs of others.
We believe that prayer, far from being merely a religious ritual, should be a vibrant aspect of our relationship with God. Prayer can release God’s power, in accordance with His will, and bring about answers, supply, healing, comfort, peace of mind, guidance, and miracles. Jesus said, “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:24).
We believe that God seeks to communicate with people. He desires to be a close presence in each person’s life, and to provide guidance, encouragement, and instruction. He speaks to the hearts of all who seek Him, both through imperceptible means and visible signs of His presence.
God has promised to make His words known to His children through His Spirit (Proverbs 1:23). The ability to receive direct messages from God is referred to in the Bible as the gift of prophecy. Prophecy is a gift of the Holy Spirit, which is available to believers, and can play an active role in their daily lives (Acts 2:17).
Jeremiah 33:3; John 14:13–14; Matthew 7:7–8; 1 John 5:14–15; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Romans 12:6; Acts 2:17–18; Proverbs 3:5,6; Ephesians 5:20; Psalm 34:1
The Great Commission
Christians are commissioned by Christ to share the good news of His love and salvation with others (Mark 16:15). God’s love and salvation through Jesus are a gift for all humankind, and are meant to be freely shared with others. We believe that Christians should reach out to people in all strata of society with God’s message, by methods in harmony with Christian values.
Jesus set an example for His followers of not only teaching spiritual truths, but also reaching out with compassion to people in need, including the poor and disadvantaged of His day. We believe that Christians should likewise strive to comfort, aid, and minister to those in need.
Matthew 28:19–20; 2 Timothy 4:2; Daniel 12:3; Acts 26:18; Matthew 5:14,16; Luke 9:1–2; Matthew 10:8; Proverbs 3:27, 19:17; 1 Corinthians 16:14
The Community of Faith
We believe that the Church is a spiritual entity comprising all who believe in Jesus Christ. The fellowship of Christians is not defined by physical buildings, denominations, or institutions, but rather it is a community of faith, joined together in spirit and in love. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
We believe that the New Testament’s account of the early Church’s close fellowship, cooperative efforts, and spiritual unity serves not only as a historical narrative, but as a model for succeeding generations of believers.
Members of the Family International are part of a worldwide community of faith, and consider themselves brothers and sisters in spirit, united in faith and purpose. We believe that as Jesus laid down His life for us, “we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16), serving one another in love and deference (Galatians 5:13). We believe that, as Christians, we should work in harmony with others to share God’s love with the world and to improve people’s quality of life.
1 Peter 2:5; Ephesians 2:19–22; 1 Corinthians 12:12–14; Acts 2:46; 1 John 1:7; Psalm 133:1; 1 Peter 4:8; John 15:13
The Bride of Christ
The relationship between God and His people—Christ and His Church—is likened in the Bible to that of a bridegroom to his bride. The Bible tells us, “For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His name” (Isaiah 54:5), and that we are “married to Him who was raised from the dead [Jesus], that we should bear fruit to God” (Romans 7:4).
We believe that the marital metaphor used in the Bible to describe the intimate spiritual relationship between Jesus and His Church is meant to represent the passionate union of heart, mind, and spirit that Jesus seeks with each of His followers.
Hosea 2:19–20; Isaiah 61:10, 62:5; Ephesians 5:25; Revelation 19:7–9
Christian discipleship is characterized by the commitment to believe in and follow the teachings of Jesus. “If you continue in My word, then are you My disciples indeed” (John 8:31 AKJV). We believe that Jesus still challenges believers today to follow Him and to live according to His teachings. His call to service remains essentially unchanged from His appeal to the fishermen on the shores of Galilee long ago: “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).
The Gospels exemplify the life of Jesus and His closest disciples, who made their service to God their life calling. We believe that God still calls people today to a life dedicated to His service. The manner and degree to which they commit their time or resources to Christ is a matter of personal faith and conviction.
Luke 9:23–24; John 8:31–32, 15:16, 12:26; Mark 8:34–38
God’s Law of Love
We believe that God’s Law of Love as explained in Matthew 22:35–40 should govern every aspect of a Christian’s life and interactions with others. An expert in the Mosaic Law tested Jesus with this question: “‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” We therefore believe that a Christian’s actions should be motivated by unselfish, sacrificial love—the love of God for our fellow man.
