Statement of Faith

The Bible

Inspiration

The Bible is God's written revelation to man, and the entire Scriptures (Old and New Testaments) that are given to us by the Holy Spirit constitute the plenary (inspired equally in all parts) Word of God (1 Corinthians 2:7-14; 2 Peter 1:20-21).  We also teach that the Word of God is an objective, propositional revelation (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Corinthians 2:13), that every word of God is inspired or breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16), and that the original documents are absolutely inerrant and infallible.  We also teach that God delivered His Word to us by the Holy Spirit through human authors (dual authorship).  The Holy Spirit moved in the hearts of men and women so that their individual personalities and writing styles were used to compose God's Words to mankind (2 Peter 1:20-21).

Evidence for the inspiration of Scripture is found in the Old Testament (Exodus 4:10-16, 7:1-4; Numbers 12:6-8; Deuteronomy 18:14-21; Habakkuk 2:2-3; Jeremiah 1:4-10), the New Testament (Galatians 1:11-2:21; 1 Thessalonians 2:1;, 1 Corinthians 2:6-13; 2 Peter 3:15-16; 2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 1:10-12), and the words of Jesus (Deuteronomy  8:3, 6:16, 6:13; quoted in Matthew 4:4, 7, 10; also Matthew 12:3, 21:16, 22:31; John 10:35).

Inerrancy

We teach that the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture affirms that the Word of God as it was revealed in the original manuscripts (autographs) is without error. Because each word in Scripture comes from the mouth of God and because God cannot lie or speak falsely (2 Samuel 7:28, Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18), all of God's words are completely true and without the slightest bit of error in any part (Psalms 12:6, 119:89; Proverbs 30:5; Matthew 23:19).  The inerrancy of Scripture extends to each word and scientific fact.  Any alleged discrepancy in the Scriptures can either be explained by current scholarship or will be vindicated by future study or archaeological development.

Sufficiency

The Bible constitutes the only trustworthy guideline for faith and practice (Matthew 5:18; 24:35; John 10:35; 16:12-13; 17:17; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20-21).  It is complete and has no need of additions or changes (Revelation 22:18-19), and it provides to us everything that we need to live a life of godliness (2 Peter 1:3).

 

God

The Father

We teach that God the Father is Omnipotent (Job 42:2; Jeremiah 32:17; Romans 1:20), that is, His power is unlimited and indefatigable. Furthermore, we teach that God is absolutely sovereign in all things (Psalm 103:19; Proverbs 21:1; Romans 11:36). Though God does not mandate that man do evil (James 1:13), He can restrain evil, and does weave all things-even evil deeds of evil men-into His eternal plan (Psalm 76:10). He sent the Son for the redemption of the world (John 3:16; John 5:30, 36), and He will receive the Kingdom back from the Son after the final judgment (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).

The Son

We teach that Jesus Christ is the second Person of the Trinity, and as such He possesses all of the qualities and attributes of God.  He is coequal, consubstantial, and coeternal with the Father (John 10:30; 14:9).  He is the agent by which God created the universe and everything in it, and by His continued power the entire universe continues to exist (John 1:3, Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2). 

We teach that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23, 25; Luke 1:26-35).  We also teach that in the incarnation (God's becoming a man) Christ lost none of his divinity, but surrendered only the prerogatives of deity.  As the second member of the Trinity Jesus accepted the essential characteristics of humanity to become the God-Man while never divesting himself of His divine attributes (Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 2:9).  Jesus Christ represents full humanity and full deity in complete oneness (Micah 5:2; John 5:23, 14:9-10; Colossians 2:9).

We teach that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on the earth righteously fulfilling God's requirements (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15).  He willingly gave his life by shedding His blood on the cross for our sins.  By His death, Jesus accomplished the redemption for all of His children (John 10:15; Romans 3:24-25; 5:8; 1 Peter 2:24).  We also teach that our justification is finalized by the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that He ascended to the right hand of the Father where He acts as our mediator and High Priest (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:38-39; Acts 2:30-31; Romans 4:25; 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1).  We also teach that Christ will return to be the final judge of mankind (Matthew 25:14-46;

Acts 17:30-31).

The Holy Spirit

We teach that the Holy Spirit is a literal, Divine person-He has emotions, will, and intellect (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Corinthians 12:11; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13)-with all of the power and attributes of God because He is God (Acts 5:3-4). We teach that the Spirit was present at Creation (Genesis 1:2), He was the agent of inspiration (2 Peter 1:20-21), He came at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4) as Jesus had promised (John 14:16-17), He is fully involved in the salvation of men (John 3:5-7), He convicts men of sin (John 16:8) and He gives gifts to the church (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).

