I. The Scriptures
We believe that the Holy Bible is that collection of sixty-six books from Genesis to Revelation consisting of 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament.
We believe that the Holy Bible is uniquely and inseparably linked with the soul of man by common origin in the breath of God (see IX.); that the Bible is both verbal and plenary as originally given; that it is the very Word of God; that it is the sufficient, infallible, and inerrant authority in all matters to which it speaks (Ps. 119:105,130,160; Jn. 17:17; II Tim. 3:16,17; II Pet.1:21); that it is the true center of Christian unity (Rom. 15:4); that it is the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried (Job 34:12; Jn. 12:48; II Tim. 3:16,17; 4:1; Rev. 19:11-15; 20:11-15); and that it is a finished and enduring work (Ps. 119:89).
We believe that the nature and origin of the scriptures mandates the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in order to be properly understood (Mk. 12:24; Jn.14:16, 17, 20, 26; 15:26; 16:13; I Cor. 2:12,13). This understanding is always literal (Lk. 4:16-21, one example), saving in those places where the scriptures themselves allow for an exception (parables - Mt. 13:10,11; metaphors - II Cor. 30:12, hand of God, one heart; and poetry - Psalms, are some examples). We believe that no scripture is of any private interpretation (II Pet. 1:19-21), and that all scripture must be examined in the light of sound historical-grammatical rules (hermeneutics) appropriate to the context in which it is found (Eph. 4:11-16; II Pet.3:14-18). We believe the scriptures have one, and only one, interpretation, but may have many applications. We believe that scripture interprets scripture, thus no scripture should ever be understood aside from its larger Biblical context (Lk. 4:16-21; Acts 8:30; Rom. 15:4; etc.). Traditional perspectives owned and communicated by Jesus Christ, His apostles, and trustworthy historical church figures are to be weighed heavily in the application and teaching of the Word of God (Eph.2:19-22; I Jn. 5:20).
We believe that distinctions exist within God's present and historical operations and that such distinctions are clearly understood and visible, at the very least, between the Old and New Testaments (Mt 26:28; 1Cor. 11:25; II Cor.3:6,14; Heb. 6:20-7:28; 8:10-13). Combined with our beliefs stated under Section 3., above, we do not believe that Israel equals the church, there being many differences between them, not the least of which pertains to the presence and work of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 15:26; 16:7; II Cor. 5:17; Eph. 1:10; 3:1ff; Col. 1:25,26; Heb. 4-11).
We believe that man in his relationship with God must move from truth to experience and not from experience to truth (Gen. 1:1; Ps. 119:89; Prov. 30:5,6; Isa. 8:7-11; Mt. 7:21-23; Jn. 1:3,45-47; 5:39; 12:48; Rom. 3:4; Col. 1:16,17; II Tim. 3:16,17; I Pet. 1:23; Rev. 22:18,19).
II. The Trinity
We believe there is only one living and true God (Dt. 6:4; Mal 2:10; Mk. 12:32; I Cor. 8:6; I Tim. 2:5), eternally existing in three (3) persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit- united and equal in essence, attributes, and purpose, yet distinct and harmonious in their office and activity (Mt. 28:19; Lk. 1:35; Jn. 1:29-34; 5:30; 10:30; 14:11,20,26; 16:7,13-15,27; I Cor.8:6). God is spiritual in His being (Jn. 4:24); infinite (Rev. 1:8,11; 21:6; 22:13), immense, and glorious in His presence, person, and form (Ex. 3:2-6; 24:17; 29:43; Dt. 5:24; Ps. 19; etc.); holy in His uniqueness (Lev. 11:44,45; I Pet. 1:16); sovereign over His creation (Acts 17:24); righteous in all His dealings (Job. 34:12; Ps. 19:9; 116:5); omniscient in His wisdom (I Sam. 16:7; I Cor. 1:25); omnipotent in His force (Gen. 17:1); merciful and just (Ex. 34:6; Dt.4:31; Rom. 3:24-26); immutable (Heb. 13:8); the very perfection of goodness, love and truth (Ex. 34:6; Ps. 52:1; I Jn. 4:8,16). To love Him, worship Him, fear Him, please Him, honor Him, obey Him, serve Him, and enjoy Him is the duty of all His creation (Ex.20:2ff; Dt. 5:10; Ec. 12:13; Ps. 37:4,11; 40:8; Is. 58:2; Heb. 12:28).
