Statement of Faith
THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
We believe that the Old and New Testament Scriptures are the verbally and plenarily inspired Word of God. The Scriptures are inerrant, infallible, and God-breathed and are, therefore, the final authority for life and faith. The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments are the complete and divine revelation of God to Man. The Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal grammatical-historical meaning, and all issues of interpretation and meaning shall be determined by context and comparing Scripture with Scripture. The King James Version of the Bible shall be the official and only English translation used by the church. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
We believe that the Scriptures interpreted in their natural, literal sense reveal divinely determined dispensations or rules of life that define man’s responsibilities in successive ages. These dispensations are not different ways of salvation, but rather are divinely ordered stewardships by which God directs man according to His purpose. (Genesis 1:28; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Corinthians 3:9-18; Galatians 3:13-25; Ephesians 1:10, 3:2-10; Colossians 1:24-27; Revelation 20:2-6).
We believe in one triune God, eternally existing in three persons-the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit-each co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19; John 14:10, 26; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 John 5:7)
THE PERSON AND WORK OF JESUS CHRIST.
We believe the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful men. (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6; Luke 1:35; John 1:1-2, 14; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; Galatians 4:4-5; Philippians 2:5-8).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary death, and that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead, (Acts 2:18-36; Romans 3:24-25; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Peter 1:3-5). We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate. (Acts 1:9-10; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 9:24, 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2).
THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a Person who convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment; and that He is the Supernatural Agent in regeneration, indwelling, and sealing the believer unto the day of redemption. (John 16:8-11; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13-14). We believe that He is the divine Teacher who assists believers to understand and appropriate the Scriptures and that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 1:17-18, 5:18; 1 John 2:20, 27)
We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowal of spiritual gifts to every believer for use within local church ministry. God uniquely uses evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip and mature the saints in local churches to do the work of the ministry. (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 28; Ephesians 4:7-12). We believe that the baptism in the Holy Spirit was a one-time event, designed by God to empower His church with divine ability to do His work of evangelizing the world. Through that empowerment, the early churches were able to “turn the world upside down” through their preaching and discipleship. The effects of that baptism continue on in churches through the ages. (Acts 2).
We believe that the Holy Spirit was given as the Comforter to walk along beside His churches after Christ left the Earth. Jesus Christ had been a literal, guiding presence for His church while on the Earth; after His death, the Holy Spirit took up that Office and began His work of guiding the churches of the Lord. (John 14:16, 26, 16:26, 16:7, 13).
We believe that the miraculous sign gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as speaking in tongues and healing, were temporary and designed to accredit God’s messengers and the Scripture as it was given in the New Testament period. Speaking in tongues was never the common or necessary sign of salvation or the filling of the Spirit. Ultimate deliverance of the body from sickness or death awaits the consummation of our salvation in the resurrection, although God frequently chooses to answer the prayers of the believers for physical healing. The sign gifts vanished away by the end of the first century AD. (1 Corinthians 1:22, 13:8, 14:21-22)
THE DEPRAVITY OF MAN.
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God; but that in Adam’s willful sin the human race fell, inherited a sin nature, and became alienated from God. Man is depraved and wicked and, of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition. However, man is not depraved to the extent that he is unable to will and choose; he is fully capable of response to the promptings and conviction of the Holy Spirit. (Genesis 1:26-27; Romans 3:22-23, 5:12, 6:23; Ephesians 2:1-3, 4:17-19)
We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received through repentance and personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins. We believe that all sins, except blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, are forgivable. (Matthew 12:31-32; John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7, 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 John 1:9)
THE ETERNAL SECURITY AND ASSURANCE OF BELIEVERS.
We believe that once a person is saved, he is kept by God’s power and remains secure in Christ forever. (John 6:37-40, 10:27-30; Romans 8:1, 38-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; 1 Peter 1:4-5). We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh. (Romans 13:13-14; Galatians 5:13; Titus 2:11-15).
