We believe the Bible as the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the verbally and divinely inspired words of God given through human authors, the final authority for faith and life, inerrant in the original writings, infallible and God–breathed (2 Tim. 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; Matt. 5:18; John 16:12,13).
There is but one only (Deut. 6:4; 1Co 8:4,6) living and true God (1Th 1:9; Jer 10:10). He is infinite in being and perfection (Job 11:7,8,9; Job 26:14), spirit (Jn 4:24), immutable (Jas 1:17; Mal 3:6), eternal (Ps 90:2;1Ti 1:17 ), almighty (Ge 17:1; Rev 4:8), holy (Isa 6:3; Rev 4:8), working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will(Eph 1:11) for His own glory(Pr 16:4; Ro 11:36), loving (1Jn 4:8,16), merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin (Ex 34:6,7), just, and terrible in His judgments (Ne 9:32,33), hating all sin (Ps 5:5,6). He is eternally existing in three persons––Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; co–eternal in being, co–eternal in nature, co–equal in power and glory, having the same attributes and perfections (2 Cor. 13:14)
We believe that Jesus "and the Father are One" (Jn 10:30-33 where Jesus clearly proclaimed His Deity as He did also in (Jn 8:57-59, Jn 5:17-18, Php 2:6), that "in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Col 2:9, Jn 1:1, 14, Php 2:6, Lk 3:22), that He was recognized as God by men (Jn 20:28, Jn 1:49, 6:66-69, 9:35-38, 11:27, 1Jn 4:15, 5:1, 10, 20), that one day all mankind, believers and unbelievers, will recognize and acknowledge the truth that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Php 2:10-11). We believe that Jesus Christ is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE (Jn 14:6) having been conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary, and lived a sinless life in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful man (John 1:1-2,14; Luke 1:35). We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, substitutionary sacrifice, and that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Rom. 3:24; 1 Peter 2:24; Eph. 1:7; 1 Peter 1:3–5). We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God.
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the "Spirit of God" (Gen 1:2), that He is called "God" (Acts 5:3-4). that He is our "Helper, Who will be with us "forever" (Jn 14:16), that He was sent to believer's by the Father in Jesus' name and that He will teach us "all things" (Jn 14:26, Neh 9:20, 1Jn 2:27), that He is active in convicting "the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment" (Jn 16:8), that by Him men are born from above (Jn 3:5-6), that He is the One Who "gives life" (Jn 6:63), that He is "the Spirit of truth, Who proceeds from the Father" and "will bear witness of" Jesus (Jn 15:26), that "no one can say, "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit" (1Cor 12:3), that He distributes spiritual gifts "to each one individually just as He wills" (1Cor 12:11), that "by the Spirit" we are enabled to put "to death the deeds of the body" (Rom 8:13), that all " who are being led by the Spirit of God...are sons of God (Rom 8:14), that He "bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Rom 8:16), that He "helps our weakness" and He "Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words" (Rom 8:26) hat our "body is" His temple and He "is in" us (1Cor 6:19)
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that every person is born dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1, Eph 2:5, Col 2:13 Eph 4:18-19) passed on from Adam (Rom 5:12). Man is totally depraved, and of himself unable to change his lost condition (Gen. 1:26, 27 Rom. 3:22, 23, 5:12; Eph. 2:1–3, 12). We believe that men and women are saved "by grace...through faith; and that not of" ourselves but that salvation "is the gift of God not as a result of works, that no one should boast" and that our salvation reflects that we are "His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Eph 2:8-10), that when we are born again from above (Jn 3:3) we become "a new creature; the old things passed away" and "new things have come" (2Cor 5:17)
Salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redemption of 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).
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. Genuine regeneration is manifested by fruits worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct. Good works will be its proper evidence and fruit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:10), and will be experienced to the extent that the believer submits to the control of the Holy Spirit in his life through faithful obedience to the Word of God (Ephesians 5:17-21; Philippians 2:12b; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:4-10). This obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). Such conformity is climaxed in the believer’s glorification at Christ’s coming (Romans 8:17; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:2-3).
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).
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).
The unmerited favor that God grants to totally depraved sinners is not related to any initiative of their own part nor to God’s anticipation of what they might do by their own will, but is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy (Ephesians 1:4-7; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 1:2).
Election should not be looked upon as based merely on abstract sovereignty. God is truly sovereign but He exercises this sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love (Romans 9:11-16). This sovereignty will always exalt the will of God in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:25-28; 2 Timothy 1:9).
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)
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)
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, 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).
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).
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).
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).
The formation of the church, the Body of Christ, began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21, 38-47) and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own at the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
The church is thus a unique spiritual organism designed by Christ, made up of all born again believers in this present age (Ephesians 2:11, 3:6). The church is distinct from Israel (1 Corinthians 10:32), a mystery not revealed until this age (Ephesians 3:1-6; 5:32).
The establishment and continuity of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:23, 27; 20:17, 28; Galatians 1:2; Philippians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1) and that the members of the one spiritual Body are directed to associate themselves together in local assemblies (1 Corinthians 11:18-20; Hebrews 10:25). I believe 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). 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).
Discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Timothy 2:2), mutual accountability of all believers to each other (Matthew 18:5-14), as well as the need for discipline of sinning members of the congregation in accord with the standards of Scripture (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) is the responsibility of the local church.
The local church is autonomous, free from any external authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Titus 1:5). It is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other for the presentation and propagation of the faith. Each local church, however, through its elders and their interpretation and application of Scripture, should be the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation. The elders should determine all other matters of membership, policy, discipline, benevolence, and government as well (Acts 15:19-31; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 5:4-7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
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) by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8; 2:42). And by calling of all saints to the work of service (1 Corinthians 15:58; Ephesians 4:12; Revelation 22:12).
It is necessary for the church to cooperate with God as He accomplishes His purpose in the world. To that end, He gives the church spiritual gifts. First, He gives men chosen for the purpose of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:7-12), and He also gives unique and special spiritual abilities to each member of the Body of Christ (Romans 12:5-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31; 1 Peter 4:10-11).
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).
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). I also believe that whereas the elements of Communion are only representative of the flesh and blood of Christ, the Lord’s Supper is nevertheless an actual communion with the risen Christ who is present in a unique way, fellowshipping with His people (1 Corinthians 10:16).
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