What We Believe
The necessity of sound doctrine in the church is a consistent theme of the New Testament (1Tim. 1:3, 10; 4:16; 6:3; 2Tim. 1:13; 3:16; 4:2). It is essential to her spiritual health (Eph. 4:14-15); it is the standard by which her conduct is evaluated (Titus 2:1); it is the faith that she contends for (Jude 3); it is the truth which she upholds (1Tim. 3:15-16).
There is a very real sense in which we can say the Bible is our creed, for the right doctrine is an accurate and systematic statement of what the bible teaches. It is impossible to discern right and sound doctrine without being a student of the Scriptures. Therefore, we affirm our dependence upon the Scriptures for our doctrine, and gladly uphold the Bible as our final authority.
The statement of doctrine outlined below is not meant to be exhaustive. We recognize and respect the differences that exist among Christians on secondary matters (e.g. whether Christs return will be pre, mid, or post tribulation). Rather, it is a summary of those truths we hold to be foundational to the Christian faith and around which we can unite in our service to the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, on secondary issues we hold to the following philosophy of biblical unity.
In Essential Beliefs We Have Unity
"There is one Body and one Spirit...there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of us all..." Eph. 4:4-6
In Non-Essential Beliefs We Have Liberty
"Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters... Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls... So then each of us will give an account of himself to God... So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God." Romans 14:1,4,12,22.
In All Our Beliefs We Show Charity
"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.." 1 Cor. 13:2 (NIV)
God is Triune
There is one God: infinite, eternal, almighty and perfect in holiness, truth and love. In the unity of the Godhead there are three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit; they are co-existent, co-equal, co-eternal. The Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Holy Spirit, yet each is truly Deity. One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the foundation of the Christian faith and life.
God the Father is the Creator of heaven and earth. By His Word and for His glory, He freely created the world from nothing. Through the same Word He daily sustains all His creatures. He is faithful to every promise, works all things together for good to those who love Him, and in His unfathomable grace He gave His Son Jesus Christ for mankind's redemption. He made man for fellowship with Himself, and intended that all creation should live to the praise of His glory.
Jesus Christ is true God and true man. He lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father and voluntarily atoned for the sins of all by dying on the cross as their substitute, thus satisfying divine justice and accomplishing salvation for all who trust in Him alone. He rose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He lived and died. He ascended into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of the Father, where He, the only Mediator between God and man, continually makes intercession for His own. He shall come again to earth, personally and visibly, to consummate history and the eternal plan of God.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, who came forth from the Father and Son. His purpose being to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment; to regenerate, sanctify and empower for ministry all who believe in Christ. We believe the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Jesus Christ, and that He is an abiding Helper, Teacher, and Guide. We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit who uniquely endows each believer with gifts for the building up of Christs Church.
We believe that Scripture in its entirety originated with God, and that it was given through the instrumentality of chosen men. It is indeed "God breathed". Scripture thus at one and at the same time speaks with the authority of God and reflects the backgrounds, styles and vocabularies of the human authors. We hold that the Scriptures are infallible and inerrant in the original manuscripts. They are the unique, full and final authority on all matters of faith and practice and there are no other writings so inspired by God.
God made man - male and female - in His own image, as the crown of creation, that man might have fellowship with Him. Tempted by Satan, man rebelled against God. Being estranged from his Maker, yet responsible to Him, he became subject to divine wrath, inwardly depraved and apart from grace, incapable of returning to God. Fallen, sinful people, whatever their character or attainments, are lost and without hope apart from salvation in Christ.
Salvation, the free gift of God, is provided solely by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Anyone turning from sin in repentance and looking to Christ and His substitutionary death is born anew into eternal life by the Holy Spirit and declared to be righteous as a gift. Through Christs great redemptive act an individual is reconciled to God as Father and becomes His child. The believer is forgiven the debt of sin and liberated from the law of sin and death into the freedom of Gods Spirit.
God, by His Word and Spirit, creates the Church, calling sinful humanity out of the whole human race into the fellowship of Christs Body. By the same Word and Spirit He guides and preserves that new redeemed humanity. The Church is not a religious institution or denomination. Rather, the Church universal is made up of those who have become genuine followers of Christ and personally appropriated the Gospel. The Church exists to worship and glorify God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It also exists to serve Him by faithfully doing His will on earth. This involves a commitment to see the Gospel preached in all the world for a testimony. The ultimate mission of the Church is the redemption of people. All members of the Church universal are to be a vital and committed part of a local church. In this context they are called to walk out the New Covenant as the people of God and demonstrate the reality of the Kingdom of God. The ascended Christ has given gift ministries to the Church for the equipping of Christs body that it might mature and grow. Through the gift ministries all members of the Church are to be nurtured and equipped for the work of ministry. In the context of the local church Gods people received pastoral care and the opportunity to employ their God given gifts in His service in relation to one another and the world.
The consummation of all things includes the visible, personal and glorious return of Jesus Christ; the resurrection of the dead, the judgment of the just and unjust, and the fulfillment of Christs Kingdom in the new heavens and the new earth. In the Consummation, Satan with his hosts and all those outside Christ are finally separated from the presence of God, and enduring eternal punishment, but the righteous, in glorious bodies, shall live and reign with Him forever. Married to Christ as His Bride, the Church will be in the presence of God forever, serving Him and giving Him unending praise and glory. Then shall the eager expectation of creation be fulfilled and the whole earth shall proclaim the glory of God who makes all things new. Faith and Practice: - It is the will of God that each believer should be filled with the Holy Spirit and sanctified wholly, being separated from sin and totally dedicated to the will of God. Scripture is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. This church recognizes that it cannot bind the conscience of individual members in areas where Scripture is silent. Rather, each believer is to be led in those areas by the Lord, to whom he or she alone is ultimately responsible.