God’s Law of Love is the ultimate fulfillment of Biblical law, including the Ten Commandments, as it fulfills the intent of such laws. “All the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14). We therefore believe that through Christ’s salvation and His Law of Love, Christians are released from the Mosaic laws in the Old Testament and are no longer required to observe them. Instead, they are held to a higher law—Christ’s Law of Love, which should guide all their interactions with others.
Romans 13:8–10; James 2:8; Galatians 2:16, 3:23–25; John 13:34; Romans 10:4; Matthew 5:38–46
The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper, also known as communion, is a simple observance that Jesus asked of His followers in remembrance of His sacrifice for humanity (1 Corinthians 11:25). Believers partake of bread, which is broken to represent how Jesus’ body was broken for the healing of our bodies, and wine, to represent how His blood was shed for the remission of our sins. We believe that through Christ’s suffering and death on the cross, God has made provision not only for the salvation of the souls of all humankind, but also for the healing of physical infirmities.
Matthew 26:26–28; Luke 22:17–20; John 6:51; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26; Isaiah 53:5
We believe that every person has an eternal soul, and that when they die, their soul is ushered into the afterlife, where they will be rewarded or judged for their conduct in their earth life and assigned to their place in the afterlife accordingly.
God has prepared a place in Heaven of everlasting beauty, peace, and joy for all those who believe in Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 2:9) and accept His gift of salvation. “He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying” (Revelation 21:3–4).
While entrance into Heaven is a gift, we believe that the reward believers receive in the afterlife is dependent on their actions on Earth, and whether they lived in accordance with God’s laws of love.
The Bible says that God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9), and that Jesus preached to the spirits in prison and the dead (1 Peter 3:18–20, 4:6). We believe that He will continue to seek to reconcile all things to Himself (Colossians 1:20). We do not consider that all those who die without receiving Jesus Christ as their Savior will automatically be cast into hell—a place of desolation and suffering—nor will they be eternally bereft of salvation or redemption. In His love, we believe that God will continue to love those who die without salvation and seek to bring them to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).
John 14:1–3; 1 Peter 1:3–5; 2 Corinthians 5:1–2; 1 Timothy 2:4, 4:10; Revelation 20:11–13; Romans 5:18, 21; 2 Corinthians 5:10, 18–19; Romans 8:18; Revelation 22:12; 1 Corinthians 3:13–15
Angels and Departed Believers
Angels are powerful spiritual beings created by God and assigned by Him to watch over humankind. There are many examples in the Bible of their intervention to protect, assist, and deliver messages to God’s people, and we believe that they continue to do so today.
We believe that in addition to angels, God also empowers the spirits of departed believers to minister to and deliver messages to His people. An example of this is found in the Biblical account of the spirits of the departed prophets, Moses and Elijah, appearing and conferring with Jesus (Luke 9:28–31). Paul referred to departed believers as “a great cloud of witnesses” watching over those on Earth (Hebrews 12:1).
Psalm 34:7, 91:11–12; 2 Kings 6:15–17; Acts 12:7–11; Matthew 1:20–24; Luke 2:9–15; Revelation 19:10; Hebrews 12:22–23
We believe that there is a spiritual realm, unseen in the physical world, inhabited by God and His angels and spirits, as well as Satan (the Devil), the foe of all righteousness. Satan and his evil spirits are in rebellion against God, and are instigators of much of the evil and suffering that have afflicted humankind throughout the ages.
We believe that a relentless warfare is being waged in this spiritual realm between good and evil, between God and His good forces and Satan and his evil forces, with each seeking to influence the souls and minds of humankind and the course of history.
We believe that Christians can play a role in the spiritual warfare through their godly choices and actions that serve to further God’s kingdom. Some people, however, through their ungodly actions, further the efforts of the forces of evil to suppress faith and goodness (Ephesians 6:12).
The Bible foretells that Satan and his forces will ultimately be defeated and God’s plan for humanity will triumph (Revelation 20:1–3,10). Jesus’ kingdom will eventually be established on Earth, and “the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).
