Statement of Faith
OUR BASIC DOCTRINE SUMMARIZED
We affirm the five “Solas” of the Protestant Reformation
Sola Scriptura: The Bible is the sole written divine revelation and alone can bind the conscience of believers absolutely.
Sola Fide: Justification is by faith alone. The merit of Christ imputed to us by faith is the sole ground of our acceptance by God, by which our sins are remitted.
Solus Christus: Christ is the only mediator through Whose work we are redeemed.
Sola Gratia: Our salvation rests solely on the work of God's grace for us.
Soli Deo Gloria: To God alone belongs the glory.
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT THE BIBLE
We believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible, the Word of God.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
“Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21).
We believe that inspiration refers to the process whereby God breathed out His words by moving men to record His words accurately, thus producing the inerrant original manuscripts. We believe in the “verbal plenary” view of inspiration which claims that the Bible is equally inspired in all parts. Because the Bible is the accurate Word of God, it is true in every area and is the sole basis of authority for the believer.
“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).
The Bible has the right to establish and command the standard for belief and practice. Since it is the very Word of God, to disobey or to obey the Bible is to disobey or obey God Himself.
Our commitment is that our ministry must never stray outside nor go beyond the commands of Scripture. The Scriptures are absolutely sufficient to equip the man of God for every work of the ministry (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It should be the primary focus of every sermon, Bible study, or counseling opportunity. We believe that when the church gathers, the emphasis must be on the proclamation of God’s Word and the exhortation to obey it.
“Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13).
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT GOD
We believe that there is only one living and true God.
“Here, O Israel: The LORD our God. The LORD is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4).
“I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things” (Isaiah 45:5-7).
“...there is no God but one” (1 Corinthians 8:4).
God is an infinite, all-knowing Spirit (John 4:24), and He is perfect in all His characteristics. While He is One in essence, He eternally exists in three Persons (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14), each equally deserving of worship and obedience.
God the Father
We believe that God the Father is sovereign in the creation and in the governing of the world (Psalm 103:19; Romans 11:36). We believe that He declares everything to come to pass for His own glory.
“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11).
In affirming that truth, we do not believe that His control of sinful people and tragic events makes Him the author or approver of evil nor do we believe that His sovereignty reduces the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures.
We believe that He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Ephesians 1:4-6), and He saves from sin all who come to Him through Jesus Christ (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Hebrews 12:5-9).
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).
God the Son
We believe in the deity of the Son, Jesus Christ. Like the Father and the Holy Spirit, He is God. He is a Person of the Trinity and is coequal to the other members of the Trinity in every area. He is the Word of God that was made flesh (John 1:1-14). He has existed for all eternity.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3).
While we believe that the Son is eternally fully God, we also believe that He was made incarnate. He became fully man. The means of the incarnation was the virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:35; Matthew 1:16; Galatians 4:4).
“And Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin?’ And the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God” (Luke 1:34-35).
We believe that the incarnation, once accomplished, is the lasting state of Jesus Christ. It began at His birth and continues forever (in His resurrected, glorified body).
We believe in the self-emptying of the Son as taught in Philippians 2:5-11. The self-emptying permitted His addition of humanity, but did not involve in any way the subtraction of Deity or the attributes of Deity. The Scriptures teach that Christ voluntarily gave up the exercising of these attributes while on earth. His change was a change in form, not a change of content. He emptied Himself by taking on humanity in order that He could die for the sins of mankind.
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).
We believe, as the Scriptures definitely assert, in the sinlessness of the Son. He was announced as a Holy Child (Luke 1:35), His enemies failed to show that He was a sinner (John 8:46), and He always kept the Father’s commandments (John 8:29). The writers of the epistles also always describe the Son as sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22; 1:19; 1 John 3:5; Hebrews 4:15; 7:26-27).
“For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself” (Hebrews 7:26-27).
We believe that Christ is the head of the Church (Ephesians 1:20-23; Colossians 1:18). He is the Chief Shepherd. The Church is His. He is the only way of salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). He is to be obeyed (Matthew 28:20), emulated (1 John 2:6), and proclaimed (Colossians 1:28; 1 Corinthians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 4:5).
“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5).
The church must submit to His headship and exalt Him in all things (Ephesians 1:20-23; Colossians 1:18), whether through worship of His person, conformity to His character, or proclamation of His name.
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe in the deity of the Holy Spirit. Like the Father and the Son, He is God. He is a Person of the Trinity and is coequal to the other members of the Trinity in every area. He has existed for all eternity.
The Holy Spirit possesses attributes that only deity could posses. For example, He is eternal (Hebrews 9:14), omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-10), omnipotent (Luke 1:35), and omniscient (1 Corinthians 2:10-11).
