Beliefs

Purpose - The following articles are not meant to be a full and complete doctrinal statements. Rather, they declare essential truths on which we need to agree and be united. There are other issues such as the relationship between man's responsibility and God's sovereignty, the timing of the second coming of Jesus Christ, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit that are interpreted in a variety of ways and we choose to show liberty in these matters.

Bible - We believe that the Bible, the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, is God's inspired and inerrant Word. It tells us how to know God in a personal way, how to live a life pleasing to Him, and how to treat our fellow man. The Bible is our final authority in all matters relating to what we believe and how we are to live, both in the church and in our personal lives (John 17:17; II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:20-21).

God - We believe there is but one living and true God who has revealed Himself in three persons (The Trinity): The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He is perfect in all His attributes which include His being holy, loving, just, all powerful, all wise, omnipresent and unchanging. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience (Genesis 1:26-27, 18:25; Exodus 3:14; Leviticus 19:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; Daniel 2:20-23; Malachi 3:6; Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19; Luke 1:37; John 8:58, 10:22-30, 14:15-21; II Corinthians 13:14; Hebrews 13:8; I John 4:8; Revelation 1:8, 21:6, 22:13).

God the Father, the first person of the Trinity, is the source of all good and perfect things and the sender of the Son. He draws near all who come to Him through Jesus Christ and relates Himself to them as their Heavenly Father (John 14:6, 20:21; I Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; James 1:17; I John 4:10).

God the Son, the second person of the Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ, eternally existed with the Father. Jesus is fully God, but also became fully man in the incarnation. At the Father's appointed time, He sent Christ Jesus to be born of a virgin, both to reveal the Father and to save mankind from sin. Living a sinless life, Jesus perfectly revealed the love of God through His miraculous ministry. He died on a cross as a perfect and complete sacrifice, making atonement for the sins of the world, was buried and rose bodily from the grave, and, prior to His return to the Father, appeared to as many as 500 people over a period of 40 days. Jesus, presently at the right hand of the Father, intercedes on our behalf for our unity, joy, and perseverance (Isaiah 7:14, 53:1-12; Matthew 1:18-21, 11:27; Luke 1:26-37; John 1:12, 14, 8:58, 17:1-26, 20:24-31; Acts 1:9-11, 7:55-56; Romans 5:8; I Corinthians 15:3-8; II Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 4:4-5; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 4:15, 10:12; I Peter 2:22-24, 3:18).

God the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, was involved in creation, the birth of Christ and the inspiration of the Bible. At Pentecost, He was sent from the Father and the Son to bring glory to Christ and to make Him known. Today, the Holy Spirit convinces the world of its sin and of God's righteousness and for the coming judgment, drawing them to salvation through Jesus Christ. Additionally, He indwells the believer at salvation, baptizing them into the Body of Christ. He becomes our helper, teacher, intercessor, and empowers us to be witnesses for Christ. He bestows spiritual gifts and produces Christian character in the lives of believers so that Christ is glorified through them (Genesis 1:2; Matthew 28:18-20; John 14:26, 15:26, 16:7-15; Acts 1:8, 2:1-4; Romans 8:26-27; I Corinthians 3:16, 12:13; II Corinthians 5:5; II Peter 1:20-21).

Creation – We believe the Genesis account of the creation of the world as a literal, historical account of the direct creative acts of the Trinity who created ex nihilo (out of nothing) the heavens and the earth and all life, each after its own kind, and is actively involved in its existence (Genesis 1:1-2:25; John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:3, 11:3

Man – We believe that mankind (male and female) was created in the image of God in order to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. In the beginning, man was innocent of sin and in fellowship and communication with God. Sin entered the world when Adam chose to disobey God, suffering the penalty of broken fellowship and resulting in sin and death passing to all mankind. Thus, all mankind by nature and by choice are sinners and unable of their own selves to reestablish fellowship with God (Genesis 1:26-30, 2:7, 2:15-23, 3:1-24; Isaiah 43:7; Romans 3:10-12, 5:8-19, 6:23).

