Statement of Faith
The following statement of faith or belief about God and Humanity is foundational to the Christian faith, Biblically based, and to the best of our ability reflects our beliefs.
Based on relationships: God to God, God to the World, God to Human and Human to God, Human to self, and Human to the world. For the Christian Human there are three special relationships of Human to the world: the Christian to the Community of faith, the Christian to the "unsaved," and the Christian to the world of nature. Of all these relationships none is more important to me than the two-fold relationship between God and Human based on the Law and the Gospel.
Our faith is based on our belief in the trinity of God, the sovereignty of the Father, the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and the Leadership of the Holy Spirit. We believe in the authority of the Holy Bible as the complete and indisputable Word of God. We believe that Jesus Christ is God's Son born in human form (flesh), that He lived a life free from sin on earth, that He was crucified for our sins and on the third day was resurrected from the dead.
The only criteria by which we call ourselves Christians is our relationship to the One True and Living God, who is the Lord Jesus Christ and the evidence of that relationship as seen in a genuine change in our lives as a result of the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit.
God is the only Supreme Being. He is Holy (Revelation 4:8), Eternal (Isaiah 57:15), Omnipotent (Jeremiah 32:17,27), Omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-12), Omniscient (1 John 3:20); etc. He is Love (1 John 4:8, 16); Light (1 John 1:5); Spirit (John 4:24); Truth (Psalm 117:2); Creator (Isaiah 40:12,22,26), etc. He is to be worshiped (Genesis 24:26; Exodus 4:31; 2 Chronicles 29:28; 1 Corinthians 14:25; Revelation 7:11). He is to be served (Matthew 4:10; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Phillipians 3:7; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; Hebrews 9:14). He is to be proclaimed (Matthew 28:19f.; John 14;15f.; Acts 1:8).
We confess Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We believe in the deity of Jesus Christ [Messiah] [Anointed One of God] as the only begotten Son of God, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary. He is the Word of God in human form, through which everything was made. He was the incarnation of the Son, meaning that He was at the same time both truly God and truly Human, the eternal second person of the Trinity. He had to be a human for only a human could pay for the sin of humankind. He had to be God for only God's life is worth enough to pay for the sin of the world. Lived a perfect and sinless life, preformed many miracles, died by crucifixion as a substitutionary sacrificial death for all men, was buried and on the third day resurrected. Walked the earth for forty days, then ascended into heaven, and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father and is true God and was true man. His eventual return to judge the earth in power and glory to rule over all the nations.
Because of Jesus' sacrifice, the penalty of sin has been paid. There is no exception. When the term "unsaved" is used, it does not refer to people whose sins have not been purchased. Instead it refers to those who have not yet acknowledged the salvation already provided for them through the death of Christ.
[John 14:6 - Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.]
The Bible is the Written Word. Jesus is the Incarnate Word. The Word in all of its forms are expressions of the two-fold relationship between God and Human based on the Law and the Gospel. The Law is that expression of the will of God that demands perfection of humanity. And the Gospel is that expression of the will of God that brings forgiveness to all of humanity. In its narrow sense, the Gospel is the story of how Jesus paid for the sin of the world by dying on the cross and rising again. Only through Jesus can perfection be obtained or striven for.
(Phillipians 2:5-11; Colossians 2:9; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:5-13; John 1:1-3,14)
We believe all men are born with a sinful nature and that the work of the Cross was to redeem man from the power of sin. We believe that this is a personal salvation and is available to all who will receive it through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
The salvation of lost and sinful man is only through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, bringing repentance and regeneration by the Holy Spirit by faith apart from works, and an ongoing effort is needed to continue in our salvation.
The story of Adam and Eve in Genesis chapters 2&3 is the story of how the harmony and goodness of everything God created was broken by their disobedience to God. This sin created a break or separation in our relationship with God. From the moment of birth, people are separated from God, subject to what we call original sin. Because of sin's power over us, we are unable to save ourselves. Throughout the history of Israel, God had been at work restoring humanities relationship with him, and that history of salvation reached its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Because Jesus suffered, shed His blood, and died for our sins and then rose from the dead, he removed death's power over us. We still live in this world where sin and death do exist, but we have this hope, knowing that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. [2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.]
We believe that we cannot by our own understanding or effort believe in Jesus Christ, or come to him. But the Holy Spirit has called us through the Gospel, enlightened us with his gifts, and sanctified and kept us in true faith. [Ephesians 2:8-10 - For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.]
The Sacred and the Profane
We believe that God has created all things good. Therefore the entire creation is sacred. In addition, we believe that all of creation has come under the influence of sin. Because of this all of creation has become profane. Yet God, has not abandoned his world to destruction. As through the sin of Adam creation fell, so through the life, death and resurrection of Christ all the creation has been made sacred again. Though this will not be fully achieved until the end of time.
So the Christian should understand that any act performed in faith under the grace of God, is a sacred act. Any act, no matter how lofty or pure, performed apart from the grace of God, is a profane act.
