Statement of Faith

 
PREAMBLE
The Bible is a library of 66 books and this statement of faith is an attempt to summarize and systematize the riches of divine revelation with regard to the major biblical doctrines. We recognize that only the word of God itself is infallible rather than any human interpreter of the word of God. So may these affirmations be embraced to the extent in which they conform to biblical truth and may they be rejected to the extent in which they fail to conform thereto.
 Colossians 2:8, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”
 
Jude 3, “…contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.”

 
1. THE BIBLE
A. We believe that the Bible (the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments) is the Word of God and that it (in its original manuscripts) was fully inspired (God-breathed) by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 22:43-44; Acts 4:25-26; 2 Tim. 3:16) and transmitted through human authors (1 Cor. 2:7-13; 14:37; 2 Pet. 1:19-21).
 
B. We believe that the Bible is inerrant, infallible, sufficient, and the final authority in all matters of doctrine and practice (Matt. 4:4; 5:18; 24:35; John 10:35; 16:12-13; 17:17; Acts 20:32; 1 Cor. 2:13; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; Heb. 4:12; James 1:21; 2 Pet. 1:2-4; 3:15-16).
 
C. We believe that the Bible is to be interpreted literally, using the grammatical-historical method of interpretation.
 
2. GOD: THE TRINITY
A. We believe that there is only one true and living God (Deut. 6:4; Isa. 45:7; Jer. 10:10), who is invisible (John 1:18; 4:24; Col. 1:15), eternal (Ps. 90:2; 1 Tim. 1:17), omnipresent (Ps. 139:7-12; Prov. 15:3), omnipotent (Exod. 6:3; Isa. 40:15, 28), omniscient (Ps. 139:1-6; Isa. 40:13-14), unchanging (Num. 23:19; Heb. 13:8; James 1:17), sovereign (1 Chron. 29:1-12; Ps. 115:3), holy (Lev. 11:44; Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8), righteous (Pss. 92:15; 145:17; John 17:25), gracious (Exod. 34:6; Eph. 2:4-7), loving (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; 1 John 4:8-10), patient (Exod. 34:6-7; Rom. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9), and good (Exod. 34:6; Ps. 107:1; Luke 18:19), and who is the creator (Gen. 1:1), sustainer (Ps. 104:27-28; Matt.5:45; 6:26-30; Col. 1:17), ruler (Ps. 103:19; Dan. 4:17, 25), and judge of heaven and earth (Gen. 18:25; Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:16).
 
B. We believe that the one true and living God exists in three eternally distinct persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, all of whom are united in purpose and equally divine, and thus worthy of obedience and worship (Matt. 3:16-17; 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14).
 
3. CREATION
We believe that God created the heavens and the earth from nothing (Gen. 1:1; John 1:3; 1 Cor.
8:6; Col. 1:16) in six days (Gen. 1:1-2:3; Exod. 20:11) and that the original creation was all very good (Gen. 1:31; 1 Tim. 4:4). Of all created things only man was created in God’s image and was given dominion over the earth (Gen. 1:26-30; Ps. 8:6-8).
 
4. PROVIDENCE
We believe that God orders and directs His universe in every detail (Prov. 16:9, 33; Isa. 46:9-11; Matt. 10:29; Eph. 1:11). Every event in nature and every human action is according to God’s sovereign purpose (Exod. 4:21; Prov. 21:1; Dan. 4:25, 35; Acts 4:27-28; Rom. 9:17-21) . In God’s infinite wisdom and power, all things work together for the good of His people and for His glory (Rom. 8:28; 11:33-36).
 
5. THE FALL
A. We believe that God made the first man, Adam, perfect and holy (Gen. 1:26-31; Eccl. 7:29), and appointed him as the head of the human race (Rom. 5:12-19; 1 Cor. 15:22). However, he fell from his original state of holiness when he disobeyed God’s command (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:1-24). By his sinful act, Adam brought the entire human race into a state of death and con-demnation, passing to each one a corrupt sinful nature (Gen. 6:5; Pss. 51:5; 58:3; Eccl. 7:20; Rom. 5:12, 18; 1 Cor. 15:22).
 
B. We believe that the fall brought every person into a state of total depravity (Gen. 6:5), meaning that every part of man is corrupted by sin. As a result, man’s body is subject to disease and death (Rom. 6:23), his heart is corrupted, (Jer. 17:9), his mind is darkened (Eph. 4:18), and his will is enslaved to sin (John 8:34). By nature then, fallen man is an enemy of God (Rom. 5:10; 8:6-8; Eph. 2:1-3).
 
 C. We believe that until sinful man is born again by the grace of God, he possesses neither the desire nor the ability to love God, keep His commands, repent of sin, or to follow Christ (Jer. 13:23; John 3:19-20; 6:44; Eph. 2:1-3; Rom. 8:6-8; 1 Cor. 2:14; 2 Cor. 4:4).
 
