THE ESSENTIAL DOCTRINES
1. The Holy Scriptures
WE BELIEVE that the sixty-six canonical books of the Bible to be the verbally inspired Word of God, the final authority for faith and life, inerrant in the original writings, infallible and God-breathed (Prov. 30:5-6; Matt. 5:18; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; John 16:12-13).
2. The Godhead
a. WE BELIEVE in one Triune God who is the absolute ruler over all things and that He eternally exist in three persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections. (Dt. 6:4; 2 Cor. 13:14; Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; Ps 139:7-8; 2 Cor. 3:17-18; Matt. 28:19; John 10:30; 14:9)
b. WE BELIEVE God is spirit, from everlasting to everlasting the same, the Creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. (John 4:24; Ps. 90:2; Jas. 1:17; Is. 44:24; Rev. 19:6; 1 John 3:20; Ps 147:5; Ps 139:7-10; Jer. 23:34)
3. God the Father
a. WE BELIEVE that God the Father, the first person of the Trinity, orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and grace (Ps. 145:8-9; 1 Cor. 8:6). He is the creator of all things (Gen. 1:31; Eph. 3:9). He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Ps. 103:19; Rom. 11:36). His fatherhood involves both His designation within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind. As Creator He is Father to all men (Eph 4:6), but He is spiritual Father “through adoption” (John 1:12; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5; Heb. 12:5-9) only to believers (Rom. 8:14; 2 Cor. 6:18).
b. WE BELIEVE that He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass (Eph. 1:11). He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events (1 Chron. 29:11; Job 37-39; Heb. 1:3). In His sovereignty He is neither author nor approver of sin (Hab. 1:13; John 8:38-47), nor does He abridge the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (1 Pt. 1:17). He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Eph. 1:4-6). He saves from sin all who come to Him through Jesus Christ alone by faith alone (John 3:16; Gal 2:16; Rom 3:28).
4. The Person and Work of Jesus Christ
a. WE BELIEVE that the Lord Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, who is the eternal Son of God (John 1:1-2), became man, without ceasing to be God (John 1:14; Phil 2:5-12), having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary in order that He might reveal God the Father (John 14:9), and redeem sinful man. (Luke 1:35; Matt. 1:21)
b. WE BELIEVE that the Lord Jesus Christ lived a sinless life (1 Pet. 2:22; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4;15), accomplished redemption for believers through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice (1 Pet. 2:24; Rom. 3:24-25; Eph. 1:7) and that a believer’s justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Rom. 4:25; 1 Pet. 1:3-5).
c. WE BELIEVE that all men have violated the Laws of God (Rom. 3:23), and therefore are without a righteousness of their own (Phil. 3:8-9; Rom. 3:9-20) and cursed by God (Gal. 3:10). Justification is a forensic act by which God declares sinners to be just in His sight. This legal act is based solely upon the righteousness of Christ (Rom 6:17-19; Phil 3:8), which He earned on behalf of His people. This righteousness is an alien or foreign righteousness that is credit (imputed) to the account of every believer upon exercising saving faith in Christ alone. (Rom 5:17- 19).
d. WE BELIEVE that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God, the Father (Act 1:9-10; 7:56; Heb 1:3), where, as the High Priest of His people (Heb. 2:17; 5:10), He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate. (Heb. 9:24; 7:25; Rom. 8:34; 1 John 2:1-2)
5. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
a. WE BELIEVE that the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8-11). He is the Supernatural Agent in regeneration, raising men spiritually from the dead; (John 3:3-5; Eph 2:1, 5: Col 2:13; 2 Cor. 3:6), producing saving repentance and faith (both are gifts of God: Acts 5:31; 11:18; 13:48; 16:14; Eph. 2:8-9; Phil. 1:29), spiritually baptizing all believers into the body of Christ (John 3:5-6; 1 Cor. 12:12-14), indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption (Rom. 8:9; Eph. 1:13-14).
b. WE BELIEVE that He is the Divine Teacher who guides believers into all truth (John 16:13) and that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be “filled with the Spirit” (1 John 2:20, 27; Eph. 5:18).
6. The Doctrine of the Total Depravity of Man or Radical Conception
WE BELIEVE that our first parents were created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). Through the subtle temptation of Satan, both the man and the woman ate from the divinely forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen. 2:17). When Adam rebelled, he plunged the entire human race into spiritual ruin and death (Rom 5:12, 18-19; 1 Cor. 15:21-22; Eph 1:1-3), thereby forfeiting man’s original righteousness and alienating himself from the Creator (Isa 59:2; Rom 3:10-18). As a result, mankind inherited a sinful nature from Adam, who was the federal representative of the human race, and is therefore born into a state of sin (not born basically good) and born naturally rebellious against God. Adam’s guilt was imputed to his progeny, thereby internally corrupting all men. His sin became their sin, his guilt their guilt, his punishment their punishment (Rom. 5:12-18; 6:23).
