We believe that "all Scripture is given by
inspiration of God," by which we understand the whole Bible is inspired in
the sense that holy men of God "were moved by the Holy Spirit" to
write the very words of Scripture. We believe that while there was progress in
revelation from God, this divine inspiration extends equally and fully to all
parts of the writings—historical, poetical, doctrinal, prophetical and to the
smallest word and inflection of a word as appeared in the original manuscripts.
We believe that the whole Bible in the originals is therefore without error.
We believe that all Scriptures center about the Lord Jesus
Christ in His person and work in His first and second coming, and hence that no
portion, even of the Old Testament, is properly read or understood until it
leads to Him. We also believe that all the Scriptures were designed for our
practical instruction (Matt. 5:18; Mark 12:26, 36; 13:11; Luke 24:27, 44; John
5:39; Acts 1:16; 17:2-3; 18:28; 26:22-23; 28:23; Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 2:13; 10;11;
2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1;20-21).
We believe that the Godhead eternally exists in three
persons—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit—and that these three are one
God, having precisely the same nature, attributes and perfections, and worthy
of precisely the same homage, confidence and obedience (Matt. 28:18-19; Mark
12:29; John 1:14; Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor. 13:14; Heb. 1:1-3; Rev. 1:4-6).
We believe that God created an innumerable company of
sinless, spiritual beings known as angels; that one, "Lucifer, son of the
morning," the highest in rank, sinned through pride thereby becoming
Satan; that a great company of the angels followed him in his moral fall, some
of whom became demons and are active as his agents and associates in the prosecution
of his unholy purposes, while others who fell are "reserved in everlasting
chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day" (Isa. 14:12-17;
Ezek. 28:11-19; 1 Tim. 3:6; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6; Rev. 12:3-4).
We believe that Satan is the originator of sin, and that
under the permission of God and as the adversary of God and His character, he
through subtlety led our first parents into transgression, thereby
accomplishing their moral fall and subjecting them and their posterity to his
own power; that he is the enemy of God and the people of God opposing and
exalting himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped; and that
he who in the beginning said, "I will be like the most High," in his
warfare appears as an angel of light even counterfeiting the works of God by
fostering political and religious movements and systems of doctrine, which
systems are characterized by such as the denial of God, the person and work of
Christ as the God-man substitute or salvation by grace alone (Gen. 3:1-19; Rom.
5:12-14; 2 Cor. 4:3-4; 11:3-4, 13-15; Eph. 6:10-12; 2 Thess. 2:4; 1 Tim. 4:1-3;
1 John 4:1-3).
We believe that Satan was judged at the cross, though not
then executed, and that he, a usurper, now rules as the "god of this
world;" that at the second coming of Christ, Satan will be bound and cast
into the abyss for a thousand years and after the thousand years he will be
loosed for a little season and then "cast into the lake of fire and
brimstone" where he "shall be tormented day and night forever and
ever" (Col. 2:15; Rev. 20:1-3, 10).
We believe that a great company of angels kept their holy
estate and are before the throne of God from whence they are sent forth as
ministering spirits to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation (Luke
15:10; Eph. 1:21; Heb. 1:14; Rev. 7:11-12).
We believe that man was made lower than the angels and,
that in His incarnation, Christ took for a little time this lower place that He
might lift the believer to His own sphere above the angels (Heb. 2:6-10).
We believe that man was created by God as a human being,
and did not evolve from a lower order of life. We believe that man was
originally created in the image and after the likeness of God, and that he fell
through sin and, as a consequence of his sin, lost his spiritual life becoming
dead in trespasses and sins, and that he became subject to the power of the
devil. We also believe that his spiritual death, or totally depraved human
nature, has been transmitted to the entire human race of man, the Man Christ
Jesus alone being excepted; and hence that every child of Adam is born into the
world with a nature which not only possesses no spark of divine life, but is
essentially and unchangeable bad apart from divine grace (Gen. 1:26; 2:17; 6:5;
Psalm 14:1-3; 51:5; Jer. 17:9; John 3:6; 5:40; 6:53; Rom. 3:10-19; 8:6-7; Eph.
2:1-3; 1 Tim. 5:6; 1 John 3:8).
We believe that the dispensations are stewardships by
which God administers His purposes on the earth through man under varying responsibilities.
