Rev. Justin Lee Marple, a minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA) since 2005, 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 we are, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, willingly lived in perfect submission to the Father even to the cross and the grave. Having been made sin for us, Jesus Christ rose vindicated and victorious from the dead on the third day so that all those belonging to Him would be reckoned as righteous by faith. After ascending into heaven, the Lord Christ poured out the Spirit on all kinds of people. I can do nothing of my own initiative to earn this salvation: it is only faith that God gives on the basis of His grace alone that secures an inheritance of righteousness and life. Thus, saved from sin and death only on account of God’s free and sovereign grace I find myself declaring, “Jesus loves and forgives you.”
The Spirit and Scripture
The Holy Spirit, the seal of the gospel of my salvation and down-payment 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 “Abba, Father.” It is because of His Spirit dwelling in me that I testify, “Jesus is Lord.” And it is His Spirit who assures and persuades me that Scripture, fully the words of various human authors, is also fully the word of God pointing me to the Word-Christ. The Spirit convicts me of sin so that my old nature dies with Christ and the Spirit speaks gospel promises creating faith in Christ so that I will live. The Spirit empowers me to glorify God and find genuine satisfaction in Him. Wretched man that I am, the Spirit in God’s ever-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 remember my baptism, celebrate the Lord’s Supper with the Lord’s Cup at the Lord’s Table on the Lord’s Day, pray with and for God’s people, and listen to His Word. Baptism is a public adoption ceremony when the Father sets us apart as His children, the Son declares our covenant union with Him in Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection to glory, and the Holy Spirit prophetically signifies that we belong to the age to come. United to God in 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 our covenant community under Christ. Indeed, no statement of faith is really complete unless we say to each other, “Your God will be my God and your people will be my people.” If sin is to turn 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 always creates union with His body—the church. It also means we are free to forgive and give grace to others.