We believe the Scriptures are our final authority in all matters and that the Bible is the foundation for our essential beliefs. They are:
We believe that the sixty-six books which comprise the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are the inspired Words of God and are the final and full authority for all believers in their faith and practice. All Scripture originated with God and was given through the instrumentality of chosen men. Hence, Scripture at one and the same time speaks with the authority of God and reflects the backgrounds, styles, and vocabularies of the human authors. Scripture is able to "make us wise for salvation" and is useful for "teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness." (2 Pet. 1:19-21, 2 Tim. 3:15, 2 Tim. 3:16-17, 1 Thess. 2:13)
We believe that there is one living and true God and that He is the all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present supernatural being who created all things and has eternally existed in three persons--God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit--though He is one. This tri-unity (or trinity) of God means that all three are equal and possess identical attributes without confusion or loss of essence and are therefore all worthy of praise and adoration. Ultimately, God is sovereign over all His creation and is intimately involved with it. (Heb. 4:13, Job 42:2, Ps. 139:7-12, Gen. 1:1-27, Jn. 6:27, Jn. 20:28, Acts 5:3,4, Deut. 6:4, Mt. 3:16,17, Phil. 2:6, Eph. 2:4,5, 1 Jn. 4:7-10, Eph. 1:8, Ps. 103:8, Ps. 99:4, 1 Kings 8:27, 2 Pet. 3:8, Js. 1:7, Ps. 103:19, Prov. 3:5,6, 16:33, Rom. 8:28, Phil. 4:19).
We believe that Jesus Christ was and is the eternal second person of the trinity, more commonly referred to as the "Son of God." He is God's only begotten (unique) son, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and was born of the virgin Mary. He was both fully man and fully God. Though a man, He lived a sinless life of perfect obedience to the Father's will and demonstrated His power and divinity through the miracles He performed here on earth. In His death, He died as a substitute for those who would believe in Him - a sin offering which both satisfied God's justice and opened up the way for man to once again enter into a living and eternal relationship with God. After His literal death, Jesus experienced a bodily resurrection. After a period of teaching His disciples, He ascended into heaven where He now sits at the right hand of the Father and acts as our high priest and advocate. Eventually, He will begin the consummation of God's eternal plan when He personally and visibly returns to earth. He will then reign during the millennium until He has destroyed all dominion, authority and power and will then hand over the kingdom to the Father. (Jn. 1:1, Jn. 1:18, Lk. 1:35, Mt. 1:23, Lk. 2:40,42, Col. 2:9, Phil. 2:5-11, Heb. 4:15, Lk. 5:22-26, 1 Thess. 5:10, 2 Cor. 5:21, Lk. 24:36-43, Acts 1:9-11, Heb. 1:13, 1 Jn. 2:1, Mt. 24:30, Rev. 20:4, 1 Cor. 15:24).
The Holy Spirit:
We believe that the Holy Spirit is, and always has been, fully God and the third person of the trinity. He is God's presence on earth today and works in both the lives of believers and nonbelievers. As to nonbelievers, He convicts them of sin, righteousness, and judgment. As to believers, He regenerates them, indwells them, sanctifies them, baptizes them into the body of Christ upon conversion, seals them as a guarantee of their salvation, and fills (empowers) them to live the Christian life. In addition, He reveals truth, guides, teaches, intercedes, distributes spiritual gifts and empowers believers for effective witness. (Jn. 16:8-11, Jn. 3:5, 1 Cor. 6:19, Rom. 8:9, 1 Pet. 1:2, 1 Cor. 12:13, Eph. 1:13, Eph. 5:18, Gal. 5:16,17, Jn. 16:12-15, Rom. 8:5-9, Jn. 14:26, Rom. 8:26, 1 Cor .12:7-11, Acts 1:8)
We believe that man is a direct creation of God and has been created in His image. As such, every man, woman and child has great worth and value. Adam, as the first man, was originally created without a sin nature. However, upon engaging in an act of disobedience to God, he was given a sin nature and became the progenitor of a fallen race. Since then, the entire human race has become sinful by nature and by choice and is therefore justly condemned by God. By himself, man is completely unable to merit salvation. Only through faith in Christ can man obtain the righteousness that God requires and thereby establish his relationship with God. Upon death, a believer (as a disembodied soul) goes into the immediate blessed presence of Christ and awaits the resurrection of his spiritual body. However, the nonbeliever (also as a disembodied soul) enters into a conscious state of misery and awaits the final judgment, after which he will be eternally separated from God. (Gen. 1:26,27, Gen. 2:7, Heb. 4:12, Mt. 5:29, Gen. 3:1-24, Rom. 5:12-19, Eph. 2:3, Rom. 3:23, Rom. 1:18-3:20, Rom. 3:21-26, Phil. 1:23, 2 Cor. 5:1-5, 1 Cor. 14:35-54, Lk. 16:23,25, Rev. 20:11-15, Eph. 1:4, Eph. 1:12, Heb. 7:25, 9:22, 10:10-18, Eph. 2:8-9, Acts 2:38, 20:21, Rom. 3:21-24, Eph. 2:8,9, 1 Cor. 12:13, Rom. 1:12, Titus 3:5, Rom. 3:21-25, 1 Cor. 1:1, 1 Pet. 1:15, Rom. 8:29-30, Heb. 10:10-18, Col. 2:13-15, 2 Cor. 5:21, 2 Cor. 5:17, Rom. 6-8).
