Statement of Faith
The Holy Scriptures
This canon of sixty-six books is the highest and sole authority for the church in all areas of faith and practice and provide the church with all that she needs to bring men and women into a proper relationship with God and to live lives of godliness (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
God the Father
We believe that the first person of the trinity orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and grace (Ps. 145:8-9; Eph. 1:5, 9, 11). He is not a created being, but is the Creator of all things (Gen. 1:-31; Eph. 3:9; Heb. 2:10). He has sovereign control over all events (1 Chron. 29:11; Ps. 103:19; Rom. 11:36). In His sovereignty, He neither approves of nor promotes anything that is sinful (Hab. 1:13; John 8:38-47), nor does He abridge the accountability of His moral creatures (1 Pet. 1:17).
In His eternal plan of redemption, He has chosen to save those whom He would have as His own children (Eph. 1:4-6). He receives all who come to Him in repentance of sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, making them His own children (John 1:12; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5; Heb. 12:5-9).
God the Son
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man without ever ceasing to be God (John 1:1, 2, 14, 18; 5:17-18; 8:24, 58; 10:28-33; 14:9.
We believe that Jesus Christ is 100% God and 100% man (Is. 7:14; 9:6; Heb. 1:1-10).
We believe that Christ the Son is the Creator of all things (John 1:3; Col. 1:15-17; Heb. 1:2).
We believe that in His incarnation Christ never lost the attributes of deity, but willingly and temporarily laid aside the independent exercise of those divine prerogatives (John 5:19-22; Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 2:9). Therefore, because Christ is the eternal God, He is to be given the full worship that is due to God alone (Ps. 2:2; Matt. 2:11; 14:33; 28:9, 17; John 5:23; 9:38; 20:28; Rev. 19:10; 22:9).
We believe that Jesus was born by a supernatural act of the Holy Spirit who granted conception to the Virgin Mary (Is. 7:14; Matt. 1:23, 25; Lk. 1:26-35).
We believe that Jesus is the only man who ever lived without sin and that His death on the cross was the means by which God was making forgiveness of sin for mankind (John 10:15; Rom. 3:24-25; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19; 2:24; 3:18).
We believe that Jesus died for the sins, of mankind, that He was buried, and that He rose again on the third day, all in accordance with God’s prophesied plan of redemption (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
We believe that Jesus now sits at the right hand of God the Father, from which place He mediates between God and man as a heavenly High Priest (Matt. 28:6; Lk. 24:38-39; Acts 2:30-31; Rom. 4:25; 8:34; Heb. 7:24-25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1).
We believe that Jesus is going to return to this earth for the rapture of His church whom He will take to heaven until His visible return after the seven-year tribulation period (John 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:50-55; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 19:7-14).
God the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity–a divine person who convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgement (John 16:8-11).
We believe that He is the supernatural agent in regeneration who makes salvation a reality by giving life to those who believe (Titus 3:4-6).
We believe that He has the attributes of personhood such as intellect (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor. 2:10-13), emotions (Eph. 4:30) and will (1 Cor. 12:11).
We believe that He indwells each believer (John 14:16-17; Rom. 8:9, 11; 2 Cor. 13:5), seals each believer as belonging to God (Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30), and places (baptizes) each believer into the body of Christ (Lk. 3:16; 1 Cor. 12:13). When a Christian submits to God’s will and allows the Holy Spirit to control his thoughts, feelings, and attitudes, the Holy Spirit fills that believer, i.e., controls and guides him (Acts 6:3; Eph. 5:18).
We believe that it is a prime desire of the Holy Spirit to exalt Jesus Christ, the One who accomplished redemption for fallen man (John 15:26; 16:14-15).
We believe that it is the Spirit of God who brings men into conformity with Christ and His glory through the Word of God (John 17:17; 2 Cor. 13:17-18).
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the divine agent who, according to His sovereign will, grants spiritual gifts to each individual believer (1 Cor. 12:11).
We believe, therefore, that believers are not to seek gifts or try and generate gifts since they are gifts which are given according to His will.
We believe that these gifts are for the purpose of building up the body of Christ in spiritual maturity (1 Cor. 12:7; 14:26; Eph. 4:7-12).
We believe that the revelatory gifts of the apostolic age (1 Cor. 12:8-11) ceased with the completion of the New Testament, never to come upon the church again (1 Cor. 13:8-10; Eph. 4:11; Heb. 2:1-4). These temporary gifts which accomplished and accompanied the giving of God’s prophetic Word included the gifts of apostle, prophet, tongues, interpretation of tongues, the gift of miracles and healing, the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge.
