What We Believe
“…to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us…” — Luke 1:1
1. Concerning the Scriptures
1.1. We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the verbally and plenary inspired Word of God. The Scriptures are inerrant, infallible and God-breathed and, therefore, are the final authority for faith and life (2 Tim 3:14-17). By inspiration we mean that all books of the Bible were written down by holy men of God as they were supernaturally moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet 1:19-21), in a definite yet inexplicable way so as to record the very words and sense of God though conveyed within their own literary styles; that such writings (the original documents) are free from all error and from all omission as no other writings have been or ever will be; that the Bible does not merely contain the Word of God, but is the very Word of God. Furthermore, God providentially preserved His Word through the process of individuals copying the text of the original documents throughout the centuries. Therefore, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament are the complete and divine revelation of God to Man. The Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal grammatical-historical meaning.
2. Concerning the Triune God
2.1. We believe the Scriptures teach that there is one, and only one, living and true God (Deut 6:4), an infinite Being, the Maker and supreme Ruler of Heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love; that in the unity of the Godhead, the Trinity, there are three eternal and distinct Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matt 3:16-17; 28:19; 2 Cor 13:14); equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption (John 14:10; 26; 1 Cor 12:4-6).
3. Concerning the Father
3.1. We believe the Scriptures teach that God the Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the events of human history according to the purposes of His grace (Gen 1:1; Exod 20:2-3; Ps 90:2; 147:5; 1 Cor 8:6; Eph 4:6; Rev 4:11); that He is unchangeable in holiness, love and truth (Exod 3:14; 15:11; Isa 6:3); that He is Father in truth to those who are the children of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and fatherly in His attitude toward all men, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and receive His gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ (1 Tim 2:3-4). Since the Father reigns with providential care over everything, He is therefore sovereign over everything, including acts of evil (Ps 83:18; Rom 11:33). This does not mean however, that God authors or approves sin (Hab 1:12-13; 1 John 1:5) nor that mankind is not responsible for the sin they commit. Rather, all things that come to pass, whether good or evil, have been decreed by God for His own glory (Acts 4:27-28; Eph 1:11).
4. Concerning the Person and Work of Christ
4.1. We believe the Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, co-equal, co-essential, and co-eternal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, the second Person of the Trinity (Ps 2:6-9; John 1:1-3; 8:58; 17:5); that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born into this world of Mary, a virgin, as no other man was ever born or can ever be born of a woman (Gen 3:15; Isa 7:14; Matt 1:18-25; Luke 1:34-35), and that He is both fully God and fully man (Isa 9:6-7; John 1:14; 1 Cor 15:47); that He lived a sinless life, honoring the divine Law by His personal obedience, yet identifying Himself completely with mankind (Heb 4:14-15); that He died a perfect, complete, final, and substitutionary death on the cross securing redemption through His shed blood for sinners (Isa 53:4-6; 2 Cor 5:21; Phil 2:5-11; Heb 7:25-28; 1 Pet 3:18; 1 John 2:1-2); that He supernaturally rose again the third day with a glorified, physical body, was seen by many (1 Cor 15:3-8; Col 1:18), and ascended into the heavens to be exalted and seated at the right hand of the Father where He is the Head over the Church, the Mediator and Advocate with God the Father for all believers (Rom 8:34; 1 Tim 3:16); and that He is supernaturally coming again to this world to reign personally and visibly over the earth (John 14:3; Acts 1:11; Rev 1:7-8).
5. Concerning the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
5.1. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, co-equal, co-essential, and co-eternal, and co-active with God the Father and God the Son, the third Person of the Trinity (John 14:16-17; Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor 12:4-6; Heb 9:14); that He was active in the creation of the universe (Gen 1:2); that He moved holy men of God to write the Bible (John 14:26; John 16:13); that in relationship to the unbelieving world He restrains evil and convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11 2 Thess 2:7); that He bears witness to the truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony (John 15:26-27; 1 Cor 2:10-13), and is the Agent of regeneration of believers; that He seals, indwells, fills, guides, teaches, sanctifies, and comforts all believers (Luke 3:16; John 3:5-6; Acts 5:30-32; Rom 8:9, 14, 16, 26-27; Eph 1:13-14; 2 Thess 2:13).
