Rev. Justin Lee Marple, a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA) for more than ten years, is a graduate of Gettysburg College (Gettysburg, PA) with a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude with honors in History and honors in Political Science and Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia, PA) with a Masters of Divinity. He is working on a Doctor of Ministry in Preaching and Teaching through Knox Theological Seminary (Fort Lauderdale, FL).
Rev. Marple’s personal statement of faith is as follows:
The True and Living God and Salvation
I believe in the only true and living God – the one Triune God of the Christian faith: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In history, the Son became flesh and tabernacled among us fully human and fully divine. Tempted in every way that we are, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, willingly lived in perfect submission to the Father all the way to the cross and the grave. Having been made sin for us, God vindicated Jesus Christ by raising Him from the dead on the third day so that everyone who belongs to Him would be counted as righteous by faith. After ascending into heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ poured out the Holy Spirit on all kinds of people. I can do nothing of my own initiative to earn this salvation: it is only the faith that God gives on the basis of His grace alone that secures this inheritance of righteousness and life. Saved from sin and death only on account of God’s free and sovereign grace I find myself telling others, “Jesus loves and forgives you.”
The Spirit and Scripture
The Holy Spirit, the seal of the gospel of my salvation and the downpayment on my inheritance, unites me with Christ and gives me access to the Father. As the Spirit of the Son, the Holy Spirit intercedes perfectly for me, crying out “Abba, Father.” It is because of the Spirit who dwells in me that I testify, “Jesus is Lord.” And it is the Holy Spirit who assures and persuades me that Scripture, fully the words of its various human authors, is fully the word of God. All of Scripture points me to the Word Jesus Christ. The Spirit convicts me of sin so that my old man would die with Christ and the Spirit speaks gospel promises that create faith in Christ so that I will live. The Spirit empowers me to glorify God and enables me to find my satisfaction in Him. Wretched man that I am, the Holy Spirit in God’s confounding wisdom speaks and acts through me to point others to Jesus.
The Church and the Sacraments
Thoroughly aware of my desperate need for God’s grace, I want to remember my baptism, celebrate the Lord’s Supper, pray with and for God’s people, and hear His Word. Baptism is a public adoption ceremony as God the Father declares us his children, God the Son declares our covenant union with him in the death on the cross and resurrection to glory, and God the Holy Spirit prophetically signifies that we belong to the age to come. United to God through this covenant, we are united to everyone in the covenant community — the church. Therefore, the Lord’s Supper, the prophetic sign and seal of communion with God and thus also a means of God’s grace, is a covenant meal manifesting the unity of the community under Christ. Indeed, no statement of faith is really complete unless it says, “Your God will be my God and your people will be my people.” If sin is a turning away from God and His people, the saving grace of repentance turns us around and moves us toward God and His people. Union with Christ creates union with His body – the church. It also means we can forgive and give grace to others.