We believe that the local church is a body of baptized believers, organized and covenanted together to carry out the Great Commission. Christ founded His church during His personal, Earthly ministry. Local churches are pictured as the body and the espoused bride of Christ in Scripture. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:25-27)
We believe that the establishment and perpetuity of local churches by church authority is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament. (Acts 14:27; 20:17, 28-32; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11)
We believe in the autonomy of local churches free of any external authority or controls; any affiliations, societies, organizations, associations, or agencies this church affiliates with to further the objectives stated in the Purpose Statement are not authoritative in matters of church practice or belief. (Acts 13:1-4, 15:19-31, 20:28; Romans 16:1, 4; 1 Corinthians 3:9, 16, 5:4-7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1-4)
We believe that the Scriptural offices of churches today consist of Pastor, and Deacon. Those serving in these offices must meet a Scripturally defined set of qualifications. (Titus 1:5-9; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Acts 6:1-6) Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the Scriptural ordinances of obedience for churches in this age. We recognize believers’ baptism by immersion as long as it has been administered by the authority of a church of like faith and order. We believe in ‘closed communion;’ thus, participation in the Lord’s Supper is restricted to the specific membership of this local church. (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42, 8:36-38; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
We believe that believers should maintain a godly testimony and live in such a way that their lives do not bring reproach upon their Savior or His church. God commands His people to separate from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices, and associations, and to refrain from all immodest and immoderate appearances. We stand against any and all philosophies that seek to destroy or undermine the truth of Biblical Christianity, and believe the Scripture leads us to expose them and warn against them. (Leviticus 19:28; Romans 12:1-2, 14:13; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11)
THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.
We believe in that blessed hope, the personal, imminent return of Christ, Who will rapture His saints prior to the seven-year tribulation period. At the end of the Tribulation, Christ will personally and visibly return with His saints, to establish His earthly Messianic Kingdom, which was promised to the nation of Israel. (Psalm 89:3-4; Daniel 2:31-45; Zechariah 14:4-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; Revelation 3:10, 19:11-16, 20:1-6)
THE ETERNAL STATE.
We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment. (Matthew 25:46; John 5:28-29, 11:25-26; Revelation 20:5-6, 12-13)
We believe that the souls of the redeemed are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where in conscious bliss they await the first resurrection, when spirit, soul, and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord. (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23, 3:21; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 20:4-6)
We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain, after death, in conscious punishment and torment until the second resurrection, when with soul and body reunited, they shall appear at the Great White Throne Judgment, and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting conscious punishment and torment. (Matthew 25:41-46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-26; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Revelation 20:11-15)
THE PERSONALITY OF SATAN.
We believe that Satan is a person, the author of sin and the cause of the Fall of Man; that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man; and that he shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire. (Job 1:6-7; Isaiah 14:12-17; Matthew 4:2-11, 25:41; Revelation 20:10)
We believe that the Genesis account of creation is neither allegory nor myth, but a literal, historical account of God’s creation of the universe. We reject evolution, the Gap Theory, the Day-Age Theory, and Theistic Evolution as unscriptural theories of origin. (Genesis 1-2; Exodus 20:11)
REALMS OF AUTHORITY.
We believe that God has ordained and created all authority consisting of three basic institutions: 1) the home, 2) the church, and 3) civil government. Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and governed by His Word. God has given each institution specific Biblical responsibilities and balanced those responsibilities with the understanding that no institution has the right to infringe upon the other. The home, the church, and the state are equal and sovereign in their respective Biblically assigned spheres of authority under God. We believe that we must obey the state unless it requires us to act contrary to our faith at which time we must obey God rather than man. (Matthew 22:15-22; Acts 5:29; Romans 13:1-7; Ephesians 5:22-24; Titus 3:1-2; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 2:13-14)
We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between one naturally-born man and one naturally-born woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgenderism, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, voyeurism, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex.
We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance. We believe that those engaged in these sins must repent and abstain from these practices. (Genesis 2:24, 19:5, 13, 26:8-9; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; 1 Corinthians 5:1, 6:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4)
We believe that the only Scriptural marriage is the joining of one naturally-born man and one naturally-born woman for life. (Genesis 2:24; Romans 7:2; 1 Corinthians 7:10; Ephesians 5:22-23)
We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church. The husband is to be the leader of the home, and men are to be the leaders (pastors and deacons) of the church. Accordingly, only men are eligible for licensure and ordination by the church. (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:18; 1 Timothy 2:8-15, 3:4-5, 12).
