STATEMENT OF FAITH
From the days of the Apostles, Christians have expressed doctrine (beliefs) in brief, definitive statements. As those who know God, we believe it necessary to set forth in a concise fashion the cornerstone truths of our church as informed by Scripture.
We see our Statement of Faith as:
- A general, abbreviated expression of the church’s doctrinal consensus and hermeneutical method
- A series of theological signposts that mark the pathway teachers agree to track, and learners can expect to hear, at every level of instruction in the life of the assembly
- An aid in determining that a prospective member is fit to unite with our assembly and to covenant to “support its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrine”
- A theological primer for use in the instruction of new believers, family devotions, and the assembly
We believe that God has chosen to reveal his existence and power in the created order, to reveal his glory and saving grace in the Holy Scriptures, and to supremely reveal himself in Jesus, the incarnate Word. We believe the authors of the Bible (the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments) were carried along in their work by the Holy Spirit such that every word of the original texts was without error.
We believe that the Bible alone is God’s written Word. It is the complete and final revelation of God’s will for this age, sufficient for all God requires his people to believe and do, and holds supreme authority over every domain of knowledge. The Bible is a sacred trust that the church is commissioned to defend against false doctrine and practice in strict keeping with its original meaning.
The Triune God
We believe in one God, eternally existing in three equally and fully divine persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who have always enjoyed eternal fellowship with one another. This one, true, and living God is infinitely perfect, the Creator of all things, visible and invisible, and thus worthy to receive all glory and adoration. Eternal, immortal, immutable, and self-sufficient, he perfectly, intuitively, and exhaustively knows all things, past, present, and future. He ordains, sustains, and sovereignly rules over all, accomplishing his eternal purposes to redeem a people for his name and to restore his fallen creation to the praise of his glorious grace.
We believe in God the Father, the first member of the Trinity, who possesses all the attributes and perfections of the Godhead. His fatherhood pertains to his relationships within the Trinity and with all mankind. Through the agency of the Son, the Father created the heavens and the earth freely, supernaturally, and out of nothing in six days. He rules over all things and always acts for the praise of his glory.
The Father is merciful and gracious, forgiving, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. He is always faithful to his covenant promises. He is a holy and righteous judge who never ignores sin or clears the guilty unjustly. By grace alone, the Father chose a people for his name, sent his Son to redeem them, and works through his Spirit to sanctify them and ultimately to glorify them.
We believe in God the Son, the second member of the Trinity and eternally begotten of the Father, who possesses all the attributes and perfections of the Godhead. He was the agent of creation and sustains it. In his incarnation, we believe that God the Son took on flesh, being supernaturally conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary by the agency of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is truly God and truly man. He is the image of the invisible God, the exact representation of his nature. Jesus is the only Savior of humanity, having offered himself on the cross, according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of the Father, as a sinless sacrifice in the place of sinners—the just dying for the unjust that he might bring us to God. We believe that the Father raised Jesus from the dead bodily on the third day, that the risen Christ appeared to many faithful witnesses, and that he ascended into heaven to take his seat at God’s right hand. From this exalted throne, Jesus intercedes for his people as their great high priest, reigning until the day that all his enemies are subdued before him.
We confess that Jesus is Lord and that he is the Messiah promised in the Old Testament. We believe that the exalted Christ is head of the church, which is his body, that he will return to earth in order to judge sinners, and that he will dwell with his people forever.
The Holy Spirit
We believe in God the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity, who possesses all the attributes and perfections of the Godhead. Being sent by the Father and the Son, and proceeding eternally from both, the Spirit glorifies Jesus and convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. The Spirit regenerates the spiritually dead and enables them to repent of their sins and confess Jesus as Lord when they trust the gospel. From that moment on, the Spirit is constantly present with and in believers to strengthen, purify, and lead them.
The Spirit baptizes, indwells, seals, fills, intercedes for, and comforts believers, assuring them that they belong to God’s family through union with Christ. The Spirit instructs believers in the right understanding and application of God’s Word, endows them with gifts to be used for the edification of Christ’s body, and empowers them for Christ like service and holy living.
At pivotal moments in salvation-history, the Spirit has chosen to bestow miraculous sign-gifts such as tongues, healing, and prophecy, primarily for the purpose of authenticating messengers of new revelation. The Spirit himself is the down payment of our promised, eternal inheritance. As the Father raised Jesus from the dead through the Spirit, God will also give life to our mortal bodies through the Spirit.
We believe God created a great company of sinless spirit beings, that one of these angels rebelled against the Creator, becoming Satan, and led a host of angels in rebellion against the Lord. Satan is now the god of this age and the ruler of all the powers of darkness. Operating by constraint under God’s sovereign rule, he is destined to the judgment of eternal punishment in the lake of fire.
We believe that God created mankind in his own image, as male and female, to display what God is like. Adam and Eve were the crowning jewels of the created order which God declared “very good”. God commissioned them to subdue and steward creation for his glory as they walked in loving fellowship with their Maker. Tracing their physical ancestry from Adam and Eve, all people are made in God’s image and all human life, from the moment of conception to the grave, is to be cherished and every person treated with requisite dignity. We believe that God alone determines gender and that he does so genetically, at conception, as a gift.
