WHAT WE BELIEVE

The Bible

We believe the Bible is God’s divine revelation of Himself to man. God gave His word by plenary (full, entire, complete), verbal inspiration penned by men whom He chose. The word of God is inerrant (without error), and has been and will continue to be providentially preserved. It is all-sufficient, instructing men in the way of salvation and godly living. It is the believer’s final authority for faith and practice. The Scriptures are illuminated to believers through the work of the Holy Spirit. They shall be interpreted according to their normal, grammatical, and historical meaning. All issues of interpretation and meaning shall be determined by the pastor. The canon of Scripture is complete in the thirty-nine books that make up the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books that make up the New Testament. The Authorized King James Version translated from the traditional Hebrew (Masoretic) and Greek (Textus Receptus) manuscripts is the best English translation of God’s Word, and shall be the translation exclusively used for teaching and preaching.

The Godhead

We believe God is one self-existent (does not depend on anyone or anything) God existing in a trinity of the Father, the Son (Word), and the Spirit – each co- eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections. These three are one in essence, but distinct in function. He created the universe and all that is in it in six literal, twenty-four hour days. God reveals Himself generally through creation and man’s conscience, and specially through His Word. God (the Father) is a personal, infinite spirit. God has many natural attributes. Among them, He is: eternal (without beginning or ending), immutable (unchanging), transcendent (infinitely exalted above His creation), immanent (present in His being and power in His creation), omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (everywhere present), and omnipotent (all-powerful). God also has many moral attributes. Among them, He is: holy (separate from sin), righteous (completely right and perfect), merciful (able to withhold what is deserved), gracious (able to give good that is not deserved), faithful (firm, constant), just (lawful), truth (cannot lie), jealous (of the worship and reverence due Him), love, and good (right, morally excellent).
 

Jesus Christ

We believe Jesus Christ is the second Person of the Trinity, the eternal Son of God. While separate from the Father in function, He is co-equal with the Father. The Bible is God’s message of Jesus and His work, the Old Testament unfolding the plan of salvation through Him and the New Testament describing the fulfillment of salvation through Him. Jesus came to the earth as a man for the purpose of giving His life for mankind. He was born of a virgin, as prophesied in the Old Testament and proclaimed in the New Testament. He is completely both man and God. He lived a sinless life, culminating in the offering of Himself willingly as the Perfect Lamb of God for the sins of the world. This was accomplished in His vicarious (substitutionary), propitiatory (satisfactory), and atoning death on the cross. Through His death we have redemption (price is paid) and reconciliation (removal of hostility) with God. Following the crucifixion, He was buried and rose bodily three days later, still bearing the marks of His suffering. Soon after His resurrection, He ascended to the Father where as our High Priest He fulfills the ministries of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate.

The Holy Spirit

We believe the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity. He is equal with the Father and the Son. He was present and involved in the work of creation. The Spirit is the agent for the inspiration of the Scripture. He was active in the life of Christ, including His death on the cross. He has a ministry to all men. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come. When a person trusts Jesus as his Savior, the Spirit regenerates (born again) him to life and seals him as a child of God in Christ. The believer is permanently baptized and indwelt by the Spirit at the moment of salvation. Though the believer is indwelt by the Spirit, it is his responsibility to be filled with the Spirit continually. The believer who is filled with the Spirit and thereby walking in the Spirit will live a victorious Christian life and bear the fruit of the Spirit. However, a believer can grieve and quench the work of the Spirit in his life. The Spirit’s ministry to the believer is further demonstrated in His comfort of the believer, illumination of the truth of God to the believer, and His intercession for the believer. The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to the believer for his use in service to God. Scripture indicates that those gifts referred to as sign gifts, such as speaking in tongues and the gift of healing, are not operable today.
 

Man

We believe man is the direct, special creation of God created on the sixth day of creation. He was created with both a material and an immaterial part consisting of body, soul, and spirit. God created man sinless, in the image of God, and with a free will. God’s first commandments to man were to have dominion over creation, be fruitful and multiply, dress and keep the Garden, and eat of every tree of the Garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The woman was made from a rib of the man and brought to him to be a help meet for him. The fall of man from his sinless state occurred when Adam willingly and knowingly ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God instituted marriage as a lifelong covenant between one naturally-born man and one naturally-born woman. The husband’s/father’s primary responsibilities are to love his wife as Christ loved the church, dwell with his wife according to knowledge, bring up his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and provide for his household. The wife’s/mother’s primary responsibilities are to submit to her husband as unto the Lord, demonstrate a meek and quiet spirit, love her husband and children, and keep the home. The children’s primary responsibilities are to obey and honor their parents. Parents are responsible for teaching their children spiritual and moral values through consistent lifestyle, example, and appropriate discipline – including Scriptural corporal correction.

Sin

We believe sin is the transgression of God’s law. Scripture clearly describes two types of sin. The sin of commission is any act, word, or thought that is contrary to the Word of God, character of God, or the will of God. The sin of omission is failing to do the right that God has commanded. Every person is a sinner by nature because of Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden, and also a sinner by individual choice. The sin nature passes upon all men because of Adam’soriginal sin in the Garden and refers to man’s natural tendency toward sin. In man’s nature is the ability to sin in the most depraved manner because every part of man has been touched by sin and it affects everything that he does. Scripture teaches that there are many consequences for sin, both natural and divine. However, the ultimate penalty for sin is death. There is both a physical and a spiritual application. All men die physically because of sin. Spiritually, death refers primarily to man’s separation from God. A man who is living physically without Christ is dead spiritually in that he is already condemned under the wrath of God, he is not a part of the family of God, and he cannot receive the things of God. The spiritual death is consummated in the man who dies without Christ in that he is separated from God for eternity in the Lake of Fire. This is called eternal death or the second death. The believer is secure in his salvation, but can and will still commit sin. Sin will bring a variety of consequences to the believer, but will always result in a break in fellowship with God. Other consequences for sin in the life of a believer include a hindered prayer life, a lack of joy, and a lack of usefulness. However, fellowship can be restored by confession.

