What we believe

Statement of Faith 

 

The following points outline what we believe the Bible teaches about important Christian doctrines. It’s written in a way that encourages us to individually affirm God’s revelation each time we review it. We hope as you read through our doctrinal positions you’ll find not only information, but also an opportunity for your heart to affirm your faith to the Lord.

 

Scripture

  • I believe the whole Bible, the 66 books of both Old and New Testament, to be revelation from God. It claims to be God’s Word (2Sam 23:2; 2Pt 3:16), shows evidence of being God’s Word (2Tm 3:16-17; 1Pt 1:23), and has been recognized by God’s people as His Word (Jn 7:17; 10:27; 2Pt 3:16).
  • God used human writers, each with a distinct personality, but breathed out what each one wrote so that the original writings were God’s Word without error. Every part of the Bible is equally inspired and entirely accurate (2Pt 1:20-21), so that it is completely sufficient to meet every spiritual need for all men (2Pt 1:2-3).
  • While inspiration applies only to the original writings, God has preserved His Word in a number of accurate copies and translations in many languages through history.

 

God

  • I believe in one God, who exists in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
  • God the Father is eternal and independent of His creation (Ex 3:14); He created and provides for all (Gen 1:1; Mt 6:25-33). He is Holy (Mt 6:9; 1Pt 1:15).
  • God the Son is eternal (Rev 1:6, 11); He created and controls all things (John 1:3; Heb 1:3). He has authority to forgive sin (Mt 9:2) and judge the world (John 5:22).
  • God the Spirit participated in creation (Gen 1:2); He is a divine person (Ac 5:3-4; Eph 4:30). He is omnipresent (Ps 139:7) and distributes divine gifts (1Co 12:11).

 

Creation

  • I believe that God created all things directly in six literal days (Gen 1; Jn 1:3). God personally created man as a fully formed creature in His own image (Gen 1:27; 2:7, 22). Before sin there was no curse and no death (Gen 2:17; 1Co 15:22).
  • God continues to control His creation (Col 1:16-17) and participates directly in the generation of new life at conception (Job 10:18; Job 33:4; Ps 104:30).

 

Sin

  • I believe sin entered the world through the disobedience of the first man, Adam (Gen 3:6; Rom 5:12). Every man has sinned (Rom 3:23; 5:12; 6:23).
  • The Bible uses many terms to describe the nature of sin, all of which highlight aspects of refusing God’s authority and failing to recognize His glory (Rom 1:21; 2:1). Sin corrupts every human faculty (Jer 17:9) and every action regarding its acceptability to God (Rom 3:12). Sin enslaves men (Rom 6:6) and leads to death (Rom 6:23).

 

Salvation

  • Atonement: I believe that in Christ, God provided perfect satisfaction of His wrath, allowing for sin to be permanently removed from His consideration of His people (Rom 3:25; Hb 9:12; 1Jn 3:5). This took place when Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin (Is 53:10; Dan 9:24; Jn 1:29).
  • Repentance: I believe the Bible commands men to turn from idolatry and sin and to believe in Jesus, submitting to Him in obedience (Ez 14:6; Mt 3:2; Ac 2:38; 17:30). This involves a change of mind (Ac 2:38) and results in a change of behavior (Mt 3:8).
  • Faith: I believe the Gospel calls men to to recognize certain facts as true (1Co 15:1-3), to trustingly accept those facts as personally applicable (Mk 1:15; Ac 15:7; Rom 3:22), and embrace the person of Jesus Christ, believing what the Bible teaches about who He is and what He has done (John 1:12; 20:31; Rom 10:9-10).
  • Justification: I believe Jesus took the penalty for sin; the guilt of all men was imputed to Him who had no sin, making Him an acceptable substitute. God imputes Christ’s righteousness to those who believe and they stand before Him acceptable and righteous in Christ (Rom 4:5, 24-25; 2Co 5:21). An acceptable standing with God is impossible by man’s effort (Rom 3:20).
  • Regeneration: I believe that at the time a person repents and believes in Christ, God makes him a new creature (2Co 5:17; 2Pt 1:4). He brings men into His family (they are born again) by giving new, divine life (John 3:3; 1Pt 1:23).
  • Sanctification: I believe salvation occurs in a moment, but begins a lifelong process of spiritual growth. The believer becomes more like Christ (Rom 8:29), grows in the experience of grace and in the knowledge of God (2Pt 3:18), and grows in discernment (Rom 12:1-2; Php 1:9-10). This process requires human effort (Rom 6:12) but depends on God’s power (Php 2:12-13).
  • Security: I believe God’s imputation of Christ’s righteousness to a believer cannot be undone (Rom 8:33-34). God’s gift of new, eternal life in Christ cannot be reversed (Jn 3:16; 11:24; Php 1:6). Since those who depart from Christ’s fellowship prove they were not His to begin with, the Scripture indicates that no believer will completely turn away from Christ (Heb 12:8; 1Jn 2:19).
  • Adoption: I believe this Biblical term refers to the point at which believers receive their full inheritance as God’s children – specifically the point at which believers receive a glorified body (Rom 8:23). Until that time the inheritance is certified by the indwelling of God’s Spirit (Eph 1:13-14).

