WATS Statement of Faith
West Africa Theological Seminary (WATS) is committed to an evangelical and theologically conservative position and is dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are a confessional seminary in the Wesleyan tradition. While WATS is not directly connected to any particular denomination, we do believe in right doctrine as well as holy living. Our Lord commissioned his followers to go into the whole world and teach the nations. It does matter, therefore, what we teach. He also warned that not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven.
While it is possible to affirm an orthodox statement of faith without being born again, the opposite danger is that we may be in the kingdom without the ability to discern truth from error. Our mission is to train men and women for holy living, for carrying the Gospel to the unreached, and for catalyzing national spiritual awakening.
Revelation of God
We believe God exists and has sufficiently revealed himself. There is a general consciousness of God among all people through creation and conscience. He spoke through the prophets and apostles, and finally revealed himself through His Son. The Holy Scriptures are the record of his self-disclosure, as well as the record of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. (Eccl 3:11; Psalm 19:1-4; John 1:9; Acts 14:17; Rom 1:23-25; Heb 1:2)
Authority of Scripture
We believe the historic Christian view that the Bible is fully inspired by God and is the written Word of God given without error, and is our final authority for faith and practice. God superintended the human authors so that what they composed and recorded are an accurate reflection of his revelation of truth. The authority of Scripture is based upon the fact that the Scriptures are the Word of God.
While we do not avoid the questions raised in regard to the historical events of Scripture, we do affirm the truthfulness of those events and believe this position will prove to be the conclusion of a reasoned and critical examination of the evidence. Matters of history do matter to faith! (Psalm 12:6; 18:30; 19:7; 119:140; Prov. 30:5; Matt 5:18; John 17:17; 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21)
Sufficiency of Scripture
When the Scriptures are accurately understood, interpreted and applied, with the illumination of the Holy Spirit, as well as careful study and discernment, they are completely sufficient for the believer’s direction in Christian living. The Bible is of such complete sufficiency that whatever is not contained in its pages is not to be considered essential to the faith or practice of any believer.
(1 Cor. 2:10-14; Jude 3; Rev. 22:18-19)
We believe the Bible teaches that there is one God, who exists as three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God has always existed and is the Creator of all things. He is self-existent, infinite, eternal, and unchanging. He is sovereign, everywhere present, all knowing, almighty, and absolutely perfect. He is the source of all truth, love, goodness, grace, and holiness. (Gen. 1:26; 3:22; 11:5-7; Deut. 6:4; Isa. 6:3; Matt. 2:16-17; 28:19; John 14: 16-17; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; 2 Cor. 12:14; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2; 3:18; 5:4-7)
Deity and Humanity of Christ
We believe the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ, who is eternally one with the Father, entered this world as a human being. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He was fully God and fully man. He lived a sinless life, died on the cross, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven where he sits at the right hand of the Father. Thus, His kingdom has been established. (Matt 1:23; 3:3; 4:2; Luke 2:52; John 1:1; 4:6 8:58; 19:28; Acts 10:36; Rom. 9:5; 10:13; 1 Tim. 2:5; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:8; 2:14-18; 4:15-16; 1 John 5:20; Rev 1:8)
The Holy Spirit
We believe the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. We emphasize that the Holy Spirit is a person, not merely a power. He convicts the world of sin. He brings spiritual life and assurance to believers. He produces the fruit of salvation in our lives, and gives spiritual gifts to build up the Church. However, since the Spirit distributes the gifts according to his will, no single gift can be required for all believers. The true evidence of the Holy Spirit in one’s life is holy living. (Ezek. 36:26-27; John 3:5-8; 16:8-11; Acts 5:3-4; Rom. 8:9; 8:16; 12:4-11; Gal. 4:6; 5:19-23; Titus 3:5)
We believe the Bible teaches that we are created in God’s image, but we have fallen into a state of sin through Adam’s original sin. We are corrupt and cannot save ourselves. Jesus Christ is our only salvation. This salvation comes by God’s grace through our faith in the atoning work of Christ as our only sacrifice for sin. (Psalm 51:5; Jer. 17:9; Matt. 7:11; Rom. 3:10-18; 5:12-19; Eph. 2:3; 4:22; James 4:1-2; 2 Peter 1:4)
