What We Believe
About the Bible
-Inspiration- All Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim 3:16). In the process of inspiration, God moved holy men to write (2 Pet 1:21), ensuring that everything that He wanted (and nothing else) was written in the original documents. Manuscripts and translations of the Bible are the Word of God only to the extent that they reflect the wording of the original writings.-Inerrancy- The Scriptures were written in such a way as to be completely without error in all subjects to which they address (including history and science). They are, therefore, the final source of authority in things dealing with knowledge of God, man, and the universe. (Acts 1:16; 17:2-3; 18:28; Rom. 15:4; I Cor: 2:13; 10:11; II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 1:21). -Sufficiency- The principles of living in the Bible are sufficient without the addition of man made standards of righteousness (Rom 14; Col 2:20-23). -Hermeneutics- Every portion of the Bible should be interpreted literally (plain literal and figurative literal), historically, grammatically and rhetorically. Bible interpretation (like any other aspect of the Christian life) should not be attempted apart from the guidance and empowering of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 2:9-16).
About God-The Triunity of God- The Bible reveals that God is one and that He exists in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All three are eternal, unmade, equal in power, glory, and of the same essence. -God the Father- The Father is uncreated and is coequal with God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. He works as the master vinedresser (John 15), tending the individual branches of the vine (those in Christ) to bring about good fruit. -Jesus Christ, the Son- The Son was present with the Father and the Holy Spirit from all eternity and is uncreated. God the Son took on flesh, was born of a virgin, and is both fully God and fully man. We believe that Jesus Christ died on a cross for the sins of the world, was raised bodily from the dead, and ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. -The Holy Spirit- The Holy Spirit is coequal with God the Father and God the Son, and He is Himself a Person, not an impersonal force. He is active during the present age, convicting the world of their unbelief, regenerating, eternally indwelling, and distributing spiritual gifts to all who place faith in Jesus Christ (John 14; 16:8; 20:31; 1 Cor 12). -Sovereignty- God is a sovereign Creator and has both the power and the right to have direct control over everything. Nevertheless, He chooses to grant freedom of will to men and angels. This delegated sovereignty does not call into question the fact that God has ultimate control and that His plan for the world is guaranteed (Ephesians 1:11).
About Angels-Angels and Demons- Angels were created by God at some point before the creation of man. Satan, the adversary, sinned and took one third of the angels with him in rebellion. These fallen angels are the demons. Angels and Demons (Satan included) are real, personal beings.
About Man-The Tripartite Nature of Man- Man is made in three distinct parts, body, soul, and spirit (1 Thess 5:23). -The Body- The body is our physical makeup and is the means by which man interacts with the natural world. Since The Fall, mans body has been indwelt by sin (Rom 7:23). While even pre-fall Adam and Eve had desires for food, shelter, and sex among other things, sin has now perverted those natural drives and turned them against Gods will (Rom 1:18-32). The body now wars against the spirit for control (Rom 7:14-25; Gal 5:17). The term flesh in the Bible includes the body but is not limited to the body alone. -The Soul- the soul is the seat of our personality and contains the functions of mind (Ps 139:14; Phil 1:27; Heb 12:3; James 3:15 see original), will (Job 7:15; Ps 63:8), and emotion (Job 14:22; Ps 35:9; Matt 26:38). The soul is more generally spoken of as the natural life and the natural ability of a man. The soul is distinct from the spirit (1 Thess 5:23; Heb 4:12; Jam 3:15 see original). The Bible treats the soul as part of the carnal man and the man who lives by his soul (his natural self) is not spiritual (Rom 7-8 [the soul's functions of mind and emotion are treated here]; 1 Cor 2 see original). -The Spirit- the spirit is that part of the believer that houses the Holy Spirit and is where spiritual leading, spiritual empowering, and communion with God and other believers takes place (Acts 17:16; 18:5; 20:22; Rom 8;. 1 Cor 2; 6:17). People who have never believed in Jesus Christ have a spirit that is dead in that it does not have a life connection with God (Eph 2:1). While the body and soul have a proper function, they can only be used within God's will when they are subjected to the believer's spirit (1 Cor 2:9-16; Gal 2:19-3:5; 5:16ff; Rom 8:1-8). -Christian Living- The Believer is responsible for living in total dependence on God. This means yielding our thoughts, beliefs, and will to God, and letting Christ live His life through us by continual faith in Him (Rom 6-8; Gal 2:20; 5:16-25). The Christian today is completely free from both the Old Testament law and law as a principle of life (Acts 15:5-11; Rom 6:14, 7:1-6, 8:1-5; 2 Cor 3:3-18; Galatians [entire book, see especially 2:18-3:29; 5:1]; Eph 2:14f; Phil 3:1-8; Col 2:6, 20-23; etc.). Christs life in the Believer is the foundation of everything in the Christian life, doctrine, and worship.
