The following statements express our foundational beliefs about God and mankind’s relationship with Him. These statements are essential beliefs that we will seek to uphold in all situations. They are not merely statements of religious belief, but rather of what we believe to be true about the world we live in.
We also acknowledge that there are “non-essential” beliefs about which disagreements can exist without changing the fundamental foundations of our church. In these “non-essential” matters we seek to exhibit humility, charity, and acceptance of one another.
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. (Rom 14:19-20 NIV)
And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, a good teacher, and patient. The Lord’s servant must gently teach those who disagree. Then maybe God will let them change their minds so they can accept the truth. (2 Tim 2:24-25 NCV)
The Foundation for Our Beliefs
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matt 22:37-40)
Our Essential Beliefs
We believe that the Bible is God’s Word to mankind and is the supreme source of truth for Christian faith and living. The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament were written by human authors under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. While reflecting the backgrounds, styles and vocabularies of the human authors, speaks with the authority of God.
“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20-21 NIV)
We hold that the Scriptures are infallible, inspired and without any mixture of error in the original writings. They are the unique, full and final authority on all matters which they address. The Holy Spirit has guided the writing of these books and their preservation today as Holy Scripture. We are not at liberty to add or remove from them. (Psa 119:105, 2 Tim 3:15-17; 2 Tim 1:13-14, 2 Pet 1:20-21, Rev. 22:18-19)
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”.(2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV)
We believe in the one and only true God who is Creator and Sustainer of the universe. God is self-existent, infinite, personal, unchangeable and eternal in His being. In His character God exhibits perfect holiness, justice, goodness, wisdom, truth and love. He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. This one God exists and reveals Himself in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We acknowledge that all we know of God is from what He has revealed to us and what we understand of that revelation. At present, we know only in part, but continue daily to seek greater knowledge and love of Him. (Gen 1:1; Psa 90:2; John 14:6-7; Rom 11:36)
Jesus Christ is the Eternal Son of God who was born in the likeness of man. He chose to humble Himself to be born of a virgin through a miraculous conception of the Holy Spirit, without ceasing to be God. Demonstrating unity with the Father, He lived a sinless human life, and out of love for all mankind He voluntarily offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sins by dying on a cross as our substitute. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven where He reigns with all authority over heaven and earth and intercedes on our behalf before the Father. Jesus will return again to earth some day, personally and visibly, to consummate history and the eternal plan of God. (Matthew 1:22,23; Matthew 28:18; John 1:14; Acts 1: 9-11; Phil. 2:5-11; Col 1:18; Hebrews 4:14-16; 1Peter 1:18-19)
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. He enlightens the minds of sinners, awakens in them a recognition of their need of a Savior, and brings spiritual life to them. At the point of salvation, He permanently indwells every believer to become the source of assurance, strength and wisdom, and He uniquely endows each believer with gifts for the building up of the body of Christ – the Church. The Holy Spirit guides believers in understanding and applying the Scriptures. As Christians, we seek to live under His control daily, to exhibit Christ-like character, and to bear fruit to the glory of the Father. (John 14:16,17; John 16:7-13,17; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Ephesians 1:13, 5:17-21; Galatians 5:25; Hebrews 9:14)
Mankind was created by God as an intentional act of His will and in His image and likeness. We have been assigned by God the responsibility of care and authority over the earth. Humans find their greatest joy and fulfillment in accomplishing the purpose for which they were created: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:7; Ephesians 1:5-6)
SIN & SALVATION
Sin is willful disobedience to God’s will resulting in our lack of faith in God’s purposes and/or placing our own desires above God’s. In the beginning, man and woman were given the opportunity show their love and trust in God through their obedience to Him, but instead chose to disobey. Through this original act of disobedience man alienated himself from God, and all of creation has suffered the consequences. Each of us possesses a sinful nature and is guilty of disobedience to God. The penalty for this sin is death, which Jesus freely took upon Himself so that we could be forgiven and restored to fellowship and eternal life with God. (Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-19; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:10-12, 5:8, 6:22-23; 1 John 1:8-10)
