Statement of Faith

Article III. The Statement of Faith and Covenant
Section 1. Statement of Faith
A. The Holy Scriptures.
We believe the Holy Scriptures, consisting of the Old and New Testaments only, to be the plenarily (completely) and verbally (every word), inspired Word of God, inerrant in the original manuscripts, authoritative, infallible and God-breathed; and that they are the only authority for faith and practice (II Tim. 3:16-17; II Peter 1:20-21; Matt. 5:18; I Cor. 2:10-13).

B. The Godhead.
We believe in one triune God, existing in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit; eternal in being, identical in essence, equal in power and glory and having the same divine attributes and perfections; yet exercising them in varied offices (Duet. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; John 14:7-12; 16:7; II Cor. 13:14).

C. The Person and Work of Jesus Christ
1. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful man (Matt. 1:18-20; John 1:1,2,14,18; Luke 1:35).

2. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, as a substitutionary sacrifice, and that all who repent and by faith believe in Him are justified because of His shed blood (Rom. 3:22-26; 4:25; I Cor. 15:3-4; II Cor. 5:21; 7:10).

3. We believe in the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord Jesus Christ and that our redemption and salvation is guaranteed to us by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead; in His bodily ascension into heaven; and in His present life there for us as High Priest and Intercessor (Matt. 28:5-6; I Cor. 15:12-19; Acts 1:9; Heb. 4:14-16; 7:23-25; 9:24; I John 2:1-2).

D. The Second Coming of Christ.
We believe in the personal, visible, pretribulational, imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ for His own, the Church, (commonly called, “The Rapture”), and His subsequent personal premillennial return visibly to the earth to establish His kingdom and to reign for a millennium (1,000 years) over the entire earth from the throne of David (II Sam. 7:12-16; Zech. 14:4-11; Luke 1:30-33; Acts 15:14-18; I Cor. 15:51-52; Titus 2:12; I John 3:2-3; Rev. 19:11-16; 20:1-6; I Thes. 4:13-18).

E. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit.
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, equal with the Father and the Son and of the same substance and nature; that He convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment; bears witness to the truth; is the agent of the new birth; and that He seals, guides, teaches, witnesses to, sanctifies, and helps the believer; that He baptizes them into the body of Christ, indwells them permanently, seals them unto the day of redemption, bestows spiritual gifts upon each one, and fills for service those yielded to Him. We believe that certain of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to the church (such as apostleship, prophecy and tongues) were temporary, were needed only in the infancy of the church and are not to be expected today. We believe that the holy Spirit testifies concerning Jesus Christ and never leads any person, at any time, contrary to the teaching of the Bible (John 3:8; 14:16, 15:26-27, 16:7-15; Acts 5:1-4; I Cor. 12:4-13; I Cor. 13:8-11; Eph. 4:30, 5:18).

F. Creation
We believe in the Genesis account of Creation and that it is to be accepted literally and not figuratively; that the six days of creation in Genesis chapter one were solar, that is twenty-four hour, days; that all original animal and vegetable life was made directly and God’s established law is that they bring forth only “after their kind”; that man was created directly in God’s own image and after His own likeness and did not evolve from any lower form of life; and that all men are descended from the historical Adam and Eve, the first parents of the entire human race (Gen. 1:1-2:25; Heb. 11:3; Col. 1:16-17; Ps. 33:6-9; Neh. 9:6; Rev. 4:11; Ex. 20:11; 31:17; Gen. 1:11, 12,21,24,25; Gen 1:26).

G. The Sinful Nature of Man.
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that in Adam’s sin the race fell and thereby incurred not only physical death, but also spiritual death, which is separation from God; and that all mankind have inherited a sinful nature, became willful sinners with the first expression of personal choice, are totally unable to regain their former positions, and are under just condemnation to the literal hell, without excuse or defense before God (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:17; 3:1-24; Rom. 3:23, 5:12-21; 1:20; Eph. 2:1-13; Rev. 20:14-15).

