What We Believe
There is no salvation apart from the gospel. The gospel is the proclaimed message about God acting in the person and work of Christ to reconcile sinners to Himself, just as He graciously planned from eternity, promised throughout Scripture, achieves within history, and will consummate in the age to come. Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. Salvation includes election, regeneration, justification, sanctification, perseverance, and glorification.
The Holy Scriptures
We affirm that the Scriptures, consisting only of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, are not a mere witness to divine revelation but are God’s complete written revelation of Himself to humanity, graciously given to us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and according to God’s sovereign purposes in Jesus Christ. We affirm that, the Bible, as God’s written, special revelation to humanity, the Scriptures constitute the holy Word of God communicated through appointed human authors. In His sovereignty, God so superintended the human authors of Scripture that although what they wrote was genuinely their own, it was nevertheless the very word of God, verbally inspired in every part equally, inerrant in the original manuscripts, infallible in all they affirm, and completely trustworthy. We affirm that the Scriptures carry with them the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and thus stand as the supreme and final authority over every domain of knowledge to which they speak, and that they are sufficient for all that God requires the Christian and the church to believe and do. We also affirm that the gospel of Jesus Christ unifies the Scriptures, their purpose and interpretation, from beginning to end. Therefore, the Scriptures must remain central to the teaching ministry of the church, the formation and preservation of sound doctrine, and the proclamation and spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We affirm that the Bible reveals God to be infinite in all His perfections, and thus truly omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, timeless, and self-existent. We further affirm that God possesses perfect knowledge of all things, past, present, and future, including all human thoughts, acts, and decisions.We affirm that the doctrine of the Trinity is a Christian essential, bearing witness to the ontological reality of the one true God in three divine persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each of the same substance and perfections. We further affirm that in God’s eternal, Triune existence He has been perfectly joyful and uppermost in His own affections; the Father loving the Son, and the Son loving the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit.
God the Father
We believe in God the Father, an infinite, personal spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power, and love. We believe that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of man, that He hears and answers prayer, and that He saves from sin and death all that come to Him through Jesus Christ. We believe that the Father orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and grace. We believe that, as the only absolute and omnipotent ruler in the universe, God is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption. In His sovereignty, He is neither author nor approver of sin, nor does He waive the accountability of His creatures. He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own, not based on anything they have done, but according to His own good pleasure.
God the Son
We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son. We believe He graciously was sent by the Father and in His virgin birth by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18, 25 point to the miraculous nature of both Christ’s conception and birth), sinless life, miracles, and teachings. We believe in His substitutionary and propitiatory death (on our behalf the Son satisfied His Father’s holiness, averting His Father’s wrath), bodily resurrection, ascension into heaven, perpetual intercession for His people, and personal, visible return to earth. We believe Jesus Christ is coequal, consubstantial (i.e., having the same substance, nature, or essence), and coeternal with the Father. We believe that in the incarnation (when God became man), Christ willingly surrendered only the prerogatives of deity, and nothing of the divine essence, either in degree or kind. We believe that Jesus Christ represents humanity and deity in indivisible oneness. We believe that on the basis of the efficacy (effectiveness) of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, every genuine believer is freed from the punishment, the penalty, the power, and one day the very presence of sin; and that he is declared righteous (i.e., justified), given eternal life, and adopted into the family of God. We believe that in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, God the Father displayed to His creation the deity of His Son and gave proof that He accepted the propitiatory work of Christ on the cross.
God the Holy Spirit
We believe in the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He is a divine person, eternal, underived (i.e., having no beginning or source), possessing all the attributes of personality and deity. In all the divine attributes, He is coequal, consubstantial, and coeternal with the Father and the Son. We believe that the Holy Spirit is the supernatural and sovereign agent in calling, indwelling, regenerating, sanctifying, and sealing believers until the day of redemption. He also instructs, gifts, empowers for service, comforts, and confirms the right preaching of the Word of God We believe He inspired men to write the Holy Scriptures.
We believe the New Testament speaks of the church as the universal body of Christ, which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation. We further believe the New Testament emphasizes that in the age preceding Christ’s return, the redeemed should gather in and be accountable to visible, local churches. The local church is the primary context in which believers joyfully fulfill the demands of the new covenant. The local church visibly manifests obedience to Jesus when, depending on her Lord in prayer, the baptized believers joyfully gather to submit to one another under biblical leadership to heed the gospel of Jesus Christ, to celebrate the new covenant ordinances of believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper and practice corrective discipline when out of step with their meaning, to edify and care for one another by the aid and gifting of the Holy Spirit, and to scatter on mission to make disciples among all peoples both locally and globally. We believe each local church operates under the lordship of Christ. In such a congregation, each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are elders and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of elder is limited to men as qualified by Scripture. The local church practices congregational involvement under the spiritual care of elders. The members of the local church should honor and submit to their leadership, while also holding such leadership accountable to biblical precepts and qualifications. Elders who persist in sin must be rebuked publicly before the congregation for the purpose of making the church fearful of sinning. We believe in the importance of discipleship and the mutual accountability of all believers to each other, including the need for corrective discipline of unrepentant members of the local church in accordance with Scripture. Moreover, wherever communication between local churches will serve to protect, honor, and promote the gospel, and ensure further care, accountability, or discipline for their members, the local church and its leadership should pursue it. When a local church or cooperation of churches departs from the gospel, it is proper for faithful, gospel-believing churches to hold such congregations and their leaders accountable by means of warnings, rebukes, and calls to repentance.
We believe in the personal, bodily, and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth, and in His eternal kingdom in heaven. We believe in the resurrection of the body, the final judgment, the eternal felicity (i.e., intense joy) of the righteous who have been saved by the grace of God to worship Him forever, and the eternal conscious torment (in opposition to Annihilationism) of the wicked who eternally perish in their sins apart from Christ.