THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
We believe that each of the sixty-six books in the Bible is the inspired, inerrant (without error) Word of God. God has preserved His Word to this day and will continue to do so. Each book gives internal evidence of inspiration, in that, each has unique authority, insight, and revelation. By inspiration, we mean that each writer was led to write what he wrote by the Holy Spirit, although each was allowed to use his own personality and cultural experiences to compose God’s revelation to man. We also believe that some forty different writers wrote the Bible in three different languages – Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic – over a period of fifteen hundred years, and yet all parts agree in their revelation about God.
The Word of God is absolute and is the supreme standard for mankind by which we are and will be judged. God’s Word is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. Sound interpretation of Scripture involves literal, historical, and grammatical study, resulting in a clear, practical, and life-changing application for daily living.
THE ONE TRUE GOD
God’s fundamental characteristics include: self-existence, omniscience (all-knowing), omnipresence (all-present), and omnipotence (all-powerful). He is a person, and is sovereign, unchangeable, infinite, and eternal. Being spirit, He is free and independent of His creation. Many of His personality attributes are declared in Scripture and experienced by creation: He loves, gives, cares, extends grace and mercy, creates and recreates, restores, and builds. Everything He does is good, due to His moral attributes, which include: righteousness, holiness, justice, goodness, and love.
Although God’s Word clearly teaches that there is only one true God, it also makes clear that there is a plurality of Persons (trinity) within the Godhead. The baptism of Jesus, the Great Commission of Jesus, the apostolic benedictions, and the teaching of Christ and the apostles all confirm the reality of the Father, Who is God; the Son, Who is God; and the Holy Spirit, Who is God.
THE PERSON AND WORK OF GOD THE FATHER
The Father has all the attributes of God. He is the Father of all in creation. He cares for and planned the government of everything. He is the Father of the nation Israel and is the Father of all who believe in Christ. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.
Some of God’s works include being the author of His complete plan and acts of election. He predetermined our adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself. He sent His Son to this world on a redemptive mission. He lovingly disciplines His children and His creation.
THE PERSON AND WORK OF GOD THE SON – JESUS CHRIST
Jesus Christ is not only pre-existent, but He is self-existent and is the giver of life. Jesus claimed equality and unity with God. This is verified by the Father, the Spirit, the apostles, the holy angels, and all true believers. The Bible instructs us to worship Him. He possesses all the fullness of the Godhead. Thus, He has all the divine attributes. He never changes. God became a human being, through the Person of Jesus Christ. He was born of a virgin woman, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit. He had a human body (now a glorified body), a soul, and a spirit. He was tempted in all points as we are, yet He never chose to sin. As Son of Man, Jesus grew mentally, physically, socially and spiritually.
In God’s perfect plan, Jesus Christ is the creator of all things, upholding and sustaining all things by the word of His power. Christ gives grace and mercy and saves those who come to Him in true faith alone. He raises the dead and is judge of all.
Christ fulfills the perfect will of the Father. Jesus was the Sacrificial Lamb, who died for the sin of all mankind. Thus, He provided a reconciliation of mankind with God. His death on the cross defeated (Satan) and conquered death’s power over believers. Because Christ’s body rose from the dead, all His claims and work were validated. The resurrection is the believer’s assurance of all aspects of salvation – past, present, and future. It also guarantees the future resurrection of all men: believers to everlasting life, and non-believers to everlasting condemnation.
Our Lord ascended into heaven forty days after His resurrection to His exalted place of authority and power at the right hand of God. He appeared before the Father as the forerunner of those who were, are, and shall be redeemed. He began His present headship ministry over the church, His body, and is our Great High Priest who intercedes on our behalf, enabling us free access into God’s very presence.
Presently, Jesus Christ is preparing a place for His people. He is drawing His church together and meeting needs. As individual believers abide in Him, Christ brings forth fruit through them for eternity. In the future, He will come for His church and pour out His wrath on unrighteous mankind. Jesus Christ will rule and reign forever.
THE PERSON AND WORK OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Godhead, and He has always been, and will always be active as God. He is pre-existent, has personality, and possesses all the divine attributes. His work in relation to the universe includes creation, preservation, and restoration. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, who seeks to exalt and glorify Christ. The Holy Spirit is the author and interpreter of the Bible and He convicts the world in regard to sin, righteousness, and judgment.