The primary purpose of these temporary gifts was the giving and attesting to of the message of Jesus Christ as Messiah (1 Cor. 9:1; 14:22; 2 Cor. 12:12). Every believer possesses one or more of the non-revelatory edification gifts in a unique capacity. It is the responsibility of each believer to use these gifs for the edification of others (1 Pet. 4:10-11).
His created position
Man was created without sin in the image and likeness of God. God’s purpose for man was to bring glory to God and to enjoy a perfect relationship with Him (Is. 43:7).
His fall from grace
We believe that Adam’s sin of disobedience (Gen. 3) resulted in a state of alienation and separation from God. This condition consisted of an immediate spiritual death and eventually issued forth into a physical death. Adam’s sin has resulted in all men being sinners from the moment of conception when they come into being (Ps. 14:1-3; Rom. 3:9-18, 23; 5:10-12).
His current state of depravity
Man’s fall from grace leaves him in a spiritual state that is irreversible apart from the intervening grace of God. Man can do nothing to remove the curse into which he is born. All men are born sinners by nature and are also sinners by choice, thus demonstrating their fallen nature. The only man who has escaped this corrupt nature is Jesus Christ who came into the world through virgin birth, thus escaping the curse that is imputed through Adam.
We believe that salvation is entirely by the unmerited grace of God on the basis of the saving work of Jesus Christ (John 1:12; Eph. 1:7; 2:8-10; 1 Pet. 1:18-19).
Election: The ultimate cause of salvation
We believe in God’s election of men unto salvation (predestination) and that this election was a free choice made by God in eternity past without regard to any external conditions nor upon man’s merit (Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:4-11; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 2:10; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Pet. 1:1-2). We believe that God’s election does not contradict the doctrine of man’s personal responsibility to repent and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation (John 3:15-19). God’s predestination of men unto salvation grants them the ability to respond to the message of the Gospel which they could not do were it not for His will to draw them to Himself (John 6:37-40, 44; Acts 13:48; James 4:8). None whom God elects will fail to believe the Gospel.
We believe regeneration is that act by which the Holy Spirit of God gives life to souls which are spiritually dead (Titus 3;5). It is an instantaneous act accomplished by the free grace of God, but occurs only when a sinful men respond in repentance and faith to the truth of God’s saving message (John 5:24). The result of man’s response to God’s saving activity is spiritual birth from above (John 3:3-7). True regeneration shows itself through a changed life which manifests the fruit of new life (1 Cor. 6:19-20; Gal. 6:19-23; Eph. 2:10).
We believe that initial salvation is actually an act of justification whereby the condemned sinner is declared not guilty by a holy God (Rom. 8:33). That is, salvation occurs when a man is declared not guilty because he has believed in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ (Is. 55:6-7; Luke 13:3; Acts 2;38; 3:19; 11:18; Rom. 2:4; 2 Cor. 7:10). Thus, justification is not a process of becoming righteous, it is God’s declaration of innocence upon guilty men (Rom. 3:20; 4:5-6). Justification takes place only because Jesus Christ bore the condemnation of those whom he would save as a substitute sacrifice (1 Cor. 1:2, 30; 2 Cor. 5:21; Col. 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:24).
We believe that every believer is immediately sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy. In this sense, sanctification can be seen as a positional truth (Acts 20:32; 1 Cor. 1:2, 30; 6:11; Heb. 2:11; 3:1; 10:10, 14; 13:12). We also believe in the doctrine of progressive sanctification whereby every true believer enjoys a growing degree of personal holiness. This growing sanctification comes through personal obedience to the truth of God’s Word by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 17:17, 19; Rom. 6:1-22; 2 Cor. 3:18) A growing life of holiness is God’s will for every Christian (1 Thess. 4:3-4). Until we enjoy resurrection glory, every Christian will struggle with sinful temptations, yet God’s Spirit and God’s Word provides us with a perfect provision to live a holy life (Gal. 5:16-25; Eph. 4:22-24; 2 Pet. 1:3-4). Thus, when we do sin, it is only because of the lingering effects of a corrupted human nature and we bear full responsibility. According to the Bible, a life without sanctification is the evidence of a soul that has never experienced true regeneration (Matt. 7:15-23; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21).
