Statement of Faith

 

We believe God's Word is our final authority in the origin and formulation of our Christian faith.

 

Scripture: We believe the 66 Books of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are the verbal, plenary inspired Word of God (II Peter 1:20-21). These 66 Books are infallible and inerrant in the original writings (the Autographa). But we also affirm that God has preserved His Word. Therefore, we may be confident what we have today is indeed the Word of God (Matthew 5:18). The 66 Books of the Bible are "our only rule of faith and practice" (John 10:35 and II Timothy 3:16-17).

 

Trinity and God the Father: There is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4 and Isaiah 44:6) existing co-equally and co-eternally in three distinct Persons -- the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19 and II Corinthians 13:14). God is holy, eternal, immutable, infinite, and transcendent in His essence (I Peter 1:15, Psalm 90:2, Malachi 3:6, Psalm 147:5, and Isaiah 57:15). He is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, righteous, true, and faithful in His attributes (Psalm 139:1-13, Jeremiah 32:17, Psalm 11:7, Numbers 23:19, and Titus 1:2).

 

Jesus Christ: Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Godhead (John 1:1, Isaiah 44:6, Titus 2:13, and Hebrews 1:8), and possesses all the attributes of the Father (Colossians 2:9). Yet He is distinct from the Father (John 17:5). He is impeccable -- without any sin (I Peter 2:22). Not only is He fully God, but He is also fully man (John 1:14 and Hebrews 2:14). He was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), died a substitutionary death (I John 2:2), rose bodily from the dead the third day (I Corinthians 15:3-4), ascended bodily (Acts 1:9), and sits at the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:33-34) where He currently reigns (Psalm 110:1-2 and I Corinthians 15:25) and intercedes for us (Romans 8:34 and Hebrews 7:25). He will physically return to the earth (Acts 1:11 and II Thessalonians 1:7) and will judge all men (John 5:22 and Acts 10:42). He is the perfect Prophet, Priest, and King (John 14:9, I Timothy 2:5, and Matthew 28:18).

 

Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Godhead (Acts 5:3-4), and possesses all the attributes of the Father (Isaiah 11:2, Psalm 139:7-10, Hebrews 9:14, and Romans 1:4). He was involved in creation (Job 33:4), the virgin birth (Luke 1:35), the resurrection (Romans 8:11), and inspiration (II Peter 1:20-21). He currently restrains sin (II Thessalonians 2:7), convicts of sin (John 16:8), regenerates (Titus 3:5), seals (Ephesians 4:30), indwells (Romans 8:9), sanctifies (II Thessalonians 2:13), intercedes (Romans 8:26), guides (Acts 16:6-7), and glorifies the Son (John 16:14).

 

Creation: God created all things out of nothing through the mere word of His mouth (Genesis 1:3). He created everything in six literal, 24-hour days and rested the seventh day (Exodus 20:11). The Hebrew term "yom" is translated "day," and when stated in conjunction with an ordinal (first, second, third, etc.), is always referring to a regular, 24-hour day. This term is used (under inspiration) for all seven days -- even though the luminaries were not created until the fourth day (Genesis 1:1-2:3). This is the time frame designated by God, regardless of the lack of process of "sun over land" (for days one, two and three).

 

The Bible teaches that God created both males and females (Genesis 1:26-27 and Matthew 19:4). We believe it is God's sovereign choice as to the biological gender of a child at birth, and it is arrogant of any person to decide that he or she wants to alter God's sovereign choice and change genders. Such thinking implies that God made a wrong decision about someone's gender, or that someone can somehow improve himself or herself by changing genders. God makes no mistakes, and no one can thwart His will (Daniel 4:35).

 

After being tempted by Satan, Adam and Eve sinned (Genesis 3:1-7). As a result of their sin, God judged Adam and Eve and cursed the creation (Genesis 3:16-19). At present, the creation is still under the curse of sin until Christ returns and redeems it (Acts 3:19-21 and Isaiah 35). God also judged (or declared war on) the serpent/Satan (Genesis 3:14-15, Revelation 12:1-9, Revelation 20:1-3 and 7-10). Finally, God is actively involved in and sovereignly rules over His creation (Psalm 147:15-18, 148:8, and Colossians 1:16-17).

 

Man and Sin: Man was created by the direct act of God -- in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). Man has both material and immaterial aspects (Genesis 2:7 and I Thessalonians 5:23). Man was completely corrupted by the Fall -- totally depraved in his intellect, emotions, and will (I Corinthians 2:14, Romans 1:32 and 3:11). Sin has affected every human (Romans 3:23) -- except Jesus Christ. Sin is any transgression of or lack of conformity to the law or character of God (I John 3:4 and James 4:17), and thus separates all men from God (Matthew 27:46). Man is both born in sin and also freely chooses to sin (Psalm 51:5, Romans 1:21, and Genesis 6:5). Sin will be punished by both the first and second deaths (Romans 6:23, Hebrews 9:27, and Revelation 21:8).

 

Marriage: The Bible teaches that God has designed for marriage to be a covenant relationship (or union) between one man and one woman for life (Genesis 2:18-25, Malachi 2:14-16, Matthew 19:3-9, and I Corinthians 7:1-5). This relationship is representative of the relationship between Christ (as the divine Bridegroom) and the Church (as His bride). The Bridegroom loves His bride, and the bride submits herself to her Bridegroom (Ephesians 5:22-33). So it ought to be in every human marriage (Colossians 3:18-19 and I Peter 3:1-7).

