THE TRIUNE GOD
There is one God: infinite, eternal, almighty, and perfect in holiness, truth, and love. In the unity of the godhead there are three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, co-existent, co-equal, co-eternal. The Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Holy Spirit, yet each is truly Deity. One God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is the foundation of Christian faith and life.
GOD, THE SON - JESUS CHRIST
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, was the eternal Word made flesh, supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary. He was perfect in nature, teaching and obedience. He is fully God and fully man. He was always with God and is God. Through him all things came into being and were created. He was before all things, and in him all things hold together by the word of his power. He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation, and in him dwells the fullness of the godhead bodily. He is the only Savior for the sins of the world, having shed his blood and died a vicarious death on Calvary’s cross. By his death in our place, he revealed the divine love and upheld divine justice, removing our guilt and reconciling us to God. Having redeemed us from sin, on the third day he rose bodily from the grave, victorious over death and the powers of darkness. For a period of forty days he appeared to over five hundred witnesses, performing many convincing proofs of his resurrection. He then ascended into heaven where, at God’s right hand, he intercedes for his people and rules as Lord over all. He is the Head of his body, the Church, and should be adored, loved, served, and obeyed by all.
Luke 1.31-35, John 1.1-3; 3.16, Acts 2.32-33; 4.12, Romans 8.34, Colossians 1.15-20; 2.15, 1 Timothy 2.5
GOD, THE FATHER
God the Father is the Creator of heaven and earth. By his word and for his glory, he freely and supernaturally created the world from nothing. Through the same Word he daily sustains all his creatures. He rules over all and is the only Sovereign. His plans and purposes cannot be thwarted. He is faithful to every promise, works all things together for good to those who love him, and in his unfathomable grace gave his Son Jesus Christ for mankind’s redemption. He made man for fellowship with himself and intended that all creation should live to the praise of his glory.
Genesis 1.1, Numbers 23.19, Psalm 115.3; 135.6, Isaiah 43.7; 46.8-11, Daniel 4.35, Romans 8.28, 1 Corinthians 10.31, Hebrews 11.3
GOD, THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is fully God, equal with the Father and Son, whose primary ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. Through the proclamation of the gospel he draws men to repentance of their sins and confession in Jesus as Lord. By the same Spirit a person is led to trust in divine mercy. The Holy Spirit unites believers to Jesus Christ in faith, brings about the new birth, and dwells within the regenerate. The Holy Spirit has come to glorify the Son who in turn came to glorify the Father. He will lead the Church into a right understanding and rich application of the truth of God’s Word. He is to be respected, honored, and worshipped as God the Third Person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit indwells and empowers us through spiritual gifts he has bestowed for the work of ministry and the building up of the body of Christ. These gifts are divine provisions central to spiritual growth and effective ministry and are to be faithfully developed, and selflessly exercised according to biblical guidelines.
Genesis 2.7, Psalm 104.30, John 3.5-8; 16.7-8, Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 2.11; 12-14, Galatians 5.22, 1 Thessalonians 5.19, 1 Timothy 4.14, 2 Timothy 1.6-7, Titus 3.5-6, 1 John 4.1-6
We accept the Bible, including the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament, as the written Word of God. The Bible is the only essential and infallible record of God’s self-disclosure. It leads us to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Because the Scriptures have been given by God, they are both fully and verbally inspired by him. Therefore, as originally given, the Bible is free of error in all it teaches. Each book is to be interpreted according to its context and purpose and in reverent obedience to the Lord who speaks through it in living power. All believers are exhorted to study the Scriptures and diligently apply them to their lives. The Scriptures are the authoritative and normative rule and guide of all Christian life, practice, and doctrine. They are totally sufficient and must not be added to, superseded, or changed by later tradition, extra-biblical revelation, or worldly wisdom. Every doctrinal formulation whether of creed, confession, or theology must be tested by the full counsel of God in Holy Scripture.
Deuteronomy 29.29, Acts 17.11, 2 Timothy 3.16-17, James 1.22, 2 Peter 1.16-21, Revelation 22.18-19
God made man – male and female – in his own image, as the crown of creation, that man might have fellowship with him. Tempted by Satan, man rebelled against God. Estranged from his Maker yet responsible to him, man became subject to divine wrath, inwardly depraved and, apart from a special work of grace, utterly incapable of returning to God. This depravity is radical and pervasive. It extends to his mind, will and affections. Unregenerate man lives under the dominion of sin and Satan. He is at enmity with God, hostile toward God and hateful of God. Fallen, sinful people, whatever their character or attainments, are lost and without hope apart from salvation in Christ.
