THE DOCTRINE OF THE BIBLE We believe that the Bible, consisting of the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, is the very Word of God. (II Timothy 3:16) We believe that God gave us His Word through specially chosen men and that He guided those men by His Spirit, so that the very words they wrote were the very words of God. (II Peter 1:21) We believe that God's Word has been fully preserved and is in all parts without error. (Psalm 12:6,7) We believe that God's Word is sufficient to equip believers for godly living (II Timothy 3:16, 17; II Peter 1:3), that it is complete and does not need to be improved upon by further revelation, and that it is authoritative and superior to the sciences, philosophy, and opinions of society. (Colossians 2:3-10) We believe in the literal-historical-grammatical interpretation of the Scriptures taken in their historical, literary, and cultural settings. We believe that Christians should seek out the plain meaning of the text by examining the context, the correct meaning of the words, and correlative passages of Scripture, in order to discover the proper meaning the writer intended to convey. (II Timothy 2:15) We believe that the purpose of the study of God's Word is the application of its teaching into our every day lives. (James 1:22-25)
THE DOCTRINE OF GOD We believe in the One, True, and Living Triune God, Who equally exists in Three Persons, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, Who is a Spirit Being (John 4:24), Who is everywhere present in the universe (Psalm 139:7-10), and Who is actively involved in the affairs of His creatures. We believe that God has made Himself near to man so that He can be known and understood (Acts 17:27-28), yet because of His greatness and glory, He cannot be fully known and understood, but must be worshipped, trusted, and greatly respected and feared (Isaiah 55:9, Deuteronomy 29:29). We believe that God is Holy and does not sin, that He is righteous and always does right, that He is just and will judge the wicked and righteous, and that He is loving, gracious, good, and kind, and therefore, thinks and acts toward His creatures for their benefit (I Peter 1:16, Zephaniah 3:5, Psalm 103, Titus 3:3, John 3:16, I John 3:16). We believe that God is infinite and therefore knows all things, possesses all wisdom, and is everywhere present at all times. He is the Ruler of the universe who controls all things and all men, and while always acting in accordance with His character, He does as He pleases so that His eternal will is always accomplished in every matter (Proverbs 15:3, Colossians 2:2,3, Psalm 139, Proverbs 21:1, Genesis 50:20, Daniel 4:17, Lamentations 3:37).
THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST We believe that Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the One, True, and Only Triune God, that He is fully God, that He therefore possesses all of the attributes of God, and that He has forever existed as God. (John 1:1-14, Colossians 1:16, John 8:58) We believe that Jesus Christ came to this earth being conceived in the womb of a virgin by the Holy Spirit, and while becoming fully human, both body and soul, He remained fully God. He possessed two natures, a human nature and a divine nature, distinct and remaining separate in the One Person. (John 10:30, 20:28, 8:40, 1:1-3, 1:14; Galatians 4:4) We believe that Jesus Christ lived upon this earth as a man, and in so doing, He chose voluntarily not to exercise the rights and powers He fully possessed as God. He came to this earth to give His life for sinful man, and as a sinless substitute, He experienced the full wrath of God in the believer's stead. He was miraculously resurrected from the grave on the third day after death, and He lives today as our Lord. (Philippians 2:5-12, Romans 5:8-11, I Corinthians 15:1-20, Acts 2:22-36)
THE DOCTRINE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT We believe that the Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Triune God Who is equal with God the Father and God the Son. He exists as a Spirit-Being, yet He is a real Person Who thinks, wills, and possesses emotions. (Matthew 28:19, Acts 5:3-8, I Corinthians 12:4-8) We believe that the Holy Spirit has eternally existed as God and was involved with the Father and the Son in the creation of the world. He convicts the world of sin, their need for righteousness, and the coming judgment of God. (Genesis 1:2, John 16:7-8) We believe that the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within believers at the very moment of salvation and places God's seal of ownership on their lives. The Spirit of God joins us to the body of Christ (baptism), enables us to comprehend the spiritual truths of God's Word, gives us the ability to change, grow, and please God, and gives to every believer at least one spiritual gift for serving in the church. (I Corinthians 2, 6:19-20; Ephesians 1:13-14, Romans 8:8-10) We believe that the Spirit of God gave special gifts to the early church that He does not continue to give today. (I Corinthians 12:4-7) These temporary sign gifts were limited to the Apostolic Age (Hebrews 2:1-3), and therefore, ceased after that time. These gifts include miracles, healing, languages, and the interpretation of languages.