5.2. We believe that although the Holy Spirit permanently indwells all believers, they are commanded to be filled with the Spirit and to walk by the Spirit in order to produce the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:16-23; Eph 5:18). We believe that God sovereignly bestows spiritual gifts to every believer for the purpose of service in the body of Christ, the church. God uniquely uses evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip believers in the assembly so they can do the work of the ministry (Rom 12:3-8; 1 Cor 12:4-11, 28; Eph 4:7-12).
5.3. We believe that the sign gifts of the Holy Spirit (such as prophecy, working of miracles, gifts of healing, speaking in tongues, receiving revelation from God) were temporary gifts for the early church and gradually ceased by the time the New Testament canon was completed along with the church maturing from its infancy (1 Cor 1:22; 13:8-12). Speaking in tongues was never the common or necessary sign of the baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 14:21-22), and that ultimate deliverance of the body from sickness or death awaits the consummation of our salvation in the resurrection, though it is proper for believers to pray for physical healing since God may choose to provide physical healing for a person in some circumstances in order to glorify Himself (John 9:3; James 5:13-18). Conversely, God may choose not to provide physical healing in some circumstances in order to glorify Himself (2 Cor 12:7-9; Phil 2:25-27).
6. Concerning the Devil, Demons, and Angels
6.1. We believe that Satan was once holy, and enjoyed heavenly honor; but through pride and ambition to be as the Almighty, fell and drew after him a host of angels (Isa 14:12-15; Rev 12:9-10); that he is now the malignant prince of the power of the air, and the unholy god of this world (Eph 2:2). We hold him to be man’s great tempter, the enemy of God and His Christ (Matt 4:1-3; 2 Cor 11:13-15; 2 Thess 2:8-11; 1 John 4:3), the accuser of the saints – destined however to final defeat at the hands of God’s own Son (1 John 3:8), and to the judgment of an eternal justice in hell, a place prepared for him and his angels (Matt 25:41; Jude 6; Rev 20:1-3, 10). He can be resisted and overcome (James 4:7; 1 Pet 5:8-9). Although he is in a state of rebellion against God, Satan cannot act outside of God’s sovereign rule (Job 1:12).
6.2. We believe that angels were created by God as perfect creatures (Col 1:16), but some rebelled against God, led by Satan (Rev 12:4). Because of this rebellion two types of these supernatural beings exist today: angels (those who remained obedient to God) and demons (Satan and those who followed him). Since angels are created, they are not to be worshipped (Rev 19:10). Angels, however, are important and have 3 primary functions: 1) they worship God (Isa 6:3), 2) they serve and do God’s will, especially by acting as God’s messengers (Dan 8:16-17), and 3) they watch and care over believers (Matt 18:10).
7. Concerning Mankind
7.1. We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:26-27); but that in Adam’s sin the human race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God (Rom 5:12; 6:23). Man is totally depraved and, of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition (Rom 3:22-23; Eph 2:1-3; 4:17-19).
7.2. The unique value that humanity holds among all that God has created is evident in that God created man in His own image, gave man dominion over the rest of creation (Gen 1:27-29), is mindful of him (Ps 8:4-9), and in that Christ died for man; therefore every individual possesses dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love (Col 3:9-11).
8. Concerning Creation
8.1. We believe the Biblical account of the creation of the physical universe, angels, and man; that this account is neither allegory nor myth, but a literal, six-day, historical account of the direct, immediate creative acts of God without any evolutionary process; that man was created by a direct work of God and not from previously existing forms of life; and that all men are descended from the historical Adam and Eve, first parents of the entire human race (Gen 1; 2; John 1:3; Col 1:16-17).
9. Concerning Marriage and Gender
9.1. In light of God’s creative design, we believe that the Bible teaches that marriage is the joining of one man and one woman and that sexual intimacy is to be expressed only within the bounds of a Biblically defined marriage (Gen 2:18, 24-25; Matt 19:4-6; 1 Cor 7:1-5; Eph 5:22-33). Any other form of marriage or sexual intimacy is immoral and a perversion of God’s gracious will (Rom 1:24-28; 1 Cor 6:9-20; Heb 13:4). The marriage ceremony is a religious ceremony designed to solemnize a man and a woman’s commitment to one another before God and man.
9.2 We believe that man was created by God as either male or female, a biologically defined and distinct sex set by God for each individual (Gen 1:27; 2:5-23; Ps 139:13-14; 1 Cor 11:11-15). Confusion between the two is an abomination to Him (Lev 18:22; Deut 22:5; Rom 1:26-27; 1 Cor 6:9).
