1. The Bible
We believe that the Bible is God’s written revelation to man, and only the sixty-six books of the Bible given to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit constitute the plenary (inspired equally in all parts) Word of God. The Bible is God-breathed and absolutely inerrant in the original manuscripts. God has not only given us his divine revelation, the Bible, but he has also providentially preserved it through time so that we may know both his person and will. We acknowledge the Bible alone to be the full and final authority in all matters of faith and practice.
Matt. 22:29; John 20:31; 2 Tim. 3:14-17; Heb. 4:12; 2 Pet. 1:19-21; Rev. 22:18-19
2. Interpretation of the Bible
We believe that it is the right and responsibility of all men to read and study the Bible for an accurate understanding of God’s revelation to mankind and for a relationship with the one true God. However, due to man’s fallen, sinful condition of spiritual blindness and alienation from God, coupled with the blinding work of the god of this world, man needs the illuminating ministry of the Holy Spirit to understand, interpret, and obey the Scriptures. In the interpretation of the Scriptures, we believe in the principle of interpreting Scripture by Scripture. We believe that God has given us his Word in the form of a complete, consistent revelation that does not contain self-contradictions. Any passage or doctrine that may appear unclear ought to be understood in the light of clear, explicit statements in the Bible on the same subject. No interpretation of the Scriptures is to be accepted as valid if it conflicts with or contradicts any other portion of Scripture, overturns any doctrinal truth clearly taught by Scripture, or impugns the character and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. In interpreting the Scriptures, we also believe that God’s plan for the ages has been progressively revealed and clarified. The Bible begins with creation and advances from the theological infancy of the Old Testament to the maturity of the New Testament, ending in the consummation of God’s divine plan for his glory. In this manner, the Bible regularly moves from the simple and veiled to the conclusive and explicit. Thus we acknowledge the importance of the New Testament in clarifying and explaining many of the partially veiled truths of the Old Testament. Yet we also acknowledge that from the beginning of redemptive history until its final future consummation, God has given man sufficient revelation, both general and supernatural, so that man may believe God and live a life that is pleasing to him.
1 Pet. 1:10-12; 1 Cor. 1:18; 2:11-16; 2 Cor. 4:3-4; 2 Pet. 3:14-16
3. The Godhead
We believe that there is only one true and living God, an infinite all-knowing Spirit, who eternally exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three are one with precisely the same nature, attributes and perfection, and they equally deserve our worship and obedience. God is perfect in all his attributes. He is infinite, eternal, independent, and incomparable. He is unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.
Deut. 6:4; Matt. 3:16-17; 28:19; John 4:24; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Tim. 1:17
4. God’s purpose and man’s aim
We believe that God’s ultimate purpose in all that he does is to bring glory to himself. Our one aim in life and death should be to glorify God and enjoy him forever. God teaches us how to glorify him in the Scriptures, and he enables us to glorify him through the power of the Holy Spirit. We interpret and view all of history from a doxological perspective rather than merely a soteriological viewpoint. In other words, God’s ultimate purpose in history is his own ultimate and merited glorification. In achieving that end, he has purposed to save out for himself a people who will demonstrate the surpassing riches of his grace.
Isa. 43:7; 1 Cor. 10:31; Eph. 1:7-12; 2:8-10; 1 Pet. 4:11; Rev. 4:11
5. God’s creation and sovereign rule
We believe that God created the heavens and the earth from no pre-existing substance in the space of six days by the power of his spoken word. God sovereignly upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events according to his will for his own glory.
Gen. 1:1-2:3; Exod. 20:11; John 1:3; Heb. 11:3; 1 Chron. 29:11; Dan. 4:34-35; Rev. 4:11
6a. Creation of man
We believe that God directly and immediately created man, both male and female, in his own image and likeness to exercise dominion over the earth and its creatures. Man is not the product of an impersonal process consisting of matter plus time plus chance. God created mankind, both male and female, originally free of sin with a rational nature, intelligence, will, and moral responsibility to God.