We believe that the changes in the dispensational dealings of God with man
depend upon changed conditions or situations in which man is successively found
with relation to God, and that these changes are the result of the failures of
man and the judgments of God. We believe that different administrative
responsibilities of this character are manifest in the biblical record, that
they span the entire history of mankind, and that each ends in the failure of
man under the respective test and in an ensuring judgment from God. We believe
that three of these dispensations of rules of life are the subject of extended
revelation in the Scriptures—the dispensation of the Mosaic Law, the present
dispensation of the church, and the future dispensation of the millennial kingdom.
We believe that these are distinct and are not to be intermingled or confused,
as they are chronologically successive.
We believe that the dispensations are not ways of
salvation nor different methods of administering the so-called Covenant of
Grace. They are not in themselves dependent on covenant relationships but are
ways of life and responsibility to God which test the submission of man to His
revealed will during a particular time. We believe that if man does trust in
his own efforts to gain the favor of God or salvation under any dispensational
test, because of inherent sin, his failure to satisfy fully the just
requirements of God is inevitable and his condemnation sure.
We believe that according to the "eternal
purpose" of God (Eph. 3:11), salvation in the divine reckoning is always
"by grace through faith," and rests upon the basis of the shed blood
of Christ. We believe that God has always been gracious, regardless of the
particular dispensation in effect at any point in history, but that man has not
at all times in past history been under the dispensation of grace (the Church
is presently under this dispensation of grace) (1 Cor. 9;17; Eph. 3:2, 9
[NASV]; Col. 1:25; 1 Tim. 1:4 [NASV]).
We believe that it has always been true that "without
faith it is impossible to please God" (Heb. 11:6), and that Old Testament
saints were saved by faith in a coming Savior and Redeemer. However, due to the
progress of revelation, it was historically impossible for them to comprehend
to the same extent as we do, the nature of the prophecies and sacrifices that
they portrayed, the incarnate, crucified Son, the Lamb of God. We believe that
they did have some understanding of the prophecies and types of the suffering
Savior and other details (1 Pet. 1:10-12). This faith, vague as it was, was
counted unto them for righteousness (Rom. 4:3-8; Gen. 15:1).
We believe that, as provided and purposed by God and as
preannounced in the prophecies of the Scriptures, the eternal Son of God came
into this world that He might manifest God to men, fulfill prophecy and become
the Redeemer of a lost world. To this end He was born of the virgin and
received a human body and a sinless human nature (Luke 1:30-35; John 1:18;
3:16; Heb. 4:15).
We believe that on the human side, He became and remained
a perfect man but sinless throughout his life; yet He retained His absolute
deity being at the same time very God and very man (Luke 2:40; John 1:1-2;
Phil. 2:5-8), and that His earth-life sometimes functioned within the sphere of
that which was human and sometimes within the sphere of that which was divine.
We believe that in fulfillment of prophecy, He came first
to Israel as her Messiah-King, and that being rejected of that nation, He
according to the eternal counsels of God, gave His life as a ransom for all
(John 1:11; Acts 2:22-24; 1 Tim. 2:6).
We believe that in infinite love for the lost, He
voluntarily accepted His Father's will and became the divinely provided
sacrificial Lamb and took away the sin of the world, bearing the holy judgments
against sin which the righteousness of God must impose. His death was
therefore substitutionary in the most absolute sense—the just for the
unjust—and by His death, He became the Savior of the lost (John 1:29; Rom.
3:25-26; 2 Cor. 5:14; Heb. 10:5-14; 12 Pet. 3:18).
We believe that according to the Scriptures, He arose from
the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He had lived and died,
and that His resurrection body is the pattern of that body which ultimately
will be given to all believers (John 20:20; Phil. 3:20-21).
We believe that on departing from the earth, He was
accepted of His Father and that His acceptance is a final assurance to us that
His redeeming work was perfectly accomplished (Heb. 1:3).
We believe that He became Head over all things to the
church which is His body, and in this ministry He ceases not to intercede and
advocate for the saved (Eph. 1:22-23; Heb. 7:25; 1 John 2:1).