“For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10-11).
Scripture also attributes divine works to the Holy Spirit such as His part in the Creation (Genesis 1:2; Job 33:4; Psalm 104:30), His part in the Regeneration of man (John 3:5-8; Titus 3:5), and His part in the Resurrection of the dead (Romans 8:11).
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7).
“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11).
We do not believe that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force, but a distinct person with a distinct personality. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person because the Scripture ascribes to Him characteristics of a person. Some of these characteristics are knowledge (Romans 8:26), will (1 Corinthians 12:11), and love (2 Timothy 1:7). He searches, speaks, testifies, commands, reveals, strives, creates, makes intercession, and raises the dead, etc. (Genesis 1:2; 6:3; Luke 12:12; John 14:26; 15:26; 16:18; Acts 8:29; 13:2; Romans 8:11).
We believe that the Holy Spirit was active in the revelation (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22), inspiration (2 Samuel 23:2; 1 Peter 1:11; 2 Peter 1:21), and illumination (John 16:14; 1 Corinthians 2:12-14) of the Holy Scripture.
“For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).
We believe that the Holy Spirit convicts the sinner (John 15:26; 16:8-11), regenerates the sinner upon conversion (John 3:5-8), indwells him throughout his life (John 14:16-17; Romans 8:9, 11; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19), and seals him until the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30).
“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:12-16).
We believe that apart from the work of God the Spirit in the hearts of people, our ministry is in vain. He does the work of regeneration in the heart of the believer (John 3:6; Titus 3:5). He indwells the believer and gives him assurance of his future inheritance (Ephesians 1:14). He fills the believer in that He influences and enables him to live an obedient and God-pleasing life (Ephesians 5:18). He brings comfort to the hearts of those who are downcast (Acts 9:31). He intercedes for believers when they do not know what to pray (Romans 8:26-27). He produces in the believer love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). He equips individual believers with gifts for service in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:11).
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT MAN
We accept and believe the Genesis account of creation: that God willed into being the heavens and earth and all that is in them out of nothing in six literal days (Genesis 1:2; Exodus 20:11; Psalms 33:6-9; Mark 10:6; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrew 11:3). We believe that man was created by the direct act of God as a sinless creature and in His own image and likeness (Genesis 2:7; Romans 5:12). Man was created with a rational nature, intelligence, volition, self-determination, and moral responsibility to God (Genesis 2:15-25; James 3:9). He was created for the purpose of glorifying God and enjoying His fellowship (Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11).
We believe that because Adam, the first man, sinned, all men are now sinful by nature and choice (Psalm 14:1-3; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:9-18, 23; 5:10-12).
“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
Because of sin, Adam and, therefore, all men incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death, became subject to the wrath of God, and became inherently corrupt and utterly incapable of choosing or doing that which is acceptable to God apart from divine grace.
We believe that man is totally depraved, without any inherent righteousness, and unable to extricate himself from that condition. He cannot gain God’s approval on his own merits, and, apart from the grace of God, he is destined for an eternity in Hell. Man’s salvation is thereby wholly of God’s grace through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:1-19; John 3:36; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14).
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:1-7).
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT SALVATION
We believe that salvation is a gift of God and is given apart from any merit of man (John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that none may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).
This gift is received by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance (Luke 24:47; 13:3; Acts 26:20), confession of Christ (John 4:29; Matthew 10:32-33; Romans 10:9), and trusting in Him alone for eternal life.
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
Man is totally depraved and he cannot extricate himself from his condition of slavery to sin and spiritual death. It is all of God who reaches down to dead, blind, and captive sinners and gives them the enablement to believe, repent, and to publicly confess His name (Ephesians 2:1-10).
We believe that once salvation is received, it cannot be lost (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 God’s Spirit gives assurance of salvation to the obedient believer (John 10:28, 29; 2 Timothy 2:13; 1 John 3:24).
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out off my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29).
We believe that God 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). He is entirely just in declaring the repentant sinner righteous because He imputes Christ’s righteous life to his account (Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Corinthians 1:30). On the cross God treated Christ as if He had lived the sinner’s life so that He could eternally treat the repentant sinner as if he had lived Christ’s righteous life (2 Corinthians 5:21).
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
We believe that genuine regeneration is demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct. Good works are the proper evidence and fruit of salvation (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:10).
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”(Ephesians 2:10).
A true believer will manifest good works as he submits more and more to the control of the Holy Spirit in his life through faithful obedience to His Word (Ephesians 5:17-21; Philippians 2:12b; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:4-10). This day by day obedience is the process of sanctification—increasingly being conformed to the image of our Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18). This sanctification process is climaxed in the believer’s glorification at Christ’s coming (Romans 8:17; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:2-3).
