We believe the 66 books of the Bible were God-breathed and verbally inspired in every word (2 Tim 3:16; Ps 119:160), absolutely inerrant in the original documents, infallible, and containing a clarity in cardinal doctrines such that the meaning of the text may be clear to the ordinary reader. The Bible constitutes the only infallible rule of faith and practice (Matt 5:18, 24:35; John 10:35, 16:12-13, 17:17; 1 Cor 2:13; 2 Tim 3:15-17; Heb 4:12; 2 Pet 1:20-21).
We believe there is but one living and true God (Deut 6:4; Isa 45:5-7; 1 Cor 8:4), an infinite, all-knowing Spirit (John 4:24), perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19; 2 Cor 13:14)—each equally deserving worship and obedience.
We believe that God the Father, the first Person of the Trinity, orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and grace (Ps 145:8-9; 1 Cor 8:6). He is the Creator of all things (Gen 1:1-31; Eph 3:9). He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Ps 103:19; Rom 11:36). He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass (Eph 1:11). He saves from sin all who come to Him through Jesus Christ; He adopts as His own all those who come to Him; and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own (John 1:12; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:5; Heb 12:5-9).
We believe the eternal Son of God came into this world through the virgin birth and lived a sinless life (Isa 7:14; Matt 1:18-20; 2 Cor 5:21; 1 Pet 2:22). In the incarnation (God becoming man), we believe Christ surrendered only the prerogatives of deity, but nothing of the divine essence, either in degree or kind. He is fully divine, possessing all the divine excellencies, and in these He is coequal, consubstantial, and coeternal with the Father (John 1:1, 10:30, 14:9). He represents humanity and deity in indivisible oneness (Mic 5:2; John 5:23, 14:9-10; Col 2:9).
We believe that Christ voluntarily became sin for us; and that by His death, as the sinless Lamb of God, He bore the righteous judgment of a Holy God and tasted death for every man (2 Cor 5:21; Heb 10:5-14; 1 Pet 3:18). The suffering and death of Jesus Christ was substitutionary for all mankind and is efficacious (effective) only to those who believe (Isa. 53:6; Heb 2:9; 1 Pet 2:24, 3:18; 2 Pet 3:9; 1 John 2:2).
We believe that in the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. Jesus’ bodily resurrection is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all believers (John 5:26-29, 14:19; Rom 1:4, 4:25, 6:5-10; 1 Cor 15:20, 23).
The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, eternal, underived, possessing all the attributes of personality and deity (Ps 139:7-10; Isa 40:13-14; John 16:13; Rom 15:13; 1 Cor 2:10-13, 12:11; Eph 4:30; Heb 9:14). In all the divine attributes He is coequal and consubstantial (of the same essence) with the Father and the Son (Matt 28:19; Acts 5:3-4, 28:25-26; 1 Cor 12:4-6; 2 Cor 13:14; Jer 31:31-34 with Heb 10:15-17).
We believe that the broad scope of His divine activity in this age includes convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ and transforming believers into the image of Christ (John 16:7-9; Acts 1:5, 2:4; Rom 8:29; 2 Cor 3:18; Eph 2:22). Every believer possesses the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation, and it is the duty of all those born of the Spirit to be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit (John 16:13; Rom 8:9; Eph 5:18; 1 John 2:20, 27).
We believe that the Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts to the church. The Holy Spirit glorifies neither Himself nor His gifts by ostentatious displays, but glorifies Christ by implementing His work of redeeming the lost and building up believers in the faith (John 16:13-14; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor 12:4-11; 2 Cor 3:18). God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts for the perfecting of the saints today, and that speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles in the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of pointing to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and were never intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers (1 Cor 12:4-11, 13:8-10; 2 Cor 12:12; Eph 4:7-12; Heb 2:1-4). See “Why We Are Cessationist” for an in-depth biblical treatment of these matters.
We believe that in Adam’s sin of disobedience to the revealed will and Word of God, man lost his innocence, incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death, became subject to the wrath of God, and became inherently corrupt and utterly incapable of choosing or doing that which is acceptable to God apart from divine grace. With no recuperative powers to enable him to recover himself, man is hopelessly lost. Man’s salvation is thereby wholly of God’s grace through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Gen 2:16-17, 3:1-19; John 3:36; Rom 3:23, 6:23; 1 Cor 2:14; Eph 2:1-3; 1 Tim 2:13-14; 1 John 1:8).
We believe that, because all men were in Adam, a nature corrupted by Adam’s sin has been transmitted to all men of all ages, Jesus Christ being the only exception. All men are thus sinners by nature, by choice, and by divine declaration (Ps 14:1-3; Jer 17:9; Rom 3:9-18, 3:23, 5:10-12).
We believe that marriage is always a public, formal, and officially recognized covenant between a man and a woman. The term “marriage” has only one meaning and that is marriage sanctioned by God which joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in scripture (Gen 2:23–24). (See “Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage, and Sexuality” for a complete statement on our beliefs regarding these matters).
We believe that salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redemption of Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not on the basis of human merit or works (John 1:12; Eph 1:7, 2:8-10; 1 Pet 1:18-19).
