STATEMENT of FAITH
A) The HOLY BIBLE: We believe the sixty-six books of the Holy Bible is God’s written revelation to all mankind. The Bible was given to us by God the Holy Spirit and it constitutes the plenary (inspired equally in all parts) Word of God. The Bible is God-breathed and is therefore completely infallible (unable to fail) and inerrant (without error) in the original documents. The Bible is an objective, propositional revelation that reveals the mind of God to man, and points to the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation. The Bible is the only reliable guide for our daily thought-life as well as our practical, moral, and spiritual instruction. [Mark 12:26, 36; Luke 24:27, 44; John 5:39; Acts 1:16; 17:2-3; 18:28; 26:22-23; 28:23; Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 2:13; 10:11; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21; Rev. 1:1-3; 19:10]
B) INTERPRETATION of SCRIPTURE: We believe the customary, God-honoring, normal interpretation of Scripture is the tried and true literal interpretation of Scripture. As in all communication, it takes into careful consideration its grammatical and historical components. We believe that, whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true meaning or interpretation. Although New Testament writers referred to Old Testament passages using various methods, (literal with literal; literal with typical; literal with application; summation), those Old Testament verses nevertheless retain their single original meaning. If one allows for multiple meanings, the interpretations become subjective and the original authorial intent is lost.
Within normal, literal interpretation there is room for poetry, figures of speech, illustrations, types, and symbols. Yet, these literary categories do not depart from the normal interpretative understanding of biblical truth but rather enhance and enrich the literal interpretation. Normal interpretation also argues for “progressive revelation” whereby the Holy Spirit revealed certain truths to us progressively over a period of time. For example, the revelation of Jesus Christ starts in Genesis, but is not fully complete until the book of Revelation. [Luke 1:1-4; 24:44-45; John 21:20-23; Acts 1:6-8; 17:11-12; 26:6-7]
C) The GODHEAD: We believe the Godhead eternally exists in three persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—and that these three are one God, having the precise same nature, attributes, and perfections and worthy of precisely the same honor, confidence, and obedience. [Mt. 28:18-19; Mark 12:29; John 1:14; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor. 13:14; Heb. 1:1-3; Rev. 1:4-6]
D) SOVEREIGNTY of GOD: We believe God is Absolute Sovereign over all creation and history and that He has a determined plan for the whole world and no one can alter His purposes. What He has planned, He will accomplish. No one counsels or assists God in His decisions. Sovereignty also extends to the providence of God whereby He sustains all creatures, giving them life and removing life as He pleases. In sovereignty, all things were created for the glory of God and all things exist for Him.
The sovereignty of God also extends to the doctrine of divine election whereby those chosen by the counsel of the Lord’s own will, shall come to Him in faith. Election is God’s eternal choice of some persons unto everlasting life. It is not because of any foreseen merit in them, but because of God’s grace and mercy, and in consequence of His choice they are called, justified and glorified.
Even though this is difficult to reconcile in human understanding, the sovereignty of God does not remove the personal responsibility of each man to believe in Jesus Christ. All men everywhere are called to repent and all men everywhere are invited to partake of the water of life freely. We believe that Christ died for the sins of all mankind making salvation possible for all mankind. However, only those who are justified by faith in Christ’s substitutionary death are saved and reconciled to God.
God is also not the author of sin. Yet in some mysterious way, God’s decrees include all that takes place in the universe, both sinful and righteous. [Deut. 32:39; Prov. 16:1, 4, 9, 33; Isa. 14:26-27; 40:13-14; 46:9-11; Dan. 4:34-35; Hab. 1:6; John 6:37, 39, 44-45; Acts 2:22-23, 36; 4:27-28; 13:48; 17:30; Rom. 5:1; 8:29-30; 2 Cor. 5:14-21; Eph. 1:3-14; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 John 2:2; Rev. 4:11; 22:17]
E) ANGELS- FALLEN and HOLY: We believe God created an innumerable company of sinless, spiritual beings, known as angels. One, “the anointed cherub,” of the highest rank sinned through pride thereby becoming Satan, the adversary. A great company of the angels followed him in his moral fall and unholy rebellion. Some of them became demons and are active as his agents in the prosecution of his unholy purposes while others who fell are “reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6). In contrast to the fallen angels, the unfallen holy angels watch, worship, and glorify God as they minister to those who are and who will be saved. [Job 38:4-7; Psa. 104:4; Isa. 14:12-14; Eze. 28:11-19; Mt. 18:10; 1 Tim. 3:6; Heb. 1:14; 1 Pet. 3:19-20; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6; Rev. 12:4]
