Church Doctrine

The Holy Scriptures

We believe the Scriptures – both 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 practice. 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) (II Tim. 3:15-17; II Pet. 1:20,21; Ps. 19:7-9)

The Godhead

We believe in one God, eternally existing is three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – who are identical in essence, equal(3) in power and glory, and possess precisely the same attributes and perfection. (Deut.. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; II Cor. 13:14)

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 deed. The result of this is that man is incapable of remedying his lost and depraved(4) condition. In and of himself, man is without hope. (Gen. 1:26; 3:1-24; Rom. 3:10-18; 5:12; Eph. 2:1-3)

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(5) 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)

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(6) to those who are spiritually dead; that He baptizes(7) (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; I Cor. 12:13; John 14:16,17; Eph, 4:30; I Cor, 12:7-11; Eph. 5:18)

Salvation:

We believe that salvation is the gift(8) 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(9), 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(10) 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 live. (Eph. 1:7; 2:8,9; John 1:12; II Cor. 5:21; Phil. 1:6; Tit. 2:11-14)

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(11) 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(12). (John 10:27-29; Rom. 8:29-39; I John 5:13; He. 12:6; Matt. 7:20; James 2:20)

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(13) for growth in maturity in Christ. While practical sanctification is assured by the Word and the Spirit, it is yet imperfect(14) 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(15) 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)

The Church

We believe that the true church, called in Scripture the Body of Christ(16), is a spiritual organism(17). 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(18), as established in Scripture, is made up of redeemed individuals who have joined together for worship, instruction(19), fellowship(20) and service. (Eph. 1:22; I Cor. 12:13; Acts 2:42; 13:1,2)

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. Baptism is an opportunity to give public testimony to the inward reality of salvation; namely that the individual is identifying themselves with the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. The Lord’s supper is a time to remember and reflect upon Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. Neither ordinance is efficacious for salvation and is intended for only those who have genuinely committed themselves to Jesus Christ. (Matt. 28:19; I Cor. 11:23-26)

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(21) return to earth to establish His kingdom.

(I Thess. 4:13-18; Zech. 14:4-11; Rev. 19:11-16; 20:1-6)

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 o be annihilated, but to be separated from God forever in conscious punishment. (Luke 16:19-26; II Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; II Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 20:11-15)

[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]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]Equal: There is a hierarchical order in the godhead:  Father first, Son second and Spirit third (John 14:24; 16:28; 14:16).

[4]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).

[5]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).

[6]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).

[7]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 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.

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

[9]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)

[10]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).

[11]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.

[12]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 of 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 Christians.  Acts 11:26 records the beginning of the term Christian being applied to followers (disciples) of Jesus.

[13]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 “subconscious”) 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)

[14]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).

[15]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 such a person is not a believer (I John 1:6; 4:14; 5:12)

[16]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)

[17]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 Revelation 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, he Church having been removed at the rapture. (Dan. 9:24-27;  Rom. 9-11;  Gal. 3:17-18)

[18]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).

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

[20]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)

[21]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 al promised to Abraham.  The one-thousand year earthly kingdom is he first phase of the eternal kingdom that will be everlasting. (II Sam. 7:13,16;  Also see the books of Isaiah and Ezekiel)

WordPress Themes