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WHAT WE BELIEVE

 

IN SHORT

 
 

The Bible

We believe the scripture of the Old and New Testaments to be inspired by God and without error.

God

We believe in one God eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (The Trinity).

Jesus Christ

We believe that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary and became man without ceasing to be God.

The Holy Spirit

We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells and empowers all who put their trust in Christ as Savior. We believe that the "sign gifts" (tongues, healings, etc.) completed their purpose in the 1st century.

Angels and Demons

We believe that God created real angelic beings and that one of them, Satan, led a rebellion with others (now called demons) against God. Angels now serve God while Satan and demons oppose Him.

 

Man

We believe that man was created in God’s image and then sinned. All mankind is therefore sinful and totally unable to earn salvation.

Salvation

We believe that to have eternal life in heaven one must put their trust only in Christ’s death on the cross for their sins. We believe that no baptism, works, or merit helps to secure the free gift of salvation.

The Church

We believe the universal church consists of all who put their trust in Christ as Savior. We believe that God ordained the establishment of local churches as described in the New Testament.

The Future

We believe that Jesus Christ will personally return to the earth to take believers to heaven (pretribulation rapture). We believe that everyone will be resurrected either to eternal life or eternal judgment.

 
 

IN DETAIL

 
  • The Bible
  • God
  • Jesus Christ
  • Holy Spirit
  • Angels/Demons
  • Man
  • Salvation
  • The Church
  • The Future

We believe the scripture of the Old and New Testaments to be inspired by God and without error. 

Key truths and where they are found:

  • INSPIRED - (2 Timothy 3:16 - "God breathed"). Inspiration means that "God superintended human authors so that, using their own individual personalities, they composed and recorded without error in the words of the original autographs His revelation to man." (Charles Ryrie definition).
  • All scripture is equally inspired by God (Matthew 4:4 & 5:18).
  • WITHOUT ERROR - We believe in "inerrancy," the truth that God did not make any mistakes in the Bible (Titus 1:2; John 10:35). This still allows for approximations, free quotations, figures of speech, and different (though not contradictory) accounts of the same event, etc.

We believe in one God eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (The Trinity).

Key truths and where they are found:

  • God is a personal being, meaning that He has intellect (Psalm 139:1-6), emotions (1 John 4:8-10) and will (Dan 4:35).
  • God is a spiritual being, meaning that He has no material body (John 4:24).
  • God is a Tri-unity (Trinity), meaning that He is one unified being (Deuteronomy 6:4; James 2:19), yet he exists in three distinct and eternal persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14).

Proof of the Triune nature of God is found in that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all described in the Bible as having infinite characteristics (attributes) that are only true of God (eternality, omnipresence, omnipotence, etc.). All three persons also are shown to do things that only God can do (create, forgive, resurrect, etc.)

We believe that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary and became man without ceasing to be God.

Key truths and where they are found:

  • Jesus exists eternally (Micah 5:2; Isaiah 9:6).
  • His virgin birth - Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:16; Luke 1:34,35).
  • His "incarnation" - Jesus became man without ceasing to be God (John 1:14; Philippians 2:5-11).
  • He was truly human (Galatians 4:4; Luke 2:40,52).
  • He was truly God (John 1:1; 5:18; 8:24,28,58; Romans 9:5).
  • He lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15).
  • His death on the cross was payment for our sins (Matthew 20:28; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
  • Christ was resurrected from the dead (John 20; 1 Corinthians 15, etc.).
  • His resurrection was literal and physical in that His actual body was transformed into an eternal and glorified body (John 20:20-28).

We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells and empowers all who put their trust in Christ as Savior. We believe that the "sign gifts" (tongues, healings, etc.) completed their purpose in the 1st century. 