We believe that the day will come for every believer, regardless of what age they have lived in, when they will be brought into perfect conformity with the moral image of Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:29-30; Phil. 3:20-21), and we call this final stage in the redemptive process glorification. In our glorified state we will have resurrection bodies that will never again be subject to sin, corruption, or moral decay (1 Cor. 15:42-44). Glorification for the church will occur at the moment of the rapture when the church receives resurrection and her formal judgement/reward (1 Cor. 15:50-58; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).
Because salvation is entirely based upon the unmerited grace and favor of God, we believe that every true believer is eternally saved and cannot lose his salvation (John 10:27-30). From the moment of faith, God’s people enter into a realm of life from which they can never again go back to spiritual death (John 5:24; 6:37-40; Rom. 8:1, 31-39; Eph. 4:30; Heb. 7:25; 13:5; Jude 24).
We believe that all who place their faith in Jesus Christ from the time of Pentecost (Acts 2) until the time of the rapture (1 Thess. 4:13-18) are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual body, the church (1 Cor. 12:12-13).
The nature of the church
We believe that the church is a unique spiritual organism designed by Christ, made up of all born-again believers in this present age, whether living or deceased (Eph. 2:11-3:6). The church is a spiritual body that is distinct from national Israel (1 Cor. 10:32) and is a NT “mystery” which was not revealed until this present age (Eph. 3:1-6; 5:32). We believe that this universal invisible church finds its visible manifestation through individual local churches which assemble together for corporate worship and edification (Acts 14:23, 27; 20:17; 1 Cor. 11:18-20; Gal. 1:2). It is God’s stated will that all believers be part of a local church (Heb. 10:25).
The head of the church
We Believe Jesus Christ is the supreme Head of the church (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18). Therefore, every aspect of ministry must be conducted according to His Word.
The leadership of the church
We believe that the local church is to be governed by the truth of God’s Word under the leadership of biblically qualified men (1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9). The Bible calls this one office of leadership by several different titles: elder, overseer (bishop), pastor-teacher (Acts 20:28; Eph. 4:11; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 5:1-5). These leaders are to lead the church in humility as servants of Jesus Christ. The Bible calls upon the church to submit to its own leaders (Heb. 13:7, 17). God has also provided the second church office of deacon. Deacons are biblically qualified men who have been recognized by the church as official servants and serve the church in various capacities under the direction of the pastors/elders. The main distinctions between an elder and a deacon are that an elder must be able to teach Scripture skillfully and that an elder is given the role of authority and leadership. A failure to meet the qualifications for either office requires resignation from the office.
The purpose of the church
We believe that the chief and ultimate purpose of the church is to glorify God (John 15:8; 1 Cor. 10:31; Eph. 3:21). We believe that the church glorifies God through four main areas and that all of the church’s ministry should fall within these four areas.
Worship of the Lord
We believe that one of the main purposes of the gathered assembly of God’s people is for corporate worship and prayer (Ps. 150:6; John 4:23-24; Acts 1:13-14; Eph. 5:19; Rom. 13:15; Rev. 4:8-11; 5:9-14; 19:10).
Edification of the body
A second way the church glorifies God is by edification through sound Bible teaching (John 17:17). It is God’s stated desire that each member be built up in the truth of God’s Word and grow in spiritual maturity (Eph. 4:11-16; 5:1; Col. 1;29; 1 Pet. 1:15-16).
Evangelism of the lost
A third way in which the church fulfills its purpose is through the evangelization of the unsaved. We believe that direct outreach to unbelievers is the first step of fulfilling the great commission to “make disciples” (Matt. 28:18-20). The church’s responsibility is to faithfully live out the truth of God’s Word and make the gospel known (1 Cor. 15:1-4) so that men might hear the truth and be saved.
Fellowship of the saints for mutual edification
We believe that an important part of Christian growth is quality Christian friendships and that fellowship with other believers is to be encouraged (Acts 2:46-47;
The ordinances of the church
We believe that there are two ordinances which Christ gave to His church. These are baptism by immersion for believers (Acts 8:36-39) and communion or the Lord’s table (Acts 2:38-42). We believe that baptism is a public declaration of an individual that he or she has placed faith in Jesus Christ. This outward act symbolizes the inward reality of the believer’s union with the crucified and resurrected Savior (Rom. 6:1-11). We do not believe in infant baptism or baptismal regeneration. Neither do we believe that any kind of grace is communicated through the Lord’s table. We believe that the Lord’s table is commemorative of the death of Christ. We do believe, however, that Christ does fellowship with His people during this time (1 Cor. 10:16). Therefore, this time should always be preceded by self-examination (1 Cor. 11:28-32).
The purity of the church
Because the church is part of Christ’s body, it is the responsibility of every believer to live a life of purity.
