OUR BELIEFS

About the Bible

The Bible alone is God’s written word to all people. In it, He has revealed His plan for bringing us back into relationship with Him. As originally given, every word and every part of the Bible’s sixty-six books are inspired by God (lit., God-breathed) as no other writings ever have been or ever will be.  This was accomplished through the work of the Holy Spirit in the original writers so that they wrote absolute truth without error.  Therefore, the Bible does not merely contain the word of God, but is the very word of God. As God’s word, the Bible is the final authority on everything about which it speaks.

About God

There is only one God. He is eternal, spirit, sovereign, holy, and loving. He alone is to be worshiped. The triune God exists as three equal Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three persons yet one essence. All three are to be worshiped equally as God.

The Father

God the Father has priority of function as the first Person of the Trinity.  He is the Source and Sustainer of all things. He is the Father of Jesus Christ.  He is only the Father of those who enter a relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ. 

Jesus Christ, the Son

Jesus Christ, the man who was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth, is the eternal Son of God. He is fully God and fully man. 

His Virgin Birth

He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and birthed by a virgin named Mary.  He therefore was without a sin nature. Although He was fully human and tempted like other men, he never sinned.

His Atonement for Sin

He was crucified by both Gentile and Jew, died, rose bodily from the grave three days later because of our justification, and ascended into heaven where He lives forever to intercede for the saints.

His death for the sins of all men was the completely sufficient sacrifice that satisfied the holy justice of God towards men because of their sin.  It was the suffering of the just for the unjust.  His death was substitutionary: the suffering and death that He endured are the suffering and death that we deserved because of our sin.

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is equal as Deity and in personality with the Father and the Son.  He was active in Creation along with the Father and the Son.  His ministry consists of: testifying of Christ; convicting of sin, righteousness, and judgment; sanctifying, regenerating and permanently indwelling believers; guaranteeing their ultimate salvation by sealing; and teaching them all truth.  The biblical fruits and gifts of the Spirit are not to be confused with the ecstatic experiences advocated by some in modern Charismatic phenomenon.

About the Devil or Satan

Satan is a personal being, who was created perfect and with free will by God and lived with Him.  Yet he rebelled against God leading many angels astray with him.  Satan is the god of this world, ruling over every unbeliever, yet defeated by Christ and having no authority over the saints.  He opposes the work of God and His people by accusation, persecution, false teaching, temptation, and is a deceiver.  He and all those who follow him will suffer eternal judgment in the lake of fire.

About Creation

The account given in Genesis chapters one and two is a general historical record of how God created the universe as a whole and planet earth in particular.  It is not a religious myth.  God therefore created all that now exists in six days, and rested on the seventh. The length of each day of the creation week cannot be determined with absolute certainty.  This creation was ex-nihilo – God did not use previously existing matter to create the universe, neither was their any gap of time intervening between Gen. 1:1 and 1:2.  Genesis chapter two is a focused account of the creation of humankind, which occurred on the sixth day of creation.  Man alone was created as God’s image bearer to rule over creation and fill the earth.  Man is in no way the macro-evolutionary descendent of lower forms of life.  Neither are animals and plants the result of macro-evolution, but were created by God according to their kind and reproduce according to their kind.  This being evidenced by scientific data in three basic areas: (1) the fossil record contains no transitional forms of plants, animals, or quasi-human creatures; (2) the contradiction between the laws of thermodynamics and evolution (the idea that life has naturally increased in complexity); (3) the evidence of intelligent design in the physical universe.

About Man

Man was created in God’s image on the sixth day of the creation week, in a state of purity and innocence, free of sin.  Being created with a free will, man voluntarily chose to disobey God’s express will and therefore fell from his state of innocence.  As a result, man lost his ability to freely choose God, incurred spiritual and physical death, sin, and condemnation.  Every person born subsequent to the fall has been born spiritually dead, a sinner by nature, under the bondage and condemnation of sin, unable and unwilling to escape that bondage, and so is a sinner by nature and by choice.  Furthermore, apart from God taking the initiative in all our lives, we are unable and unwilling to come to God for salvation or to contribute anything to our salvation.

About Believers and Non-believers

There are radical differences between those who have chosen to follow Christ and those who have not: differences in their natures; in God’s present disposition towards them; and in their ultimate destination after physical death.  In nature, the Christ-Follower has been made righteous and holy by faith, through the work of Christ, while the non-believer remains fallen.  God’s anger towards the Christ-Follower has been satisfied, while His wrath presently abides on those who don’t believe.  The destination of the Christ-Follower is eternal joy in the presence of God, while that of non-believers is eternal separation from God in anguish and just punishment for their sinfulness and rejection of Christ.

