Our statement of faith is based on the whole counsel of God’s inspired Word (Acts 20:27; Daniel 10:21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17), which includes the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible. We believe that “creeds,” “confessions,” and “statements of faith” are helpful ways of summarizing Bible truths, and that the precedent for a church’s statement of faith can be found in texts such as 2 Timothy 1:13 (“Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus”) and 2 Timothy 2:2 (“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also”).
This statement has been arrived at by comparing Scripture with Scripture (1 Corinthians 2:13; Isaiah 8:20) and, in a secondary way, by consulting the historic confessions of the Christian faith, such as the Nicene Creed (A.D. 325), the Council of Chalcedon (A.D. 451), the Apostle’s Creed (5th century), the Scots Confession (1560), the Westminster Standards (1643-1649), and the London Baptist Confession (1689).
1. THE SCRIPTURES
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God. The sixty-six books comprising the Old and New Testaments are God-breathed and inerrant. The Bible is our final authority and our only all-sufficient rule of faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16–17; John 17:17; Ephesians 2:19–20; 2 Peter 1:19–21).
2. GOD: THE TRINITY
We believe that there is only one true and living God. He is inexpressibly holy, eternal, infinite, immense, and perfect in all His attributes. He knows all things (omniscience), has power over all things (omnipotence), and is present everywhere (omnipresence). God exists in three distinct persons, who are of the same nature, essence, and being: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three Persons of the Godhead are the co-Creators, co-Sustainers, and co-Redeemers of the universe (Genesis 1–2; Deuteronomy 6:4–5; Matthew 28:19–20; 2 Corinthians 13:14).
God the Father
We believe in God the Father and are comforted to call upon Him personally as “our Father in heaven.” Because of His great love, the eternal Father sent His Son to die on behalf of sinners. The Father elects, saves, adopts, and disciplines His believing children (John 3:16; Romans 8; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 1:3–6; Hebrews 4:16, 12:9; 1 Peter 1:3).
We believe in the eternal divine existence, virgin birth, sinless life, vicarious death, victorious bodily resurrection, present intercession, and glorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe in Christ’s full humanity and full deity. He is the Son of God and God the Son (Matthew 1:18-23; John 1:1-18; Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8).
The Holy Spirit
We believe in the absolute deity and distinct personality of the Holy Spirit. While being co-Creator and co-Sustainer with the Father and Son, He is the divine agent in the sinner’s regeneration and believer’s sanctification. He indwells and gives spiritual gifts to all believers for ministry in the church and society. The Holy Spirit was sent forth by the Father and the Son to convict, comfort, indwell, and empower God’s church (Romans. 8:9–11; Ephesians 1:13–14).
3. GOD’S PROVIDENCE AND SOVEREIGNTY
God, from eternity, has decreed all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and all events – yet so as not in any way to be the author or approver of sin, nor to destroy the genuine responsibility of humans. God is absolutely sovereign, and humans are genuinely responsible for their actions (Hebrews 1:3; Matthew 10:39-31; Proverbs 16:33; Ephesians 1:11; Romans 11:33; Hebrews 6:17; James 1:13, 17; 1 John 1:5; Acts 2:23; Acts 4:27–28; John 19:11; Proverbs 16:33).
4. PREDESTINATION: ELECTION AND REPROBATION
By His eternal decree, and for the manifestation of His glory, God has predestined all humans and all angels either to election or to reprobation (Romans 9:22–23; Ephesians 1:5; Proverbs 16:4; 2 Timothy 2:19; John 13:18; 1 Timothy 5:21; Matthew 25:41).
Election is God’s eternal free choice of some persons for everlasting life, not because of foreseen merit in them, nor because of foreseen decisions they would make, but because of God’s free mercy in Christ. In consequence of God’s sovereign choosing, His elect are unfailingly called, justified, regenerated, adopted, and glorified, to the praise of His glorious grace (Romans 8:30; Ephesians 1:3-6; Acts 13:48).