H. Salvation, The New Birth, (Regeneration), and Eternal Security of the Believer.
1. We believe that salvation is a gift of God brought to men by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of sins. Salvation is solely through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and being a gift, is not earned by any good works whatsoever. All those who repent and place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are spiritually reborn and become children of God (John 1:12, 3:5-7; Eph. 1:7, 2:8-9).

2. We believe that the Scriptures teach that the new birth is that change in the soul by the Holy Spirit by which a new nature and spiritual life, not before possessed, are imparted, and the person becomes a new creation in Christ Jesus, and without it salvation is impossible (John 3:3-6; II Cor. 5:17; I Pet. 1:23; Titus 3:5)

3. We believe that the salvation of every believer is secure for all eternity from the moment of the new birth. This security is guaranteed to each believer by the fact that the life received is eternal life, by the keeping power of God, by the sealing ministry of the Holy Spirit, and by the interceding ministry of Christ (John 5:24; 10:27-30; Rom. 8:1,29,30,38,39; Eph. 4:30; Heb. 7:25).

I. Sanctification.
We believe that sanctification has three time elements:
1. We believe that immediate, positional sanctification is that act of God whereby believers are, at the time of salvation eternally set apart as belonging to Him by redemption, whereby being placed in the family of God as children, joint heirs with Jesus Christ (I John 3:1; Rom. 8:14-17; I Cor. 1:2; Heb. 10:10-14).

2. We believe that progressive sanctification is the process by which, according to God’s will, we are made partakers of His holiness; that it progresses as the believer is yielded to the Holy Spirit’s control; that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, self-examination, watchfulness and prayer (I. Thes. 4:3, 5:23; Prov. 4:18; I John 2:29; Phil. 2:12-13; Eph. 6:18; John 17:17).

3. We believer that ultimate sanctification will be the portion of every believer when he is finally in the presence of the Lord, complete and entire, with soul and spirit united in the resurrected body free from every trace or effect of sin and rebellion (I John 3:2; I Cor. 15:52-54; Eph. 4:30; 5:27; Phil. 4:20-21).

J. Eternal State.
We believe that the souls of those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation do at death immediately pass into His presence and there remains in conscious bliss until the resurrection of the Body at His coming when soul and body reunited shall be with Him forever in glory; but that the souls of unbelievers remain after death in conscious misery unto the final judgment of the Great White Throne at the close of the Millennium when soul and body reunited shall be cast into the Lake of Fire from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power for all eternity (Matt 25:46; Luke 16:19-26, 23:43; II Cor. 5:8; Phil 1:23; II Thes. 1:7-9; Rev. 20:11-15, 14:9-14; I Thes. 4:13-18).

K. The Church
1. We believe in the church; a living, spiritual body consisting of all believers, of which Christ is the head (Matt. 16:16-18; I Cor. 12:12-13; Gal. 3:27; Eph. 1:22-23, 5:25-27).

2. We believe that each local church is a visible expression of the body of Christ and is a congregation of born again believers in Jesus Christ immersed upon a credible confession of faith, and associated together by covenant for worship, evangelism, observation of ordinances, and fellowship (Matt. 28:18-20; John 3:3-7; Acts 2:41-42, 47; 5:11; 8:1; 11:26; I Cor. 11:2, 23-28).

3. We believe that each local church should be self governing (autonomous) under the headship of Christ, in accordance with the teachings of the New Testament (Matt. 18:17; 28:18-20; Acts 15:2,3,22; I Cor. 5:13; I Thes. 4:2; II Thes. 3:6,14,15).

4. We believe that the officers of the local church consist of Pastors (Elders and Bishops being different names for the same office) and Deacons (Acts 6:1-6; 14:23; 20:17; Phil 1:1; I Tim. 3:1-13; 5:17; Titus 1:5-9).