Salvation

We believe every man needs salvation because of his sin. God’s plan for salvation was first promised immediately following Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden, though God established it in eternity past. Salvation flows from God’s love for man. It was revealed throughout the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament in the Person of Jesus Christ. The tenants of the Gospel are the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Christ’s death was substitutionary; He took upon Himself the punishment for the sins of the whole world. His death was sufficient for all sin, though it is effectual only to those who believe on Him for salvation. God’s offer of salvation is available to all men; however, it is applied on an individual basis in consequence of man’s free will decision to receive or reject Christ. We reject the teaching of Calvinistic theology that God arbitrarily selected some for salvation and some for damnation in eternity past. Scriptural references to predestination, election, and God’s choosing refer to what God has chosen for those who trust Christ because of God’s foreknowledge. Salvation is received as the gift of God by grace through faith apart from works of any kind on the part of man. At the moment of salvation, man is regenerated to life and is purposed to good works. Scripture also teaches the distinct doctrines of eternal security and assurance of the believer. Eternal security refers to the impossibility of losing salvation, which is God’s responsibility. Assurance of salvation refers to man’s confidence of salvation, which is man’s responsibility. Man’s salvation is always secure, but his assurance can be shaken primarily because of sin.

The Church

We believe the church’s beginning was prophesied by Christ, and was established at Pentecost. Two aspects of the church are described in the Word of God. The universal church refers to all believers from the institution of the church until the rapture of the church. The local church describes the local groups of believers that gather together for the purpose of worshipping God and fulfilling the Great Commission. The church’s primary purposes are evangelization and edification/discipleship. The two ordinances of the local church are the Lord’s Supper and baptism. These ordinances are outward rites appointed to the church, not as a means of salvation, but as visible signs of the facts and realities of salvation. The Lord’s Supper is a picture of the sacrifice of Christ for sin by the breaking of His body and shedding of His blood, and is to be observed regularly in the church only by believers. Baptism is a representative act of a believer’s identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. Christ exemplified baptism and commanded it for the church. Belief in Christ is the prerequisite for baptism. The proper mode of baptism is water immersion. The church is given authority to discipline wayward members for the purity of the body and restoration of the wayward member. The church has been given principles of separation. These main principles are to separate from those not abiding in the doctrine of Christ, those who preach another Gospel, and those who cause divisions contrary to the doctrines of the Scriptures. The local church has the absolute right of self-government free from any external authority or controls, and any affiliations, societies, organizations, associations, or agencies including those the church may affiliate with to further the objectives stated in the purpose statement. These are not authoritative in matters of church practice or belief.

Angels

Angels were created by God for the purpose of serving Him and His saints. Scripture indicates that there are great hosts of angels, as well as differing classes. Angels are described as spiritual beings that do not die, having great strength, and not marrying nor giving in marriage. Though more powerful than humans, angels are not to be worshipped. Satan, called Lucifer, was created as an angel but was cast from heaven due to his sins of pride and rebellion. One- third of the angelic host of heaven revolted with him and they are now referred to as demons. The goal of Satan is still to defeat God. He works in the lives of unbelievers, blinding them to the Gospel. He also works in the lives of believers to defeat them and cause them to be useless. However, the believer can have victory. Satan will again lead a revolt against God, but he and his forces will be defeated culminating in their eternal damnation to the Lake of Fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.

Last Things

We believe the Scriptures have much to say about future events. The souls of the redeemed at death are absent from the body and present with the Lord where they await the first resurrection when the spirit, soul, and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord. The souls of the unbelievers remain after death in conscious misery in hell until the second judgment when their body, soul, and spirit will be reunited to appear before God at the Great White Throne Judgment. Following this, they shall be cast – along with death and hell – into the literal, eternal lake of fire. The primary focus of these events is the return of Christ. The return of Christ to the earth will be preceded by many important events. The next event on God’s timetable is the imminent, pre-tribulation, pre- millennial rapture of the saints – dead and alive. Following the rapture, this world will endure a time referred to as the Tribulation. This is the seventieth week of Israel as described by the prophet Daniel. During this time on earth, the raptured saints in heaven will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ. The first half of the Tribulation period will include the seven seal judgments and the start of the seven trumpet judgments. The anti-Christ will establish his power during this time. The middle of the Tribulation will be marked by the abomination of desolation. The final half of the Tribulation is referred to as the time of Jacob’s trouble or the Great Tribulation. The seven bowl judgments will be poured on the earth during this time. The Tribulation period will end when Jesus returns to earth with His saints, defeats His enemies, binds Satan, and sets up His millennial kingdom. At the end of His 1,000 year reign on earth, Satan will be loosed to lead a final revolt against Christ. Satan and his followers will be defeated, Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire, and the unsaved of all ages will be resurrected to stand before God. Upon the completion of the Great White Throne Judgment, the believers will enter eternity to dwell forever with God.