What We Believe
I. The Inerrancy of the Scriptures
We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures. By this, we mean that the words (verbal) of Scripture recorded in the autographa are inspired, not just the concepts. By plenary, we mean that we hold all of Scripture to be equally inspired. We do not believe that one section, book, or testament is any more inspired than any other section, book, or testament. By inspired, we mean that we believe the Scriptures have been "breathed out" by God Himself. Man and God are co-authors of the Bible. God divinely prepared and used man in such a way that the personalities of the human authors were not in any way overridden; yet the divine message was not in any way diluted or corrupted by man's sinful nature. God superintended the authorship of Scripture to ensure an inerrant written record of the Word of God.
Because the Holy Scriptures were divinely superintended and because of the character of God, the Bible is completely inerrant. This is to say the written Word of God is totally without error of any kind. The Bible is wholly true in all that it affirms. We do not believe the Scriptures have errors or mistakes at all. In any place where the Bible speaks to an issue, whether in depth or on the surface, the Bible is wholly accurate. These truths about the Scriptures are based upon the character of God and the Biblical testimony (II Timothy 3:15-16; Proverbs 30:5-6; II Peter 1:20-21). We believe the Bible is to be understood in the literal, grammatical, historical sense that avoids the errors of allegorical, private interpretations that depart from the original intent of the Author.
II. The Nature of God
We believe God is a personal God, Who, although He cannot be fully comprehended, has, to a certain extent, revealed to man through creation and special revelation some perfections of His character. These perfections of God's character include aseity or self-existence (John 5:26; Is. 40; Ex. 3:14), immutability or changelessness (Mal. 3:6; Jas. 1:17), unity (Deut. 6:4), infinite- He has no limits except where He limits Himself (Is.40; Job 11:7-10). The infinity of God's character naturally leads to acknowledging His omnipotence (Rev. 19:6, Job 42:2, I Chron. 29:11), omniscience (Rom. 11:33-34; Is. 40:13-14), and omnipresence (Psalm 139: 7-12). Furthermore, the perfections of God include Holiness- infinite, incomprehensible fullness of purity (Is. 6:3, 57:15), righteousness- moral perfection to the highest standard (Psalm 145:17), justice- applying moral equity to every situation (Deut. 32:4), gracious- granting unmerited favor (Rom. 5:8; Psalm 86:15), merciful- not giving man what he deserves immediately (Ps. 86:5, Ps. 103:10-17, Is. 55:7), loving (I John 4:7-10), and sovereign (Eph. 1:11).
III. The Triunity of God
We believe there is one God (Deut. 6:4, I Tim. 2:5), and there are three distinct Persons of the Godhead that are co-eternal, co-equal, and co-existent (Matt. 28:18-20, Matt. 3:16-17). The Father is God (John 6:27), the Son is God (John 1:1, 14; John 14:7-9; John 20:28), and the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-5; Rom. 8:9-14). There is no subordination ontologically, for there is one Divine essence. All of the perfections of God are present in the same infinite degree in each Person. Economically, or in the outworking of God, there is a logical order in which the Persons of the Godhead are distinct, not in regard to essence but in regard to some functions. For example, the Scriptures attribute the different aspects of salvation to the distinct Persons of the Godhead, such as: The Father chose us for salvation (Eph. 1:3-5), Jesus accomplished that purpose through the sacrifice of His own blood (Eph. 1:5-7), and the Holy Spirit seals the transaction (Eph. 1:13-14). The full comprehension of the triunity of God is beyond the abilities of the finite mind, though statements must be made in accordance with Scripture and avoiding the errors of modalism, tritheism, and pantheism.
IV. The Works of God
A. Creation- We believe God created the heavens and the earth, the visible and the invisible out of nothing in six 24-hour days, according to the Biblical record. Creation is for the glory of God (Ps. 19:1-6), God is distinct from creation (John 1:1-3), and God preserves creation (Acts 17:24-25).
