We believe that the Bible in its entirety (66 Canonical books) is God’s divinely revealed revelation to man which is complete and is the final word of God (Matthew 5:18; Luke 21:33). We believe that all Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit, meaning that the Holy Spirit by supernatural means worked through the human authors giving to us the actual words of God yet allowing the personality and style of the authors to remain (2 Peter 1:21). Because all Scripture is God’s Word it is completely sufficient and authoritative in all matters of faith (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and is necessary for sustaining our spiritual lives (Matthew 4:4). We believe that all Scripture is inerrant (that which God revealed and inspired is accurate, reliable, authoritative and without error) in its original manuscripts (Numbers 23:19; Deuteronomy 32:4; 2 Samuel 7:28; Hebrews 6:18; Titus 1:2). Although the original manuscripts (autographs) no longer exist, we believe that the original writings have been wholly and flawlessly preserved within the substantive body of existing (extant) manuscripts (Isaiah 40:8; 59:21; 1 Peter 1:25; Matthew 5:18; Psalm 111:8; 119:89). We believe that the proper and natural method of Bible interpretation (hermeneutic) is the grammatico-historical method, and that the final guide to the interpretation of Scripture is Scripture itself, also referred to as exegesis (Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy , Article XVII).
We believe that there is only one true God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5; 1 Corinthians 8:5-6). We believe God exists eternally in a uni-plural nature as three distinct Persons (one in essence, three in Person): God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; John 15:26; 1 Peter 1:2). We believe that each person of the triune Godhead is eternally coexistent and shares the same divine attributes, which include: eternality (John 1:1; Revelation 1:8), self-existent (John 5:26; Acts 17:24-25), immutable (perfect and cannot become better / cannot change) (James 1:17; Malachi 3:6), holy (Isaiah 6:1-5; 1 Peter 1:16), omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-10; Isaiah 66:1; Jeremiah 23:23-24), omnipotent (Jeremiah 32:17; Mathew 19:26, Ephesians 1:19), omniscient (Job 37:16; 1 John 3:20), loving (1 John 4:8; John 3:16), righteous & just (Deuteronomy 32:4; Dan 4:37), and merciful (Psalm 103:8; Ephesians 2:4-5; 1 Peter 1:3). We believe that the primary difference between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the Trinity (tri-unity) is a functional one as evidenced in creation (Genesis 1:1-2) and salvation-redemption (Galatians 4:4-5; John 3:5). Creation is the first foreshadowing of the marvelous doctrine of the Trinity, wherein the Father (Isaiah 64:8; Psalm 33:6-9), the Son (Colossians 1:15-17; John 1:13), and the Spirit (Job 33:4) had distinct roles in Creation.
The uni-plural nature of God is clearly seen when God says “Let Us create man in Our image” (Genesis 1:26) and yet the LORD created by Himself (Isaiah 44:24). Moreover, we note that the Hebrew name for God is Elohim, a plural noun, yet normally represented by a singular pronoun “He.” Although there is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 44:8), the Hebrew word for ‘one’ is echad which means composite unity (see also Genesis 2:24, where the man and woman become ‘one flesh’). The creation of a new man through rebirth also shows the functioning of the Trinity. God alone saves (Isaiah 43:10-12; Psalm 62:1), yet the Father has sent the Son to redeem His people (Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 1:9; 1 John 4:14) and we must be born of the Spirit, who testifies to us of our salvation (John 3:5; Romans 8:16; Titus 3:5). These, among other texts, clearly demonstrate that God carries out His acts within the context of the Godhead. The evidence for the Trinitarian nature of God is embedded in nearly every page of Scripture, however an exhaustive list of proof texts is not the purpose of this summary. The Trinity is a mystery and is an aspect of God’s nature that is beyond our comprehension (Isaiah 55:8; Deuteronomy 29:29) and thus all analogies used to illustrate it are incomplete and fall short in some way or other. We believe that God by His spoken Word created the entire universe ex nihilo, or out of nothing (Genesis 1; Psalm 33:6-9), that He reigns sovereignly, governing and upholding all things according to His purposes (Romans 8:28, Hebrews 1:3; Chronicles 29:11-12), albeit in a presently sin-cursed, fallen world, and that all things have been created for His glory (Ps 19:1).
