What We Believe

Theological Distinctives 

 

*Theological Distincitves mark our convictions on areas that are debated among even Bible believing Christians.  Though agreement with these distinctives is not necessary for membership, we will preach, teach, and counsel on the basis of them. 

 

Divine Sovereignty

 

God is sovereign over all things, seen and unseen.  There is nothing outside the power and control of God, including the salvation of each individual Christian.  God is ultimately responsible for the electing, predestinating, and saving of men whom He has chosen.  This choice is God's free decision, not based upon foreseen faith, but based upon His own contra-conditional love for individual people, and His own good pleasure.  It is solely through God's work in overcoming the stubborn, resistant, and totally depraved heart of men to the gospel of Jesus Christ and drawing them to faith in Jesus Christ that they are in fact saved.  This sovereignty of God in the salvation of individual people does not diminish the responsibility of each person to repent and believe in Jesus Christ.

John 1:12–13; 6:37–44; 10:25–30; Acts 13:48; Romans 3:1–4:25; 8:1–17, 31–39; 9:1–26; Ephesians 1:3–14; 2:8–10; Philippians 2:12–13; Titus 3:3–7.

 

Christian Joy

 

All men are created with a desire to seek the greatest amounts of pleasure and happiness that can be found in this life.  This pleasure and happiness is ultimately  found when man seeks after the glory of God and enjoying God in His glory.  Therefore it's only in obedience to God and His commandments while finding our ultimate sense of identity, security, and rest in Jesus Christ that man will be able to fully experience this joy, which ought to be the greatest goal in every Christian's life. 

Psalm 16:11; 37:4; Matthew 13:44-46; John 15:11; Philippians 1:21-26; 3:8; Hebrews 11:6.

 

Spirit Filled Life

 

In the New Testament, members of the early church held, experienced and exhibited various gifts from the Holy Spirit (just as our Savior Jesus Christ did) meant to be used to build up and encourage the church in the work of ministry.  Today each of these gifts still exists and each individual believer in Jesus Christ is given gifts by the good pleasure of Jesus Christ while also being commanded to eagerly desire these gifts.  However, not all Christians will hold each gift, nor are certain gifts necessary for salvation.  Additionally, no gift is to be exalted above others, except what is stated in scripture.  These gifts are to be used in submission to the Holy Spirit and the Bible. 

Matthew 12:28; Luke 5:17; John 14:12-14; 15:26–27; 16:7–15; Acts 2:14–21; 4:29–30; 10:38; Romans 12:3–8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31; 14:1–40; Galatians 3:1–5; Ephesians  4:1-16; 5:18.

 

Missional Church

 

The New Testament reveals that the church of Jesus Christ is a missionary organization in which each individual member is called, encouraged, and commanded to engage in the world around them starting in their neighborhood and expanding to the farthest edges of the world with the gospel.  Because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, every Christian around the world has been granted a new identity by God in which they are empowered by the Holy Spirit to make Christ known and to bring the lordship of Christ to bear in every sphere of life.  The primary way this is accomplished is through the equipping of Christians for the work of ministry in the local church, in the local community, and around the world.  This means that Christians are called, with the power of the Holy Spirit, to boldly engage the culture around them in order to seek its physical, social, and most of all spiritual transformation.       

Psalm 67; Isaiah 52:7; Matthew 10:5–25; 28:18–20; Luke 4:18–19; 24:46–49; Acts 1:8; 28:31; Romans 10:14–15; Galatians 2:10; Ephesians 3:10; 4:11–16; 2 Timothy 4:1–5; 1 Peter 2:4–5, 9–10.

 

Basic Doctrine

 

The Scriptures

 

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man.  It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction.  It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter.  Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy.  It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried.  All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.

Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.

God

 

There is one and only one living and true God.  He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe.  God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections.  God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures.  To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience.  The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.

God the Father

 

God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace.  He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise.  God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ.  He is fatherly in His attitude toward all people.
Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:7.

God the Son

 

Christ is the eternal Son of God.  In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.  Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin.  He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin.  He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion.  He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man.  He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission.  He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.
Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 53:1-12; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.

God the Holy Spirit

 

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine.  He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures.  Through illumination He enables men to understand truth.  He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.  He calls men to the Saviour, and effects regeneration.  At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ.  He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church.  He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption.  His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ.  He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17.

Man

 

Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image.  He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation.  The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God's creation.  In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice.  By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race.  Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and opposed to God and His law, are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors.  Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God.  The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalms 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18,29; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19,21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11.

Salvation

 

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer.  In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification.  There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

A.  Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus.  It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.

Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God.  Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.

B.  Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ.  Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.

C.  Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God's purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him.  Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person's life.

D.  Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.
Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24; 10:9,28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29-39; 10:9-10,13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8,14; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5.

God's Purpose of Grace

 

Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners.  It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end.  It is the glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable.  It excludes boasting and promotes humility.

All true believers endure to the end.  Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end.  Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves;  yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7,19-22; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31ff.; Matthew 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22,31; 25:34; Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48; John 1:12-14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45,65; 10:27-29; 15:16; 17:6,12,17-18; Acts 20:32; Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7,26-36; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 15:24-28; Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11; Colossians 1:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10,19; Hebrews 11:39–12:2; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:2-5,13; 2:4-10; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:19; 3:2.

The Church

 

A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth.  Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes.  In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord.  Its scriptural officers are pastors/elders and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor/elder is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.

The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.
Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:28; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11,21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3.

Baptism and the Lord's Supper

 

Christian baptism is the baptism of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus.  It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead.  Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper.

The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.
Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26; Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12.

Last Things

 

God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth;  the dead will be raised;  and Christ will judge all men in righteousness.  The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment.  The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.

The Family

 

God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society.  It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.

Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.  It is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.

The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image.  The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people.  A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church.  He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family.  A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.  She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.

Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage.  Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.
Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7.