10. Concerning Salvation
10.1. The salvation of sinners is according to the kind intention of God’s will, by the grace of God alone, which means that it is a free gift that is neither earned nor secured in whole or in part by any virtue or work of man or by any religious duty or sacrament. The gift of God’s grace was purchased by Jesus Christ alone, by His blood and death on Calvary (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Cor 15:1-4; Eph 1:7; Heb 1:3; 1 Pet 1:18-19; 1 John 4:10). The sinner receives God’s salvation by repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:11-13; 3:16-18; 36; 5:24; Acts 20:21; Rom 10:9-10, 13; Eph 1:12-14). Salvation is by God’s grace alone through faith and it results in a changed life; salvation is not by good works, but it produces good works (Acts 15:11; Eph 2:8-10). The gift of faith for salvation comes by hearing God’s Word and by the Holy Spirit’s regeneration of a person’s heart (Ezekiel 36:26-27; Rom 10:17; Titus 3:3-8).
10.2. We believe that God commands all to repent and submit to His Son Jesus Christ for salvation; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept this call by a penitent and obedient faith (Isa 55:1, 6, 7; Matt 11:28; John 3:15-16; 6:37; Acts 2:38; Rom 10:13; 1 Tim 1:15; Titus 1:1; Rev 22:17), and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth except his own inherent depravity and voluntary refusal to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 2:4-5). This refusal will subject a person to a hardened heart and eventually,an aggravated condemnation if the person dies in unbelief (Matt 11:20-24; 13:14-15; John 3:18, 36; 5:40).
10.3. We believe the Scriptures teach that the Son of God, by appointment with the Father (Acts 4:25-28, Eph 2:8) freely took upon Himself our nature (Phil 2:7-8; Heb 2:14), yet without sin (Heb 4:15); that by His death on the cross made a full and vicarious atonement for our sins (1 Cor 15:3; Heb 9:12-15; 1 Pet 2:24); that His atonement was the voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinners’ place (Isa 53:11-12; John 10:18; Gal 1:4), taking upon himself the full wrath of the Father (Isa 53:4-7; John 3:16; Rom 3:24,25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10), the Just dying for the unjust (2 Cor 5:21; 1 Pet 3:18); that having risen from the dead (1 Cor 15:20) He is now enthroned in heaven and, uniting in His wonderful Person the most tender sympathies with divine perfections, He is in every way qualified to be the only suitable, compassionate, and all-sufficient Savior (Heb 7:25; 12:2).
10.4. We believe the Scriptures teach that regeneration, or the “new birth,” is that change wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit, by which a new nature and a spiritual life, not before possessed, are imparted (John 3:3-6; Titus 3:5-7; Heb 8:7-12; 1 Pet 1:23), and the person becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus (1 Cor 6:11; 2 Cor 5:17; Eph 4:24); that a holy disposition is given to the mind, the will subdued, the dominion of sin broken, and the affections changed from a love of sin and self, to a love of holiness and God; that the change is instantaneous and not a process, effected not by culture or character, nor by the will of man, but solely through the power of God through the Word of God, a supernatural and miraculous work of God alone. (John 1:12-13; Rom 6:13; Col 1:13; 2:13; 3:12; 1 Thess 1:4; James 1:18; 1 John 2:29)
10.5. We believe the Scriptures teach that repentance, which begins at the point of salvation and is to continue throughout the believer’s sanctification, is a personal act, prompted by the Spirit of God; and consists in a godly sorrow over sin, as offensive to God and ruinous to the soul; that it is accompanied with great humiliation in view of one’s sin and guilt, together with prayer for pardon; also by sincere hatred of sin, and a persistent turning away from, and abandonment of, all that is evil and unholy (Ps 51:1-4, 7; Isa 55:7; Matt 3:1, 2; 4:17; Luke 18:13; 24:47; Acts 3:19; 5:31; 17:30; 20:21; Rom 2:5; 2 Cor 7:10; 1 John 1:9).