Gen. 1:26-28; 2:7; 15-25; Jam. 3:9
6b. Marriage, divorce, and remarriage
We believe that God created only two distinct, unalterable genders, both male and female (Gen. 1:27). God established marriage for the blessing and welfare of mankind (Gen. 2:18; Prov. 18:22). God’s divine blueprint for marriage is the permanent union between one man and one woman that only death terminates (Gen. 2:24–25; Matt. 19:6; Mark 10:7–9). Marriage is best described as a covenant in which before God and witnesses one man and one woman willingly enter into a sacred bond resulting in a permanent mutually supportive companionship (Prov. 2:17; Mal. 2:14). Marriage entails a public leaving of parents, a joining together in an exclusive devotion to one another, normally consummated in sexual union, normally crowned with the gift of children, and involving complementarian responsibilities (Gen. 2:24; Ps. 127:5; 1 Cor. 11:3; 1 Pet. 3:7; 1 Tim. 2:11–15; Titus 2:3–5). The husband, the accountable head of his wife, is responsible to love, cherish, lead, protect, provide, and care for his wife as Christ loves his church (Eph. 5:25–28; Col. 3:19). The wife is to love, honor, help, and submit to her husband as to the Lord (Eph. 5:22–24, 33; Col. 3:18). Divorce, the dissolution of a marriage before death, is not a part of God’s original blueprint for marriage but is a concession, an accommodation to man’s sinfulness and hardness of heart for the protection of the faithful partner by releasing that companion from covenantal responsibilities (Deut. 24:1–4; Matt. 19:8–9). Sexual sin and desertion of a believer by an unbeliever are permissible but not mandatory grounds for divorce (Matt. 5:31–32; 1 Cor. 7:15). Remarriage is
permitted for the faithful partner. Repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration of a marriage marred by sin should be desired (Eph. 4:31–32; Col. 3:12).
Gen. 1:27, 2:18, 2:24–25; Deut. 24:1–4; Ps. 127:5; Prov. 2:17, 18:22; Mal. 2:14; Matt. 5:31–32, 19:6, 8–9; Mark 10:7–9; 1 Cor. 7:5, 11:3; Eph. 4:31–32, 5:22–24, 5:33; 5:25–28; Col. 3:12, 3:18–9; 1 Pet. 3:7; 1 Tim. 2:11–5; Tit. 2:3–5
7. Fall of man
We believe that Adam, the representative head of mankind, fell from fellowship with God through his sin of disobedience and thus incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death. Consequently, all mankind is born inherently corrupt in a state of sin and unbelief, alienated from the life of God, subject to the wrath of God, dead in trespasses and sin, and liable to eternal death. Man has no natural ability to please God or deliver himself from sin and its consequences, and thus is hopelessly lost apart from the grace of God in Christ.
Gen. 3:1-19; Rom. 5:12; 8:6-8; Eph. 2:3; 4:17-19
8. Redemption planned
We believe that God has not left mankind to perish in sin but has, before the foundation of the world, in grace and mercy, chosen to save unto himself a vast number of people out of every tribe, tongue, and nation. In his great love, God has determined to deliver them out of their sin and misery and to transfer them to the kingdom of his beloved Son so that in the ages to come he might show the surpassing riches of his grace toward them in Christ Jesus.
Eph. 1:4-1; Col. 1:13; Rev. 5:9-12
9. Redemption accomplished
We believe that God has redeemed his people unto himself only through the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God. Christ, born of a virgin, took on human flesh, in order to ransom guilty sinners. The Lord Jesus fulfilled the perfect obedience we owe to God, bore the penalty for our sins in his body on the cross, and became a curse for us. Based on his finished work on the cross, we are now his purchased possession, to the praise of the glory of his grace forever.
Mk. 10:45; Rom. 3:24-25; 5:8-9; 10:4; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13-14
10. Redemption assured
We believe that Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, died because of our offenses. His resurrection has provided proof that God accepted the sacrifice of his Son and is able to be just and yet to justify the ungodly. After he offered the complete, perfect sacrifice for sin for all time, Christ ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God where he continually makes intercession for his people. God has exalted Christ over everything including his church. All the redeemed once saved are kept by God’s power and are secure in Christ forever. Nothing can ever separate us from Christ and his love for us.
John 3:16; 17:2; Acts 2:30-36; Rom. 3:24-25; 8:31-39; Eph. 1:22-23; Heb. 7:25; 10:12-13
11. Redemption applied
We believe that the Holy Spirit effectually applies the redemption accomplished by our Lord to all whom God has chosen to save. Regeneration is a supernatural work accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God by which the divine nature and divine life are given.
