Statement of Faith

1.  The Holy Scriptures
We believe the Scriptures--both the Old and New Testaments--to be the verbally inspired Word of God, written by men in God's control, inerrant and infallible in the original manuscripts and the final authority in faith and life. We accept the grammatical-historical system of interpretation(1) of the Scriptures, and accept the historical record of the Bible as accurate and adequate. (2)(2 Tim. 3:15-17; 2 Pet 1:20,21; Ps. 19:7-9). 

2.  The Trinity(3)
We believe in One God, the eternal, infinite and all-knowing Spirit in Whom all things have their source(4), support, and end (Deuteronomy 6:4; John 4:24; Genesis 1:1). Within this One God three distinct persons(5)exist--Father, Son and Holy Spirit(6)--united, equal and perfect in all attributes (Matthew 28:19; Acts 7:55; Acts 10:38; 2 Corinthians 13:14). The Godhead is One in essence, but within this perfect unity and equality exists order in function--first the Father, then the Son, and then the Holy Spirit(7) (1 Corinthians 11:3; John 17:3-4; John 15:26; John 16:7). 

3.  The Person and Work of the Father
We believe God the Father to be the first person of the Trinity. As part of the Trinity, God the Father is distinct both in His relationship to the other members of the Godhead and in His works as part of the Trinity. Within the Godhead, the Father is distinct in that He begets the Son and the Holy Spirit proceeds from Him (John 1:14; 15:26). In function, though all works of God are the acts of a Triune God(8), some acts are especially ascribed to the Father such as creation (Ephesians 3:9; Hebrews 12:9), election (1 Peter 1:2; Ephesians 1:4), redemption (John 6:37; 17:4-7), and the predetermining of all things (Ephesians 1:5; John 5:30). God the Father is also distinct in that He is seen as the Father of the second member of the Trinity (John 1:18; 14:13) and the spiritual Father of all who believe in Him (Matthew 5:45;1 John 3:1). 

4.  The Person and Work of Christ
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man without ceasing to be God; that He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, in order that He might redeem sinful man. He accomplished this redemption by voluntarily giving Himself as a sinless substitutionary sacrifice on the cross, thereby satisfying God's righteous judgment against sin. He gave proof that He accomplished that redemption by His bodily resurrection(9) from the grave. He then ascended to the right hand of His Father where He intercedes on behalf of those who trust Him (John 1:1,2,14,18; Luke 1:34,35; Rom. 3:24-26; 8:34). 

5.  The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the Divine Person who convicts the world of sin; that He alone brings new life(10) to those who are spiritually dead; that He baptizes(11) (or places) all believers into the one true Church, which is the Body of Christ; that He indwells them permanently, seals them unto the day of redemption, bestows spiritual gifts upon them, fills (controls) those who are yielding to Him (John 3:3-8; 16:7-11; 1 Cor. 12:13; John 14:16,17; Eph. 4:30; 1 Cor. 12:7-11; Eph. 5:18). 

6.  The Condition of Man
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, in innocence and without sin. But in Adam's sin the race fell, inherited a sinful nature, became spiritually dead and alienated from God so that man is a sinner by both nature and imputation and man, of himself, is incapable of remedying his lost and depraved(12) condition (Gen. 1:26; 3:1-24; Rom. 3:10-18; 5:12; Eph. 2:1-3). 

7.  Salvation
We believe that salvation is the gift(13) of God's grace given to all who God has elected to salvation. It includes all that God does in saving the elect from the penalty, power and presence of sin and in restoring them to a right relationship with God. As such, it is solely the work of God from initiation to completion. It cannot be gained by good works(14), but is a free gift for all who put their trust in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross. All who so trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are forgiven(15) and saved from their sins and made righteous before God and are born into the family of God by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. God's purpose for saving His elect is so that they bring glory to Him by their lives (Eph. 1:7; 2:8,9; John 1:12; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 1:6; Tit. 2:11-14). 

8.  Security, Assurance and Responsibility
We believe that all the saved--those in whom God has accomplished His transforming work of grace--are kept by His power and thus, are secure(16) in Christ forever. This assurance, however, is not the occasion for sin, for God in holiness cannot tolerate persistent sin in His children, and in infinite love He corrects them. True faith in Christ is expressed by a fruitful, God-pleasing life(17) (John 10:27-29; Rom. 8:29-39; 1 John 5:13; Heb. 12:6; Matt. 7:20; James 2:20). 