10.6. We believe the Scriptures teach that faith, inseparably united with repentance, is a solemn obligation and a grace wrought in our soul by the quickening Spirit of God; that it is an assent of the mind and a consent of the heart, consisting mainly of belief and trust, wherein the testimony of God is accepted and believed as true, and Christ is unreservedly received for salvation; that through it the believer is brought into vital relations with God, as seeing Him Who is invisible, freely justified; that it reveals Christ to the soul as a willing and sufficient Savior, and commits the heart and life to Him. This faith is living and active, producing good works. (Ps 34:22; 125:1; Jer 17:7; Acts 16:31; Rom 1:17; 3:22; 5:1; 10:9-13; 2 Cor 5:7; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 11:1, 6; James 2:18-26)
10.7. We believe the Scriptures teach that the great Gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe on Him is justification; that justification includes the complete pardon of all past, present, and future sin, Christ’s imputed righteousness to the believer and God declaring the sinner to be completely and forever righteous in His sight; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood; by virtue of which faith His perfect righteousness is imputed to us of God; that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needed for time and eternity (Isa 53:11; Zech 13:1; Matt 6:33; John 1:16; Acts 10:43; 13:39; Rom 3:21-24; 4:1-8; 5:1-3, 9, 11; 8:1; 1 Cor 1:30-31; Eph 2:8; 1 Tim 4:8).
11. Concerning the Believer’s Security
11.1. We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever, and as a result will persevere unto the end. We believe that eternal life is the present possession of every believer (John 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Rom 8:1; 38-39; 1 Cor 1:4-8; 2 Tim 2:11-13; 1 Pet 1:4-5).
11.2. We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh (Rom 13:13-14; Gal 5:13; Titus 2:11-15).
12. Concerning Sanctification
12.1. We believe that sanctification is presented in three phases in Scripture, past, present, and future: that the believer has been sanctified in Christ as a result of justification; that he is being progressively sanctified through the working of the indwelling Spirit, and that he will be completely sanctified at resurrection (glorification); that there is no complete eradication of the old nature in progressive sanctification during this present life (John 17:17; Rom 1:17; 6:1-18; Rom 8:29-30; 1 Cor 1:30; 6:11; Eph 4:15; 5:26-27; Phil 1:9-11; Phil 2:12-13; 1 Thess 4:3-7; Heb 10:10; 1 Pet 1:15-16).
13. Concerning the Church
13.1 We believe that the universal (invisible) church is the collective group of all those who have put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ regardless of race, gender (male or female), or social status Gal 3:26-29; Eph 2:21-22). When one is saved, the Holy Spirit incorporates the individual into the body of Christ and empowers him to function in the church (1 Cor 12:13). The determining factor if one belongs to the church is not external but internal; one is truly a member of the church of God when the Holy Spirit regenerates him.
13.2. We believe the Lord Jesus Christ laid the foundation for His church prior to his ascension (Matt 16:18; 18:17), and He guaranteed the perpetuity of His church by promising to be with those who carry out the Great Commission, until the end of the age (Matt 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). His church began at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon His disciples (Acts 2:1-4).
13.3. A local church is a congregation of baptized believers associated by a covenant of faith and fellowship of the Gospel, observing the ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word; and that its offices are elders/pastors with deacons and deaconesses whose qualifications and duties are defined in the Scriptures (1 Cor 1:2; Eph 1:1; Phil 1:1).
13.4. The true mission of the church is found in the Great Commission: first, to make individual disciples; second, baptize and build up the church; third, to teach and instruct as He commanded (Matt 28:18-20).
13.5. We believe in the importance of discipleship (Matt 28:19-20; 2 Tim 2:2), mutual accountability of all believers to each other (Matt 18:5-18), as well as the need for discipline of sinning members of the congregation in accordance with the standards of Scripture (Matt 18:15-22; 1 Cor 5:1-13; Gal 6:1; 2 Thess 3:6-15; 1 Tim 1:19-20; Titus 1:10-16).
14. Concerning Church Government
14.1. Each church is autonomous (self-governing, self-disciplining, self-supporting, self-propagating) and stands on its own feet under its one Head Jesus Christ (Matt 18:15-18; Acts 13:1-4; 14:27; 20:17; 1 Cor 3:9, 16). The one and only head is Christ through the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:23); that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of the Gospel (Acts 15:19-31; Rom 16:1, 4); that every church is the sole and only judge of the measure and method of its cooperation; and that on all matters of membership, of policy, of government, of discipline, of benevolence, the will of the local church in submission to Christ and the Scriptures is final (Acts 20:28-32; 1 Cor 5:4-7, 13; 1 Tim 3:1; 1 Pet 5:1-4).