 

Church

  • Nature: I believe the Church, the Body of Christ, consists of all New Testament believers (Mt 16:18; Ac 9:31). The Body of Christ finds expression in individual, local congregations of believers (1Co 4:17) as His people worship (Ac 2:42; 1Co 11:18), witness (Ac 4:29), and serve and fellowship with one another (Ac 2:42). Christ leads and develops His Church through qualified leaders who minister His Word (Eph 4:11-12; 1Pt 1:2) and who are recognized by God’s people (1Tm 5:17-19). God established two positions of leadership in the NT church: pastors (/bishops/elders) and deacons. I believe a congregational polity best accounts for the NT descriptions of and instructions for church life.
  • Ordinances: I believe Christ instituted two practices for His Church. Baptism – immersion in water – pictures the believer’s death and resurrection with Christ, as well as the believer’s baptism in the Spirit at salvation (Rom 6:3-5), publicly identifying the believer with Christ’s people (Ac 2:41). Communion – celebration of the Lord’s Table – provides a regular occasion for self-examination (1Co 11:28), worship (1Co 1:25), and testimony – of union with Christ, of acceptance of His work, and of eager expectation of His return (1Co 1:26).

 

Angels

  • I believe angels are personal beings created by God and under His authority (Col 1:16; 1Pt 3:22). They were created to worship God (Is 6:2-3) and to serve Him (Dan 9:20-21; Mk 1:13) and His people (Heb 1:14). They can appear to men, but are spiritual beings (Lk 2:13-15). While they are superior to man (Hb 2:7-9) they are not proper objects of worship (Rev 22:8-9).

 

Satan and Demons

  • I believe Satan is a real, personal, created being who opposes God, God’s work, and God’s people (Job 1:6-12; Mt 4:10; 2Co 2:11). He was defeated at the cross (Col 2:1; Hb 2:14) and will be cast into the lake of fire for eternal punishment (Rev 20:10). He has been granted limited authority over the present world (Eph 2:2) and leads the evil angels who followed him in rebellion against God (Eph 6:11-12).
  • Numerous times demons are said to influence or possess people (1Sam 16:14; 18:10; Mk 1:27; Ac 19:15). Demon possession seems to be limited to unbelievers (Mt 12:45; Ac 19:15). The internal residence of the Spirit in a believer (Rom 8:9; Eph 1:13-14) as a seal of salvation and proof of sonship precludes possession [total control] by an enemy of God.
  • Although Scripture gives several examples of demon exorcism in the Gospels and Acts, the epistles do not give any instructions for a continuing ministry of exorcism. Illness can be due to demon possession, but not all in every case (Mt 10:1). While those of Jesus’ time seemed able to recognize demon possession, modern believers have few clear guidelines by which to accurately diagnose this condition.
  • I believe the New Testament does not encourage believers to pursue demon exorcism. When the demonic forces behind spiritual conflict are discussed, believers are instructed to resist Satan by humbly drawing near to God (James 4:6); to remain faithful and obedient by dependence on God and His Word in prayer (Eph 6:10-19); to avoid Satanic schemes by fostering forgiveness (2Co 2:11) and walking obediently (Eph 4:27); to escape his power by maturity (1Tm 3:6-7), repentance (2Tm 2:26), and alertness (1Pt 5:8).