We believe the Bible teaches that the atonement of Christ demonstrates the love of God and turns away the wrath of God against our sin. Thus, the atoning work of Christ satisfies the justice of God’s law, reconciles us with God, provides for full restoration from the Fall, and gives us victory over Satan. This atonement is universal in provision, but is effectual only for those who believe. (Isa. 53:5; Matt. 20:28; John 1:29: 3:16; Rom 5:6-8, 17-21; 1 Cor. 7:23; 2 Cor. 5:14-21; 1 Tim. 2:6; Titus 2:11; Heb. 2:9; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 2:2)
We believe the Bible teaches that God makes the first move in bringing this salvation to us. The Gospel call is the drawing of the Spirit. His preliminary grace awakens the sinner and enables us to repent and believe. Yet this grace is not irresistible. We must repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. This saving faith is the gift of God given to those who genuinely repent. (John 1:9-13; 6:44; 12:32; 16:8-11; Acts 8:16; 9:4-18; 10:35; 11:18; 13:43; 18:10; 19:3-4; 22:16; 18:24-6; Acts 16:14-16; Rom 2:4; 2 Cor. 6:1-2; Eph. 2:8; 2 Tim. 2:25; Titus 2:11)
Salvation and Security
We believe the Bible teaches we must be born again. The new birth brings forgiveness and regeneration to a new life with freedom from the practice of willful sin. It also brings adoption as a child of God and the life of holiness is begun. As we walk in the Spirit, we have security i nChrist. This security of the believer is enjoyed as we live in the fruit of obedient faith. (John 3:3-5; 5:25; Rom. 5:1; 8:1; 8:15-17; 1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 4:7; Eph. 2:1; Titus 3:5; 1Peter 1:23; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:9; 5:1; Ezek. 18:24-26; 33:12-18; John 8:31; 15:6; 1 Cor. 15:2; 1 Tim 4:1, 15-16; 2 Tim. 2:12; Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26-29; James 5:19-20; 2 Peter 1:10-11; 2:20-22; Rev. 2:11; 3:5)
We believe the Bible teaches that at the new birth all believers are adopted into the family of God, which is the body of Christ or the Church. The Church is not a particular denomination, but the entire body of believers in Jesus Christ. It exists wherever faithful believers congregate, the Word of God is proclaimed, and the sacraments are administered. The Church exists to glorify God through worship, evangelism, discipleship, service, fellowship, social responsibility, and through expanding the Kingdom of Christ throughout the world. The Bible teaches that we should observe the sacraments of baptism and communion, as outward and visible signs of God’s inward grace. (Matt. 5:13-16; 6:10; 28:19; John 4:23; 17:21; Acts 2:42, 47; Rom. 14:19; 1 Cor. 3:10-11; 11:2, 24-26; Eph. 3:4-6; 4:4, 16; Heb. 10:24-25)
We believe the Bible teaches that obedient believers will become increasingly convicted of the nature of sin still remaining in them. As they walk in the Spirit, they will be led to a full cleansing from the inner nature of sin and filled with a holy love toward God and our neighbor through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. This work is begun at conversion and is ongoing.
We believe the Bible promises this perfecting grace, which John Wesley referred to as Christian perfection. Sanctification is provided for by the atoning work of Jesus Christ through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
This sanctification, resulting in Christian perfection, implies neither the end of growth or progress, nor absolute perfection. It is a relative perfection in which God imparts holiness and imputes perfection to those who are governed by and who continue to develop in his holy love. (Deut. 30:6; Psalm 130:8; Ezek. 36:25; 2 Cor. 7:1; 1 John 3:8; Eph. 5:25-27; Rom. 8:3-4 Matt. 5:48; 22:37;1 Peter 1:16 ; Phil. 3:15; 1 John 4:17; Matt. 6:13; John 17:20-23; 2 Cor. 13:9, 11; Eph. 3:14-21; Phil. 1:4-6, 9-11; Col. 4:12; 1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 13:20-1; 1 Peter 5:10-11)
We believe that the kingdom of Christ was established at the time of Christ’s first advent and that he will cause his kingdom to so come to earth that his will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven. While no man knows the day or the hour of his return, we believe that Christ will return a second time to catch away the Church, to raise all who are dead, and to judge the whole world. He will be revealed in his glory, bring the work of salvation to completion, overthrow the world system, and establish a new heaven and earth. There is an eternal heaven to gain and an eternal hell to avoid. (Mark 9:1; Luke 9:27; 17:20-21; John 16:16; Matt. 6:10; Psalm 22:27-31; 72; 86:9; 110:1; Isa. 2:2-4; 9:6-7; 11:6-9; 25:7-8; 66:23; Jer. 31:34; Ezek. 47:1-12; Micah 4:1-5; Hab. 2:14; Matt. 24:36; 1 Thess. 4:16-18; Dan. 12:2; John 5:28-29; 1 Cor. 15:42-44; Rev 20:12-13 ; Acts 17:31; 1 Cor. 4:5; Rev 22:12; Rom. 14:10-12; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Thess. 2:8; Heb. 9:28; John 14:2-3; 1 John 3:2; Rev. 7:14-17; 22:3; Matt. 8:12; 25:30-46; Mark 9:42-48; Luke 16:19-31; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; Rev. 14:10; 20:10)