Statement of Faith

 

The Scriptures

We believe that the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments are the objective, written revelation of God and thus constitute the Word of God (Hebrews 1:1-2); that men chosen by God wrote the Bible under the guidance and enabling of the Holy Spirit; that every word of the original autographs is God-breathed; and, therefore, that the whole of Scriptures both inerrant and authoritative for the faith and life of the believer (2 Timothy 3:16; 2Peter 1:20-21). We also believe that the Scriptures are sufficient and, in conjunction with the Holy Spirit and the caring body of Christ, are entirely adequate for every spiritual or emotional problem, and are in no need of any supplement from secular psychotherapies (2Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:3-4; Psalms 19:7-11). We further believe that Scripture is the fresh and present voice of Christ by which He communicates through the Holy Spirit to His people. Therefore, no current revelatory, prophetic word is necessary (Hebrews 3:7; 4:12). We believe that the Scriptures are to be interpreted in the literal/grammatical/historical sense.

 

The Godhead

We believe that God is infinite, self-existent Spirit, unchangeable in His nature, omnipotent, omniscient (Exodus 3:14; John 4:24; Hebrews 1:8-10), omnipresent, holy, righteous, good, love, and truth. We believe that God exists eternally as three distinct yet inseparable persons known as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (John 1:1; 10:30; Matthew 28:19). These three are one as to their nature, essence, and attributes (Hebrews 1:3-4; John 10:30; 14:9).The Godhead is the absolute and sole creator of the universe and its creation was by divine fiat, not through evolutionary process (Genesis 1:1; Psalms 33:6; Colossians 1:15-17). We believe that God created the universe in six literal 24-hour days. Each of the members of the Godhead are equally worthy of worship and obedience (Luke 2:14; Hebrews 1:6), each has a distinct function in the eternal purpose of the Godhead, and each is glorified by the work of redemption (Ephesians 1:3-14; John 17:1-5).

 

The Person and Work of Jesus Christ

We believe that the second person of the Triune Godhead is the Son, whose name is the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1; 14:9; Hebrews 1:3-4). In the incarnation, He became a man through the miracle of His divine conception and virgin birth without change in His deity (Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 1:34-35; Matthew 1:20-21). As the only mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), He lived a sinless life (Hebrews 7:26; 2 Corinthians 5:21) and died a propitiatory, substitutionary death bearing the full penalty of God’s wrath to save His people from their sins (1 Peter 3:18; Romans 3:25; 2 Corinthians 5:21). We believe Christ’s death was designed to be efficacious for the elect alone (John 10:15; Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 5:9). We also believe that Christ’s death demonstrated love for all men, is to be offered to all, and is sufficient to save all (Acts 17:30; Romans 10:10-13; Luke 24:46-47). He was buried, arose bodily, ascended into heaven, and is presently fulfilling His intercessory and mediatorial ministry at the right hand of the Majesty on High (Romans 8:34; Hebrews7:25).

 

The Holy Spirit

We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead, co-eternal and co-equal with the Father and the Son (John 14:16; Acts 5:3-4; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14).Although the Holy Spirit was actively present in the world in the Old Testament, He became resident in the world on the day of Pentecost having been sent by the Father and the Son(John 14:16-17, 26; 15:26). He convicts the unsaved of their need of Christ. He regenerates, baptizes, indwells, and seals all those whom He brings to faith. He teaches the believer, whom He leads into spiritual maturity through the knowledge of Christ and empowers through His filling ministry (John 16:7-11; Romans 5:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians3:16; 4:30; 5:18; 1 John 2:27). He effectually calls and regenerates the elect, enabling them to exercise the gift of saving faith and to receive Christ in all His offices as both Savior and Lord (Philippians 1:29; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 10:9; 2 Corinthians 4:5; John 1:12; 3:3-5;Titus 3:5; 1 John 5:1).