We believe in the existence of the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Trinity and in His interaction with man. We believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit as manifested by the fruit and the gifts of the Spirit.
We believe in the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and according to Acts 2:4 is given to believers who ask for it, with the evidence of "speaking in tongues". [Acts 2:4 - And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.]
We believe in a difference between being led by the Spirit, filled with the Spirit, and being baptized in the Spirit.
Acts 10:47 - Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
Matthew 20:22 - But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.
Romans 6:4 - Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
1 Corinthians 1:17 - For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
When we talk about God the Holy Spirit, we are talking about God acting, moving, living, creating, and inspiring. We see the results of the Spirit's work all around us and within us. We believe that it is through the Holy Spirit that we are given faith in God and called to newness of life. That is, as children of God we are not, as Paul says, "conformed to this world," but instead we are "transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we may discern what is the will of God." [Romans 12:2 - And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.] We are given a clearer sense of the meaning and purpose of our lives. We see everything within the context of how God is working in the world and how God has called us in various ways so that each one of us is a unique gift of God to the world. It is the Holy Spirit, which helps us understand ourselves, and reveals the plan of God for our lives. With the Holy Spirit's guidance we are given the strength and direction to live faithful lives, empowered to do good works for the glory of God.
God gives special abilities to believers (e.g. leadership, mercy, giving, administration, tongues, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, prophecy, etc.), and that the charismatic gifts will not cease until the return of Jesus. The gifts are to be used in the church to build each other up and serve each other. All Christians men, women, and children have the privilege and the calling to use all their gifts to the glory of God.
(1 Corinthians 1:7; 12:27-31; 13:8-13; Ephesians 4:11-13)
We believe in the scripture in its entirety to be the only divinely inspired, infallible, entirely trustworthy, and authoritative written Word of God and that its original manuscripts are free from errors and contradictions, and that it is the complete revelation of God's will for mankind. We believe in the absolute authority of the scripture to govern the affairs of man regarding faith and conduct. Most importantly, the Bible as the Word of God leads us to an experience of the living Word of God, Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
We believe that every man is the steward of his life and resources, which ultimately belong to God. All Attributes such as our physical and mental strengths are a gift from God and must be treated as such. [Matthew 6:33 - But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.]
We believe in the authority of the believer to ask freely of the Lord for his or her needs.
We believe in the worship of the Lord through singing, clapping and lifting of hands, instruments, and dancing.
Psalms 150:3-6 - Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the
psaltery and harp.
Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.
We believe that evangelism is the obligation of every follower of Jesus Christ. The Lord commands us to go and make disciples of all the Earth. [Mark 16:15 - And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.] This is not to say that all should be missionaries but that all should evangelize, spread the gospel.
We believe in the ordinance of water baptism by immersion in obedience to the Word of God. All those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior should be baptized in water as a public profession of their faith in Christ, [an outward expression of an inward act].
Acts 8:12 - But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Acts 8:38 - And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
We believe in the promise regarding the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. We believe that this is an eternal covenant between God and the seed of Abraham to which God is faithful. [Genesis 12:3 - And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed]
We believe that every believer has a unique relationship to the Lord. As His children, every Christian has immediate access to the throne of Grace and the ability to manifest the power of the Lord Jesus Christ in ministry.
We believe in the ministry of the Holy Spirit to the Church body through the anointing of oil, and the laying on of hands, by the elders of the church.
We believe in divine healing, and that healing is included in the Redemptive work of Jesus Christ and the stripes he bore were for sickness - mental, physical, and spiritual. [Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.]
Mark 16:17-19 - And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Matthew 10:8 - Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
Acts 26:8 Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?
Justification, Sanctification, and Holiness
Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit makes us more like Christ in all that we do, think, and desire.
We believe in sanctification through the Word of God and by the Holy Spirit, and we believe in personal holiness, purity of heart and life, which is essential for personal salvation.
In either aspect, Justification or Sanctification, faith is the driving power of our relationship to God. We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. We grow through faith in Jesus Christ. This is a free gift given by God's grace. [Ephesians 2:8 - By grace you are saved through faith and not of yourself so that no one may boast.] This faith is created in the heart through the work of the Holy Spirit active in the Word of God. "Faith comes by hearing." [Romans 10:17 - So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.]
Sanctification as the healing, or growth process results in love, love of God, love of self, and love of others. "Love is the fulfilling of the law. [Romans 13:10 - Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.] By this men will know that you are my followers, that you love one another. [John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.] This love expresses itself in "works," specific acts of kindness where believers build one another up, witness to the world about Jesus, and maintain a stewardship of the world in relation to the Community of faith, in relation to the unsaved, and in relation to the world of nature.
2 Thessalonians 2:13 - But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
Heaven & Hell
We believe heaven and hell are literal places prepared by God. All men will reside in one of the two for all eternity. Heaven is the abode created by Christ for His bride, (John 14: 1-23), where all the saved will abide with God, (Revelation 22:1-5). Those that have rejected Jesus Christ will spend eternity in the lake of fire with the devil, anti-christ, and false prophet eternally separated from God, (Revelation 20:14-15).
