What We Believe
STATEMENT OF FAITH AND COVENANT
SECTION 1 - STATEMENT OF FAITH
(A) The Holy Scriptures
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the verbally and plenarily inspired Word of God. The Scriptures are inerrant, infallible, God-breathed, and divinely preserved, and therefore are the sole and final authority for faith and life. The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments are the complete and divine revelation of God to Man. The Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal grammatical-historical-theological meaning. The King James Version of the Bible shall be the official and only translation used by the church (II Tim. 3:16-17; II Pet. 1:20-21; Psalm 12:6-7; Psalm 119:89).
We believe that the Scriptures interpreted in their natural, literal sense reveal divinely determined dispensations or rules of life which define man’s responsibilities in successive ages. These dispensations are not ways of salvation, but rather are divinely ordered stewardships by which God directs man according to His purpose. The seven dispensations—Innocence, Conscience, Human Government, Promise, Law, Grace (Church), Kingdom (Millenium)—are the subjects of detailed revelation in Scripture (Gen. 1:26-28; 3:5,7,22; 4:4; 8:15-9:7; 12:1-7; Ex. 19:3-8; John 1:12; Rom. 8:1-14; I Cor. 9:17; II Cor. 3:9-18; Gal. 3:13-25; Eph. 1:10; 3:2-10; Col. 1:24-25, 27; Isa. 11:3-5; Zech. 14:9,16; Rev. 20:2-6).
(C) The Godhead
We believe in one Triune God, eternally existing in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—each coeternal in being, coidentical in essence, coequal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19: II Cor. 13:14; John 14:10, 26).
(D) The Person and Work of Christ
- We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful men (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Luke 1:35; John 1:1-2, 14; II Cor. 5:19-21; Gal. 4:4-5; Phil. 2:5-8).
- We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through his death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice; and, that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Acts 2:18-36; Rom. 3:24-25; I Peter 2:24; Eph. 1:7; I Peter 1:3-5).
- We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven, and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate (Acts 1:9-10; Heb. 9:24; 7:25; Rom. 8:34; I John 2:1-2).
(E) The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
- We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and, that He is the Supernatural Agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption (John 16:8-11; Rom. 8:9; I Cor. 12:12-14; II Cor. 3:6; Eph. 1:13-14).
- We believe that He is the Divine Teacher who assists believers to understand and appropriate the Scriptures and that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 1:17-18; 5:18; I John 2:20, 27).
- We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowal of spiritual gifts to every believer. God uniquely uses evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip believers in the assembly in order that they can do the work of the ministry (Rom. 12:3-8; I Cor. 12:4-11, 28; Eph. 4:7-12).
- We believe that the sign gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as speaking in tongues and the gift of healing, were temporary. We believe that speaking in tongues was never the common or necessary sign of the baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit and that ultimate deliverance of the body from sickness or death awaits the consummation of our salvation in the resurrection, though God frequently chooses to answer the prayers of believers for physical healing (I Cor. 1:22; 13:8; 14:21-22).
(F) The Total Depravity of Man
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that in Adam’s sin the human race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God; and, that man is totally depraved, and, of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition (Gen. 1:26-27; Rom. 3:22-23; 5:12; 6:23; Eph. 2:1-3; 4:17-19).
We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins (John 1:12; Eph. 1:7; 2:8-10; I Pet. 1:18-19).
(H) The Eternal Security and Assurance of Believers
- We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Rom. 8:1, 38-39; I Cor. 1:4-8; Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30; I Pet. 1:4-5).
- We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh (Rom. 13:13-14; Gal. 5:13; Titus 2:11-15).
(I) The Church
- We believe that the local church, which is the body and the espoused bride of Christ, is solely made up of born-again persons (I Cor. 12:12-14; II Cor. 11:2; Eph. 1:22-23; 5:25-27, 32).
- We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:27; 20:17, 28-32; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11).
- We believe in the autonomy of the local church free of any external earthly authority or control (Acts 13:1-4; 15:19-31; 20:28; Rom. 16:1, 4; I Cor. 3:9, 16; 5:4-7, 13; I Peter 5:1-4).
- We recognize water baptism (immersion) and the Lord’s Supper as the Scriptural ordinances of obedience for the church in this age (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42; 18:8; I Cor. 11:23-26).
We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord; that separation from all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices and associations is commanded of God; and that the local church should maintain a testimony separated from religious and ecclesiastical apostasy including, but not limited to, Liberalism, Neo-Orthodoxy, New Evangelicalism, Interdenominationalism, Ecumenism, and the Charismatic Renewal Movement ( Rom. 12:1-2; 14:13; 16:17-18; II Cor. 6:14-7:1; Eph. 5:11; II Thess. 3:6, 14; I Tim. 6:3-5; II Tim. 3:1-5; Titus 1:13; I John 2:15-17; II John 9-11).
(K) The Second Advent of Christ
We believe in that “blessed hope,” the personal, imminent return of Christ Who will rapture His Church prior to the seven-year tribulation period. At the end of the Tribulation, Christ will personally and visibly return with His saints, to establish His earthly Messianic Kingdom which was promised to the nation of Israel (Ps. 89:3-4; Dan. 2:31-45; Zech. 14:4-11; I Thess. 1:10; I Thess. 4;13-18; Titus 2:13; Rev. 3:10; 19:11-16; 20:1-6).