Reprobation is God’s eternal free choice of some persons for everlasting punishment, God sovereignly passing them by, and ordaining them to dishonor and wrath because of their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice (Matthew 11:25; Romans 9:17–18, 21–22; 2 Timothy 2:19–20; 1 Pet 2:8; Jude v. 4).
For members: Church members should have a basic understanding of this article. It is important that members understand that these doctrines are taught in the Bible and at our church, while there are many true Christians who have disagreements about these truths.
5. ANGELS AND DEMONS
We believe in the existence of angels, spiritual beings created by God. They worship God, serve His saints, and do God’s will (Mark 1:14; Luke 4:10; Hebrews 1). We believe in the reality, personality, and absolutely evil nature of fallen angels, namely, Satan and demons (John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:14; Revelation 12:9). We deny the existence of any category of sentient beings besides God, angels (whether holy or fallen), humans, and animals.
6. HUMANITY AND THE FALL OF MAN
We believe that human beings were created in the image and likeness of God. Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, disobeyed God and became fallen, sinful creatures. As a result, sin and death entered the world. All mankind after Adam inherit a nature corrupt and wholly opposed to God and His law, are under divine condemnation, and are actual transgressors (Genesis 1:26–27; 3:1-24; Daniel 9:18; Romans 5:12–19; Ephesians 2:1–3).
7. THE PROMISES AND COVENANTS OF GOD
We believe that God has dealt with His people throughout all ages in terms of promises and covenants (Ephesians 2:12; Genesis 17:7–9). We believe that after Adam’s fall in the garden, God graciously rebuked Adam’s sin, and then made a redemptive promise to him, that is, that “the seed of the woman would bruise the serpent’s head” (Genesis 3:15), or in a word, that Christ would “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). This original promise, and first statement of the gospel of Jesus Christ, was then repeated and made clearer from time to time throughout scriptural history. Every repetition involved an expansion of the original gospel promise, as well as a specific “covenant” or agreement that prefigures some part of the new covenant in Christ. These promises of a coming Messiah were savingly believed in by all the faithful men and women from Adam to the time of Christ’s incarnation. After Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, the New Covenant was inaugurated, and all the promises of God were confirmed and brought to a head in the hoped-for Messiah (2 Corinthians 1:20). Old Testament saints were saved by believing in the promises of the coming Christ, while New Testament saints are saved by believing in the promises fulfilled in the Christ who has come. We deny that there are anything like “dispensations” in which people are saved differently throughout the history of the world. We also see the New Covenant as culminative and final, with no future covenants or dispensations on the horizon ever.
We believe that God has provided a way for humans to be saved from sin, and that Jesus Christ is that way, truth, and life. Salvation has been provided for the whole world, Jews and Gentiles alike, and is obtained by grace alone through faith alone in the all-sufficient sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ alone. When God has regenerated, justified, and sanctified one who believes in the finished work of Christ, good works and perseverance are produced in the believer’s life and serve as evidence of true saving faith (Ephesians 2:8–10; John 6:35-40; Romans 3:19-26; 8:28-30; 1 Peter 1:18-23).
The Mediatorial Work of Christ
Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, is the divinely appointed Mediator between God and man. Having taken upon Himself human nature, yet without sin, Christ perfectly fulfilled the law, and suffered and died upon the cross for the salvation of sinners. He was buried, rose again on the third day, and ascended to His Father, at whose right hand He ever lives to make intercession for His people. He is the only Mediator – the Prophet, Priest, and King of the church (Matthew 3:17; 1 Corinthians 15:3-7; 1 Timothy 2:5; Romans 5:6-11; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 1:3).
Regeneration is a change of heart, wrought by the Holy Spirit, who gives life to those who are dead in trespasses and sins, enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the Word of God, and renewing their whole nature, so that they love and practice holiness. It is a work of God’s free and special grace alone, which produces repentance and faith (John 3:1-8; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:3).
