STATEMENT OF FAITH AND COVENANT
SECTION 2.01 – STATEMENT OF FAITH
The following comprise the Scriptural beliefs of this church and its members.
(A) The Holy Scriptures. We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the verbally and plenary inspired Word of God. The Scriptures are inerrant, infallible and God-breathed and, therefore, are the final authority for faith and life. The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament are the complete and divine revelation of God to Man. The Bible does not merely contain truth; it is the truth, the standard by which all truth must be tested. The Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal grammatical-historical meaning. The King James Version of the Bible shall be the official and only translation used by all officers and teachers in the public ministry of the church. (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; John 5:39, 17:17)
(B) Dispensationalism. We believe that the Scriptures interpreted in their natural, literal sense reveal divinely determined dispensations or rules of life which define man=s responsibilities in successive ages. These dispensations are not ways of salvation, but rather are divinely ordered stewardships by which God directs man according to His purpose. Three of these dispensationsCthe law, the church, and the kingdomCare the subjects of detailed revelation in Scripture. (Genesis 1:28; 1 Corinthians 9:17; 2 Corinthians 3:9-18; Galatians 3:13-25; Ephesians 1:10; 3:2-10; Colossians 1:24-25, 27; Revelation 20:2-6)
(C) The Godhead. We believe that there is one, and only one, true and living God, that He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, immutable, and infinitely holy; and that He eternally exists in Three PersonsCFather, Son, and Holy SpiritCand that these Three, though one, are yet Three Distinct Persons, each co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections. (Genesis 17:1; Deuteronomy 4:35; Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalms 99:9; 102:26-27; 139:1-7; Isaiah 44:6; Jeremiah 23:23; Matthew 28:19; John 1:1-3; John 14:10, 26; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Revelation 1:8)
(D) The Person and Work of Christ.
1. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful men. (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Luke 1:35; John 1:1-2, 14; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; Galatians 4:4-5; Philippians 2:5-8)
2. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as our representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice; and, that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead. (Acts 2:18-36; Romans 3:24-25; 1 Peter 2:24; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:3-5)
3. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry as our Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate. (Acts 1:9-10; Hebrews 9:24; 7:25; Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1-2)
(E) The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit.
1. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person; co-equal with God the Father and God the Son, who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and, that He is the Supernatural Agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption. (John 16:8-11; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13-14)
2. We believe that He is the Divine Teacher who assists believers to understand and appropriate the Scriptures and that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 1:17-18; 5:18; 1 John 2:20, 27)
3. We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowal of spiritual gifts to every believer. God uniquely uses evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip believers in the assembly in order that they can do the work of the ministry. (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 28; Ephesians 4:7-12)
4. We believe that the sign gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as speaking in tongues and the gift of healing, were temporary. Speaking in tongues was never the common or necessary sign of the baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit, and that ultimate deliverance of the body from sickness or death awaits the consummation of our salvation in the resurrection, though God frequently chooses to answer the prayers of believers for physical healing. (1 Corinthians 1:22; 13:8; 14:21-22)
(F) The Total Depravity of Man. We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God; but that in Adam=s sin the human race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God. Man is totally depraved and devoid of the holiness required by the law of God, and of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition. Man is a sinner by nature, choice, and practice and is, therefore, under just condemnation, without defense or excuse.(Genesis 1:26-27; 3: 1-6, 24; Romans 3:10-19, 22-23; 5:12, 19; 6:23; Ephesians 2:1-3; 4:17-19)
(G) Salvation. We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins. We believe that the only way man can be saved from eternal damnation is by trusting Jesus Christ, God=s Son, as his personal Savior, being convicted and repenting of his sin; that an exercise of faith in Christ=s finished expiatory (atoning) work is sufficient unto salvation. Man is regenerated by God=s Spirit and becomes a true child of God. This salvation is wholly by the grace of God, a free gift of God=s love and cannot be obtained by any good works or deeds of men. We believe that all sins, except blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, are forgivable. (John 1:12, 5:24, 10:28-29; 16:31; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-10; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:3-5, 18-19; Matthew 12:31-32; 1 John 1:9)
(H) The Eternal Security and Assurance of Believers.