About Sin-Sin in Man- The first man, Adam, was created innocent, but in the Fall he sinned, took on a sin nature which is passed on to every human being. Because of this, mankind is incapable on his own of doing any work that pleases God, has a natural drive toward committing sins, and is wholly dependent on Gods grace for salvation.
About Salvation-The Gospel- God gives eternal life to mankind by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. No works before, during, or after the moment of faith in Christ contribute anything to the free gift (Rom 3:24) of forgiveness and eternal life, which one receives through faith in Christ. While there are other consequences, the absence of good works or the presence of sin during or after the moment of faith, subtracts nothing from one's eternal position in Christ. Commitment, willingness to obey, sorrow for sin, turning from sin, baptism, and/or submission to the Lordship of Christ, are not to be considered a part of, or an addition to, faith as a condition for receiving eternal life. This saving transaction between God and the sinner consists simply of the giving and receiving of a free gift that is without cost to the believer (John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47; 11:25-27; 20:31; Acts 16:31; Rom 3:28; 4:1-5; Eph 2:8-9). -Faith- Faith is belief and should be understood as persuasion. It is not the quality of faith that results in justification, but the object of that faith. All men exercise faith in something regularly. Faith does not save; Christ saves through faith in Him. Faith is not the cause; it is a channel to the cause, Jesus Christ. When we are persuaded that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, we have the faith by which God in His grace grants us justification and eternal life (John 20:30-31; Acts 16:30-31; 17:4; 18:4). -Eternal Security- Once granted, eternal life cannot, under any circumstances be lost or given up. As those who have believed, we are the gift of the Father to the Son, and no one is able to snatch us from His hand (John 6:39; 10:27-29, Rom 8:30; 11:29). -Perseverance- Perseverance in holiness or in faith is to be expected of those who are the recipients of so great salvation; however, it is not to be construed as either a necessary outcome or a condition for eternal life or assurance of eternal life. -Repentance- Repentance simply means a change of mind. While ideas such as sorrow over sin and turning from sin may be results of repentance over those issues, they are not included in the meaning of the word. -Assurance- Assurance of salvation is the birthright of every believer. Nothing other than a failure to believe the gospel should be invoked to make anyone doubt the security of their salvation from Hell (John 6:47; 11:25-27; 1 Jn 2:25; 5:13). -Salvation- The word Salvation basically means to be rescued or delivered. The Scripture speaks of many types of salvation including but not limited to salvation from sin (Past, Present, & Future), sickness, persecution, the world system, and from eternal separation from God.
About Spiritual Gifts-Distribution of Gifts- At the time of justification the Holy Spirit distributes spiritual gifts to each believer as He wills. The church is meant to have a diversity of gifting; thus, no spiritual gift is possessed by every believer. Believers today have the responsibility of using their gifts for the building up and edifying of the Body of Christ (Eph 4:10-16, 1 Cor 12). -Tongues- Interestingly enough, the only spiritual gift that is given a specific definition in the Bible is the gift of tongues. It is properly defined as having the ability to speak a human language that is not known to the speaker (Acts 2:4-11), not as a non-human or nonsensical language (babble). Furthermore, tongues were given for the specific purpose of warning the nation of Israel of pending judgment (1 Cor 14:21; Isa 28:11ff) and are not meant for edification of the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:1-14:29). This gift was meant for a specific time in history, and has ceased (1 Cor 13:8ff).
About Last Things-Return- As prophesied repeatedly in the Scripture, Jesus Christ will return bodily in power and great glory to establish His kingdom on earth and to reign for 1000 years (Isa 11; Dan 7:9-14, 18; Zech 14; Rev 19-20). -Resurrection- The dead will be resurrected either into eternal life in glory or eternal death in the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:4-6; 21:11-15)
-Rewards- All who have placed their faith in Christ will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ to determine their rewards according to their works (Matt 16:24-27; 1 Cor 3:11-15; 2 Cor 5:9-11; Rev 22:12). While these rewards have no bearing on their eternal destination (in Heaven and the New Earth or in the Lake of Fire), they do have a direct impact on the quality of the believers life during the 1000 year reign of Christ and in eternity on the New Earth. We further believe that a believer can be disqualified from reward, entrance into, and inheritance in the Millennial Kingdom (1 Cor 3:15; 2 John 7-8), but not from Heaven, by lack of works and failure to persevere in holiness and faith.