And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11-13)
THE CHURCH COVENANT
Having been led by the Holy Spirit to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the public confession of our faith, having been immersed in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, in the presence of God and this assembly, solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.
We purpose, 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 attend its services regularly, to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines; to give faithfully of time and talent in its activities; to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel throughout all nations.
We also purpose to maintain family and private devotions; to train our children according to the Word of God; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our conduct; to avoid all gossip, backbiting and unrighteous anger; to abstain from all forms of activity which dishonor our Lord Jesus Christ, cause stumbling to a fellow believer or hinder the winning of a soul to Christ; to be zealous in our efforts to advance the cause of Christ, our Savior; and to give Him preeminence in all things.
We further purpose to encourage one another in the blessed hope of our Lord’s return; 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 in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Savior, to seek it without delay.
We moreover purpose that if we remove from this place we will endeavor to unite with another church where we can carry out the principles of the Word of God.
ARTICLES OF FAITH
Each church needs a clear statement of faith which sets forth great Biblical doctrines which it believes.
The articles of faith are not designed to be the foundation or the defense of our faith. They simply define and declare what we believe the Word of God teaches on these vital doctrines.
SECTION 1—THE SCRIPTURES
We believe that the Holy Bible, as originally written, was verbally inspired and the product of Spirit-controlled men, and therefore, is truth without error. We believe it is God’s complete written revelation to man. We believe the Bible to be the true center of Christian unity and the supreme standard and authority by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried. – (II Timothy 3:16-17, II Peter 1:19, 21)
SECTION 2—THE TRUE GOD
We believe there is one and only one living and true God, an infinite, sovereign Spirit, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of Heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love, that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption. (Exodus 20:2-3; I Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11).
We believe that Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, possesses all the divine excellencies, and in these He is coequal, con-substantial, and co-eternal with the Father (John 10:30;14:9).
We believe that God the Father created according to His own will, through His Son, Jesus Christ, by whom all things continue in existence and in operation (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2).
We believe that in the incarnation (God becoming man) Christ surrendered only the prerogatives of deity but nothing of the divine essence, either in degree or kind. In His incarnation, the eternally existing second Person of the Trinity accepted all the essential characteristics of humanity and so became the God-Man (Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 2:9).
We believe that Jesus Christ represents humanity and deity in indivisible oneness (Micah 5:2; John 5:23; 14:9-10; Colossians 2:9).
We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23, 25; Luke 1:26-35); that He was God incarnate (John 1:1, 14); and that the purpose of the incarnation was to reveal God, redeem men, and rule over God’s kingdom (Psalm 2:7-9; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:29; Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 7:25-26; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross and that His death was voluntary, vicarious, substitutionary, propitiatory, and redemptive (Isaiah 53:4-5; John 10:15; Romans 3:24-25; 5:8; 1 Peter 2:24).
We believe that on the basis of the efficacy of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the believing sinner is freed from the punishment, the penalty, the power, and one day the very presence of sin; and that he is declared righteous, given eternal life, and adopted into the family of God (Romans 3:25; 5:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18).
We believe that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead and that He is now ascended to the right hand of the Father, where He now mediates as our Advocate and High Priest (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:38-39; Acts 2:30-31; Romans 4:25; 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1).
We believe that in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave, God confirmed the deity of His Son and gave proof that God has accepted the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Jesus’ bodily resurrection is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all believers (John 5:26-29; 14:19; Romans 1:4; 4:25; 6:5-10; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23).
We believe that Jesus Christ will return to receive the church, which is His Body, unto Himself at the rapture, and returning with His church in glory, will establish His millennial kingdom on earth (Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 20).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the One through whom God will judge all mankind (John 5:22-23):
- Believers (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10)
- Living inhabitants of the earth at His glorious return (Matthew 25:31-46)
- Unbelieving dead at the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15)
As the Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), the Head of His Body the church (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23; Colossians 1:18), and the coming universal King, who will reign on the throne of David (Isaiah 9:6; Luke 1:31-33), He is the final Judge of all who fail to place their trust in Him as Lord and Savior (Matthew 25:14-46; Acts 17:30-31).