Purity from holy lives of those within the church
The first way the church maintains purity is when individual members strive against sin in their own lives. It is God’s explicit will that each member of the body strive to live a pure life (Rom. 6:15-22; 13:13-14; Gal. 5;13, 25-26; Titus 2:11-14).
Purity from worldly influences
The Bible also teaches that the church is to remain separate from worldly and sinful ways which lead to spiritual defilement (Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 7:1; Heb. 12:14; Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 2:15-16; 3:1-10; 3 John 11). This does not mean that Christians should not have friendships with unbelievers (1 Cor. 5:10), but that intimate or spiritual friendships should not be maintained with those who deny Christ either in word or in deed (Rom. 16:17; 1 Cor. 5:9-13; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14; Titus 3:10; 2 John 10-11).
We believe that angels are created spirits which are created by God to carry out His will. Being created beings angels are not to be worshipped (Col. 2:18; Rev. 19:10; 22:8-9).
Angels are created by God/Christ (Col. 1:16) to glorify Him and carry out His will. Much of their service consists of direct ministry to elect men who are destined to inherit God’s salvation (Heb. 1:6-7, 14; 2:6-7); Rev. 19:10; 22:9).
Their current status
At this time angels fall into one of two classes:
Holy angels – Holy angels, or elect angels (1 Tim. 5:21), are those angels which maintained their fidelity to God at the time of Satan’s rebellion and were confirmed in their state of holiness (Job 5:1; Ps. 89:5, 7). Angels are spiritual beings which cannot marry or procreate (Matt. 22:30).
Fallen angels – We believe that somewhere between the sixth day of creation (seen in Gen. 1-2) and Genesis 3 God’s most powerful and privileged angel fell into condemnation and became the demon we know as the devil and Satan (Is. 14:12-17; Ezek. 28:11-19).
We believe that Satan was able to lead one third of the angelic host with him in this rebellion against God (Rev. 12:4) and that all of these rebellious spirits are now known as demons or unclean spirits.
We believe that it was Satan who came and deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1-15) and that Satan and his demons are the avowed enemies of God (Is. 14:13-14; Matt. 4:1-11; Rev. 12:9-10).
We believe that every one of these demons will ultimately be tormented eternally in the lake of fire (Is. 14:12-17; Ezek. 28:11-19; Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10). In this present age demons are able to use strong powers of deception to lead men into error and sin (2 Cor. 4:4; 11:14).
God's Redemptive Dispensations
We believe that the Bible clearly teaches that God has worked and does still work in unique and distinct dispensations.
We believe that even though there are certain elements of continuity between the dispensations, there are nevertheless certain discontinuities as well.
The era before Christ’s incarnation
In a broad sense, the era commonly known as the Old Testament era extended from Adam unto the birth of Christ. We believe that even though God gave special legislation through Moses under which the people had to live, they were still saved by grace through faith just as saints today.
The era after Christ’s incarnation
The birth of Christ ushered in what is known as the “last days” or “messianic days” (Heb. 1:1-3). As seen in Acts 2, the birth of the church began with the coming of the Holy Spirit upon believers in the risen Christ on the day of Pentecost. This church age will continue until the rapture of the church (1 Thess. 4:13-18) at which point the church (Christ’s bride) is taken to heaven for the wedding of the Lamb (Rev. 19:6-10). The second coming of Christ will bring in the end of this present age and usher in the new age of Christ’s kingdom.
We believe that death was not a part of God’s original creation which God called “very good” in Genesis 1:31. Death did not enter the creation until Adam sinned (Rom. 5:12-17-19). Thus, before sin entered the world through Adam’s transgression (Gen. 3), there was no sin and consequently no death.
We also believe that this one concept clearly refutes any sort of evolutionary philosophy which would require any kind of death before the existence of man. Death can be viewed from several perspectives:
Adam brought immediate spiritual death upon himself (separation from God) and all men through sin with the result that men are born into a state of spiritual death (Eph. 2:1-5; Titus 3:5).
When a man suffers physical death the immaterial aspect of his personhood is temporarily separated from his body.
When the final judgement comes as depicted in Revelation 20:11-15, the unsaved of all ages will be given resurrection bodies and judged, being cast into the Lake of Fire. This final bodily judgement of the wicked is called “the second death” (Rev. 20:14). Ultimately, the reason for all death is sin itself (Rom. 6:23).