Repentance is a gift and command of God, by which a person, being, by the Holy Spirit, made sensible of the manifold evil of his sin, humbles himself with godly sorrow, detestation of sin, and self-abhorrence, and turns decisively to God, seeking to please Him in all things (Mark. 1:15; Acts 20:21; 2 Corinthians 7:9). Repentance is granted by God in His sovereignty (2 Timothy 2:25) and is also commanded to all humans in their responsibility (Acts 17:30).
Saving faith is a gift and command of God, which consists in belief, knowledge, mental assent, persuasion, rest, and trust in whatever is revealed in God’s Word concerning the person and work of God and His Christ. It involves accepting and resting on Christ alone for salvation and eternal life. It is worked in the heart by the Holy Spirit, and is accompanied by all other saving graces, leading to a life of holiness (John 1:12; 5:24; Ephesians 2:8-9). Faith is granted by God in His sovereignty (Ephesians 2:9; Philippians 1:29), and is also commanded to all humans in their responsibility (Mark 1:15).
Justification is a legal action by which God declares His believing people to be righteous in His sight and acquitted from the guilt of their sin. This occurs through the faith of God’s elect in the person and work of Christ, and is the result of a legal transaction called “double imputation,” by which Christ takes on the believer’s sin on the cross, and the believer is given Christ’s righteousness at the moment he begins to exercise saving faith (2 Corinthians 5:21; Genesis 15; Romans 4-5). Justification comes entirely through faith in the finished work of Jesus who justifies the ungodly, and not through any work wrought in or done by the believer (Romans 3:23-24; 5:1-2, 18-19; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3).
Those who have been regenerated and justified are also sanctified by God’s Word and by His Spirit dwelling in them. This sanctification is progressive, it increases throughout the believer’s life, and it has its aim in the believer being “perfect” in the sense of being complete, fulfilled, and Christ-like. The goal of each believer’s sanctification is never sinless perfection, however, because sinless perfection is the nature and prerogative of Jesus Christ alone. All saints must seek to obtain that holiness without which no one will see the Lord, pressing after a heavenly life in heartfelt obedience to all of Christ’s commands, while realizing that “he who says he has no sin is a liar” (1 John 1:8), and that we will be dependent on the grace of God forever (John 17:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 12:14; 2 Peter 1:8; Ephesians 4:13; Colossians 1:28).
Perseverance of the Saints / Eternal Security
Those whom God has accepted in the Beloved, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but will certainly persevere to the end. Though saints may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, by which they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the church and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they will be renewed again to repentance, and be kept by the power of God through faith to salvation. Those who do not persevere are shown never to have exercised saving faith in the first place (John 10:28–29; Romans 8:30; 1 John 1:8, 3:9, 2:19).
9. THE GOSPEL
The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ died to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). Christ’s atoning death offers eternal life, blessedness, reconciliation with God, and assured protection from evil and hell (Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 5:19; Hebrews 6:11; 1 John 5:18; 2 Peter 2:4-9). The gospel invitation goes out to people from every “tribe, language, and nation” (Revelation 5:9), proclaiming that: Jesus Christ came to earth as God incarnate, fully man and fully God (John 1:14); He went to the cross, took on the sin of His elect people, and died under the wrath of His Father (2 Corinthians 5:21; John 1:29; Isaiah 53:10); He was buried, but rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of His Father, where He reigns forever, sending forth His Spirit and gifts to the church, and calling all humans to repent and believe in His saving sacrifice (1 Corinthians 15:4; Hebrews 12:2; Luke 22:69; Revelation 3).
10. THE GREAT COMMISSION
We believe that God’s people are sent into the world by Jesus Christ to proclaim His gospel, just as Christ was sent by the Father (Matthew 28:18-20; John 17:18, 20:21; Acts 1:8). We are to be evangelists and ambassadors for Christ, proclaiming and explaining the gospel to unbelievers with grace, clarity, wisdom, gentleness, and patience (2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Colossians 4:2-6; 2 Timothy 2:14–26).