Genesis 1.26-28; 2.25; 3.1-24; 6.5, Psalm 51.5, Mark 7.20-23, Romans 3.10-23; 5.12-21, Ephesians 2.1-3
The Truth about God’s redeeming work through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is The Gospel - The Good News. This Good News begins for us with the bad news that, as sinners by nature, we are incapable of living according to God’s moral standard of holiness - perfect obedience from the heart. This means that we are condemned already, deserving of His just wrath on us, because of our sinfulness. However, God made a gracious concession by reconciling us to Himself through Christ’s life, death and resurrection. The believer is then forgiven of sin that separates from God and sealed with the Holy Spirit for eternal life with God. By sincere, repentant faith alone in Christ’s sinless life, His substitutionary and propitiatory death on the cross, and His victorious resurrection from the dead, we are forgiven, justified before God - saved. On the cross, God, in Christ, demonstrates His mysterious love, His holy justice, and His amazing grace toward sinners. At the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the infinite privilege redeemed sinners have of glorifying an eternally sufficient God, because of all He has accomplished on their behalf. We believe The Gospel both saves and sanctifies, and therefore, want all that takes place in our hearts, our churches, and our ministries to proceed from and be related to the truths and the power of The Gospel.
A comprehensive understanding of “The Gospel” has four distinct elements and accounts for both creation in general and mankind specifically. Creation: God created a good world; everything was in perfect order as it should have been, ruled by the Sovereign Lord. Man and woman had uninterrupted communion with God himself, knowing and being known by him fully. Curse: But our first parents (Adam and Eve) rebelled against God and brought sin and death and corruption into the world by their disobedience. They could no longer stay in communion with God, and their relationship with one another would suffer as well. This is the state all humans find themselves in: They are spiritually dead, unable to do anything to restore their relationship with God– inhabiting a world marked by injustice, fighting, and suffering. Humans are under a curse. Cross: Jesus is fully God and fully man. He came to earth, lived perfectly, and willingly offered himself on the cross as our substitute, absorbing the full curse of our sin on our behalf. His sacrifice and resurrection inaugurated his kingdom and granted us his identity– to become sons and daughters of God, enjoying communion with God once more. Consummation: One day Jesus will return and fully remove sin’s penalty, power, and presence from the earth. The devastating curse will finally be lifted. His return will usher in the final reversal of the curse brought upon the earth and her inhabitants by man’s sin. Humans will enjoy full communion with God for eternity, living with him in a perfectly ordered and restored heavens and earth.
Acts 4.12, Romans 3.21-26; 4.5, 2 Corinthians 5.21, 1 Timothy 2.5, 1 John 2.2
REPENTANCE - MAN’S RESPONSE TO THE GOSPEL
Man’s response to the gospel is rooted and grounded in the free and unconditional election of God for His own pleasure and glory. It is also true that the message of the gospel is only effectual to those who genuinely repent of (turn from) their sins and, by God’s grace, put saving faith in Christ. This Gospel of Grace is to be sincerely preached to all men, in all nations. Biblical repentance is characterized by a changed life and saving faith is evidenced by kingdom service and good works. Unless a person is willing to deny himself, pick up his cross and follow Christ, he cannot become His disciple.
Matthew 28.18-20, Ephesians 1.3-14; 2.8-10, 1 Corinthians 6.11, Titus 3.3-7
SALVATION - MAN’S INHERITANCE IN THE GOSPEL
Salvation, the free gift of God, is provided by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, for the glory of God alone. Anyone turning from sin in repentance and looking to Christ and his substitutionary death receives eternal life and is declared righteous by God as a free gift. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to him. He is justified and fully accepted by God. Through Christ’s propitiatory atonement for sin, an individual is reconciled to God as Father and becomes His child. The believer is forgiven the sin-debt and, by the miracle of regeneration, liberated from the law of sin and death into the freedom of God’s Spirit - liberated to know, love and obey God and one day, to be with Him forever.