1. We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God=s power and are thus secure in Christ forever. (John 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Romans 8:1; 38-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; 1 Peter 1:4-5)
2. We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God=s Word, which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh. (Romans 13:13-14; Galatians 5:13; Titus 2:11-15)
(I) The Church
1. The Body of Christ – We believe the church, which is both the body and espoused bride of Christ, with Christ Himself as the head, is a spiritual organism made up of all born-again persons of this present age which began at Pentecost and will be caught up to be with Christ at the Rapture. (I Corinthians 12: 13, 27; Ephesians 1:20-22, 3:3-11, 5:23-24, 32)
2. Local Church – We believe that the local church, which is the body and the espoused bride of Christ, is an organized congregation solely made up of born-again, baptized (by immersion) believers associated together by a common faith and fellowship in the Gospel. Such a church is to be governed by the Word of God, and to observe the ordinances of baptism (the immersion of true believers only) and the Lord=s table. Its scriptural officers are male believers referred to in Scripture as bishops and deacons. The qualifications of the church officers are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus. (Acts 2:41; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:25-27; II Timothy 3: 16-17; Titus 1:5-9)
We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures. (Acts 14:27; 20:17, 28-32; 1Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11)
We believe in the autonomy of the local church, free of any external authority or control. (Acts 13:1-4; 15:19-31; 20:28; Romans 16:1, 4; 1 Corinthians 3:9, 16; 5:4-7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1-4)
3. Ordinances – We recognize water baptism by immersion and the Lord=s Supper as the only two Scriptural ordinances of obedience for the church in this age.
a. Baptism – We believe that Christian Baptism is the immersion in water of one who truly has had a personal, saving relationship with Christ; that it symbolizes the believers being buried with Christ and raised to walk in newness of life; and that this ordinance must be administered in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Baptism is a church ordinance, not a ministerial ordinance. (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42; 18:18)
b. The Lord=s Supper – We believe the Lord=s Supper commemorates the death and the dying love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Its elements, which are symbolic, shall be unleavened bread symbolizing the broken body of the Lord Jesus, and unfermented grape juice symbolizing His shed blood. These, being taken together, show forth His death until He comes again. While we do not have closed communion, we believe that all participants must be born-again and of like faith and practice. This ordinance is to be observed only after a solemn self-examination. (Matthew 26: 26-29; Luke 22: 17-20; I Corinthians 11:23-30)
(J) Separation. We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord. God commands His people to separate from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices, and associations, and to refrain from all immodest and immoderate appearances, bodily piercings, and bodily markings. (Romans 12:1-2; 14:13; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11; Leviticus 19:28; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, I Peter 1:15-16)
(K) The Second Advent of Christ. We believe in that blessed hope, the personal, imminent return of Christ Who will rapture His church prior to the seven-year tribulation period. At the end of the Tribulation, Christ will personally and visibly return with His saints, to establish His earthly Messianic Kingdom which was promised to the nation of Israel. (Psalms 89:3-4; Daniel 2:31-45; Zechariah 14:4-11; Acts 1:11; I Corinthians 15:52-58; I Thessalonians 1:10; 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; Revelation 3:10; 19:11-16; 20:1-6)
(L) The Eternal State.
1. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment. (Matthew 25:46; John 5:28, 29; 11:25-26; Revelation 20:5-6, 12-13)
2. We believe that the souls of the redeemed are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where in conscious bliss they await the first resurrection, when spirit, soul, and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord. (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; 3:21; I Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 20:4-6)
3. We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain, after death, in conscious punishment and torment until the second resurrection, when with soul and body reunited, they shall appear at the Great White Throne Judgment, and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting conscious punishment and torment. (Matthew 25:41-46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-26; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Revelations 20:11-15)
(M) The Personality of Satan. We believe that Satan is a person, the author of sin and the cause of the Fall of Man; that he is the god of this world and the prince of the power of the air and that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man. He does not possess the attributes of God and was defeated by Christ at Calvary and that he shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire. (Job 1:6-7; Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28: 14-19; Matthew 4:2-11; 25:41; John 8:44; II Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 2:15; I Peter 5:8; Revelation 20:10)
1. Holy Angels. We believe that the angels are an innumerable host of created beings, possessing characteristics of personality (intellect, emotion, and will), and are superior to man in power. They exist to praise and glorify God, to serve as ministering spirits on behalf of believers, and to serve God in whatever ways He desires. (Psalms 103:20-21; 148:2; Matthew 22:28-30; Luke 20:36; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:13-14; II Peter 2:11)
2. Fallen Angels. We believe that demons are fallen angels who followed Satan in his rebellion against God, that they are unclean and deceiving spirits, and that they continue to serve Satan in carrying out his evil purposes. Their ultimate destiny is the lake of fire. (Matthew 10:1; 12:24; 25:41; Luke 4:36; Acts 5:16; 8:7; I timothy 4:1; Revelation 12:9)
(O) Creation. We believe that God created the universe in six literal, 24-hour periods. We reject evolution, the Gap Theory, the Day-Age Theory, and Theistic Evolution as unscriptural theories of origin. We believe that all animal and vegetable life was made directly and that they follow God=s law in multiplying Aafter their kind.@ We believe that the entire human race sprang from one man, Adam and one woman, Eve, literal people, who were created directly in God=s image and after His likeness and did not evolve from any lower form of life. (Genesis 1-2; 5:2; Exodus 20:11; 31:17)
(P) Civil Government. We believe that God has ordained and created all authority consisting of three basic institutions: 1) the home, 2) the church, and 3) the state. Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and governed by His Word. God has given each institution specific Biblical responsibilities and balanced those responsibilities with the understanding that no institution has the right to infringe upon the other. The home, the church, and the state are equal and sovereign in their respective Biblically assigned spheres of responsibility under God. (Romans 13:1-7; Ephesians 5:22-24; Hebrews13:17; 1 Peter 2:13-14)
(Q) Human Sexuality.
1. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God=s gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one=s gender by surgery or appearance. (Genesis 2:24; 19:5, 13; 26:8-9; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1: 26-29; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:9-10; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4)
2. We believe that the only legitimate marriage is the joining of one man and one woman. (Genesis 2:24; Romans 7:2; 1 Corinthians 7:10; Ephesians 5:22-23)
(R) Family Relationships
1. We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church. The husband is to be the leader of the home, and men are to be the leaders (pastors and deacons) of the church. Accordingly, only men are eligible for licensure and ordination by the church. (Galatians 3:28; Col. 3:18; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; 3:4-5, 12)
2. We believe that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. The wife is to submit herself to the Scriptural leadership of her husband as the church submits to the headship of Christ. Children are an heritage from the Lord. Parents are responsible for teaching their children spiritual and moral values and leading them, through consistent lifestyle example and appropriate discipline, including Scriptural corporal correction.
(Genesis 1:26-28; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Psalms 127:3-5; Proverbs 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; Mark 10:6-12; I Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4, Col. 3:18-21; Hebrews 13:4; I Peter 3:1-7)
(S) Divorce and Remarriage. We believe that God disapproves of divorce and intends marriage to last until one of the spouses dies. Divorce and remarriage is regarded as adultery except on the grounds of fornication. Although divorced and remarried persons or divorced persons may hold positions of service in the church and be greatly used of God for Christian service, they may not be considered for the offices of pastor or deacon. (Malachi 2:14-17; Matthew 19:3-12; Romans 7:1-3; 1 Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6)
(T) Abortion. We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of unborn human life. Abortion is murder. We reject any teaching that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the physical or mental well being of the mother are acceptable. (Job 3:16; Psalms 51:5; 139:14-16; Isaiah 44:24; 49:1, 5; Jeremiah 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44)
(U) Euthanasia. We believe that God is the Author and Finisher of all life and that the taking of any human life for the purpose of Ashowing mercy,@ regardless of age, physical condition, or mental capacity, is murder and not acceptable with or pleasing to God. (Genesis 2:7; Exodus 20:13; II Samuel 9:3, 13; Job 33:4; Matthew 9:1,2; Acts 17:25, 28-29; John 10:18)
(V) Love. We believe that we should demonstrate love for others, not only toward fellow believers, but also toward both those who are not believers and those who oppose us. We are to deal with those who oppose us graciously, gently, patiently, and humbly. God forbids the stirring up of strife, the taking of revenge, or the threat or the use of violence as a means of resolving personal conflict or obtaining personal justice. Although God commands us to abhor sinful actions, we are to love and pray for any person who engages in such sinful actions. (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 5:44-48; Luke 6:31; John 13:34-35; Romans 12:9-10; 17-21; 13:8-10; Philippians 2:2-4; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Titus 3:2; 1 John 3:17-18)
(W) Lawsuits Between Believers. We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians or the church to resolve personal disputes. We believe the church possesses all the resources necessary to resolve personal disputes between members. We do believe, however, that a Christian may seek compensation for injuries from another Christian=s insurance company as long as the claim is pursued without malice or slander. (1 Corinthians 6:1-8; Ephesians 4:31-32)
(X) Missions. We believe that God has given the church a great commission to proclaim the Gospel to all nations so that there might be a great multitude from every nation, tribe, ethnic group, and language group who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. As ambassadors of Christ we must use all available means to reach the lost locally, nationally, and worldwide, and not wait for them to come to us. (Matthew 28: 19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24: 46-48; John 20: 21; Acts 1: 8; 2 Corinthians 5:20)
(Y) Giving. We believe that every Christian, as a steward of that portion of God=s wealth entrusted to him, is obligated to support his local church financially. We believe that God has established the tithe as a basis for giving, but that every Christian should also give other offerings sacrificially and cheerfully to the support of the church, the relief of those in need, and the spread of the Gospel. We believe that a Christian relinquishes all rights to direct the use of the tithe or offering once the gift has been made. (Genesis 14:20; Proverbs 3:9-10; Acts 4:34-37; 1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7; Galatians 6:6; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; 1 John 3:17)
SECTION 2.02 – AUTHORITY OF STATEMENT OF FAITH
The Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself is the sole and final source of all that we believe. We do believe, however, that the foregoing Statement of Faith accurately represents the teaching of the Bible and, therefore, is binding upon all members. All literature used in the church shall be in complete agreement with the Statement of Faith