We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost, eternal happiness and everlasting life for the saved, and eternal punishment and everlasting damnation for the lost. [Mark 16:16 - He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.]
That salvation through Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. [John 14:6 - Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.]
(1 Thessalonians 4:7; Ephesians 2:10;1 Timothy 4:4; 1 Peter 3:15).
There is One God, eternally existent in three Persons:
We confess the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe that God is an eternal person, a spiritual being with a will that finds purposeful expression in acts of creation. We believe that God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, holy, just, faithful, merciful, and gracious. God is neither young nor old, neither male nor female, but revealed to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We do not, however, believe in three gods, but in one God eternally existent and expressed in the three -fold persons of the Trinity Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and also the three-fold creating, saving, and guiding relationship with humanity. The Father is the creating and sustaining aspect of God. The Son is the saving and revealing aspect of God. And the Holy Spirit is the guiding and inspiring aspect of God. This is a poor description of God, but is the best our limited intellects can do.
Deuteronomy 6:4 - "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one."
We believe that humanity stands in a "created" relationship to God. Even more, humanity is created in "the image of God," [Genesis 1:27 - So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them], that is, created for three-fold, relationships. There is, so to speak, a trinity within humanity of body, soul, and spirit, which cannot exist apart from one another. The body is that aspect of us that represents the relationship of the human to the world and to others. It is through the body that we operate in the world and relate to each other. The soul is that aspect of us that represents the relationship of the human to self and to mind. The soul is our inner being, who we are in our secret self. And the spirit is that aspect of us that represents the relationship of the human to God.
Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Genesis 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
Malachi 2:10 Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?
Mark 12:32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
Romans 3:30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
Ephesians 4:6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
We believe that the Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe. The Word of God comes to us as both Law and Gospel. The Law tells us how God designed human existence, but it also stands as a word of judgment when it forces us to recognize how we have failed to live up to God's demands, how we have sinned against God and others. The Gospel stands as God's never-failing expression of love for us. Beginning with the Word in creation, continuing in the history of Israel, and centering in all its fullness in the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Gospel is God's Word of salvation to us.
We believe in the Church as the eternal and universal Body of Christ consisting of all those who have accepted the work of atonement through Jesus Christ. We believe in the need for a local assembly of believers for the purpose of evangelism and edification.
The unity in the Spirit of all true believers, the Church is the true Body of Christ.
We believe that there is something special about the community of believers, called "the Church." Even as God calls each believer into a renewed relationship with Him, so He calls all believers together into unity. This Church is not the same as the churches visible in the world. The Church is not a building, nor is it individual congregations, nor is it denominations or organizations. The community of all believers is beyond all that. In any church body, those who are true believers belong to the Church, those who do not have a faith relationship with God are not part of the Church even if they are active in congregational affairs.
The mission of the Church is to be "the body of Christ" [Romans 12:5 - So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another in the world]. That is, to do the work of Christ in the world and to represent Him as His ambassador to the world. The mission of the Church is to tell the world the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The true Christian church places the Gospel of Jesus Christ at the center of all that it does. This Gospel is in fact its power in the Church's fight against Satan. When the Gospel is used, Satan's power is bound and he can do nothing against it.
The individual Christian, who tries to exist in isolation without a church home, is in peril of starving spiritually.
We believe that God calls all of his people into ministry. But to some individuals he gives a special call into the office of the ministry. The office of the ministry is when members of the body of Christ are called out from the body with the purpose of serving that body, equipping the saints for ministry. As such the pastor is not charged with performing the mission of the church. He is instead charged with empowering and shepherding his congregation in their performance of that mission. There is sometimes and usually is a hierarchy associated with the calling of a pastor. However, the structure of that hierarchy is of human origin and not of divine ordinance.
God calls qualified Christians to be ordained and to serve Jesus Christ in special leadership capacities, i.e. Elders, Deacons, Ministers of the Word, and Evangelists. There is also a council, which rules and directs the church. The council is limited to qualified men.(I Timothy 2:11-15; 3:11-13)
Rapture - Second Coming
Those Christians who are alive and have not died in the faith, will, at Christ's return, be physically caught up to the clouds and meet the Lord Jesus in the air. We will then forever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-5:2)
Jesus Christ will bodily and visibly come from heaven, with great glory and majesty. Then all human creatures will appear in person before Him to be judged -- men, women, and children, who have lived from the beginning until the end of the world. The evil ones will receive everlasting torment. The faithful ones will receive everlasting life in a new world. So we look forward to that great day with longing in order to enjoy fully the promises of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord. (Matthew 24, Revelation 19-21)
We believe this Statement of Faith to be an accurate summary of what Scripture teaches, but we recognize that there still can and will be some differences in understanding among Christians in matters where Scripture is inconclusive. Scripture, interpreted with the help of the Holy Spirit is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. Each believer is accountable to the Lord, to whom alone he or she is ultimately responsible. Every member should act in a way that upbuilds and does not cause dissension within Christ's Church..