We believe that, owing to universal death through sin, no
one can enter the kingdom of God unless born again; and that no degree of
reformation, however great, no attainments in morality, however high, no
culture, however attractive, no baptism or other ordinance, however administered,
can help the sinner to take even one step toward heaven; but a new nature
imparted from above, a new life implanted by the Holy Spirit through the Word,
is absolutely essential to salvation and only those thus saved are sons of God.
We believe also that our redemption has been accomplished solely by the blood
of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was made to be sin and was made a curse for us,
dying in our stead; and that no repentance, no feeling, no faith, no good
resolutions, no sincere efforts, no submission to the rules and regulations of
any church, nor all the churches that have existed since the days of the apostles,
can add in the very least degree to the finished work wrought for us by Him who
united in His person true and proper deity and perfect and sinless humanity
(Lev. 17:11; Isa. 64:6; Matt. 26:28; John 2:7-18; Rom. 5:6-9; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal.
3:13; 6:15; Eph. 1:7; Phil. 3:4-9; Titus 3:5; James 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:18-19, 23).
We believe that the new birth of the believer comes only
through faith in Christ and that repentance is a vital part of believing, and
is in no way in itself a separate and independent condition of salvation; nor
are any other acts, such as confession, baptism, prayer, or faithful service to
be added to believing as a condition of salvation (John 1:12; 3:16, 18, 36;
5:24; 6:29; Acts 13:39; 16:31; Rom. 1:16-17; 3:22, 26; 4:5; 10:4; Gal. 3:22).
We believe that when an unregenerate person exercises that
faith in Christ which is illustrated and described as such in the New
Testament, he passes immediately out of spiritual death into spiritual life
and from the old creation into the new; being justified from all things,
accepted before the Father according as Christ His Son is accepted, loved as
Christ is loved, having his place and portion linked to Him and one with Him
forever. Though the saved one may have occasion to grow in the realization of
his blessings and to know a fuller measure of divine power through the yielding
of his life more fully to God, he is, as soon as he is saved, in possession of
every spiritual blessing and absolutely complete in Christ, and is therefore in
no way required by God to seek a so-called "second blessing" or a
"second work of grace" (John 5:24; 17:23; Acts 13:39; Rom. 5:1; 1
Cor. 3:21-23; Eph. 1:3; Col. 2:10; 1 John 4:17; 5:11-12).
We believe that sanctification, which is a setting apart
unto God, is three-fold: It is already
complete for every person because his position toward God is the same as Christ's
position. Since the believer is in Christ, he is set apart unto God in the
measure in which Christ is set apart unto God. We believe, however, that he
retains his sin nature, which cannot be eradicated in this life. Therefore,
while the standing of the Christian in Christ is perfect, his present state is
no more perfect that his experience in daily life. There is therefore a
progressive sanctification wherein the Christian is to "grow in
grace" and to "be changed" by the unhindered power of the
Spirit. We believe also that the child of God will yet be fully sanctified in
his state as he is now sanctified in his standing in Christ when he shall see
his Lord and shall be like Him (John 17:17; 2 Cor. 3:18; 7:1; Eph. 4:24;
5:25-27; 1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 10:10, 14; 12:10).
We believe that, because of the eternal purpose of God
toward the objects of His love, because of His freedom to exercise grace toward
the meritless on the ground of the propitiatory blood of Christ, because of the
very nature of the divine gift of eternal life, because of the present and
unending intercession and advocacy of Christ in heaven, because of the
immutability of the unchangeable covenants of God, because of the regenerating,
abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of all who are saved, we and
all true believers everywhere, once saved shall be kept saved forever. We
believe, however, that God is a holy and righteous Father and that since He
cannot overlook the sins of His children, He will, when they persistently sin,
chasten them and correct them in infinite love; but having undertaken to save
them and keep them forever, apart from all human merit, He who cannot fail will
in the end present every one of them faultless before the presence of His glory
and conformed to the image of His Son (John 5:24; 10:28; 13:1; 14:16-17; 17:11;
Rom. 8:29, 32-39; 1 Cor. 6:19; Heb. 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2; 5:13; Jude 24).
We believe it is the privilege, not only of some, but of
all who are born again by the Spirit through faith in Christ as revealed in the
Scriptures, to be assured of their salvation from the very day they take Him to
be their Savior; and that this assurance is not founded upon any fancied
discovery of their own worthiness or fitness, but wholly upon the testimony of
God in His written Word, exciting within His children filial love, gratitude
and obedience (Luke 10:20; 22:32; Rom. 8;15-16; 2 Cor. 5;1, 6-8; 2 Tim. 1:12;
Heb. 10:22; 1 John 5:13).