Salvation – We believe that salvation is a gift wholly of God given by grace as He draws people to repentance and personal faith in His only Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus willingly paid the price for our sins, once for all, through His shed blood and death on Calvary's cross. Every individual needs to experience a personal conversion in order to establish a relationship with God and receive forgiveness of sins, and eternal life (John 1:12, 3:16; Romans 10:9-10, 8:30; Ephesians 1:7, 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; I Peter 1:18-19).

Justification is the act of God in declaring righteous all who believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection for sin, making us alive in Christ (Romans 3:21-26, 4:4-5; I Corinthians 15:3-4; Ephesians 2:1-6).

Sanctification is the on-going work of God the Holy Spirit in the believer who, having been "set apart" (sanctified) through faith in Christ, gradually is transformed into the image of Christ (John 17:17, 19; Acts 20:32; II Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 4:22-24; I Thessalonians 4:3-4, 5:23).

Preservation is the working of God, keeping all true believers in Jesus Christ secure in their eternal salvation. This is not a license to sin, but the assurance of our salvation sealed by the Holy Spirit (John 5:24, 6:37-40, 10:27-30; Romans 6:15-22, 8:1, 31-39; Ephesians 1:13-14; I Peter 1:5; I John 5:11-13; Jude 24).

Glorification is the final perfecting by God of the redeemed, and will be completed in Heaven, where there will be no sin, pain, or tears
(1 Corinthians 1:8; Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 2:10; Revelation 21:1-4).

Church – We believe that Jesus Christ is the head of the living spiritual body called "The Church". We believe that the local church is a body of baptized believers who have made a covenant to serve and worship God together, obey His teachings, observe the two ordinances (baptism and the Lord's Supper), and share the good news of the gospel with all the world. Each church is a totally autonomous body, led by pastors and elders. The New Testament teaches that the pastoral oversight of the local church be shared by a plurality of Elders. The body of Elders is the official oversight body of the church, being made overseers of the flock by the Holy Spirit. The twofold task of the church is to evangelize the unbeliever, and to strengthen the believer, thus bringing glory to God (Matthew 16:18; Acts 14:23, 20:17, 28; Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18; Titus 1:5).

Baptism – We believe that the Bible teaches that Christian baptism is the immersion of the believer in water, which is a public testimony of the believer's new life in Christ through his or her identification with the Lord's death, burial, and resurrection. It is expected that Christians take this step of obedience unless prevented by extenuating circumstances (Luke 23:43; Acts 2:41, 18:8; Romans 6:3-5).

Lord's Supper – We believe that the Lord's Supper was foreshadowed by thousands of years by the Passover, through which God painted a picture to the Jews of the coming Messiah's sacrificial death. The Lord's Supper was instituted by Christ to commemorate His death. The elements of communion are symbolic of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and serve to remind us of the sacrifice He made and to proclaim the hope of salvation that comes from this sacrifice. We are reminded to enter into the Lord's Supper only after careful examination of the condition of our heart (Matthew 26:26-29; Luke 22:15-20; I Corinthians 11:23-29).

Culture – We believe that God established civil government. Thus, we are to submit to the civil authorities unless they direct us to disobey God's Word. We believe in a free church, unfettered by governmental intrusion, and in the right of Christians to be involved in the political arena. However, the primary responsibilities of every Christian are to demonstrate the love of God to those in his or her sphere of influence and to act as a preservation force for moral and spiritual values in society (Esther 4:16; Daniel 3:12-18, 6:10; Matthew 2:12; Acts 5:29; Romans 13:1-7; Colossians 3:23; Titus 3:1-2; Hebrews 11:23).

Marriage – We believe that God established marriage to be the union of an individual man and an individual woman. Marriage is a reflection of the union of Christ and the Church (Genesis 2:22-25; Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:22-23).

Future Things – We believe in the personal, imminent, and visible return of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that this "Blessed Hope" has a vital bearing on the personal life and service of the believer. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead: the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in Heaven; the unbeliever to judgment and eternal conscious punishment in Hell (Acts 1:11; I Corinthians 15:12-28; I Thessalonians 4:13-5:11; II Thessalonians 1:5-12; Titus 2:11-13; I John 3:2-3; Revelation 20:1-6, 11-15).