We believe that God the Son (Jesus Christ) is God incarnate, born of the virgin Mary from the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18). We believe Christ is fully human in every way yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15) and fully God (John 10:30, 38; 14:10). We believe that Christ suffered and died for our sins, was buried, rose on the third day and is the divine Son of God (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 1 Peter 3:18; Colossians 1:13-20) and now sits at the Father’s right hand (Ephesians 1:20; Acts 5:31; Hebrews 1:1-3), and intercedes on behalf of believers (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).
We believe that man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27; Psalm 139:13-16). We believe that the original relationship between God and man was broken when Adam and Eve sinned and as a result all mankind has inherited a fallen sinful nature (Romans 5:12, 18-19). We believe man is inherently evil (Jeremiah 17:9; Psalm 51:5; 58:3; Job 15:14), unrighteous (Romans 3:10), guilty before God (Romans 3:23) and spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1). Yet, by God’s grace and love (Romans 5:8) through the gift of His Son (Romans 6:23) God has provided redemption from sin and given eternal life for those who believe (John 3:16).
We believe that salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not on the basis of human merit or works (John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:18-19). We believe that regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (John 5:24) when the repentant sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit, responds in faith to the divine provision of salvation. We believe that election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2). We teach that sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11; John 3:18-19, 36; 5:40; Romans 9:22-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Revelation 22:17). Nevertheless, since sovereign grace includes the means of receiving the gift of salvation as well as the gift itself, sovereign election will result in what God determines. All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith, and all who come in faith the Father will receive (John 6:37-40, 44; Acts 13:48; James 4:8). We believe that justification before God is an act of God (Romans 8:33) by which He declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ, repent of their sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Isaiah 55:6-7) and confess Him as sovereign Lord (Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Philippians 2:11). This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Romans 3:20; 4:6) and involves the imputation of our sins to Christ (Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24) and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21). By this means God is enabled to “be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26). We believe that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy and is therefore identified as a saint. This sanctification is positional and instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification. This sanctification has to do with the believer’s standing, not his present walk or condition (Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30; 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 2:11; 3:1; 10:10, 14; 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2). We believe that there is also, by the work of the Holy Spirit, a progressive sanctification by which the state of the believer is brought closer to the standing the believer positionally enjoys through justification.
Through obedience to the Word of God and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:17, 19; Romans 6:1-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 5:23). In this respect, we teach that every saved person is involved in a daily conflict—the new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh—but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life and is never completely ended. All claims to the eradication of sin in this life are unscriptural. Eradication of sin is not possible, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9). We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (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). 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 for sinful living and carnality (Romans 6:15-22; 13:13-14; Galatians 5:13, 25-26; Titus 2:11-14). We believe that separation from sin is clearly called for throughout the Old and New Testaments, and that the Scriptures clearly indicate that in the last days apostasy and worldliness shall increase (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5). We believe that, out of deep gratitude for the undeserved grace of God granted to us, and because our glorious God is so worthy of our total consecration, all the saved should live in such a manner as to demonstrate our adoring love to God and so as not to bring reproach upon our Lord and Savior. We also teach that separation from all religious apostasy and worldly and sinful practices is commanded of us by God (Romans 12:1-2, 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 2 Corinthians 6:147:1; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11). We teach that believers should be separated unto our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; Hebrews 12:1-2) and affirm that the Christian life is a life of obedient righteousness that reflects the teaching of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2-12) and a continual pursuit of holiness (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14; Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 3:1-10).