THE DOCTRINE OF ANGELS We believe in the existence of angels, both good and evil. Angels are individual spirit-beings, created by God, who possess intellect, will, and emotions. They are superior to man in all areas of their being; but they are inferior to God and were created for the purpose of serving Him. The number of angels in existence, though great, is unknown. (Hebrews 1:1-8, 13-14; 2:6-8; 12:22, Colossians 1:15-18) We believe the angels of God live today as God's servants to worship God in His presence, to carry out His will on this earth, and to minister to believers according to His will. (Revelation 5:11-12, Hebrews 1:13-14) We believe the evil angels were the angels of God but rebelled against God in heaven, and of their own free will followed the angel Satan. Satan and his angels (demons, devils) dwell in outer darkness (an unknown place) but have access to and power in this earth. (II Peter 2:4, Jude 6) We believe Satan and evil angels oppose God and His followers (Christians) and have it as their goal to promote discord and turmoil among the followers of God. They develop and promote false doctrine, they tempt believers by use of this world and believers' weaknesses, they blind unbelievers to the truth of Jesus Christ; but their power is limited and temporary though real and effective. (Ezekiel 28:12-14, Isaiah 14:12-15, II Timothy 3:1-4, I Corinthians 7:4-5, Ephesians 4:26-27) We believe though Satan and evil angels can enter into human bodies and control their minds and bodies, this power and control is limited to unbelievers, is subject to Christ's authority even in unbelievers, and is not the primary way Satan works in the world. With the exception of Christ and the apostles of the early church, men have not been given authority or power to cast out or speak to evil spirits. The believers' warfare against Satan is not physical in nature, but spiritual, as outlined in Ephesians 6:10-18. (I John 5:18, I Corinthians 6, 19-20, Mark 5:1-16)
THE DOCTRINE OF MAN We believe that man was created directly by God and is, in no sense, the product of evolution or an animal ancestry. Man is superior to the animals and the rest of creation because he alone was created in the "image of God", which is a finite reflection of the infinite God. (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:7) We believe that man was created a physical (material) being and a spiritual (immaterial) being. The physical aspect of man which can be seen is interrelated to and inseparable from the spiritual aspect of man which thinks, desires, emotes, and wills. These two aspects of man are separated only by death in which the spirit (sometimes called the soul) ascends into heaven in the case of a believer or into hell in the case of an unbeliever. (Genesis 2:7, James 2;29) We believe that all men, because of the sin of Adam, are born as sinners. I believe that Adam sinned as man's representative and that man by nature became sinful and has been wholly affected by sin in both his body and soul. Man is therefore separated from a relationship with God, destined for eternal wrath and punishment, and unable to please God or extract himself from his sinful state. (Romans 5:1-12, 3:10-18)
THE DOCTRINE OF SIN We believe that sin is any failure to conform to the standard God has set forth in His Word (I John 3:4) and whether arising out of rebellion, carelessness, ignorance, stubbornness, the deceit of another, or the provocation of another sinner, the sinner is responsible as an individual before God for this thoughts and deeds. Sin may or may not produce a sense of guilt in the sinner, but it always makes the sinner guilty before God for violating His standards whether committed intentionally or unintentionally. We believe that every man has inherited a sin nature from Adam and that they are therefore born into this word as sinners. Man has been affected by sin in his material (physical) aspect so that he encounters disease, pain, limitations, and death. Man has also been affected by sin in his immaterial (spiritual) aspect so that his desires, will, emotions, motives, thoughts, and other functions of his inner man have been affected by sin. Man can therefore be said to be completely, in all areas of his person, affected by sin (total depravity) and deserving of eternal punishment. (Romans 3:10-18, Psalm 51:5) We believe that the rest of creation including the animal kingdom and the entire universe has been affected by the curse of sin so that it awaits future judgment and recreation by God the Judge and Creator. (II Peter 3:7, Romans 8:22) We believe that man, because of his sinfulness, is deserving of eternal punishment as the just and due recompense for his sin and that any good he receives or enjoys is because of the goodness and grace of God.
THE DOCTRINE OF SALVATION We believe that God is loving and merciful and desires to forgive man, but that He is also just and righteous and must judge their sin. Therefore, God in love, seeing man's sinful condition, sent His beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, to experience the judgment of God on the cross for man's sin. (Romans 3:9-31, 5:1-12) We believe that Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, willingly laid down His life on the cross of Calvary; and that God in His justice poured out His wrath on His Son in the believer's stead. (Romans 3:25, Isaiah 53:4-6, 10; Romans 4:20-25) We believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead after His physical death, proving that He was Lord and showing to all that He alone had overcome the power of sin, which is eternal death. We believe that all who recognize their sinful condition and their inability to save themselves from God's wrath may receive forgiveness by trusting in Christ alone as the full and sufficient payment for their sin. At the very moment of faith, the Father declares the sinner to be just, righteous, and forgiven because of the work that Christ did in their stead. (Romans 3:9-31, 5:8-11) True genuine faith is always accompanied with repentance (a turning from sin and self to God and righteousness) and will inevitably produce good works. (Ephesians 2:8-10, Acts 2:37-38, James 2:14-26, I John 1:1-3:10)