9.  Sanctification 
We believe that God, in the Scriptures, has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness. This includes the salvation from the penalty of sin and just as surely the provision of sanctification (separation) from sin. Sanctification from sin affects both the positional and practical aspects. Positional sanctification as a work of the Holy Spirit is complete and is without further growth; however, practical sanctification, a result of the work of the Spirit in regeneration using the Word of God, provides the nourishment(18) for growth in maturity in Christ. While practical sanctification is assured by the Word and the Spirit, it is yet imperfect(19) in this life. There is some element of corruption in every part of the fallen nature which is the source for the war between the flesh and the Spirit. The maturing to obedience is possible for believers as they feed on the Word, submit to the Spirit of God and are in fellowship(20) with other believers for service and accountability (John 17:17; I Cor. 1:30; Rom. 6:19,22; Heb. 10:25; I Pet. 2:2; II Pet. 1:3).

10.  Angels Elect and Fallen 
We believe angels are spirit beings created directly by God during the first week of creation (Psalm 148:2-5; Job 38:4-7). As created beings, angels were made to serve God and are not to be worshiped (Hebrews 1:14; Revelation 19:10; 22:8-9). We believe Satan is a created angel(21), originally made perfect by God, who incurred the judgment of God when he introduced sin into the universe by rebelling against his Creator (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19). As a result of his rebellion, Satan and the angels who followed him (whom we now call demons), were removed from their exalted position in heaven (Ezekiel 28:16). During this age, Satan and his demons actively oppose the plans of God and seek to deceive men from obeying God and His truth (1 Peter 5:8; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4). Though Satan and his demons are presently active in the world today, they will, at Christ's return, be sent to the lake of fire for eternity (Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10). Though we believe that demon possession of unbelievers is possible, we do not hold that true Christians can be demon possessed(22) or demonized(23) (Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 4:4). The Bible also nowhere encourages believers to engage Satan and demons directly(24), whether by speaking to them, binding them, or casting them out(25). 

11.  The Church
We believe that the true Church, called in Scripture the Body of Christ(26), is a spiritual organism(27). Every person who has trusted Jesus Christ for salvation in this present age has been baptized (placed) into this organism by the Holy Spirit. The local church(28), as established in Scripture, is made up of redeemed individuals who have joined together for worship, instruction(29), fellowship(30) and service (Eph. 1:22; 1 Cor. 12:13; Acts 2:42; 13:1,2). 

12.  Ordinances
We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ instituted two ordinances to be observed by all believers until His return--baptism and the Lord's Supper (Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 11:23-26). 

13.  The Second Coming of Christ
We believe in the personal, pre-tribulational coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His Church and His subsequent premillennial(31) return to earth to establish His kingdom (1 Thess. 4:13-18; Zech. 14:4-11; Rev. 19:11-16; 20:1-6). 

14.  The Eternal State
We believe that at death the souls of those who have trusted Christ for salvation pass immediately into His presence and remain there in conscious bliss until the resurrection of the body at Christ's coming for the Church, when soul and body will be reunited. We then shall be with Him forever in glory. We also believe that at death the souls of unbelievers remain in conscious misery until the final judgment of the Great White Throne at the close of the Millennium when the soul and body will be reunited and cast into the lake of fire--not to be annihilated, but to be separated from God forever in conscious punishment (Luke 16:19-26; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 20:11-15).

Footnotes:

1 [Art.1] Interpretation: This is the foundation for a pretribulational (Rev. 3:10) return of Christ for the church and a premillennial return of Christ to earth to set up His earthly kingdom (I Cor. 15:23-26; Rev. 11:15; 12:10). There is, therefore, a distinction between Israel (Gal. 3:15-18; Rom. 11:25-26;29) and the Church (Acts 2; II Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:23; I Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:26-29) regarding God's promises and purpose.

2 [Art.1] Accurate and Adequate: General (natural) revelation is not to be compared with the special revelation of the Scriptures. The idea that 'all truth is God's truth' by itself is a true statement; however, since the practical application of the axiom depends upon fallible man's judgment, it cannot be used to import 'truth' from non-biblical sources. The Scriptures are accurate and completely sufficient. The theories offered by psychology to explain 'why we are the way we are and how we can change' are not accepted and argue against the sufficiency of Scripture which gives God's answers to these questions.