“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3).
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT THE CHURCH
The Definition of “Church”
We believe that the word “church,” as used in the New Testament is used in two senses—a local (visible) church and the universal church (sometimes referred to as the invisible church or Body of Christ).
We believe that the local church is a local, visible, temporal manifestation of the universal church. The local church is an assembly of professing believers in Christ who have been baptized and who are organized to carry out God’s will.
We believe that the church is made up of all the true believers in the world, and includes all believers from the Day of Pentecost until the time when the church is taken out of the world. When every believer is taken out of the world, God’s program of the church will be complete. We believe that God’s program for the church and God’s program for His chosen people Israel are to be kept separate.
The Purpose of the Church
We believe that the purpose of the church is to bring honor and glory to God (Ephesians 3:21) by building itself up to spiritual maturity and Christ likeness (Ephesians 4:13-16) and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8; 2:42).
We believe that God carries out His work in the world through His church. He has promised to build it and to not let it crumble (Matthew 16:18).
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
Christ so loved the church that He died for her (Ephesians 5:25) that He might sanctify her and present her to Himself in all her glory, blameless and without spot or blemish (Ephesians 5:26-27). Christ both nourishes and cherishes the church (Ephesians 5:29), and exists as head over His bride (Ephesians 5:23).
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27).
The Church, having been “built upon the foundations of the apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 2:20), is to function as “the pillar and support of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). It is through the church that believers are equipped to mature into the likeness of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-16) and unbelievers are presented the gospel.
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4:11-16).
We believe that it is very important for believers to identify with, function in, and submit to the leadership of a local church (Hebrews 13:17). Believers are to edify one another by using their spiritual gifts (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Peter 4:10-11), regularly assembling together (Hebrews 10:24-25), and devoting themselves to the teaching of God’s Word, fellowship, celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and prayer (Acts 2:42).
The Spiritual Gifts of the Church
We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowment of all His gifts. He has given abilities, opportunities and enablement to each believer for the building up of the Church. We also believe that He has given specially gifted men to the Church for the edifying of the souls and the building up of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 13:8-10; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; James 5:14-16).
We believe that some gifts of the Holy Spirit such as speaking in tongues and miraculous healings were temporary. We believe that speaking in tongues was never the common or necessary sign of the baptism nor of the filling of the Spirit, and that the deliverance of the body from sickness or death awaits the consummation of our salvation in the resurrection (Acts 4:8, 31; Rom. 8:23; 1 Corinthians 13:8). Therefore, we believe that the sign gifts such as tongues, healing, prophecy, etc. are not normative for the Church of Jesus Christ today (1 Corinthians 12-14; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; James 5:14-16).
While we are a non-charismatic church, we do not seek to be antagonistically anti-charismatic. Though we differ from other Christian brothers and sisters on this theological issue, we seek to do so with respect and grace.
The Ordinances of the Church
We believe that the Lord has given the church symbols to remind her of His grace and to minister unto her. These ordinances were ordered by Christ to be administered in the church. We believe that the Lord has given the church two ordinances, namely water baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:38, 42).
“And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).
We believe that the meanings of the ordinances have great theological considerations. Water baptism is that ordinance of the church that associates believers with the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-11). Water baptism is not a means of salvation, but it is a command that Christians must obey. The mode of water baptism that was used in the early church was immersion (Acts 8:36-39). We believe that immersion gives us the most proper symbol of being dead to sin and alive to Christ (Romans 6:3-5). We believe that baptism is to always follow conversion. In the book of Acts, wherever baptism is mentioned, belief is its justification.
“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).
The Lord’s Supper is that ordinance of the church in which believers remember, commemorate, and proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes by partaking of the elements, namely the bread and the cup. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is to be reserved for believers and should always be preceded by solemn self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:28-32). We believe that the bread and the cup are only symbols of the flesh and blood of Christ, and that they are not His literal body and blood. However, participating in the Lord’s Supper is an actual communion with the risen Christ, who indwells every believer, and so is present, fellowshipping with His people (1 Corinthians 10:16).
“For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread of drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Corinthians 11:23, 29).
The Relationship of the Church to the World, Unbelievers, and False Doctrine
We believe that home and foreign missions are a basic ministry of the local church outreach and that each local church has the solemn responsibility to help reach all the lost, and thereby evangelize the world (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
While we are in the world in order to influence it for Christ, we believe that we are not to be of this world. Since our citizenship is in Heaven, as the children of God we should walk in separation from this present world, have no fellowship with its evil ways, abstain from all unclean amusements and habits which defile mind and body.