6. ANGELS
We believe that angels are created, personal, spirit beings that are immortal. There are holy and elect angels who serve and worship God, as well as evil demons who rebelled with Satan and now serve him (Ps. 148:2, 5; 1 Tim. 5:21; Matt. 25:41; Eph. 6:12; Heb. 1:14; Rev. 5:11-14).
 
7. THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST
A. We believe that God the Father sent His Son into the world to save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21). He was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20; Luke 1:35) and born of the virgin Mary (Matt. 1:23-25; Luke 1:27), thus He is fully God and fully man (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:19; 2:9; 1 Tim. 2:5; Titus 2:13). He was tempted in all things yet without sin (Heb. 4:15) and He lived a perfect life of righteousness in behalf of His people (Matt. 3:15; 2 Cor. 5:21).
 
B. We believe that having lived in perfect conformity to the will of God (Matt. 26:39), Jesus died upon the cross as the perfect sacrifice for sin (Col. 1:22; Heb. 10:10-14; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18), accomplishing eternal redemption for His people (Eph. 1:7; Heb. 9:12). After Jesus died, He was buried, but on the third day He rose bodily from the grave (1 Cor. 15:3-4). The resurrection of Christ affirms His deity and His work upon the cross, and assures believers of their future bodily resurrection (Rom. 1:4; 1 Cor. 15:12-58).
 
C. We believe that Jesus ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9-11) to appear in the presence of God to intercede forever in behalf of His people as their perpetual high priest (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:23-25; 1 John 2:1). He is the only mediator between God and men (1 Tim. 2:5) and is the only head of His church (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18).
 
8. THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
A. We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity and thus is equal to the Father and the Son in essence and purpose (Matt. 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; 2 Cor. 13:14).
 
B. We believe that the Holy Spirit’s ministries include being active in the creation of the world (Gen. 1:2), the incarnation of Christ (Matt. 1:18), the inspiration of Scripture (2 Pet. 1:20-21), and the work of salvation (John 3:5-7).
 
C. We believe that the Holy Spirit came forth from the Father and the Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:7-9). At the moment of regeneration, He also baptizes believers into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). 
 
D. We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer and is an abiding helper and guide (John 14:16, 17, 26; 15:26-27; 16:9-14; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; Gal. 5:22-26). Further, the Holy Spirit sovereignly bestows spiritual gifts to His people for the building up of the saints
(1 Cor. 12-14; Eph. 4:7-13; 1 Pet. 4:10-11), empowers them for evangelism (Acts 1:8), and seals them unto the day of redemption (Rom. 8:9-11; 2 Cor. 3:6; Eph. 1:13).
 
9. DIVINE ELECTION AND HUMAN RESPONSIBILITY
A. We believe that before the foundation of the world, God graciously and freely elected a great multitude of men and women to eternal life (John 6:37, 39; 17:2; Acts 13:48; Eph. 1:4-5). This election was in no way conditioned upon God’s foresight of human faith, decision, works, or merit (Eph. 2:8-9).
 
B. We believe that though God is sovereign in the work of salvation, all men remain responsible beings (Rom. 10:9-15). All sinners are commanded to repent and believe in Christ (Mark 1:15; Acts 16:31; 17:30), and will be accountable to God for their failure to do so (John 3:18; 5:40). 
 
C. We believe that no one but God can understand how divine sovereignty and human responsibility harmonize (Deut. 29:29). From our weak, finite, and sinful perspectives, they seem to contradict one another and the natural response is to reject one at the expense of the other. Notwithstanding the tension between divine election and human responsibility, both must be embraced because both are true (Rom. 11:33-36). 
 
10. CALLING AND REGENERATION
A. We believe that in order to accomplish God’s eternal redemptive purpose, the Holy Spirit effectively calls the elect through the gospel of Christ, regenerating them and drawing them irresistibly to repentance and saving faith (John 6:37, 44-45, 65; 10:16; Acts 2:39; Rom. 8:30;
1 Cor. 1:26-29; Heb. 9:15).
 
B. We believe that regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which He gives spiritual life to those who repent and believe in Christ (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5). Regeneration produces a new heart and a changed nature, resulting in a transformed life (1 Cor. 6:19-20;
2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:4-6, 10).
 
11. JUSTIFICATION
A. We believe that justification is a legal act of God by which He declares those who repent of sin and believe in Christ to be righteous in His sight (Rom. 5:1; 2 Cor. 5:21). 
 