Man

We teach that man was created by God in the image of God to be the master of the earth (Genesis 1:26-27). We teach that the first man, Adam, chose to defy God and plunged all of mankind into rebellious opposition to God that resulted in physical and spiritual death (Romans 5:12). Since the time of the fall, every human has shared in the Adamic nature-a steadfast determination to serve himself rather than God (Psalm 14-1-3; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:9-18). We teach that in and of themselves men are helpless and hopeless of any reconciliation with or merit before God (Isaiah 64:6-7; Matthew 7:16-20; Romans 1:20-25). 

Salvation

Regeneration

We teach that regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit by which He instantly changes a sinful man into a new creation (Titus 3:5). Regeneration is the radical transformation of the inner man (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) which awakens a sinful, spiritually dead man to new life in God (Ephesians 2:1-5).

Election

We teach that election is the act by which God actively chose to save some unrighteous men from eternal damnation through their faith in the work of His Son (Romans 8:28-30; Thessalonians 2:13). This election occurred before the world was created (Ephesians 1:4-11) and is absolutely certain (John 6:37-39). Election is based on the sovereign choice of God apart from any worth or merit of the recipients (Romans 9:11-23).

Justification

We teach that justification is the act by which God sovereignly declares unrighteous men to be righteous based on the faith-not the actions-of the recipient (Romans 5:1). This justification is accomplished by the payment of the sinner's penalty by Jesus (Hebrews 10:12), the imputation of Christ's righteousness to the sinner (2 Corinthians 5:21), and the absorption of God's wrath by Jesus on the cross (1 John 4:10).

Sanctification

We teach that sanctification is a byproduct of justification. After God has declared a man to be righteous, that man is "set apart" from sin to God (Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). This occurs at a moment in time and is generally referred to as positional sanctification. Further we teach that every man is responsible daily to battle his flesh (Ephesians 4:22-24) and to overcome temptation and sin (1 Corinthians 10:13) as we slowly but surely become more like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is a process and is generally referred to as progressive sanctification. Progressive sanctification is a life-long process that will continue until the believer dies and is taken to heaven or until Christ returns. At that point the believer's sanctification will be completed as God gives him a perfect resurrected body made in the image of God. This perfect, final sanctification is known as glorification (Romans 8:30).

Security

We teach that all of God's elect, once they have been redeemed, are kept by the powerful hand of God and are eternally secure in Jesus Christ (John 5:24; 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Romans 5:9-10; 8:1, 31-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 7:25; 13:5; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24).  There are those that will profess to be God's children, but will prove by their lives that they were never born again (Hebrews 6:4-6).  We also teach that it is the blessed privilege of believers to rejoice and take comfort in their assurance of salvation, and not to use their security as an occasion for persistent sinfulness and wicked living (Romans 6:15-22; 13:13-14; Galatians 5:13, 25-26; Titus 2:11-14).

Separation from Sin

We teach that separation from sin is the clear mandate of both the Old and the New Testaments (Exodus 22:23-24; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 2 Corinthians 7:1).  We also teach that as the last days approach the sin and apostasy of the world will continue to increase (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).  We are commanded to separate ourselves from apostasy and worldly practices (Romans 12:1-2, 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11) and be separated to Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; Hebrews 12:1-2). 

The Church

The Universal Church

We teach that all those who repent of their sins and trust Christ for salvation are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into the spiritual Body of Christ, the church (1 Corinthians 12:12-13) of which Christ is the ultimate authority (Ephesians 1:22, 4:15; Colossians 1:18).  This spiritual body was formed on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21, 38-47), is distinct from Israel (1 Corinthians 10:32), and is a mystery not revealed until the New Testament age (Ephesians 3:1-6, 5:32).

The Local Church

We teach that the establishment of local churches is clearly taught in Scripture (Acts 14:23, 27; 20:17, 28; Galatians 1:2; Philippians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1), and that as members of the universal church, believers are instructed to associate themselves in and be faithful to local assemblies (1 Corinthians 11:18-20; Hebrews 10:25).

We teach that ultimate authority in the church is given to Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:22, 4:15; Colossians 1:18), and He has delegated that authority to elders (also called bishops, pastors, and pastor-teachers;

Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11) and to deacons both of whom must meet biblical qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5).  We teach the need for accountability amongst the members of the local church (Matthew 18:5-14; Galatians 6:1-5; Hebrews 10:24) along with the necessity of disciplining members of the congregation who persist in unrepentant sin (Matthew 18:15-22; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 1 Timothy 1:19-20; Titus 1:10-16).