“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth” (Colossians 3:5-8).
We believe that Biblical ecclesiastical separation forbids alliances of any nature, such as cooperation in cooperative meetings, councils or organizations with churches which are apostate in that they reject any of these fundamental doctrines: the triune nature of God, the Deity of Christ, the virgin birth of Christ, the sinless life of Christ, justification by faith alone, and/or the verbal inspiration and authority of the Bible as the word of God as set forth and supported in these articles of faith.
“Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.” (2 John 9-11).
The Relationship of the Church to the Civil Government
We believe in the authority of civil government and that it was instituted by divine appointment for the interest of all. It is our duty to pray for all those in authority and to obey the laws of the land so long as they are not opposed to the will of the Lord Jesus Christ as set forth in the Scriptures (Exodus 18:21-22; Matthew 22:21; Acts 4:18-20; 23:5; Romans 13:1-7).
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment”(Romans 13:1-2).
“So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:18-20).
The Organization of the Church
We believe that God has set up a clear structure in His Word on how He desires His Church to be organized and led. Christ wills that the church be led by a plurality of qualified men who shepherd the local church by leading, feeding, and overseeing the flock (1 Timothy 3:1-7; 5:17; Titus 1).
“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).
“So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:1-4).
“This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you—if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the change of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trust worthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:5-9; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 5:17).
We believe that there are to be qualified and designated servants (deacons) in the church who assist these shepherds in fulfilling their responsibilities (1 Timothy 3:8-13).
“And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, who we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:2-8).
We believe that all members should seek to exercise their spiritual gifts for the mutual benefit of all the church body and that they should submit to the loving and servant leadership of their elders (Hebrews 13:17). We believe that the congregation is responsible for searching out, examining, and affirming the qualifications of its leadership and that it is to hold those charged with the duty of leading and caring for it accountable so that they lead with integrity and discernment (Titus 1:5-9; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Acts 6:1-6).
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT ANGELS & DEMONS
We believe that spirit beings exist, are present in, and participate in the world today. We believe that angels are spirit beings, created by God to serve as His ministers (Job 38:4, 7; Hebrews 1:14; Psalm 104:4).
“Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14).
They are not to be worshipped (Revelation 19:10). Their strength, appearance, and travel are beyond human capabilities (2 Peter 2:11; 2 Thessalonians 1:7), they are immortal and do not marry (Luke 20:36; Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25), and their proper abode is in heaven (Jude 6).
We believe that there is one literal, personal Devil who is a spirit being and who led an angelic rebellion against God (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-19). He is the accuser of the brethren (Job 1, 2), the father of lies (John 8:44), and the “god” of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 6:11-12).
“How are you fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven’ above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit” (Isaiah 13:12-15).
Satan was defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 16:20). While it is in God’s plan to allow him to still operate, he will not ultimately succeed, but will be rendered inactive for the thousand years of the millennium (Revelation 20:1-10). Then after one final rebellion against Christ, he will be cast into the lake of fire to burn forever in torment (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).
“And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10).
We believe that those angels who followed Satan in his rebellion are referred to in Scripture as demons. They can inflict disease and pain, indwell humans and animals (Mark 5), oppose God’s children, promote immorality, and spread false doctrine (1 Timothy 4:1). They are under the sovereign control of God, and they will follow their leader to their doom which is sure (Matthew 8:29, 25:41).
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT THE FUTURE
We believe that at death there is no loss of our consciousness (Revelation 6:9-11), that the soul of the believer passes immediately into the wonderful presence of Christ (Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8), that the soul separates from its earthly body (Philippians 1:21-24), and that they remain separated until the first resurrection at the rapture of the Church (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; Revelation 20:4-6). It is at that time that the soul and the body of the believer will be reunited to be glorified with Christ (Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:35-44, 50-54).
“Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not preceed those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore, encourage one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men—the saved to eternal life (John 6:39; Romans 8:10-11, 19-23; 2 Corinthians 4:14), and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Daniel 12:2; John 5:29; Revelation 20:13-15).
We believe that the souls of the unsaved at death are kept under punishment until the second resurrection (Luke 16:19-26; Revelation 20:13-15), when the damned soul and the resurrected body will be united (John 5:28-29). The unsaved shall then appear at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) and shall be cast into the lake of fire to experience eternal torment (Matthew 25:41-46).
“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and the books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Romans 20:11-15).
We believe in the pre-millennial second coming of Jesus Christ, that His return from Heaven will be personal, visible and glorious (Matthew 13:41-43; Mark 13:33-37; Luke 1:32-33; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Revelation 6:1-18; 19:1; 20:6, 11-15; 21:1; 22:6, 20).
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:1-4).