Statement of Faith
The Holy Scriptures
We believe the Scriptures—the 66 books constituting the Old and New Testaments—to be the verbally inspired Word of God, written by men in God’s control, inerrant and infallible in the original manuscripts and the sole authority in faith and life. We accept the grammatical-historical system of interpretation of the Scriptures, and accept the historical record of the Bible as accurate and adequate. (2 Tim 3:15-17; 2 Pet 1:20-21; Ps 19:7-9; Heb 4:12-13)
We believe in One God, the eternal, infinite, all-knowing, all-present, all-powerful Spirit in Whom all things have their source, support, and end (Deut 6:4; John 4:24; Gen 1:1, Ps 139; Rom 11:36). Within this One God three distinct persons exist—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—united, equal, and perfect in all attributes (Matt 28:19; Acts 10:38; 2 Cor 13:14). The Godhead is One in essence, but within this perfect unity and equality exists order in function—first Father, then the Son, and then the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 11:3; John 17:3-4; John 15:26; John 16:7).
The Person and Work of the Father
We believe God the Father to be the first person of the Trinity. As part of the Trinity, God the Father is distinct both in His relationship to the other members of the Godhead and in His works as part of the Trinity. Within the Godhead, the Father is distinct in that He begets the Son and the Holy Spirit proceeds from Him (John 1:1-18; 15:26). In function, though all works of God are acts of the Triune God, God the Father is distinct in that He is seen as the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:18; 14:13; Heb 1:2) and the spiritual Father of all who believe in Christ (Matt 5:45; 1 John 3:1).
The Person and Work of Christ
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man without ceasing to be God; that He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, in order that He might redeem sinful man. He accomplished this redemption by voluntarily giving Himself as sinless substitutionary sacrifice on the cross, thereby satisfying God’s holy wrath. He gave proof that He accomplished that redemption by His bodily resurrection from the grave. He then ascended to the right hand of the Father where He is Lord of creation, Head of the Church, and Intercessor for the saints (John 1:1, 2, 14, 18; Luke 1:34-35; Rom 3:24-26; 8:34; 1 Cor 15:12ff).
The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the Divine Person who convicts the world of sin; that He alone brings new life to those who are spiritually dead; that He baptizes (or places) all believers into the one true Church, which is the Body of Christ; that He indwells them permanently, marks them as God’s possession unto the day of redemption, bestows spiritual gifts upon them, and fills (leads) those who are yielding to Him (John 3:3-8; 16:7-11; 1 Cor 12:13; John 14:16-17; Eph 4:30; 1 Cor 12:7-11; Eph 5:18; Gal 5:16-17).
The Condition of Man
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, in innocence and moral perfection, i.e. without sin. Sin is falling short of God’s perfect, holy, and righteous standard. Sin is actually rebellion against the person of God. In Adam’s sin the human race fell, inherited a sinful nature, became spiritually dead and alienated from God so that man is a sinner by imputation, nature, practice and is condemned to death. Fallen man is incapable of pleasing God in any way or remedying his lost and depraved condition (Gen 1:26; 3:1-24; Isa 64:6; Rom 3:10-18; 5:12; 8:7-8; Eph 2:1-3).
Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. We believe that salvation is a gift of God’s grace given to all whom God has predestined to receive it. Salvation was secured through Christ’s substitutionary death for the ungodly. Salvation is the deliverance from the penalty, power, and ultimately presence of sin and the restoration of a right relationship with God. Therefore, it is solely the work of God from initiation to completion. It cannot be earned by Baptism, Communion, acts of benevolence, or any other good work, but is a free gift for all who put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross. All who so trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are forgiven and saved from their sins and made righteous before God and are born into the family of God by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. God’s purpose for saving His elect is so that they bring glory to Him through their lives now and forever (Acts 4:10-12; Eph 1:7; 2:8-9; John 1:12; 2 Cor 5:21; Phil 1:6; Tit 2:11-14)
Security, Assurance and Responsibility
We believe that the saved are kept by God’s power and thus are secure in Christ forever. This means that a true believer will never lose their salvation. This assurance, however, is not an occasion for sin. God in holiness cannot tolerate persistent sin in His children, and in infinite love He corrects them. True faith is evidenced by an obedient, fruitful and God-pleasing life in submission to Jesus Christ as Lord (John 10:27-29; Rom 8; Rom 11:29; 1 John 5:13; Heb 12:6; Matt 7:15-23; James 2:20; 1 John 2:3-6; Rom 6).