The Holy Spirit regenerates those who believe and baptizes them into the body of Christ. He indwells, gifts, and enables every believer. He guarantees that we are citizens of God’s kingdom. Although He indwells every believer, God’s Word exhorts each believer to be filled with the Spirit – to allow Him control and freedom to develop fruitful Christ-likeness. The Spirit-filled believer experiences assurance, power, liberation, guidance, and anointing for life and service. This service for God is all possible through the gifting, equipping, and enabling ministry of the Holy Spirit. The believer quenches and grieves the Spirit through neglect and sin.
With regard to the future, the Holy Spirit will continue His ministries to the universe, mankind in general, believers, and the exaltation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God created man, male and female, in His image. Man has personality and exists as a whole person composed of body (material), soul, and spirit (immaterial). He has self-awareness, reasoning and relational capacity, moral awareness, and governing capabilities. Originally, man possessed a holy nature, but through sin this nature was marred, along with all aspects of his being.
The fall of man is a scriptural fact and a personal awareness in every human. It all began when Satan tempted Eve, who yielded and offered her husband the forbidden fruit. Then Adam also willfully disobeyed. As a result of the fall, Adam and Eve experienced an awareness of nakedness, a sense of guilt and shame, an unhealthy fear of God, expulsion from the Garden of Eden, pain and suffering, physical and spiritual death, and separation from the presence of God.
Thus, all mankind has inherited a fallen nature which has an aversion to God. All men are declared to be sinners and the entire world is under condemnation because of sin.
Man’s only hope for redemption, restoration, and eternal well-being is a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.
There are two major moral qualities in Scripture: holiness, which is moral rightness; and sin, which is moral wrong. Sin is falling short of God’s standard by attitude and action.
Although man was enlightened with God’s will, he chose to disobey. This resulted in separation from God, guilt, hostility, bondage, and death. Every part of man is affected by sin and nothing within natural man can correct this devastating condition. Only in Christ is man saved from the penalty, power, and presence of sin.
Man’s sin not only affected the entire human race but also the plant and animal kingdoms. There is an evil principle in man’s fallen nature that is a fact of Scripture, of man’s experience, and is obvious in our world’s condition. Man’s greatest need is salvation. Once man is saved, he obtains a new divine nature from God. The fallen nature (flesh) is still present and the battle between the flesh and the Spirit will continue until Christ transforms the believer. When a believer sins, it affects his relationship with God, himself, and others. He doesn’t lose his salvation, but does lose his fellowship with God, and thus, becomes ineffective in worship and service. There can also be a loss of reward. God lovingly disciplines His children. When sin is confessed, and reconciliation is made, God restores the believer to fellowship and fruitfulness, although painful consequences may remain.
God’s desire is that all men everywhere repent. John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles all taught repentance.
Repentance involves acknowledging personal sin, confessing your sin, and turning to God. The mind regrets the sin, the emotions feel remorse, and the will is redirected to God and His plan.
Man’s basic nature is so fallen he cannot repent by himself but must accept God’s enablement with sincerity of heart. God knows the heart of every man.
As a result of repentance, God, the righteous angels, and believers all rejoice. God forgives, pardons, and blesses with His indwelling presence.
Repentance and faith go together. This faith is not natural to mankind. It originates in, and is administered through, the Godhead. As God enables man to repent of his sin, He also gives him faith to respond to Christ and His Word. This faith is demonstrated by belief, prayer, obedience, and good works.
The Christian begins his new life in Christ through faith and continues to mature and serve through faith. Someday the believer’s faith will be realized fully. But for now, it is essential to walk with and to please God.
Regeneration is a new spiritual birth imparting God’s divine nature to the believer, who then possesses two natures – one divine, one fallen. This new divine nature enables a positive response to God. Because natural man is dead in sin and lives in spiritual darkness, regeneration is essential for entrance into God’s kingdom. Regeneration is not an accomplishment of man but is a supernatural act of God. Regeneration takes place when one responds in repentance and faith to the revelation of the Word of God by the Holy Spirit. As the heart is opened to our Risen Lord, new birth and entrance into God’s family occur immediately. The results of regeneration include a change in attitude toward God, self, others, life, and sin. New love, joy, peace, freedom, victory, perspective, and assurance become realities resulting from the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Regeneration involves a change in the believer’s state or nature. Justification involves a change in his standing before God as righteous, accepted, and free from guilt or condemnation. Justification occurs through faith in Jesus Christ by God’s free grace. The results of justification are peace with God (legal and judicial), freedom from accusation, and the future hope of glorification.
