We believe that God has spoken in the sixty-six books of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments (hereinafter referred to as "Bible" or "Scripture"), through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged.
We believe that although God may give individual believers guidance in various ways, we reject the teaching that implies that individuals can receive "words from God" that have the same authority as Scripture. Therefore, the Bible alone is to be believed in all that it teaches; obeyed in all that it requires; and trusted in all that it promises (Psalm 19:7–11; Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; 2 Peter 1:20–21).
We believe in one God, who directly and immediately created all things, and who is holy and infinitely perfect; in whom all things have their source, support, and end. He exists eternally in a loving tri-unity (trinity) of three equally divine Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:18–20; Acts 5:3–4; Hebrews 1:1-3, 8).
Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity past to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory. Since He is not limited in knowledge or power by any external forces or the will of His creatures, what He purposes will come to pass. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. (Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 32:3–4; John 17:3; Acts 17:28; Ephesians 1:3–5; 3:7–13; Revelation 4:11).
GOD THE FATHER
Although God the Father shares the same essence with God the Son and God the Spirit, He is to be distinguished from the two other members of the Trinity. The Father is not begotten nor is He the One who was crucified. He is frequently spoken of as "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Thanks to His choice in adopting us, He is also our Father, and we are described as His children. Therefore, Jesus taught us to pray, "Our Father which art in heaven."
The Father is the one who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing and chose us to be His from before the foundation of the world. The Father loved the world and gave His Son on our behalf (Matthew 6:9; John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 1:3; Ephesians 1:3).
Although the Fatherhood of God finds its clearest expression in the New Testament, this relationship was already known to the faithful in Old Testament times. For example, David, Isaiah, and Jeremiah refer to the intimacy of the Father/Son relationship. (Psalm 103:13, 14; Isaiah 64:8; Jeremiah 3:19)
In Christ, the Father was propitiated; that is, His anger against sin was turned away from us. Thus, both His love for us and His holy anger against sin found expression in and were fully satisfied through the work of Christ on the cross. Thus, we affirm that our God is our Redeemer.
GOD THE SON
We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person with two natures. Although Jesus Christ, who is Israel’s promised Messiah, existed from eternity past, He was conceived in human flesh through the Holy Spirit and born of Mary who was a virgin. He lived a sinless life, was crucified and died under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate (Matthew 1:23; John 1:1; Ephesians 1:15–23; 1 Timothy 2:5–6; Hebrews 1:8).
We believe that Jesus Christ honored God’s law as expressed in both the Old Testament and New Testament by His personal obedience and substitutionary death on the cross for sinners. He is the one Mediator between God and man, fully God and fully man, being the only One in whose person God and man can be reconciled. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and consummate His redemptive mission. To Him we gladly give our obedience and worship, being deeply grateful for His grace toward us while we were yet sinners (John 14:6; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Timothy 2:5–6).
GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit exists as a co-equal and co-eternal Person within the Trinity and as such is fully divine. We believe that He glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father in all that He does.
He convicts the unconverted of their sin and regenerates all who believe; and in Him all believers are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God. By the Holy Spirit the Godhead now indwells all believers. He also illuminates, guides, equips, and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service (John 7:38–40; 16:7–11; Acts 1:8; 5:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 5:16–18).
We believe that the Holy Spirit distributes gifts to the church for the edification of the body of Christ. These gifts of service are intended to display both the diversity and unity of the one body in its mutual edification and ministry. We believe sign gifts (such as speaking in tongues) are not required as proof of the filling or baptizing work of the Holy Spirit. Rather, the Holy Spirit never departs from a believer and is ever present to testify of Christ, bringing about the fruit of the Spirit. His presence in the life of believers is the guarantee that God will bring us safely into heaven where we will enter fully into the inheritance that awaits us (Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13–14).
THE HUMAN CONDITION
We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image as male and female, thus the gift of two different yet complementary sexes reflects the goodness of God’s creation.
However, because Adam and Eve voluntarily rebelled, as their descendants we are born under the condemnation of sin and also inherit a sin nature. Therefore, sin has affected the whole of our being, leaving us morally and spiritually “dead in [our] trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). And only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, renewed, and reconciled to God (Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:1–3).