We believe that the only way of salvation is through the shed blood of Christ and His resurrection for all who believe. This salvation does not come about because of a man's works, but because of God's grace. From the individual's perspective, this comes about because he repents (turns away from sin and disobedience and turns to God and obedience), places his total trust (faith) in Christ and his finished work upon the cross. Upon making this decision, the believer receives the Holy Spirit and becomes a child of God. Christ's death fully pays the penalty for all of a believer's sin (past, present and future) as God credits him with the righteousness of Christ. This whole transaction transforms the man into a new creation of God with a new way to perceive the world while opening him up to a new life of obedience and holiness. (Eph. 1:4, Eph. 1:12, Heb. 7:25, 9:22, 10:10-18, Eph. 2:8-10, Acts 2:38, 20:21, Rom. 3:21-24, Eph. 2:8,9, 1 Cor. 12:13, Rom. 1:12, Titus 3:5, Rom. 3:21-25, 1 Cor. 1:1, 1 Pet. 1:5, Rom. 8:29-30, Heb. 10:10-18, Col. 2:13-15, 2 Cor. 5:17, 21, Rom. 6-8).
We believe that the term "church" as used in the Scriptures refers to both the universal church and the local church. The universal church is comprised of all believers (Christ's living spiritual body) while the local church is a local expression of the universal church--comprised of believers who voluntarily gather together to accomplish God's work in this world (especially for the primary task of making disciples). Jesus Christ is the head of the church and, as such, guides it, directs it, holds it together, and causes it to grow. Because of this we believe that each local congregation has the right, under Christ's headship, to decide and govern its own affairs. In its true form the church is comprised of believers only - meaning that only believers are eligible for membership. The task of the leadership of the church is to seek to prepare believers for works of service and to seek with all their energy to present every member complete in Christ. (1 Cor. 12:13, 1 Cor. 1:1, 1 Thess. 1:1, Mt. 28:19, Eph. 1:22, Eph. 4:16, Heb. 10:25, Acts 2:42, Eph. 4:7-11, 1 Cor. 12:7-31, Eph. 4:11, Col. 1:28, Mt. 28:19, Lk. 22:19).
We believe that there are two ordinances which the church is responsible to carry out - Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Baptism, as demonstrated in the New Testament by immersion is symbolic of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. It is also an outward sign of an inward reality - new life in Christ and inclusion into the body of Christ (the church). Therefore, baptism is for believers only and is a natural response that follows repentance and confession of Christ as Lord and Savior. The Lord's Supper is also open to all believers. It is an ordinance which should cause those who partake of it to remember what Christ has done and of their oneness in Christ. (Mt. 28:19, Lk. 22:19, Rom 6:3, 1 Cor. 12:13, Acts 2:32, 1 Cor. 11:23-26, Mk. 14:25, 1 Cor. 11:26, 1 Cor. 10:17).
We believe “marriage” is a sacred sacrament ordained by God according to the Scriptures, created to be an exclusive covenantal union between one man and one woman committed for life. It was first instituted by God in the early chapters of Genesis, codified in the Levitical Law, the Old Testament prophets compared it to a relationship between God and his people, examples of it are in the historical narratives, and the wisdom literature discusses the unique unity of this relationship. Jesus explained the original intention and core elements of marriage, and several New Testament Epistles give explicit instructions on this union. Marriage is a typology of Christ and the Church. As such, the Church views marriage as a profound spiritual institution established by God. (Gen.2:18, 21-24; Prov.12:4,18:22; Eccl.9:9; Mt.18:19-20; 1 Cor.7:1-5; 2 Cor.6:14; Eph.5:22-23; Col.3:18-19; 1 Tim.5:14; Titus 2:3-5; Heb.13:4; 1 Pet.2:25-3:2,7).
