Essentials of Faith
We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God. We believe there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who created all things visible and invisible. We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood. We believe in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory. We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential. Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone. We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a life pleasing to God. We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection to eternal life and they that are lost unto the resurrection to damnation.
We believe the Scriptures – the 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament – provide God’s authoritative written revelation to mankind (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Galatians 1:12). God interacted with the human writers of those books so that every word of the original texts is inspired, exactly as He wanted (2 Peter 1:20-21), and without error (John 17:17). The Scriptures are the supreme and final authority in all things (Psalm 19:7-11; 119; Romans 10:17; Hebrews 4:12).
We believe there is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Timothy 2:5) in three persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16-17; Matthew 28:19; John 6:27; John 10:30; 1 Corinthians 3:16); one in nature, attributes, and glory. These three are one God (2 Corinthians 13:14), infinite (Acts 17:24), eternal (Hebrews 1:8), unchangeable (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17), all-wise (Romans 11:33), all-powerful (Isaiah 40), all-knowing (Psalm 147:5), holy (Isaiah 6:3), just (Psalm 9:16), loving (1 John 4:7-21), merciful (Psalms 118; Psalms 136; Hebrews 4:16), gracious (Romans 3:23-24; Galatians 3:18), good (Psalm 100:5), and true (Isaiah 45:19). He is everywhere present, yet not part of His creation (Psalm 139:7-12).
GOD the FATHER
We believe that the Father is God (Isaiah 64:8). He begins and ends all things according to His own purpose and grace (Psalm 90:2). He is the Creator (Revelation 4:11) and Sustainer (Psalm 104) of all things, and the spiritual Father of believers (1 John 5:11). He expresses Himself in relationships with those whom He chooses, binding Himself to them by His eternal promises (Genesis 9:9; 17:7-9; 2 Samuel 7:8-16; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Romans 8:29-30; Hebrews 10:16). He is loving (Ephesians 2:3-5), long-suffering, and not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to the knowledge of the truth (John 3:17; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9).
GOD the SON
We believe that Jesus Christ is God (John 10:30; Colossians 1:17; Titus 3:4-5). He is fully God (John 1:1-2,14; John 17:1-5) and fully man (Philippians 2:5-8). He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25), lived a sinless life (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15), performed miracles (Matthew 11:4-5; John 2:11), died as the only sufficient sacrifice for our sins, and was buried (Matthew 20:28; John 1:29; Romans 3:25; 1 Corinthians 15:4; Hebrews 10:5-14; 1 Peter 3:18). He was resurrected bodily (Matthew 28:5-10), appeared to the apostles and other witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:5-8), ascended to heaven (Acts 1:9), and was glorified (1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:9). Christ intercedes for believers (Romans 8:34) and is coming again (Acts 1:10-11).
GOD the HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18). He convicts people of sin (John 16:8-11) and restrains the extent of sin in the world (Genesis 6:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:7). He opens the hearts and minds of people (Romans 8:16; 1 Corinthians 2:12-14) to turn from sin (Romans 8:1-14), to believe in the Son (1 Thessalonians 1:2-5), and to be born again (John 3:3-7). At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit comes to live within every believer forever (John 14:16; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30). He fills believers with His power (Acts 1:8; Ephesians 3:16), enables them to live in obedience to the will of God (Galatians 5:16-26), teaches them and illuminates Scripture (John 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 2:13-15; 1 John 2:27); and gives them His gifts “to each one individually just as He wills,” to serve the church (1 Corinthians 12:7,11; Romans 12:4-8; 1 Peter 4:10; Ephesians 4:11). The Holy Spirit provides gifts to believers to serve the body of Christ and to reach the world with the gospel (1 Corinthians 12:4-7; 1 Peter 4:10). Spiritual gifts should be used in a proper and orderly manner (1 Corinthians 14:40), in love (1 Corinthians 14:1), and without causing division (1 Corinthians 12:25). Spiritual gifts are not an indication of spiritual maturity, and are to be used for the profit of all. (1 Corinthians 12:7).
We believe that God created the angels as unique spiritual beings all at one time, as a non-procreating company, to glorify and serve Him (Psalm 148:2; Isaiah 6:2-7; Mark 12:25). Angels continue to act as God’s messengers and minister to believers (Hebrews 1:14). Although powerful, they are never to be worshipped (Colossians 1:16; 2:18; Psalm 103:20; Hebrews 1:13-14; Revelation 22:8-9).
Satan, an angel of high rank, led many angels in a rebellion against God, bringing judgment against himself and his followers (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-19; John 16:11; 2 Peter 2:4). Satan tempted Adam and Eve into rebellion against God (Genesis 3:1-19; 2 Corinthians 11:3). The Devil continues, with other fallen angels (demons), to deceive and tempt all of mankind and actively oppose the purposes of God (2 Corinthians 11:14; Ephesians 6:10-18; 1 Timothy 4:1; Revelation 12:9). By His sacrifice on the cross and His subsequent resurrection, Jesus Christ defeated Satan and his demons; they will be thrown into the lake of fire forever at the last judgment (Matthew 25:41; John 12:31-32; 1 John 3:8; Revelation 20:10).