We also teach that God's purpose for the church is to bring glory to Him (Ephesians 3:21) by growing in grace (Ephesians 4:13-16), by teaching people from the Bible (2 Timothy 2:2, 15; 3:16-17), by fellowship (Acts 2:47; 1 John 1:3), by keeping the ordinances (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38-42), and by advancing and  communicating the gospel to the entire world (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8; 2:42).

We teach that it is the responsibility of the church to be used by God as He accomplishes His purposes in the world.  In order to equip His people for this work God has given a variety of gifts to his people.  He has given gifts of leadership to the men He has chosen to prepare His people for ministry (Ephesians 4:7-12), and He has given various gifts to every believer in order to benefit the Body of Christ (Romans 12:5-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31; 1 Peter 4:10-11).

We teach that God has given two ordinances to the church.  These are baptism and the Lord's Supper.  Baptism is the immersion of the believer in water to symbolize his faith in Jesus' atoning work on the cross, his union with Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, and his decision to walk in new life with Christ (Romans 6:1-11).  Baptism is also a visible sign of identification with the local church (Acts 2:41-42).  We also teach that the Lord's Supper was instituted by Jesus Christ as a remembrance of His sacrificial work on our behalf (1 Corinthians 11:23-24).  It is a celebration and proclamation of Jesus' death to the world, and it should always be proceeded by a time of careful introspection and self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:28-32).

Angels

Holy Angels

Angels are created, spiritual beings.  They are a higher order of created being than man.  And they serve God as his messengers, warriors, and servants (Psalm 8:5; Luke 2:9-14; Hebrews 1:6-7, 14; 2:6-7; Revelation 5:11-14; 19:10; 22:9).

Fallen Angels

The New Testament speaks of the rebellion of Satan and his demons against the authority of God (2 Peter 2:4, Jude 6).  Fallen from his state of glory, Satan was the originator of sin (Gen. 3:1, 2 Cor. 11:3).  Satan and his demons try to thwart every plan of God.  Just as he tempted Eve in the garden, Satan tempted Christ (Matt. 4:1-11).  Just like Christ resisted Satan, we can resist the power of the devil through the power Christ gives us (James 4:7).  Satan and his demons do not exercise limitless control in the world, but are under the dominion of God and allowed to rule for a time (Job 1:12, 2:6; Jude 6) until they will be cast into the lake of fire to endure eternal punishment (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).

Last Things

Death and Judgment

We teach that physical death awaits all men who are not alive when Christ returns (Hebrews 9:27).  Upon death the souls of God's children pass directly into his presence (Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8) until they are reunited with the body at the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17) and the soul and body are glorified with the Lord (Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:35-44; 50-54).

We teach that the souls of unbelievers are kept in torment until the second resurrection (Luke 16:19-26; Revelation 20:13-15) when the soul and body are reunited (John 5:28-29).  Following the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 20:9), they will appear before the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15), they will be cast into hell, the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41-46), separated from God for all of eternity (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:41-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

Rapture and Tribulation

We teach that there is a personal, bodily return of Jesus Christ to translate His church from the earth (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-5:11).  This is referred to as the Rapture.  We also teach that there will be a time where God's judgment will be poured out on the world (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:27; 12:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12; Revelation 16).  This time is known as the Tribulation which is referred to as the seventieth week of Daniel's prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 24:15-31; 25:31-46).  There are differing views on the timing of these events, but despite the timing the essential nature of these events remains the same.

Second Coming and Millennium

We teach that after the tribulation, Christ will come to earth to establish his millennial kingdom as Messiah.  He will remove Antichrist and Satan from the world (Daniel 7:17-27; Revelation 20:1-7).  This kingdom will last for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-7) during which the resurrected believers will rule and reign with Christ over the nations of the earth (Ezekiel 37:21-28; Daniel 7:17-22; Revelation 19:11-16).  This will be a time of unprecedented peace and harmony, and it will be brought to an end by the release of Satan (Revelation 20:7) and the ensuing battle of Armageddon (Revelation 20:9).  After this great battle, Satan and his followers will be cast into the Lake of Fire forever (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).

Eternity

We teach that after the end of the millennium, all the redeemed of God will enter into the eternal state with Him.  God will destroy the earth with fire (2 Peter 3:10) and replace it with a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 20:15; 21:1-27; 22:1-21).  After this the New Jerusalem will descend from heaven and will be the dwelling place for God's people for all eternity (Revelation 21:2; John 17:3; Revelation 21-22).  Having accomplished the redemption of God's chosen ones, Jesus Christ will give the kingdom to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28), and the triune God will reign forever (1 Corinthians 15:28).

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