What we Believe

The Scriptures

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of
Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for
its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for
its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It
reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will
remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the
supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions
should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the
focus of divine revelation.

God

There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and
personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe.
God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and
all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present,
and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe
the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals
Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal
attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.

God the Father

God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and
the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace.
He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in
truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is
fatherly in His attitude toward all men.

God the Son

Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived
of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and
did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and
necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He
honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary
death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was
raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the
person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is
now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God,
fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man.
He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His
redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever
present Lord.

God the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to
write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth.
He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He
calls men to the Saviour, and effects regeneration. At the moment of
regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates
Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by
which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of
final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will
bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens
and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.

Man

Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and
female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of
the goodness of God’s creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and
was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man
sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation
of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original
innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined
toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become
transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man
into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God.
The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His
own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every
race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.

Salvation

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who
accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal
redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes
regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no
salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures
in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through
conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and
faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences
of grace.

Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus
Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.
Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all
sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer
unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.

Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart
to God’s purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual
maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him.
Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.
Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the
redeemed.

God’s Purpose of Grace

Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies,
sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of
man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the
glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and
unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.

All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and
sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but
shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and
temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts,
and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves;
yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

The Church

A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local
congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and
fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by
His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His
Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each
congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic
processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to
Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men
and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited
to men as qualified by Scripture.

The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes
all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue,
and people, and nation.

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the
Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s
faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin,
the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in
Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the
dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church
membership and to the Lord’s Supper.

The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church,
through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death
of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.

The Lord’s Day

The first day of the week is the Lord’s Day. It is a Christian institution for
regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead
and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and
private. Activities on the Lord’s Day should be commensurate with the
Christian’s conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

The Kingdom

The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His
particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King.
Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by
trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to
labor that the Kingdom may come and God’s will be done on earth. The full
consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of
this age.

Last Things

God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate
end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly
in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men
in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of
everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies
will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.

Evangelism and Missions

It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of
the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new
birth of man’s spirit by God’s Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others.
Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of
the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings
of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to
all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the
lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by
other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.

Education

Christianity is the faith of enlightenment and intelligence. In Jesus Christ abide all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge. All sound learning is, therefore, a part of
our Christian heritage. The new birth opens all human faculties and creates a
thirst for knowledge. Moreover, the cause of education in the Kingdom of Christ
is co-ordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence, and should
receive along with these the liberal support of the churches. An adequate
system of Christian education is necessary to a complete spiritual program for
Christ’s people.

In Christian education there should be a proper balance between academic freedom
and academic responsibility. Freedom in any orderly relationship of human life
is always limited and never absolute. The freedom of a teacher in a Christian
school, college, or seminary is limited by the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ, by
the authoritative nature of the Scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for
which the school exists.

Stewardship

God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and
are we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a
holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions.
They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and
material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to
use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures,
Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly,
systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the
Redeemer’s cause on earth.

Cooperation

Christ’s people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions
as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God.
Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches.
They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct
the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New
Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the
missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of
Christ’s Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual
harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ’s
people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations,
when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation
involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His
Word as revealed in the New Testament.

The Christian and the Social Order

All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in
our own lives and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement
of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and
permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the
individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ,
Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice,
and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and
pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused,
the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn
and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural
death. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society
as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and
brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to
work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act
in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His
truth.

Peace and War

It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of
righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ they
should do all in their power to put an end to war.
The true remedy for the war spirit is the gospel of our Lord. The supreme need of
the world is the acceptance of His teachings in all the affairs of men and
nations, and the practical application of His law of love. Christian people
throughout the world should pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace.

Religious Liberty

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and
commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it.
Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection
and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such
freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state
more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of
Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the
revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry
on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the
pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious
opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of
any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and
this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all
men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion
without interference by the civil power.

The Family

God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is
composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.
Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.
It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and
to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate
companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical
standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.

The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s
image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A
husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given
responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to
submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the
church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of
God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility
to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and
nurturing the next generation.

Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord.
Parents are to demonstrate to their children God’s pattern for marriage.
Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead
them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make
choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.