We believe that physical death involves no loss of our immaterial consciousness, that the soul of the redeemed passes immediately into the presence of Christ, that there is a separation of soul and body, and that, for the redeemed, such separation will continue until the rapture (which initiates the first resurrection, when our soul and body will be reunited to be glorified forever with our Lord. Until that time, the souls of the redeemed in Christ remain in joyful fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ (Rev. 6:9 11; 20:4 6; Luke 23:43; Phil.1:21,23,24; 3:21; 1 Thess.4:13 17; 1 Cor.15:35 44, 50 54; 2 Cor.5:8).
We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (John 6:39; Rom.8:10 11, 19 23; 2 Cor.4:14; Dan.12:2; John 5:29; Rev.20:13 15).
We believe that the souls of the unsaved at death are kept under punishment until the second resurrection, when the soul and the resurrection body will be united. They shall then appear at the Great White Throne judgment and shall be cast into hell, the lake of fire, cut off from the life of God forever (Luke 16:19 26; Rev.20:11,13 15, John 5:28, 29; Dan.12:2; Matt.25:41 46; 2 Thess.1:7 9).
The Rapture of the Church
We believe in the personal, bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ before the seven year tribulation to translate His church from this earth and, between this event and His glorious return with His saints, to reward believers according to their works (1 Thess.4:16; Titus 2:13; John 14:1 3; 1 Cor.15:51 53; 1 Thess.4:15-5:11; 1 Cor.3:11 15; 2 Cor.5:10).
The Tribulation Period
We believe that immediately following the removal of the church from the earth the righteous judgments of God will be poured out upon an unbelieving world, and that these judgments will be climaxed by the return of Christ in glory to the earth. At that time the Old Testament and tribulation saints will be raised and the living will be judged. This period includes the seventieth week of Daniel's prophecy (John 14:1 3; 1 Thess.4:13 18; Jer.30:7; Dan.9:24,27; 12:1; 2 Thess.2:7 12; Rev.16; Matt.24:27 31; 25:31 46).
The Second Coming and the Millennial Reign
We believe that, after the tribulation period, Christ will come to earth to occupy the throne of David and establish His messianic kingdom for a thousand years on the earth. During this time the resurrected saints will reign with Him over Israel and all the nations of the earth. This reign will be preceded by the overthrow of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and by the removal of Satan from the world (Matt.25:31; Luke 1:31 33; Acts 1:10 11; 2:29 30; Eze.37:21,28; Dan.7:17 27; Rev.19:11,16; 20:1 7).
We believe that the kingdom itself will be the fulfillment of God's promise to Israel to restore them to the land which they forfeited through their disobedience. The result of their disobedience was that Israel was temporarily set aside but will again be awakened through repentance to enter into the land of blessing (Isa.65:17 25; Eze.36:22,32; 37:21 28; Deut.28:15 68; Zech.8:1 17; Jer.31:31 34; Rom.11:25 29).
We believe that this time of our Lord's reign will be characterized by harmony, justice, peace, righteousness, and long life, and will be brought to an end with the release of Satan (Isa.11; 65:17 25; Eze.36:33 38; Rev.20:7).
The Judgment of the Lost
We believe that following the release of Satan after the thousand year reign of Christ, Satan will deceive the nations of the earth and gather them to battle against the saints and the beloved city, at which time Satan and his army will be devoured by fire from heaven. Following this, Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, whereupon Christ, who is the Judge of all men, will resurrect and judge the great and small at the Great White Throne judgment. (Rev.20:7,9,10; Matt.25:41; John 5:22).
We believe that this resurrection of the unsaved dead to judgment will be a physical resurrection, whereupon receiving their judgment, they will be committed to an eternal conscious punishment in the lake of fire (Rom.14:10,13; Matt.25:41; Rev.20:11 15).
We believe that after the closing of the millennium, the temporary release of Satan, and the judgment of unbelievers, the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God, after which the elements of this earth are to be dissolved and replaced with a new earth wherein only righteousness dwells. Following this, the heavenly city will come down out of heaven and will be the dwelling place of the saints, where they will enjoy forever fellowship with God and one another. Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father that in all spheres the triune God may reign forever and ever (2 Thess.1:9; Rev.20:7,15,21,22; 21:2; 2 Pet.3:10; Eph.5:5; 1 Corinthians 15:28; John 17:13).