Key truths and where they are found:

  • The Holy Spirit is God (Creator - Genesis 1:2; omnipresent - Psalm 139:7ff.).
  • He convicts unbelievers of sin (John 16:8,9).
  • He regenerates (saves) those who trust Christ (Titus 3:5).
  • He seals (eternally secures) the believer (Ephesians 1:13).
  • He baptizes (places us spiritually) into the body of Christ, which means we are spiritually united to Christ and to every other believer (1 Corinthians 12:13).
  • He indwells all believers permanently (1 Corinthians 12:13), which enables us to understand the Bible (John 16:13), pray effectively (Romans 8:26) and be assured of our salvation (Romans 8:16).
  • He fills (controls) believers who yield to Him, which means that it is the Holy Spirit who empowers the believer to live obediently to God. Only as we submit to the Spirit’s control (filling) can we, with God’s power, make the necessary changes in our life (Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:22; Romans 8:13).
  • He gives "spiritual gifts," which are supernatural abilities to serve God’s purposes in ministry (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4:7-16; 1 Peter 4:10,11). There are a wide variety of spiritual gifts clearly given in this age (mercy, evangelism, giving, teaching, encouraging, helping, leading, etc).
  • The "sign gifts" (apostleship, tongues, prophecy in the sense of direct revelation from God, healing and other miracle working,) seemingly ceased after the age of the apostles. These spectacular gifts were used by God in the early days of the church to substantiate the new message of the Gospel and to give God’s direct words to the apostles before there was a complete Bible (Acts 2, Acts 14:3; Hebrews 2:3,4; 1 Corinthians 13:8; 2 Corinthians 12:12).

We believe that God created real angelic beings and that one of them, Satan, led a rebellion with others (now called demons) against God. Angels now serve God while Satan and demons oppose Him.

Key truths and where they are found:

  • Angels were all created by God and were good (Colossians 1:16).
  • Angels are spirit beings that serve God and help believers (Hebrews 1:14).
  • Satan is a real being, who once was the highest ranking of the angels (Ezekiel 28:11-19), but then rebelled against God (Isaiah 14).
    Satan and his demons oppose God in many powerful but deceitful ways (1 Peter 5:8).
  • Believers must understand Satan’s schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11), but need not fear him because we have the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:4), and because he and the demons have limited power (Ephesians 6:11).

We believe that man was created in God’s image and then sinned. All mankind is therefore sinful and totally unable to earn salvation.

Key truths and where they are found:

  • Man was created specially by God (not evolved - Genesis 2:7). We were made in God’s "image" (i.e. Like God we are personal beings, having intellect, emotions and will - Genesis 1:27) and we alone of God’s creation share in God’s sovereignty (Genesis 1:26, 28).
  • When Adam sinned all mankind became sinners (Romans 5:12). We are thus born sinful (Psalm 51:5; Ephesians 2:3) and totally unable to remedy our own sinfulness (total depravity - Romans 3:23).

We believe that to have eternal life in heaven one must put their trust only in Christ’s death on the cross for their sins. We believe that no baptism, works, or merit helps to secure the free gift of salvation.

Key truths and where they are found:

Christ’s atonement - Christ died in our place satisfying God’s righteous wrath toward sin ("Propitiation" - 1 John 2:2; 4:10).

Why was it necessary for Christ to die? What really was accomplished when Christ died? Answering those important questions is what the "atonement" is all about.

It starts with our sin, which violates God’s righteousness. Since God is perfect ("holy") and fair ("just"), He cannot overlook sin, but must judge it. But because God loved us, He chose to bear the punishment for sin Himself (1 John 4:10). To do that Christ (God in human form) came to earth as a man (See Christ, "incarnation" above) and voluntarily died on the cross. When Christ died, God was pouring out his judgment on sin upon Christ instead of us. In this way God’s righteous wrath was "satisfied" (or the technical word is "propitiated") by Christ dying in our place.

Personal faith - A person must individually choose to trust in Christ in order to have eternal life (John 3:16, 36). 
The message of the Gospel is that Christ died for our sins and rose again (1 Corinthians 15:3-5). The response a person must make to the Gospel is to "believe" (put one’s entire trust) in Christ's death alone as the payment for their sin.