We believe that the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the
blessed Trinity, though omnipresent from all eternity, took up His abode in the
world in a special sense on the day of Pentecost according to the divine
promise, dwells in every believer and, by His baptism, unites all to Christ in
one body and that He, as the indwelling One, is the source of all power and all
acceptable worship and service. We believe that He never takes His departure
from the church, nor from the feeblest of the saints, but is ever present to
testify of Christ; seeking to occupy believers with Him and not with themselves
nor with their experiences. We believe that His abode in the world in this
special sense will cease when Christ comes to receive His own at the completion
of the church (John 14:16-17; 18:7-15; 1 Cor. 6:19; Eph. 2:22; 2 Thess. 2:7).
We believe that in this age, based on that which the Holy
Spirit is to the believer, the Holy Spirit has certain well defined ministries,
and that it is the duty of every Christian to understand what the Holy Spirit
is to him, and does to him, and to be rightly adjusted to the Holy Spirit in
his own life and experience. We believer that the Holy Spirit, as a special
provision of God, is an anointing (2
Cor. 1:21; 1 John 2:20-27), a seal(2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:14; 4:30),and an earnest(2 Cor. 1:11; Eph. 1:14). His ministries to the Christian are the restraining
of evil in the world to the measure of the divine will; the convicting of the
world respecting sin, righteousness and judgment; the regenerating of all
believers; the indwelling of all whoa re saved whereby they are sealed unto the
day of redemption and anointed of God for service; the baptizing into the one
body of Christ of all who are saved; and the continued filling for power,
witnessing, teaching, leading, and service of those among the saved who are
yielded to Him and who are subject to His will (John 3:6; 16:7-15; Acts 1:8;
Rom. 8:3-14; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:30; 5:18; 2 Thess. 2:7; 1 John 2:20-27).
We believe that some gifts of the Holy Spirit such as
speaking in tongues and miraculous healings were given to be used as signs to
authenticate the message of the first century church. We believe that speaking
in tongues was never the common or necessary sign of the baptism nor of the
filling of the Spirit, and that the complete deliverance of the body from
sickness or death awaits the consummation of our salvation in the resurrection
(Acts 4:8, 31; Rom. 8:23; 1 Cor. 13:8; 2 Cor. 12:12). We believe that in
accordance with the sovereign will of God, healing is available through the
prayer of believers (James 5:14). We believe that other non-sign gifts where
given to the church and that through the exercise of these gifts in the church,
believers who learn and apply the truth of Scripture to their lives will mature
spiritually. We further believe that ecstatic experiences, though they may be
valid manifestations of the grace of God, do not appreciably contribute to
one's spiritual maturity (Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Pet. 2:2).
1. The Universal Church
We believe that the church is composed of all who are
united by the Holy Spirit to the risen and ascended Son of God, that by the
same Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles,
and thus being members one of another, we are responsible to keep the unity of
the Spirit in the bond of peace, rising above all sectarian prejudices and
denominational bigotry, and loving one another with a pure heart fervently
(Matt. 16:16-18; Acts 2:42-27; Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 1:20-24; 4:3-10;
2. The Local Church
We believe that God's primary (intended) organization of
believers, after the family unit, in the present age is local assemblies of
believers, committed to the Lord and to each other for the purpose of carrying
out the universal church's visible activities; that is, the communication of
God's truth to the people of God, the worship of and prayer to God by God's
people, the loving care of God's people for one another, and the spread of the
gospel to the ends of the earth; that these assemblies (or churches), though
they should endeavor to cooperate with other Christian assemblies, are to
function under the lordship of Christ, free from external controls of any
religious organizations beyond the early oversight by the church founders and
the influence of its own mature leaders; and that it is God's intention that
all believers publicly identify with a visible, local assembly (Acts 2:41-47;
4:19; 5:29; 1 Cor. 1:1-2; 1 Thess. 1:1; Heb. 10:24-25).
We believe that Christ, the head over all things to the
church (Eph. 1:22), has commanded us to baptize in the name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19); and to partake at His table.