11. THE CHURCH
We believe that a New Testament local church is a company of baptized believers, voluntarily associated together for the ministry of the Word, mutual helpfulness and edification, the observance of the ordinances, and the proclamation of the Gospel. A local church should be independent, under God, with no ecclesiastical authority higher than itself. To each of these local churches, Christ has given needful authority for administering that order, discipline, and worship which He has appointed. The regular officers of a church are elders and deacons, both of which offices are to be held by men only.
Christians ought to devote themselves to the local church, and in so doing should abstain from sinful indulgences and separate themselves for God: “renouncing irreverence and worldly lusts, and living soberly, righteously, and reverently in the present age” (Titus 2:12; Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 4:1-16; 1 Timothy 3:1-15; 1 Peter 2:9-10; Colossians 1:18; Matthew 16:18, 18:15-18; 1 Timothy 3:1-15; 1 Peter 5:1–4).
12. CHURCH ORDINANCES
We believe that there are only two church ordinances: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. These are observances commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, to be upheld and cherished throughout the church age. They are of value in sanctifying and encouraging the believer, and in proclaiming Christ’s gospel, but are in no way saving sacraments or rites.
Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus, obligatory upon every believer, by which he is immersed in water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, as a declaration of his fellowship in the death and resurrection of Christ, of remission of sins, and of giving himself up to God, to live and walk in newness of life (Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 6:3-5; Acts 8:38-39; Acts 2:38; Colossians 2:12-13).
The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus, to be administered with the elements of bread and the fruit of the vine, and to be observed by His church until the end of the world. It is in no sense a sacrifice, but is designed to commemorate Christ’s death, to confirm the faith of Christians, and to be a bond, pledge, and renewal of their communion with Jesus, and of their church fellowship. This ordinance is to be done in remembrance of Christ, proclaiming His death until He comes again (Matthew 26:26-27; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, 11:23-26).
Marriage is an institution of God and a covenant of love that is meant to reflect the relationship between Christ and His church. It is exclusively between one man and one woman, and is meant to be cherished and kept holy (Genesis 1:27-28, 2:18-24; Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:31–33; Hebrews 13:4).
The Standard for Worship
All worship in the church of God must be conducted according to the Word of God. Only what is authorized in the Scriptures by way of commandment, example, principle, or reasonable inference is to be practiced in public worship. Anything not modeled for us in Scripture itself must be seen as contrary to God’s will (1 Corinthians 4:6; Matthew 28:20; Leviticus 10:1; Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18-19; Isaiah 8:20).
Regular Times of Worship
Following New Testament command, believers are not to forsake regular stated times of meeting in the local church (Hebrews 10:25). Following the general New Testament pattern, the church is to meet on the first day of the week for fellowship, the preaching of the Word, the Lord’s Supper, and giving (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2). Again following the general New Testament pattern, the church is also to gather for regular times of corporate prayer (Acts 2:42, 4:23–35). Various views about the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day are respected, honored, and ought to be discussed with grace in the church (Colossians 2:16–17; Romans 14).
15. FUTURE THINGS (ESCHATOLOGY)
We believe in the imminent, personal, and glorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth. We believe in the resurrection of both the just and the unjust, the eternal blessedness of the righteous, and the judgement and eternal punishment of the wicked (Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:28-29; 1 Corinthians 15:35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:21; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 20-22).
For members: This church teaches “inaugurated millennialism” or “a-millenialism,” which means that the millennium described in Revelation 20 is the current church age, and that when Christ returns, the living and the dead will be judged, and the New Heavens and New Earth will be established, without any intervening age or period. Believers who hold to post-millennial and pre-millennial views are welcome in this church, as we believe that various views of eschatology should never divide Christians.