We believe that the Bible, consisting of the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament, is the written Word of God. It is the essential and infallible record of God’s revelation of Himself to mankind, leading us to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit inspired the human authors of Scripture so that the Bible, as originally given, is free from error in all it teaches. Every believer is responsible to study the Scripture, interpreting each passage according to context, purpose, and the entire scope of biblical revelation, and to diligently apply the standards of Scripture to their individual lives in reverent obedience to the Lord, Who speaks through the Scripture in living power. The Scripture is our final, absolute authority, the only infallible rule of faith and practice for individual believers and for the Church. The Scripture is not to be added to, detracted from, or changed by later tradition or extra-biblical revelation. Every doctrinal formulation or pronouncement by any individual or council, whether of creed, confession, theology, or experience must be put to the test of the full counsel of God as revealed in Holy Scripture.
We believe that there is one God Who is self-existent, eternal, infinite, unchanging, and almighty in His Being, and Whose character is perfect in holiness, truth, and love. This One God is eternally existent in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Who are co-existent, co-equal, and co-eternal. The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are distinct Persons, not merely forces or modes of existence, yet each is truly the One True God. The Trinity, One God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - is the foundation of the Christian faith and life.
GOD THE FATHER
We believe that God the Father, the Eternal King, is the Creator of heaven and earth. Through His Son, the Eternal Word, and for His own purpose and glory, He freely created the universe out of nothing. Through His powerful Word He also sustains and governs all of creation, including every living thing. He made man for fellowship with Himself, and intended that all creation should live to the praise of His glory. He possesses all authority, and rules the universe as King of the Ages. He is faithful to every promise, works all things together for good to those who love Him, and in His glorious grace gave Jesus Christ His Only Son for mankind’s redemption.
We believe that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, the Eternal Word made flesh. As such, He was always with God and is God; He is not a created being, but in fact it was through Him that all things came into being and were created. He was before all things and in Him all things hold together by the power of His Word. He is the image of the invisible God, and in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
We believe that in the fullness of time He came into the world to save mankind. He was supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, fully God and fully man in one Person. He is the only Savior for the sins of the world, having lived a sinless life in perfect obedience to the Law of God, and having died a substitutionary death on the cross for all mankind. Through His sinless life He met the righteous requirements of the Law in our behalf. Through His atoning death He paid the penalty for our sin, revealing and upholding at the same time both divine love and divine justice. Having provided atonement for sin, the third day He rose bodily from the grave, victorious over death and the powers of darkness, and for a period of forty days appeared to over five hundred witnesses, providing many convincing proofs of His resurrection. He ascended into heaven and was seated at God’s right hand, from where He intercedes for His people and rules as Lord over all. He is the Head of His Body the Church and is to be loved, worshipped, served, and obeyed by all.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Through the proclamation of the Law and the Gospel, He persuades us to repent of our sins, trust in the mercy of God, and confess Jesus as Lord. He brings about the new birth, dwells within the regenerate, unites believers to Jesus Christ, imparts gifts to each believer, and seals them for the day of redemption. The Holy Spirit has come to glorify the Son, Who in turn came to glorify the Father. As our Counselor and Guide, He will lead the Church into all truth, and as the Spirit of the Eternal God, He is to be loved, worshipped, served, and obeyed by all.
We believe that God created a countless company of sinless, spiritual beings known as angels to serve and worship Him. Angels are mighty beings, but they are under the full authority of God, existing to do His will. They are not to be sought for guidance, nor worshipped, but are sent to do God’s will, and especially to minister to those who inherit eternal salvation.
We believe that Satan was originally a mighty angel known as Lucifer. Through pride he sinned and led a great number of angels into rebellion against God, but he and his followers were cast out of heaven by God. As the originator of sin, Satan was allowed by God to tempt our first parents, who in turn rebelled against God and sinned, thereby coming under Satan’s dominion. Satan was disarmed by God at the cross, but he continues to rebel, acting as the god of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of darkness, blinding unbelievers to the Gospel and opposing and harassing the children of God. The victory won at the cross is presently being enforced by God through the Church, and will be consummated following the second coming of Christ, when Satan will be cast into the lake of fire to be punished for eternity.
We believe that God created mankind - male and female - in His own image so that we might have fellowship with Him. Mankind was given dominion over the earth and was commanded by God to rule the planet. Under the temptation of Satan, man rebelled against God and His Law, and received God’s righteous judgment. As a result of the fall, mankind is radically depraved, spiritually deceived, morally corrupt, and subject to death. Additionally, creation was plunged into sin, and experiences the consequences and effects of our fall.
We believe that as sinners by nature and by choice, mankind is under the righteous wrath of God and is alienated from his Maker. In this state, people are at war with themselves, with each other, and with God. Due to the fall, mankind, apart from grace, is incapable of pleasing God or even returning to Him. Fallen, sinful people, whatever their character or attainments, are lost and without hope apart from salvation in Christ.