F) MAN- CREATED and FALLEN: Following the sin of Adam, man could only produce descendants who would be sinners. Therefore, all mankind is under the penalty of sin and are all condemned and under the sentence of death. Only through the reconciliation of Christ by His death can any human being be saved. Sinners are justified by faith through Christ’s blood, and are rescued from the eternal wrath of God. [Gen. 1:26, 31; 2:17; Ex. 20.11; Psa. 14:1-3; 51:5; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 1:18-21, 24, 28; 3:11-18; 5:10-19; 2 Cor. 4:3-4; Eph. 2:1-6]
G) INCARNATION of CHRIST: We believe that, as provided and purposed by God and as preannounced in the prophecies of the Scriptures, the eternal Son of God came into this world that He might reconcile men to God and become the Redeemer of a lost world. To this end He was born of the virgin and received a human body and a sinless human nature. We believe that in fulfillment of prophecy He came first to Israel as her Messiah-King, and, being rejected of that nation, He gave His life as a ransom for all according to the eternal counsels of God. We believe that, according to the Scriptures, He arose from the dead in the same body in which He lived and died, a body now glorified, and that His resurrection body is the pattern of that body which ultimately will be given to all believers. [Luke 1:30-35; John 1:10-11, 18; 3:16; 20:20, 28; Acts 2:22-24; 1 Tim. 2:6; Phil. 3:20-21; Heb. 4:15; 1 John 3:2]
H) SALVATION ONLY through CHRIST: We believe that, owing to spiritual death through sin, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless born again. We believe no degree of reformation however great, no attainment in morality however high, no culture however attractive, no baptism or other ordinance however administered, can help the sinner take even one step toward Heaven. It is only through a new nature imparted from above and a new life implanted by the Holy Spirit through God’s Word that one may obtain salvation. Only those thus saved can be called sons of God. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ’s death alone. There is no other way to a right relationship with the Father. [John 1:12; 3:3, 16; 14:6; Acts 4:12; Rom. 1:16-17; 3:22; 10:9-13; Gal. 3:22; Eph. 2:8-9]
I) BELIEVER COMPLETE in CHRIST: We believe that, though the saved one will grow in the realization of his blessings and know a fuller measure of divine power through the yielding of his life more fully to God, he is, as soon as he is saved, in possession of every spiritual blessing and absolutely complete in Christ (positionally-speaking). Therefore, it is unnecessary to seek a so-called “second blessing,” “second work of grace,” or a “second baptism.” [Mt. 13:23; Luke 8:15; 1 Cor. 3:21-23; Eph. 1:3; Col. 2:10; 2 Pet 1:3-4; 1 John 4:17; 5:11-12]
J) ETERNAL SECURITY: We believe God keeps eternally all those He has elected and called to salvation and that none are lost. When necessary, God will chasten and correct His own children in infinite love. Once having undertaken to save them and keep them forever, God, who cannot fail, will in the end present everyone faultless in Christ, and on His merits alone, before the presence of His glory and conformed to the image of His Son. We believe that saints can have assurance that they are the children of God and are being eternally kept by the power of God. This assurance yields a steadfast confidence and peace, helping the believer grow in spiritual maturity. [John 5:24; 6:39; 10:28; Rom. 8:29-39; Eph. 1:3-21; 1 John 5:13]
K) The HOLY SPIRIT and the CHURCH: We believe the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, though omnipresent from all eternity, took up His abode in the world in a special sense on the day of Pentecost when He formed the Body of Christ, the Church, through His baptism. By His baptism He unites all to Christ in one body and indwells every believer. As the indwelling One, He is the Source of all power, of all acceptable worship and service, and of all spiritual gifts.
After the Church’s introductory phase was completed whereby the Church was established, we believe the spiritual gifts which were revelatory and miraculous in nature, as well as the Church-founding offices of apostle and prophet, have ceased due to the completion of their foundational, and therefore temporary, nature. [Mk. 16:20; John 7:37-39; 14:16-17; 16:7-15; 1 Cor. 2:9-16; 6:19; 12:1-14; 13:8-12; 2 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 2:19-22; Heb. 2:3-4]
L) CHURCH ORDINANCES: We believe the Lord Jesus Christ committed two ordinances to the local churches: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Communion). Christian baptism by complete immersion is the appropriate, God-honoring demonstration of a believer manifesting his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Lord. It reflects the believer’s union with Christ in His death to sin and in His resurrection to walk in newness of life. Water baptism also identifies believers together in the visible Body of Christ.