B. We believe that the imputation of Christ’s righteousness is never the reward or result of human works or merit (Rom. 4:4-5; 10:1-4; Eph. 2:8-9), nor does it grow out of an infusion of Christ’s righteousness. Rather it is granted by faith alone in Christ alone (Rom. 1:16-17; 3:20-26; Gal. 2:16).
 
12. SANCTIFICATION
We believe that according to God’s purpose, those who are declared to be righteous in justification, will also be made righteous in their character by the power of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). This involves an ongoing, progressive death to sin and conformity to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 2:20). While sinless perfection will never be attained in this life, it is a certainty in heaven (1 John 3:2).
 
13. PERSEVERANCE
We believe that those who are truly saved will persevere in the faith and will never totally and finally fall away from the Lord (1 Pet. 1:3-5; Heb.3:14; 1 John 2:19). Perseverance is not the mere result of human effort, but is accomplished by God’s power within us which preserves us to the end (Phil. 1:6; 2:12-13; 1 Thess. 5:23-24; Jude 24). Thus those who truly come to Christ are eternally secure by His grace and are to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation (John 5:24; 10:27-29; Rom. 8:28-39).
 
14. THE CHURCH
A. We believe that the church is a single body of persons who have truly been converted to Christ and regenerated by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:12-13; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 4:3-6). Within the universal church of Christ are local churches which are made up of believers who are joined together for worship, mutual ministry, observance of baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and for the proclamation of the gospel (1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 11:28; Gal. 1:2b; 1 Thess. 1:1).
 
B. We believe that the supreme authority and only head of the church is Christ meaning that all believers are to submit to His lordship (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18). And though Christ shepherds and rules over His church as head, qualified elders (also called overseers and pastors) are appointed to lead as under shepherds in the local church (Acts 20:28; Eph. 4:11; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; 5:17-22; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 5:1-5; Heb. 13:7, 17). Qualified deacons are also appointed as ministers of mercy to assist the elders in serving the body as needed (Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:8-13).
 
C. We believe that discipleship is a priority in the local church (Matt. 28:19-20), which involves loving, mutual accountability of all believers to each other (Matt. 18:5-14), as well as the need for discipline of sinning members of the congregation in accord with the standards of Scripture (Matt. 18:15-22; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Cor. 5:1-13; 2 Thess. 3:6-15; 1 Tim. 1:19-20; Titus 1:10-16).
 
15. EVANGELISM
We believe that it is the calling of every believer to fulfill the great commission which is to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and to teach them to obey all that Christ has commanded (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:18-20; Rev. 5:9). It is a priority in evangelism to unite new believers with local churches (Acts 2:44-47; Eph. 4:14-16; Heb. 11:23-25).
 
16. CHRISTIAN CONDUCT
We believe that every Christian should live carefully in submission to the Lordship of Christ for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31; Titus 2:11-14). Christian conduct is to be marked by living separated from sin and unto Christ, including separation from all religious apostasy and worldly practices that dishonor God (2 Cor. 6:14:7:1; 1 John 2:15-17). The believer should live in joyful obedience to the Lord and never bring reproach against His holy name (John 14:15; 1 John 5:3; Rom. 2:24).
 
17. THE ORDINANCES
A. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has committed two ordinances to the church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism is the first act of Christian obedience, thus it is only for believers (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 2:38, 41; 9:18; 10:47-48; 16:14-15, 31-34; 18:8). The proper mode of baptism is by immersion in water (Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:10; John 3:23; Acts 8:36-39) into the name of the triune God, symbolizing both the believer’s union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection to new life, and his cleansing from sin (Acts 2:38; 19:3-5; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-6; Col. 2:11-14). 
 
B. We believe that the Lord’s Supper was instituted by Christ for regular observance by believers only who have examined themselves in order to commemorate His death (Luke 22:19-20; 1Cor. 11:24-32). Through the Lord’s Supper, believers affirm and celebrate their fellowship with Christ in the new covenant and their oneness together in His body (Matt. 26:27-28; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 10:16-17, 21).
 
18. THE RETURN OF CHRIST
A. We believe in the personal and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth (Acts 1:11; 3:19-21; 2 Tim. 4:1; Titus 2:13) in order to establish His kingdom which will come in two phases: the millennial kingdom during which time the Lord will restore and redeem the nation of Israel (Ps. 2; Dan. 2:44-45; Zech. 12:10; Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:28-30; Acts 1:6-7; Rom. 11:1-32; Rev. 20:1-6) and the new heavens and the new earth which will be the eternal state (2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 21:1-22:5). 
 
B. We believe in the resurrection of the body (1 Cor. 15:12-58; Phil. 3:20-21), the final judgment (Matt. 25:31-33; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:11-13), the eternal joy of the righteous (Rev. 21:4; 22:2-3) and the endless suffering of the wicked (Matt. 25:41, 46; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 20:10, 14-15).