WHAT WE BELIEVE
We believe that the Bible, which includes the 66 books of both the Old and New Testaments, to be the verbally (word–for–word), inspired (God breathed), infallible Word of God. God, who is the author of the Bible, superintended the process of the writing of the Bible through chosen, faithful, men who were being guided by the Holy Spirit to write exactly what God wanted them to write, and therefore, is inerrant in its original manuscripts (2 Timothy 3:15–16; 2 Peter 1:20–21). The Bible is our sole and final authority for faith, belief, and practice (1 Timothy 4:16). The people of God are called to commit God’s Word to memory (Psalm 119:11), to study it diligently (2 Timothy 2:15), to obey it faithfully (2 Timothy 3:16–17), and to teach it accurately (2 Timothy 4:2).
The Doctrine of God
We believe in one God who exists in three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14, 2 Corinthians 3:18). They are each equal and fully God (1Peter 1:2). The Father is the first person of the Trinity. He is our spiritual Father and rules with providential care over the universe (John 6:39; 1 Corinthians 15:27–28). The Son is the second person of the Trinity. He is the author of life and the visible image of the invisible God (Hebrews 12:2; Colossians 1:15). The Spirit is the third person of the Trinity completing the mystery. He is One with the Father and the Son, pointing and guiding mankind to Jesus Christ the truth (John 14:6,16, 26). We believe this Trinity is eternal and has always existed (Psalm 90:2; Revelation 22:13). We believe God is omniscient/knowing everything, omnipotent/all powerful, omnipresent/with us at all times, immutable/unchanging, and sovereign over the universe. We believe He is the creator of the world (John 1:1-3). He created the world from nothing (Genesis 1:1, 26). Nature and the universe declare His invisible qualities (Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:20). He is sovereign over creation (Isaiah 14:27) and holds everything together through His living Word (Hebrews 1:3; John 6:63; Colossians 1:16-17).
God – The Son, Jesus Christ
We believe in Jesus Christ’s virgin birth (Luke 1:35; Matthew 1:23). We believe He is deity being true God, yet mysteriously, true man (John 14:9; Luke 1:25–38). We believe He always was and He existed from the beginning (John 1:1,14). He is the living Word and was with the Father before there was anything (John 1:2,14). He is the mediator between God and man (John 14:6, 1 Timothy 2:5). We believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ, and that He was seen by hundreds of people over a period of forty days after being raised from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3-6; Acts 1:3; Luke 24:51). He is the Author of Life and everything is loss compared to knowing him (Philippians 3:8–9; Hebrews 12:2). He will judge the living and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1; John 5:22, 27). We believe in His visible bodily return (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Zechariah 14:4; Acts 1:11). We believe He is the head of the church and the First Born from the dead (Colossians 1:15–20; Acts 17:28). We believe that someday every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Isaiah 45:23; Philippians 2:10–11).
God – The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is referred to numerous times as the Spirit of Truth. We believe that the Holy Spirit’s purpose is to testify and point mankind to Jesus Christ, the Spirit of Truth (John 15:26). We believe that as the advocate, the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin through the Word of Truth (John 16:7–8). We believe the believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and we should honor the Holy Spirit with our body (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). We believe that a believer in Jesus Christ is controlled and led by the Holy Spirit (John 8:9–14). The Holy Spirit gives each believer spiritual gifts which are power from God to accomplish His purposes (Galatians 5:22–23). The Holy Spirit develops character traits in each person as we grow and are sanctified (Romans 12:1–2; 1 Corinthians 3:18).
The Doctrine of Angels
We believe the angels were created by God even before the universe began to exist. They were tasked with service to God to fulfill His will and purpose (Job 38:4–7; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:14). They are immortal, personal, spirit–beings (Psalm 8:5; Luke 20:35–36; Hebrews 1:7, 2:7). There is a vast, unknown, number of angels (Hebrews 12:22). Angels are never to be worshipped for their purpose is to worship and serve God (Psalm 148:2–5; Revelation 19:10). The angels of Heaven continuously minister to God in praise, worship, and service (Revelation 4:8). They ministered to Christ during His earthly life and they continue to minister to believers today (Matthew 4; Hebrews 1:14). Angels are engaged in continuous spiritual warfare against Satan and his demons and they will be present when Jesus Christ returns as Judge and King (Isaiah 6:1–8; Matthew 2:12, 20; 4:11; Acts 1:10; Hebrews 1:6, 14; Revelation 12:7; 20:1–3).