5. We believe that the local church is God’s program for this age, and that every Christian is bound by Scripture to give his unhindered support to the program of his local church. We recognize that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament scriptures (Acts 2:41-47; 14:27; 20:17, 28-32; I Cor. 3:10-17; I Tim 3:1-15; Titus 1:5-11).

L. The Church’s Ordinances.
We believe that the Lord Jesus instituted two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, to be observed by all believers until His return.

1. We believe that baptism is the immersion in water of a believer in Christ, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; to show forth by solemn and beautiful symbolism, the believer’s identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection; and that it is a scriptural prerequisite to church membership (Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38-41; 8:35-39; 18:8; 10:47-48; Rom. 6:3-5; Gal. 3:27; I Peter 3:21).

2. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is the partaking of bread and juice of the vine, as symbols of Christ’s body and blood, commemorating His suffering and death for us and our continual benefit there from; that participation should be limited to those who have united to this local church, or to those who are baptized members of churches of like faith and practice, and that participation should be preceded by careful self examination (Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20; I Cor. 11:23-32).

M. The Great Commission.
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has commissioned the church to take the Gospel to the world, and that evangelism at home and abroad should be primary in the program of the local church (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).

N. The Responsibility of Believers.
1. We believe that all believers should seek to walk by the Spirit, not bringing reproach upon their Lord and Savior, exercising Christian liberty regulated by love, separated from sinful pleasure and practices, separated from organizational association with apostate groups (Rom. 12:1-2; II Cor. 6:14-17; I Cor. 8:1-13).

2. We believe that it is the responsibility of all believers to witness by life and by word to the truths of the Holy Scriptures and to assume responsibility for the propagation of the Gospel to all the world (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).

3. We believe that it is the responsibility of all believers to remember the work of the local church and its extension ministries in prayer; to support it with their tithes and offerings as the Lord prospers them; to participate in all the regular services of the church as the Lord enables; and to voluntarily submit to the watchcare and discipline of the local church, as set forth in Article V (I Cor. 16:2; I Tim 3:15; Heb. 10:19-25; 13:17-18).

O. Separation.
We believe the Scriptures teach that we should practice separation in at least three areas:

1. Personal Separation. This is the separation of the individual believer from all worldly practices that may dishonor the Savior (Rom. 12:1-2; 14:3; II Cor. 7:1; Eph. 4:17-32; 5:1-18; I Pet. 1:14-16; I John 2:15-17).

2. Ecclesiastical Separation. This is the separation of the local church from all affiliation and fellowship with those who deny the truths of the faith. Ecclesiastical means, pertaining to the church. (Rom. 16:17-18; II Cor. 6:14-18; 7:1; Eph. 5:11; II Thes. 3:6-7, 14-15)

3. Governmental Separation. This is the separation of church an state. No organic union of church and state should be tolerated, but entire separation maintained. Civil governments and rulers are to be respected, and in all secular matters, no contrary to the conscience and the Word of God, to be obeyed; but they have no jurisdiction in spiritual concerns, and have no right of dictation to, of control over, or interference with, matters of religion; but are bound to protect all good citizens in the peaceable enjoyment of their religious rights and privileges. Christian believers are to be good and law abiding citizens, sustaining and defending the government under which they live, however they have a Scriptural obligation to encourage and promote peaceful change when civil law conflicts with God’s Law. The support of religion belongs to those who profess it (Rom. 13:1-7; I Pet. 2:13; Matt. 10:28; 22:21; 23:10; Titus 3:1; I Tim. 2:1-8; Acts 4:18-20; 5:29).

P. The Personality of Satan.
We believe that Satan is a being, the author of sin and the cause of the fall of man; that he is the open and declared enemy of god and man; and, that he shall be eternally punished in the lake of fire (Job 1:6-7; Matt. 4:1-11; 25:41; Rev. 20:10).