Acts 26:18; Luke 10:18; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:7–9; 1 John 3:8; 1 Corinthians 10:3–5; Ephesians 6:11–12
The Bible records many supernatural acts of God that defy explanation. We believe that throughout history God has intervened in the natural world to supernaturally alter circumstances and conditions, and He continues to do so today in order to manifest His love and power.
While Jesus was on Earth, He not only expressed His love to humanity through healing people’s hearts and spirits, but He also performed miracles to feed the hungry and to heal people’s diseased and crippled bodies. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), and we therefore believe that He still performs miracles today.
Matthew 4:23–24, 10:1; Mark 16:17–18; Matthew 8:16–17; Luke 7:12–16; 1 Corinthians 12:7-10; John 14:12
Keys of the Kingdom
We believe that the spiritual gifts that Jesus gave to His original disciples are available to His followers today. When Jesus said, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven” (Matthew 16:19), we believe that He was literally bequeathing the spiritual keys of the kingdom of Heaven to His followers, representing greater access to His power. Believers can claim the keys of the kingdom in prayer to release God’s power to act in any given situation, in accordance with His will.
Matthew 18:18; Luke 10:19; Revelation 1:18
We believe that God designed the family unit as a foundational building block of society. He ordained families to share their lives and to support and help one another. Families are important for the nurturing and care of children.
Children are a gift of God which He blesses and entrusts us with, for “children are a heritage from the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3). We believe that it is the responsibility of Christian parents to lovingly care for their children, as well as to impart godly principles and moral values to them, and a respect and love for God and others (Ephesians 6:4).
We believe that God created and ordained the marriage union of man and woman, and that marriage is the ideal relationship for the forming of stable families. Believers who marry enter into a covenant before God, committing to love, care for, and be responsible for their wife or husband and their children (Matthew 19:4–6).
Psalm 68:6; Ephesians 6:1–4; Genesis 2:18, 21–24; Ephesians 5:25–31; Psalm 127:3–5; Matthew 19:13–14; Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:5–7
We believe that God created and ordained human sexuality, and we consider it a natural part of life. The Bible says that God told the first man and woman to “be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28). God “saw everything that He had made”—which included the first man and woman as well as their bodies and sexuality—“and indeed it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).
It is our belief that heterosexual relations, when practiced as God ordained and intended between consenting adults, are a pure and natural wonder of God’s creation, and permissible according to Scripture.
Genesis 1:26–28; Genesis 2:18–25; Titus 1:15; Romans 13:10; Galatians 5:22–23
The Sanctity of Life
We believe that human life is sacred, and that each person has been granted the God-given right to be treated with respect as an individual created in the image of God. Our duty, as Christians, is to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31) regardless of race, gender, creed, nationality, or social status. We oppose all forms of discrimination, prejudice, and violence as incompatible with God’s design.
We believe that life from conception to death is a valued gift from God, to be respected and nurtured. As God is the sole giver of life, we believe that the time of death of each human life should also be left in His hands (Psalm 31:15).
Genesis 1:27, 2:7; Psalm 139:14–16; Galatians 6:10; Romans 2:11; 1 Corinthians 16:14
We consider it the duty of believers to be good citizens in all matters in accordance with Christian values, to manifest honesty and integrity, and to contribute to the welfare of their community. We adhere to the Biblical teaching, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1). However, in cases where the laws or ordinances would violate a believer’s faith or right to practice their faith, we believe that Christians should follow the dictates of their conscience (Acts 5:27–29).
Romans 12:18, 13:1–7; 1 Peter 2:17; Matthew 22:20–21; Acts 4:19–20
Jesus’ Second Coming
We believe that the Scriptures foretelling the future of the world will be fulfilled, as many other Biblical predictions have been throughout the centuries. It is our belief that we are now living in the period of time known in the Bible as the “Last Days,” which refers to the era preceding the return of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 3:1). His return to Earth will usher in a new millennium of peace, cessation of war and violence, and justice and equity for all mankind. (More on our beliefs on the “Time of the End.”)
Daniel 12:4; Matthew 24:29–31; Revelation 11:15; Daniel 2:44; Isaiah 11:9