Salvation is God’s free gift to mankind. It is offered to all, but is individually received through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ. Salvation is wholly a work of God’s free grace, not the result, in whole or in part, of human works or goodness. Eternal life and the forgiveness of sins begins the moment one transfers their trust from themselves to Christ for forgiveness of their sins. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by the self-effort of Christians, and when God has begun a saving work in the heart of any person, He promises to continue performing it until the day of its completion. We are involved in this process by choosing to follow Christ, trust Him, and obey Him as our lives are transformed. If you have been genuinely saved, you cannot unintentionally “lose it.” (John 1:12, 14:6; Roman 6:23, 8:38-39; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5)
Mankind was created by God to exist forever. Death seals the eternal destiny of each person. For all mankind, there will be a bodily resurrection and a judgment that will determine the fate of each individual. Those who have rejected Jesus Christ are destined to eternal separation from God. Those who have personally trusted Jesus Christ will be received into eternal communion with God and will be rewarded for works done in this life. (John 3:16; Romans 6:23; Matthew 25:44,46; Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 20:15)
The Church is the living Body of Christ on earth and at the point of salvation a person becomes a member of Christ’s Body – the Church. There is one true Church universal, comprised of all those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior.
The Scriptures encourage believers to gather together to devote themselves to worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, and observance of baptism and communion as ordinances established by Jesus Christ for the purpose of fellowship, service to the body through the development and use of talents and gifts, and outreach to the world.
The ordinances of baptism and communion are regular practices of the church instituted by Christ to represent spiritual truths and serve as outward expressions of faith and obedience to the Lord. These ordinances are not a means of salvation, but provide necessary opportunities for the believer to re-evaluate their faith life, to publicly declare their devotion to Christ, and to build milestones into their lives that will strengthen and encourage them as they continue to grow in Christ.
Baptism is a public profession of faith in Christ in which the believer identifies with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ through immersion in water. Baptism is separate from salvation, forgiveness of sin and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; and should be administered after an individual has accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin and received God’s gift of salvation. This is an expected step in the life of a believer out of obedience to Jesus’ command to “make disciples of nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matt 28:19), and in following the examples of baptism set forth in Scripture by those who put their faith in Christ.
Communion, or the Lord’s Supper, was instituted by Jesus for the purpose of remembering His life and the sacrifice He made for us. Communion is administered by the partaking of bread and the fruit of the vine. These elements symbolize Jesus’ body and blood which were freely given for the forgiveness of our sins so that we may be restored to an unbroken relationship with God.
Through communion, each person has the opportunity to remember that although they fall short of God’s glory, God has reached out to them in love by sending Jesus into the world. God sacrificed His son, Jesus, as full and complete atonement for our sins, and it is only by believing in Him and accepting this sacrifice that we can reconnect with God.
The physical elements of communion remind us that Jesus is fully God who humbled Himself to become man and live among us, who was raised from the dead, and is alive today. Finally, as a church we are reminded that through Jesus we are bound together as brothers and sisters through the Holy Spirit.
“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me’. In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying,’ This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’” (Luke 22:19-20)
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
Whenever God’s people meet regularly, there is the local expression the Church. Under the watchful care of elders and the supportive leadership of deacons, its members are to work together in love and unity, intent on the one ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ. (Matt. 22:36-40, 28:19-20, Acts 1:8; 2:41-47, Romans 12:3-16, 1 Cor. 12:4-12, Ephesians 2:19-22; 4:11-13, Col. 1:18)
FAITH & PRACTICE
Scripture is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. We recognize that we cannot bind the conscience of individual members in areas where Scripture is silent. Rather, each believer is to be led in those areas by the Lord, to Whom he or she is ultimately responsible.
We believe this Statement of Faith to be an accurate summary of what Scripture teaches and is in agreement with the Articles of Faith of our parent organization, the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches.