What We Believe
The Bible, though written by men, was divinely inspired and records God’s revelation of Himself to mankind. Because God is its author, it is wholly without error, and perfect in its divine instruction. The Bible reveals the depths of God’s love and the principles by which God judges us; therefore it is, and will remain, the true center of Christian union and the standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions will be tried. It is our infallible rule of faith and practice.
There is one, and only one, living and true God. He is the ever-present, all-knowing and all-powerful Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and perfection. To Him we owe our love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but of singular nature, essence, or being.
A. The Father
God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all-powerful, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become His children through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.
B. The Son
God is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ, He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, hence the God-Man. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself the demands and necessities of human nature and identifying Himself completely with mankind, yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, partaking of the nature of God and of man, and in whose person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.
C. The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior and effects regeneration. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the assurance of God to bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
Man was created by God, in His own image, and is the crowning work of His creation. In the beginning, man was innocent of sin and was granted freedom of choice by the Creator. Through the temptation of Satan, man used his free choice to sin against God, which brought sin into the world; thus all men have inherited a sin nature and an environment inclined toward sin. As soon as each man is capable of moral action, he becomes a transgressor and bears the weight of condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring a man back into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. Because God created man in His own image, and Christ died for man, every man is worthy of dignity, respect and love.
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense, salvation includes regeneration, repentance and faith, sanctification, and glorification.
Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and surrender of one’s entire person to Him as Lord and Savior. Justification is the declarative act of God by which, on the basis of the sufficiency of Christ’s atoning death, He pronounces every believer to be righteous, that is, to have fulfilled all of the requirements of the law. Justification brings the believer into a personal relationship of peace and favor with God.
Sanctification is the experience, beginning at the new birth, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, and is enabled to progress toward Christ-likeness through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the believer’s life.
Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.
There will be a final resurrection for all men, the just and unjust. Those who surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ during this life will be raised to everlasting life in Heaven, but those who did not surrender their lives to Jesus Christ in this life will be raised to everlasting condemnation in Hell.
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a local body of baptized believers who are associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel, observing the two ordinances of Christ, committed to His teachings, exercising gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend this message of the gospel to the ends of the earth.
The church is an autonomous body with each member equally responsible. It operates under the Lordship of Christ following Scriptural teachings. Two offices serve the church: it is led and overseen by men in the office of pastor/elder and served by men and women in the office of deacon.
The New Testament speaks also of the church body as the body of Christ, which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a public testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is a prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby followers of Christ, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, remember the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.