Adoption is a legal term which means “the placing of a son.” It involves the issues of heirship and privileges. In justification, the believer is declared righteous before God. In adoption, he is declared to be a child of God and a joint-heir with Christ. This wonderful adoption takes place at redemption and results in an eternal Father/son or Father/daughter relationship in God’s family. Thus, the believer has special family relationships and privileges such as: personal access to the Father, brothers and sisters in
Christ, family closeness, encouragement, and discipline. He also has an inheritance and the Father’s promise to remain eternally in His family.
ATONEMENT AND RECONCILIATION
Natural man is separated from God because of Adam’s sin and personal sin. Atonement means “covering”, and the covering of man’s sin is only possible through the Person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ, the sinless Lamb of God, willingly gave His life on the cross as a substitute for man. God’s justice was served and the believer experiences atonement with God at redemption.
The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ not only “covers” sin but He forgives and cleanses from all unrighteousness. Reconciliation is the process by which God and man are brought together again. God has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ. Paul referred to the Gospel as the Word of reconciliation.
Sanctification is a separation from evil and a setting apart for God. It involves a past event, a present process, and a future completion. The Godhead is involved in sanctification. The Father planned it, the Son provided for it, and the Spirit performs it within the believer as he walks in obedience to God’s Word and allows the Holy Spirit full control.
Redemption refers to the purchase or deliverance, through the payment of a price. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was the purchase price for the redemption of man from sin, death, and the wrath of God. The cost of his redemption was the “precious blood of
Christ”. Remembering this tremendous price paid helps us keep in focus the great worth of each individual to God. This definitely affects the way we see others and relate to them.
SEPARATION OF THE BELIEVER
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. 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…”
Walking in Christ means yielding to the Holy Spirit, who produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; against such things there is no law. In contrast to walking in the Spirit, is walking in the flesh, the world (ungodly system), and the influence of the Devil. Pride, selfishness, immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, dissensions, envyings, drunkenness, carousings, etc. are all contrary to walking in the Spirit.
Believers are clearly instructed to separate from sin, not to belong to societies sworn by secrecy, and not to have entangling alliances with unbelievers – especially in marriage.
We are to separate from ungodliness listed in scripture. However, we are not to isolate ourselves from ungodly people. We are to reach out to them with the love of Christ, bringing them the “Good News” message. We also are to love other believers who may apply doctrinal truth differently, yet remain true to our discernment of the leading of the Holy Spirit. We also believe that “walking in Him” means avoiding attitudes and actions that would be detrimental to one’s life and testimony.
THE PRIESTHOOD OF EVERY BELIEVER
The Lord Jesus Christ is our Great High Priest. Through Him, we have immediate access to God. Being joined to Christ means that believers also share in His priesthood. Every believer is to be involved in God’s Word and sharing God’s Word as he/she is enabled. This priesthood involves bringing God to men through the ministry of the Gospel and bringing men to God through intercessory prayer. It also involves being a representative of God to the world.
Prayer is communion with God. Conversing with God is a privileged result of redemption. It is essential for maturing in Christ-likeness. Prayer involves worship, praise, adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication, and intercession. Jesus taught and modeled prayer. The apostles gave themselves to the priority of the Word and prayer. Thus, prayer is essential for victory, development, and blessing. To neglect prayer is to sin and become unfruitful, which grieves the Lord.
Prayer is possible because the One Triune God is personal and desires fellowship with His children. The Father seeks to develop intimacy in fellowship with believers. The Son’s perfect sacrificial work removed the barrier between God and man. The Holy Spirit enables and encourages believers from within to pray. God’s Word is essential for praying according to His will.
The Bible clearly teaches that angels exist. They are created, spiritual beings. They are personal, having intelligence, feelings, and volition. Angels are powerful, eternal, and glorious beings. There is an innumerable host of angels who are organized by God. The holy angels have a heavenly and earthly Ministry. In heaven they worship and serve God. On earth they guide and guard believers and also guide certain affairs of nations. They encourage and serve, and are involved in defending and delivering God’s people. The future of these holy angels is glorious. They will return with Christ, will help separate the righteous and the wicked, and will enjoy His presence. Angels in God’s presence include the cherubim and seraphim.