 

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts

We believe that the moment the believer rests his faith in Christ he is baptized with the Holy Spirit and becomes a functioning member of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13,18; Acts 11:16; Romans 12:4-6). As a result of this baptism, the Holy Spirit imparts a spiritual gift; the Lord Jesus Christ assigns a ministry for which that gift is to be utilized; and God the Father guarantees supernatural effects as the believer fulfills that ministry (1Corinthians 12:4-6; Ephesians 4:15-16). We believe some of the gifts given in the church during the ministry of the Apostles were directly related to the founding of the church and the completion of the New Testament and are thus no longer given, such as the gifts of prophecy, tongues, knowledge, and healing (Ephesians 2:20-3:4; Hebrews 2:3-4; 1Corinthians 14:37-38; 2 Corinthians 12:12). We believe, however, that God continues to work supernaturally among His people. For example, those who have a debilitating sickness are to call for the elders who are to pray and expect supernatural healing as a part of their present-day ministry (James 5:16).

 

Salvation

We believe that salvation is by the grace of God, which is neither merited nor secured, in part or in whole, by any virtue or work of man (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 11:6). The sole ground of salvation is the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 3:24-25; Hebrews 9:26; 10:10-14). We believe in justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and for the glory of God alone. Justification is the judicial act of God, whereby He declares righteous those who have placed their faith in Christ. It is a final act, so that the believer is forever and completely justified from the moment of saving faith (Romans 5:1, 9). Therefore, the believer awaits no final last day declarative justification. Justification is not based upon the believer’s own righteousness, not even the imputation of faith itself as the believer’s righteousness, but on a righteousness alien to him: the forensically imputed righteousness of Christ alone (Romans 4:3-6, 9-11; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9). In salvation the believer is called, regenerated, forgiven all sin, justified, adopted, made eternally secure, and endowed with every spiritual blessing. Salvation is of the Lord (Romans8:30; 1 Peter 1:3; Colossians 2:13; Romans 5:1; Ephesians 1:3-7; Romans 8:15).

 

Election

We believe that God, under no obligation whatsoever to provide salvation for anyone, unconditionally elected certain individuals for salvation before the foundation of the world (John15:16; Ephesians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Corinthians 1:26-30; Acts 13:48). His election is not based on any foreseen act or response on the part of those chosen, but is based solely on His own good pleasure and sovereign will (Romans 3:11; 9:11-18). We do not believe that God elected others to hell, but passed them by, leaving them to their own sinful preference, which is self-glorification and a Christ-less life (Matthew 23:37 Romans9:15-15; 10:21; John 3:19-20).The New Birth We believe the new birth is a gracious, supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (2 Corinthians 5:17; John 3:3; Ephesians 2:4; 2 Peter1:4). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (1 Peter 1:23-25). The new birth (a promised blessing of the New Covenant) includes union with Christ, a new heart, new affections and deliverance from the dominating power of sin (Ezekiel 36:25-27; Romans 6:14; Ephesians4:24; 1 John 3:9-10).

 

Sanctification

We believe that every believer is sanctified-that is, set apart-unto God, declared to be holy, and identified as a saint (1 Corinthians 1:2). However, sanctification is both positional and progressive (Hebrews 10:14). Positional sanctification has to do with the believer’s standing, not his present walk or experience. Progressive sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit whereby the believer is brought into an ever increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). We believe that sanctification is universal, mandatory evidence of a justification that is already final and complete, and not in any sense a means of attaining justification (Ephesians 2:10;James 2:14-15). We believe that every saved person is involved in a daily, lifelong conflict against the flesh (Romans 7:14-25; Galatians 5:16-17; 1 Peter 2:11). While eradication of sin is not possible, the Holy Spirit empowers both for victory over sin and impact and fruitfulness in ministry (Ephesians 3:16; 5:18; Acts 1:8; 4:31).

 

Perseverance (Security)

We believe the biblical doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. It has two parts: 1) No true child of God, born of the Holy Spirit, will ever be lost because he is kept by the power of God (Romans 8:31-39; John 10:28; Hebrews 13:5-6; 1 Peter 1:5); 2) It is equally true, however, that no person is saved without persevering to the end. Such perseverance may be marked by periods of discouragement, doubt, and even disobedience, but those genuinely saved will persevere to the end in faith and obedience (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Philippians1:6; Hebrews 8:10-11; 1 John 3:9-10; Hebrews 3:6, 14). Those who make a beginning in the Christian faith but do not continue give evidence that they never really had saving faith(1 John 2:19; Ephesians 5:5-6).