 

Salvation: Jesus Christ died on the cross to save man from his sin (John 3:16). His sacrifice required the shedding of His blood (Hebrews 9:22) -- which purchased our redemption (Ephesians 1:7 and Colossians 1:14) and appeased the Father's wrath (I John 2:2 and Romans 3:25). In order to be saved, man must repent of his sin and put his faith (Acts 16:31 and Romans 10:9-10) in the finished work of Jesus Christ -- which was accomplished "once for all" (Hebrews 10:10). Man is then regenerated -- the act of God imparting spiritual life to him (II Corinthians 5:17). Man is also justified -- the act of God declaring him to be righteous (Galatians 2:16, Romans 3:25 and 5:1). Thus, man is reconciled to God (II Corinthians 5:19 and Ephesians 2:13). The believer then strives to maintain good works (Titus 3:8 and Acts 26:20) as evidence of his salvation -- but not a stipulation for his salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). The believer also strives to be sanctified -- which is partially his own doing and partially God's doing (Matthew 5:48, I Peter 1:15-16, I Thessalonians 4:4 and 5:23). This means that God designed for us to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29-30). Scripture also refers to us as "joint-heirs" with Christ (Romans 8:17) -- so our adoption is "in progress" (John 1:12 and Romans 8:14), but will not be completed until our glorification (Romans 8:23). Finally, the believer is eternally secure and will never lose his salvation (John 10:28-29 and I John 5:11-13).

 

We believe that salvation is entirely the work of God. Man does not naturally seek God (Romans 3:11) -- because 1) man is "dead in his trespasses and sin" (Ephesians 2:1), 2) man is rebelling against God and does not want to submit to God (Romans 8:7-8), and 3) man has been blinded by the god of this world (II Corinthians 4:3-4). Only the supernatural work of God can 1) "make us alive" (Ephesians 2:4-5), 2) cause us to yield to Christ as our Lord (I Corinthians 12:3), and 3) cause "the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ to shine in our hearts" (II Corinthians 4:4-6). Man is so dead, so in rebellion, so blinded, so totally depraved that he is unable to come to God on his own (John 3:3, 5 and John 6:44, 65). Only the work of God in a person's heart causes him or her to seek God (cf. I Corinthians 2:14 with Acts 16:14). Even our personal faith is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8 and Philippians 1:29).

 

The Church: The Church is the bride/body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23 and 5:25-27).  Scripture speaks of both the Universal Church (Matthew 16:18 and Ephesians 5:25-27) and the local church (Romans 16:3-5, Colossians 4:15, and Philemon 2). The Church (spiritual) in the New Testament is distinct from Israel (national) in the Old Testament. The Church came into existence on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Since then, Christ has continued to build His Church through local congregations (Acts 20:28). Scripture speaks of only two church offices which are still in existence today -- pastor/elder and deacon (Philippians 1:1 and I Timothy 3:1-13).

 

Ordinances: There are two ordinances to be observed by the Church today -- baptism (Matthew 3:13-17, Acts 2:41 and 10:46-48) and the Lord's Supper (I Corinthians 11:23-34). Both ordinances point us to Christ and His atoning work (Romans 6:3-4 and I Corinthians 11:24-25). Therefore, we believe the proper mode of baptism ought to be immersion -- which symbolizes Christ's death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-4). Baptism is a definitive step of obedience after salvation. After a convert is baptized, he should associate himself with (i.e. join) a local assembly for the purpose of continuing in doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer (Acts 2:42).

 

Separation: The Bible teaches that Christians should separate themselves from the world (I John 2:15-16, Ephesians 5:11, and James 4:4), false teachers (Galatians 1:8-9, II John 9-11, and Romans 16:17-18), and disobedient brethren (I Corinthians 5:1-13, Revelation 2:2-6 and 14-16, and II Thessalonians 3:6 and 14-15). Separation is applied both personally and ecclesiastically.

 

Angels and Satan: Angels are holy, spiritual beings created by God to minister to Him (Revelation 8:3-4) and to the saints (Hebrews 1:14). They have different ranks (Isaiah 6:2, Colossians 1:16, and Jude 9) and functions (Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 16:1, and Luke 1:11-20 and 26-38). All angels are under Christ's authority (I Peter 3:22). Satan was possibly one of the cherubim (Ezekiel 28:12-19) before he sinned and fell. Other angels sinned and fell with Satan (Revelation 12:4 and Job 4:18) and remain in opposition to God (Ephesians 6:12 and Daniel 10:13). Some demons (or fallen angels) have been imprisoned already and are waiting their final judgment (Jude 6). Their sin was pride (Isaiah 14:12-15 and Jude 6), followed by disobedience. Satan is powerful, but his power is limited (Luke 4:6). He deceives the world and opposes/accuses believers before God (Zechariah 3:1 and Revelation 12:9-10). Satan and his demons are destined for the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10 and Matthew 25:41).

 

Last Things: We believe in a pretribulational rapture of believers (cf. I Thessalonians 5:9 and Revelation 6:16-17) and a premillennial Second Coming of Christ. We believe in two separate resurrections (Revelation 20:6) -- one for believers (the rapture) followed by the Judgment Seat of Christ (II Corinthians 5:8-11) and one for unbelievers followed by the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). We believe in a literal 7-year Tribulation (Daniel's 70th Week) which will take place sometime after the rapture and before the Second Coming of Christ. We believe in a literal 1,000-year kingdom (Revelation 20:1-6) in which Christ will sit on a literal (Davidic) throne and rule here on the earth. We also believe in an eternal punishment for unbelievers (Revelation 20:11-15) and a heavenly reward for believers (John 14:1-3).