The Doctrine of Satan and Demons
We believe that Satan is a real spiritual being, created by God as Lucifer; iniquity was found in him, as he exalted himself above God. As a result of this iniquity God cast Lucifer and other angelic host, known as demons down to earth and they are now working to destroy the souls of mankind (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:15-16; Revelation 12:7:10). Satan and his demons are enemies of God and His followers, and will do whatever it takes to destroy the good works of God (Genesis 3:1–15; 1 John 3:8). Satan is known as the accuser, adversary, Angel of Light, deceiver, Devil, evil one, Father of Lies, murderer, Ruler of Darkness and the Ruler of this world (John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:14; Ephesians 2:2; Revelation 12:9–10). Satan is very powerful, but he still must submit to the all-powerful God of Heaven, and Satan will one day be judged, and thrown into the Lake of Fire (Job 1:6–12; 2:6; Romans 16:20; 2 Peter 2:4; Revelation 20:10). Believers are instructed to be watchful because the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. We must resist the Devil, draw near to God, and put on the armor of God daily in order to live victorious Christian lives (Ephesians 6:10–18; James 4:6–8; 1 Peter 5:8–9).
The Doctrine of Man
We believe that man was made in the image of God on the sixth day of creation (Genesis 1:26–27). Mankind is, therefore, unique among all of God’s creation. He has been tasked with stewarding and managing God’s creation for God’s glory (Psalm 8:3–9). Following God’s creation of Adam from the dust of the ground, God formed the first woman, Eve, from a rib that was taken from Adam’s side (Genesis 2:22). Man and woman are together made in God’s image. They are to be seen as equal in both personhood and importance. We believe it was God who ordained and established marriage between the male and female (a biological man and a biological woman). Marriage is a picture of the love and unity within the Godhead as well as the relationship that Christ (bridegroom) has with His church (bride). Having designed the man and woman for one another to be complements to each other, marriage enables mankind to be perpetuated within this holy union. Though mankind was created to fellowship with God and enjoy Him forever, mankind sinned grievously and disobeyed the clear revealed will of God. Mankind’s innocence was lost with this Fall and mankind was justly put under the judgment of God (Genesis 3:16–19, 22–24). Due to this Fall, mankind is born with a sin nature and Adam’s guilt is imputed to every person (Romans 5:12), but Jesus Christ paid for mankind’s sin on the cross (Romans 5:15–17, 7:25; I John 1:9). Through salvation Christians possess a spiritual nature, but we also continue to have the capacity to sin (Romans 7:14–25). We believe man has a need to confess his sin to stay in a right relationship with God (Psalm 139:23–24; Galatians 5:16–18).
The Doctrine of Sin
We believe that sin is the breaking of God’s commands to us (1 John 3:4). All men have fallen short of God’s standard of perfection and holiness by both nature and choice (Romans 3:23, 8:7). Sin was first seen in the prideful, willful, rebellion of Lucifer and those angels who followed him as he exalted himself against God (Ezekiel 28:12–17). The human experience with sin occurred in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve as they rebelled and disobeyed God’s clear commands (Genesis 3; Hebrews 7:9–10) and is imputed to every human being since Adam stood as mankind’s representative in the Garden of Eden (Romans 5:12–19). Sin results in our standing condemned before God (John 3:18; Romans 8:1), being spiritually dead in our trespasses (Ephesians 2:1), and deserving of the punishment of both physical and spiritual death (Romans 5:12, 6:23; Ephesians 2:3). Having been born into this hopeless, sinful, condition, there is nothing that mankind can do to merit God’s forgiveness. We are all justly condemned and there are no good works we can do to earn cleansing from God (Romans 8:8; Ephesians 2:8–9; Titus 3:5–6). We all are in desperate need of God’s grace, for without this intervening grace, we are all doomed to spend an eternity in Hell apart from God (Matthew 25:46; Luke 16:19–31; Revelation 20:11–15).