SECTION 4—THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, equal with God the Father and God the Son and of the same nature; that He was active in the creation; that in His relation to the unbelieving world He restrains the evil one until God’s purpose is fulfilled; that He convicts of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; that he bears witness to the truth of the gospel in preaching and testimony; that He is the agent in the new birth; that He seals, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses, sanctifies and helps the believer (John 14:16-17; Matthew 28:19; Hebrews 9:14; John 14:26; Luke 1:35; Gen. 1:1-3; John 16:8-11; Acts 5:30-32; John 3:5-6; Ephesians 1:13-14; Mark 1:8; John 1:33; Acts 11:16; Luke 24:49; Romans 8:14, 16, 26,27; Hebrews 2:4; I Corinthians 13:8).
SECTION 5– THE DEVIL OR SATAN
We believe in the personality of Satan, that he is the unholy god of this age, and ruler of all the powers of darkness, and is destined to the judgment of an eternal justice in the lake of fire (Matthew 4:11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 20:10).
We believe the Genesis account of creation is a literal historical account of the direct, immediate creative acts of God without any evolutionary process; that man was created by a direct work of God and not from previously existing forms of life; and that all men are descended from the historical Adam and Eve, first parents of the entire human race (Gen. 1 and 2; Col. 1:16-17; John 1:3).
SECTION 7—THE FALL OF MAN
We believe that man was created in innocence under the law of his Maker, but by voluntary transgression Adam fell from his sinless and blessed state, and all men sinned in him, in consequence of which all men are totally depraved, are partakers of Adam’s fallen nature, and are sinners by nature and by conduct; and therefore, are under just condemnation without defense or excuse (Gen. 3:1-6,24; Romans 3:10-19; 5:12,19).
The Atonement For Sin
We believe that the salvation of sinners is divinely initiated and wholly of grace through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God who, by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon Himself our nature, yet without sin, honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and by His death made a full and vicarious atonement for our sins; that His atonement consisted not in setting us as example by His death as a martyr, but was a voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinner’s place, the Just dying for the unjust, Christ, the Lord, bearing our sin in His own body on the tree (Jonah 2:9; Ephesians 2:8; Acts 15:11; Romans 3:24,25; John 3:16; Matthew 18:11; Philippians 2:7-8; Hebrews 2:14; Isaiah 53:4-7; I john 4:10; I Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
Grace in the New Creation
We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again, that the new birth is a new creation in Christ Jesus, that it is instantaneous and not a process; that in the new birth the one dead in trespasses and in sin is made a partaker of the divine Nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God; that the new creation is brought about by our sovereign God in a manner above our comprehension, solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with the divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel; that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, faith and newness of life (John 3:3; I Corinthians 5:17; I John 3:6,7; Acts 16:30-33; 2 Peter 1:4; Romans 3:23; Ephesians 2:1,5; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Colossians 2:13; John 3:8).
We believe that justification is the judicial act of God, whereby He declares us to be righteous through faith in Christ Jesus; that justification included the pardon of sin and the imputation of God’s righteousness; that is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood (Acts 13:39; Isaiah 53:11; Zechariah 13:1; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21; Romans 5:1,9; 8:1).
We believe that repentance is a change of mind and purpose toward God created by the Holy Spirit; that it is characterized by godly sorrow for sin as offensive to God and ruinous to the soul; and that true repentance is inseparably related to true faith (Luke 13:1-3; 15:7; Acts 8:22; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Acts 20:21).
We believe that 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 (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2).
We believe that sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11; John 3:18-19, 36; 5:40; Romans 9:22-23; Thessalonians 2:10-12; Revelation 22:17). Nevertheless, since sovereign grace includes the means of receiving the gift of salvation as well as the gift itself, sovereign election will result in what God determines. All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith, and all who come in faith the Father will receive (John 6:37-40, 44; Acts 13:48; James 4:8).