We believe that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. The wife is to submit herself to the Scriptural leadership of her husband just as the church submits to the headship of Christ. Children are a heritage from the Lord. Parents are responsible for teaching their children spiritual and moral values through consistent lifestyle example and appropriate discipline, including Scriptural corporal correction. Fathers are obligated to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Genesis 1:26-28; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 19:18, 22:15, 23:13-14; Mark 10:6-12; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33, 6:1-4, Colossians 3:18-21; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7)
DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE..
We believe that God disapproves of and forbids divorce and intends marriage to last until one of the spouses dies. Divorce and remarriage is regarded as adultery except on the grounds of infidelity. Although divorced and remarried persons or divorced persons may hold positions of service in the church and be greatly used of God for Christian service, they may not be considered for the offices of pastor or deacon. We recognize that if an unbelieving spouse departs, God does not hold the believing spouse responsible for divorce. (Malachi 2:14-17; Matthew 19:3-12; Romans 7:1-3; 1 Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6; 1 Corinthians 7:10-17)
We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion constitutes the taking of unborn human life. Abortion is murder. We reject any teaching that abortions due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the physical or mental well-being of the mother are acceptable. We further reject the use of aborted fetal tissue for research or medicinal purposes. (Job 3:16; Psalm 51:5, 139:14-16; Isaiah 44:24, 49:1, 5; Jeremiah 1:5, 20:15-18; Luke 1:44)
We believe that the direct taking of an innocent human life is a moral evil, regardless of the intention. Life is a gift of God and must be respected from conception until natural death. Thus we believe that an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder contrary to the will of God. Discontinuing medical procedures that are extraordinary or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be a legitimate alternative to over-zealous treatment and should be approached with appropriate counsel and prayer. (Exodus 20:13, 23:7; Matthew 5:21; Acts 17:28)
We believe that we should demonstrate love for others: not only toward fellow believers, but also toward those who are not believers, those who oppose us, and those who engage in sinful actions. We are to deal with those who oppose us graciously, gently, patiently, and humbly. God forbids the stirring up of strife, the taking of revenge, or the threat or use of violence as a means of resolving personal conflict or obtaining personal justice. Although God commands us to abhor sinful actions, we are to love and pray for any person who engages in such actions. (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 5:44-48; Luke 6:31; John 13:34-35; Romans 12:9-10, 17-21, 13:8-10; Philippians 2:2-4; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Titus 3:2; 1 John 3:17-18)
LAWSUITS BETWEEN BELIEVERS.
We believe that church members are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against fellow church members or against members of other churches of like faith and practice in order to resolve personal disputes. We believe that churches possess all the resources necessary to resolve personal disputes between members. We do believe, however, that a church member may seek compensation for injuries from another church member’s insurance company as long as the claim is pursued without malice or slander. (1 Corinthians 6:1-8; Ephesians 4:31-32; Matthew 18:15-17)
We believe that God has given His churches a great commission to proclaim the Gospel to all nations so that there might be a great multitude from every nation, tribe, ethnic group, and language group who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. As ambassadors of Christ, we must use all available means to go to the foreign nations and not wait for them to come to us. (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:20)
We believe that every Christian, as a steward of that portion of God’s wealth entrusted to him, is obligated to financially support his local church. We believe that God has established the tithe as a basis for giving, but that every Christian should also give other offerings sacrificially and cheerfully to the support of the church, the relief of those in need, and the spread of the Gospel. We believe that a Christian relinquishes all rights to direct the use of his tithe or offering once the gift has been made. (Genesis 14:20; Proverbs 3:9-10; Acts 4:34-37; 1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7; Galatians 6:6; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; 1 John 3:17)
Section 2.02—Authority Of Statement of Faith
The Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself is the sole and final source of all that we believe. We do believe, however, that the foregoing Statement of Faith accurately represents the teachings of the Bible and, therefore, is binding upon all members.