The Doctrine of Salvation
We believe that, before the foundation of the world, the eternal God had already carefully planned for the salvation of sinners (Romans 8:28–39; Ephesians 1:1–14). Salvation was planned by the Father, provided through the Son, and is sealed with the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:9–10; 1 Peter 1:2, 20–21).
We believe that the Gospel is a glorious message of redeeming hope that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, came to this earth and lived the perfect, sinless, life that we have been unable to live, that He died on the cross in our place for the sins we had committed, that He was buried, and that He rose victoriously from the grave on the third day (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 15:3–4). All who repent and believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are forgiven of their sins, justified through His meritorious work on the Cross, and are freely given the gift of salvation (Romans 3:24–26, 6:23, 5:12, 10:9–10). We believe that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:1–10). We believe that those who come in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ are saved and placed into the body of Christ, His Church. Being placed into the body of Christ is a privilege that means we are protected by God, sealed by the Holy Spirit, and possess a salvation that we can never lose or forfeit. The saved are eternally secure in Jesus Christ forever (John 3:1–21, 6:37–50, 10:1–18; Romans 8:38–39; Ephesians 1:3; 1 Peter 2:1–10; 1 Corinthians 12:12–25). We believe that all Christians have a responsibility to boldly proclaim this Gospel message far and wide. It is through the preaching of the cross that sinners are saved. We are commissioned to go into the world, as those early witnesses of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, boldly proclaiming that Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah came, lived, died, and rose again overcoming sin and the grave. We declare to men and women everywhere to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved,” (Matthew 9:37–38, 28:18–20; John 14:6; Acts 1:8, 20:24; Romans 1:16).
The Doctrine of the Coming of Christ and Eternity
We believe that the church's blessed hope is the imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ. His return motivates us to holy living, heartfelt worship both on a personal level and within the church, committed service, diligent study of God's Word, as well urgency in the communication of the Gospel to those who have not accepted Jesus as their Savior (Titus 2:11-13). Recognizing that differences of biblical interpretation relating to the timing of certain end-time events do exist among sincere, committed believers within the church, we believe those events surrounding the return of Christ include:
The Rapture of the Church: Jesus will return in the clouds to remove from the earth His waiting Church made up of true believers (John 14:1–3; 1 Corinthians 15:51–53; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18; Revelation 4:1).
The Tribulation: During this seven-year period, God, through His infinite mercy and grace, offers the world one final opportunity for eternal life with Him through repentance and committing their lives to Jesus Christ, as judgments are poured out upon the unbelieving world (Daniel 9:27,12:1; Jeremiah 30:7; Matthew 24:15–36; 2 Thessalonians 2:7–12; Revelation 6–18,16).
The Second Coming of Christ and the Millennium: Jesus will physically return to earth in great glory. Believers, having been rewarded for their obedience, will rule the nations of the earth with Christ for a period of one thousand years. (Deuteronomy 30:1–10; Psalm 72:3–8, Isaiah 11:1–16, 65:17–25, Ezekiel 37:21–28; Daniel 2:44–45; Micah 4:3–4; 1 Corinthians 3:11–15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 19:11–16, 20:1–6).
The Eternal State of Punishment: A final judgment will take place in which the unsaved dead will be raised and judged according to their works. Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, will be sentenced to everlasting punishment in the lake of fire known as the second death (Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:43–48; Luke16:24; John 3:18, 36; Romans 14:10–12; Revelation 19:20, 20:11–15, 21:8).
The Eternal State of Blessing: There will be the formation of a New Heaven and a New Earth for all of the Redeemed. God and mankind will live together harmoniously in perfect conditions as it was during the original creation before the corruption of sin, forever, time without end (Matthew 25:46; Mark 13:31; John 3:16; Romans 8:22; 2 Peter 3:13; Isaiah 65:17, 66:22; Revelation 21 and Revelation 22).
The Doctrine of the Church
We believe the church is the spiritual body of Christ of which He is the head and is made up of all people who have personally and genuinely accepted the saving work that Christ alone has done in their lives (1Corinthians 12:12–27; Colossians 1:24–29). We believe that the Holy Spirit through this united faith of believers equips, mobilizes, and empowers church members with gifts and talents to become salt and light to combat the increasing decay and darkness engulfing our communities, nation, and world (Matthew 5:13–16; John 17; Acts 1:8; Ephesians 4:12–16). We believe that Scripture patterns and commands believers to physically gather to devote themselves in worship, prayer, the teaching of the Word of God and in having fellowship with one another (Acts 2:42–47; Ephesians 1:20–23, 4:1–6; Hebrews 10:24–25). We believe that Jesus Christ set into place baptism and communion to be observed by believers within the church.
Baptism is a celebration of new faith in Jesus Christ and is a first step of obedience where a public declaration of faith is made of the salvation received through Him (Matthew 28:18–20; Acts 2:41, 22:16).
2. By participating in Communion believers solemnly remember the source of their salvation, which is the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for all mankind who would choose to believe (Matthew 26:26– 29, John 6:53–59; 1 Corinthians 11:26).
We believe that members within a church exist, function, and work together under the supportive leadership of officers as exemplified in scripture (Acts 2:42–47, 6:1–6; Ephesians 4:11–12; 1 Corinthians 14:40; I Timothy 3:1–13; Titus 1:5–9; I Peter 5:1–5).
A Doctrine of Persecution
Christian persecution may be defined as “any hostility experienced as a result of identification with Jesus Christ,” (opendoorsuse.org). We know that persecution is often part of God’s plan and providence (2 Timothy 2:3). The Lord told us that all Christians seeking to live as salt and light (Godly) in this world will experience persecution in one form or another (John 16:33; 2 Timothy 3:12). We ought not be surprised in any way by this persecution. Those who are persecuted for the sake of Christ stand in continuity with the persecution of God’s prophets of old, the Apostles of Jesus Christ, the members of the early church, and the continuing body of Christ throughout this world even to this very day (Matthew 5:10–12). For the Christian persecution becomes an occasion to strengthen one’s perseverance by faith (Psalm 23:1; James 1:2–4), to rejoice in the opportunity to share in the sufferings of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Peter 4:12–14), and to obey Christ by loving those who hate us (Matthew 5:43–44; Romans 12:14). We are to keep our eyes fixed on Christ knowing the truth that nothing can separate us from Christ’s love, and ultimately, Jesus Christ will triumph over His enemies, and we shall reign victoriously with Him in eternity (Mark 10:28–31; Luke 6:20–22; Romans 8:35–39).
The Sanctity of Life
We believe that human life is the very breath of God given to mankind, most sacred, and designed by God in His own image (Genesis 1:27, 2:7). This precious life begins at conception and includes every other life condition through natural death (Numbers 35:22–25; Job 14:5; Psalm 139:13–16; Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:13–17, 41; Acts 17:25). We believe that abortion is contrary to God’s design for mankind as given to us in His Word thus being a morally unacceptable alternative for birth control, population control, sex selection, and elimination of the physically and mentally handicapped (Exodus 21:22, 23; Isaiah 44:2, 24, 46:3-4, Matthew 19:18; 1 Timothy 5:1–2). We must, therefore, diligently defend, protect, and value all human life (Genesis 9:6; Numbers 35:12).
A Statement Regarding Israel
We believe the nation of Israel plays a central role in the plan of God, not only as part of biblical history, but also in current and future events as the time of the coming of His Kingdom approaches (Genesis 12:3, 15:17, 17:18). All the
promises made to Israel by God will be fulfilled today, at His second coming, and throughout the Millennium as Jesus Christ rules all the nations of the earth
(Deuteronomy 30:3–5; Jeremiah 31:35–36; Ezekiel 37:12–14, 21–22; Zechariah 12:3, 14:4; Matthew 23:37–39; 2 Corinthians 1:20; Hebrews 6:13–18; Revelation12:4–6, 21:12–13). We pray for, bless and support Israel while standing against anti-Semitism as we see the events shaping–up in the world around us, including the blindness of Israel to the gospel coming to an end, which will bring many people in Israel to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ (Psalm 122:6; Hosea 3:4–5; Romans 11:12–15, 25–27).