We believe that redemption and atonement for sin is provided only in the finished work of Jesus Christ. This salvation is offered to all through the preaching of the Law and the Gospel. The Law is declared to show God’s righteous requirements and His judgment of sinners, and the Gospel is announced to make known God’s free gift of salvation in Christ. Through these, people are convicted of their sin and their need for Christ. Therefore, the Law and the Gospel must be proclaimed to all people, and those who genuinely repent of their sins and by the grace of God place saving faith in Christ will be justified.
We believe that people are justified by faith in Christ, apart from any good works of their own. Justification is the free gift of God, based exclusively on the merits of Christ, and provided on the basis of faith alone. Those justified through faith are declared by God to be righteous solely because of the righteousness of Christ that is credited to them.
We believe that biblical repentance and faith are characterized by a changed life. Those who have truly repented and turned to Christ in faith will evidence the fruit of the Holy Spirit and will live a life characterized by obedience to God’s Law. While a person is justified by faith and not by works, biblical faith will always produce works. Saving faith is more than mental assent to the statements of the Gospel; it is an active trust and reliance upon God. Faith that does not produce a life of growing conformity to God’s character is not saving faith, but is in fact a dead, useless faith.
We believe that the Holy Spirit is given to every believer and that He begins the process of sanctification in them from the moment of conversion. Through the Word of God, the sacraments, fellowship, prayer, and worship, He renews our minds and conforms us to the image of Christ. Sanctification is a lifelong process in which the believer becomes more like Christ, increasing in the knowledge of God, and living a life that grows in conformity to God’s character of holiness, truth, and love.
We believe that the salvation begun in this life will be consummated at the return of Christ, when death will be swallowed up in life, and our entire being, including our physical bodies, will be perfected by God. At that moment, we will be transformed by Christ, for we shall see Him as He is. This future glorification is central to our hope, and should be the great desire of all believers, causing us to live in purity and the service of God, focusing not on what is seen and temporary, but on what is unseen and eternal.
We believe that there is one, holy, universal Church, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone. Christ is the Head of the Church and all believers are joined to this Church by the presence and work of the Holy Spirit, and form the living Body of Christ. The Church is the pillar and ground of the truth and exists to worship God, reach out to the lost with the Good News of salvation, and to disciple believers in the ways of the Kingdom of God. Through the preaching of the Word of God, the sacraments, prayer, worship, the proper exercise of spiritual gifts, and the use of loving discipline, the Church becomes a vital and healthy community and is used to extend the Kingdom of God throughout the world.
We believe that all believers are members of the universal church and are called to be a vital and committed part of a local church. In this context they are called to committed relationships with other believers and to lovingly apply the faith to every area of life.
We believe that God calls leaders for each local church, and that these leaders are to shepherd the local church by setting a godly example, serving the flock as overseers, and equipping the individual believer to use their gifts to do the work of the ministry. It is in the local church that every believer is to receive pastoral care and be equipped to serve God, their fellow believers, and the world.
We believe that the Lord Jesus instituted two sacraments for the Church: water baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Both of these are available to any believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and are an important part of the life and ministry of the Church. Through these the individual believer is strengthened in the grace of God, being enabled to live in a manner pleasing to the Lord.
We believe and practice water baptism for believers by immersion in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. While we do not deny other methods, modes, and formulas, we believe that this is the method which best fulfills the purpose, description, and examples of baptism given in the Scriptures.
We believe that the Lord’s Supper is only for believers and that in this meal the believer is by faith spiritually united with Christ, eating and drinking at His table. We believe that Christ is truly present in a spiritual, but nonetheless real and dynamic manner as we partake of the elements of bread and juice.
We believe that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Church in power at Pentecost and that He Personally indwells every believer in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit imparts gifts to believers, and these gifts, exercised according to biblical guidelines in a spirit of love, are critical for the building of the Church and the accomplishment of her mission in the world. All of the spiritual gifts listed in the Scripture are available to the Church today, and should be earnestly desired and expected. These gifts are available to all believers, are often accompanied by a conscious experience of the empowering or filling of the Holy Spirit, and should be evident in the life of every believer and local church.
We believe that God’s Kingdom has come in the Person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ, that it continues to grow in the ministry of the Spirit through the Church, and that it will be consummated in the personal, glorious, visible, and triumphant return of Christ. We believe that when Christ returns, He will bring about the final judgment of Satan and his kingdom, the resurrection of the dead, the final Judgment, the eternal blessing of the righteous, and the eternal, conscious punishment of the wicked. There will be a new heaven and a new earth and the Church, the Bride of Christ, will be in God’s Presence, serving, worshipping, and enjoying Him forever.