For the believer, physical death results in the soul being in the immediate presence of God (2 Cor. 5:8). We reject the concept of “soul sleep,” for the Bible indicates that God’s people are blessed in this state (Phil. 1:21-23). The Bible also calls heaven by the expressions “Abraham’s bosom” (Lk. 16:22), “the third heaven” (2 Cor. 12:2), and “paradise” (2 Cor. 12:4). As Jesus Himself indicated, death ushers the believer into the immediate and conscious presence of God (Lk. 23:43).
The souls of the unsaved go immediately into a place of torment (Lk. 16:19-26), in which disembodied state they await a final bodily judgement (Rev. 20:11-15). This final judgement will involve excruciating unbroken agony which goes on forever and ever (Matt. 25:41, 46; Rev. 14:9-11; 20:10; 21:8; 22:15). The Lake of Fire is the final destiny for all wicked, both men and demons (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).
The Rapture of the church
We believe that the first aspect of the second coming of Jesus Christ will be the rapture of His church (1 Cor. 15:50-58; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 2 Thess. 2:1). In a moment of time every believer of the church age will meet Christ in the air and be given a resurrection body in which they will live forever.
We believe that this rapture phase of the “first resurrection” (cf. 1 Cor. 15:22; Rev. 20:4-5) begins before the beginning of the seven-year tribulation period and day of the Lord (1 Thess. 5:1ff.; 2 Thess. 2:1ff.).
We believe that at the time of resurrection all saints receive their eternal rewards and that these rewards are in accordance with their faithfulness during life (1 Cor. 3:12-15; 4:5 2 Cor. 5:10). A lack of faithfulness results in a loss of eternal reward.
We believe that this reward involves an eternal capacity to radiate God’s own glory and thus glorify Him (Dan. 12:3; Matt. 13:43; Rev. 21:9-11ff., 23; 22:5).
The tribulation period
The seven-year tribulation period cannot begin until the initiation of the covenant spoken of in Daniel 9:27. This covenant is arranged by the Antichrist and is executed immediately after the rapture occurs (2 Thess. 2:1-9). That seven-year period is known as “the final period of indignation” (Dan. 8:19; cf. Dan. 11:36) and will be one of great judgment upon the whole earth (cf. Rev. 6-19). The entire period will be one of extreme distress (Dan. 12:1) as God’s wrath is poured out upon the earth (Rev. 6:17). The persecution will be particularly intense upon the nation of Israel during the last half of that period (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 7:21, 25; 12:7; Matt. 24:21).
The second coming of Christ
We believe in a literal, bodily return of Jesus Christ which occurs at the end of that seven-year tribulation period (Rev. 19:11-21). His return will be visible to the entire world (Rev. 1:7), yet will actually occur in the land of Palestine (Zech. 14:4; cf. Is. 63:1-6). At that time Christ will destroy all who oppose Him:
The Anti-christ and false prophet are cast directly into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:20).
All other unbelievers are either killed (Rev. 19:21) or immediately removed through angelic ministry and cast into temporal judgement (Matt. 13:39-42, 49-50; 24:37-41; 25:32).
The millennial kingdom
We believe in a literal kingdom that God will bring to this earth in fulfillment of all His promises to Israel (Gen. 17:6; 49:10; 2 Sam. 7:12-16).
We believe that His Son Jesus will reign on David’s throne in this kingdom (Ps. 2:4-9; 22:22-31; 89; 110; 132; Is. 2:1-4; 4; 9:6-7; Ezek. 34:23-24; 37:24-28).
We believe that this kingdom exists on the present earth for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:1-6) and that it will include a multitude of mortal believers who enter the kingdom to repopulate the earth (Is. 65:21; Matt. 25:34).
The judgement of the lost
We believe that the end of this kingdom age will come with one final rebellion by those who were born during that age but did not come to Christ in repentance and faith (Rev. 20:7-9). At that time God will destroy the physical universe and execute His final judgement as the climactic aspect of the day of the Lord which began with the tribulation period (2 Pet. 3:10-12; Rev. 20:11-15). At this point God will totally abolish all remaining effects of the curse, even death itself (1 Cor. 15:26; Rev. 20:14).
The eternal state
We believe that Christ’s rule and kingdom are eternal and that the end of His millennial reign on the present earth simply issues forth into an eternal rule which comes in the new creation (Rev. 21-22). This long-anticipated eternal state will be free from the curse of sin and death (Rev. 21:3-4; 22:3) and will result in the saints of all ages dwelling in the immediate presence of God Himself forever and ever (Rev. 7:15-17; 21:3, 9-10, 22; 22:3, 14).