Ezek. 36:26-27; John 3:3-8; Rom. 10:17; 1 Cor. 2:10-12; Tit. 3:4-5; 1 Pet. 1:22-23
12. Man’s responsibility to believe the gospel
We believe that in this age of the gospel God demands all men without exception to repent of their sin and to trust Christ as Savior and Lord. Divine sovereignty does not contradict nor negate man’s responsibility to believe the gospel. God requires all men, out of a sense of their sin and inability to save themselves, to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and his redemptive work on the cross as the only possible means of eternal salvation. Nevertheless, because of man’s innate spiritual blindness, God in his grace must cause the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ to shine in the human heart in order for man to believe. Likewise, all whom the Father calls to himself will come in faith; and all who come in faith to Christ, the Father will receive.
Luke 24:46-47; John 3:18-19; 6:37-40; Acts 16:14; 17:30-31; 2 Cor. 4:6; Rev. 22:17
13. Destiny of the unrepentant
We believe that all those who neglect the great salvation offered freely in Christ will bear the penalty of their sins at the hands of the one true Judge of all men, the Lord Jesus Christ. At the Great White Throne Judgment, he will resurrect and judge the great and the small who have not believed upon him. He will commit them to an eternal, conscious punishment in the lake of fire forever. They will be in torment and utter darkness forever and ever without hope of deliverance. Thus, we urge all men to repent of their sin and to trust the Lord Jesus Christ alone for their eternal salvation.
Matt. 10:28; 13:41-42; John 5:28-29; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; Heb. 2:3; Rev. 20:11-15
14. Destiny of the repentant
We believe at physical death all who have repented of their sin and have trusted Christ alone for salvation immediately depart this world and become perfect in holiness at home in the presence of the Lord. Nothing, not even death, can separate a believer from the love of God and union with Christ. When the Lord returns, the dead in Christ will undergo a bodily resurrection, and those in Christ who are alive at his return will not experience death but will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord and to be with him forever. All believers will have a time of future accountability before Christ at his judgment seat, not for the determination of their salvation, but for the evaluation of their service.
Rom. 8:38-39; 1 Cor. 15:20-28; 2 Cor. 5:1-8; 9-11; 1 Thess. 4:16-17
15. The Christian walk
We believe that, while man is justified by grace through faith in Christ apart from good works, yet the nature of saving faith is such that good works will inevitably flow from genuine faith and are an evidence of genuine faith. We will mature in godliness through prayer, reading and study of the Scriptures, fellowship with other believers, and serving others in love. Walking by the Spirit, we will be enabled not to fulfill the desires of sinful flesh and to reveal the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. All of our actions and motives are to be for the glory of God alone. We not only have a responsibility to do good to all men, but we have a special responsibility to one another in Christ, to bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. Our love for one another will give evidence to the world that we are his disciples.
Mark 4:20; John 13:35; 15:1-11; 1 Cor. 10:31; Gal. 5:13-15; 6:10; Eph. 4:1-3; Tit. 2:11-14; Jam. 2:17, 26; 2 Pet. 1:5-10
16. The church: its nature
We believe that all who place their faith in Jesus Christ are members of one spiritual body, the Church, a mystery not revealed until this age. Christ is the authoritative head of the one universal church, the bride of Christ, which is visibly expressed in local churches. A local church is an assembly of believers associated together with mutual accountability, with biblical leadership, with divinely bestowed spiritual gifts for the purpose of mutual edification and worship, for evangelism, for the observance of the two ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, for instruction and exhortation from the Scriptures, and for mutual stimulation to love and good works.
Acts 2:40-42; 1 Cor. 12:12-13; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 3:1-6; Phil. 1:2; Col. 1:24-27; Heb. 10:24-25
17. The church: its leadership
We believe that the Scriptures set forth two positions of biblical leadership for local churches: elders and deacons, both of whom must meet the spiritual qualifications set forth in the Bible. The elders are responsible to oversee the spiritual welfare of the assembly, to maintain sound doctrine that promotes godly living, to seek the restoration of sinning members through biblical discipline when necessary, and to rule as accountable servants under the authority of Christ. The deacons are responsible to serve the church by undertaking tasks or assisting the elders in areas of ministry that promote the spiritual welfare of the church. The believers associated together in a local assembly are to be submissive to biblical leadership and to pray for their leaders.
Acts 11:30; 14:23, 27; 20:28-31; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Tit. 1:5-9; Heb. 13:7-9, 17-18
18. The church: its ordinances
We believe that our Lord, until he returns, has instructed his church to observe two ordinances: Believer’s Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We believe that water baptism signifies entrance into the body of Christ, and only those who have trusted Christ alone are to be baptized upon the profession of their faith. We believe that the mode of baptism is to be immersion, which symbolizes the spiritual significance of what took place at conversion. In union with Christ, one has died to the old life and has risen in newness of life. We believe that the second ordinance, the Lord’s Supper, through its regular observance, signifies our continuation in the body of Christ. We practice an open communion offered to all who profess saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who seek to walk according to his Word, and who are not under church discipline for known, unrepentant sin.
Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 14:22-25; Acts 2:41-42; 8:36-38; 1 Cor. 11:23-34
19. The church: its spiritual gifts
We believe that God sovereignly gives to each person of the body of Christ one or more spiritual gifts. Although spiritual gifts differ in their nature and manifestation, they all have one common goal: the mutual edification and spiritual growth of believers resulting in glory to God through Jesus Christ. Just as the human body is composed of different members with different functions, and each member has its own important function for the physical body, so also each spiritual gift is important to the spiritual health of the body of Christ. We are to use our gifts to serve one another, edify one another, and to glorify God. We believe that the gifts of apostles and prophets were foundational to the church, and the supernatural ‘sign’ gifts of miracles and healing performed during the apostolic era were for the purpose of confirmation of the spoken word.
Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12:1–27; Eph. 2:19-22; 4:7-16; 1 Pet. 4:10-11; Heb. 2:3-4
20. The church: its worship
We believe that God has given his people the responsibility and privilege to meet together regularly and to worship him. All appropriate and acceptable worship is to be directed to God the Father, through Jesus Christ the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and directed by the Holy Scriptures. We find that the early Christians began to meet on the first day of the week, called the Lord’s Day, the day on which our Lord rose from the dead, rather than on the Sabbath, the last day of the week. We find that on the Lord’s Day we are to assemble ourselves regularly together to stimulate one another to love and good works, to baptize new believers, to observe the Lord’s Table, to exercise spiritual gifts that God gives for the edification of his church, for prayer, and for the preaching and teaching of the Scriptures.
Matt. 28:1; Luke 24:1; John 20:1; Rev. 1:10; Acts 20:7-12; Heb. 10:24-25; Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 11:23-33; 2 Tim. 3:16-4:5
21. The church: its responsibility to the world
We believe that the Lord Jesus has commissioned his church to proclaim the gospel of God’s grace to all men. We are to present Jesus Christ as the only true Lord and Savior to sinful men so that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, they may repent of their sin and place their trust in Christ alone for salvation. We are then to make disciples of all nations by baptizing them upon their profession of faith and by instructing them to obey all of our Lord’s instructions for his people. We are to entrust the Word to faithful disciples who will be able to teach others also.
Matt. 28:18-20; Luke 24:46-47; 2 Tim. 2:1-2
22. The church: the role of women in ministry
We believe that God gives spiritual gifts to all believers, both male and female, for service. We believe that all believers, both male and female, are equal heirs of the Abrahamic promises by grace through faith in union with Christ. All believers, both male and female, are part of a spiritual priesthood who are to offer up the sacrifices of good works and thanksgiving to God. Yet equality in Christ does not mean identity of role in the church and in the family. Regarding the family, we believe that the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the Church. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, and wives are to be in submission to their husbands. In the assembly of the local church, women are not to teach nor to exercise authority over men. God has assigned the responsibility of the oversight and rule of a local church to godly, qualified men who are to function as elders and to care for and oversee the local church. While women are not to instruct men in the assembly, they do have an important teaching role. The older women are to teach the younger women to live godly lives, to love their husbands and children, and to be wise and prudent.
1 Cor. 12:1-11; Gal. 3:26-29; 1 Pet. 3:1-7; Eph. 5:22-28; 1 Tim. 2:11-13; 3:1-12; Tit. 2:3-5
23. The return of the Lord
We believe that, just as Jesus Christ came once in humiliation to give his life a ransom on behalf of many, so also he will come to earth a second time in exaltation to take his own people to be with him and to judge the world in righteousness. He will return bodily in the same manner as he ascended into heaven. We do not know the day nor the hour of his return, and we are to live godly lives of faithful service while waiting for and looking forward to the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our anticipation of the return of Christ and our confidence that we will one day be completely conformed to his likeness is to have a purifying effect on us now, giving us a greater desire to be like him. Furthermore, the return of our Lord and the future bodily resurrection of believers who have died in Christ provides comfort for us whose loved ones have died in Christ, for we will be reunited with them and be together with the Lord forever.
Matt. 24:36; 25:13; Mark 10:45; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:10-11; 1 Thess. 1:9-10; 4:13-18; 2 Pet. 3:1-13; 1 John 3:1-2