John 3.16, Romans 5.18-19, 2 Corinthians 3.17; 5.17-21, Colossians 2.13-14
SANCTIFICATION - MAN’S TRANSFORMATION BY THE GOSPEL
The Holy Spirit is the active agent in our sanctification and seeks to produce his fruit in us as our minds are renewed and we are conformed to the image of Christ. Though indwelling sin remains a reality, through the leading of the Spirit, we grow in the knowledge of the Lord, freely keeping his commandments and endeavoring to live in the world that all people may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven. All believers are exhorted to persevere in the faith knowing they will have to give an account to God for their every thought, word and deed. The spiritual disciplines, especially Bible study, prayer, worship and confession, are a vital means of grace in this regard. Nevertheless, the believer’s ultimate confidence to persevere is based in the sure promise of God to preserve his people until the end which is most certain.
Romans 8.28-30; 14.12, 1 Corinthians 1.8-9, 2 Corinthians 3.17-18, Galatians 5.22-23, Philippians 1.6, Colossians 3.9, 1 Timothy 4.7, Hebrews 10.22-23
God by his Word and Spirit creates the Church, calling sinful men out of the whole human race into the fellowship of Christ’s Body. By the same Word and Spirit, he guides and preserves that new redeemed humanity. The Church is not a religious institution or denomination. Rather, the Church universal is made up of those who have become genuine followers of Jesus Christ and have personally appropriated the gospel. The Church exists to worship and glorify God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It also exists to serve him by faithfully doing his will in the earth. This involves a commitment to see the gospel preached and churches planted in all the world for a testimony. The ultimate mission of the Church is to make disciples through the preaching of the gospel. When God transforms human nature, this then becomes the chief means of society’s transformation. Upon conversion, newly redeemed men and women are added to a local church in which they devote themselves to teaching, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper and prayer.
All members of the church universal are to be a vital and committed part of a local church. In this context, they are called to live out the New Covenant as the people of God and demonstrate the reality of the kingdom of God. The ascended Christ has given gift ministries to the church (including apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) for the equipping of Christ’s body that it might mature and grow. Through the gift ministries all members of the church are to be nurtured and equipped for the work of the ministry. In the context of the local church, God’s people receive pastoral care and leadership and the opportunity to employ their God-given gifts in his service in relation to one another and to the world.
Isaiah 43.7, Matthew 28.19, Acts 2.42-47, 1 Corinthians 10.31
ORDINANCES OF THE CHURCH
Water baptism is only intended for the individual who has received the saving benefits of Christ’s atoning work and has become his disciple. Therefore, in obedience to Christ’s command and as a testimony to God, the Church, oneself and the world, a believer should be immersed in water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Water baptism is a visual demonstration of a person’s union with Christ in the likeness of his death and resurrection. It signifies that his former way of life has been put to death and vividly depicts a person’s release from the mastery of sin.
As with water baptism, the Lord’s Supper is to be observed only by those who have become genuine followers of Christ. This ordinance symbolizes the breaking of Christ’s body and the shedding of His blood on our behalf, and is to be observed repeatedly throughout the Christian life as a sign of continued participation in the atoning benefits of Christ’s death. As we partake of the Lord’s Supper with an attitude of faith and self- examination, we remember and proclaim the death of Christ, receive spiritual nourishment for our souls, and signify our unity with other members of Christ’s body.
Matthew 26.26-29; 28.19, Acts2.38, Romans 6.3-4, 1 Corinthians 11.17-32
THE END OF ALL THINGS
The end (or consummation) of all things includes the visible, personal and glorious return of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the dead and the translation of those alive in Christ, the judgment of the just and the unjust, and the fulfillment of Christ’s kingdom in the new heavens and the new earth. In the Consummation, Satan with his hosts and all those outside Christ are finally separated from the benevolent presence of God, enduring eternal punishment, but the righteous, in glorious bodies, shall live and reign with him forever. Married to Christ as his Bride, the Church will be in the presence of God forever, serving him and giving him unending praise and glory. Then shall the eager expectation of creation be fulfilled and the whole earth shall proclaim the glory of God who makes all things new.
Acts 1.11, Romans 8.18-23, 1 Corinthians 15.50-55, 1 Thessalonians 4.13-5.11, 2 Thessalonians 1.9-10, Revelation 21.1-4; 22.12-13