III. God the Father
We believe in God the Father, and rejoice that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men, and seeks to fellowship with them (Jn. 3:13-17: 14:1; Rom. 5:6-9; 10:8-11; Jas. 1:17; I Pet. 1:17-21). We believe that He hears and answers prayer (Mt. 6:8; 7:7; Jas. 5:17), and that He enjoys a paternal relationship with believers only (Mt. 6:9), having made ample provision through His grace for their every need (Eph. 2:8,9; Phil. 4:19; II Pet.1:3,4), in accordance with His predetermined counsel and foreknowledge (Rom. 8:28ff; Eph. 1:3-14; 2:10; I Pet. 1:1-5). We believe He is the absolute and final authority to which all of His creation must give account (Rev. 20:11ff), and that those He determines to be righteous are admitted to everlasting life (Jn. 3:15; 5:24; 6:37, 39, 40), and that those He reveals to be unrighteous He condemns to everlasting death (Mt. 7:21-23; II Pet. 2:9-22).
IV. Jesus Christ the Son
We believe that Jesus Christ, being fully God, yet the only begotten Son of God (I Jn. 1:1-3; 4:9), is given by God the Father to be a mediator between God and man (I Tim. 2:5; Heb. 7:25; 8:6; 9:15; 12:24). We believe that Jesus Christ has given Himself freely to fulfill the will of God the Father, without exception (Is. 53:10,12; Jn. 5:30; 6:38; 10:15,17; Heb.9:14), and particularly, to the work of the salvation of certain men (Is. 53:11,12; Mt. 22:14; Jn. 1:12; 17:2; Acts 2:39; 13:48; Rom. 5:19; I Cor. 1:26; Heb. 2:10; 9:28; Rev 3:19), chosen in Him before the foundation of the world (Jn. 15:16,19; Eph. 1:4; II Thess. 2:13; I Pet. 2:9; Rev. 17:14). To this end it was deemed necessary by God the Father to send His Son to be born of a woman by means of the miraculous conception wrought through the person of the Holy Spirit (Isa. 7:14; Lk. 1:26-38; 2:1-20; etc.) that Jesus Christ might be singularly qualified to offer Himself as the supreme sacrifice for sin, becoming forever human in his nature, while retaining his divinity, yet without sin, confusion, or any admixture of error (Phil. 2:5ff; Heb. 4:15; etc.). In His life he honors the divine law by his personal and perfect obedience (Jn. 4:34: Rom. 5:19; Heb. 5:8), and in his death he has fully satisfied the demands of that law, as well as the justice of God (Rom. 3:25; 5:1,9; I Cor. 6:11; Gal. 2:16; Tit. 3:7; I Jn. 4:10), establishing his bride as the object of the new birth (Jn. 3:27ff; Eph. 5:22ff; Rev. 19:7ff), and securing for them life eternal. His current home is at the right hand of God the Father (Acts 7:55,56; Rom. 8:34; Col.3:1; I Pet. 3:22; etc.), His current work is intercession for the saints (Rom. 8:27; I Tim. 2:5; Heb. 7:25; 8:6; 9:14,15; 12:24) and His current form is a resurrected, glorified, and appropriately identifiable human body (Jn. 20:14,19,27; 21:12-14; Acts 1:3,9-11; I Cor. 15:4-8).
V. The Holy Spirit
We believe the Holy Spirit, being fully God (Mt. 28:19; Lk. 1:35; Jn. 1:32-34), was active in the creation (Gen. 1:1-3); that in His relation to the unbelieving world He restrains the evil one until God's purpose is fulfilled; that He convicts of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; that He bears witness to the truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony (Jn. 14:16,17,26; 16:7-15); that He is the Agent in the new birth (Jn. 3:5,6; Acts 11:15-18); that He seals, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses to, sanctifies, and helps the believer (Lk. 24:49; Acts 5:30-32; Rom. 8:14,16,26,27; I Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:13,14; Heb. 2:2-4; 9:14). We believe that the sign/revelatory gifts of the Holy Spirit have fulfilled their purpose and are not applicable to the work of the Holy Spirit today (I Cor.13:8-10; Rev. 22:18,19).
We believe that God created an innumerable company of spirit beings generally known as angels (Heb. 12:22). The chief of these (known as Lucifer, Satan, the Devil) led a host of these beings in rebellion against God (Isa. 14:12ff. II Pet. 2:4; Jude 1:6). While his demise has been secured by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, he currently rules as the god of this age and leads the powers of darkness until such time as he and his followers will be cast into the lake of fire (Matt.4:1ff; I Cor. 15:55-57; II Cor. 4:4; Eph.6:11, 12; I Pet. 5:8; Rev. 19:20; 20:10, 14).