When He had given thanks, he broke the bread and said, "this is my body,
which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same way He took the cup also after
supper, saying, "this cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this as often
as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread, and
drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes" (1 Cor.
We believe that we are called with a holy calling to walk
not after the flesh but after the Spirit, and so to live in the power of the
indwelling Spirit that we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. But the
flesh with its fallen, Adamic nature, which in this life is never eradicated,
being with us to the end of our earthly pilgrimage, needs to be kept by the
Spirit constantly in subjection to Christ, or it will surely manifest its
presence in our lives to the dishonor of our Lord (Rom. 6:11-13; 8:2, 4, 12-13;
Gal. 5:16-23; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:1-10; 1 Pet. 1:14-16; 1 John 1:4-7; 3:5-9).
We believe, that the Spirit upon all who are saved bestows
divine enabling gifts for service. While there is a diversity of gifts, the
same Spirit energizes each believer and each is called to his own divinely appointed
service as the Spirit may will. In the apostolic church, there were certain
gifted men, i.e., apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor-teachers who were
appointed by God for the perfecting of the saints unto their work of the
ministry. We believe also that today some men are especially gifted of God to
be evangelists and pastor-teachers, and that it is to the fulfilling of His
will and to His eternal glory that these men shall be sustained and encouraged
in their service for God (Rom. 12:6; 1 Cor. 12:4-11; Eph. 4:11; 1 Pet. 4:10-11).
We believe that, wholly apart from salvation benefits
which are bestowed equally upon all who believe, rewards are promised according
to the faithfulness of each believer in his service for his Lord, and that
these rewards will be bestowed at the judgment seat of Christ after He comes to
receive His own to Himself (1 Cor. 3:9-15; 9:18-27; 2 Cor. 5:10).
We believe that it is the explicit message of our Lord
Jesus Christ to those whom He has saved that they are sent forth by Him into
the world even as He was sent forth of His Father into the world. We believe
that after they are saved they are divinely reckoned to be related to this
world as strangers and pilgrims, ambassadors and witnesses, and that their
primary purpose in life should be to make Christ known to the world (Matt.
28:18-19; Mark 16:15; John 17:18; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:18-20; 1 Pet. 1:17; 2:11).
We believe that according to the Word of God the next
great event in the fulfillment of prophecy will be the coming of the Lord in
the air to receive to Himself into heaven both His own who are alive and remain
unto His coming, and also all who have fallen asleep in Jesus, and that this
event is the blessed hope set before us in Scripture, and for this we should be
constantly looking (John 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; Phil. 3:20; 1 Thess. 4:13-18;
We believe that the translation of the church will be
followed by the fulfillment of Israel's seventieth week (Dan. 9:27; Rev. 6:1-19:21)
during which the church, the body of Christ, will be in heaven. The whole
period of Israel's seventieth week will be a time of judgment on the whole
earth, at the end of which the times of the Gentiles will be brought to a
close. The latter half of this period will be the time of Jacob's trouble (Jer.
30:7), which our Lord called the great tribulation (Matt. 24:15-21). We believe
that universal righteousness will not be realized previous to the second coming
of Christ, but that the world is day by day ripening for judgment and that the
age will end with a fearful apostasy.
We believe that the period of great tribulation in the
earth will be climaxed by the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth as
He went, in person on the clouds of heaven, and with power and great glory to
introduce the millennial age, to bind Satan and place him in the abyss, to lift
the curse which now rests upon the whole creation, to restore Israel to her own
land and to give her the realization of God's covenant promises, and to bring
the whole world to the knowledge of God (Deut. 30:1-10; Isa. 11:9; Ezek.
37:21-28; Matt. 24:15-25:46; Acts 15:16-17; Rom. 8:19-23; 11:25-27; Rev.
20:1-3). We believe that at death the spirits and souls of
those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation pass immediately
into His presence and there remain in conscious bliss until the resurrection of
the glorified body when Christ comes for His own, whereupon soul and body
reunited shall be associated with Him forever in glory; but the spirits and
souls of the unbelieving remain after death conscious of condemnation and in
misery until the final judgment of the great while throne at ;the close of the
millennium, when soul and body reunited shall be cast into the lake of fire,
not to be annihilated but, to be punished with everlasting destruction from the
presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power (Luke 16:19-26; 23:42; 2
Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Rev. 20:11-15).