THE DOCTRINE OF THE EFFECTS OF SALVATION We believe that at the very moment of salvation the believer is made to be a new person with the power to overcome sin, and the old person which was enslaved to sin has been done away with. The believer, as a new person, still possesses a sin nature but has been given power and strength to grow and change through the indwelling Holy Spirit. (Regeneration: to be born anew/again) (Romans 6-8, Titus 3:1-8) We believe that the Holy Spirit comes to live within the believer at the moment of salvation and that change is brought about in his life as the Spirit enables the believer to actively work at putting off sinful habits of thinking and behavior and replacing them with godly habits of thinking and behavior that please and honor God. (Progressive Sanctification) (Ephesians 4:17-24, Romans 8:8-10) We believe that those who are believers will sin and this displeases the Father. We recognize man will never be made perfect in this life and must ever seek to grow and change in order to become more like Jesus Christ. Yet those who are truly saved will evidence righteousness in their lives. They will recognize and confess sin to God and others, and they will not continue in sin as a way of life. (Perseverance of the Saints) (I John 1:8-10, 2:3-5, 3:5-10) We believe that the unbeliever (the unregenerate man) is capable of doing some good, but because of his sinful condition even the good that he does is affected by pride, selfishness, and sinful motives, so that it is impossible for him, without salvation, to live in a manner pleasing unto God. (Total Depravity of Man) We believe that because of man's depravity, God's intervention is essential in salvation. (Romans 3:10-18, Ephesians 2:1-5, I Corinthians 2:1-14) We believe that all who have received salvation through Jesus Christ have been promised eternal life and a future body that is physical in nature but is neither affected by sin or its consequences. We will therefore live forever to enjoy the blessings of the new kingdom in the new city, new earth, and new universe that God is preparing for His saints. (Glorification) (Romans 7:18-25, I Corinthians 15:35-38)
THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH We believe that Jesus Christ established the organization known as the church. The church was established following the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ into heaven on the day of Pentecost. It is comprised of those persons who trust in Jesus Christ alone as Savior and Lord, who follow Him in water baptism as an outward symbol of their salvation, and who regularly assemble together for teaching, fellowship, service, remembering the Lord's death and resurrection (The Lord's Supper), and worship. (Acts 2:37-47, Matthew 16:18) We believe that the purpose of the establishment of the church was to make disciples, as members engage in the evangelizing of unbelievers, and the encouragement and edification of one another. The church should be seeking out new and creative ways to accomplish these objectives in an ever changing society, but should never change the message of the gospel for evangelizing or the message of the Word of God used for edifying believers. (Matthew 28:18-20) We believe that Pastor-teachers (Elders) have been given to the church to lead, teach, reprove, counsel, and train believers for the purpose of maturing them to use their individual gifts and abilities for ministry to one another and the unbelieving world. (I Peter 5:1-14, Ephesians 4:11-16, I Timothy 2:2, 4:11-12; Acts 20:28-31, II Timothy 4:2) The deacons are to be chosen by the church to assist the Pastors in their work and are to be engaged in ministry with them. (Acts 6:1-8, I Timothy 3:8-13) The whole congregation is to meet together regularly and habitually to receive instruction from God's Word, to worship God, to observe the Lord's Supper, to fellowship with one another, and to encourage one another to continual obedience and love. (Hebrews 10:24-25, Acts 2:42-47) We believe the church is under direct orders to practice church discipline and is to follow the biblical steps outlined in Matthew 18:15-19. (1. Go alone 2. Take one or two more 3. Inform the church 4. Remove from fellowship) The goal in this matter is always restoration and reconciliation for God's glory. The church has been issued this authority by Jesus Christ Himself, and they are to exercise this authority fairly, taking the proper biblical steps out of concern for the unrepentant member and the purity and testimony of the church. (I Corinthians 5, Matthew 18:15-20, II Thessalonians 3:6-15) No member is to be disciplined who has experienced genuine repentance, and members who have been disciplined by removal from fellowship are to be immediately restored, encouraged, and assisted should they repent. (II Corinthians 2:5-8) In issue concerning civil suit, members are not permitted to take other members to court without first following the steps of Matthew 18:15-19, and then, only if the brother is removed from the membership can the matter be handled in civil court (I Corinthians 6:1-12, Matthew 18:17).
THE DOCTRINE OF THE FUTURE We believe in the future, literal return of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will come from heaven to deliver his saints from the great tribulation period (I Thessalonians 1:10, II Thessalonians 5:9-10, Revelation 3:10, Revelation 6:17, II Thessalonians 1:6-10) At His coming the dead in Christ will be raised in glorified bodies, and the living in Christ will be given glorified bodies and they will all be caught up to meet the Lord in the air before the great tribulation of seven years. We believe that Christ will return to the earth with His Saints at the conclusion of the great tribulation period to defeat Satan and his army and to rule and reign on the earth for a thousand years (Revelation 19:11-20:3). At the conclusion of the thousand years, Satan will be loosed for a brief season and finally be defeated and bound in torment for eternity (Revelation 20:7-10). We believe that God will hold all men accountable for every deed they have done in their bodies, including their thoughts and motives (II Corinthians 5:9-10, I Corinthians 4:4-5). Believers shall receive commendation and rewards or rebuke and the loss of rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Unbelievers will receive varying degrees of punishment in eternal hell, which is a literal place of darkness and punishment, along with Satan and his angels, at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). At the conclusion of the final judgment and the final defeat of Satan, believers will dwell in a new kingdom which will consist of a new universe, a new earth, and a new capital city in which we will rule and reign with our Lord who will be the Kind and Ruler forever. There will be no tears, neither death, neither sorrow, for our Lord will make everything new (Revelation 21:1-4).