 

Man’s Creation and Fall

We believe that Adam was created immediately in the image and likeness of God apart from any process of evolution (Genesis 1:26; 2:7). Adam became a sinner, depraved in nature and subject to Satan’s power by personal disobedience to the will of God (Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 5:12-19; John 8:44; Ephesians 2:2-3). As our representative head, the guilt of Adam’s act was imputed to the entire human race (Romans 5:12-14, 18-19). His sin and depravity was also transmitted to the entire human race; so that every man is a sinner by nature, choice, and practice; is guilty before God; and possesses within himself no means of recovery (Romans 3:9-18, 23; Ephesians 2:1-3). Man has both dignity (He is created in the image of God) and depravity (He is corrupted in every part of his nature through the Fall) (Ephesians 2:1; Jeremiah 17:9). We believe that man’s depravity extends even to His will. While man is a free moral agent, choosing as he pleases, his will is in bondage to his sinful nature. Therefore, he always chooses darkness and is unable and unwilling to choose Christ (John 3:19-20; 5:40; 6:44, 65; Romans 8:6-8; Ephesians 2:1, 4).

 

The Church

We believe that in this age, commencing at Pentecost, Christ is building His church in partial fulfillment of the Old Testament Messianic promise, originally stated in the Abrahamic Covenant, to bless all the nations through Abraham’s seed (Genesis 12:3; Galatians 3:7-9;Isaiah 49:6; Acts 13:47). Christ builds His church by calling out His elect from every tribe, nation, people, and tongue (Romans 1:5; Revelation 5:9). The Holy Spirit forms and constitutes the church by baptizing true believers into the one universal, spiritual body, which is manifested in local churches (1 Corinthians 12:13). The local church has been commissioned to preach the Word faithfully, preserve the purity of the church through discipline, and practice the two ordinances of believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper (2 Timothy 4:2;1 Corinthians 5:11-13; Matthew 18:15-18; 28:18-19; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). The officers of the local church are elders (also referred to as bishop, overseer, and pastor)-godly men to whom is committed the oversight and care of the church-and deacons (Acts 20:17, 28; 1Timothy 3:1-13; 5:17; Titus 1:5).

 

Satan

We believe that God created a great host of varied spirit beings, and one called Satan(Lucifer) fell by sinning against God and took with him a large number of angels (Ezekiel 28:11-18; Matthew 25:41). He is the author of sin and the instigator in the fall of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:7-6). Satan is the enemy of God, the accuser of the people of God, and is constantly active in opposing the work and people of God (Ephesians 6:10-13; 1 Peter5:8). Satan was judged at the cross, and his ultimate destiny is the lake of fire (John 12:31; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10). We also believe that the believer is removed from Satan’s authority and dominion and that while a true believer may be an object of severe oppression and attack, he cannot be indwelt bodily by a demon (John 17:15; Colossians 1:13; 1John 4:4; 5:18).

 

Future Events

We believe that at death the believer’s spirit passes immediately into Christ’s presence and remains there in conscious joy until the Rapture when he, along with those believers physically alive (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17), will receive a resurrection body (1 Corinthians15:12-58; Philippians 3:20-21). We believe the promised Messianic Kingdom of the Old Testament comes to the world in two aspects. Christ instituted its spiritual aspect at His first coming (Acts 2:30-36; Hebrews 1:2), yet its final aspect will be fulfilled in an earthly kingdom over the entire earth in fulfillment of Old Testament promises of a restored Israel. We believe in the premillennial return of the Lord Jesus Christ personally and bodily as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Matthew 24:29-31; 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10; Acts 1:11; Revelation 19:11-21). His second coming is presented in the New Testament as being near or imminent, although its timing is unknown to men (1 Thessalonians 1:10; Titus 2:13).The two elements of His final coming, normally designated as Rapture and Revelation, are clear, although they are not often mentioned with distinction in the New Testament (1Thessalonians 2:19; 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 8; 2 Timothy 4:1; Titus 2:13). The timing of the Rapture in relationship to the Tribulation is open to several different interpretations. The Tribulation will be followed by the return of Christ to the earth to reign for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-7). Following the Millennium, the Great White Throne Judgment will occur. The spirits of the unregenerate at physical death also continue in conscious existence, but in torment, until the final resurrection that will be followed by the final Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:13-15). The unsaved will then be cast into the lake of fire and experience eternal separation and conscious, everlasting punishment (Daniel12:2-3; Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:19-29; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-11).