We believe that the early chapters of Genesis are literal and accurate history, and therefore hold that the material universe, including man, came into being in six solar days (Gen. 1:14; Ex. 20:11; 31:17; etc.) by direct creation at the Word of God (Gen. 1:3, 6, 9, etc.), and not by evolution (Col. 2:8; I Tim. 6:20). While God is revealed in that creation in a general way (Ps. 19:1), because He is its creator and sustainer (Isa. 45:12; Jer. 51:15; Acts 17:24; etc.), He abides without any necessary relationship to it (Gen. 1:1; Jn. 1:1-4). All of creation suffers under the ill effects of the fall of man (Rom.8:22). The current heaven and earth will one day be replaced by a new heaven and a new earth (Lk. 21:33; Rev. 21:1).
VIII. Heaven and Hell
We believe heaven and hell are real places (Isa. 14:13-15; Lk. 16 - not a parable; Heb. 12:22, 23; Rev. 4: 1ff.), and as such, are not to be assigned to circumstances or states of being on this present earth. Hell is destined to be the eternal abode of all those who are judged unrighteous before God (Rev. 20:13, 14). By heaven we principally understand the dwelling place of God, of which all who are deemed righteous are citizens (Phil. 3:20; Heb. 11:8-16; I Pet. 2:11).
We believe that the Biblical account of the first man, Adam (being created from the dust of the earth and the breath of God) (Gen. 2:7; Job 33:4) and the first woman, Eve (being created from the body of Adam) is to be understood as a literal and historic reality (Gen. 2:21, 22). Spiritually, both men and women each bear the image of God (Gen. 1:26,27), and have equal value before Him in their essence, personality, attributes, devotion, usefulness, and service (Gen. 1:27,28; 3:6,7; Rom. 15:6; Eph. 5:21-33). Physically, they are not only created with distinctions in their sexuality, office, and activity so as to uniquely fulfill God's mandate (Gen. 2:15, 18-20; 3:16-19), but are to be honored with respect in accordance with these distinctions as well. These distinctions are to be regarded as durable, intentional, profound, and irreversible (I Cor. 14:33; Prov. 24:21; Mal. 3:6; Rom.1:26; Jas. 1:17). God has never authorized or blessed matrimony apart from the one man - one woman union He initiated in the garden (I Cor. 14:33; Gen. 2:21-25). We therefore believe that monogamous heterosexual marriage is God's only acceptable provision for human sexual activity (Prov. 5:18; Mt. 19:8; Mk. 10:2-12; I Tim. 3:2, 12; Tit. 1:6). We believe that human life begins at conception (Ps. 51:5; Isa. 7:14; etc. ) and that it is the duty of all mankind to protect, direct, and provide for that life until God - singularly and personally - intervenes (Gen. 5:24; Ps. 21:4; 61:6; Pr. 9:10,11).
We believe that sin is that state of being that opposes the purposes, person, and performance of God; that it is a totally insidious and corrupting presence in one's nature (sin the root) with a totally debilitating impact upon one's intellect, emotions, and will; and that sin evidences itself in every thought, word, and action (sins the fruit) of those who possess it. Sin is often characterized in Scripture by doubt, spiritual blindness, deceit, disobedience, rebellion, selfishness, pride, transgression of God's law, unrighteousness, ignorance, discontent, condemnation and judgment, etc. But the prevailing characteristic of sin is death - physical death: the separation of the body from the soul; spiritual death: the separation of the soul from God; and eternal death: the separation of the body and soul from God forever. [Gen. 2:16, 17; 3:1-19; Rom. 3:23; 5:12-21; 6:23; 14:23; I Cor. 15:22; Eph. 4:18, 19, 22; I Tim. 2:14; I Jn. 3:4; Rev. 19:20; 20:10]
We note that God Himself cannot sin, nor can He, in light of Who He is, allow sin to go unpunished.
