Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.

X

Statement of Faith - What We Believe

 

I.  Bible:  We believe the Bible is God's inspired and inerrant written Word in the whole and in the parts and our standard, not only where it speaks of matters of faith and practice, but also where it touches on matters of interest to science, history and government.

II.  God:  We believe there is one triune God eternally manifested in the persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  He is Creator, Redeemer, and the Sovereign Ruler of creation.  He is the author of truth, love and faith.

    A.  God the Father:  The Father sovereignty governs His creation and human history by His wise and holy providence.  He is all-powerful, all-loving, all-wise, righteous in all His ways and just in all His works.  He demonstrates His fatherly love for all who become His children through Jesus Christ by caring for them, providing for them instructing them and disciplining them.  His purpose is to prepare a family of redeemed people on the earth to show forth His glory.  He is the mover in history in that He uses whomever He desires to accomplish His purposes.  He raises up and He brings down.

    B.  God the Son:  Jesus Christ is God the Son - the second person of the Trinity.  He is eternally the uncreated Word of God.  Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.  He was God incarnate; He perfectly revealed and did the will of the Father.  He took upon Himself human nature and identified fully with humanity, yet remained without sin.  He honored the Divine will and law by His obedience; through His death on the cross, He made provision for the redemption of all who would believe in Him.  He was raised from the dead and appeared to His disciples.  He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God the Father, where He is the One Mediator, effecting the reconciliation between God and man and providing access to the Father for the believer.

    The Father has established Him as Lord over all things and has appointed Him as Judge of the world.  He is the head of the Church.  He will return in power and glory at the end of the present age to judge the world, to reign with His people and to complete His redemptive mission by establishing in full measure the Kingdom and Reign of God.  He will then return to the Father the government of all things, so that "God may be all in all."  (1 Cor. 15:20-28)

    He presently dwells in all believers through the Person of the Holy Spirit as the living and ever-present Lord.  He is Heir of all things.  He was and is the perfect Prophet, Priest and King, representing God to humanity, humanity to God and being fully entitled to reign as King.

    C.  God the Holy Spirit:  The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity.  He exalts Christ.  He convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment.  He calls people to Jesus and effects regeneration.  He inspired the authors of Scriptures and has superintended both the recording and transmission of the Scripture.  He grants revelation to men and women, and quickens God's Word to them.  He comforts, teaches and guides God's people and empowers them to obey God, to cultivate Christ-like character and to be witnesses to Jesus Christ.

    There are many experiences which are valid encounters with God, the Holy Spirit.  "Baptism in the Holy Spirit", "filled with the Holy Spirit", "anointed with the Holy Spirit" are among those Scriptural terms used to describe such encounters with the Holy Spirit.  These experiences should produce greater commitment to God's will, greater realization of His power, and greater edification of His Church.  We further believe the Holy Spirit imparts gifts or abilities greater than our own to accomplish God's will.  These gifts include miraculous healings, revelations and utterances.  These gifts ought to be operative in the Church, supervised by mature leaders and ministered in love by Christians whose lives reflect godly character.  "Each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation.  Let all things be done for edification."  (1 Cor. 14:26) 

 

III.  Man:  We believe man is a triune person (spirit, soul & body), created in the image of God as the crowning work of His creation.  Man stood in unique relationship with his Creator and was commissioned to rule the earth under God's headship.  Through the temptation of Satan, man transgressed the command of God; thus, all his descendents inherit both a nature and an environment twisted by sin.  Because of sin, man is separated from God and is without hope of reconciling himself to a just and holy God through any of his own efforts.  Only the grace of God can restore man to his original calling:  to live in fellowship with God and to fulfill the purposes for which he was created.

 

IV.  Salvation:  We believe that salvation involves the redemption of the whole person and is available only in and through Jesus Christ.  It is offered to all people and is appropriated and experienced by those who respond in faith to God's call to submit to His Son as Lord and Savior.  Jesus, through the shedding of His blood, obtained eternal redemption for those who through faith believe in Him.  This faith is a gift from God and is preceded by the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, Who enables a person to repent of his sin and self-determination.  The Scriptural evidence that one has repented and put his faith in Jesus Christ includes public confession, baptism in water and the reception of the Holy Spirit.  The gift of righteousness enables the believer to live a life of obedience of God's will, as revealed in His Word, to respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and to cultivate and maintain right relationships.