The Lord’s Supper is a remembrance and proclamation of His sacrificial death until He returns to rapture His Church. Its observance must be preceded by solemn self-examination. The elements of Communion only represent the body and blood of Christ since He is not actually in the elements. That being said, the Lord’s Supper in its entirety is an actual communion with our risen Lord who is present in a unique way and fellowshipping with those who participate in the Communion. [Acts 2:37-42; 8:36-39; Rom. 6:1-13; 1 Cor. 10:16, 21-22; 11:23-32]
M) GREAT COMMISSION: We believe it is the explicit command of our Lord Jesus Christ to make disciples in accordance with His Gospel, through evangelism of non-believers and instruction of believers, for the building up of the body of Christ. The content of the Great Commission is “… that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations …” (Luke 24:47, NKJV) and to “… make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you …” (Mt. 28:19-20, NKJV). Since Christ died for all mankind, commands all men everywhere to repent and invites all to take of the water of life freely, we believe that obedience to the Great Commission is part of our reasonable service. [John 17:18; Acts 1:8; 17:30; Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 5:14-21; 1 Pet. 3:15; 1 John 2:2; Rev. 22:17]
N) WOMEN and CHURCH MINISTRY: We believe within the Body of Christ men and women stand spiritually equal and constitute the Church universal. We believe women have had and always will have their God-given gifts and roles within this body. We encourage women to have personal ministries and to pursue the diligent study of the Word of God so they may teach other women and the children. The Scriptures are clear that the local church offices of Elder (Bishop or Pastor) and Deacon are to be filled exclusively by biblically-qualified men. No amount of evolutionistic or cultural debate can change what the Bible says about the individual and distinct roles and offices of both sexes. [John 6:70; 15:16; Acts 1:21; 6:3; 1 Cor. 11:5-10, 14-16; 14:34-38; 1 Tim. 2:9-15; 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 2:3-5]
O) The APOSTASY: We believe that without designating a specific timetable, the Apostle Paul warned of a progressive falling away from the faith that would lead to a heeding of deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons. Paul simply says it will occur in the latter times and produce hypocrisy and a searing of the conscience. This apostasy will be religious and moral in nature and will happen prior to the Rapture of the Church. It will culminate in the highest expression of apostasy at the revealing and worship of the son of destruction, the Antichrist. Paul taught that the seeds of apostasy were already present within the local church of his time and that the apostasy will continue until the Lord returns to destroy the Antichrist. [Acts 20:28-31; 2 Thess. 2:1-5; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:1-7: 4:1-5]
P) The BLESSED HOPE—the RAPTURE: We believe the next great event in the fulfillment of prophecy will be the coming of the Lord in the air to receive into Heaven both His own who are alive and all who have “fallen asleep” in Christ. This event is the “blessed hope”; therefore, we should be constantly looking for our Lord’s appearing. [John 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thess. 1:10; 2:19; 4:13-18; 5:23; 1 Tim. 6:14-15; 2 Tim. 4:1; Titus 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 5:4; 1 John 3:2; Rev. 3:10: 22:20]
Q) ISRAEL’S JUDGMENT and SALVATION: We believe the Rapture of the Church will be followed by the fulfillment of Israel’s seventieth week during which the Church, the Body of Christ, will be in Heaven. The seventieth week is a seven-year period of judgment upon the whole earth at the end of which “the times of the Gentiles” will be brought to a close. Jeremiah called the latter half of this seven-year period “the “time of Jacob’s trouble” and our Lord called it the “great tribulation.” We believe the period of great tribulation upon the earth will be climaxed by the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth in like manner as He ascended.
The 1000-year millennial age will follow Christ’s return and Satan will be bound in the Abyss. Israel will be restored to her own land and the Abrahamic Covenant will be fulfilled by the consummation of its three divisions: (1) Land (Palestinian Covenant), (2) Seed (Davidic Covenant), and (3) Blessing (New Covenant completed). During the millennial age the entire world will be brought to a complete knowledge of the Messiah. [Deut. 30:1-10; Isa. 11:9; Eze. 36:24-38; 37:21-28; Jer. 30:7-11; 31:31-37; Dan. 9:27; Zech. 12:2-10; 13:8-9; Mt. 24:3-25:46; Acts 3:19-21; 15:16-17; Rom. 8:19-23; 11:25-27; Rev. 6:1-20:6]
R) ETERNAL STATE: We believe that at death the spirits and souls of those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation pass immediately into His presence. They remain in conscious bliss until the resurrection of the glorified body when Christ comes for His own, whereupon soul and body reunited shall be associated with Him forever in glory. After death, the spirits and souls of the unbelieving remain conscious of condemnation and in misery until the final judgment of the Great White Throne at the close of the millennial age. At that time, their reunited soul and body shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power. [Luke 16:19-26; 23:42-43; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 20:11-15; 21:1-22:5, ]
S) DISPENSATIONALISM: Because God’s revelation is progressive, we believe the Bible presents the fact that God has not always dealt with mankind the same way in every age or period. According to Biblical terminology, these distinct periods are called “dispensations” (or administrations or stewardships) from the New Testament usage of the Greek word, oikonomia. We believe that traditional dispensationalism is the system that best explains the progressive revelation of these different administrations that God uses to deal with mankind. Traditional dispensationalism is characterized by (1) a consistent literal interpretation of Scripture, (2) a clear distinction between the nation of Israel and the Church, who is the Bride of Christ, and (3) by recognizing the glory of God as the ultimate purpose of God in the world. [1 Cor. 10:31-32; Eph.1:10; 3:2]