WE BELIEVE that, as a result of this inborn corruption, all men are born with an inherited, corrupt, sinful nature, born spiritually dead, blind, dumb, and deaf to spiritual truth, and enslaved to sin (Rom. 8:10; Eph 2:1; Col. 2:13; John 8:43, 47; 10: 26-27; 12:39-40; 2 Cor. 4:4; Luke 8:10; 1 Cor. 2:14; Matt. 11:27; 13:13-14; 16:17; 2 Pet. 2:19; 2 Tim. 2:26; Matt. 12:29; Rom. 7:14). Fallen man is totally unable to do any spiritual good and to believe in or come to Christ (John 6:44, 64-66; 8:47; 10:26; Rom. 3:10-18; Rom. 7:5; 8:7-8). His will is totally enslaved to his evil nature and he is a child of Satan (2 Tim. 2:26; John 1:12-13; Rom. 9:16; John 8:44). Consequently, man is no longer free, but is in the bondage of his evil nature (Rom. 7:14; Eph. 2:1-2). By nature, he has no desire for Christ or the things of God (Rom. 3:9-20; 8:5-8).
WE BELIEVE that, although man is not as evil as he could be, sin has corrupted the whole of man. The corruption extends to his body and soul, to the totality of man’s faculties – his mind, his will, his intellect, his desires, etc. (John 8:44; Rom. 3:9-20; 8:5-8; 2 Tim. 2:26).
WE BELIEVE, therefore, that, at the Fall, man became alienated from God and is of himself totally unable to remedy his lost condition or prepare Himself for salvation. (Jer. 13:23; Matt. 7:16-17)
WE BELIEVE that sanctification is the process whereby, through cooperating with the indwelling Holy Spirit, a regenerated believer dies more and more to sin and grows inwardly and outwardly in righteousness, into the likeness of Christ (Rom 8:29; 1 Thess. 4:1-7; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; 2 Cor. 7:1; Heb. 12:10-15; Rom. 6:11-22; 2 Cor. 3:17-18; 4:16; Gal 2:19-22; Titus 3:5). Once the Sovereign Spirit regenerates a believer from his dead state (Eph. 2:1, 5; Col. 2:13; Titus 3:5), he begins his personal journey in holiness.
Sanctification constitutes a vital part of every believer’s relationship with the Lord (Eph 1:5; Gal 4:5; Rom 8:15-17), as well as with his earthly life and service (Heb 12:10-15). Personal growth in holiness and obedience to God is a sign that a person has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and united to Christ by saving faith (John 8:31; 15:8; Jas 2:24; 1 John 3:7-10). This divine process concerns itself with such practical aspects as regular worship, confessing sins, making restitution where possible, regularly reading and studying the Word of God, faithful service to the Lord, fellowshipping with other believers, praying regularly, and maintaining a witness as God grants opportunities.
WE BELIEVE that, contrary to some, sanctification is never completed in this life (1 John 1:8, 9). While the believer remains in his corrupted and unredeemed body, the inward battle between the flesh (sinful nature) and spirit (new life in Christ) remain (Rom 7:14-25). Sanctification is only completed for our souls at death and when the Lord returns for our bodies (Rom. 8:30; 1 Cor. 15:50-54; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 John 3:2). Only then will we be made perfect (Rev. 7:14).
However, it is possible in this life for the sanctified believer, by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and by his cooperation, to experience greater victory over sin, over the temptations of the Devil, and to be freed from their ruling aspect (1 John 1:9-2:2; Rom. 6:1-23; 8:13; 1 Cor. 6: 18-20).
8. The Church
WE BELIEVE that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church (Eph. 1:22; 4:15; 5:23). The true Church is the body and espoused bride of Christ (Eph 5:30; 1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 1:22-23). It is a spiritual organism composed of all those who were chosen before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4; 2:19-22), regenerated by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-5; 1 Pt 1:3), and united to Christ by faith alone (John 3:16; Eph. 2:8,9; Rom. 3:22-30; 4:1-24; Gal. 2:16).
WE BELIEVE that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:27; 20:17, 28-32; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11).
Only those who are thus members of the true Church shall be intended for membership in the local Church.
9. The Sacraments
WE BELIEVE the sacraments are signs and seals of God’s Covenant of Grace and are to be practiced in the context of faith alone in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ (John 6:27; Romans 3:21-24, 4:11; II Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13, 4:30). The Lord Jesus instituted only two sacraments. Water Baptism (Matthew 28:19) and the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:19-20; I Corinthians 11:24-25) are to be observed and administered by the Church as the outward signs and seals of the inward working of the grace of God as demonstrated in the finished work of Jesus Christ alone. We deny that there is any effectual working or power for salvation in the sacraments in and of themselves but only in the Gospel of God’s unmerited, sovereign grace which is made effectual by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 26:26-30; Mk 14:22-25; Luke 22:17-20; Romans 1:16-17; l Corinthians 11:23-25; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).