 

V.  Covenant Life:  We believe God is a covenant-making and covenant-keeping God.  That is, He has made promises to those who respond to His love by committing their lives to Him.  His promise of forgiveness and eternal life begins the moment one commits himself to Him.  (From His sovereign perspective, He knows those who are His.)  He is the source of life and all necessary provision to the one believing.  This provision, including both spiritual and natural resources, is available in abundance.

We believe that eternal life (life today and beyond physical existence) comes only by an intimate relationship with the Son of God, Jesus the Messiah, and trust through His blood in the completed work on the cross done out of love for His people created in His image.

We believe those who accept His Lordship should commit themselves to His will for their lives and to his appointed pastoral care for them and to love the Church as He does.  Thus, all those who are in covenant with God are also in covenant with one another.  God made this New Covenant in the blood of Jesus Christ.  Jesus gave His life for us.  When one accepts Jesus as Lord, he pledges his life also to the will of God.  Jesus then sends the Holy Spirit to abide in the one believing, thus sealing the covenant and writing it in his heart.

We believe that all who so confess Jesus Christ as Lord and King are part of His Kingdom and should live in covenant loyalty with one another.  This means laying down their lives for one another if necessary.  It's a way of life, it means learning to love one another on a daily basis in practical ways, forgiving one another, serving one another and correcting one another in a brotherly fashion when necessary.  We believe in a covenant community, which is numbers of small bodies of individuals and families bonded together in love, to become mature Christians and to reach out of the community at large to bring the lost into an intimate relationship with the living God.

 

VI.  Priesthood of the Believer:  We believe in the priesthood of the believer.  By the shedding of His blood, Jesus has become the Believer's High Priest and has made it possible for each Christian to have free access to the presence of the Father.  In His presence, each one can come to know God and to receive from Him.  Each Christian, likewise, is responsible to come to the Father in confidence and faith as a priest unto Him under the New Covenant, and there to minister both the worship of his lips and the worship of his life sacrificially presented to God.

 

VII.  Family:  We believe the Church is symbolized in the family unit which God ordained.  We see the foundation of marriage as the covenant two people make to become one.  We believe marriage is more than partnership - it is a union through self-denial.  We believe in marriage as an expression of covenant love, and that procreation and the rearing of children should take place in the context of covenant love.  We believe the ministry of the church is to strengthen the family in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the peace and harmony of God's divine order for the home.  We strongly oppose divorce and see it as the breaking of covenant.  We do not sanction it and only allow it when one partner violates covenant through infidelity or when the unbelieving partner violates covenant with a believer through desertion.  The act of divorce is not to be taken until all steps of forgiveness and reconciliation have failed to restore the covenant.  Then we believe the faithful person is free.  While we oppose divorce, we are nevertheless committed to minister God's redeeming grace to those who are its victims.

We strongly oppose abortion on demand as the wanton taking of life.  We likewise oppose homosexuality as being a perversion of identity and an abomination to our Creator.  While we oppose homosexuality and abortion, we are nevertheless committed to minister God's redeeming grace.

We believe that healthy families produce healthy citizens.  We believe that much violence and destruction in our present society is directly traceable to delinquent parents, and strong negative social pressures on weakened families.  For these and many other reasons, we make family life a priority.  We readily acknowledge that some are called to celibacy and some of necessity are single, but we believe the Scriptural husband-wife-child relationship is a sacred institution, revealing the love, nature and ways of God.

VIII.  Church:  We believe the very nature and purpose of God is revealed in His Church.  Jesus came and established it as His body in the earth.  We believe the Church Universal consists of all who life under Jesus' Lordship, while the Church local is a body of believing people, baptized and joined together, practicing the New Covenant.  Since the Church is one, as God is one, the Church local must seek to walk in harmony with the Church Universal.

We believe that Jesus Christ, who is Lord of the Church, has established government and ministry in the Church on earth; apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are set in the Church by the Lord to mature it and inspire it to do His work in the earth.  We believe the Scriptural norm calls for each local church to have plurality of elders to seek the Lord for direction that will keep us in obedience and so move the Church on.  We recognize, however, the validity for variety in the church governments as the Lord may lead other Christian groups.