At the moment of salvation God makes a believer holy and separated from sin. This is positional sanctification. At that same moment God begins the life-long process of making the believer holy in practice. This is practical sanctification. Positional sanctification as a work of the Holy Spirit is complete and is without further growth. However, practical sanctification is a co-operative work of the Holy Spirit and the believer in overcoming sin and being conformed into the character of Christ. Believers are exhorted to grow in sanctification through the study and application of the Word (1 Cor 1:2; Heb 10:14-18; John 17:17; Rom 6:19, 22; 1 John 3:2-3; Gal 5:16-26; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 1 Pet 2:2; Eph 5:26-27; 2 Pet 1:3)
Angels Elect and Fallen
As created beings, angels were made to serve God and are not to be worshipped (Heb 1:14; Rev 19:10; 22:8-9). We believe Satan is a created angel originally made perfect by God, who incurred the judgment of God when he introduced sin into the universe by rebelling against his Creator (Isa 14:12-17; Ezek 28:11-19). As a result of his rebellion, Satan and the angels who followed him (whom the Bible now call demons), were removed from their exalted position in heaven (Ezek 28:16; Rev 12:3-6). During this age, Satan and his demons actively oppose the plans of God and seek to deceive men from obeying God and His truth (1 Pet 5:8; 2 Cor 4:3-4, 11:14). Though Satan and his demons are presently active in the world today, they will, at Christ’s return, be sent to the lake of fire for eternity (Rev 20:1-3; 7-10)
Though we believe that demon possession of unbelievers is possible, we do hold that true Christians cannot be demon possessed or demonized (Heb 2:14; 1 John 4:4). The Bible also nowhere encourages believers to engage Satan and demons directly, whether by speaking to them, binding them, or casting them out (Acts 19:13-16; Eph 6:11-20; Jude 8-11)
We believe that the Church was initiated at Pentecost (Acts 2). Every person who has trusted Jesus Christ for salvation (see Salvation above) in this present age has been baptized (placed) into the Universal Church by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:47; 1 Cor 12:12-13; Col 2:12). Scripture teaches that the Church is the body of Christ, the temple of God, the flock of God and the building of God, etc. Each of these metaphors pictures the unity of the Church and the important role of each individual believer (John 10: Rom 12:4ff; 1 Cor 3:9; 1 Pet 2:4-5). The Bible also teaches that the Church is the Bride of Christ, which He purchased with His own blood so that He might sanctify and present her to Himself holy and blameless (Eph 5:22-33). The Church is therefore, an organism and not an organization. The Universal Church cannot be overcome (Matt 16:18) and has been chose of God to be the repository of truth (1 Tim 3:15), and the light of the world (Matt 5:14-16).
The local church, is the expression of the universal church and is made up of professing believers who are joined together for worship which includes instruction, prayer, fellowship, service and evangelism in a local setting (Acts 2:42; 1 Cor 1:2; Eph 4:11-12; Heb 10:24-25; Matt 28:18-20). The local church is to be led in unanimity by undershepherds of the Chief Shepherd (1 Pet 5:1-5) who are called in Scripture overseers/bishops, pastors, and elders (these terms are synonymous—Acts 20:17-28). These men must continually meet the biblical qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 and must have the affirmation of the local leadership (1 Tim 5:17-22). It is the responsibility of the leadership to love, lead, protect, and feed the flock of God (John 21:15-17; Acts 20:17-28; 1 Pete 5:1-5). Feeding the flock of God is to be done primarily through the systematic exposition of the Scriptures (Luke 24:27; Neh 8:8; Deut 8:1-3; 1 Pet 2:1-2). Each member of the body is to joyfully submit to the leadership of the church as the leadership submits to Christ (Heb 13:17; Eph 6:5ff).
It is the privilege and duty of all believers to serve in the local church for the mutual edification of the body (Eph 4:13-16; Heb 10:24-25). We believe that any recognized ministry of the body is to be led by men and women who are deacon qualified (1 Tim 3:8-13)
We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ instituted two ordinances to be observed by all believers until His return—Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Matt 28:19; 1 Cor 11:23-26). Baptism should be administered promptly upon profession of faith, and is one of the first acts of obedience of every new believer (Acts 16:25-34). We practice baptism by immersion which identifies the new believer with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Rom 6:4-7; 1 Pet 3:21; Acts 8:38-39). We celebrate communion as a body in remembrance of what Christ has done as well as an anticipation of His return (1 Cor 10:16-17; 11:23-26)
The Second Coming of Christ
We believe in the personal, pre-tribulational coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His Church and His subsequent premillennial return to earth to establish His kingdom (1 Thess 4:13-18; Zech 14:4-11; Rev 19:11-16; 20:1-6).
The Eternal State
We believe that at death the souls of those who have trusted Christ for salvation pass immediately into His presence and remain there in conscious bliss until the resurrection of the body at Christ’s coming for the Church, when soul and body will be reunited. We then shall be with Him forever in glory. We also believe that at death the souls of unbelievers remain in conscious misery until the final judgment of the Great White Throne at the close of the Millennium when the soul and body will be reunited and cast into the lake of fire—not to be annihilated, but to be separated from God forever in conscious punishment (Luke 16:19-26; 2 Cor 5:8; Phil 1:23; 2 Thess 1:7-9; Rev 20:11-15)