We believe regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5) when the repentant sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit, responds in faith to the divine provision of salvation. Good works are the proper evidence and fruit of regeneration (1 Cor 6:19-20; Eph 2:10).
We believe election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies (Rom 8:28-30; Eph 1:4-11; 2 Thes 2:13; 2 Tim 2:10; 1 Pet 1:1-2). Election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Ezek 18:23, 18: 32, 33:11; John 3:18-19, 3:36, 5:40; Rom 9:22-23; 2 Thes 2:10-12; Rev 22:17).
We believe that justification before God is an act of God (Rom 8:33) by which He declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ, repent of their sins (Isa 55:6-7; Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38, 3:19, 11:18; Rom 2:4; 2 Cor 7:10) and confess Him as sovereign Lord (Rom 10:9-10; 1 Cor 12:3; 2 Cor 4:5; Phil 2:11). This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Rom 3:20, 4:6) and involves the imputation (the charging of an account) of our sins to Christ (Cols 2:14; 1 Pet 2:24) and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us (1 Cor 1:30; 2 Cor 5:21).
We believe the Holy Spirit works a progressive sanctification. Through obedience to the Word of God and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:17, 19; Rom 6:1-22; 2 Cor 3:18; 1 Thes 4:3-4, 5:23).
We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 5:24, 6:37-40, 10:27-30; Rom 5:9-10, 8:1, 8:31-39; 1 Cor 1:4-8; Eph 4:30; Heb 7:25, 13:5; 1 Pet 1:5; Jude 24). We may rejoice in the assurance of our salvation, but must abstain from using Christian liberty as an occasion for sinful living and carnality (Rom 6:15-22, 13:13-14; Gal 5:13, 25-26; Titus 2:11-14).
We believe that the formation of the church, the Body of Christ, began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21, 38-47) and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own at the rapture (1 Cor 15:51-52; 1 Thes 4:13-18). The church is distinct from Israel (Rom 11:1, 25-27; Rev 7:4-8), a mystery not revealed until this age (Eph 3:1-6, 5:32).
We believe that the one supreme authority for the church is Christ (1 Cor 11:3; Eph 1:22; Cols 1:18) and that church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed through His sovereignty as found in the Scriptures. Church leaders are delineated and must meet biblical qualifications (1 Tim 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Pet 5:1-5). The congregation is to submit to their leadership (Heb 13:7, 17) and associate together in local assemblies as directed in Scripture (1 Cor 11:18-20; Heb 10:25).
We believe the autonomy of the local church, free from any external authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Titus 1:5). We believe that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other for the presentation and propagation of the faith. Each local church, however, through its leaders and their interpretation and application of Scripture, should be the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation. Leadership should determine all other matters of membership, policy, discipline, benevolence, and government as well (Acts 15:19-31, 20:28; 1 Cor 5:4-7, 13; 1 Pet 5:1-4).
We believe that two ordinances have been committed to the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:38-42). Christian baptism by immersion (Acts 8:36-39) is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a believer showing forth his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life (Rom 6:1-11). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible Body of Christ (Acts 2:41-42). The Lord’s Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes, and should be always preceded by solemn self-examination (1 Cor 11:28-32).
We believe that angels are created beings and are therefore not to be worshiped. Although they are a higher order of creation than man, they are created to serve God and to worship Him (Luke 2:9-14; Heb 1:6-7, 1:14, 2:6-7; Rev 5:11-14, 19:10, 22:9).
We believe that Satan is a created angel and the author of sin. He incurred the judgment of God by rebelling against his Creator (possible referent in Isa 14:12-17; Ezek 28:11-19), by taking numerous angels with him in his fall (Matt 25:41; Rev 12:1-14), and by introducing sin into the human race by his temptation of Eve (Gen 3:1-15). He is the open and declared enemy of God and man (Isa 14:13-14; Matt 4:1-11; Rev 12:9-10); that he is the prince of this world, who has been defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Rom 16:20); and that he shall be eternally punished in the lake of fire (Isa 14:12-17; Ezek 28:11-19; Matt 25:41; Rev 20:10).
We believe in the personal, bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ before the seven-year tribulation (1 Thes 4:16; Titus 2:13) to translate His church from this earth (John 14:1-3; 1 Cor 15:51-53; 1 Thes 4:15-5:11).
We believe in a seven-year tribulation period (1 Thes 4:16; Titus 2:13) followed by a millennial messianic kingdom reign by Christ (Rev 20:1-7) characterized by harmony, justice, peace, righteousness, and long life (Isa 11, 65:17-25; Ezek 36:33-38). Following the release of Satan after the 1,000-year reign of Christ (Rev 20:7), Satan will deceive the nations, then be defeated, then thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone (Matt 25:41; Rev 20:10). The unsaved will receive judgment (John 5:28-29) and be committed to an eternal conscious punishment in the lake of fire (Matt 25:41; Rev 20:11-15).
We believe the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God, after which the elements of this earth are to be dissolved (2 Pet 3:10) and replaced with a new earth, wherein only righteousness dwells (Eph 5:5; Rev 20:15, 21:1-27, 22:1-21).