B. Providence- God is continuing to work out His plan for all creation, sustaining and maintaining all that is to His ultimate goal- the glory of God. The Providence of God provides for the care of the nations and individuals in gracious and merciful ways, to the end result God is glorified.
V. The Person of Christ
We believe Jesus Christ, the Living Word of God, the Second Person of the Godhead, the Son of God, existed co-equal with God from eternity past (John 1:1-2; 8:58). At the appointed time, He laid aside His outward appearance of Deity and the independent use of His Divine authority (Phil. 2:6-8) and took upon Himself the form of humanity. He was born of the virgin Mary in Bethlehem (Luke 1:26- 2:20) as a supernatural working of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). His human nature was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
VI. The Person of the Holy Spirit
We believe the Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Godhead, possessing all of the divine perfection, yet distinct from the other two Persons of the Godhead (Luke 11:13; Acts 5:1-4). As God the Father and God the Son are, so is a Person not a mere influence. This is evidenced by Scripture revealing the Spirit's emotions (Ephesians 4:30) and references to His mind and will (I Corinthians 2:10-13, I Corinthians 12:11). That the Holy Spirit is fully God is clear from direct statement (Matthew 28:18-20), as well as attributing to Him Divine perfection that can only be true of God (Psalms 139:7-8; Luke 11:13; I John 5:6; Romans 8:2).
VII. The Work of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit was working in creation (Genesis 1:1-2). He empowered Old Testament believers for special works, (Judges 14:5-7; I Samuel 10:6), and He descended upon Jesus at His baptism and continued with Him (Matthew 3:16; Matthew 4:1), raising Him from the dead (Romans 8:11). The Holy Spirit was also the means by which the Godhead revealed the written Word of God, providing absolute integrity in the revelation and inspiration of the Scriptures (II Peter 1:21; Matthew 22:41-46; Acts 4:25). At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit began permanently indwelling all believers, beginning at the point of conversion (Romans 8:9; Romans 5:5; II Corinthians 5:5). In the life of the believer, the Holy Spirit infills (Ephesians 5:18), instructs (John 14:26), produces fruit (Galatians 5:22-23), empowers for service (Acts 1:8), sanctifies (Romans 15:16), and gives gifts for the edification of the church (Romans 12:6-8; I Corinthians), beginning at the point of conversion (Romans 8:9; Romans 5:5; II Corinthians 5:5). In the life of the believer, the Holy Spirit infills (Ephesians 5:18), instructs (John 14:26), produces fruit (Galatians 5:22-23), empowers for service (Acts 1:8), sanctifies (Romans 15:16), and gives gifts for the edification of the church (Romans 12:6-8; I Corinthians 12:4-11; Ephesians 4:11-12).
We believe that the vicarious, substitutionary blood atonement of Christ makes possible the salvation of every living soul (I John 2:2; Revelation 22:17; Romans 10:13). The invitation to salvation is made to all. This justification is by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 5:8), through faith alone (Romans 3:20-28; Romans 4:4-5; John 5:24; John 6:35) in Christ alone (Acts 4:12; John 14:6) without works of any kind before or after salvation (Romans 3:20; Romans 4:4-5; Isaiah 64:6). Salvation is a free gift (Romans 6:23) that needs only to be received- by man putting his faith/trust/belief in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 4:19-5:1).
We believe that at the point in time a man places his faith in the Lord Jesus, he is born again. We believe at this time several elements of salvation happen simultaneously- conversion, regeneration, justification, Spirit baptism into the body of Christ, adoption, and union with Christ. It is at this time that he is forgiven of his sin, removed from God's wrath, and declared righteous on the basis of Christ's righteousness imputed to his account (Romans 3:20-28; Romans 5:12-21; II Corinthians 5:21).
We believe glorification is the element of salvation that will take place when the believer enters the presence of Christ and is changed into His likeness, free from the presence of sin (I John 3:2). All who are justified will be glorified. There will be none lost who were once saved; no man can lose his justification (John 6:35-40). We believe in the total eternal security of the believer (John 6:40).