Q. Human Sexuality.
1. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex (Gen. 2:24; 19:4-7,13; 26:8-9; Lev. 18:1-30; Rom. 1:26-29; I Cor. 5:1; 6:9-10, 18-20; 7:2-5, 9; I Thes. 4:1-8; Heb. 13:4).

2. We believe that the only legitimate marriage is the joining of one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24; Rom. 7:2; I Cor. 7:10, 39; Eph. 5:22-23).

3. We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church. The husband is to be the leader of the home and men are to be leaders (pastors and deacons) of the church. Accordingly, only men are eligible for licensure and ordination by the church (Acts 13:1-3; Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:18; I Tim. 2:8-15; 3:4-5, 12).

R. Marriage.
We believe that marriage is an institution that originated with God. God created Adam and Eve, and brought them together as the first husband and wife. Modern customs of marriage are patterned after the first marriage in many respects. We believe that the only legitimate marriage is the joining of one man and one woman. Marriage is intended by God for the benefit and pleasure of mankind (Gen. 1:26-28, 31; 2:18-25; Eph. 5:21-33)

S. Divorce and Remarriage.
1. We believe that God hates divorce because of the terrible pain it causes. Divorce is not God’s will. He intends that marriage last until one of the spouses dies. Though God hates divorce, he loves divorced people. We recognize that whereas marriage originated with God, divorce has been introduced by man. Divorce does indeed sever the marriage. The biblical ground for divorce is sexual immorality. Though divorce is a painful and extremely destructive sin, it is no less forgivable than any other sin (Mal. 2:14-17; Matt. 19:3-9; Rom. 7:1-3; I Cor. 7:10-14,27,39).

2. We believe that persons who have been separated or divorced ought to seek for the reconciliation of their marriage. When that is no longer possible, we believe that God allows for the remarriage of a Christian who has experienced a divorce on biblical grounds. This remarriage is limited to another believer in Christ (Matt. 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12; I Cor. 7:10-11, 15-16, 39).

3. Divorced and remarried persons may hold positions of service in this church. However, we believe they may not be considered for the offices of pastor or deacon (I Tim. 3:2,5,12; Titus 1:6).

T. Abortion.
We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of unborn life. Abortion is murder. We reject any teaching that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the mental well being of the mother are acceptable (Job 3:16; Ps. 51:5; 139:13-16; Is. 44:24; 49:1,1; Jer. 1:5; Luke 1:44).

U. Missions.
We believe that God has given the church a great commission to proclaim the gospel to all nations so that there might be a great multitude from every nation, tribe, ethnic group, and language group who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. As ambassadors of Christ we must use all available means to go to all peoples, both in our nation and in foreign lands and not wait for people to come to us (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; II Cor. 5:18-21).

V. Giving.
We believe that every Christian, as a steward (manager) of that portion of God’s wealth entrusted to him, is obligated to support his local church financially.  We believe that God has established the tithe (10% of total income) as a basis for giving, but that ever Christian should also give other offerings sacrificially and cheerfully to the support of the church, the relief of those in need, and the spread of the gospel. We believe that a Christian relinquishes all rights to direct the use of the tithe or offering once the gift has been made (Gen. 14:20; Prov 3:9-10; Acts 4:34-37; I Cor. 16:1-2; II Cor. 8:1-9; Gal 6:6; Eph 4:28; I Tim 5:17-18; I John 3:17).

W. Lawsuits Between Christians.
We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians or the church to resolve personal disputes. We believe the church possesses all the resources necessary to resolve personal disputes between members. We do believe, however, that a Christian may seek compensation for injuries from another Christian’s insurance company as long as the claim is pursued without malice or slander (I Cor. 6:1-11; Eph 4:1-32).

X. Authority of Statement of Faith.
The statement of faith does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself is the sole and final source of all that we believe. We do believe, however, that the foregoing statement of faith accurately represents the teaching of the Bible, and therefore, is binding upon all members.