We believe that the unmerited favor that God grants to totally depraved sinners is not related to any initiative of their own part or to God’s anticipation of what they might do by their own will, but is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy (Ephesians 1:4-7; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 1:2).
We believe that election should not be looked upon as based merely on abstract sovereignty. God is truly sovereign, but He exercises this sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love (Romans 9:11-16). This sovereignty will always exalt the will of God in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:25-28; 2 Timothy 1:9).
We believe that sanctification is the divine setting apart of the believer unto God accomplished in the three-fold manner: first, an eternal act of God, based upon redemption in Christ, establishing the believer in a position of holiness at the moment he trusts the Savior; second, a continuing process in the saint as the Holy Spirit applies the Word of God to the life: third, the final accomplishment of this process at the Lord’s return (Hebrews 10:10-14; John 17:17; 2 Corinthians 3”18; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 5:25-26; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 5:23-24; Ephesians 5:27; I john 3:2; Jude 24-25; Revelation 22:11).
We believe that adoption is the gracious act, whereby the Father, for the sake of Christ, places new believers into the honored position of the mature sons, in contrast with regeneration, whereby the believer receives the nature of God and becomes a child of God. The full benefit of the position accorded by adoption as the sons of God awaits the glorification of the believer at the coming of the Lord (Ephesians 1:5; Galatians 4:1-7; Ephesians 1:13-14; I John 3:1-2).
SECTION 11—THE SECURITY OF THE SAINTS
We believe that all who are truly born again are kept by God the Father for Jesus Christ and will persevere in the faith. (Phil. 1:6; John 10:28-29; Romans 8:35-39; Jude 1)
SECTION 12 —THE CHURCH
We believe in the unity of all true believers in the Church which is the Body of Christ, which was established on the Day of Pentecost. Jews and Gentiles alike are added to this Church by the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
We hold that the local church has the absolute right to self-government free from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations; that the one and only superintendent is Christ through the Holy Spirit, that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of the gospel; that each local church is the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation; and that on all matters of membership, of policy, of government, of discipline, of benevolence, the will of the local church is final (Ephesians 3:1-6; I Corinthians 12:12-13; Acts 2:41-42; I Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:11; Acts 20:17-28; I Timothy 3:1-7, Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 5:23-24; Acts 15:13-18).
SECTION 13 —BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER
We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water, under the authority of the local church, to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, through whom we died to sin, and rose to a new life; that baptism is prerequisite to the privileges of local church membership. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration of His death until His return and should be preceded always by solemn self-examination. We believe the Biblical order of the ordinances is baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and that participants in the Lord’s Supper should be baptized believers (Acts 8:36, 38-39; John 3:23; Romans 6:3-5; Matthew 3:16; Colossians 2:12; I Corinthians 11:23-28; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42).