IX. The Doctrine of the Church
We believe the church has as its foundation and Founder, the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of the time of its inception the church is separate from Israel. The Church Universal is composed of all believers since Pentecost, whether they are dead or living. Because of the nature of the Church Universal, it will only be complete at the rapture.
The local church is the physical assembly of believers on earth. The local church is the agency through which God works today. The local church is to be autonomous, governing itself independent of outside influence, whether religious or secular. Though the local church government is not answerable to outside influence, they are answerable to the Head of the Church- Christ (Ephesians 5:23). That the church is to be autonomous is evidenced by the authority to judge members (I Corinthians 5:13), elect its own officers (Acts 6:1-6), guard and observe ordinances (I Corinthians 11:23-34), and settle its own internal difficulties (I Corinthians 6:1-5). The membership of the local church is to be comprised of the regenerate only. All of the regenerate are to be members, all of the members are to be regenerate. Each individual member of the church is gifted for the edification of the body (I Corinthians 12-14; Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 4:7-16). The New Testament gives the pattern for church government and order in which there are local church officers (elders and deacons), to which proper submission to them is Scriptural (Hebrews 13:17; I Peter 5:1-5), rules for orderly practices (I Corinthians 11:1-34; 14:1-40), and an orderly system of church finances (I Corinthians 16:2). The local church is to be growing qualitatively and quantitatively. We believe in the unity of believers but not at the expense of the purity of doctrine. Therefore, we reject the modern ecumenical movement.
There are two ordinances to be kept by the local church - baptism and the Lord's Supper (Matthew 28:18-20; I Corinthians 11). Both are for believers only, have absolutely no value for justification, and are given to picture truth. Baptism pictures the Lord's death, burial and resurrection, and the Lord's Supper reminds the believer of the death Christ died and His soon return.
X. The Doctrine of the Things to Be
The personal, pretribulational return of the Lord Jesus Christ for the rapture of the church (Acts 1:11; I Thessalonians 4:16-17). At this time, the dead in Christ shall arise and be caught up together with those who are alive in Christ to meet Him in the air. At this time, every believer will stand before Christ at the Bema seat, or the judgment seat of Christ (I Corinthians 3:11-15; Luke 19; II Corinthians 5:10-11). The Bema seat is not to determine justification but to judge the service of the believer to determine rewards. The believer will be judged according to his works (I Corinthians 3:12-15), words (Luke 12:2-3), and faithfulness (Luke 16:10; Revelation 2:10; I Corinthians 4:2). A believer can receive rewards at this judgment, including ruling in the Millennial Kingdom with Christ; or he can suffer loss depending on his works after salvation (I Corinthians 3:15; Luke 19).
We believe in a literal Tribulation period after the rapture that will last seven years. This time period reflects the shift in God’s working from the Church to Israel. It is during this time that the antichrist will appear. There will be people saved during this period, but many will be martyred.
As the Tribulation period comes to a close, the armies of the world will gather at Armageddon. The Lord will then return to the earth to defeat the armies arrayed against Israel and to reign over the whole earth (Revelation 19:11-16; Zechariah 14:1-11). This is the physical, literal thousand-year Millennial rule of Christ on earth. The time will be marked by peace (Zechariah 8:45), righteousness (Isaiah 32:1), and prosperity (Isaiah 35:1-7), and the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord (Isaiah 2:2-3). During this time, Satan will be bound.
We believe that at the end of the Millennium there will be one final rebellion of man ending in a last battle and victory of God. The universe will be destroyed, followed by the judgment at the Great White Throne. Here, all of the unregenerate of all time will be raised from the dead (rather, reunited with their bodies, for the unsaved dead are in hell now [Luke 16:19-31]) and judged on the basis of their works. Everyone judged according to his or her works will be cast into the lake of fire for all eternity (Revelation 20:11-15). Satan and the fallen angels will also be judged at this time and likewise be confined to the lake of fire for eternity (Jude 6; Revelation 20:11-15). The believer, based on the meritorious work of Christ, will enjoy the glories and bliss of God's presence in heaven for all eternity.