14.2. Its offices are elders/pastors, deacons and deaconesses. Elders and deacons must be males who live holy lives according to the standards of Scripture. Deaconesses likewise are to live holy lives according to the standards of Scripture (1 Tim 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9). Although all believers are called to live holy lives, it is imperative that all people in these offices be godly examples to the local church and to the world. Failure to live according to the Scriptural requirements for these offices results in disqualification from the office. It is the responsibility of the local church submitting to Scripture to determine if an individual is disqualified from office (1 Tim 5:17-22).
14.3. Elders/Pastors oversee the ministry and resources of the church. They shall devote their time to prayer, the ministry of the Word (by teaching and encouraging sound doctrine), and shepherding God’s flock (1 Pet 5:1-4). Deacons and deaconesses care for the temporal needs of members, handle matters of benevolence, and encourage and support the ministry of the elders/pastors (Acts 6:1-6; Rom 16:1,2). Deaconesses may not hold any teaching or spiritual authority over the men of the church in the local church context (1 Tim 2:9-15).
15. Concerning Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
15.1. We believe that Christian baptism is the single immersion of a believer in water (Matt 3:16; John 3:23; Acts 8:36, 38, 39); to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our identification with the crucified, buried and risen Savior, through Whom we died to sin and rose to a new life (Rom 6:3–5; Col 2:12); that baptism is to be performed under the authority of the local church; and that it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership (Matt 28:18-20; Acts 2:41, 42).
15.2. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration of His death until He comes (Luke 22:14-20) by those who have received believer’s baptism. The elements of communion are only representative (symbolic) of the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, the Savior, therefore, the elements add no special merit or grace. We believe that the Biblical order of the ordinances is baptism first and then the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:41, 42; 1 Cor 11:23–28).
16. Concerning Heresy and False Teachers
16.1. We believe that the Bible requires separation from all forms of heresy and ecclesiastical apostasy (Rom 16:17; 2 Cor 6:14-18; 1 Tim 6:3-5). We are commanded to try them, mark them, rebuke them, have no fellowship with them, withdraw ourselves, receive them not, have no company with them, reject them, and separate ourselves from them (1 Thess 3:6; 2 Tim 3:5; Titus 3:10-11; 2 John 10-11; Rev 18:4). The Bible teaches that the course of the church age is characterized by increasing apostasy (2 Tim 3:1-4:6).
17. Concerning Future Events
17.1. We believe the Scriptures teach that at death the spirit of the believer passes instantly into the presence of Christ and dwells there in conscious joy until the resurrection of the body when Christ comes for His own (Mk. 9:4; 1 Cor 15:50-54; 2 Cor 5:1-8; Phil. 1:23; Rev 6:9-11). At death, the spirit of the unbeliever descends immediately into a place of torment to await the resurrection of the wicked into judgment; there the conscious soul is tormented in fire (Mk. 9:43-49; Lk. 16:22-31).
17.2. The blessed hope of the believer is the personal, pre-tribulational, pre-millennial appearance of Christ to rapture the church age saints away before the Tribulation (1 Cor 15:51-57; 1 Thess 1:9-10; 4:13-18; 5:1-9; Titus 2:13). This coming of Christ is imminent (Matt 24:42-44; 25:13; 1 Thess 5:2-4). God’s righteous judgments will then be poured out on an unbelieving world during the Tribulation (Dan 12:1; Joel 2:1-2; Matt 24:21; Rev 6-18). This is the seventieth week of Daniel (Dan 9:24-27). The climax of this fearful era will be the physical return of Jesus Christ to the earth in great glory to establish the Davidic Kingdom (Matt 16:27; 24:30-31; 26:64; 2 Thess 1:7; Rev 1:7; Rev 19:11-21; 20:1-4). During the tribulation, Israel will be saved and restored completely to their land and kingdom (Isa 2:2-5; 60; 66:20-24; Joel 3:1-2; 18-21; Zech. 14; Rom 11:25-29). Satan will be bound, and the curse will be lifted from the physical creation (Isa 11:6-9; Rev 20:1-4).
17.3. Following the Millennium, Satan will be loosed from the bottomless pit, will lead one last unsuccessful rebellion, and will be cast into the lake of fire to be tormented forever and ever (Rev 20:7-10). This will be followed by the Great White Throne judgment of the unsaved dead (Rev 20:11-15) and the establishment of the New Heavens and the New Earth in which all believers from all ages will dwell forever. (Rev 21-22; 2 Pet 3:10-13).