beliefs & doctrine
What we teach...
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1. THE HOLY SCRIPTURES - God’s Written Revelation to Man – Prolegomena and Bibliology
The Bible is God’s written revelation to man, and thus the 66 books of the Bible given to us by the Holy Spirit (inspired equally in all parts) constitutes the Word of God. It is an objective, propositional revelation verbally inspired in every word absolutely inerrant in the original documents, infallible, and God-breathed. We believe in the literal, interpretation of Scripture, which affirms the belief that the opening chapters of Genesis present creation in six literal days. We believe that the Bible constitutes the only infallible rule of faith and practice. We believe the Holy Spirit inspired and directed the human authors that, through their individual personalities and different styles of writing, they composed and recorded God’s Word to man without error in the whole or in the part. We believe that, whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation. The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently studies under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. It is the responsibility of believers to ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture, recognizing that proper application is binding on all generations. Yet the truth of Scripture stands in judgment of men; never do men stand in judgment of it.
Matthew 24:35; John 17:17; 1 Corinthians 2:7-14; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21;
2. GOD - One True God - Theology Proper
There is but one living and true God, an infinite, all-knowing Spirit, perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit each equally deserving worship and obedience.
Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5-7 & 11-12; Matthew 28:19;
John 4:24; 2 Corinthians 13:14;
God the Father - Who has Sovereignty over All Things on Earth and in Heaven
We believe that God the Father, the first Person of the Trinity, orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and grace. He is the Creator of all things. As the only absolute and omnipotent Ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption. Because God is sovereign and His will can never be frustrated, we can be sure that nothing happens over which He is not in control. He at least must permit whatever happens to happen. Yet even when God passively permits things to happen, He chooses to permit them in that He always has the power and right to intervene and prevent the actions and events of this world. Insofar as He lets things happen, He has “willed” them in this sense. As Creator He is Father to all men, but He is spiritual Father only to believers. He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass. He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events. In His sovereignty He is neither the author nor approver of sin, nor does He excuse the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures. He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own; He saves from sin all who come to Him through Jesus Christ; He adopts as His own all those who come to Him; and upon adoption, He becomes Father to His own.
Psalm 71:16; Psalm 145:8-9; Isaiah 25:8; Jeremiah 32:17; Matthew 10:29-30; Romans 8:14-15; Romans 11:33-36;
Ephesians 1:11; Ephesians 1:4-6; Ephesians 4:6; Hebrews 12:5-9;
God the Son - The Lamb of God Who Takes Away the Sins of the World - Christology
Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, possesses all the divine excellencies, and in these He is coequal and coeternal with the Father. God the Father created according to His own will, through His Son, Jesus Christ, by whom all things continue in existence and in operation. Our Lord Jesus Christ was virgin born; that He was God incarnate; and that the purpose of the incarnation was to reveal God, redeem men, and rule over God’s kingdom. We believe that Jesus laid aside His right to the full prerogatives of coexistence with God and took on a human existence as a servant while never divesting Himself of His divine attributes. Our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross and that His death was voluntary, substitutionary, and redemptive. We believe that by the predestined bodily death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the believing sinner is freed from the punishment, the penalty, the power, and one day the very presence of sin; and that he is declared righteous, given eternal life, and adopted into the family of God. We believe that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead and that He is now ascended to the right hand of the Father, where He now mediates as our Advocate and High Priest. We believe that in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave, God confirmed the deity of His Son and gave proof that God has accepted the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Jesus’ bodily resurrection is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all believers. Jesus Christ will return to receive the church, which is His Body, unto Himself at the rapture, and returning with His church in glory, will establish His millennial kingdom on earth. As the Mediator between God and man, the Head of His Body the church, and the coming universal King, who will reign on the throne of David, He is the final Judge of all who fail to place their trust in Him as Lord and Savior.
Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22-25; John 8:56-58; John 10:30; John 14:9; Romans 3:22-26; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 1:15-17; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:2; 1 Peter 2:24-25;
God the Holy Spirit - God’s Spirit of Truth.