MAN AND ORIGINS
We believe that God spoke the heavens, the earth and all living things into existence in six literal days. God directly created the original kinds of plants and animals and ordered them to reproduce after their kind. In its original form, the creation was very good and untouched by sin. Man is unique, created in the image of God, and did not originate from any other living thing (Genesis 1 & 2; 5:1-2; 9:6; Exodus 20:11; Psalm 33:6-9; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17).
MAN AND SIN
We believe that God created Adam and Eve, the first humans, without sin and in perfect fellowship with Him (Genesis 1:26-28, 31; 2:18-24; James 3:9). Through disobedience they incurred God’s wrath and judgment. Their sin separated them from Him and brought suffering and spiritual and physical death upon themselves, their descendants, and creation (Genesis 3; Psalm 14:1-3; 51:5; Romans 8:20-22).
Mankind’s continued unrestrained wickedness brought further judgment that destroyed the earth in a worldwide flood (Genesis 6-8; 2 Peter 2:4-5). After the flood, mankind’s continued rebellion at Babel brought God’s judgment; God punished Man by confusing his language and scattering the peoples over the face of the earth (Genesis 11:1-9; Luke 1:51).
We inherited Adam’s sin nature (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12), are born spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1), and are sinners ourselves (Romans 3:10,23; 5:12). Consequently, we are unable by our efforts to reconcile ourselves to God (Galatians 3:22; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 8:8).
MAN AND FAMILY
We believe that God created and blessed the family as the foundation of society. Marriage unites one man and one woman in a lifetime commitment to each other (Genesis 2:23-24; Matthew 19:4-6). Children are a gift from God and are fully human from conception (Psalm 127:3; 139:13-16).
We believe God has given us the free gift of salvation from sin and its penalty (Romans 6:23). Salvation is available to us only through faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone, unaided by human effort (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7). The death of Christ fully pays for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3; Hebrews 9:11-15; 1 Peter 1:18-21) and credits Christ’s righteousness to us (Romans 3:23-26; Hebrews 10:1-10). At the moment of personal faith, we are made alive by God (1 Corinthians 15:22; Ephesians 2:4-7; 1 Peter 3:18), are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6), and are children of God (John 1:12; Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 3:26), disciples set apart to a life of spiritual growth, ministry, love, and good works (Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 1:10-14; 3:12-17; Hebrews 12:1-2; 1 Peter 2:2).
We have forgiveness for every sin (Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 1:9) and are secure in the reality of eternal life (John 5:24; 6:39-40; 10:27-30; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 1 John 5:9-13).
We believe that Christ established the church and is the Head of the church (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18). The church is comprised of believers from Pentecost (Acts 2) until the return of Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58). Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the church carries out Christ’s work in the world (John 15:26; Acts 1:8). The purpose of the church is to worship, praise, and glorify God by proclaiming salvation through Christ Jesus to the entire world (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8); by teaching His Word (Colossians 1:24-28; 1 Timothy 4:11); by seeking Him through earnest prayer (Acts 2:42); by equipping the saints to walk, serve, and fellowship in the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:42-46; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Corinthians 14:26); and by keeping the ordinances (1 Corinthians 11:24,25; Matthew 28:19).
We believe that the Lord gave two ordinances to the church: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism is for believers and is a public testimony of faith in Christ in obedience to His command (Matthew 28:19). Baptism identifies the believer with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection (Colossians 2:12) and is best represented by immersion (Acts 8:36-39). The Lord’s Supper is the believer’s remembrance of our Lord’s death until He returns. The Lord’s Supper should be preceded by careful spiritual self-examination of the participant (Matthew 28:18-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-28) (See Section IV, Statement of Ordinances.)
We believe that the church is expressed in local congregations of believers established under the headship of Christ and the authority of Scripture (Galatians 1:2; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; Revelation 1:11). Individual congregations are to be governed by elders (1 Timothy 3:1-7), who are men meeting biblical standards, guarding the purity of church doctrine (Titus 1:9), shepherding the flock (1 Peter 5:1-3), and overseeing church matters (Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:17). Elders are assisted by Deacons, who are men meeting biblical standards, helping the elders in the work of the ministry (Acts 6:1-6; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8-13).
Scripture tells us to be ready always for Christ’s return (1 Thessalonians 5:4-6; Revelation 22:20). We believe that Jesus Christ will physically return in the air to take the church out of the world to be with Him forever (John 14:2-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) At that moment, the dead in Christ shall be raised and living believers will be given their eternal bodies (1 Corinthians 15:51-53)5. Believers will stand before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor 5:10) to receive their rewards and will enter a new heaven and new earth (Rev 21:1-22:6) prepared for them. There they will enjoy perfect, everlasting fellowship with God. The unbelieving dead of all time will be raised and given eternal bodies to face God in final judgment (Revelation 20:11), after which they will be thrown into the lake of fire to experience eternal torment (Revelation 20:15).