Since humanity is the crowning work of God’s creation, each human being is created in His image, is sacred, and is worthy of respect and Christian love. This respect must be accorded to all human life from the moment of conception until natural death (Psalm 139:13–16; Revelation 5:9–10).
We believe that salvation involves the redemption of the entire person—body, soul, and spirit—and is offered freely to all who, having been called by God, receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. The moment we trust Him as Savior, we pass from death unto life, accepted by the Father according to the measure of Christ’s acceptance, and loved even as He is loved. As our representative and substitute, we believe that He shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for our salvation.
We rejoice in the fact that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16; Acts 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 1 Peter 3:18).
We believe this salvation is a gift of God’s grace, appropriated through faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ. This faith is a gift of divine grace, and is not simply knowledge of Jesus Christ, but is an act of personal trust accompanied by the miracles of regeneration and justification, leading to sanctification and glorification.
We believe that regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby we become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart brought about by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin and is accompanied by repentance and faith in Christ, resulting in a new nature within us (John 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Titus 3:4–7).
We believe that justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal of the sins of all who are regenerated. Christ’s righteousness is imputed to the regenerate, and God declares them to be entirely righteous, bringing them into a relationship of peace and favor with Himself (Romans 3:19–26; 5:1; Galatians 3:10–14).
We believe that sanctification is the process by which God sets believers apart for His own purposes that they might progress toward spiritual maturity by the presence and power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 4:3).
We believe that glorification is the culmination of salvation and will be the final blessed and abiding state of all who have been redeemed (Romans 8:17, 30; 2 Thessalonians 1:10).
We believe in the security of the believer. That is, all the redeemed once saved are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 5:24; 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Romans 5:9, 10; 8:1,31-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-9; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 7:25; 13:5; 1 Peter 1:4, 5; Jude 24).
We believe that security does not give us a right to live according to our will, but according to God’s will for us (Romans 6:15-22; 13:13, 14; Galatians 5:13, 16, 17, 25, 26; Titus 2:11-14).
We believe that the believer should rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of Scripture.
We believe that separation from sin is clearly called for throughout the Old Testament, and the New Testament. And that the Scriptures clearly indicate that in the last days apostasy and worldliness shall increase (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).
ANGELS AND SATAN
We believe that all angels were created by God but that a part of their number fell into sin under the leadership of Satan, who in his original rebellion against God is the cause of sin in the universe.
Satan’s temptation of Adam and Eve resulted in their disobedience and fall into sin. Satan and his hosts are declared enemies of God and man, and will be eternally punished in the lake of fire. Satan, though irredeemably evil, is nevertheless subject to God and His eternal plan (Genesis 3:15; Colossians 2:15; Revelation 20:10).
The holy angels are preserved from sinning by a divine decree and exist to serve God according to His good pleasure. They also glorify God in their obedience and service to believers, and they will eventually be used by God to judge the wicked (1 Timothy 5:21; Hebrews 1:14; Revelation 7:1–3).
The church, which had its special beginning on the day of Pentecost, is comprised of all who have been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ, of which He is the head. The true church is manifest in local churches whose membership should be comprised only of believers (Matthew 16:18; Acts 1:8; 2:43; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:20–23).
The Lord Jesus Christ instituted the ordinances of baptism and communion, which tangibly and symbolically express the Gospel. Although these ordinances are not the means of salvation and do not confer special grace, when they are celebrated by the church in genuine faith, they do confirm and nourish the church, the body of Christ (Matthew 26:26–29; 28:18–20; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26).
In obedience to Christ’s command, we urge every believer upon profession of faith to follow our Lord’s instructions and be baptized “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
We desire to follow the pattern of the New Testament in which conversion was followed by baptism by immersion.
LAST THINGS (ESCHATOLOGY)
We believe that God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring this present era to a close.
According to His promise, our Lord Jesus Christ will return imminently, personally, and bodily for His church and also for the establishment of His kingdom on earth. For believers, His coming is their blessed hope and demands constant expectancy, holy living, and sacrificial service (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18; Titus 2:11–14; 2 Peter 3:8–14).