Comforter, Counselor, Helper - Pneumatology
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, eternal, underived, possessing all the attributes of personality and deity, including intellect, emotions, will, eternality, omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, and truthfulness. In all the divine attributes He is coequal with the Father and the Son. We that believe it is the work of the Holy Spirit to execute the divine will with relation to all mankind. We recognize His sovereign activity in creation, the incarnation, the written revelation, and the work of salvation. The work of the Holy Spirit in this age began at Pentecost, when He came from the Father as promised by Christ to initiate and complete the building of the Body of Christ, which is His church. The broad scope of His divine activity includes convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ and transforming believers into the image of Christ.
The Holy Spirit is the supernatural and sovereign Agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption. The Holy Spirit is the divine Teacher, who guided the apostles and prophets into all truth as they committed to writing God’s revelation, the Bible. Every believer possesses the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation, and it is the duty of all those born of the Spirit to be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit. The Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts to the church (the Body of Christ). The Holy Spirit glorifies neither Himself nor His gifts by ostentatious displays, but He does glorify Christ by implementing His work of redeeming the lost and building up believers in the most holy faith.
Psalm 139:7-10; John 14:16-17; John 15:26; Romans 8:26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12; 1 Corinthians 12:11; Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 10:15-17;
3. MAN - Created in God’s Image - Anthropology and Hamartiology
We believe that man was directly and immediately created by God in His image and likeness. Man was created free of sin with a rational nature, intelligence, volition, self-determination, and moral responsibility to God. We believe that God’s intention in the creation of man was that man should glorify God, enjoy God’s fellowship, live his life in the will of God, and by this accomplish God’s purpose for man in the world. In Adam’s sin of disobedience to the revealed will and Word of God, man lost his innocence, 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. With no recuperative powers to enable him to recover himself, man is hopelessly lost. Man’s salvation is thereby wholly of God’s grace through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because all men were in Adam, a nature corrupted by Adam’s sin has been transmitted to all men of all ages, Jesus Christ being the only exception. All men are thus sinners by nature, by choice, and by divine declaration.
Genesis 2:7; Genesis 2:15-25; Isaiah 43:7; John 3:36; Romans 5: 9-12; 1 Corinthians 2:14; James 3:9;
4. SALVATION - The Application of Redemption - Soteriology
Common Grace - Deliverance from Sin
We believe that 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; Ephesians 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:18-19;
Election - God’s Sovereign Choice
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. Sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord. 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. The unmerited favor that God grants to totally depraved sinners is not related to any initiative of their own part or to God’s anticipation of what they might do by their own will, but is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy. 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. 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.
Romans 8:28-30; Romans 9:8-24; Ephesians 1:4-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2;
Regeneration - Being Born Again
Regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given. It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God 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 are the proper evidence and fruit of regeneration, 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. This obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ. Such a conformity is climaxed in the believer’s glorification at Christ’s coming.
John 3:3-8; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 5:17-21; Colossians 3:12-17; Titus 3:5; 2 Peter 1:4-11;
Justification- Being Made Right
We believe that justification before God is an act of God by which He declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ, repent of their sins and confess Him as sovereign Lord. This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man and involves the imputation of our sins to Christ and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us. By this means God is enabled to be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Romans 2:4; Romans 3:20; Romans 8:30-33; 1 Peter 2:24;
Sanctification - Growth in Holy Living
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. 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. In this respect, we believe 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 all sin is not possible, but the Holy Spirit does provide for earthly and consistent victory over sin.
Acts 20:32; Romans 6:1-22; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 10:10; Hebrews 10:14; 1 Peter 1:2;
Perseverance of the Saints - Remaining a Christian
We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever. 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 thought or sinful living. It should be understood that it is the duty of all believers to work out their faith with all diligence and humility to this end to provide satisfaction of ones assurance of salvation. Only God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart of a person, but any turning away from the faith should be attributed to a lack of faith in the first place.
John 5:24; John 6:37-40; John 10:27-30; Romans 5:9-10; Romans 8:31-39; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 13:5;
Separation - Set Apart for God
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. 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 believe that separation from all religious apostasy, worldly and sinful practices is commanded of us by God. Believers should be separated unto our Lord Jesus Christ and affirm that the Christian life is a life of obedient righteousness that reflects the teaching of the Beatitudes, all scripture and a continual pursuit of holiness.
Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 6: 16-18; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 1 John 2:15-17;
Propitiation - God is Satisfied
Paul speaks of Christ Jesus “whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” Paul then explains why God put forward Jesus as a “propitiation” (that is, a sacrifice that bears the wrath of God against sin and thereby turns God’s wrath into favor). “To make propitiation” - “a sacrifice of propitiation” used in the Scriptures have the meaning of a sacrifice that turns away the wrath of God and thereby makes God propitious (or favorable) toward us. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. God had not simply forgiven sin and forgotten about the punishment in generations past. He had forgiven sins and stored up his righteous anger against those sins. But at the cross the fury of all that stored up wrath against sin was unleashed against God’s own Son. It is important to insist on this fact, because it is the heart of the doctrine of the atonement. It means that there is an eternal, unchangeable requirement in the holiness and justice of God that sin be paid for. Furthermore, before the atonement ever could have an effect on our subjective consciousness, it first had an effect on God and his relation to the sinners he planned to redeem. Apart from this central truth, the death of Christ really cannot be adequately understood.
Romans 3:25; Romans 5:11; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10;
Redemption - Purchased from Sin
Because we as sinners are in bondage to sin and to Satan, we need someone to provide redemption and thereby “redeem” us out of that bondage. When we speak of redemption, the idea of “ransom” comes into view. A ransom is the price paid to redeem someone for bondage or captivity. Though we were in bondage to sin and to Satan, there was no “ransom” paid either to “sin” or to Satan himself, for they did not have the power to demand such a payment. It was God’s Holiness who was offended by sin and required a penalty to be paid for sin. The penalty for sin was paid by Christ and received and accepted by God the Father. As for deliverance from bondage to sin, Paul says, “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus…For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under the law but under “Grace.”
John 1:29; 1 Timothy 4:10; Titus 2:11; 2 Peter 3:9;
Repentance - Walking a New Direction
No one who refuses to repent can ever enter the kingdom of God. Repentance is a prerequisite, a necessary condition for salvation. In Scripture, repentance means to undergo a change of one’s mind. This change of mind is not a mere switching of minor opinions, but of the entire direction of one’s life. It involves a radical turning from sin and to Christ. Repentance is not the cause of new birth or regeneration; it is the result or fruit of regeneration. Though repentance begins with regeneration, it is an attitude and action that must be repeated throughout the Christian life. As we continue to sin, we are called upon to repent as we are convicted of our sin by the Holy Spirit.
Jeremiah 31:18-19; Mark 1:15; John 1:12; John 5:24; Acts 5:31; Acts 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25;
5. THE CHURCH - The Body of Christ - Ecclesiology
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, the bride of Christ, of which Christ is the Head. The formation of the church, the Body of Christ, began on the Day of Pentecost and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own at the rapture. The church is thus a unique spiritual organism designed by Christ, made up of all born-again believers in this present age. The church is distinct from Israel due to the inclusion of the gentiles as heirs with Israel who share together in the promise in Christ Jesus. The establishment and continuity of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures and that the members of the one spiritual Body are directed to associate themselves together in local assemblies. The one supreme authority for the church is Christ and that church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed through His sovereignty as found in the Scriptures.
Leaders - Elders, Pastors, Deacons and Teachers
The biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the assembly are elders (also called pastors) and deacons, all of whom must meet biblical qualifications. We believe that these leaders lead or rule as servants of Christ and have His authority in directing the church.
1 Timothy 3:1-10; 1 Timothy 5: 17-22; Acts 20:28-30; 2 Timothy 4:3-5; 2 Peter 2:1;
Purpose and Function - Why and how we work together
We believe the importance of discipleship, mutual accountability of all believers to each other, as well as the need for discipline of sinning members of the congregation in accord with the standards of Scripture. We believe in the autonomy of the local church, 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. We believe that 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. The purpose of the church is to glorify God by building itself up in the faith, by instruction of the Word, by fellowship, by keeping the ordinances and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world. We believe in the calling of all saints to the work of service. We believe the need of the church to cooperate with God as He accomplishes His purpose in the world. To that end, He gives the church spiritual gifts. He gives men chosen for the purpose of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry, and He also gives unique and special spiritual abilities to each member of the Body of Christ.
Gifts were given in the apostolic era for the purpose of confirming the authenticity of the apostles’ message. Scripture now becomes the sole test of the authenticity of a man’s message, and confirming gifts of a miraculous nature are no longer necessary to validate a man or his message. Miraculous gifts can even be counterfeited by Satan so as to deceive even believers. The only gifts in operation today are those equipping gifts given for edification of the church. God does hear and answer the prayer of faith and will answer in accordance with His own perfect will for the sick, suffering, and afflicted.
Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; 1 Corinthians 13:8-13; 2 Corinthians 11:2; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Ephesians 1:22; Ephesians 4:11-16; Ephesians 5:23-32; Colossians 1:18; Revelation 19:7-8;
The Sacraments - Baptism and Holy Communion
Two ordinances have been committed to the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Christian baptism 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. It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible Body of Christ.
The Lord’s Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes, and should be always preceded by solemn self-examination. We also believe 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.
Acts 2:38-39, 42; 1 Corinthians 11:28-32;
6. ANGELS - Angelology
Angels are created beings and are therefore not to be worshiped. Although they are a higher order of creation than man, they are created to serve God and to worship Him.
Luke 2:9-14; Hebrews 1:6-7; Hebrews 1:14; Revelation 5:11-14;
Satan is a created angel and the author of sin. He incurred the judgment of God by rebelling against his Creator by taking numerous angels with him in his fall, and by introducing sin into the human race by his temptation of Eve. Satan is the open and declared enemy of God and man. He is the prince of this world, who has been defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and shall be eternally punished in the lake of fire.
Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:7-12;
7. The Future - Eschatology
Physical death involves no loss of our immaterial consciousness, that the soul of the redeemed passes immediately into the presence of Christ, that there is a separation of soul and body, and that, for the redeemed, such separation will continue until the rapture which initiates the first resurrection, when our soul and body will be reunited to be glorified forever with our Lord. Until that time, the souls of the redeemed in Christ remain in joyful fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment.
The souls of the unsaved at death are kept under punishment until the second resurrection, when the soul and the resurrection body will be united. They shall then appear at the Great White Throne Judgment and shall be cast into hell, the lake of fire, cut off from the life of God forever.
Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; James 2:26; Revelation 6:9-11;
The Rapture of the Church - Pretribulational Premillennialism
We believe in the personal, bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ before the seven-year to translate His church from this earth and, between this event and His glorious return with His saints, to reward believers according to their works.
John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Revelation 3:10;
The Tribulation Period - Between the Rapture of the Church and the Millennium
Immediately following the removal of the church from the earth the righteous judgments of God will be poured out upon an unbelieving world, and these judgments will be climaxed by the return of Christ in glory to the earth. At that time the Old Testament and tribulation saints will be raised and the living will be judged.
2 Thessalonians 2:7-12; Revelation 16;
The Second Coming and the Millennial Reign
After the tribulation period, Christ will come to earth to occupy the throne of David and establish His messianic kingdom for 1,000 years on the earth. During this time the resurrected saints will reign with Him over Israel and all the nations of the earth. This reign will be preceded by the overthrow of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and by the removal of Satan from the world. The kingdom itself will be the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel to restore them to the land that they forfeited through their disobedience. The result of their disobedience was that Israel was temporarily set aside, but will again be awakened through repentance to enter into the land of blessing. We believe that this time of our Lord’s reign will be characterized by harmony, justice, peace, righteousness, and long life, and will be brought to an end with the release of Satan.
Matthew 25:31; Acts 1:10-11; Acts 2:29-30; Revelation 19:11-16; Revelation 20:1-7;
The Judgment of the Lost
Following the release of Satan after the 1,000-year reign of Christ, Satan will deceive the nations of the earth and gather them to battle against the saints and the beloved city, at which time Satan and his army will be devoured by fire from heaven. Following this, Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, whereupon Christ, who is the Judge of all men, will resurrect and judge the great and small at the Great White Throne Judgment. This resurrection of the unsaved dead to judgment will be a physical resurrection, whereupon receiving their judgment they will be committed to an eternal conscious punishment in the lake of fire.
Matthew 25:41; John 5:22; Revelation 20:7-15;
After the closing of the millennium, the temporary release of Satan, and the judgment of, the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God, after which the elements of this earth are to be dissolved and replaced with a new earth, wherein only righteousness dwells. Following this, the heavenly city will come down out of heaven and will be the dwelling place of the saints, where they will enjoy forever fellowship with God and one another. Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father, that in all spheres the triune God may reign forever and ever.
2 Thessalonians 1:9; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 21;
Approved by the Board of Elders 11-10-08