3 [Art.2] Trinity: The term 'Trinity' is not found in the Bible but this does not make the concept unbiblical. This doctrine is implicit rather than explicit. A harmonizing of the biblical data clearly shows that there is One God in three distinct persons.

4 [Art.2] Ultimate Source: God is sovereign as creator, in providence and destiny.

5 [Art.2] Essence of Personhood: Personhood is defined as a being having the capacities of intellect, emotion, will and the ability to act based on these qualities.

6 [Art.2] Three but One God : The concept of God being three persons in one is a mystery not a contradiction. It should not surprise us that there are truths about the infinite God that are beyond the full understanding of finite, human minds.

7 [Art.2] Equality and Ranking: This functional order in no way suggests superiority or inferiority of persons.

8 [Art.3] Acts of the Trinity: The Son is also presented as a direct agent in the act of creation (John 1:3).

9 [Art.4] Resurrection: The resurrection of Christ is the basis for the resurrection of the body of all believers. It is not figurative nor spiritual but real in time and space (John 20:27).

10 [Art.5] New life: The life given by the Holy Spirit is more than simply 'forgiven' with a continuing dead faith. It is a life that is of God which transforms the person into a totally new creation. God, very God, in the person of the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in the life. The life that is lived henceforth is truly changed from the inside out. This person will be marked off by others as different from 'before.' (II Cor. 5:17)

11 [Art.5] Baptizes: The baptism of the Spirit occurs at salvation and is a once for all time event (I Cor. 12:13; Rom. 8:9). A subsequent spiritual baptism after salvation for the purposes of enablement, giving some sign or other reasons is not supported by the Scripture. Since the baptism of the Spirit occurs in the realm of the spirit, there are no accompanying visible manifestations as there were in some instances in the early church (Acts 2:4;19:6). The sign gifts were given to validate the ministry of the Apostles (II Cor. 12:12) who for the most part were the writers of the New Testament. Once these writings were complete, the sign gifts disappeared with the Apostles and with those to whom they personally ministered.

12 [Art.6] Fall: The fall of man was complete. There is no godly virtue left in man after the fall. The will to respond to God's grace is even beyond his ability, albeit his duty. (Rom. 7:18; 8:7; Eph. 4:18).

13 [Art.7] Gift: Because of man's depravity, blindness, and rebellious nature, salvation is possible only as a gift given without merit. (Eph. 2:8-9)

14 [Art.7] Good works: It would include those works that God 'may see' in the future. This precludes the idea of an election based on God's view of the future where He is 'seeing the faith' thereby granting salvation on those terms (Titus 3:5).

15 [Art.7] Forgiven: Total forgiveness is granted by God based on the substitutional death of Christ on behalf of the believer. All believers acknowledge their sinful condition and trust in the death of Christ to pay the penalty for sin past, present, and future. (I John 1:9). To acknowledge sin as sin is a confession that characterizes believers. The responsibility of believers is to flee all unrighteousness (I Tim. 6:11; II Tim. 2:22), having an appreciation for the cleansing ministry of Jesus Christ (I John 2:1-2).

16 [Art.8] Secure: The salvation of the elect is secured from before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). The electing work of Christ secures not only the elect to salvation for this life but also to eternity.

17 [Art.8] God-pleasing life: This does not mean that believers never sin. The believer as a new creature continues to struggle against the flesh, which continues to war against the spirit and cause a life in conflict, imperfect in performance in comparison to his new character. However, believers who do sin do not form a distinctive group identifiable as 'carnal (fleshly) Christians' as set apart from non-carnal Christians. No doubt, all Christians commit acts of carnality. Sinful conduct finds its source in the flesh (I Cor. 3:3; I Pet. 2:11; II Pet. 2:18) and these individuals can be said to be guilty of carnality or acting according to the flesh. Correspondingly, all believers are disciples by virtue of their relationship with Jesus Christ; therefore, a disciple does not refer to a believer who is 'no longer (fleshly) carnal' because he has made a decision to walk more obediently but disciple is simply synonymous with Christian. Acts 11:26 records the beginning of the term Christian being applied to followers (disciples) of Jesus.