 

Eschatology

  • Rapture and Tribulation: I believe Christ will return to rapture His people (Jn 14:3; 1Co 15:52; 1Th 4:16-17) and that this rapture is imminent – there are no predicted events which remain unfulfilled which clearly must take place before the rapture (1Th 5:2). After the rapture, a seven-year period of tribulation on the earth will begin (Dan 9:26-27; 12:7; Rev 12:14), during which judgment will increasingly be poured out on the earth (Rev 6:16-17).
  • Millennium: At the end of the Tribulation, Christ will return to the earth and establish His kingdom (Rev 19:19-21). Christ will rule on the earth with His resurrected saints for 1,000 years (Rev 20:4). At the end of this period, Satan will be released, instigate another rebellion, and be defeated (Rev 20:7-10). Christ will then judge the whole world (Rev 20:11-15) and create the new heaven and earth (Rev 21:1) in which God will dwell with His people forever (Rev 21:3).
  • Hell: I believe the unregenerate dead of all ages go to Hades, a real place of torment (Lk 16:23). At the final judgment, Hades and all the unregenerate dead will be cast into the Lake of Fire to endure eternal punishment under God’s wrath and apart from His presence (Rev 20:10-15).
  • Heaven: I believe heaven is a real place, in which God’s presence is specially manifest so that it can be called His ‘residence’ (Dt 26:15). Here God meets His angels (Job 1:6) and sits on His throne (Rev 4:1-2). Heaven is the destination of believers who die before the Lord’s return (2Co 5:8) or are raptured (Jn 14:3; 1Th 4:17).

 

Separation

  • Personal: I believe Christians are obligated to separate themselves from sin (Rom 12:2; 2Co 7:1; Col 3:5-9; 1Pt 4:2-3). Believers must distance themselves from professed Christians living in open sin (1Co 5:11), from divisive Christians (2Th 3:6), and from false teachers – refusing them recognition or support (2Jn 10).
  • Ecclesiastical: I believe that the official character and public visibility of the church and its leaders make ecclesiastical separation a significant factor in the church’s testimony for Christ in its community. To avoid confusion about the gospel, a church must withhold Christian recognition from those who teach false doctrine and must confront Christians who support such teachers (Gal 2:11, 14). To avoid contamination and public shame, a church must consistently practice loving discipline of sinning members as outlined by Jesus, the Head of the Church (Mt 18:15-17). To maintain unity, testimony, and growth, a church must withhold fellowship from members who cause divisions (Tit 3:10) or who refuse to recognize the voice of the church, thus walking “out of step” (2Th 3:6).

 

Charismatic Movement

  • Although I do not find a single passage of Scripture which definitively and clearly states that miraculous/sign gifts have ceased, my understanding of several passages leads me to conclude that sign gifts (and specifically tongues) are not in effect today. Among these passages are the following: tongues in the Bible referred to human languages (Acts 2), the miraculous gifts were given as confirmation of the apostolic ministry and message (2Co 12:12; Hb 2:3-4), and even in the early church God did not intend all or even most believers to speak in tongues (1Co 12). I believe this conclusion is supported by historical observation – the sign gifts did cease early in church history.
  • Two other biblical considerations cause me to question charismatic practice as well. First, I believe the charismatic movement tends to emphasize Christian experience to the point that experience becomes more authoritative than Scripture. Second, charismatic churches which practice speaking in tongues very seldom seem to follow Paul’s instructions for doing so.
  • Because of these differences and concerns I could not in good conscience be a part of or cooperate in ministry with a charismatic group, though I recognize as Christian brothers all who have a credible testimony of faith in Christ according to the gospel.

TrackBack Identifier URI