We believe that God created Adam and Eve equal in their standing before him, yet distinct in their manhood and womanhood in order to complement one another in a life-long, monogamous, one flesh union. Such a covenanted union between one man and one woman is the only divinely approved parameter for sexual expression of any kind—God ordaining marriage as a type of the union between Christ and his church. In accord with God’s creative design, the husband is to exercise headship over his wife in a way that displays the caring, sacrificial love of Christ for his church, and the wife is to submit to her husband in a way that models the responsive love of the church for her Savior.
We believe that, although created sinless, Adam and Eve chose to follow Satan in defiance of their Creator. In consequence of Adam’s seminal rebellion, death and condemnation spread to all people and all creation was subjected to a divine curse. Apart from God’s intervention, every human being is, by nature, alienated from him, remains under Satan’s dominion, is corrupted in every aspect of his or her being (mentally, volitionally, emotionally, relationally, etc.), and stands under the sentence of death. Therefore, the supreme need of all people is to be delivered from God’s just and holy wrath, rescued from sin and death, and reconciled to God.
We believe that the gospel is the good news concerning God’s eternal Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. This message was prophesied and testified to in the Old Testament and is fulfilled, explained, and proclaimed in the New Testament. The gospel reveals that our Creator sovereignly determined to rescue sinners by offering the free gift of his righteousness to all who trust in his Son, Jesus of Nazareth, who lived a sinless life, died in our place to pay the just penalty of our sins against God, and was raised from the dead on the third day for our justification.
We believe that all who wholly trust this message are inseparably united to Christ, permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and declared righteous by God, being credited with the righteousness of Jesus. We believe that justification takes place at conversion and is an irrevocable act of the sovereign God by which he, through Christ’s saving work, secures the believer’s salvation for eternity.
We believe this gospel defines and unites God’s people. It is an exclusive message in that it expresses our only hope for salvation; yet it is an inclusive message in that it offers hope for all people. Although foolish in the world’s estimation, the gospel is the power of God for those who are being saved.
The Christian Life
We believe that all who are united by faith to Jesus Christ will, by God’s grace, demonstrate this reality in a life of joyful obedience to him. Although believers continue to sin, the gospel frees us not only from sin’s final penalty, but also from its present power. In Christ we are liberated from our natural bondage to sin and enabled by the indwelling Spirit to continue putting to death the deeds of the flesh.
We actively participate in this sanctification process as God produces in us, both individually and corporately, the desire and ability to please him. While complete sanctification is never realized in this life, the Spirit enables all believers to mature in the likeness of Jesus until we meet him in glory and are transformed into his likeness.
We believe that the church is comprised of all who have placed their personal, saving trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. The church is unified by its shared confession of Jesus as Lord and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. We believe the church exists on earth to glorify God—to worship him, proclaim the gospel to the lost, make disciples of all nations, care for and build up believers, and to do good to all people.
We believe that the universal church is manifested in local churches over which Christ is the only head. A local church is a spiritual family, consisting of Spirit-born believers in Jesus who covenant together as one body in order to fulfill his will in submission to the formative and corrective disciplines of the assembly. The church is to gather regularly for prayer, Bible reading, singing, giving, preaching, teaching, fellowship, and observance of the ordinances. Each local church member is gifted by God for the profit of the entire body and is to serve Christ faithfully, seeking the well being and spiritual growth of the flock.
The Lord has given two offices to the local church: elders (also referred to in Scripture as pastors or overseers) and deacons. The elders’ primary role is to lead the church to follow Christ by word and example. They are to do this by praying for the flock, by preaching, teaching, and defending God’s Word both publicly and privately, and by exercising attentive, spiritual watch-care over the flock. Christ ordains that only qualified men occupy the office of elder, with all members serving side-by-side as they utilize their gifts to advance Christ’s cause in conscious display of God’s creative design for male and female. Deacons must also be biblically qualified and are recognized by the church as official servants who oversee the tangible needs of the assembly so as to protect and enable the elders’ primary focus on prayer and the ministry of the Word.
We believe that human government is ordained by God for the benefit of society and that we are to pray for, honor, and submit to governing authorities unless doing so would require us to violate God’s will. We believe the church and civil government are to mutually benefit one another while operating separately within their respective, God-ordained realms of responsibility.
Baptism and the Lord's Supper
We believe Christ gave the church two ordinances: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism is the initiatory rite of the church—the sign that one has been united to Christ by faith. In baptism, believers are immersed in water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This public testimony signifies the inward change of heart that God has accomplished in the believer who has died with Christ to sin and has been raised with Christ to live a new life.
The Lord’s Supper is the continuing rite of the church—the sign that one belongs to the new covenant community and is a recipient of the redemptive benefits of Christ’s death. The Lord’s Supper serves to edify believers as we commune with Christ and his people in remembrance of our Savior’s sacrificial death and in anticipation of his glorious return.
We believe that the risen Christ is coming again, bodily and gloriously, to be united with his bride, the church, to rule over his millennial kingdom which he will deliver to the Father, and to judge the living and the dead. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the righteous to eternal joy in the Lord’s presence, and of the unrighteous to eternal punishment in separation from the Lord’s presence. We believe that at death the spirits of the redeemed pass immediately into God’s presence where they remain until the resurrection of the body, while the spirits of unbelievers remain after death in conscious misery until the final resurrection when they will be cast into the lake of fire to suffer eternal punishment.
We also believe that in the consummation, Satan and his forces will have been defeated and judged, sin and sorrow eradicated, and the redeemed blessed to dwell forever on the new earth in fellowship with the triune God—walking with him in holiness, serving him in joyful labor, and rendering to him the praise, honor, and glory due his matchless name.