WE BELIEVE that water baptism is symbolic of the Holy Spirit and of His work of salvation in accord with God’s sovereign decree of election (John 6:37; 10:14-16; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:28-30; Eph. 1:3-12; Titus 3:4-7). The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is true Christian Baptism with the Lord Jesus Christ acting as our great High Priest in carrying out its administration (Matthew 3:11; Mark1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:4-5, 19:1-6). Water Baptism demonstrates as an outward symbol the inward hope of the believer’s salvation by the working of the Holy Spirit’s power in accord with the sovereign grace of God. (Ezek. 36:25-28; Rom. 6:4-5; 1 Pet. 3:21; Eph. 1:1-14).
WE BELIEVE that the Lord’s Supper is the feast done in obedience and memory of the body and blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as offered up on our behalf as an atoning sacrifice. His body was broken for us and His blood was shed to establish a New Covenant between God and His people. Therefore the perpetual practice of partaking of the Lord’s Supper is continually proclaiming the Lord’s death until He returns in all His glory. The Lord’s Supper is also a means by which the true believer fellowships with Jesus Christ and His Church (Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 10: 14-17, 11:23-28).
WE BELIEVE that it is our obligation to witness by life and by word the truths of God’s Word, proclaiming the Gospel to all mankind (Mat 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:19-20) and making disciples of believers. Only when our Lord has brought all His elect (His sheep: Jew and Gentile) into the kingdom will the Lord return (John 10:15-16; Rom 11:25-26).
11. The Existence and Personality of Satan
WE BELIEVE Satan, who is a fallen angel (Is 14:12-15; 2 Pt 2:4; Rev. 12:7-9; Jude 6) and a created being is the author of sin. He entered the Garden of Eden and tempted the man and woman to rebel against the Creator (Gen 3:1-5). As a result of his nefarious deed, the entire human race fell into spiritual ruin and the bondage of sin and death (Rom. 5:12; 7:14; Eph. 2:1-4; Col 2:13).
WE BELIEVE that the Devil is the “god of this age” who has blinded men to the Gospel (2 Cor. 4:4) and who holds all men in bondage to do his will (Matt. 29; Rom 6:16-17, 20; 2 Tim 2:26; 1 John 5:19). He is the open and declared enemy of God and man (Gen 3:1-15; Job 1:6-12, 7; Matt 4:1-11; Rev. 12; 20:2). When the Lord returns, the Devil, along with his fallen angels will be thrown into the Lake of Fire and eternally punished (Matt. 25:41; Jude 6; Rev. 20:10).
12. The Second Coming of Christ:
WE BELIEVE in the visible, physical, and personal return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who is the “Blessed Hope” (Titus 2:11-13). When He appears, every eye shall see Him, every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:9-11; John 19:37; Rev. 1:7; Rev. 19:1-21).
WE BELIEVE that at that time the Lord will rescue His people from the persecution of the Antichrist (Matt. 24:15-22; Rev. 7:9-17; 19:11-21) and from the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10; 1 Thess. 5:9). He will do this by gathering His elect from the four corners of the earth (Matt. 24:29-31) and from every tongue, tribe, and nation (Rev. 7:9). Only His people, the elect, will be united with Him in the clouds (Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).
WE BELIEVE that, once the elect are united to the Lord in the air, our Lord will then return to earth with His people, as King of Kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:11-18; Zech 14:3-5). At that time, he will destroy the Antichrist, the False Prophets, and all those who worshipped the Beast (Dan 7:11, Zech. 14:12-13; 2 Thess. 2:8).
13. 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. (Matt. 25:46; John 5:28-29; 11:25-26; Rev. 20:5-6,12-15)
WE BELIEVE that the souls of the redeemed are at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil 1:23), where in conscious bliss they await the first resurrection (Rev. 20:4-5). At that time, the spirit, soul, and body of all believers will be reunited and glorified forever with the Lord (Luke 23:43; Rev. 3:21, 20:4-15; 1 Thess. 4:16-17).
WE BELIEVE that, at death, the souls of unbelievers go immediately to Hell and remain in conscious misery until the second resurrection (Luke 16:19-26; Rev. 20:11-15). At that time, their soul and body will be reunited. They shall then all appear at the Great White Throne of Judgment to be judged by God according to their deeds (Rev. 20:11-14; 22:12) and by believers (Matt. 19:28; 1 Cor. 6:1-3 2 Tim 2:12; Rev. 2:26-27; 3:21). Following the Final Judgment, they shall be immediately cast into the Lake of Fire (Matt. 25:46; John 15:6; Rev. 20:15).
WE BELIEVE that they shall not be annihilated, but suffer everlasting conscious punishment (Rev. 14:10; Luke 16:19-26; Matt 25:41-46; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Mark 9:43-48; Rev. 20:11-15).
WE AFFIRM in its entirety the statement endorsed by the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in 2004 entitled: “A Statement on Homosexuality and Same-sex Marriage”. We believe that homosexuality is sin and that same sex marriage is out of the bounds of God’s institution of what constitutes authentic marriage. We believe that those who struggle with the sin homosexuality are not beyond the bounds of the grace of God and are in need of the gospel and the Holy Spirit’s power to help them in their struggle. We further affirm our love for those who struggle with the sin of homosexuality and our commitment to help them to stand in their endeavor to live holy lives as redeemed sinners to the glory of God (Gen. 2:24; I Cor. 6:9; I Tim. 1:10).