People are joined together in committed relationship for mutual support, correction and encouragement.  Each individual has particular God-given abilities which are different from and complementary to those of the other members.  Each member should be encouraged to function in his own areas of strength, in interdependence with his fellow members.  Gatherings are pattered after the early New Testament church with large meetings ("temple worship") for worship and Bible teaching that include the wider body of Christ, other ministries and churches in the immediate area, the state, the region and other countries, to pursue the movement of God.  Based and rooted; however, in the homes, which promotes deeper fellowship and more personal instructions and ministry.

We believe that the Israelites, or the Jews, are God's chosen people, thus believing in the Christian/Hebraic world view in that we, as gentiles (or non-Jews), have been grafted in as wild branches for the unification of all people, in Christ, as the one new man.  (Romans 11)

IX.  Freedom of Conscience:  We believe in freedom of conscience.  While God has ordained both civil and spiritual government, each Christian is individually responsible to God and accountable to Him for his choices and behavior.  The believer's personal access to the Father through Jesus makes him responsible to:

  •     Cultivate his personal relationship to God through prayer, the study of Scripture and obedience.
  •     Function as a priest to God through personal praise, worship and intercessory prayer.
  •     Represent the Lord to those around him through his life and words.
  •     Be faithful to his conscience.

 

X.  Evangelism:  We accept the commission of Jesus Christ, who is Lord, to make disciples of all nations, to baptize them and teach them to observe His commandments.  We join with all those believing in Him to accomplish this urgent task.  We accept this as a personal commission, as well as a Church commission.

 

XI.  Spiritual Warfare:  We believe that God and His people are opposed by supernatural foes in the persons of Satan and his principalities, powers, and demons.  We believe that their power has been definitely and decisively broken by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, who now lives within each believer.  We believe that Satan is a liar and a thief.  As God's people, we have been commissioned and given authority to expose Satan's lies and take from him all that he has stolen.  We believe that his power is limited by the sovereign purposes of God and that the Church's victory over him is complete.

 

XII.  Christ's Return:  We believe that Jesus Christ will personally return in power and glory.  He will come to fully establish the government of God upon the earth and to judge the living and the dead, rewarding the righteous and punishing the wicked.  While there are many views concerning His second coming, we believe that Christians should lovingly look for His appearing, giving full attention to obedience until He comes.

 

XIII.  Judgment:  We believe in a final judgment at the end of the age.  The righteous and the wicked shall stand before Him and be judged.  Those who have righteousness produced by faith will be rewarded with the privilege of ruling with Him and enjoying His eternal blessings.  Those who are wicked in relationship to God and man will be eternally punished.

XIV.  Authority:  We believe that God is the source of all legitimate authority and that all earthly authority is to be subject to and fulfill the intentions of the Divine authority.  God has enjoined man to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue and rule it.  To accomplish this goal, He has established for man three spheres of authority:  the family, the Church, and civil government.  Each has its own set of responsibilities, limits of authority and procedures with regard to wrongdoers.

    A.  The Family is the basic societal unit: the first place of common worship, common work and common life.  It is headed and lead by a man and consists of a man and those under his care: his wife, who is his helper; his children; and any elderly or displaced persons for whom God grants him responsibility.  A man, assisted by his wife, has the responsibilities to lead, train and discipline his children according to the principles and methods given in the Scripture.

    B.  The Church on earth is the redeemed people of God, who are living under His delegated authority.  The Church has been charged by the Lord Jesus to preach the Gospel, to make disciples of all nations, to baptize new members, and to teach all of its members all that God has commanded.  Christ has commissioned His Church to be responsible for the education of its members and their families in all areas of life, and to take care for the poor, aged, homeless and needy within its ranks.  The Church may discipline its members by correction, admonition, reproof and, if necessary, by ban from participation in the life of the Church community.

    C.  Civil Government is given by God to preserve peace among all people.  Its purpose is to provide liberty so that the godly may function quietly and effectively in their families and churches and so that all people are given opportunity to be saved and to come to full knowledge of the truth.  In accordance with its responsibilities, it may punish wrongdoers with penalty to their property or person.

Conclusions:  These principles of our faith are foundations for God's ongoing leadership in our lives.  We realize that our statement of faith does not relieve us of the responsibility to live by faith.  Although there are those who serve Jesus Christ whose doctrinal expressions are different from our own, we desire to walk with them as brothers and sisters.  Our statements are not to be construed as walls, but as doors through which others may communicate with us and we with them.