We believe that all who place their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual body, the church (1 Corinthians 12:12-13), the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-32; Revelation 19:7-8), of which Christ is the Head (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; Colossians 1:18). We believe that the one supreme authority for the church is Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18) and that church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed through His sovereignty as found in the Scriptures. The biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the assembly are elders (also called bishops, pastors, and pastor-teachers - Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11) and deacons, both of whom must meet biblical qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5). We teach that these leaders lead or rule as servants of Christ (1 Timothy 5:17-22) and have His authority in directing the church. The congregation is to submit to their leadership (Hebrews 13:7, 17). We believe that the purpose of the church is to glorify God (Ephesians 3:21) by building itself up in the faith (Ephesians 4:13-16), by instruction of the Word (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 two ordinances have been committed to the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:38-42). Christian baptism by immersion (Acts 8:36-39) is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a believer showing forth his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life (Romans 6:1-11). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible Body of Christ (Acts 2:41-42). We teach that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes, and should be always preceded by solemn self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:28-32). We also teach that, whereas the elements of Communion are only representative of the flesh and blood of Christ, participation in the Lord’s Supper is nevertheless an actual communion with the risen Christ, who indwells every believer, and so is present, fellowshipping with His people (1 Corinthians 10:16).
Angels, Satan and Demons
We believe God created angels (Nehemiah 9:6; Colossians 1:16; John 1:3). Angels were created to serve God (Psalm 91:11; Daniel 6:22) and to worship Him (Revelation 5:11-12; 19:6). We believe that certain angels rebelled against God but were defeated and cast out of heaven, becoming demons (2 Peter 2:4, Jude 1:16). This rebellion must have occurred after the creation week which God declared “very good” (Genesis 1:31) but before Eve sinned. We believe that the leader of the rebellion of angels was Satan who now leads the demons and attempts to defeat and deceive believers (1 John 3:8, 1 Pet 5:8, Ephesians 6:11-12). We believe God reigns sovereign over Satan and his demons (Job 1:12, Matthew 8:29, Mk 3:11) and has provided all the necessary tools and weapons for believers to stand and defeat Satan schemes (Ephesians 6:13-18, James 4:7).
We believe that Jesus Christ’s return is imminent (John 14:3, Acts 1:10-11) and that believers are commanded to be ready (Matthew 24:44, 1 Thes 5:2-3) for this is our hope (Titus 2:13, 1 John 3:2-3). We believe that when He returns believers will stand before Him to give an account for their lives and deeds (Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Satan will be defeated and cast into the lake of fire along with his demons and God will judge unbelievers for what they did (Rev 20:12-15). We believe that after this final judgement God will make all things new again and create an eternal dwelling for Himself, angels and the redeemed (Revelation 21:1-5).
We believe that there were two kinds of gifts given to the early church: miraculous gifts of divine revelation and healing, given temporarily in the apostolic era for the purpose of confirming the authenticity of the apostles’ message and authority (Hebrews 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12), and ministering gifts, given to believers for the purpose of mutual edification. With the New Testament revelation and Canon now complete, Scripture becomes the sole test of the authenticity of a man’s message, and confirming gifts of a miraculous nature (including tongues) are no longer necessary to validate a man or his message (1 Corinthians 13:8-12). Furthermore, miraculous gifts can even be counterfeited by Satan so as to deceive even believers (1 Corinthians 13:13-14:12; Revelation 13:13-14). In summary, we can only be certain that nonrevelatory equipping gifts given for mutual edification are the gifts in existence today (Romans 12:6-8). In this area of great controversy and debate among evangelicals, discernment of a ministry’s soundness regarding the exercise of certain miraculous gifts must be determined on the basis of its adherence to scriptural fidelity as well as the type of fruits that the ministry produces (Matthew 7:15-20). We are not persuaded, based on Scripture, that any individual today possess some unique gift of healing, however we affirm that God does hear and answer the prayers of the congregations and Elders, and will act in accordance with His own perfect will for the sick, suffering, and afflicted (Luke 18:1-6; John 5:7-9; 2 Corinthians 12:6-10; James 5:13-16; 1 John 5:14-15).