18 [Art.9] Word of God and the wisdom of the world: The wisdom of the world which is presented by various disciplines of secular study that purport to explain certain human behavior is inadequate and positions itself against the revelation of God. Allowing for organic and mental developmental factors, all believers are responsible for their own actions. The idea of two 'minds' (conscious and the 'sub-conscious') is not found in Scriptures. The motivation for our moral conduct and conduct based on our values is seated in the consciousness alone. Motivation for actions that spring from a hidden source, causing irresponsible and uncontrollable action, is rejected as unbiblical. (I Cor. 1:21; 26-27)

19 [Art.9] Imperfect: The regenerating work of providing new life is effective and always produces a change in the person who receives that new life. (I Thess. 5:23; Phil. 3:12)

20 [Art.9] Fellowship: Fellowship of a person with God is established on the basis of the death of Jesus Christ for his sin. The relationship with God as a son is established forever and is not interrupted. While sin in the life of the believer is detrimental to his testimony as a believer, grieves the Holy Spirit and is out of character for a believer, he, by virtue of his adoption, is still a son. The concept of a person out of fellowship (relationship) with God is saying that such a person is not a believer (I Joh. 1:6; 4:15; 5:12).

21 [Art.10] Satan a Fallen Angel: That Satan is an angel is supported from Ezek. 28:14 which refers to him as 'the anointed cherub who covers.' A 'cherub' was part of the inner circle of angels who had the closest access to God and guarded His holiness (see Ezek. 10:1-14).

22 [Art.10] Experience Theology : Many who believe Christians can be demon possessed appeal to reported experiences rather than the Bible for support.

23 [Art.10] Demons and their control : Some want to make a distinction between 'demon possession' and 'demonization.' Thus, supposedly, believers cannot be possessed but they can be demonized which is a lesser degree of demonic attack. The Bible though makes no such distinction.

24 [Art.10] Spiritual Warfare : The believer's defense against Satan is one of being aware, standing firm, and putting on the armor of God (James 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8-9; Eph. 6:10-20). Thus, the believers strategy against Satan and demons is primarily defensive as opposed to active engagement.

25 [Art.10] Jesus and Demons : All of these activities, as presented in the New Testament, were directly linked to the unique ministry of Jesus Christ and are not transferable to the Christian today. Jesus' casting out of demons was evidence that He was the Messiah who could establish the earthly kingdom (Matt. 12:28).

26 [Art.11] Body of Christ: The church is the manifestation of the Body of Christ on earth. The Church is the only agency so recognized as the body of Christ. The local church is her only manifestation. Therefore, membership in a local church is not optional for a believer. (Eph. 1:22-23)

27 [Art.11] Spiritual Organism: There is a complete and separate distinction between the Church as a 'people of God' and Israel. The Church and Israel have separate promises and are distinguishable throughout all ages. The Scriptures from Gen. 12:1 through the Gospels deal with Israel as God's chosen earthly nation; in Acts 2 through Rev. 3:22 the focus is on the Church (people from all nations) as the people of God; in Rev. 4-19 the focus again is on Israel, the Church having been removed at the rapture. (Dan. 9:24-27; Roms. 9-11; Gal. 3:17-18)

28 [Art.11] Local Church: The pastoral or elder (board) leadership of the local church is entrusted to qualified men of the body. They have the responsibility for the spiritual oversight of the body. (Acts 20:28-30; Tit. 1:5-16; I Tim. 3:1-7)

29 [Art.11] Instruction: The teaching duties are given to the men of the church except as prescribed in Titus 2:3-4.

30 [Art.11] Fellowship: When open sin occurs in the church, the church must deal with the sin in ways as prescribed in Matt. 18. The discipline of the members insures the purity of the Body and provides for the restoration of the erring. (I Cor. 5:1-8; II Cor. 2:6-8)

31 [Art.13] Premillennial return: The next event on the prophetic clock is the pre-tribulational rapture (I Thess. 4:13-5:11) of the Church following which, the western world ruler (Dan. 9:27; II Thess. 2:1-12) will enter into an agreement to guarantee Israel sovereignty in their land. This agreement begins the seventieth week of Daniel. (Dan. 9:24-26). During this time of seven years, known as the tribulation, the full wrath of God will be released against Israel and the nations in the judgments of seals, trumpets and bowls listed starting in Rev. 5, ending in Rev. 16. Following the final bowl judgment, Jesus Christ will return to earth (II Thess. 1:6-10; Rev. 19:11-16) to judge the nations (Matt. 25:31-46) and set up His kingdom first of all promised to David (II Sam.7:12-13). The one-thousand year earthly kingdom is the first phase of the eternal kingdom that will be everlasting. (II Sam. 7:13,16. Also see Isa. Ezek;)

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