About Salvation

Grace in the New Creation

Salvation is a second birth or regeneration, where the recipient is instantaneously brought from spiritual death to life by the will, mercy, and grace of God, apart from any merit of his own.  Regeneration involves the spiritual creating of a new person and the death of the old.  It is brought about by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit and belief in Jesus.

The Freeness of Salvation

Salvation is a divine mystery which no theological system can adequately explain.  Through the communication of the gospel, God calls everyone to repent, believe, and receive His free gift of salvation.  It is therefore the duty of everyone to repent and believe in Christ, and nothing hinders man from so doing except his own voluntary rejection of Christ.

Justification

Justification is God’s official act of applying the righteousness of Christ to the one who repents and believes in Jesus Christ and in His death, burial, and resurrection for sins. Justification is by faith alone, apart from any works on the Christ-Followers’ part.  It involves forgiveness of sins, freedom from the Law, and freedom from condemnation.

Repentance and Faith

Repentance and faith are inseparable, being both man’s responsibility and God’s gift.  Repentance is both, the change of mind about who Christ is and what He has done, as well as the change of life in turning away from sin to Christ.  Faith is trust in Christ as one’s only Lord and Savior.

About the Perseverance and Security of the Believer

True Christ-Followers do not depart from faith in Christ.  By an unbreakable attachment to Christ they distinguish themselves from counterfeit believers.  It is God’s power that keeps them in the faith, ending in the consummation of their salvation.

About the Church

The word “church” as used in the New Testament has both a local and comprehensive sense.  The local church is God’s ordained institution to carry out His work on earth.  It is a congregation of immersed believers who share common faith and doctrine, not a building or location.  The New Testament designates only two offices; pastor (i.e., bishop and elder) and deacon.   As God’s ordained institution to carry out His work on earth, the duties of the local church are: to practice Baptism and Communion or the Lord’s Supper; to fulfill the Great Commandments (love God and love others) and the Great Commission, which involves teaching and discipleship as well as evangelism; and to defend the truth of the Gospel.  In its government the local church is autonomous, free of all external interference.  It is responsible for its internal affairs and unity, the appointing of its officers, and determining the level of its cooperation with other churches.

About Baptism

By definition water baptism is total immersion in water.  It is to be done in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  In the New Testament it was administered by elders, deacons, and missionaries and we therefore take this as our example.  It is the outward sign of the inward change that took place at salvation; our participation in death, burial, and resurrection with Christ.  Baptism carries no ability to forgive sins, it is symbolic.  It is therefore the act by which one outwardly identifies himself with Christ and His people.  Thus it is a pre-requisite for identifying oneself with a local church.

About Communion or the Lord’s Supper

Like baptism, the act of Communion carries no ability to convey God’s grace to the participant; it is a remembering of Christ’s death until He returns. Communion should be preceded by serious self-examination and confession of sin so as to avoid God’s discipline. Throughout the New Testament, Communion is seen in the context of the local church.

About Missions

The command to make followers of Christ is clear.  It is the responsibility of every Christian to take part in evangelism as a member of a local church, God’s ordained instrument to carry out the Great Commission.  In fulfilling the Great Commission, the responsibility of the church to teach is just as important as making converts and baptizing.

About Giving

The church and its work are to be financed by the gifts of its members.  We are to give cheerfully and not because of compulsion.  The amount to be given by members of the church is a personal decision between the individual and God based on the giver’s financial situation, realizing that all they possess is God’s and His gift to them.  In both the Old and New Testaments the minimum standard for giving is one tenth of income.  In giving we may expect God’s abundant blessing in return.

About Civil Government

Government is ordained by God for the punishing of evil and rewarding of good.  The duties of the Christian towards civil government are to pray for their governors, submit to and honor them.  Whenever the rule of civil government and obedience to God are in conflict, the Christian is always to follow God rather than men.  One of the distinguishing marks of false teachers is that they despise God’s ordained authority.

About the Family and Human Sexuality

God’s moral laws flow from his holiness as well as his love for us. He has instituted his moral law for our protection and pleasure, not to rob of us freedom.  God commands that no sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage. Marriage is only between one man and one woman.  God disapproves and forbids adultery, bestiality, bisexuality, fornication, homosexuality, incest, lesbianism, pornography, the alteration of gender and calls all people to be chaste, holy, and obedient to His design.

About the Resurrection and the Return of Christ

Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and raised on the third day according to the Gospels.  His resurrection is a historic fact, both physical and visible.  He physically and visibly ascended into heaven where He now intercedes for the saints.  He will come again a second time physically and visibly to earth to set up His kingdom for one thousand years.

The Rapture (gathering up into Heaven) of the saints will occur between Christ’s ascension and second coming, prior to the Tribulation, which is the outpouring of God’s wrath on the earth. At the Rapture, Christians who have died physically will be resurrected and given a new body.  Then, those who are still living, will receive a new body without experiencing death.