(L) The Eternal State
- We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Matt. 25:46; John 5:28-29; 11:25-26; Rev. 20:5-6, 12-13).
- We believe that the souls of the redeemed are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where in conscious bliss they await the first resurrection, when spirit, soul, and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord. Christian burial, as opposed to cremation, of the body of one who is “in Christ” is a testimony of the belief in the bodily resurrection (Luke 23:43; II Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; 3:21; I Thess. 4:16-17; Rev. 20:4-6).
- We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain, after death, in conscious punishment and torment until the second resurrection, when with soul and body reunited they shall appear at the Great White Throne Judgment, and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting conscious punishment and torment (Matt. 25:41-46; Mark. 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-26; II Thess. 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Rev. 20:11-15).
We believe that God created the universe in six literal, 24-hour days. We reject evolution, the Gap Theory, the Day-Age Theory, the Big Bang, and Theistic Evolution as unscriptural theories of origin (Genesis 1-2; Ex. 20:11).
We believe that at Creation God created an innumerable host of spirit beings called angels; that they possess personality and immortality; that they were created without sin and without the ability to procreate; and that they are sent by God to minister to nations, individual believers and to God (Col. 1:16; Neh. 9:6; Heb. 1:14; 12:22; Eph. 6:12; II Sam. 14:20; Jude 6; Luke 20:35-36; Matt. 25:31; 26:53; II Thess. 1:7; Psalm 103:21; Mark 8:38; Dan. 10:12-13, 21; 12:1).
(O) The Personality of Satan
We believe that Satan is a person; that he was created along with all angels; that after a moral probationary period and by a willful act of rebellion he became 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; Isa. 14:12-17; Matt. 4:2-11; 25:41; Rev. 20:10).
(P) Civil Government
We believe that God has ordained and created all authority consisting of three basic institutions: 1) the home; 2) the church; and 3) the state. Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and governed by His Word. God has given each institution specific Biblical responsibilities and balanced those responsibilities with the understanding that no institution has the right to infringe upon the other. The home, the church, and the state are equal and sovereign in their respective Biblically assigned spheres of responsibility under God (Rom. 13:1-7; Eph. 5:22-24; Heb. 13:17; I Pet. 2:13-14).
(Q) Human Sexuality
- We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a 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 We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance. (Gen. 2:24; Gen.19:5; Gen. 26:8-9; Lev. 18:1-30; Rom. 1:26-29; I Cor. 5:1; 6:9; I Thess.4:1-8; Heb. 13:4).
- 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; Eph. 5:22-23).
- In keeping with our beliefs regarding human sexuality as expressed in this Statement of Faith and in keeping with our purpose as expressed in Article I, Section 2, we have the following practical policies:
- All people are welcome to attend our regular worship services.
- Those who attend may not display behavior that is indicative of the sinful behaviors listed in (Q) (1) of this section in church services, at church functions, and on the church premises.
- Church representatives are not to display overt disrespect for those who are involved in the sinful behaviors listed in (Q) (1) of this section.
- The pastor of the church will preach consistently against all forms of sinful behavior as listed in (Q) (1) of this section, as well as other sinful behaviors.
(R) Family Relationships
- 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 in the church. The husband is to be the leader in the home and men are to be the leaders (pastors and deacons) of the church. Accordingly, only men are eligible for licensure and ordination by the church. (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:18; I Tim. 2:8-15; 3:4-5, 12)
- We believe that God has ordained the family as the fundamental institution of human society. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. The wife is to submit herself to the Scriptural leadership of her husband as the church submits to the leadership of Christ. Children are an heritage of the Lord. Parents are responsible for teaching their children spiritual and moral values and leading them through consistent lifestyle, example and appropriate discipline including Scriptural corporal correction. (Gen. 1:26-28; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 6:4-9; Psalm 127:3-5;Prov. 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; Mark 10:6-12; I Cor. 7:1-16; Eph. 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Col. 3:18-21; Heb. 13:4; I Pet. 3:1-7)
(S) Divorce and Remarriage
We believe that God hates divorce and intends marriage to last until one of the spouses dies. Divorce and remarriage is regarded as the sin of adultery. Although divorced and remarried persons or divorced persons may hold positions of service in the church and be greatly used of God for Christian service, they may not be considered for the offices of pastor or deacon (Mal. 2:14-17; Matt. 19:3-12; Rom. 7:1-3; I Tim. 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6).
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 human 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; Psalms 51:5; 139:14-16: Isa. 44:24; 49:1, 5; Jer. 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44).
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 scriptural means to go to the foreign nations and not wait for them to come to us (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; II Cor. 5:20).
(V) Lawsuits Between Believers
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 (Matt. 18:15-20; I Cor. 6:1-8; Eph. 4:31-32).
We believe that every Christian, as a steward 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 as a basis for giving, but that every 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. 16:2; II Cor. 9:6-7; Gal. 6:6; Eph. 4:28; I Tim. 5:17-18; I John 3:17).
SECTION 2 - 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.
SECTION 3 - COVENANT
Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we do now, in the presence of God, angels, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.
We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines; to give it a sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.
We also engage to maintain family and private devotions; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred, acquaintances, and all others; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful to our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from worldliness; to be free from all oath-bound secret societies and partnerships with unbelievers; to abstain from the sale or use of intoxicating drink as a beverage; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy of speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Savior, to secure reconciliation without delay.
We moreover engage that when we remove from this place we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.