When the future millennial kingdom is established, the national promises given to Abraham will be fulfilled and Israel shall be restored to the glory predicted in the Scriptures, with Christ ruling from Jerusalem (Habakkuk 2:14; Isaiah 2:2–5; Jeremiah 31: 35–37; Zechariah 14:1–5; Luke 1:30–33; Acts 1:6–7; Romans 11:25–27; Galatians 3:9, 14, 23–29)
The Church believes and teaches that the premillennial return of Christ to establish His earthly reign is an important doctrine of eschatology. All who teach and preach in the Church are expected to do so consistent with this interpretation of end-time events. However, those with a different understanding of the coming kingdom are permitted to join our membership.
THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH
We believe in the personal, bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ before the seven-year tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Titus 2:13) to translate His church from the earth (1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17) and, between this event and His glorious return with His saints, to reward believers according to their works (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
THE TRIBULATION PERIOD
We believe that immediately following the removal of the church from the earth the righteous judgments of God will be poured out upon and unbelieving world (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:27; 12:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12; Revelation 16).
And these judgments will be climaxed by the return of Christ in glory to the earth (Matthew 24:27-31; 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12). At that time the Old Testament and tribulation saints will be raised and the living will be judged (Daniel 12:2-3; Revelation 20:4-6).
THE SECOND COMING AND THE MILLENNIAL REIGN
We believe that, after the tribulation period, Christ will come to earth to occupy the throne of David (Matthew 25:31; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 1:10-11; 2:29-30) and establish His messianic kingdom for a thousand years on the earth (Revelation 20:1-7). During this time the resurrected saints will reign with Him over Israel and all the nations of the earth (Ezekiel 37:21-28; Daniel 7:17-22; Revelation 19:11-16). This reign will be preceded by the overthrow of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and by the removal of Satan from the world (Daniel 7:17-27; Revelation 20:1-7).
We believe that the Millennial Kingdom itself will be the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel (Isaiah 65:17-25; Ezekiel 37:21-28; Zechariah 8:1-17) to restore them to the land which they forfeited through their disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:15-68). The result of Israel’s disobedience was that they were temporarily set aside (Matthew 21:43; Romans 11:1-26), but will again be awakened through repentance to enter into the land of blessing (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:22-32; Romans 11:25-29).
We believe that this time of the Millennial Kingdom will be characterized by harmony, justice, peace, righteousness, and long life (Isaiah 11; 65:17-25; Ezekiel 36:33-38), and will be brought to an end with release of Satan (Revelation 20:7).
THE JUDGMENT OF THE LOST
We believe that following the release of Satan after the Millennial Kingdom, 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 (Revelation 20:9). Following this, Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10) whereupon Christ, who is the Judge of all men (John 5:22), will resurrect and judge the great and small at the Great White Throne Judgment.
We believe that this resurrection of the unsaved dead to judgment will be a physical resurrection, whereupon receiving judgment (John 5:28-29), they will be committed to an eternal conscious punishment in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:11-15).
THE ETERNAL STATE
We believe that after the Great White Throne Judgment, the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God, after which the elements of this earth are to be dissolved (2 Peter 3:10) and replaced with a new earth and the holy city, New Jerusalem, wherein only righteousness dwells (Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 20:15; 21:1-27; 22:1-21). Following this, our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).
FINAL STATEMENT ABOUT DEATH
THIS PRESENT TIME
We believe that physical death involves no loss of our immaterial consciousness (Revelation 6:9-11), that the soul of the redeemed passes immediately into the presence of Christ (Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8), that there is a separation of soul and body (Philippians 1:21-24), and that, for the redeemed, such separation will continue until the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17), which initiates the first resurrection (Revelation 20:4-6), when our soul and body will be reunited to be glorified forever with our Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:35-44, 50-54).
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). At which time, the soul and the resurrection body will be united (John 5:28-29). They shall then appear at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) and shall be cast into hell, the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41-46), cut off from the life of God forever (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:41-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).