All angels were created holy but some fell through pride and disobedience. God’s Word teaches that some of these fallen angels are chained awaiting judgment, while others are associated with Satan and his movement. Others oppose God, His purposes, and His people (in the New Testament they are called demons). The future of these fallen beings is bleak indeed. There is no hope for their redemption and they will be forever in the Lake of Fire.
Satan is a fallen angelic being and is opposed to God, believers, and all that is true and righteous. Some of his names truly describe his character and desire: the destroyer, the accuser of the brethren, the deceiver of the whole world, the evil one, the father of lies, a murderer, the tempter, The Devil holds a position of power and authority in the spiritual world, but he can only act within the limits set by God. Satan is not omnipresent (all present), omniscient (all knowing), nor omnipotent (all powerful). His temptations appeal to the desire to indulge, possess, and impress. All of his activity is associated with the kingdom of Spiritual and moral darkness of which he is the leader. His desire is to captivate men and women, destroy them, and to be worshiped.
The Person and work of Jesus Christ rendered Satan a defeated but active foe. His doom is certain. He will be thrown into the Lake of Fire forever and ever. Victory over Satan is possible for the believer by abiding in Christ, not giving the Devil an opportunity, being alert of his schemes, resisting him, and putting on the whole armor of God. The Holy Spirit enables believers to have victory and to share the Gospel which turns people from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God.
The first mention of the church in the New Testament is, “On this rock I will build my church”. Jesus said this in response to Peter’s confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Our Lord’s promise was realized at Pentecost as the Holy Spirit came to indwell believers. The Church, which is the Body of Christ, grew rapidly and continues to grow and develop today under Christ’s headship. All believers compose the church universal. However, there are many local expressions of the church for practical worship, fellowship, edification, and outreach. Membership in a local church requires that the believer is to be growing, maturing in his/her relationship with the Lord, and living in obedience to God’s Word. We would encourage every believer to actively identify with a local expression of the Body of Christ for accountability, fellowship, growth, and outreach.
The major purpose of the church is to worship and glorify God. This is done as each individual member is maturing in Christ-likeness and is using his gifts to minister to others in service and outreach. A healthy church is involved in the process of evangelizing (winning the lost), establishing (building the saved), equipping (training the workers), and exporting workers to reach others. Godly leadership is essential. The church will continue to develop and function on earth until Jesus returns for His Bride.
THE CHURCH ORDINANCES
Our Lord gave many instructions for individual believers. Two instructions (ordinances) we will practice as a body of believers are the Lord’s Supper and baptism.
When administered by this church, baptism shall be by immersion, which we believe best pictures the believers’ identification with our Lord in His death, burial, and resurrection. It shall be administered at the request of those who have personally acknowledged Christ as Savior and Lord. While this ordinance shall not be a requirement for membership, we strongly recommend that all members prayerfully consider the Scriptures listed to the left.
The return of Christ was announced by the prophets, John the Baptist, Christ, the apostles, and the angels. We believe that His return will be in two stages: first, He will come in the air for the church, and secondly, He will come to the earth with His church and holy angels. His return will be bodily, visible, and sudden.
When Christ returns in the air, the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then living believers will be transformed to meet Him in the air and will forever be with the Lord. Believers will then experience the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Marriage of the Lamb. Non-believers will experience the Tribulation period here on earth, a seven year time of the wrath of God against lawlessness. However, during this period some people will turn to Christ and many from the nation Israel will repent, believe, and become active missionaries for the Lord.
When Christ returns to the earth, He will destroy the rebellious armies of the nations, cast the Beast and False Prophet into the Lake of Fire, and bind Satan for a thousand years. During this millennial reign of Christ on earth, there will be perfect justice, universal knowledge of God, peace, and prosperity. The believers will reign with Christ over the nations and Israel will be restored.
There are two major judgments coming: The Judgment Seat of Christ which is for believers concerning rewards, and The Great White Throne Judgment for unbelievers who will be sentenced to the eternal Lake of Fire. The resurrection of the unsaved will take place when the millennium is completed. The final destiny of the unrighteous is “the lake of fire”, a place of torment, misery, and darkness, whose inhabitants include the following: Satan and fallen angels, the Beast and False Prophet, and all unrighteous people.
Concerning the final events, God will create a new heaven and a new earth after the destruction of this present heaven and earth.
The destiny of the righteous is heaven, a magnificent place prepared by God for eternal habitation. Its inhabitants include the following: God, holy angels, and all believers.