We believe that the Scriptures teach that every believer should be separated unto God from the world and should walk by the aid of the Holy Spirit in Christian love and holiness, exhibiting qualities of honesty, integrity, forgiveness, and loving-kindness. We further believe that any achievement in these characteristics will be evidenced by sincere humility and genuine zeal for the advancement of the cause of Christ. We also believe that the Scriptures admonish every believer not to love the world or the things in the world but rather to flee evil desires, avoid every kind of evil, and refrain from questionable practices which compromise one’s testimony, offend one’s brother, and fail to glorify God. – (Rom 6:11-13, 17 / Rom 14:19-21 / I Cor 6:18-20 / I Cor 8:9-13 / I Cor 10:23, 31-33 / II Cor 6:14 – 7:1 / II Cor 7:1 / Gal 5:22-25 / Eph 4:22-32 / Eph 5:1-21 / Phil 4:8 / I Thess 1: 9-10 / I Thess 4:7 / I Timothy 6:3-5/ I Pet 1:14-16 / I Pet 6:5-6 / I Jn 2:15-17 / II John 9-11)
We believe that the Scriptures teach that the believer should be separated from the apostasy of ecclesiastical organizations that sanction theological compromise. This doctrine is based upon God’s eternal principle of division between truth and error and upon His specific command to be separate from unbelievers and disobedient brethren. This truth is to be practiced with an attitude of devotion to God, humility, compassion, and conviction so as to create a proper condition and atmosphere for the salvation of the unbeliever through the Gospel of God and for the restoration of the disobedient brother. We believe the ecumenical evangelism which involves apostates violates the principles taught in God’s Word. – (Rom 16:17-18 / I Cor 5:9-13 / II Cor 6:14-18 / Gal 1:8-9 / I Thess 3:6, 14-15 / I Tim 6:3-5 / II Tim 3:1-5 / Tit 3:10-11 / II Jn 9-11)
SECTION 15—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; 1 Pet. 2:13-14)
We believe in the sovereign selection of Israel as God’s eternal covenant people, that she is now dispersed because of her disobedience and rejection of Christ, and that she will be re-gathered in the Holy Land and after the completion of the Church, will be saved as a nation at the second advent of Christ. (Genesis 13:14-17; Romans 11:1-32; Ezekiel 37).
SECTION 17—END TIMES
We believe in the imminent, pre-millennial return of Christ for His Church, and at that moment the dead in Christ, shall be raised in glorified bodies, and the living in Christ shall be given glorified bodies without tasting death, and all shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. (I Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Corinthians 15:42-44, 51-54; Philippians 3:202-21; Revelation 3:10)
We believe that the Great Tribulation, which follows the Rapture of the church, will be culminated by the revelation of Christ in power and great glory, to sit upon the throne of David and to establish His millennial reign (Daniel 9:25-27; Matthew 24:29-31; Luke 1:30-33; Isaiah 9:6-7, 11:1-9, Acts 2:29-30; Revelation 20:1-4,6).
The Righteous and the Wicked
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that only those who are justified by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and sanctified by the Spirit of our God are truly righteous in His esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in and after death, in the everlasting felicity of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost in the lake of fire (Malachi 3:18; Genesis 18:23; Romans 6:17-18; I John 5:19; Romans 7:6, 6:23; Revelation 14:32, Luke 16:25; Matthew 25:34-41; John 8:21; Revelation 20:14-15).
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. Three of these dispensations—the law, the church, and the kingdom—are the subjects of detailed revelation in Scripture. (Gen. 1:28; 1 Cor. 9:17; 2 Cor. 3:9-18; Gal. 3:13-25; Eph. 1:10; 3:2-10; Col. 1:24-25, 27; Rev. 20:2-6)
SECTION 18- CESSATIONISM
We believe that the “sign gifts” of the Holy Spirit, such as healing, tongues, and prophetic revelation, pertained to the apostolic era only, served a purpose that was unique to establishing the early church, and passed away before the canon of Scripture was closed. We believe that while God can and still does perform miracles today, the Holy Spirit no longer uses individuals to perform miraculous signs, and that these “miracles” do not accredit new doctrine or add to the New Testament canon. (2 Timothy 3: 16-17, Revelation 22:18-19, 1 Cor. 14:1, 1 Corinthians 13: 8-13, 14:1)
SECTION 19- 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, 13; Gen. 26:8-9; Lev. 18:1-30; Rom. 1: 26-29; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:9; 1 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; 1 Cor. 7:10; Eph. 5:22-23)
SECTION 20- COMPLEMENTARIANISM
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 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; 1 Tim. 2:8-15; 3:4-5, 12)
SECTION 21- 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 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; Ps. 51:5; 139:14-16; Isa. 44:24; 49:1, 5; Jer. 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44)
SECTION 22- 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. (1 Cor. 6:1-8; Eph. 4:31-32)
SECTION 23- AUTHORITY OF THE 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.