Approximately 100 verses in the New Testament teach plainly that the only thing one must do to have eternal salvation is "believe" (=trust in Christ’s "atonement" - see above). Believing in Christ is also called "faith" in many of these verses (John 1:12; 3:16,36; 5:24; 6:40,47,48,51; 7:37,38; Acts 10:43; 16:30,31; Romans 1:16; 3:22, 27,28; 5:1; 6:23; Galatians 2:16; 3:22; Ephesians 1:13; 2:8,9; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; 1 Timothy 1:15,16; 2 Timothy 3:15; Titus 3:4-7; 1 John 5:11-13; etc.).

The point is that a person cannot earn their way into heaven (Ephesians 2:8,9). No human effort of being "good" or following certain rules or undergoing religious rituals (baptism, communion, etc.) in any way helps to pay for our sin or get us to heaven. If we could earn salvation then we would take the credit and Christ’s death for our sins was not necessary. To get to heaven we must admit that we are sinners, acknowledge that Christ paid our entire penalty for sin and then choose to put our entire trust ("believe") in Christ alone.

Eternal Security - Once a person has placed their trust in Christ, they cannot "lose" their salvation. The reason our salvation is secure is that salvation was accomplished by Christ not us and so it is guaranteed/secured by Christ as well. Once we put our faith in Christ, salvation depends upon God’s nature, God’s power and God’s promises. ("Shall never perish" - John 10:28,29; "no condemnation" - Romans 8:1,33; "nothing can separate us" - Romans 8:38,39; "sealed" - Ephesians 1:3,14; "hidden with Christ" - Colossians 3:3; "kept/protected by the power of God" - 1 Peter 1:5).

Assurance of Salvation – This is a somewhat different issue than eternal security. The question here is how a person can be sure they are really saved. We believe that it is the privilege of believers to be sure of their salvation based  on whether one has indeed placed personal faith in Christ to save them, not based on how good one’s life is at the moment (John 5:24; 1 John 5:11-13; 2 Timothy 2:13). As believers we sometimes live according to our sinful desires (carnal/worldly – 1 Corinthians 3:1-3) and indeed may not “look like Christians” at the time. God disciplines us for our sin (Hebrews 12:5-11), but our personal assurance and the proof of eternal life is based solely upon our faith in Christ, not upon whether we maintain a certain standard of good works.

We believe the universal church consists of all who put their trust in Christ as Savior. We believe that God ordained the establishment of local churches as described in the New Testament.

Key truths and where they are found:

The church exists in two forms:

  1. The universal church consists of all believers during the present "church" age. The Holy Spirit joins all believers to "the body of Christ," which is the universal church. The "church" began when the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:5 2:1-4).
  2. A local church is a group of believers in this age meeting regularly and organized biblically to do God’s will (For example: Romans 16:1, 3-5,14-16).

There are two ordinances (physical rituals) to be performed by the local church that Christ prescribed to illustrate spiritual truth: Baptism (Acts 2:41) and the Lord’s Supper/Communion (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). These are discussed more fully in another paper.

We believe that Jesus Christ will personally return to the earth to take believers to heaven (pretribulation rapture). We believe that everyone will be resurrected either to eternal life or eternal judgment.

Key truths and where they are found:

  • The Rapture is when Christ returns in the air to take believers to heaven at the end of the church age and before the Tribulation [pretribulation rapture view] (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-57; Revelation 3:10).
  • The Tribulation is a 7 year period of unequaled war and supernatural disaster during which the Antichrist asserts himself as the world ruler and God resumes His plan of bringing many Jews to salvation (Daniel 9:27; 11:36-45; 12:9-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Matthew 24,25; Revelation 4-18).
  • The 2nd Coming is when Christ returns to the earth to end the Tribulation. As He comes, He judges the Antichrist and unbelievers while rescuing the many Jews who turn to Christ as their Messiah (Zechariah 12, 14:1-15; Matthew 14:29-31; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 19:11-21).
  • The Millennium is a 1,000-year period on earth following the Tribulation in which Christ rules and the Old Testament promises to Israel are fulfilled. Satan is released at the end of the millennium and rebels once more (Revelation 20:7-9). Then Satan is judged as well as all unbelievers (The Great White Throne Judgment - Revelation 20:10-15).
   
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