Through the deception of the serpent (Lucifer) and the voluntary transgression of Eve, her husband (Adam) disobeyed God (Gen. 3:1ff; II Cor. 11:3; I Tim. 2:14). Adam, Eve, and all of their descendants (excepting Jesus Christ) are now sinners (Ps. 51:5; Rom. 3:23; 5:12). Consequentially, sin has now become the prevailing attribute of two principal entities - Lucifer and other fallen angels (for whom there is no known cure), and mankind. All sinners are under the condemnation of God (Jn. 3:18, 19, 36; Rom. 5:18) and all sinners are at enmity with Him (Rom. 8:7; Eph. 2:14-22). We believe that scripture clearly indicates one who possesses sin cannot remedy their own condition, but must depend wholly upon God for its extirpation (physician heal thyself). We believe that faith in Jesus Christ is mankind's only hope of escaping the wrath of God for sin (Jn. 3:3ff; Rom. 5:10-19; Jas. 1:17; I Pet. 1:18-23; I Jn. 5:1, 18).
It is the assertion of God that all men need to be saved (Jn. 3:1-18, vs. 7 esp.) and that salvation is of the Lord (Jon. 2:9). We believe that salvation occurs by grace alone (Jon.2:9; Jn. 1:12,13; 3:14-17) through faith alone (Eph. 2:8,9) in Christ alone (Acts 4:12; Eph. 1:3-6; Tit. 3:4-7; I Pet. 2:9) i.e. salvation is accomplished in accordance with the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God the Father (Acts 2:23; I Pet.1:2) who regenerates, converts, justifies, sanctifies, adopts, and ultimately glorifies certain men (elect) through the work of the Holy Spirit, in combination with the Word, based solely on the finished work of Jesus Christ (monergism), and apart from all human works. Genuine salvation is distinguished in these men by their having a repentant and believing heart, in conjunction with a transformed life that behaves consistently with the expectations and teachings of Jesus Christ for His disciples (any saving grace apart from these things, that involves a covenantal application of Christ’s death to the children of the elect, is to be rejected).
XII. The Church
We believe the church is that unique organism consisting of all genuine followers of Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:22; 4:15; Col. 1:18). We believe the church began on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own at the Rapture (I Cor. 15: 51, 52; I Thess. 4:13, 18). Jesus Christ is the sole and immediate Head of the church, being its architect and builder, and serves as its only true Officer, Shepherd and Guide (I Cor. 11:3; Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18; I Pet. 5:4). Triumphantly responsible for its protection, provision, and direction, the Lord and Savior Christ Jesus exercises His prerogative through the agency of the Holy Spirit, militantly promoting and anointing human leadership of the church from among its own membership through congregational government (the office of pastor and the office of deacon fulfilling the Biblical requirements). By this means He maintains the order, structure, discipline, worship, work, propagation, and expansion of each local assembly, holding its members singularly accountable for their conformity to, and physical support of, His divine standard and authority. The establishment, continuity, and cooperation of churches of like faith and practice is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:23, 27; 20:17, 28; Gal. 1:2; Philipp. 1:1; I Thess. 1:1; II Thess. 1:1) and all born again followers of Jesus Christ are directed to associate themselves together as members of one of these assemblies (I Cor. 11:18, 20; Heb. 10:25). As stated previously (I. The Scriptures) we renounce the notion that the promises God made to (and for) Abraham and his descendants have been in any way revoked or modified so that they may now be applied, spiritually or figuratively, to the church. The ordinances of the church are only two in number: baptism, and the Lord’s supper.
XIII. Last Things
We believe all men face certain final physical and spiritual judgment before the throne of God regarding their sin - the justified receiving eternal life, glory, and rewards, and the unrighteous receiving eternal death and torment in hell. We believe in the order of future events as follows (first to last, abridged): the completion of Christ’s church; the physical resurrection of the dead in Christ; the rapture of the living church; a seven year period of tribulation on the earth; the second coming of Christ to rule the earth for a thousand years (in fulfillment of the Davidic covenant); the final judgment of sin, sinners, and Satan; and the creation of a new heaven and new earth.
XIV. Hermeneutics, etc.
We hold to a literal (see I. The Scriptures, above), dispensational (seven dispensation) interpretation of the Word of God (as opposed to an allegorical, covenant theology approach). We do not believe the ultimate goal of Scripture is the salvation of men, but rather, the glory of God (the Great Commission exists solely because the worship of God doesn’t). We are very reluctant to distinguish the church as universal and local, primarily due to the practice of extending to the universal church all the benefits, promises, and joys of local church membership, without requiring of them the necessary service, commitment, and accountability intended for local church members (Note: the eternal blessing and joy of being the Bride of Christ appears to be reserved for local church members. This may be involved in the denial referred to in Matt. 10:33; 2 Tim. 2:12; Titus 1:16; as well as the parable of the ten virgins in Matt. 25).